Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hey DirecTV, DON'T Toy With My Weather Emotions!

I have to make this confession.
I am Mark and I am a weather geek.
Most of those that know me personally, they are not shocked. But readers, maybe you are.
So last week in the Los Angeles Fishwrap, I read this interesting article about DirecTV and negotiating with The Weather Channel over rates, what else, and the future of the network being on DirecTV.
Just before Christmas, a channel that I never heard of popped up on the channel right before The Weather Channel.
WeatherNation came on with absolutely not one bit of fanfare.
In the DirectTV channelshpere, Fox News Channel is 360, channel 361 had some infomercial channel and then 362 is The Weather Channel.
The infomercial channel stopped about two weeks before Christmas. Just disappeared. Then over the weekend before Christmas, channel 361 came back as WeatherNation. So of course being the weather geek that I proudly am, I started watching it. And lo and behold there was something on that matched the name of the channel.
One of my complaints about The Weather Channel is twofold.
One, they freely advocate the concept of Globaloney Warming, now Climate Change, as fact. Sorry, it is not.
But secondly and very important is that they have moved away from weather and now have shows. Most fall into the "reality" category. And while most do deal with weather related topics, I'm sorry but I don't get what Prospectors has to do with weather.
The fact is that while I am a native of So Cal and our general idea of weather is if it will be 80 degrees on Christmas Day, which it was, there are times when we do really get some bad rainstorms. And in our local mountains, some near blizzard snow storms.
I have had this weather fascination since I was a kid. Had a weather station. A rain gauge, all that good stuff. Even now I have a handy-dandy outdoor thermometer and a rain gauge.
Now back to this current dilemma.
Well, from the article in the Fishwrap, WeatherNation was used by Dish TV in 2010 in a similar rate dispute. But then it was known as Weather Cast and lasted a whole four days as it was nothing but a ploy. Weather Cast went off the air and the Weather Channel came back. While rates were a huge issue, back then The Weather Channel was beginning to show movies that irritated many viewers (count me in that category!). One of the things to go was the movies. But more insipid shows came on the air.
So the question is this.
Is DirecTV going to get The Weather Channel to go along with what it wants? If so, does WeatherNation go bye-bye?
Probably not and here is why.
Firstly, DirecTV is not taking The Weather Channel off the air and replacing it with WeatherNation. It has added it to the lineup. Secondly, WeatherNation replaced an infomercial channel. Very, very few people watch most of them. Third, what is wrong with having multiple weather channels? There are multiple sports networks. ESPN and Fox Sports come to mind. Three news networks. That would be CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Not one but two food channels. The Cooking Channel and the Food Network. Lastly, since there are currently the two channels on the DirectTV airwaves, let the marketplace decide if it comes down to having to drop one of them.
At this point, the edge goes to WeatherNation. It is solely in the weather reporting business. There are no shows. No filler. Just the facts.
The real test will come if there is a huge weather related event.
No doubt because The Weather Channel is the more established of the two, people will watch them more than WeatherNation. But what if it becomes something like the next Fox News Channel? Coming out from nowhere and then overtaking the more established Weather Channel?
It can happen.
But my message to DirecTV is this.
Don't mess with us, the subscribers and viewers. Don't have this great new channel on the air, WeatherNation, just to goad The Weather Channel to meet your demands and then dump it like a hot piece of lead. We only pay 13c a month to have The Weather Channel. I'd be willing to pay another 13c a month to have a competitor, WeatherNation, as well.
The super information highway is sometimes riddled with stories like this. But here is one DirecTV subscriber that is just asking one thing.
Don't toy with my weather emotions!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Say, You People That Waited Until The Last Minute To Order Christmas Gifts On Amazon And It Didn't Make It For Christmas, It's YOUR Fault

Oh yeah, I know that I am going to get in trouble in some precincts for speaking the truth but for you folks that thought to wait to the bitter end to order those Christmas gifts through and it didn't make it in time for Christmas Day, it is YOUR fault, not the companies involved.
Yes there are exceptions, but by and large, many people waited for the prices on items to be slashed so that they could take advantage and that happened over the weekend before Christmas. And consider that Christmas Day was mid-week this year on Wednesday.
Oh and of course the leftywhore media went to great lengths to find people mad as hell about it as evidenced here on this CNN report.
Why they even went to find a family in which one of the children did not receive some very important medicine that the child has to take in order to eat.
Patrick Warren told a local Texas CNN affiliate that the medication was sitting at a UPS facility in Mesquite, Texas, near their hometown of Heath. Eventually Mr. Warren went to pick up the medicine at the facility.
I do sympathize with a situation such as that. However, the 14-year-old did not have to go without the needed medicine. The article does not say whether the child did not take the needed medicine or not. But if it came down to needing the medicine, all that had to be done was to find the nearest drug store, explain the situation, have them contact the doctor and he would have had the needed medicine.
Although there seems to be a great convenience in getting medicine through mail order, problems like this do occur. Which is a reason that we do not get medicine through mail order. We go to the local Rite-Aid. No, this is not a plug for Rite-Aid.
And yes, some people did get screwed but should realize that during the Christmas season, it is very possible that you can order on say December 9 as Melissa Gilbreath did and find out that they were in a Fort Worth, Texas facility on December 18. Of course since CNN did intrepid reporting, we do not know where Mrs. Gilbreath lives for they just picked her comment off of the UPS Facebook page. So it could have been nearby and Mrs. Gilbreath could have simply picked it up. But no, she found time to complain on the company Facebook page.
For whatever reason, FedEx was not taken by the problem as badly as UPS was. But still they could not get every package for Christmas to many people across the United States.
And in this more balanced story from of all places, NBC news, some took their wrath out on FedEx as written by Jay Erikson:

"If you can't keep a promise, then don't make it. Thanks for nothing, FedEx."

OK whiners, answer this question.
Did you order in a timely manner, knowing that the Christmas shopping season was condensed this year due to a late Thanksgiving? Did you take into account the very real possibility of bad weather?
Well, bad weather did occur and an extremely high volume also contributed to a huge backlog of packages. And when there is bad weather, sorry but FedEx and UPS are not the top priorities at airports. Passenger flights are. And as of Christmas Eve, over 40% of the continental United States was under snow of some kind. That not only wreaks havoc of flights but ground transportation as well.
One of the problems is that both FedEx and UPS did not do deliveries on Christmas Day. However, some who had ordered through FedEx could possibly pick up packages on Christmas Day at FedEx Express locations. UPS did have some workers go in early to the main hub in Louisville, Kentucky, to sort through pacakages for delivery yesterday and today.
I suppose the very people railing about not getting the so imporatant gifts by Christmas Day would have wanted these workers, who probably worked many overtime hours, to deliver on Christmas Day. No, they also probably whinned about the poor WalMart, Target and other employees that had to work on Thanksgiving while they went on their computers on Sunday night before Christmas making their orders.
In the NBC article, there were some understanding customers that realized hey, Christmas lasts longer that way. That was the attitude of Heidi Grant from North Carolina and a mother of three. And while there were many taking to Twitter to whine about the horror of not getting the Christmas gift on Christmas Day, one person wrote the following:

"People using #upsfail need to get a life. Order early next year!! Thank you UPS workers!!"

