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Thursday, November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving 2013
Hope everyone has a good holiday.
Here is a quick item to put a smile on your face.
A few days ago, I asked my son if he knew what “Black Friday” was?
He answered, “Isn’t that the day Jesus died?”
You can’t really say he is wrong. I think it puts the Christmas season in a better context and helps remind me that this time of the year is not about “retail therapy”. Please remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Stryper has a song by that name and I think I’ll give it a listen.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Cattle Call with Michael Savage
Radio Talk Show Host Michael Savage
Recently I spent two days with Michael Savage. OK, I actually only saw him for about ten minutes over the course of two days, the remainder of the time I was camped outside his front door. He made me swear not to say anything until he was thru with me. I did as he requested. Now that I have been released from my obligation, I wanted to share the experience.
This actually all started about six weeks ago. I was surprised to get a personalized invitation complete with a pre-paid parking pass. (We all know what a premium there is on big city parking spaces.) My employer was willing to let me go with pay so I had no excuse not to attend.
I consulted the appropriate website for instructions and reported at 8 AM as requested. I ended up being in a group of 150 folks. The room where Michael held court was so small that we had to enter in two groups of 75. Michael was actually in the room when I entered. He greeted us and then his secretary swore us to secrecy. Michael then dismissed us to wait in the hallway and called in the next group.
My experience was nothing like you see on television or the movies. Michael was actually statesman like and even tempered. However, his time management skills were not very good. It’s no wonder that he has people to cover for that deficiency.
The cafeteria in the building where he works is a cash only business so at lunch I opted for alternatives within walking distance. (Magic plastic is my currency of choice when traveling.)
The other thing I learned was that he really likes to take Fridays off. I never knew he liked golfing but what else do professionals like him do during the week when they aren’t working.
Michaels’ producer was named Josh and I actually interacted more with him than with Michael. I had flashbacks to my Navy days with all the hurry-up and waiting that I experienced.
As you might have surmised by now, I was not hanging with the radio talk show host but with a superior court judge while auditioning to serve on a jury. Since I was number 144 out of 150, I knew I would not be on the panel.
After the jury gig was concluded, I looked him up on Google. I found that Judge Savage seems willing to throw the book at folks that deserve it. He is best known in the media for his comments on the failures of child protective services.
In a searing condemnation of CPS, the judge recounted repeated failures to save the little girl from months of beatings that eventually killed her and sent her mother and Martin, the mother’s live-in boyfriend, off to prison.
“There is not the slightest evidence in this case that the protection or safety of Valeeya or her brother was ever a priority, or even a significant concern, for the agency or the caseworker charged with their protection”…
Judge Savage and I also have a mutual acquaintance; former NFL player Keith Wright. Wright spent several years playing professional football. His last team was the Detroit Lions. Wright was disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the NFL and was attending the MBA program at the University of Phoenix when I met him. A few years later, Wright was sentenced by Judge Savage to life in prison.
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Savage sentenced Keith Wright to 114 years to life, plus 120 years and eight months in prison.
Last month, Wright, 32, was convicted by jury of 19 charges, including forcible oral copulation, armed robbery, kidnapping, first -degree burglary, and false imprisonment for a series of crimes last year.
On July 21, Aug. 8, and Aug. 21 of 2011, Wright committed three home invasion robberies in the Natomas area. Each time, Wright threatened the victims with a firearm, demanding money and property.
During one of the robberies, Wright sexually assaulted and kidnapped the female victim, forcing her to drive to two different banks and withdraw money.
Wright was determined to be a suspect in the Aug. 8 robbery after it was discovered he exchanged rare foreign currency stolen during that robbery at a currency exchange business. He was linked to the Aug. 21 robbery and sexual assault through DNA analysis.
Property from each of the victims was found during a search of Wright’s home.
Michael Savage, the judge, looks more like Sam Waterston from the TV show Law and Order than the radio talk show host. I found an internet article stating that Savage is also a long distance runner.
Actor Sam Waterston from NBC’s Law and Order
My brief time with him was interesting but I’m glad to be back at work.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Proposal to Illustrate National Debt
Many people have tried to reduce the astronomical size of the national debt to something that Rush’s “low information voters” can understand. Many such attempts revolve around trying to equate our nation’s debt to household budgets and credit cards but this doesn’t really do the whole discussion justice.
I wish to advocate a different approach. Let’s embrace the largeness of the debt and explain it in a way that regular Americans can understand it. Three levels of debt that need to be illustrated are national, state, and local government.
I would like to see the debt displayed similarly to this map of 2012 election results by county.
My idea is to display how much American real estate would need to be sold to the Chinese or whoever in order to pay down the debt. The map would need four colors, one color for each level of government debt and a fourth color to show what is leftover. If you really want to illustrate the point, you could do two maps, one current debt and the other all the unfunded obligations that government has made.
For dramatic effect, start the map on the western shores of the Mississippi River and let’s see if anything remains of “flyover country”. I think it would be an interesting exercise. Perhaps we could literally show that the government has mortgaged the future of our citizens in a way even “baby-boomers” could understand.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Another Greig Supporter Quits CRA
Today Craig Alexander went public with a letter stating that he resigned from all the CRA Board and leadership posts that he currently holds.
… my resignation as a Vice President that go beyond my no longer carrying that title. I also resign from all committees of the CRA Board of Directors including the CRA Special Litigation Committee…
I also resign as the Chairman of the OC CRA President’s Council. I resign as the Chairman of the OC CRA Elections Committee and from the committee itself.
Craig is an attorney that has been involved in CRA for many years. Recently he has found himself on the losing end of several votes. At the April 2013 Convention, he was a backer of Celeste Greig for CRA President and more recently, he tried to thwart the de-chartering of the Republican Assembly of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley. Once it was clear that RAGSCV would be de-chartered, he and fellow attorney Chris Mays tried to bifurcate the issue so the territory for this club would still exist and allow for a reconstituted group to take its place. This was subsequently slapped down by the CRA Board on its July 4th vote.
In the process of de-chartering this second Santa Clarita group—which was chartered over the top of an existing club—the Sergeant at Arms revealed that he was aware that this second Santa Clarita group was created as punishment because the existing club in Santa Clarita did not support Celeste Greig in her Presidential contest versus Karen England. Reportedly, had things gone according to plan, this smaller group would eventually be given much if not all of the Santa Clarita area at the expense of the larger group. However, the plan never moved on to that stage.
As documented elsewhere, Celeste Greig and Steve Frank were among the ring leaders of this plan that was executed in 2011. At the special CRA Board meeting to de-charter RAGSCV on June 22, 2013, the Sergeant at Arms stated he knew about this conspiracy back in 2011 and not until later did he decide that this was wrong. That is why in 2013 he was working to correct this injustice to the existing RA Chapter in Santa Clarita.
The irony is that this unpunished confession by the Sergeant at Arms—which Craig Alexander claims lead to his resign from the Board—would not have been revealed if Alexander had not tried to derail the proceedings at the June Special Board meeting. The Sergeant at Arms felt that without his revelation to the Board that the vote to de-charter the fraudulent unit might fail. He spoke to get others at the meeting to understand the seriousness of the wrong that had been committed. In 2011, he stood silently on the sidelines and did not object but now he needed to speak-out to right the wrong that he had been secretly laboring to correct.
Here is a portion of Alexander’s email from June 30th:
During the board meeting we were discussing and debating the topic of the proposed de-chartering of the Republican Assembly of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley (RAGSCV). RAGSCV had been created in July 2011. As it turned out there were irregularities with the unit’s creation and territory as it impinged upon SCVRA’s territory. There were many facts to sort out and I was also concerned about the manner in which the review of this situation had been conducted. It would be fair to say that the meeting was contentious and I (and others) asked more than one pointed question of the people involved on both sides.
