Friday, May 30, 2014

Gen. Eric Shinseki's Resignation Will Not Solve The Veteran's Administration Mess

Well, it did not take long at all to pin the whole Veteran's Administration scheduling scandal on the VA secretary, Gen. Eric Shinseki as he became the highest-ranking casualty as he "resigned" today.
I put resigned in quotes because I do believe that that Gen. Shinseki was given the choice of being fired by the Dear Leader, President Obama, or resign.
Inexplicably, Gen Shinseki is being made the fall guy for a scandal that has been long in the making and a sad story of how the VA does not take the best care of all of our veterans.
Yes, Gen. Shinseki was at the helm as VA secretary for the whole Obama administration until today, but I can't lay this particular scandal all on him.
What it really is that the medical bureaucracy that is the VA is out of control and putting unrealistic goals on mid-level administrators.
And before anyone goes on the The VA has not been fully funded canard, under the Bush and Obama administrations, VA spending has gone up 235% since 2001 to today. Ed Morrissey takes us down the spending in the VA since 2001. And Team Obama has made sure to have double-digit budget increases in four out of the six annual budgets. And in the Morrissey report, he cites an article from John Merline at Investor's Business Daily explaining how much of those increases went to medical care and debunks a left-wing talking point that the VA budget has not kept up with the two most recent war theatres in the War Against Islamofacist Terror, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now the scandal started to percolate at the Phoenix, Arizona VA hospital and that there were multiple scheduling lists. A real one that was on a computer and a fake one on paper. The fake one essentially was the Black Hole and where they might, or might not, actually schedule an appointment.
But even the real, computer schedule, had its problems.
This is from the link at The Arizona Republic:

July 2013:

In an e-mail exchange among employees at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, an employee questions whether administrators are improperly touting their Wildly Important Goals program as a success because it shows a dramatic reduction in wait times for patient appointments. "I think it's unfair to call any of this a success when veterans are waiting six weeks on an electronic waiting list before they're called to schedule their first PCP (primary-care provider) appointment," program analyst Damian Reese complains. "Sure, when their appointment was created, (it) can be 14 days out, but we're making them wait 6-20 weeks to create that appointment. That is unethical and a disservice to our veterans."

I highlight in particular the wait from the time a patient calls to schedule an appointment until the VA calls back to set an appointment. A call is made, the potential patient gives the pertinent information and gets a call back in six weeks. Assuming it is exactly six weeks, and it is every day and not just "working days", Monday through Friday, that is 42 days. Count only work days and add 12 days to the 42 and it could be as long as 54 days until and actual appointment is set. And that is the low end. If it is the 20 weeks out using the same formula, a potential patient is waiting up to 140 days or as long as 180 days just to see a doctor.
Now with the paper list, the reality is that few, if any, ever saw a doctor at the VA Carl Hayden hospital in Phoenix. And it is known that at least 40 veterans died as a result of this.
But it was not limited to the Phoenix VA Hayden hospital, but it is the worst.
According to this article in USA Today, scheduling delays and trying to cover up the delays are systemic in the Phoenix VA hospital. The report says that 1,700 veterans are not on any waiting lists to set appointments at all even though they need to see doctors. And as bad are the 1,183 that are waiting more than six months just to see their primary care doctor.
And according to the Austin American-Statesman, the Central Texas VA was cooking the scheduling books to show appointments for screenings seemingly sooner than they really were. And there is an e-mail trail to prove that to be the case.
So why is this happening?
Because the hospitals all want the bonuses that they receive if the appointments are in a timely manner.
So why the delays? Especially to see primary care physicians?
Remember, the VA has been funded thoroughly. And of course, there is built-in budgeting for the potential bonuses.
This is but the tip of the iceberg on how the VA medical system operates.
My father in law literally fought the VA for 10+ years to get simple hearing aids. And he deserved them. He was in the navy during the Korean War and worked in the machine room/shop on the ships. As a result his hearing loss began then and the VA would not approve the hearing aids because they kept trying to suggest other reasons for his hearing loss. He could have probably attained the hearing aids through private insurance that he had. But he served his nation. He enlisted before the armed services could draft him. And he deserved them. Eventually, he did attain the hearing aids through the VA. But it was not an easy thing to do.
And the above tale ended about nine years ago.
So it is not anything new.
The way that the VA operates and treats veterans has long been a disgrace. It transcends presidential administrations, parties and ideologies.
But the scheduling scandal, that escalated under the Obama administration. And yes, it did so under the tenure of the now former VA secretary, Gen. Shinseki. But because a lot of other problems began long before Gen. Shinseki became VA secretary, this was just another layer and Gen. Shinseki proved to be a lousy civilian administrator.
But the good general's leaving under a cloud (FTR, Gen. Shinseki served his nation with pride and honor and deserves our respect for that) of scandal is not going to solve the scheduling problem.
Because the whole VA system needs massive overhaul. And that will take someone from outside the government and the armed forces to take on. It will need to have someone with a strong business background that can apply positive changes to the system that will benefit all veterans. It is a project that could take many years for a lot of these problems took years to fester and grow like a boil on a rear end.
This is a huge test for the Obama administration. The president is going to have to make some very tough decisions. There is no doubt that this is a defining moment. Does Team Obama want to make the kind of reforms that maybe unpopular at first, but extremely necessary? Can they bring in that outside person to seek the reforms and make the VA work for the veterans and not just the bureaucrats? Clearly this will not be the task of the caretaker secretary, Sloan D. Gibson.
The "resignation" of Gen. Shinseki does not change the fundamental fact that there needs to be a through investigation of the scheduling scandal and that may require a special congressional oversight.
The only thing that has changed? Gen. Eric Shinseki is the scapeboat and the biggest head to roll.

