Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Some R And R And The World Still Stinks

Last week I did not blog because the RVFTLC family took a little camping trip and it was an eye-opening experience in the most positive way.
At some point in the early morning on Tuesday, both Mrs. RVFTLC and my cell phones ran out of juice. Our lighter charger also ran out of juice as in went into a sort of coma. We really just got enough juice on each phone to get some photos. Not as many as we would have liked, but we got some on the cell phone camera.
Memo to self:
Take a regular camera on any trip as a back-up.
The best thing is that there was no Facebook. No looking at news websites. No clue as to the events in the outside world. The closest we came was the one night we went into Lake Arrowhead for dinner and there was sports on the televisions in the Mexican restaurant we ate at. Yet we were strategically placed where there was no television screens. I did get a newspaper for two of the four days, but not for news. After a glance of the sports section, I went to do the crossword puzzle and look at the comics.
We did everything to avoid the outside world for a few days.
The missus and I talked with each other and not just about current events. We spent quality time with our dogs, Barney and Cashew. We walked a lot and took short, easy hikes. And we realized how blessed we are in so many ways others are not.
Then Thursday afternoon, reality.
Coming back into the San Gabriel Valley was . . . a nice traffic jam for no apparent reason. Par for the course.
Now I realized in that moment that there is still the Islamic State. The economy still sucks. Obama is still president. Same-sex marriage is still the law of the land. And of course there is Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner.
In other words, the world went on and in so many ways IT stinks.
But that does not mean one's life has to stink. I believe that it really is what we make of it. And sometimes, we have to take a step back and yes, escape the world to remind ourselves of that.
We can all make some kind of difference in this God-given life. But sometimes, we need a break from real life to remember that. And camping is one way to do that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Time To Remove The Stars And Bars From Government Buildings

Yesterday, the South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, a Republican, officially called for the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia, also known as the Stars and Bars to be removed from the capitol grounds in Columbia. 
And only someone of Gov. Haley's stature could call for such a move. And it more than likely be passed by the 2/3rds votes necessary in the legislature. But not without strong opposition from hangers-on to the tradition that had been in place since 1961.
And throw in GOP senator Tim Scott as another reason the move will probably be easier to do than at any other time heretofore.
As an aside, Sen. Scott and Sen. Goober Graham ran for election last year. Sen. Goober won his race with 55% of the vote and 665,605 votes. Sen Scott, who is black, won with 61% of the vote and 749,266 votes. Sen. Scott had about 83,700 more votes than the senior senator, Sen. Goober. And it should be noted that Gov. Haley is Indian-American.
In other words, in a very Southern state that has elected a black and Indian-American could the move be made to move the Stars and Bars to a state museum and off of the capitol grounds with little opposition.
It helps to have had a serious event to make this move.
The tragic massacre at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church last Wednesday stirred a great deal of emotion. And the left, as it is won't to do, did  not let a crisis go to waste. Collectively through the usual suspects, they used the occasion to call for the removal of the Stars and Bars from a Confederate war memorial on the capitol grounds.

Until 2000, the above flag was with the other flags atop the capitol flag pole. In a compromise, the Stars and Bars were moved to aforementioned war memorial but still on the capitol grounds.
Why was it put there in the first place?
It was put there in 1961 during the governorship of Democrat Ernest "Fritz" Hollings and it was done to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. But over time, like throughout much of the South during the 1960s and beyond, the Stars and Bars were seen as a sign of resistance against an intrusive federal government and supreme court. Rightly or wrongly, it has been seen by some as a flag of oppression and a defense of slavery. On the other side it has been seen as an honor to those who fought bravely, albeit for a lost cause.
And in reality, both sides can be and are right.
Mrs. RVFTLC, the late Scout the Wonder Dog and I visited the state capitol in Columbia on our epic 2009 Tour of the South. Seeing the Stars and Bars did evoke both of the above emotions. The compromise that moved the flag from the actual capitol flag pole to the Confederate war memorial seemed appropriate at the time.
But we are in a changing nation.
And one thing is that this state, South Carolina, where the War Between The States began, has changed dramatically.
Because they freely elected Gov. Haley and Sen. Scott, they can lead the effort to remove the flag from the capitol grounds and see it put in a place of honor and or history in the state museum.
If a white politician tried this as short a time as 15 years ago, that would end their political career in South Carolina.
Even today there are people that will say that Gov. Haley and Sen. Scott bowed to pressure but has anyone given one moment to think that the time was right? That maybe it is not proper for government to be flying a symbol that emotes a helluva lot of emotion. But that support I believe has waned as South Carolina has seen a lot of people move in from other parts of the United States. The South as a whole has seen more people from out of the region move there for many reasons. Many  of these people have no skin in the game about the whole Stars and Bars.
We cannot and should not try to wipe this part of American  history clean because we cannot. After all, we fought a civil war over, among other things, economics and slavery and the holding of the United States together. Remember, the Union won the war. Some people seem to forget this. They can fly a flag all they want but it is still the UNITED STATES of America. There is no Confederate States of America. We have to have a real teaching of history and that includes all the flags used by the rebel states. Without approval or disapproval.
But the time, the time is right to take such banners as the Stars and Bars and not flying over government buildings. Gov. Haley is the perfect South Carolinian to make this call.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thoughts On The Charleston Church Massacre