During that discussion Sgt. At Arms Aaron Park (who was in favor of the de-chartering of the newer RAGSCV unit) stood up and told the entire board that he had lied to the board about the newer unit that was being considered for de-chartering. That after the April 2011 CRA convention, that he and two other Board members (who are no longer on the CRA board) decided to promote and create the new unit on top of the older unit as punishment for the SCVRA’s support of another candidate for CRA President during the 2011 convention. Vice President Steve Macias posted this on his blog post:
“After over an hour of lively debate before the board, Sergeant-at-Arms Aaron Park stepped forward to lend clarity to his role in the chartering of the RAGSCV. Aaron explained that the charter was intentionally pushed through against the bylaws for “political revenge.” Aaron elaborated that the new group was part of a plot to retaliate against the SCVRA’s refusal to support President Celeste Greig. “Bob Hauter, Steve Frank, and I lied,” confessed Park. “We perpetrated a lie, we lied to the board of directors. We knew what we were doing.” To date, Park is the only one to come forward.” (http://www.stevemacias.com/end-of-cra-drama/)
Like everyone else at that meeting, I was shocked by these statements. Right after he made these statements, I asked Aaron publicly if he was tendering his resignation from the board. Mr. Park did not offer his reisgation. We then voted on the de-chartering issue.
Alexander then spent the rest of his June 30 email trying to make Aaron Park the issue instead of the fraudulent CRA chapter. His lawyerly tactic was that a vote to give the territory formerly held by the de-charter RAGSCV back to the older Santa Clarita RA was somehow a vote to support Park. He asked Board members that agreed with him to switch their vote to “Abstain” and let him know via email that we agreed with him.
Thus I would ask of you two things:
1. 1. Cast your vote to Rohit Joy to ABSTAIN on the vote for the SCVRA units territory;
2. 2. Send only to me a separate reply to this message if you agree or disagree with my conclusions about Mr. Park needing to be off the CRA Board of Directors and off these committee assignments.
Alexander’s resignation letter today was again about Park. His four page letter can be summarized thusly, “if the Board won’t go after Park then I quit”.
Were Alexander some sort of innocent and disinterested party in all this then I might be more inclined to agree with him; however, he is not. Craig Alexander has been up to his armpits in intrigue at various times in CRA.
What? Political groups have intrigue? That’s a surprise? … NOT.
Craig has been involved in CRA Black Ops for a long time. He hasn’t been willing to volunteer the information but the “Sith Lord” has the goods on him should it come to that.
My point is not that I can play tit-for-tat with the best of them but that this bickering has to end. Someone has to be the first to be wronged and not retaliate. There is no such thing as “perfect justice” in this life. God is the one that balances all things at the end.
How does an unending quest for purity—be it ideological or ethical—help to grow a group? It can’t. We are all human. We are often wrong and wrong others. We act with only partial information and usually see only our perspective or see it as best anyway.
Somewhere, somehow, we need to turn a corner and adopt a different paradigm of doing things. Yes, Aaron was wrong and did a bad thing or at least acted badly. However, he is one of the few folks in CRA that has owned-up to his actions. Greig, Frank and others just threw a tantrum then picked-up their stuff and left. To this day, they admit no fault.
I know Aaron. He is often full of bluster and bravado. You know where he stands on any issue. I think he means well but sometimes he acts with his emotions and not his intellect. (Don’t we all?) Aaron is trying to influence the political process and on occasion does make mistakes. Nevertheless, he has a good track record and access to information this is often not public knowledge.
Unlike Mr. Alexander, I don’t want to call a special meeting of the CRA Board to throw Aaron out on his butt. Yes, I think Aaron needs more scrutiny in the future and I fully expect him to get it. Aaron is one person on a Board that can number over 100 people.
To me, the difference between Alexander and Park is easily distinguished.
On numerous occasions, Celeste Greig and her minions (including Craig Alexander) failed to follow the rules. In difficult situations, Celeste typically used an ends justifies the means approach. I don’t recall one instance where Alexander publicly called-out Greig for her lawlessness or cavalier attitude towards corporate bylaws and ethical behavior. As a result of the silence of Alexander and others, Greig caused much damage to not only the CRA but the Republican brand in California. At least Park saw the error of his ways and worked to correct the excesses of Greig’s antinomian behavior.
John Briscoe is trying to put an end to past wrongs and wrongdoing and start fresh so CRA can finally begin to grow. I think Briscoe should be given the chance to lead. I think Board members from Greig’s time as President—even Aaron Park—should be allowed on the Board, just not as a majority.
Monday, July 08, 2013
The Lone Ranger Movie
As a kid I used to watch The Lone Ranger TV show starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. The show originally aired from 1949 to 1957. (Yes, I watched it in re-runs.) Prior to that, the program had a very long run as a radio program—1933 to 1954. Wikipedia has a good article on the topic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lone_Ranger
Last weekend I went to see the new Disney version with Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in the title roles. I had read that Despicable Me 2 was creaming it at the box office. I was shocked to read that the film cost over 250 million. I mean, it’s a movie about two guys that ride horses not X-Wing Fighters.
Between the information that I had read and the fact that Depp is almost as odd as Tim Burton, I was not sure what I was going to see. The team that had made Disney’s Pirates films was behind this version of The Lone Ranger. Was this group the right ones to take on the iconic Ranger?
There is a claim that movies often tell you more about who made them and what their views are than what the movie is about; even if it is set in another time period. This film is another such example. John Reid (a.k.a. The Lone Ranger) is portrayed as metrosexual that is afraid of using force or fighting for what is right. Only the coaxing of Tonto (played by Depp) and circumstances force the Ranger to slowly embrace his destiny. The writers of this movie should have read at least one book by Louis L’Amour and watched a few episodes of the old TV show.
Johnny Depp was given latitude to improvise and try to be funny, but his back-story was a repudiation of the portrayal given by Jay Silverheels. Basically the only reason that he hung-out with the Ranger was that the Indians would not have him because he was mentally unbalanced. In Ranger lore, Tonto was saved by the Ranger when both were kids and later Tonto was able to save the Ranger. They had a bond based on the virtues of honor and self sacrifice. Both men represented what was best and operated from a code of ethics that guided their conduct.
The Lone Ranger also suffered from another flaw. This is yet another offering from a large media conglomerate that portrayed all other for profit corporations as evil. Why does Hollywood portray corporations as evil but people are all just various shades of gray? The Ranger lived in a world of black and white; right and wrong. Railroad bashing seemed like a lazy foe from writers that were unwilling to have bad guys be the villains instead of pawns for evil corporate interests.
Also, the army as allies of the bad guys is not consistent with the universe where the Ranger lived. The Army can be delayed or even deceived but for them to willingly be allied with bad guys seems a violation of the established cannon of the golden age of westerns.
This movie reminded me of the Green Hornet movie a few years ago. It was a bad attempt to introduce an iconic hero to the 21st century moviegoer. Ironically, the creators of The Lone Ranger also created the Green Hornet. Per the Wikipedia article above, the Ranger was actually an Uncle of the Hornet.
Lastly, I doubt that few people under forty have ever seen the Clayton Moore/Jay Silverheels portrayal of the Ranger. Disney wrongly assumed that everyone knew who the Ranger was and had a favorable image of him.
The reality was that this movie was not a salute to the Ranger but a parody. The writing was weak and formulaic. I really wanted to like this movie; however, my advice, save your money and catch it on Netflix.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Ultima IX Ascension on 64 bit Windows 8
I’m writing this blog to chronicle my attempts to run this Windows 98 game from 1999 on a modern PC. Nothing that I could find on the Internet seemed to have all the answers in one location. I hope this will help others wishing to run this program.
First off my equipment.
• I own a licensed copy of Ultima IX. Due to some bugs at the time of its release, I also have a second install disk that was sent to me by Origin. This is an installation disk of the final version, 1.18.
• I also have access to two PCs, I will explain why in a short while.
• I found VMware Player a necessary asset but not for the reasons that you think.
• Lastly, I had a full version of Windows 98 Second Edition and a bootable DOS 6.22 CD.