The One Discussion Missing In The Elliot Rodgers Saga?

Yes, everyone is talking about the Santa Barbara Massacre and the young man behind it, who ended up killing himself.
His name was Elliot Rodgers.
Mr. Rodgers was clearly one very, very troubled young man. He pretty much hated himself and took that out on the women that he claimed rejected him when he believed himself to be God's gift to the fair sex.
Mr. Rodgers said so himself in a rambling, 140 page "manifesto". And if that was not enough, he went on You Tube to talk about the "Day Of Retribution" in which Mr. Rodgers essentially lays out his case as to why his deluded delusions have to take place.
I will admit that I have not and will not read the "manifesto" nor watched any of the videos he uploaded. If you choose to, I have linked them for your perusal.
There have been a lot of reasons bandied about as to why it happened. Misogyny. Bad family background. Parents divorced. Spoiled brat. And many more.
One thing that is missing in the conversation is this.
What was Elliot Rodgers' relationship with God?
From all that I have tried to read on the internets, it appears that Mr. Rodgers did not have a relationship with a monotheistic God. Nor of the gods of Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism.
He was a young man that did not have a relationship with God.
I am not saying that a relationship with God, particularly in the Christian sense and idea, would have absolutely stopped Mr. Rodgers from carrying out his evil act. And make no mistake. It was evil.
But all the secular therapy did not help. His parents did not help by attempting to spoil him to probably ease his pain. Yes, they knew Mr. Rodgers was probably going to do something and alerted the police in Isla Vista, California. But the police seemed to not be exactly overly concerned and did a minimal welfare check on Mr. Rodgers.
I want to focus on the God aspect of this saga.
I hate to give it any credit that appears to be giving any publicity one way or the other, but there is no choice. We can not have the conversation without discussing the event.
From all that I have read on and about Mr. Rodgers, he was thoroughly obsessed with and about himself. Me, me, me. I. I. I. You get the idea.
For the sake of discussion, I will stipulate that God is the general Christian understanding and write about it from that perspective.
Having a relationship with God, through accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, has been the most wonderful period of my life. As I near 50 years on God's green earth, I became a card-carrying Christian when I was 27 years old. Having that relationship has seen me through some rough patches in my life. In fact, it is why I have not consumed adult beverage in 22 years. Yeah, I know, a big revelation. But I am only writing about it to show that because I asked God in my life in a bad time, my life turned around.
Now, back to Mr. Rodgers.
From all accounts that I have read, Mr. Rodgers did not have a relationship with God nor did his parents, who divorced when he was still a child. In fact, according to The Blaze, Mr. Rodgers resented his father, a Hollywood director, Peter Rodgers, for producing a movie about God called Oh My God. Peter Rodgers basically hawked their home to make it and young Mr. Rodgers was none to pleased about it and wrote this in his infamous "manifesto":

“If only my failure of a father had made better decisions with his directing career instead wasting his money on that stupid documentary.”