If you are so cheap and thoughtless to wait until the last minute, you can not expect a perfect experience. Again, we are in the beginning of winter and weather is a factor. When a lot of people do the same thing, wait until the last minute, it does clog up a system. And it did for both FedEx and UPS.
And it is not the first time.
In 2004 an ice storm clogged the UPS Louisville hub and then workers manually sorted through packages and did deliver on Christmas Day.
And Amazon knows that this looked bad on them, although by and large it was not their fault. They are issuing $20 Amazon gift cards and refunding delivery fees. FedEx, as noted, did try to have people come to their express centers if they could to pick up packages. But UPS, there is not much they can do at this point.
The lesson here is this.
Always, I mean always, have in the back of your mind that if you are going to do online ordering that there is a possibility that, in this case Christmas, it may not get to it's destination on time. Alert the people that you are ordering for that there is that possibility. Even if that is your own children. If one does that, then they do not have to carry a false burden of failure. Especially if they did order in a timely manner. Just show a little more thought than driving to a 7-11, take money out of an ATM, throw it in a card and give it to your child or children. That is what happens ordering at the last minute.
Sorry other than maybe the child that needed the medicine, and that could easily be rectified, I don't have much sympathy for you folks that waited to the end to be cheapskates. You have to take some responsibility.
It is your fault!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Response To A Modernist Christian Diatribe

It is very easy in this Christmas season to lose it in many ways.
The MSM is great in starting up things. One is the rampant consumerism of Christmas that they will decry. The people that wish Christmas would just go away. The people that want to help usher that to happen. The War on Christmas. The inevitable push back.
But today I want to share this from my sister that she shared on her Facebook page.
To be very clear from the get go.
She is not a Christian believer. She has described herself as a spiritual person. I am not using what I am going to write to condemn her but hopefully enlighten her about Christianity.
I don't think that she gets it.
Christianity is far and wide and the are way over 30,000 different denominations, There are very traditionalist views on the faith, very modernist ones and yes, some in between.
As an Anglican Christian, I consider my views to be in the middle of both.
So I want to share this with you. Sorry, I can't upload the photo but I am typing word for word:


The group that has this going around on Facebook is called Kissing Fish: Christianity for people that don't like Christianity.
I have seen variations of this all over the internets over the years. But until now have never felt compared to take it on. 
There is a helluva lot of punctuation errors but that aside, it is more of a political manifesto than a real explanation of what Jesus Christ was all about. 
So let me start with the beginning of this.
If you believe that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, the Messiah, then you can make him little more than a political figure. 
The fact is that Jesus never came out and said "Yes I am the messiah". He spoke around it and used parables to make almost all of his points in almost all of his encounters. 
Here is the closest he came to outright saying that:

And the High Priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying "Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witnesses have against thee?"
But he (Jesus) held his peace and answered nothing. Again the High Priest asked him, and said unto him "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
And Jesus said "I am: and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power (God) and coming in the clouds of heaven" 

That is from Mark, 14, 60-62, KJV version.
It only was when he was on trial for his life that he was that direct and that is it. Even after the "I am", he spoke of himself as always in a third-person. 
So as a believer, I do believe that he is not just a garden-variety political revolutionary. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah.
So is it true about Jesus hanging around with the marginalized of the society of his day?
Yes it is. 
One of the reasons that he did that was because they were the most receptive to the overall message he offered.
Baptism for forgiveness of sin. Turning one's life in a new and different direction. Loving God with all one's might and one's neighbor as himself. And spreading the Good News of God in Christ with the Holy Ghost. 
No question that the Jewish religious authorities of the day were, what is the easiest way to put it? Oh yeah. Stuck in their ways and corrupted by the Roman occupiers. They were more interested in observance of the Law than repentance and love. 
Throughout the whole four Gospels, Jesus kept telling the authorities that they were narrow that they missed the point. They felt threatened by the message. And they sure did not like that the people could have a personal, meaningful relationship with God that Jesus was preaching. 
That is why some people then and now look at Jesus Christ politically rather than faithfully. Many of the Jews of the day rejected Jesus because he was not all about ridding the Holy Lands of the heathen, Roman occupiers. 
But the message was one of faith. The one that rejected some of the excesses and misunderstandings of the Jewish religious authorities if the day. 
Which leads to another point.
Of course Jesus Christ was not trying to start his own religion. That evolved when it was clear that the Jewish religious authorities rejected it. Most of the earliest adherents to Jesus' message still considered themselves Jewish. It was not until Paul came around and sought to bring non-Jews, Gentiles, into the faith that it evolved into the religion that we call Christianity today. 
The comment about America and English speaking is clearly a political point. 
Of course that is not the case with Jesus. Well, unless one is Mormon and has that understanding of Jesus coming to the Americas after the resurrection. And that is not to mock Mormons. Just making a point. The left uses Jesus Sermon on Mount in Matthew primarily to point that he spoke of the poor. However, they do conveniently leave out that Jesus also said that there are the poor in materialism and the poor in spirit and that both will always be with us. That is when the whole point of loving your neighbor as yourself comes in. Jesus did not say that the government should be doing it. That it was the individual responsibility of people to help the poor in material and spirit. There is the biblical passage in which when asked, Jesus says to render what is Caesar's unto Caesar. That was what we call now taxes. Nowhere does it say that Jesus advocated the government robbing from people to give to other people. At that time, money was raised for the government to raise armies and allow the monarch and the hangers on to live a life of luxury. And maybe decent enough roads for the same armies to march. 
Which leads to the part of the diatribe that states Jesus was anti-wealth.
No, it was not that Jesus was anti-wealth. He did not like that many of the wealthy were hording their wealth and many were foolishly spending it. Some did both. It is not very easy to box Jesus into against people making money and having material things. It is not very easy to use Jesus' righteous care for the materially and spiritually poor to suggest that he wanted to use the government to confiscate monies and give to those less fortunate. If one studies the Holy Bible and the Gospels, there is plenty for each side to suggest that Jesus is on the fence.
And I can't find any specific saying of Jesus that he was against the death penalty. After all, the Jewish authorities used to the Romans to carry that out against Jesus and he went to his great reward and his Father in heaven.
I suppose that the modern-day opponents of the death penalty will cite straight from the Ten Commandments and this commandment  in the King James Version:

Thou shalt not kill.

However, other translations of the Holy Bible use murder in place of kill. Here is the New Revised Standard Version:

You shall not murder.

And in the New International Version, most popular with Evangelical Christians, it is the same as the NRSV. Here is a version in the New Living Translation that I think adds a twist to it:

You must not murder.

The common thread in newer translations is that they use the word murder in place of kill in the KJV.
In the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, kill is defined as this:

KILL: to cause the death of ( a person, animal or plant ); to end the life of ( someone or something ).

And the definition of murder is as follows:

MURDER: the crime of deliberately killing of a person.

The case that I make for the death penalty is that when one murders another, it is not always premeditated and if it is it surely is deliberate. The state has an interest in not allowing a murderer to be a threat to the society as a whole.
I think as I understand the other side is that it is but an act of vengeance and against the teaching of loving God and your neighbor as yourself.
But God does not suggest that there is no consequence to deliberately killing, or murdering someone.
Here is the most difficult of the points made is that Jesus Christ is not anti-gay.
Well, no, Jesus did not explicitly say much one way or the other on homosexuality. What he did speak of was marriage. And specifically about the meaning of marriage and why the divorce laws were given by God to the Israelites. This is where one assumes the closest Jesus comes to speaking on the subject and suggesting that there is homosexuality and it is acceptable is Matthew 19:12 (KJV):

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men, and there be eunuchs which have made eunuchs for the Kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is not able to receive it, let him receive it. 