Summary of my adventures.
First, Ultima IX Setup will not run at all on my Windows 8 PC. Not straight out of the box and not in any compatibility mode that is offered in Windows 8. I had feared that I might be dealing with the fact that 16 bit code won’t run on a 64 bit OS but Ultima seems to be a 32 bit game.
I kept reading on the Internet that people were able to get it running. Of those that said it worked on newer versions of Windows none ever mentioned that they actually owned the game. I don’t make a habit of stealing games or getting them from illegal download websites. Also, many websites mentioned a home brewed patch dubbed 1.19 which I did decide to try.
Since Ultima was made for Windows 98 SE, I decided to try VMware to see if I could get the old OS to run. Windows 8 comes with Hyper-V virtualization software which I had used to setup Windows XP. Hyper-V will not support old Microsoft Operating Systems like 95, 98, ME. Unfortunately, VMware cannot exist on the same PC as Hyper-V unless you want to crash your operating system or create an environment that looks a lot like a dual boot OS.
As a result, I installed VMware Player on my Windows Home Sever 2011. The install was quick and I knew enough about virtualization that running it was rather simple.
Getting Windows 98 installed was a relative pain. I could not boot off the 98 CD even though it is the full version for new PCs. My recollection was that you needed a DOS boot disk to start the process. Believe it or not, I actually created a bootable CD for DOS 6.22 about the same time as Ultima was actually released. I popped the disk into the DVD player and then ran FDISK to create a partition and then ran FORMAT /S to get thing going. Then I put the 98 SE disk into the computer and ran Setup.
This worked well until it was time to detect hardware and the associated registry entries and then I got a message that the computer could not read from drive A. (Bootable CDs are treated as the A drive.) I terminated the install and rebooted the virtual machine. The 98 installation resumed and finished with no further problems.
After starting 98 in VMware; however, my virtual machine had no sound. I hunted online and found that installing a driver for Creative Labs Sound Blaster fixed the problem. http://www.techbug.com/en/knowledge-base/289/
Now I was ready to install Ultima. I was able to get thru the two CD installation. The last step is configuring the video and that is where my hopes were dashed. After several days of hacking and searching on the web, I was crushed to learn that VMware does not support 3D video rendering in Windows 95, 98 or ME.
Ok, so here I am with Windows 8 not letting me install the program one my computer and Ultima on my Home Sever installed in a virtual machine that doesn’t support the game. It was enough to break my heart. And then yesterday I saw a post that was my epiphany. I then knew how to turn my lemons into lemonade. Here is the post.
Re: Autorun problems - can’t install Ultima 9
Problem is still not solved, but I found a workaround (at least for my game). Installed Ultima 9 on my wife’s computer and then copied the 1+ gb Ultima directory onto my 2gb flash drive and moved it to my computer. Works fine. In fact I don’t use or need the game CD in the drive.
Old games don’t modify Windows registry because back in the day there wasn’t one and they often did not copy files to C:\Windows\System. I knew this guy was right. I copied the entire Ultima IX directory from my virtual 98 machine to a flash drive. Then I copied it to the root of my C Drive. This is why bit torrent folks could run it and those of us with the physical media could not.
Things I did to modify the install before I tried to run on my Windows 8 computer.
• Modify Option.ini file per http://ultimacodex.com/topic/possible-fix-for-high-crash-frequency-in-ultima-ix/ I recall modifying this file when I ran the game when it first came out. A similar modification is need for some of the Command and Conquer games.
• Patch 1.19 http://ultima9.ultimacodex.com/forgotten-world/
Ultima worked just fine and at a much higher resolution than the 640 x 480 listed on the box. The only catch is that the play disk needs to be in my Blue Ray drive to run the game. I haven’t found a tweak yet to fix that requirement. Perhaps I will mount an ISO image and see if that satisfies the program.
Friday, June 07, 2013
Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion at the beaches in Normandy France.
It also happened to be the day of our month meeting of my local California Republican Assembly chapter. As President, I took the opportunity to remember the soldiers that participated in this assault; especially the 9,000 men that lost their lives that day.
Launching the invasions from bases in England, I can’t help but think that for at least some of these men, the last thing they prayed was the Anglican Prayer In the time of War and Tumults from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
O ALMIGHTY God, King of all kings, and Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their devices; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We then had a moment of silence and began our meeting.
Monday, May 13, 2013
2006 Jeep Liberty Ignition Switch
Over all, I like my Jeep Liberty but I have had a few vehicle problems during my 106,000 miles. Some were manufacturer defects and a few were just wear and tear.
The first problem that I encountered was the tail lights. I used to go thru light bulbs as often as every three days. What I finally figured out is that the plastic inside the tail lights was touching the bulbs. The heat from the bulbs touching the plastic inside the light fixture caused the plastic to melt to the bulbs and they would break the bulbs—probably due to vibration—and the bulb would need replacing. Over a series of months, I used needle-nosed pliers to break out all the loose plastic inside the light fixtures. Once all plastic was removed, the bulbs worked properly.
The braking system was made using cheap parts. I had to replace rotors and pads after a few off-road trips. They go too hot and warped like crazy.
Also, the rear window motor on the driver’s side went out. The dealer charged $400 to replace it.
I have experienced the infamous key getting jammed in the ignition and not being able to remove it. This appears to be a frequent complaint of Jeep owners. I found many complaints on the Internet.
My latest adventure began with turning the ignition key and not being able to start the vehicle. Then the next time I would try, it would start right up. The last time this happened, my Jeep ran fine for two weeks before giving me trouble again. The only thing I noticed was that I had to turn the key as far as it would go and it would then start. The key movement was not right.
Well finally this week-end, it just died on me. I went to the local auto parts store and they advised me that intermittent problems—especially electrical ones—were the worst. The advice I was given was to bear with it until something failed completely and check the Internet for others experiencing similar problems.
Well, yesterday evening, the key mechanism failed completely. There was absolutely no resistance when I turned the key. Whatever happened, the break in the ignition system was no longer intermittent. When this happened, two lights on my dash board and the radio came on. I knew from reading the Internet that I needed to disconnect the battery until the issue was repaired.
I went only the Internet and found this entry. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ignition-switch-pin-actuator-repair-1378503/ The problem that I experienced was the actuator pin assembly was broken. The URL above described my problem and it includes a link to a video on how to remove and replace the broken part. The vehicle in the video, however is a PT Cruiser and not a Jeep. I would like to explain the differences between the video and the Jeep Liberty.
Broke Actuator Assembly—Metal Shard at Top—and Key Cylinder
First, the housing around the steering column is attached with two T-20 screws. They are recessed in two square holes on the bottom side of the cover, closest to the steering wheel. The top cover has some wires attached so it must be pushed out of your way.
Next difference from the video, the assembly for turn signals, wipers, etc. that is shown with T-20 screws in the video, just sits on top of two pegs on the steering column.
You need to remove three T-10 security screws to complete the disassembly. One screw is in the starter switch. This is the square box on the left side of the steering wheel with lots of wires running to it. The actuator assembly has two screws holding it in place. I found a small mirror came in handy when looking for the screws. I could remove them without crawling under the steering wheel.
Once I removed the assembly and inspected things, I noticed that the metal portion of the actuator was broken-off where it goes into the ignition switch. I required some needle-nosed pliers to remove a broken piece of metal from the switch. For some reason, I was unable to locate a second piece that was broken off of the actuator.
In total, it took ten minutes to locate the tools and remove the actuator assembly. I am writing this blog while waiting for the part to be delivered from the warehouse to my local auto parts store.
The part arrived from AutoZone an hour earlier than promised. Aligning the key cylinder with the actuator was a pain. It took several attempt to get it aligned. Once both pieces are inserted into the steering column, you do not get all key movements. You get both Off and a large, slushy On zone. After the ignition switch has been installed the movement gets better, but not until the actuator cover is screwed in place will you get all the proper key positions. Please note that the spring that must be installed with the cover must be correctly aligned or the cover will not fit over the actuator properly. Also, the tiny pin in the cover kept falling out and I had to hunt it down at least twice on the carpeting of the vehicle.