There is so much to write about the events of this past Wednesday night in the massacre at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina. 
It could and still may take multiple posts.
But let me start with arraignment of the suspect, Dylann Roof.
And let me say I am not a good Christian for I know that if something like this happened to my wife, son or other loved one, I could not express the forgiveness that so many did in court yesterday in North Charleston. But they did through their obvious pain. I would be angry, hurt and seeking justice. I do think that while they do sincerely seek to forgive, they did express the want of justice.
Which leads to Gov. Nikki Haley and her response to the massacre.
On the morning after, a visibly shaken and nearly crying governor seemed unable to speak. But once she regained her composure she spoke for a wounded state and a nation asking the collective question.
Why?
And Gov. Haley again set more of the tone that I feel yesterday by saying she wants to see the prosecutor seek the death penalty against Mr. Roof.
Then there is the suspect himself, Dylann Roof.
This is one young man fueled by clear hate, nothing more, nothing less.
Way too may people are trying to seek to make excuses or suggest that this is not the Dylann they know. Too bad but this looks like a non-starter as a website that appears to be that of Mr. Roof is filled with all the stuff of a certifiable racist. 
Our Dear Leader, President Obama, of course wasted no time-a crisis is a terrible thing to waste-in renewing his call for stricter gun control laws. His statement on Thursday morning, unlike that of Gov. Haley, sounded like a petulant child rather than a leader that should have used the occasion to promote healing and a total rejection of the Dylann Roof's of the United States. Not unlike other racial controversies, the Dear Leader, President Obama, admitted he did not have all of the facts, but suggested the ease of Mr. roof having a gun as the real reason so many were killed. I guess if Mr. Roof had simply driven a rent-a-truck full of explosives into the church, at least it would not have been a gun used, right?!
The most absurd outgrowth of this is the "Confederate" flag and the fact that it does fly near the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina.
Now there is a massive call to remove the stars and bars one again. And everyone who seems to have commented seems to not grasp what the stars and bars are.
The origin of the flag, which I will not show, is the Army of Northern Virginia. And let's face it, the South were the antagonists and would have multiple battle flags. We, the victorious North would simply fly Old Glory at battle.
In fact, below is the actual flag of the government when the South broke away from the United States.

The stars are for the first seven states to join in open rebellion.
But as the war dragged on and the South was losing big time, the government flag became more rebellious.

In this flag in the upper left field is the dreaded stars and bars. This was the last flag of government as the North swept to victory.
There is no question that the battle flag of Northern Virginia is and always will be a flag of controversy. But let the people of South Carolina deal with it through their elected officials.
Sometimes I think way too many forgot who won the Civil War. It was us, the United States. There are too many who want to relitigate that time in our history when we have, thankfully, moved way past that dreaded time in our history.
To me, I will not forget the true Christian ladies that spoke forgiveness for a coward. They make me need to speak to Almighty God a lot more than I do now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why Hillary Will NOT Be President