Maybe that is possible Jesus is referring to homosexuals and suggesting that there are some born that way, some made that way and those that choose to be eunuchs for the Kingdom.
But nowhere does Jesus suggest that its cool for homosexuals to marry. Again, read the whole of Matthew 19. Before the passage I cited, Jesus was very much defending the concept of marriage between one man and one woman. Let me throw Matthew 19: 4-6 (KJV) for you:

And he answered and he said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. 
And said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but of one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

It is direct and clear that Jesus is justifying marriage between one man and one woman and for life.
And clearly Jesus does not condone sex outside of marriage. Throughout the New Testament in Jesus own words and the letters from Paul, its kind of there.
That does not mean that we as Christians are not to love those that are gay and or lesbian. What is condemned by many is the sexual act. And I think that those advocating for gay and lesbian inclusion would simply suggest to ignore all that and act on love and love alone.
At some point there could be agreement, but not for the foreseeable future.
And it is true that Jesus never spoke of abortion or birth control but it is clear that Jesus believed in life. The life of the Kingdom for the born and the unborn. Again, we can cite many passages that could justify both sides. But it is clear that the two subjects were never said directly by Jesus.
No Jesus did not call the poor lazy. But he was not suggesting the government come to people and seize their worldly goods and give to the poor. In fact Jesus simply laid it out there for all to consider. Here is a good link to Jesus and the poor.
The point about tax cuts for the "rich" and or "wealthy" and the diatribe about a copay for health care are specious and deserve no response. By that is imposing a 21st century evolution over when the Holy Bible and the New Testament was written is pointless.
And on a point of agreement, yes Jesus Christ was more than likely very long-haired and dark-skinned. Of course he was not was is often projected in the many, many paintings, drawings, etc. That was more than likely to present an angelic image of Jesus to people that were rather uneducated when the disciples were spreading the faith.
And yes, Jesus was Jewish. In fact, Jesus was not trying to start a new religion. He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah's return. The fact that the Jewish authorities and eventually many of his followers eventually rejected his message was not relevant to those that still believed. For they went out spreading the message and fulfilling Jesus' Great Commission in Matthew 26: 19:

Go ye therefore and teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

It is not quite the same kind of community organizing that the author of the diatribe means. Yes it is about radical transformation. But not to overthrow the government of the day. It is a personal transformation. And with that a community of fellow people transformed and the formation of the church.
And lastly, Jesus did not slut-shame as the diatribe concludes. That is true. In Luke, there is a story of a prostitute, referred to as a sinner in some translations. She came with alabaster oil and anointed Jesus, eventually brought to tears and she washed his feet with her tears and put the oil on Jesus. The Pharisees were horrified. Jesus used again a parable to explain why she was doing the right thing. He told her that because of the hospitality she showed where the people where they were meeting showed none showed her faith in Jesus to be stronger. He did forgive her sins because of her faith. But he admonished her to go and sin no more.
It has to be assumed that the prostitute did not sin anymore for she is not mentioned any further.
The difference is that somehow we should accept that some women today do use just as poor judgement as men in today's world. When again, Jesus would suggest a change in one's life.
I realize that I did not address private prayer over public prayer.
Yes in Matthew 6: 6, Jesus does address praying in private. But what is not mentioned is that he is telling that so that people are not like hypocrites who pray in public more for show than the meaning of the prayer. That is addressed in Matthew, 6:5. Jesus prayed in public a lot. He prayed before the seven loaves and two fishes were fed to the 5,000. He spoke of the two men who prayed in the Temple and what one had the more meaningful prayer. Paul addressed this in 1 Thessalonians with these three words: Pray without ceasing.
That does not mean to pray in private only.
The point of this post is that I find when both sides try to narrow the whole of the New Testament to some kind of poster board of justifications for certain positions it cheapens the whole meaning of what it is all about.
It is about Jesus Christ coming into the world to save the world. The New Testament is not just some account of his life but a guide, a road map even, to a better life to people that are open and willing to believe. And yes, I know that not all people are willing to believe. That is OK. They may not be ready. They may never be ready in this world. I am one that prays for people to hear the message of the Gospel. All of it. Not just the parts we like or are comfortable with.
And one important thing I leave you with.
I believe that everyone should study the Holy Bible. That is the only way that you can take the whole message whether you are a believer or not and understand it in totality. It does not make me Mr. Bible Answer Man that I have done a lot of bible study. But I understand the message better each time I do so.
There are a lot of people who don't like "organized" religion. Christianity is the least organized religion there is my friends. It is why it requires a real knowledge, not the Cliff Notes. It requires a lot of study and sometimes the same thing over and over again.
Just be open to the whole message, not just what makes us feel good.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Duck Dynasty Kerfuffle

OK, I must confess that I think I have seen one whole episode of the wildly popular television show Duck Dynasty.
And to be honest, it is not my cup of tea. The whole reality show thing is so over saturated, IMHO. They are not  really that much on "reality" as making a show on the cheap. Very little writing, no star that wants hundreds of thousands of dollars an episode. It is the ultimate way for television companies to make big bucks on the cheap.
But what happens when reality does end up a result of a reality show?
Well, that is what happened to Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the clan that has parlayed a company called Duck Commander, which sells duck-hunting calls into a show on the Outdoor Channel and eventually on A & E television on standard cable.
Mr. Robertson is a very traditionalist person, especially in his religion. He is very open about it. He has preached at his home church, White's Ferry Road Church. Why Mr. Robertson even serves as an elder of his church's board. An elder is the equivalent to being a vestry member in an Anglican/Episcopal church.
A huge aspect of Mr. Robertson's traditionalism his how he feels about homosexuality. Again, I let him speak for himself direct from this interview with GQ magazine and writer, Drew Magery:

It seems like, to me, a vagina - as a man - would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: Theres more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's not logical.

OK, a little TMI for my taste. But he is describing the difference between a male heterosexual and a homosexual. One wants sex with women and one wants sex with men. But, he calls it sinful. In Mr. Robertson's mind, it is sinful behavior.
But since he was asked and answered this question, the writer, Mr Magery, proceeds to ask Mr. Robertson about sin and what is sinful behavior. Again, direct from Mr. Robertson:

"Everything is blurred on what's right and wrong," he says. "Sin becomes fine."
Start with homosexual behavior and morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those women and those men, he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won't inherit the Kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

To be clear, Mr. Robertson is talking about the sexual act of homosexuality in general. However, he adds a little bit more than what is written. You can read the passage from I Corinthians right here. This is what one comes to believe in when in a evangelical, fundamentalist church.
And also, Mr. Robertson does have a very personal experience being that drunkard he spoke above. He was a bad, horrible man. He was a hell raiser. And confronted by his wife, Kay, he broke down, gave it to the Lord and became a Christian.
Now Mr. Robertson was also asked about something else that I really thought would be more controversial than this. But give it time. He was asked about growing up the pre-civil rights Louisiana and, well straight from the horses mouth:

"I never, with my own eyes, saw any mistreatment of a black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the Blacks because we're White trash. We're going across the field... .There singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one Black person, say, 'I tell you what: Those doggone White people' - not a word! ... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."