I hooked up the battery and the Jeep started just as it should. Then I had to program the radio and clock and now I’m back on the road. Cost of my part was higher than the Internet prices. Including tax, I paid $44.27. Elapse time was less than an hour.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Review: Ice Age Village
Ice Age Village, based on the popular movie franchise, is a fun way to waste hours on your phone or tablet device. It is a game that is fun for the whole family. Best of all, it’s free.
I’m running the game on both my Windows Phone and Kindle tablet. The Android version is a bit slow on my first generation Kindle Fire. The game has a slight lag and catching Scrat is difficult. The experience on the Windows Phone is smooth and the display allows you to see more of the village on your screen at one time.
You purchase or earn various little animated animal families or entertainment venues for the animals in your village to enjoy. Based on your village configuration, you earn revenue from each thing in your village except items that give you bonuses. A family is complete when you have two adults and two children. It is somewhat disconcerting that all animals reproduce from eggs in this game but it does allow for conversations with children when you explain that Pandas and Llamas don’t really lay eggs.
Windows Phone 8 Screen Capture
The Social Network portion of the game is buggy and does not work as it should. Also, if you get your village up to a Five Star rating in all areas, it will reportedly crash the game. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.
Getting acorns in the game is difficult and clicking on items that you can’t afford will take you to a screen offering to sell you acorns for cash. Password the ability to purchase via credit card before turning the gaming device over to your children.
Below are two links with further information and cheat codes to get some quick cash early on in the game.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
CRA Aftermath: A New Hope
Celeste Greig was on display this week-end in all her glory. As the President of a statewide organization, her behavior during the Convention of the California Republican Assembly these last few days has been akin to that of a petulant child and not the leader of “the conscience of the Republican Party.”
Friday during the final Board meeting she presided over before Sunday’s election of officers, she had the boldness to ignore the agenda and deny certain officers the right to give committee reports because she had personal differences with them. She simply skipped the agenda items and declared that the meeting was adjourned.
Also, despite many promises, those thrown off the Board due to missing the illegally noticed March meeting were not reinstated. However, two new people were added to the Board.
Lastly, Celeste tried to clarify her infamous comments on rape. All she really did was double-down on the same comments made at the CRP convention.
Later on Friday, despite the best efforts of Steve Frank and Bill Cardoza, Celeste-who appointed the members of the Credentials Committee-was unable to gain any meaningful advantage from this body. The fate of seven chapters was debated. Three of the chapters never sent any delegates so no action was taken on them. Frank was only able to bring up three chapters for challenge. Fresno, Kings and Ventura RAs were challenged. Frank hoped not to allow their delegates to be seated. Fresno and Kings were settled quickly. Frank was beat back in his vigorous efforts to refuse the newly formed Ventura RA chapter from being seated. The evil club from Santa Clarita was only able to seat one delegate. The list they submitted only had one valid delegate and no alternates. Their bylaws require delegates live within their territory and three of the submitted names were not seated as a result of violating this provision. The net result was that the stage was set for a fair fight on the day of the election. One Sunday, turnout would be the key to the CRA Presidential election.
On Sunday, Celeste started the meeting with the report of the President. During her report, the CRA banner that was hanging on the wall behind and above her head fell off of the wall. It was never re-hung. I took this as a bad omen for her.
Celeste Greig about one minute before banner fell
Shortly thereafter, voting took place followed by several overly long committee reports on Bylaw changes and Resolutions. These reports were placed in this part of the program to allow all ballots to be counted. In the midst of the Bylaw reports, Steve Frank approached Celeste-who was seated at the front of the room next to the podium—and whispered into her ear. A few minutes later, she left and never returned.
After the Resolution Committee reports were completed, the election results were announced. Results were given in the opposite order of the ballot. This allowed the Presidential results to be announced last. There were 164 people eligible to vote; however, two did not. Celeste Greig received 78 votes and challenger John Briscoe received 84 votes.
Typically, at this point in the process, the outgoing President will congratulate the winner, pledge support and offer help during the transition. Greig did none of this. As I found out later, she had checked out of her hotel room and left the convention long before the results were announced. Such behavior is all anyone needs to know about her character. This display of contempt for the CRA and what it stands for is inexcusable.
I subsequently learned that last time Greig lost an election that she dropped out of the CRA for about eight years before re-appearing. This is the behavior one expects from a child not someone that is in their seventies and is a veteran of the political process.
Greig is the first sitting CRA President to loose since the Nixon era.
Most of Grieg’s geriatric supporters also disappeared. I think many will not attend another CRA event. The only exception might be Steve Frank. Frank for the first time in many years is off the Board. He was the lone looser in the race for Vice-President. There ended up being six VP openings and seven candidates.
Briscoe was quick to introduce more transparency in the Board and also more accountability for Board members. Jobs were given to VPs and Senate District Directors. Two clubs were de-chartered and four were referred to the newly established Chapter Review Committee. A new era has begun in CRA. Perhaps the post Alby era has begun.
Friday, April 26, 2013
The Empire Strikes Back: Part 5
Darth Vader exercised his will at CRA Convention
“Up from the grave he arose;
With a mighty triumph o’er his foes;”
Or so the old hymn goes;
Bob Haueter thinks he knows;
Why Park stepped on his toes.
Bob Haueter as you may recall was one of the problem folks named by George Park that was listed as a current member of the evil Santa Clarita CRA chapter. The only problem is that Bob moved to Texas many months ago and thus is ineligible to be a member of CRA. Anyway, Bob has done his best impression as a guest on “The Walking Dead” and fired-off a lengthy tome from beyond the CRA grave yesterday to give his side of the story. His “Tales from the Crypt” is an interesting read but falls short in many places.
In his letter, Bob makes many admissions against interest. He thinks they bolster his case when in fact they prove Park was right. Due to its length, I won’t go thru the whole thing but I will point out the contentions that caught my eye.
Bob opens with this salutation, “Greetings fellow CRA members”. This salutation is part of the problem, BOB thinks he is still a CRA member and so does his club. Since by his own admission, he resides in Texas, Bob cannot be a member of CRA. Sorry Bob but our Bylaws are really clear on that issue.
Bob laments that we are having an internal struggle and then says,
Is it any wonder there aren’t any state wide elected Republicans, or that the State Assembly and State Senate are controlled by Democrat super majorities and the State’s Congressional Delegation has been reduced to just 15 members out of 53?
So what’s the fight about? In reality it will be a battle of distinctions without differences. The real issue will be who controls, for their own narrow self interest the endorsement of the CRA.
OK; so it is all CRA’s fault that the Democrats have cleaned our clocks and own the State? No, it’s more complicated than that; however Barbara Alby and her followers are complicit in the decline we have experienced. (See my blog article on Gary North v Barbara Alby.) The current fight is the old Alby forces fighting for control v the post Alby membership.
The next paragraph is another admission against interest if you parse it just a little. “The real issue will be who controls, for their own narrow self interest the endorsement of the CRA.” The only contention of controlling endorsements for self interested reasons made thus far in this controversy is that Bob’s former employer, Congressman Buck McKeon and some fellow travelers in CRA leadership (Greig and Frank), have manipulated endorsements. Bob tells us more about what he and his friends have done in the past and how he really views CRA. CRA is to be controlled by the political elites to get endorsements.
Sorry Bob, I joined CRA so I could be the one endorsing the folks that I feel best represent my values not so I can grant legitimacy to candidates and consultants that try to buy CRA endorsements. I thought that is what we fought Karen England about two years ago. We purged many clubs funded by candidates and consultants but not all.
I joined the CRA in 1979. At the time our party was controlled by a group of go along get alongs. Unfortunately CRA was part of the problem, “The Conscience of the Republican Party” did not reflect the conservative values it was founded on. It took many years but we succeeded in returning the CRA to a Conservative organization that accurately reflected its heritage and one that we could be proud to be a part of.