I know, I know that the granny in the pants suit, Hillary Clinton, surprised me and is running for president of the United States even though I predicted that she would not.
One surprise does not mean that it's all over and we should just accept the premise that because of institutional biases, Mrs. Clinton will be elected president of the United States.
In fact, this is beginning to remind me of 2008 when Mrs. Clinton, with all the same biases for her, still failed to become the Democrat nominee for president. She lost to a virtual unknown senator from Illinois named Barack Obama.
Right now there are two announced candidates besides Mrs. Clinton seeking the Democrat nomination for president.
They are the former governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley and open socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-Vt.).
The leftywhore media is dismissing these two as nothing but gnats in the March of Hillary to the Democrat nod.
Again, I will remind you of 2008.
Yet why is the open socialist, Sen. Sanders, at this point only within 10 points of Mrs. Clinton in this poll? In New Hampshire? And while she has a comfortable lead with women, men support Sen. Sanders. And what about this poll showing Mrs. Clinton with a 12 point lead over Sen. Sanders also in New Hampshire? Even if one takes into account a rather high margin of error, at best for Mrs. Clinton she could be ahead of Sen. Sanders by 18%. At worst she could only be six points ahead of Sen. Sanders. And while this poll shows Mrs. Clinton far ahead in Iowa and South Carolina, these are states that favor organization (Iowa) and establishment (South Carolina). Average the two polls out and Mrs. Clinton is only ahead of Sen. Sanders in New Hampshire by 11 points. Less than a year before the first in the nation primary casts it's vote.
I wrote seemingly long ago that the Democrat party has turned far left. They nominated the Dear Leader, President Obama, twice. And Mrs. Clinton has been playing catch up ever since. The reality is that Sen. Sanders reflects probably of majority of self-identified Democrats than Mrs. Clinton. And somewhere in between is the former governor, Mr. O'Malley, who will gain traction. I believe that it will be a serious 3 person race for the Democrat nomination.
In the end, for all the advantages of money, Democrat establishment support and seemingly favorable terrain, Mrs. Clinton may not be able to overcome the left turn of her party.
And that is the reason I do not believe in the end Mrs. Clinton will not be the nominee of the Democrat party. The party has moved decisively to the left and Mrs. Clinton is walking a tight rope that she will more than likely fall from. The only thing is whether it will be to Mr. O'Malley or Sen. Sanders.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Episcopal Diocese Of Los Angeles Betrayal

To anyone who has followed this blog I have written a lot about the intramural wars within The Episcopal Church at the national and at the diocesan level.
A quick summary of events is that for the last 40 plus years, TEC has become much more modernist. By that it takes a total non-literal view of the Holy Bible. It has emphasized social justice as the way to heaven. Even some in authority as bishops have rejected the basics of Christianity. In that time, many parishes have chosen to leave TEC. A large wave occurred in the late 1970s with the ordination of women to the priesthood (and eventually women bishops) and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The largest wave came in 2003 with the ordination as bishop of New Hampshire one Vicki Gene Robinson. An open homosexual in a relationship with another man. Admittedly that opened the floodgates. The buildup of other issues somewhat paled to this issue. It led to the founding of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009. Out of that is a combination of churches and parishes that left TEC in the interim. Now nearly 1,000 parishes and missions strong and over 112,000 members, it is the greatest exodus of Episcopalians yet.
But churches and dioceses could not leave for greener pastures with the buildings and properties according to the then new TEC presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts-Schorri. Nope, she made it church-wide policy to litigate all dissenters into either giving up or losing their cases. TEC has won many but has lost some including the diocese of South Carolina.
My local bishop, J. Jon Bruno, followed the national church and scorched-earth the four churches that left and wanted the property. Those churches were All Saints in Long Beach, St. David's in North Hollywood, St. James in Newport Beach and St. Luke's In The Mountains in La Crescenta.
I want to write that I personally like Bishop Bruno. Spoke with him many times. But on this, we could not be further apart.
So when you are trying to seize property, it takes high-powered and knowledgeable lawyers. And they do not do such things pro bono. No, they cost money. A lot of money.
No one has the exact amount but the agreed to estimate is roughly $7,000,000.
When I asked Bishop Bruno why another way to resolve the situation could not be done, I was told that it was a responsibility to those that found the church(es) to keep it (them) in the Episcopal fold. That is what they would have wanted I was told. There was also a fiduciary concern.
Now, did the diocese of Los Angeles have an endless amount of money to litigate? As it turned out, no they did not.
While the California supreme court eventually ruled in favor of the Los Angeles diocese, it did so over the course of nine years and the aforementioned roughly $7,000,000.
So all the property is back but what to do about recouping that money?
Why sell off the most expensive one, St. James Newport Beach, to the tune of up to $15,000,000. Below is what the church looks like.
Understand that one of the reasons we were told it was right and necessary to fight to get the church properties back. That they were rightfully Episcopal churches, nothing else no matter what.
It was part of the TEC to turn around and sell?
This is a betrayal of what was meant to try to get these properties back. In every case across the United States, it is the same. These churches can leave but not with the property because they are part of the local diocese. They are not really separate entities.
Except to sell to recoup money spent getting them back.
And if everyone is happy, why is there a website by members of the current congregation to save St. James? 
They should have known that this would happen.
It is happening everywhere that there is litigation for the lawyers do have to be paid, right? To show that might makes right.
The current PB, Mrs. Jefferts-Schorri, is on her way out at this upcoming general convention to be held later this month in Salt Lake City, Utah. A new PB will be elected. My fervent hope and prayer is that the new PB stops this insanity and leaves it up to local bishops to work out rather than from on high.
In other words, stop the betrayals. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave When We Try To Choose Our Race