OK, I'm going to go with that maybe he had an idealized memory of that time. It is possible that the Blacks that he interacted with at that time were pretty cool. I have to admit, I do believe that he thought he had more in common with the Blacks because of he and his family being White trash. Interesting take. And there is something about people in general before the rise of the Welfare State. I would dare not single out one particular group of people. For it has done damage to all groups. But sadly, the statistics regarding Blacks and government dependency are some of the worst. And I totally disagree that Blacks, as a group, are not godly. In comparison to the general American population, Blacks are much more likely to attend church and be open about their faith.
Well, I do recommend that you read the whole interview that I linked because it is not good to cherry pick as the media has done on both sides.
So what happened?
A & E decided that Mr. Robertson should be suspended from any future shows of Duck Dynasty. This is important because as luck would have it, the current season is already filmed. And this does not count on the Duck Dynasty marathon that will be aired this weekend on the cable channel.
To be blunt, it is a chicken's way of claiming to take a stand and still milking some money off of a guy that the channel deems a bad dude for speaking his mind.
I must digress because some readers will ask why did I back Martin Bashir being fired for vile remarks he made about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. And why I liked MSNBC for canning actor Alec Baldwin for using anti-gay slurs.
First with Mr. Bashir.
He made his comments, that he hoped someone would pee in and take a dump in Mrs. Palin's mouth, on the air. It was written out and he was mad that she used the word slavery in regard to the Dear Leader, President Obama's economic policies. To someone not all there, Mr. Bashir was in his commentary giving someone a licence to carry out such a vile action. You just can't talk like that on television. Even on a network that is barely watched.
And in regards to Mr. Baldwin, he is the poster child of liberal hypocrisy. Telling the gay-rights crowd he is all in with their cause. But when he gets hot under the collar, he resorts to calling people faggot or c--- - sucker. Uh, last I checked, those are not terms of endearment.
But back to this situation.
At this point, Mr. Robertson is just suspended. He is not fired. Yet if you read the interview, he realizes that the show maybe getting near the end. Even if it is the most popular show on the A & E network.
But why did A & E buckle before there was any real heat put on by the usual suspects? it is curious because they knew what they were getting with the Robertson clan. And especially with Phil. And while Duck Dynasty is not a political show at all. But they will not allow the network to cut out decidedly Christian prayers before meals. And they had to know that Mr. Robertson had very traditional views on a whole range of current events.
So they can't claim ignorance.
My full take is simple.
Mr. Robertson does have his right not only to his beliefs but free to discuss them. I would not have fallen into the clear trap that Mr. Magery set for him. But maybe he did not see it as a trap but as an outlet.
A & E does have the right to do what it did but should have spoken with Mr. Robertson to get some clarification if need be. He does deserve that courtesy. The network can do what it wants. But it also has to weigh the fact that this is their number one show. It is probably not watched by many gays, lesbians or Blacks. And maybe they that do would not stop watching the show. What they have done is imply by the suspension that one's beliefs should not be on display. At least if that one is a traditionalist.
I leave you with this from Ed Morrissey as he states the obvious.
Let's not have any reality in our reality television, please.

Affluenza Another Sign Of Decay In The United States

Yes you read it right.
What is affluenza?
According to this on Wikipedia, it is the confluence of affluence and influenza in this sense.  That because of rampant consumerism, people get into debt, overloaded with stuff, want more and waste beyond belief.                                
Critics of so-called consumerism use this term to describe certain people.
And yes, they are correct. Some people have an insatiable appetite for want that is disgusting. And it shows. I can actually think of some so-called celebs that come to mind. The whole, sordid Khardashian clan for one.  If that is not enough for you, it is any celebutard that shows off their excess and then rails about real and or imagined iniquities in the world around them.
But what happens when affluenza gets into the real world?
When someone goes off the rails and people's lives are at stake?
Then let's meet Ethan Couch.
Master Couch is the offspring of Fred and Tonya Couch. Mr. Couch is the owner of Cleburne Metal Works, a company that has made $15,000,000 at least within the past year.
They live large.
Mr. Couch has had some run-ins with the law. So has the former Mrs. Couch. And yes, yes, young Master Couch has too.
NONE of these people have any restraint it appears.
But what happened on June 15, 2013, it went beyond a run in with the law.
It cost four people their lives. 
On that date, young Master Couch was driving his pickup truck with two of his friends in the back bed of the truck.
Oh, did I mention that he was drunk? And that it was not the first time? And that he is only 16 years old?
In February of this year, Master Couch was cited for being a minor in possession and consumption of alcohol.  And he got a nice slap on the wrist with probation, compulsory alcohol awareness classes and 12 hours of community service.
So we already know he has been down the Devil's Urine road before.
And four months later, not only is Master Couch drunk but his blood alcohol level is .24 and that is twice the legal limit of .08 for an adult.
Remember, this is a 16 year old.
Ahh, but he is from a definitely upper middle-class family. Maybe even wealthy family.
And of course they hire an awesome lawyer. And that awesome lawyer finds this equally psychologist, Dr. G. Dick Miller, a perfect name for this educated fool, and he cites affluenza as a defense for young Master Couch.
The only thing that Dr. Dick Miller is right about is that the parents gave Master Couch freedom beyond belief. For they felt no restraint themselves. But after that, it is a bunch of psychobabble. Saying that because of this he had no clue as to what is right and what is wrong. Dr. Dick Miller cited an example that Master Couch was found by police in his pickup truck with a passed out, naked 14 year-old girl. Police cited Master Couch and the parents did not punish him.
Oh, that's two encounters with law enforcement up to the point of the fatal accident.
So the carnage of Master Couch in one evening.
Four dead, nine people injured and one of his "friends" from the pickup truck paralyzed to the point that he can't even speak.
So, what does Judge Jean Boyd sentence Master Couch to?
Ten years probation, no contact with the parents and he gets to be in a "rehab" facility in Newport Beach, California at the cost of $450,000 a year.
Zero, zilch, zip.
No jail time for taking four lives, all but taking a fifth life, and injuring nine other people.
Because of "affluenza".
Where to begin.
This is malarkey, pure, plain and simple.
A ticket from the police for being passed out in a car with a naked girl did nothing to straighten him out.
A no-contest plea when cited four months before the accident did nothing to scare him straight.
He kills four people and a psychologist, a so-called expert, cites a BS defense and the judge, a juvenile court judge does not assign one day in jail for this.
Master Couch will not get straightened out because he essentially got away with murder.
I do not care that he is 16 years old. I do not share Judge Boyd's comments in sentencing that he will not get treatment in jail. In reality he would get some counseling in jail. But it would not be in Newport Beach. It is another way of not assigning Master Couch responsibility for what he did. He stole the beer that got him drunk in the first place. From that moment on he violated terms of probation from his conviction of alcohol possession and consumption. That is automatic jail time right there. But no, no according to Dr. Dick Miller and the judge, he needs treatment to cure him of affluenza. And jail is not a place for it.
Well, yes it is.
Master Couch will not learn in a "rehab" center what it is like to be confined. To be with others that have committed bad crimes themselves. To see how bad his short life has become. He needs to be really scared straight.
I do not disagree with counseling and eventually being in a "rehab" center. But he needs to spend some time in jail. He could have been sentenced to serve time until at least his 21st birthday and then the probation and rehab.
All the sentence has done is say that once again, mommy and daddy will bail him out. Yeah, daddy is going to pay the $450,000 a year tab at Club Rehab.
Master Couch needed to have the fear of God put in him. That killing people no matter what is wrong. That while he does not need the death penalty, he needs to know that there are real consequences to his actions.
And that money does not and should not be a keep out of jail free card.
What this whole case shows is another sign of decay in morals in the United States. That a 16 year old can get away with killing people. Because of affluenza, you know.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The War Against Santa Claus . . .By Conservatives?