Bob here displays the romantic view espoused by Alby that CRA was a conservative organization that she and others helped return to its conservative roots. The fact is that during its history, CRA has been on all sides of many issues. It has been liberal and conservative. It was founded as a “progressive” Republican group. It has been for progressive taxes, flat taxes, consumptions taxes, etc. CRA’s history is not one of principles that are the bedrock of its existence. This paradigm was given to CRA by Alby and her allies.
This weekend you’ll continue to fight amongst yourselves but instead of fighting for conservative values against moderate and liberals, you’ll be fighting against those that wish to use the CRA for a purely personal accumulation of power. A fight where the winner is rewarded with the power to decide who gets our assistance and endorsement and then reaps the rewards from that assistance.
Yet another admission against interest. The winner of the CRA Presidential election “is rewarded with power to decide who gets our assistance and endorsement and then reaps the rewards from that assistance.” OK, Bob first it is not “our assistance” because you are not a member. Second you are talking of a top-down organization not a grassroots one. The President does not decide who gets our assistance. We do not work for the CRA President, we work locally for local candidates that we choose to support, and whether the CRA leadership likes them is irrelevant. We are neither their slaves nor employees. Again CRA is a Grassroots group. Grassroots equals decentralized. Most in CRA do not work to “reap the rewards” unless you think more freedom, less government and, lower taxes is a reward.
Bob then thumps his chest to say how hard he has worked for various politicians. Then he laments,
I am saddened to see the depths that CRA has sunk to. Where personal attacks based on innuendo and manipulated emails are used to attack fellow members just so someone can achieve profit off our organization.
George Park is clearly in mind here. This is a false characterization of Park’s information campaign. Had CRA leadership done its job, Park would not have to go to the Internet to deal with these issues. They were not dealt with in 1998 as I have documented elsewhere on this blog and things got progressively worse. Two years ago was a corrective action but it was not a completed action. Everything Park put out publicly was documented and never refuted by Celeste Greig, Steve Frank or anyone else. Park only used a portion of the stuff that was available to him. It is worse than he stated.
That the day before the convention, Steve Frank has to get a former member from Texas to take up his cause is illustrative of how weak his defense really is. The only person that can “profit off our organization” is Steve Frank not George Park. Frank has a financial interest in the 25th Congressional district during the 2014 election cycle. More on this later.
This latest round of attacks against Celeste Greig and Steve Frank have set new limits…or better put…new lows. My gosh, Celeste and Steve, they are pillars of our organization with reputations beyond reproach. When people like Celeste and Steve are attacked its time to question the attackers.
Steve Frank threw Celeste under the bus three weeks ago and now Bob does us the favor of joining them at the hip again. If Celeste is so great why is the only press coverage that she gets for CRA related to rape and Todd Akin? Sorry Bob, no one is “beyond reproach”; ever read Romans 3: 23?
Unfortunately, many in politics build a good reputation early on in their careers and coast on that reputation for the rest of their political lives even when they act contrary to their reputation. We all know politicians that say one thing at election time in their districts and then vote the opposite way in Sacramento or Washington. Celeste Greig and Steve Frank acting contrary to their early reputation in CRA and that conduct is not unusual.
Bob then begins to tell his story about the formation of the Republican Assembly of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley (RAGSCV). This portion of his tome is worth an extended look. Here he is talking about how his faction lost control of the other Santa Clarita RA chapter and were later forced to form their own club.
Unfortunately there were some in town who wanted to control the CRA for its ability to endorse in local elections. Two of the leaders of this group were Wendy Albright and Alice Khosravy. They literally bought the election with Alice standing in the parking lot handing out cash to folks they had recruited to become members. This included folks who weren’t even registered Republicans. They won by 3 or 4 votes. We were so disgusted afterwards that we almost quit the CRA.
This is a rather pregnant passage as it once again tells us more about Bob than you might see at first glance. Bob makes Alice sound like some crazy ACORN member trying to buy voted from homeless people by passing out cash in the parking lot. He makes it sound like Alice gives people money, and then they charged into some nearby building and paid their dues, and then voted as instructed.
The only problem with this tale of fraud and woe is those stinking Bylaws don’t allow such conduct. Isn’t it funny that every time someone on Celeste’s side of the controversy says or does something the Bylaws keep getting in their way. Their lament reminds me of Democrats complaining about the Constitution being an obstacle to their utopian dreams.
All CRA chapters require that membership dues must be paid at least 30 days prior to a member being allowed to vote in officer elections. Some clubs even require members joining 60 days in advance. Furthermore, local CRA chapters can reject membership applications to their chapter. This action is subject to review by the State Board.
The irony of the charge of members not being registered to vote is that Bob’s righteous CRA chapter is the only one that lists members not registered to vote and membership of folks residing outside of California. The club he is complaining about is ten times the size of his group and has no such known violations. I know that Park has personally verified the membership of both groups looking for such problems.
The only conclusion that a rational person can draw is that Bob is telling a bald-faced lie that he hopes no one will notice.
Bob then recounts his version of getting his new Santa Clarita club chartered. He omits a few relevant facts but I wish to go on further into his letter as he begins has close. He begins with this premise, for Bob to be correct and Celeste to be righteous then George Park must be lying. Bob then asks why?
Again, within this statement you will find admissions against interest.
Well I can’t tell you precisely why but I can speculate. It’s been rumored that Congressman Buck McKeon, one of the highest regarded members of Congress and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, may retire at the end of this term. I don’t know. What I do know is if and when Buck does decide to call it quits there’s going to be a mad scramble to fill the seat. We only have 15 Republican seats left and they don’t open up that often. So the CRA’s endorsement in the 25th CD will be important. Look at the units George is going after: Northridge, RAGSCV and Antelope Valley…all within the 25th CD. Then, add to that, George comes all the way down from Northern California to help Charter a new unit in Simi Valley…yep its in the 25th CD as well. That leaves just one question; what’s in it for George? Why the sudden interest in the 25th CD? What’s he get for making sure a unit that hates Congressman McKeon, the SCVRA, gets the power to control the endorsement in the 25th CD. Maybe you should ask him, or his new friends Alice and Wendy.
Buck McKeon’s name just keeps coming up in this controversy. Buck paid many of the dues for members in Bob’s beloved CRA chapter from his vast campaign war chest. (Didn’t Karen England get booted from CRA for facilitating such acts?) This is one of Park’s many complaints about McKeon. Not until this Tuesday’s article in the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle did Greig admit to any ties with McKeon when they reported that Buck has endorsed Celeste.
Bob then goes on to point out that Park has been going after RA chapters in northern L.A. County. Park says they are problems because they are not complying with the rules and Bob implies that Park has a financial interest in the 25th Congressional District.
Bob is missing the elephant in the room with his comments. The problem RA clubs that Park is trying to deal with are the ones geographically closest to where CRA President Celeste Greig and her colleague Steve Frank live. One would think that if Celeste is the dynamic Republican leader that she claims to be in her campaign literature then the clubs that she can interact with the most would be the fastest growing most dynamic clubs in CRA. The fact is that the opposite is true. Celeste no longer even has a local CRA chapter to belong to since her’s died of inactivity many years ago. Steve Frank is also a homeless CRA officer.
Bob also neglects to mention that there are other vibrant CRA clubs in the 25th but they are ones that don’t regularly interact with Frank and Greig; an important omission.
The foremost player in this drama with a financial interest in CD 25 is Steve Frank. Steve is pushing Tony Strickland as the natural heir to Buck McKeon at rallies and events throughout the district. Steve is a political consultant working for Strickland. Steve and Celeste need Bob’s bogus RA group and others like it to engineer the endorsement of Tony next year.
So there you have it. The last installment before the Convention begins at 4 p.m. today.