And if you read the link, Peter Rodgers did have a bug in his rear end about organized religion.
Peter saw negativity and thus Elliot was even more negative about religion.
Yet it appeared that thousands of dollars were spent with psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists and he Elliot only got worse. Because Peter saw nothing good about organized religion.
But think about this for a moment.
What if dad was open to the possibility of Elliot going to church? Being involved with a good youth group and a good youth pastor? What if instead of throwing away money on doctors and drugs, Elliot could have had a chance to make a connection in that church? In that youth group? Or with a good youth pastor?
Let's face it, Elliot Rodgers had a lot of problems and one of them was something that almost all American high school males do through at some point in their life.
The issue for Elliot is that he was in the throws of puberty and, to be blunt, a horny guy. Yet he did not connect with the fairer sex. I guess that he thought his background would make the gals just fall over each other to be with him. And have sex. Sex was constantly on his mind. Again, most American high school males have that as well. puberty and alienation are a toxic combo.
So how would God fit into this picture?
Because God takes us as we are. Broken. Confused. Scared. Wanting answers. Once a person wants a relationship with God, as a Christian, they can accept Jesus. And that combined with studying the Holy Bible and being able to share openly, people in the same boat (and there are many) could have helped him have better worth of himself. And had he had better worth of self, his rather bizarre outlook about girls, then women, and sex might have not gotten worse. It might not have gotten to the point that he would write a 140 page "manifesto" and make You Tube videos essentially telling the world what he was going to do.
My thought is what harm would that have done? It might, and I do stress might, have been better than head shrinkers and drugs. And it might have also been a help that his parents or one of his parents was active in church as well. It would show as it usually does that they are trying to be good, God-fearing people trying to do the right thing. And especially with their children. At the very least, the parents, especially Peter, should not have been so negative about religion. There are so many positive aspects of religion. Even people raised in the church as my friend and fellow blogger Social Extinction, who turn against God and do not believe in him do at least gleam something from all those years in Roman Catholic catechism. At some level there is the knowledge of right and wrong that Mr. Social Extinction knows and believes in and that had to come from his faith.
And organized religion does teach right from wrong.
It teaches that we are all a child of God. We were created in God's image. And God gave us in the Old Testament the Ten Commandments. The best guide there is to life. But of course, even now, we rebel against that. When Jesus Christ came, he did not come to change the law as he noted. But he added another layer to the law:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment”

And that, that was not enough for there is one more command that Jesus taught:

“And the second [commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”

So with that in mind, I just can't help but think that if Elliot had a church relationship and people that were peers he could speak with, how different his life might have been.
Understand that Elliot was raised, intentionally or unintentionally, with a very certain sense of entitlement. That sense of entitlement made Elliot the clear narcissist that he became.
What religion teaches is that there should not be a sense of entitlement and how worship of one's self is a form of evil. And there is no doubt that evil penetrated Elliot's soul and heart.
Now I make this disclaimer, but do not say that it is not possible a different, positive outcome could have happened.
It is very possible that Elliot was so messed up, even a relationship with God might have not changed the course of events. He still may have felt entitled. He may have still been the narcissist that he turned out to be.
But I do not think so.
This saga shows to me that the more we shove God out on the sidelines, to be something vague and out there and not to be shared with all, we will only face more of these situations, not less.
The Elliot Rodgers' saga shows that we need to have God in our lives and open more than ever.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why Can't Republicans Explain Economics Like Reagan Did?

It is but one of many questions about today's Republican party and how Ronald Reagan did transform basic GOP thinking on issue after issue.
But one thing that eludes those seeking office is what is a fundamental difference between conservative economic policy vs. liberal/left economic policy.
This piece by Henry Olsen at The Corner on National Review Online seeks to remind today's GOP that a big reason why people who might be aligned with conservative economics but find those explaining it not so engaged with the average American, working man and woman.
As Mr. Olsen noted that Mr. Reagan made clear that all of America was involved in the concept of job creation. Essentially, Mr. Reagan made clear that he probably would not dismiss, out of hand, the labor union-backed efforts to get fast-food workers a "living" wage of about $15 an hour. He would use the opportunity to point out how the worker is as important as the entrepreneur.
What I see, and yes have been part of, is that most conservatives see the entrepreneur as the hero and the worker as some kind of lout. After all, the entrepreneur is putting his or her money on the line. The worker should be glad to have the job. Mitt Romney blew his whole campaign by saying the infamous 47% line at a private fund raiser that was videotaped by an intrepid lefty truth-sqauder.
Note to GOP candidates for office. Assume that nothing, not even a private fund raiser is private. Don't say anything that you would not say in any other campaign appearance.
I admit that while Mr. Romney had a correct point, it did kind of sort of play right into the hands of the class warfare warriors. I mean, Mr. Reagan talked about Welfare Queens. Yet with a negative, there was the positive with Mr. Reagan.
What the left has done with success is create the impression that they are always on the side of the worker. Maybe they pay lip service to the small businessman/woman. But when one looks at the modern Democrat party, they are in the hip pocket of the hip, lefty billionaire businessmen/women. Yet the Republican party is to this day seen as the party of the rich. Again, compare Mr. Romney and Mr. Reagan in articulating the basic economic message.
If you don't get that, here is the one time Mr. Reagan even discussed the entrepreneur in a speech in the 1980s as president:

We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we’re in a time when there are not heroes, they just don’t know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter, and they’re on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They’re individuals and families whose taxes support the government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet, but deep. Their values sustain our national life.
Now, I have used the words “they” and “their” in speaking of these heroes. I could say “you” and “your,” because I’m addressing the heroes of whom I speak — you, the citizens of this blessed land.