I read this the other day written by Nancy French outing herself as a "Santa Truther" and meaning that she will tell her children that, there is no Santa Claus. And her husband, David French, who writes often on National Review Online's The Corner backed his wife after she was pummeled with outrage by many.
Oh, did I mention that both are conservatives?
So what gives? Why do they have Santa hate?
I get the thrust of what Mrs. French wrote. That Santa Claus, as he is presented today, is a far cry from the story of St. Nicholas. And that the Reason for the Season, the birth of Jesus Christ, is a much better story to begin with.
I do not disagree that the Reason for the Season is the truth of Christmas for those of us that are practicing Christians. But if one reads about the "legends" of St. Nicholas with an open mind, he was carrying out the message of the Gospel. The one account that seems to be where the current Santa Claus derives from is that St. Nicholas heard of a poor father of three daughters and because of their lowly status, the father could not afford the dowry to marry them off properly and to a better life. St. Nicholas wanted to help but would not do so publicly. So he went to the man's house one night with three purses of gold coins. One for each daughter. Thus, the father had the funds to marry them off and hopefully to a better life. Now another version is that this was done over three nights. And still another has this being done over a period of three years.
The point being that St. Nicholas was giving away to help others.
So the modern Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas. As well as a pagan god named Odin. Santa is a lot of different things to different people.
But, for myself as a Christian, I celebrate Santa because of the Christian origin of St. Nicholas. And if properly taught and told by parents, one can believe in Santa not as a fantasy but a reminder of our role as Christians to be a beacon for all. To be willing to give of their time and talents to those who do not know the Christian message.
Before I go on, I would totally agree that Christmas is overly commercialized. That to an extent, it has ruined the meaning of St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. We as a society worry way too much about what we are getting people that we forget it is not the gift or gifts but what they show we mean of those we know and or don't know.
The past two weekends, I have been a Santa Claus at my church.
The first Saturday was for our preschool kiddies. Because our school has a good reputation and is in a high-income area, well overwhelmingly these kiddies were more than likely going to get whatever they asked for. Part of what I do is make a grand entrance and shake hands and wish the people, kiddies and parents and anyone else a Merry Christmas. I go to my special chair and the kiddies waiting start to sit on my lap. Then I ask their name and if they have been a good boy or girl. Then I ask what they want for Christmas. Because this is a strictly preschool group, most can barely get out a coherent sentence. And this year, most asked for something electronic that did ask. Most important Santa rule, never, ever promise anything. Ever. And I don't. I just tell them to keep being good and I will see them on Christmas Eve.
OOOHHH! I am LYING to these kiddies, right? Because I will not be personally seeing them at all. Because I am NOT Santa Claus, right? And thus, according to the French's, I am a liar.
Well, I get back to that.
This past weekend I was Santa for our church's transitional housing program for addicts. These kiddies, they have already had a life full of disappointment. I certainly do not want to add to that. And I don't think that I do. The predominate thing that these kiddies wanted for Christmas is a puppy. That warms my heart as a dog lover. Again, no promises made. I only hope that some of these children will be able to get their puppy for Christmas.
I don't believe that I am doing any psychological damage to these children. I am simply offering myself to show that someone cares to take time to be with them, get a photo, and put a smile on their face.
I think that a part of the French's disdain for Santa Claus is that it derives from Roman Catholicism and the belief in venerating saints. As a Protestant that belongs to a liturgical denomination that has named most of their churches after saints, we believe in their goodness, but not to venerate them. I refer to Article 21 of the Articles of Religion:

The Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshiping, and adoration, as well as Images as of Relics, and also the Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

But that does not mean we don't look at the totality of the saint's life and what they did in the name of Christ. And St. Nicholas did wonders in the name of Christ.
And Santa Claus is simply a derivative of this.
And should be treated as such.
And not something to be feared by anyone that is a Christian.
Don't be a Santa Truther. Tell the full story of Santa to your child. And you will be better for it and happy this Christmas season.
Conservatives, don't fight it. Embrace it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Of Shaking Hands With A Dictator And Selfies And Barack's Excellent Adventure In South Africa

Yeah, all in one day, the president of the United States, the Dear Leader, Barack Obama, had an excellent adventure in South Africa.
Shaking hands with the vile dictator of Red Cuba, Raul Castro in a reception line at the memorial service for the late South African president, Nelson Mandela. And really, he did not have to. Seriously, he didn't. Yet he did and it was not just an obligatory hand shake with the dictator Castro. Nah, there were smiles and they were yucking it up, beaming smiles at each other. It was not long. I mean, the Dear Leader, President Obama, did not hold up the line or anything like that. He could have all but ignored the dictator Castro. And yet there he was. At a memorial service making a clear political statement.
Now it would not be much but I did have a sneaky suspicion that maybe, just maybe there was more to that handshake.
And I was right.
According to Eli Lake and Josh Rogin at The Daily Beast, Team Obama has been holding mid-level talks on such issues as direct postal service, disaster response, and migration, re: immigration issues.
Why would there be such talks if not for the eventuality of reinstating diplomatic relations with Red Cuba?
Here is a prediction.
When the Republicans increase their numbers in the House and take the senate next year, the Dear Leader, President Obama, will be a total lame-duck. Unless he totally abandons his socialism liberalism and adopts the GOP agenda, he will get not one thing done in congress.
So, can anyone say foreign policy?
The Dear Leader, President Obama, will reinstate full diplomatic relations with Red Cuba. He will recognize the communist dictatorship of the Castros.
And it will not stop there.
The talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran? Another precursor of what the Dear Leader, President Obama, will do and reinstate full diplomatic relations with Iran. He will recognize the Shiite Islamics, the Islamic republic as the government of Iran.
I know it seems improbable, but that is where I see things going.
There is not more to say on this topic.
But the selfie, the selfie the Dear Leader, President Obama, took with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, that is something I would expect from a
teenage gal.
Which leads me to something my friend Social Extinction said on my Facebook page in my reaction to this:

Our president is such a teenager. Wasn't stoicism expected of them once upon a time?

Why yes Mr. Social Extinction, stoicism was expected at a funeral/memorial service for a current or former head of state. Granted it was more celebratory than solemn, it is no excuse to mock the occasion.
Mr. Social Extinction made me come up with the correct new phrase to describe the Dear Leader, President Obama:


There is not other way to describe it.
There is the titular leader of the free world, the Dear Leader, President Obama, the prime minister of Britain and the prime minister of Denmark in between the two. And they yuck it up for the cell phone camera. All of them. And if you look at the photo in the last link, you see a very teed-off First Lady, Michelle Obama.
And she is right to be teed-off.
At some point, Mrs. Dear Leader, Michelle Obama, had enough and had to change places with the awe-struck Dear Leader, President Obama, so he was not continuing to laugh and yuck with the Danish Prime Minister Mrs. Thornin-Schmidt. Another photo shows the titular leader of the free world kissing his wife's hand. Seemed to appear to be some kind of teenage 'do you forgive me?' if you ask me.
That makes me think about when the teenager-in-chief got to shake hands with the dictator Castro. It made me think of what was said in those very brief moments:

Like, OMG! There you are! Comadante Castro! AWESOME dude! Oh I'm sorry I'm not meeting with the big dude himself, Fidel! Hey, can you tell him a 'what up?' from me? Oh man, AWESOME to meet you dude.