Contrary to recent claims by Aaron Park, my read is that Celeste thinks her re-election is a done deal. Whether she can do it on a straight up or down vote or needs Frank to go nuclear on the Credential Committee we will know soon.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The Empire Strikes Back: Part 4
Emperor Steve Frank has instructed his apprentice Darth Cardoza to cancel all diplomatic efforts to resolve the CRA credentialing process and fall back to the night of the Star Chamber. Frank has determined that only the cover of darkness can be used to wrest victor for certain defeat. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Frank has determined that victory is defined as the total annihilation of half of the CRA universe.
Of the 45 or so CRA chapters that are sending delegates to the CRA Convention that is just days away, Steve Frank plans to refuse seating any delegates from half these chapters for reasons that he has manufactured in his own mind. He has had to manipulate Credentials Committee Chairman Bill Cardoza to set-up this jihad. OK, manipulate is a strong word, Frank has simply withheld any instructions from Cardoza so Bill has failed to take any action.
Cardoza thinks he can convene a meeting Friday night, set up operating rules for the committee and then let Frank flood the zone with smoke and mirrors and then present a completed report to the body for approval by 9 A.M. Saturday morning. Only if Frank has staged a draft of the final report ahead of time could this be accomplished.
Any delegates not recognized by the report will be presumed to be invalid. Only a motion from the floor by a seated delegate can get the recommendations of the Credentials Committee overturned. Each chapter must then be approved by those previously hand selected by Frank and allowed to vote. In addition, this process assumes that the chair will recognize the person making such a motion. Worst case scenario for this part of the meeting is Steve Frank presiding over the meeting and Cardoza presenting the report.
This gambit should fail but I would be foolish to think this will be a fair fight.
Some members on the Credentials Committee think that if things go badly they can break quorum and stop the non-sense. I disagree, such a move would make Frank’s task easier. Frank, Cardoza & company would declare victory and present their prewritten report as the Committee Report and then all they need to do is ram it through on Saturday.
My recommendation is for George Park & his allies is put their report out first and then use that as the beginning point for any action of the Committee. Park has said that his presumption is that all delegates should be seated unless there is a compelling reason to set them aside for a harder look. Chapters not paying dues or delegate residency questions are the usual grounds for these problems. Park has reportedly resolved most issues except for about three clubs. One of the three problem clubs has no dues paying members but wants to send delegates. Clearly this is highly irregular and should be examined.
Park’s best move is the axiom, “he who frames the issue, wins the debate.” If Park goes until Friday without presenting his report and suggesting a framework for the committee to operate from then he will unnecessarily cede ground that will be costly to win back. In fact inaction might result in the dissolution of the organization. As Gary North is fond of saying, “you can’t beat something with nothing.”
To be continued…
Friday, April 19, 2013
Gary North versus Barbara Alby
Barbara Alby 1946 - 2012
Gary North wrote in 1983 that Christians are not ready to lead.
The second point is: American Christians have not thought about these matters for well over a century-not since the era immediately preceding the Civil War. They are not ready to lead. They are not ready to “throw out the humanists” and replace them in every area of life, from the police force to the physics laboratory.
At this point in the first Reagan term, North’s words were thought by most to be non-sense. Clearly Conservatives were in political ascendancy and we believed that we had a real opportunity to return our nation to its Christian roots and away from the Liberal folly of the 1960’s & 70’s. We were on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade; fixing the Supreme Court; abolishing the Dept of Energy and Education; defunding the NEA; and building the economy. The “Pax Americana” was laid-out as “a shining city on a hill” for the entire world to emulate.
Looking back over the last 30 years, it is clear that North was right and we were wrong. I would like to take a few minutes to talk about what failed and why. I won’t address every issue but I want to zero in on some aspects of why Evangelicals have failed in the political arena. The California Republican Assembly would be a great case study for a poly sci or theology doctoral candidate’s dissertation. What follows below is a thumbnail sketch for some areas of examination.
After Ronald Reagan left office, it was clear to many Conservatives that George Bush was not their best choice as a successor. Conservatives hoped for an alternative to Bush; some favored Jack Kemp while others supported Pat Robertson. Robertson’s base was mostly Evangelical, Dispensational, Pre-millennial Protestants. Robertson was able to mobilize much the same demographic group that was the base of Falwell’s Moral Majority.
Religious/Political movements like Robertson (and later Gary Bower) often established campaign organizations that later morphed into other political movements once the campaign was concluded. One such group in California that was left from the Robertson campaign included Barbara Alby.
Alby had been head of a group in the 1980’s called “Women’s Lobby.” Alby used this group to educate and energize women from evangelical churches and get them involved in state and local politics. Women’s Lobby was targeted at issues like abortion and education.
Thru the Robertson campaign and her experiences with Women’s Lobby, Alby saw firsthand the defects in the political process and the weakness of the Republican Party. She and likeminded individuals decided that they needed to capture the Republican Party of California. Their chosen vehicle to reshape Republican policy in California was thru the California Republican Assembly.
In 1988 (or 1987), Alby engineered a hostile takeover of the Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly. When this happened there were five active CRA chapters in Sacramento County; American River, Capital, Cosumnes, River City, and Sacramento-Sierra. (Sac-Sierra RA eventually became the Sacramento Republican Assembly.)
SSRA had a requirement that members must join 30 days before the December organizational meeting in order to be allowed to vote. Alby showed-up at the final SRA meeting prior to the election of officers with several hundred membership applications and dues checks in hand.
Just imagine how this looked to the existing membership of SSRA. They have been doing their work for local candidates and at the last minute some stranger shows-up with several hundred applications and dues from people that have never attended a single meeting. Most of these new members had never been involved in the Party prior to giving Alby a check. At the election, they ousted the existing leadership and elected their own slate of officers.
This hostile take-over was appealed and upheld by the State Board. This resulted in the existing members leaving en mass and forming the Republicans of River City. Joining with others booted out of CRA by other evangelical takeovers elsewhere in California, the California Congress of Republicans was formed in 1989.
Once Evangelicals took over CRA, they began consolidating power and setting their sights on taking over as many county central committees as possible. Controlling central committees was a vital step in taking over the California Republican Party. Once Alby & company controlled the CRP, they exited CRA and set it adrift. Alby went from nothing to control of the CRP and her own seat in the California Assembly in a decade. Her first slate of CRA approved candidates for CRP officers was elected in 1991.
Due to the way that Alby & company operated, they insured that anyone perceived to be a threat to their power was eliminated from the organizations that they controlled. Their tactics could be characterized as “scorched earth” power politics. Alby used evangelical terms and beliefs to portray her struggle as good versus evil. Most of her followers believed they were claiming these political institutions for God and his Kingdom. Those that were driven from CRA and later CRP were evil and needed to accept the Alby agenda or leave. The result of such thinking is not spreading the Gospel or displaying God’s Love but simply a justification for an “ends justifies the means” type of power politics.
Lest you think I exaggerate this claim, let me share a summary of a telephone conversation that I had with Greg Hardcastle. Hardcastle was Alby’s right-hand man and was not only President of her CRA chapter but later served as Statewide President of CRA from 1993-95. Some context is necessary before I can get to the substance of his phone call.
If you recall earlier, I had mentioned that Sacramento County had five CRA chapters when Alby first got involved with CRA in the late 1980’s. By the time of my involvement with CRA in 1989, Barbara’s chapter—Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly—had a membership approaching 700 members. American River and Capital stopped meeting by the early 1990’s. During the same period, River City and Cosumnes, surrenders their CRA charters. Alby’s chapter was the only active Republican Assembly in Sacramento County and the largest in the State.
In 1991, Alby took the dormant charters for American River & Capital Republican Assemblies and funneled people from her club and Operation Rescue into these paper clubs. These clubs were allies of Barbara and intended to give her superior numbers of delegates at conventions. John Stoos was President of the Capital RA. Jim Uli was President of American River. Jim’s wife was Treasurer. I was Secretary and Donna Worley was Vice-President. American River began meeting and had a regular attendance that was about 50 people a meeting. The attendance was close to the numbers that Alby was drawing but American River had one tenth the membership.