As Allahpundit would say, the story of one Rachel Dolezal is the stuff of comedy gold as this woman was born white and now thinks that she is so black, she heads up a local chapter of the NAACP.
The Miss Dolezal Story unraveled when a reporter for the local Spokane, Washington CBS television station, where she is the head of the local NAACP chapter, showed her a photo of her real parents and, well the dreckstorm took off from there.
Above is Rachel Dolezal, being interviewed by a local reporter. It is worth watching the short video for it appears that her whole world, such and pathetic as it is, is crashing down.
Here is the real Rachel Dolezal, looking pretty darn white to me.

And to buttress the case that Miss Dolezal is in fact and indeed white, here is a photo of her rather white parents.
They don't look to black either. In fact, according to the real dad (more on that later), their racial makeup is Czech, German, Swedish and maybe a trace of American Indian.
Again, no where does black, as in African, enter the picture, so to speak.
But hey, give it to Miss Dolezal. She made sure to cover the bases just in case. The photo below shows her with her very black "dad" that she went so far as to say was going to a local event in Spokane this past January.
The bottom line is that Miss Dolezal was born white but decided  at some point over a course of time that she so identified with black culture and the black community, she became black.
Miss Dolezal has so identified herself as black that she has shunned her very white, European-ancestry parents. They are rightfully saddened by her rejection.
Some further background is that Miss Dolezal is an adjunct professor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington university. As noted, she is the president of the Spokane NAACP. She has claimed as many as eight "hate" crimes directed against her and yet no suspect has ever been found.
I get that one who is driven by such a social justice warrior streak would want to be identified  with the cause. But why would she go to such lengths as to claim to be black? When you look at the two photos above there is no question that she is white as the Swedish snow and that she has spent some time in a tanning booth to maintain her darker skin tone and pass herself as black.
But another aspect is a bit of Stockholm Syndrome. Now Miss Dozael was not kidnapped and then identified with her kidnappers. But it is part of her psychosis in so far as identifying with the people she feels has been oppressed.
More than likely it is a case of the only way she could be taken seriously is for her to become black in every way including appearance. Although the NAACP welcomes white members, there is probably no way she could have worked her way up the ladder if she was white. But being black, then she would be taken seriously. She is totally down with the "struggle".
Although no one wants to say it, I will.
There are clearly some mental issues at play here.
I do not doubt Miss Dozael's sincerity in identifying with the struggle that many black Americans feel. But to want to pass one's self off in such the way she has done is what I do not get. When confronted about it, she ran away.
Now not too long ago in American history, there were many blacks that had such light skin they passed themselves off as white. It was out of necessity then, not something of wanting to be exotic. And in today's United States, despite some visible setbacks, on the whole black Americans are better off than they were in the era when they had to pass for white just to survive. In fact Miss Dozael is a success story in passing for black. She is a professor at a university and leader of a civil rights organization.
At some point, Miss Dozael will have the Oprah-like coming clean interview. That should be interesting. And it clearly is a tangled web to decide to choose one's race.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lance Armstrong Is A Whinny Douchebrain

Blogger's note:

I usually do not write open profanity here but Lance Armstrong brings out the worst in me. So if you do not want to read for my minimal profanity, I understand but will stand by what I write.