At this point, would anyone expect less than such a dialogue from the teenager-in-chief? No wonder the dictator Castro feigned a smile and seemed to try to move the Dear Leader, President Obama, along. He couldn't take it anymore.
Folks, the president of the United States, no matter who he or she is and no matter what party they belong to represents all of us at occasions such as a state memorial. As Mr. Social Extinction pointed out, there does need to be a certain stoicism at occasions such as this. Our president, no my president, did not show any of this.
Could he have avoided shaking the dictator Castro's hand? Possibly and he should have made every effort to not do so. The image of the American president recognizing the legitimacy by doing what he did must send a chill down the spine of every freedom-loving Cuban everywhere.
Did he have to participate in the childishness of the selfie? Of course not. There was nothing wrong with exchanging pleasantries, but a selfie?! The line was crossed. The shark was jumped.
Watching the events unfold Wednesday in Johannesburg made me think that, sadly, this was nothing more than Barack Obama's Excellent South African Adventure.

Friday, December 06, 2013


Before I write my thoughts on the late South African president, Nelson Mandela, some things to get out of the way.
First, Mr. Mandela was NOT a communist. Yes, he associated with the South Africa Communist party for they were all in the fight to end the racial segregation policy known as apartheid. By his own admission, Mr. Mandela was a socialist yet even that was not the case when it came time for him to become the eventual president of South Africa.
And second, very overlooked by many admirers of Mr. Mandela, is that he was a committed Christian. He was a Methodist and a great deal of his education was done in Methodist schools.
And it is his belief in Christianity that led him to be one who practiced forgiveness when he became the South African president.
And one more thing.
Many conservatives, and yep I'll count myself, were totally wrong about Mr. Mandela. Deroy Murdock over  at National Review has some thoughts on that better than what I can write.
I want to focus on the side of Mandela that forgave and sought reconciliation rather than revenge and carnage.
What a lot of people will not know is that Mr. Mandela was a Christian. His mother was a devout Christian and sent young Rolihlahla, his actual given first name, to Methodist school when he was about seven years old. It was at that time that he was baptised a Christian. Much of his schooling was through Methodist schools.
While he grew and realized that the system of racial segregation called apartheid was beginning to be fully sanctioned by the governing National party in the late 1940s, he knew that it was an injustice and he began to be fully involved in the African National Congress.
A little history is important here.
Black Africans had never been in charge of their own destinies once Jan van Riebeeck and the Dutch East India Company landed on the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. He and other members of the DEIC were the forbearers to the Afrikaner people. They are the majority of the White people of South Africa. And they have been called Africa's White tribe. By eventually referring to themselves as Afrikaners, they made it clear that they were a part of the African continent.
Roughly about 150 years later the British became in charge of the Cape Colony, also known as Cape Town. The Afrikaners in this area were far removed from Europeans and did not like what they saw as British encroachments on their land. They set out to escape the rule of the British in a series known as the Great Trek into interior South Africa. The Afrikaners had nothing in common with the British. They did not consider themselves European but a part of Africa. They were staunch Calvinists and the Dutch Reformed Church was their religion. Most of the British were Anglicans or Methodists. And they were loyal to the Mother Country, Great Britain.
While the British consolidated power. they had two wars with the Afrikaners known and the Anglo-Boer wars. Boer is the Afrikaner word for farmer. While they lost both, the Afrikaners by and large retreated.
Keep in mind, politics and the Anglo-Boer wars kept Black natives at bay. They had little if any control over their own lives.
In 1913 an act known at the Native Lands Act was passed by a White parliament and it was the cornerstone of apartheid. It regulated a whole 13% of the total land of South Africa that could be owned by Blacks.
Between this period and 1948, British and Afrikaner Whites essentially shared power. But to an embittered Afrikaner people, this was not good enough. They wanted to be in charge of their own destiny as they saw it.
And in 1948, the Afrikaner National party won the majority of seats in parliament. This set apartheid to be implemented harshly with the Native Lands Act as the beginning piece to dehumanize Blacks much like American Blacks were in the South.
Everything was separate. Blacks were forced to live in squalid townships away from the Whites. Oh, they could work for the Whites in the cities, but come night, they had to go to their living areas. The name Soweto is derived from the South West Township. And there were separate public facilities in everything. Everything to having sex and the offspring of forbidden relationships would be further humiliated. For if those relationships were found out, the offspring of such relations would not be Black or White. In the insanity of the race obsessed laws, they would be designated a race of their own. They were known as, and still today, Coloureds.
It was in this that Mr. Mandela was moved to seek change.
At first he tried the non-violent way. But several events, including the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 to the Soweto Riots in 1976, hardened Mr. Mandela to seek every means at the ANC's disposal to eject the Afrikaner government and allow for Black majority rule. And that included violence.
By the time of Soweto, Mr. Mandela was already in prison for 14 years of what would be 27 years imprisoned.
But while in prison, Mr. Mandela began a quest to learn about the Afrikaner people. As early as 1960, Mr. Mandela studied Afrikaans, the Dutch-derived language of the Afrikaner. He also studied their history. And he realized that the Afrikaner, again they called themselves that and believed that they were Africans, and Black South Africans did suffer discrimination at the hands of the English-speaking British. Not that this excused their outlook and behavior towards Black South Africans. But he wanted to know about those that oppressed him. And one other thing. He learned about rugby. The movie Invictus chronicles how he eventually won over the nervous Afrikaners by embracing their sport, rugby.
It was something truly amazing when Mr. Mandela was sworn in as the first Black president of a truly multiracial South Africa. Sitting in the front row was one of Mr. Mandela's While jailers, James Gregory. He was personally invited by then President Mandela.
That was a powerful act not just of forgiveness but reconciliation all in one.
And that could not have happened without at the very least a basic understanding of Christian forgiveness. I'm sure that he studied others such as Mahatma Gandhi, the Dali Lama and the like. But there is something in forgiveness and reconciliation from the Christian understanding that made a lasting impact on Mr. Mandela.
That will not be noted in all the rightful tributes to Mr. Mandela. That he never rejected the Christian faith. And because of that and his willingness to learn about those that kept him a prisoner for 27 years of his life he was able to forgive those that oppressed him. And he taught fellow Black South Africans that reconciliation, while very painful for all, was necessary to govern and to learn never to let such an evil as apartheid to ever take hold again.
As an aside as I noted earlier, many accused Mr. Mandela of being a communist. He was not.He said he was a socialist. But when it came time to actually govern South Africa, he abandoned the idea of socialism to govern South Africa. As this article in the London Daily Telegraph noted, Mr. Mandela thought socialism was the best idea for his nation. He then attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 1992. He made his case and many of the other attendees explained why it would not work. And Mr. Mandela was open to realize that the world changed in his time in prison. And he gave a market-based economy a try and while it is still difficult in post-apartheid South Africa, it has made great strides that a top-down socialist economy would not.
That all is the mark of a leader. And Nelson Mandela was a leader. A man that ended up uniting his nation rather than tearing it apart. A man that learned from the mistakes of others. A man open to change when given the options. And most of all, the most committed of Christians when it mattered. When it came time to forgive and to reconcile.
Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013.

Breedism Strikes It's Ugly Head In Pasadena

I love these provincial issues that localities deal with and one that is rampant and usually in left corridors is breedism and the hate for the pit bull breed of dog.
Breedism is an unnatural and highly misinformed dislike of certain animal breeds. It is more or less in dealing with dogs and I am sure, but not informed enough, with cats. For they are the most domesticated of animals.
Breedism is centered on several dog breeds particularly the Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher and the worst of all to the breedists, the pit bull.
Well, a member of my local Pasadena, California, city council, Steve Madison, has tried to wage a one-man war against the pit bull.
And sadly, while he will not be able to outright ban the breed, he may get a halfsy and force all put bulls, and by extension pit bull mixes, to be spayed and neutered. 
Understand that the Pasadena Humane Society is trying to get all dogs spayed and neutered and not any one breed takes precedent over another.
But not if Mr. Madison has his way.
For Mr. Madison wants to change state law that bans localities from initiating an outright breed specific law or BSL.
Here is a load of hysteria from the repulsive Mr. Madison:

“Every month or two, you read about a pit bull killing a toddler or a senior, and I don’t want that to happen in Pasadena,” Madison said at the Nov.  25 council meeting. “We want to stop it before it happens here.”