Later that year, a vacancy occurred in the 5th Assembly District when Tim Leslie moved from the Assembly to the Senate. This district was in the Roseville Area and included portions of Sacramento County. A young man named Mark Baughman entered the race. Baughman had been working for John Doolittle. He was able to receive the endorsement of every sitting Republican in the State Legislature. Alby had been rumored to be interested in running but when asked by Legislative members, she had denied any interest. A week before the end of the filing period, Alby finally jumped into the race. Governor Pete Wilson then recruited B.T. Collins to counter Alby. Collins filed the necessary paperwork after the deadline and had to get a favorable judge to let him on the ballot. CRA and Wilson hated each other and Wilson had his chance for some payback to Alby.
So the set-up was this, a special election in a Republican district with two Conservatives and one moderate (Liberal) on the ballot. As a newcomer, Alby needed the CRA endorsement to breakout beyond the evangelical community and make herself legitimate in the eyes of rank and file Republicans.
Candidate endorsement in CRA is via a special endorsing convention. In this case each club in the district was allowed two delegates. Candidates need a 2/3 vote to be endorsed. In her mind, Alby thought this was a slam-dunk; at least until they did a headcount. As it turned out, Baughman had support in Placer County and Alby in Sacramento. The swing chapter was American River. Two officers in American River wanted Baughman and the other two were solidly for Alby. The two of us that supported Baughman, favored a split decision with one vote for each which would result in no endorsement. The Alby forces would not stand for this.
Mark had declared early and had asked for my support. David Knowles was an Assemblyman that I knew and respected. He supported Mark because he was a good family man, a conservative and unlike Barbara he could get along with others that believed differently than he did. I agreed with David’s opinion.
A few days before this endorsing convention, Greg Hardcastle called me. The conversation lasted 45 minutes. He started off asking me why I was supporting Mark and not Barbara. Hardcastle then brought-up the fact that Baughman was LDS (a Mormon) and then he went on to tell me that it was God’s will that Barbara win this election. Baughman was not a Christian and thus did not deserve my support. Furthermore, he told me that if I did not support Barbara that upon his authority as an ordained minister in the Assembly of God denomination that I could not consider myself a Christian. I was deceived and my soul was in peril. I needed to reflect upon my life and relationship with God and get right with Him. Barbara was God’s candidate. Who was I to disobey God? Once it was established that I would not change my endorsement and was thus in danger of Hell, the call ended.
I have never been as verbally abused by anyone as I was during that phone call. I held my ground but was miserable for the experience. Not even Barbara herself could name one issue that she could foresee where she and Baughman would vote differently. Mark simply went to the wrong church.
The day of the endorsing convention, all four officers of American River met at the endorsing convention. Jim Uli had been persuaded by Barbara’s forces to make his wife the other delegate to the endorsing convention. You need to understand that when Jim was made President of American River by Barbara that he knew nothing about politics. He lived in Sacramento and didn’t even know the Mayor’s name let alone anything about the Assembly or Senate. Donna was the brains and backbone of the club and was responsible for the growth of the club. Jim was nothing more than the master of ceremonies at our meetings. For Jim to assert that he had the right to make this decision unilaterally was nothing short of mutiny. If anyone deserved to be a delegate it was Donna.
Wayne Johnson and John Stoos were overseeing the endorsing convention. Both were elders in the same church and were very politically connected. They were very big Alby supporters. Donna and I appealed to them in an effort to get Jim to change his mind. Stoos and Johnson said it was the President’s choice and we had no right to interfere. We had no one to appeal to.
Hardcastle, Johnson and Stoos had played political hardball with our little CRA chapter and then forgot we ever existed. Donna and I left the meeting and Barbara had her endorsement; Baughman subsequently dropped-out of the race. Alby lost the race against Collins but was eventually elected to the seat after Collins died in office two years later. Shortly after this event, American River RA ceased to exist and its territory was taken over by Sac-Sierra. I left CRA for several years before getting involved in the Yolo County Chapter. (The demise of Yolo County RA is documented elsewhere on this blog site.)
My point in telling this story is that Alby brought an “ends justify the means” philosophy to CRA. Power politics, paper clubs, elimination of potential rivals, manipulation of Bylaws, and litmus tests for purity have been the hallmarks of CRA since Alby joined in the late 1980’s. The disciples that she brought with her have emulated her example.
CRA has a history of vastly overstating their numbers. In its heyday CRA claimed to have over 100,000 members. Jon Fleischman was CRA president from 1995-97. Recently on his website Flash Report, he claimed during his term as President that CRA membership was 20,000. This is history revisionism and utter nonsense. I have friends that served on the CRA Publications Committee during this time and their numbers were that CRA had a paid membership of 4K with a newsletter circulation of 5K.
As best as I can determine, when Alby got involved the membership was likely around 7,000. When she had consolidated her control of CRP and kicked CRA to the curb in the mid 1990’s, paid membership in CRA was 3,500 to 4,000. Currently, statewide membership is less than 2,000 dues paying members.
Barbara Alby’s club, Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly, went from a peak of 700 members in the early 1990’s to less than 15 a decade later.
Lest you think that is a fluke, look at the CRP (California Republican Party). When Alby first got control of the CRP, the Party controlled the Assembly, had a sizable representation in the Senate and Republicans held several statewide offices. Virtually every chairman of the Party since 2000 has been the endorsed CRA candidate. (Prior to this time CRP had a tradition that the Vice-Chair would succeed the Chair & many of these VP contests were difficult fights for CRA forces.) Since Alby left the Assembly and Republican Politics in 1998, the CRP has imploded. By the time of her death in 2012, Democrats controlled every statewide constitutional office, the governorship and has super majorities in the Assembly and Senate.
Every political organization that Alby ran diminished soon after she released her grip on it. Women’s Lobby is defunct, CRA is irrelevant and CRP has faded away to insignificance. Because of the paradigm of good versus evil, Alby could not build coalitions and agree to disagree with occasional allies. Alby’s legacy is to dismantle not build.
Because she bayoneted the “farm team,” no leaders were mentored to grow the organizations that she was involved in. Power and control were the levers to advance her causes. Her “scorched earth” policies created dysfunctional institutions and tended to attract equally dysfunctional people in leadership. If Alby had trained leaders to manage the institutions with which she was involved and grow them in a healthy way, she would have been celebrated as the Republican Margaret Thatcher. Instead, we as Evangelical Christians are worse off than before we hitched our political wagons to Alby and her fellow travelers.
This brings us to the current situation in CRA. Celeste Greig, Steve Frank, Bill Cardoza and a few others are the last relics of the Alby revolution. This generation must pass away before CRA will have a chance to heal and regroup. My concern is that Steve Frank would rather go out in a blaze of glory yelling “Allah Akbar” than hand what is left over to a new generation of leaders.
Gary North has been vindicated and I feel poorer knowing that he was right.
“American Christians … are not ready to lead”—Tactics of Christian Resistance 1983
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Steve Frank, the only advocate for the re-election of Celeste Greig as CRA President, has noticeable shifted his tactics in the last few days. While he has never attempted to rebut any evidence or allegations against Greig, he has—up until recently—tried to discredit the message by smearing the messenger; George Park. Park has crushed Frank & Greig with a tsunami of evidence that both have failed to act in a professional manner and in accord with established CRA rules and procedures. What I have published on this blog is only a portion of the available evidence.
Now each time Frank’s candidate is hit with another email from Park, his reaction is to release a copy of his resume. This is damage control for Frank but does nothing for Greig but let her twist slowly in the wind. Frank is distancing himself from Greig and trying to rehabilitate his own reputation. He is like a political consultant that has successfully drained the client of their bank account two weeks before the election and then left them to fend for themselves; while he goes off to a help himself to someone else’s campaign loot.