Uh, Mr. Madison, a pit bull or a mix can kill anyone if the situation is right. But what you fail have any knowledge of is the fact that a pit bull is like any other dog and if they are owned by a human it will be a reflection of the owner and how they trained the dog. 
That is the point that Josh Liddy was trying to make here:

“The bottom line is these dogs in general are incredibly safe, and (Madison) is up there talking about them in broad strokes as if they are land sharks out killing people every day, and it’s totally disingenuous nonsense,” said Liddy, whose two pit bull mixes are both spayed and neutered. “When a single incident happens, all of these dogs get blamed for the actions of one dog, and it’s clear discrimination in my opinion.”

Spot on, Mr. Liddy. Spot on.
We rarely have any media reports of Labrador Retrievers that have done the same thing. And it has happened. But it is easier to focus on the pit bull for it has a bad reputation. One that has been perpetuated by people that should not have children let alone have any kind of dog.
Mr. Madison owns a Maltese, a toy breed. So I think I know that he looks at dogs as, well like a Maltese. 
Dogs are just like people. They come in all shapes, sizes, dispositions. 
Oh, did I mention that Mr. Madison's hysteria is based on what-ifs? Since it has not happened ever in Pasadena!
This truly falls in the 'we have to do something' category of governance. 
Why we have to do something for a problem that is broader than one breed of dog? 
If we really dig under the surface, and I did address it above, it really all about  classism. 
Yes, many people that own put bulls are people that make the dog a  tough dog. A fighter. Remember the whole Michael Vick saga? Oh yeah, Mr. Vick came from a rather bad background. And yup, he's black. And he hooked up with some bad people. People who thought of dogs as nothing but fighters for their warped pleasure. And what better dog than the pit bull? 
Before I go on, did you know that what we call the pit bull used to be the most popular dog breed in the United States? President Teddy Roosevelt had a pit bull, Pete. Helen Keller had one. And probably the most famous of all was Petey from the Little Rascals. 
If you want some truth rather than hysteria on pit bulls, this is an excellent website. It dispels the hype and hysteria about the pit bull.
My point is that people are the ones that create a dog, cross-breed in many cases and can create a wonderful family member or a fighting dog. 
And for the most part dog fighting and the use of the pit bull is done by lower class people. It just a fact. 
And what Mr. Madison exposes about himself that he likes to talk a good game about the, for lack of better term, the little people. But he really thinks that they are kinda yucky and have such a proclivity to engage in something really yucky like having pit bulls and making them tough killers. 
There was actually one city council member, Jaque Robinson, who did not buy the hysteria. She voted against Mr. Madison's breed-specific emphasis of spaying and neutering. And she said this:

“An irresponsible dog owner is an irresponsible dog owner,” Robinson said. “I don’t think us passing this ordinance will make pit bulls less prone to attacking individuals in the community.”

A voice of sanity in a time of insanity.
Those of us that are against BSLs need to let our voice known not just on social media or blogs but to the members of the city council to not vote for this craziness in 60 days. If we make our voices heard, we will defeat another case of dog breedism. And it is a win for dogs but people as well. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Martin Bashir FINALLY Resigns From MSNBC

It's about time that Martin Bashir from MSNBC has resigned. And he did so for rather choice comments he made a couple of weeks ago about what someone should do with Sarah Palin that I wrote of here. I will not go into the lurid details.
What I will comment on is that this lets MSNBC and NBC off the hook.
What do I mean?
Well, this network fired actor Alec Baldwin off of his really short-lived program because he made some well-known anti-gay slurs. I have long believed that if you put all of these Hollyweird types under some kind of truth serum, those that espouse homosexual rights will freely use the same anti-gay slurs a conservative would be crucified for.
But when Mr. Bashir uses the vile description of what someone should do to Mrs. Palin, he gets to apologize on air. Then he suddenly takes a vacation and decides to resign.
MSNBC nor NBC actually fired him as they should have immediately for it was disgusting what he said.
Look, I don't care what you think about Mrs. Palin. I don't like the Dear Leader, President Obama's policies. Sometimes he uses hyperbole. Should I wish someone would do to him what Mr. Bashir thought should be done to Mrs. Palin? NO! NO! NO!
The very people that rail about the division in the United States are the first to perpetuate it. Which is what Mr. Bashir did.
But MSNBC felt appearently that it was more important to make an example of Mr. Baldwin than Mr. Bashir.
Mr. Bashir, he gets to resign essentially on his terms. Mr. Baldwin is shown the door rather quickly.
I am just glad that this episode is now behind us. And it is not any censorship. It is about decency. Something that seems to be lacking in so much today.

A Poverty Huckster Exposed

Let me tell you something about the left that irritates the hell out of me.
That is when they engage in role playing.
Not just role playing but lying about their role playing.
The latest role player is one Linda Walther Tirado.
She wrote for The Puffington Post this gem about what it is like to be poor. How terrible her life is being in poverty. Going to college and working two jobs. How hard it is if the Planned Parenthood office is so far and costs so much in gas money for someone in her horrible condition. Oh and there is plenty more. It is essentially a justification for poor decision making that poor people make.
Only problem with Mrs. Tirado.
She is not who she claims she is.
If not for the intrepid reporting of Angelica Leicht at the alternative Houston Press, why many of the people who have a little knowledge of this would continue to believe her sad, sad story. Many of my friends will still pass this around on Facebook, but maybe they will do so with a disclaimer. Maybe MSNBC host Toure will apologize for perpetuating the lie. About the time Al Sharpton does for lying about the Tawana Bradley rape hoax. 
So, lets take a look at some of Mrs. Tirado's claims of poverty.
One thing that she's truthful about is that she is married. But here is the first paragraph of the post.

Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I'm in bed by 3. This isn't every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr. Martini and see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork. Those nights I'm in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won't be able to stay up the other nights because I'll fuck my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can't afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn't leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn't in the mix.

Wow! What a sad life she has. I would actually feel somewhat bad for her if it was true in any sense. 
But, alas, it's not. 
It is a totally fictional account of poverty from the beginning to the end.
According to Miss Leicht, Mrs. Tirado not only wrote a lie of a piece but also the comments and rebuttals. 
And the totally best part? 
Mrs. Tirado is pimping for money for herself at a website called Go Fund Me. And let me be clear, Go Fund Me is a good site and many if not most people that use it are truly good and well meaning. It should not be impugned because of this lying scum.
So why am I so upset?
Could it be that she went to a boarding school as a child? A boarding school that the former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attended? Could it be that she has a home that her parents helped her attain? I mean, it might not be a mansion, but I am certain that it is not the Roach Motel that she writes about. And tell me, pray tel, how this gal in her impoverished state found time to not only blog about but be a political consultant? Was that in between the two jobs or college? Oh, she writes about her crappy and missing teeth. Did I mention that she is married to a marine? A marine that would have, oh I don't know, HEALTH AND DENTAL insurance? Oh, and do go to this link because her photo here looks like she has decent looking teeth to me. Maybe its the back teeth. The teeth few people if any see. 

You see, I don't like people that lie, and Mrs. Tirado did no matter what she tries to write in the form of a disclaimer. 
She has never, ever lived a moment of her life as a poor person. And her writing about it reads like a cheesy Hollywood script written by someone else that fantasize about what it is like to be poor.
Oh, and the Houston Press writer, Angelica Leicht? 
She wrote the truth about her young life in real poverty. Her mama was not taking a toothpick to kill roaches. Such a horrid stereotype. And Miss Leicht makes another point from her reality. That poor people are NOT dirty. Many have at least one parent that at the very least keeps them clean and clothed. Those parents do not want their situation to affect their children as much as possible.
I do not need some poverty fan gal to write to anyone about being poor when she is not and has never been. I do not need her to be a shnorror* off of well meaning people who have "donated" nearly $62,000 for who knows what. Supposedly to write a book to stick up for the little people.
Hey, Linda! If you want to get money to fund something, maybe you should try a bank first. You know they lend money to people. People who do have the means to pay back as I know that you do. Maybe get some like minded people to invest in your scam book or what you admit is your own "naval-gazing" 
How many people that really do not have disposable income do you think you have fleeced by your tale of lies? Do you feel any, I mean any guilt? You should because it is not a reality to lie about your circumstances. To make people feel sorry for you. So sorry that you beg for money online. 
I could actually write about lean times in my own life. I had some growing up and even as an adult. Hell, I'm unemployed right now. The thing is that I don't think it is right for me to write such things about myself. For me they are not a part of my life I need to share with a wide audience. You may not get it, but I do have some pride and yes, morality. The pride is I do not want people to look at those aspects of my life with some kind of pity. They are but part of a larger picture. The morality is that I would not use that to shnorror money from people for any reason. 
What Mrs. Tirado reminds me of, in a low-rent way, is the left-wing do gooders who pretend to be poor and or homeless. Or the politicians who claim that they will live like a poor person on Food Stamps for what, a week. You know, to bring publicity on the plight of the poor. I would love for one of these people to have a talk with Jason the surfer dude and his plight of poverty. In fact, Jason the surfer dude and Mrs. Tirado do have something in common. 
They are both leeches off of taxpayers and people that are really poor and really could use some of Mrs. Tirado's money and Jason's food stamps. 
People like Mrs. Tirado do not open a window on the world of being poor and or impoverished. They open a dark window on the soul of one that would lie about such things and profit from it.

*Shnorror- A begger; someone who always looking for a handout or a free ride; the guy who's always in the bathroom when the check comes; the person who's constantly borrowing but never returning; someone who's continually sponging off others. 


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Pope, Rush Limbaugh And The Great Economic Debate

In this season of Advent, it appears that Pope Francis has strayed into controversy regarding a papal letter called Evangelii Gadium (The Joy of the Gospel) and his view on capitalism and consumerism.
Why it seems controversial enough that radio talker Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the letter and well he didn't like it.
And this link is to the whole 224 page letter from Pope Francis. Trust me, no one has read the whole letter. But the pages that seem to have evoked controversy are pages 52-75 and also pages 186-216.
From what I can tell in reading this is that Pope Francis thinks that what we call capitalism is somehow an economy of exclusion. A point is made about a homeless woman dying from exposure and a two-point loss in the stock market on the same day. What makes for the bigger story? The Pope believes that the stock market loss would be more spoken about than the homeless woman. Actually, the homeless woman dying to exposure would be the direct result of the evils of capitalism according to the leftywhore media. So both would get publicity in the American media.
Before that, however, the Pope insinuates that because a homeless woman died that a capitalist economy kills people.
I cannot disagree more.
That is a broad-brush example. Even in the most communistic nation still left on earth, there are homeless people and yes they die on the street as a direct result of the harsh, socialist economy of their land. There are forced labor camps in which people die every day. Just ask refugees from North Korea.
The Pope actually believes that capitalism in the West and especially the United States is so rampant that there is this survival of the fittest and that it has left the vast majority in the dust.
No, what has happened and has been happening for a long time is crony capitalism that does pick winners and losers and has kept the economy in the doldrums for a long time. Especially in the United States.
And as the letter goes on, I have to admit at a level it makes me think that this part of the letter is straight from the Democrat National Committee. This is the following direct from the letter:

 In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

While I can agree with some of this, the Pope does not realize that there has not been a real free market. A market-based economy is not the same as a free market. The use of "trickle down" is clearly a condemnation of the economic system known as capitalism. It even implies that it does not bring people economically upward but that no one who supports a market and or free market economy is somehow Snidely Whiplash. In fact and indeed there are many who prosper in this economic system and do freely give back to those less fortunate. And not through taxes but in supporting charity and programs, some religious and some secular, to help those help themselves to bring themselves up economically. Just as the government cannot do all, the church and other charitable organizations cannot do it all alone. And even the Pope realizes this. As pointed out in this rebuttal from Roman Catholic priest, Fr. John Truguilo, Jr., in the letter the Pope makes the case that welfare should be a temporary situation and not what it has become for many, a way of life:

Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses.

That is directly from the Pope's letter. 
It is on that where there is disagreement in the United States especially about the overall role of government and whether or not it can or solve what is referred to as inequality. 
Now here is where Rush Limbaugh comes in. 
Rush spent time on last Wednesday's show discussing this letter. And needless to say that Rush did not like all that he read. 
His disagreements are by and large respectful and mostly correct. However, I agree with Fr. Trugilo that Rush did make a mistake about one aspect of his critique.
This is what Rush said:

"Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as 'a new tyranny' and beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality, in a document on Tuesday setting out a platform for his papacy and calling for a renewal of the Catholic Church. ... In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the 'idolatry of money.'"

Now what the Pope said is that unfettered consumerism is a  new tyranny. 
And on that, consumerism for the sake of want is not a good thing when it does make any individual feel less than human if he or she does not have the latest, greatest new thing like whatever. 
Actually, I do have an example that to me shows a certain desperation that is disturbing.
While many if not most Americans celebrated Thanksgiving there were way too many people getting caught up in stores that were opening on Thanksgiving evening to get a start on the Christmas shopping season. 
In this article there are some, IMHO, losers that started to camp out on Tuesday to be the first in line for whatever perceived bargain or bargains that they can get. 
Here is the comments of Thomas Carlos Dudley:

“I like camping out; to me, it brings more excitement,” Dudley said. “I’m the type of guy who always tries to get a better deal. I do most of my Christmas shopping ... (on Black Friday).”

Dude, its not all about some bargain that you have to wait three frickin days for.
I think that this is what disturbs the Pope and also myself.
But where I would differ is that look, while we are bombarded by ads online, print, radio and television about Thanksgiving and Black Friday specials, one can and should practice something called restraint if you do not want to get caught up in all the hoopla.
There is a fine line between capitalism and consumerism. Sometimes, no most of the time, we on all sides cannot seem to separate the two and they should be.
That is the fault of all of us.
Parents have given up teaching their children the kind of values that would be back the kind of consumerism that drive people like Mr. Dudley to wait in line, in tent, for three days to maybe get some unbelievable bargain on whatever electronic product? You know, it maybe there in the afternoon as in the morning. Really, it could.
The message should be that capitalism is really a good economic system. Consumerism is not because it creates an immorality that debases capitalism.
We all need to know the difference before we make any critiques on both.
Pope Francis and Rush Limbaugh both got it right and wrong. But the Pope, good a man as he is, is a man. He is not above criticism and Rush did so, a little off, but very respectfully.
We can have a great economic debate which is always worthwhile but I just wished that we call could get some of it right before we get into such a debate.