This is not just a metaphor for Greig’s campaign for President; this is what consults regularly do ever two years to their clients. Now you know why our guys usually loose. Every two years, our party hires the same consultants and gets the same results, only the candidate names change, the rest of the apparatus remains the same.
Frank is currently in strategic withdrawal and trying to position himself to keep his reputation in tact so he can live to fight another day. Whether Celeste realizes that she is under the bus yet is a debatable point. I think behind the scenes Frank will try to narrow the margin of defeat for Greig via his games in the Credentials Committee but there are very few uncommitted players left on the board.
My other reason that I think Frank is done with a vigorous defense of his client is that he has outed two key moles—folks funneling information to him. Here is the account from Aaron Park:
I have not seen a campaign as bizarre as this one has been.
Recently, Steve Frank exposed Bill Cardoza as the source of some of his information when he responded to en email from Placer CRA President Ed Rowen by forwarding an email Rowen sent to Mr. Cardoza complaining about the prospect of Steve having access to Placer’s roster. The only way he could have received a copy of that email would have been from Mr. Cardoza.
Last night - I received a forward of an internal Briscoe campaign email from Steve Frank that was forwarded to him by CRA Board Member Steve Macias. Mr. Macias admitted that to me in a phone call then emailed me to say that he was not going to pull his endorsement of Celeste, thereby confirming that his forwarding of the email was a deliberate act.
Why Mr. Frank exposed the leak in our (Team Briscoe) campaign team is beyond me.
Both Cardoza and Macias have been sources of valuable information to Frank so why did he burn them? Cardoza was likely leaking data and had been accused of such but Macias was operating below anyone’s radar and funneling inside info from Celeste’s opponent. Whether coincidence or not, Macias has ties with John Stoos but I am not aware that Stoos has any current interest or involvement in CRA.
Steve Frank’s conduct in this whole mess is a mystery. Maybe for him all politics really is local and friendships transcend principle and common sense. Or maybe he has an economic interest in the outcome. However this election turns out, we are witnessing the last hurrah of people that Barbara Alby brought into CRA in the 1980s and 90s. I wish they would “go quietly into that good night” but they want one last bite at the apple. Perhaps Celeste’s motives to run for President are not too different than Jerry Brown wanting another turn at being Governor. I can hear Carroll O’Conner singing, “Those were the days.”
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Coffee, Tea and a Vote for Me
CRA Membership Secretary George Park has fired what could be his most devastating shot at Celeste Greig thus far. Here is the bulk of the email.
Contrast this with Chatsworth Northridge Republican Assembly (CNRA), a proported franchise of Congressman Buck McKeon’s just like the RAGSCV. This unit fits the classic definition of a “Paper Unit” or “Zombie”, as it seems to come to life at the most special time of year. (Hint, anytime that requires delegates) Twice in the last 13 months, it has been “reorganized”.
This is also CRA President Celeste Greig’s home unit.
CNRA was born in President Celeste Greig’s living room in 1991, with the help of Steve Frank (View the original minutes here).
The most recent “reorganization” appears to have occurred on March 18th in CRA President Celeste Greig’s living room. She notified me 9 days after the fact on March 27th, the same night she headlined the Buck McKeon RA (RAGSCV) fundraiser (View the invitation here) with guest Democrat Ed Headington (who ran against SCVRA member and current Assemblyman Scott Wilk).
Her email reads, “Last Week as the highest CRA member in Los Angeles County and statewide President, moreover as the founder of the Chatsworth-Northridge R.A. it has been painful for me that for the last few years there has not been any activity with the Unit, there for I called and attended a re-organization night meeting, on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Chatsworth, CA.” ( View President Greig’s email here)
By her own words, she acknowledges that the unit has been dead for a few years.
CRA President Celeste Greig also indicated that the reorganizational meeting did not result in a board of directors being elected. In addition, she indicates that two of the eleven alleged members were going to join sometime after Easter. Furthermore President Greig did not report whoever these members were to the CRA Membership Secretary. Where are the membership applications? Why is there no roster?
So why did the President of the CRA call a reorganizational meeting without notifying a single other CRA officer except Steve Frank and why were there no officers elected at this alleged meeting!? How can one hold a “reorganizational meeting” without electing a board? Exaclty what was “reorganized”? Another question that needs to be asked is this: Why does Congressman Buck McKeon view the CNRA as just another one of his “CRA franchises”?
There is a key issue that will play heavily in part two of the Greig-Frank Living room Dilemma – the By-Laws of the CNRA have a residency requirement. (They are linked here)
Re-read Celeste’s email, you will see that she does not know the by-laws of her own home unit as she has accepted the transfer of Steve and Leslie Frank on behalf of the non-existent officers of the CNRA. (See Link) (Click here to read Steve Frank’s transfer request.)
This email and linked attachments illustrates that Greig is indeed treating the CRA as her little Cub Scout Den. Just like the Democrats that Steve Frank keeps claiming that we should be fighting, Greig finds the rules she has sworn to uphold as impediments to doing what she wants. No wonder the CRA is such a mess; we want to hold the Democrats to a standard that we are not willing to uphold ourselves. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Look at this extended portion of Greig’s email which Park quoted above.
Last week, as the highest CRA member in Los Angeles County and statewide President, moreover as the founder of the Chatsworth-Northridge R.A.
It has been painful for me that for the last few years there has not been any activity with the Unit, there for I called and attended a re-organization night meeting, on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Chatsworth, CA.
I collected individual checks (which you accepted last year), all payable to CRA for the amount of $25.00 each.
My neighbors are also going to join and will be given me their $40.00 check when they get back from their Easter vacation, so I know that you’ll join on my excitement that the Unit once again is going to be alive, functional and ready to work hard to elect and re-elect Conservative Republicans in the area, moreover to increase voter registration.
However, at this time we do not have a Board yet, nor a checking account (there was none at least for the last few years that I know of), my goal right now is to get more members, we are planning to have another meeting early in May and then elect a board.
So at this time we have 11 members (including myself and Mr. & Mrs. Steve (Leslie) Frank who live about seven or eight miles from Chatsworth.
Walk thru this email and marvel.
Celeste is highest ranking CRA member in LA County but she can’t attend the reorganizational meeting in Ventura which is right in her backyard while us poor shmucks in Sacramento are on the road before 4 a.m. so we can attend! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Celeste’s home CRA unit had no activity for last few years, so why is the club still on the books? Perhaps she has taken the same leadership skills used on her own unit and applied them to the State organization; after all it worked so well for Tom Del Beccaro in the CRP. Perhaps this explains Park’s assertion elsewhere that CRA has lost 1,000 members since the 2011 Convention.
Notice that the reorganizational meeting is noticed to others on the CRA Board only after it has taken place; contrast that with Ventura RA where about 90 Board members received multiple advanced notices.
Celeste then talks about collecting dues. This is the first of two mentions in the email where she admits to collecting dues from individual members. According to her account, she took them directly to the bank and deposited them. The good news is that she did make copies of the checks. The bad news is that she never had anyone complete membership applications because later she states,
“…therefore today I’ll be going to the nearest Wells Fargo branch and make the deposit for $200.00, I have make copies of the checks, and I’ll be sending them to our CRA Treasurer Mr. John Fugat for accounting purposes and send you a separate list, as I’m waiting for more of their information such as phone numbers and email addresses that are not on the checks.”
As quoted above, Park asserts that he is still waiting for the Chatsworth roster.
Then as Park points out, Steve and Mrs. Frank have a problem. They can’t be members of Greig’s phantom CRA unit because the Bylaws on file with the Membership Secretary require that Frank must live in Chatsworth-Northridge in Ventura County. This requirement dates back to model bylaws issued in the heyday of WordPerfect and MS DOS; it requires that members must be registered to vote within the boundaries of the local Republican Assembly; not eight miles away.
The bottom line is Celeste failed to revive her old unit with the necessary number of people to have an active CRA chapter. Technically this leaves both Frank and Greig as homeless in terms of a local chapter. They are members at large.