There was no 47% reference I read. There was no us vs. them that the left promotes. There was nothing along the lines of class welfare.
What Mr. Reagan was saying is that anyone can be and should aspire to be that entrepreneur. But that the worker is as much of value as the entrepreneur.
Thus, what Republican today does that?
It appears that Sen. Mitch McConnell was sort of trying to do that in a speech at an American Enterprise Institute, AEI, conference last week.
I know, I know.
Why would I quote something from this RINO*? He is not a conservative at all! He is part of the problem.
Well, I think that Sen. McConnell fits the He's been in Washington too long category. But in my theory of the broken clock, which is right twice a day, Sen. McConnell stumbled into some truth.
This is the highlight of what he said. And a warning, he does take a swipe at Ayn Rand. But not really if you open up and read what he said:

And yet, I think it must also be admitted that in our rush to defend the American entrepreneur from the daily depredations of an administration that seems to view any profit-making enterprise with deep suspicion — that we have often lost sight of the fact that our average voter is not John Galt. It’s a good impulse, to be sure. But for most Americans, whose daily concerns revolve around aging parents, long commutes, shrinking budgets, and obscenely high tuition bills, these hymns to entrepreneurialism are, as a practical matter, largely irrelevant. And the audience for them is probably a lot smaller than we think. So I do think we’d do well as a party to get down to the basics. As Mona Charen recently put it, ‘Less talk of job creators and more talk of job-earners would be welcome.’”

I think that Sen. McConnell is correct. The average voter is not John Galt. Sure, they may get a lot of his overall point, but they don't want to get government that completely out of one's life. And many understand that a government that gets so big can take away a lot of what we come to know as rights and or basic forms or norms of everyday life.
I recommend reading Mr. Olsen's article in National Affairs that I have linked as a brief history primer and a good road map to getting the Republican party on track to explain what makes conservative economic policy superior to liberal/left economic policy.
Basic Republican governing philosophy is simple.
Government is necessary. But it should be a little and limited as possible. It should be bottom-up and not top down. Government is best starting at the local level, cities, counties and states. The federal government should be as limited as possible. It should not be concerned with Podunk, Iowa as much as New York City.
Mr. Olsen is onto something here. And another actual politician, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, also gets it.
That the GOP must be a party that working class voters and women can and should be a part of.
That is what we call today the Reagan Democrats. Most of those voters are already Republicans today.
But, what does the consultant class that dominates the current GOP think about those voters? Eh, not so much. Thus they push so-called comprehensive immigration "reform". They do not care to really explain how allowing many low-income workers to become Americans will help them. Hint: It won't.
When Mr. Reagan dealt with immigration reform, he at least had the stones to say it was amnesty and it was when the economy was in the middle of a full-steam recovery.
Reagan Democrats are out there for the picking. They will become good Republicans and already have a lot of conservatism already in their bones. They are the ones that sign up to join whatever branch of the armed forces. They are the ones that are traditional in outlook. Many are church-goers and temple-goers and mosque-goers. They do make for the best workers anywhere.
And they go beyond race. Anyone can be and is right now a Reagan Democrat that would love to look at the Republican party. But they don't look at the party because they have rightful misgivings about it. And no, it's not because of their stand on immigration policy.
It is because most of those that want to look at the GOP and are still Democrats and or "independent" still think that the party is the environs of the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll, filthy, stinking RICH folks.
Of course I can show how untrue that is, but why use that? Because most of those people will not believe it. That at this point, much of corporate America is in the hip pocket of the Democrat party. It does not matter.
One needs to speak to the people in a way that Mr. Reagan did. And one of the reasons is that at one time, Mr. Reagan was a Democrat. He was at a time that Democrats were more like Harry S Truman and John F. Kennedy. That they spoke of a better America for all and not for a fill-in-the-group of the moment.
Of course it would be hard to find a lot of former Democrats that become Republicans and can explain a simple fact the way that Ronald Reagan did. And yes, how the United States is a great nation and that the sky's-the-limit, not a time of restraint and or malaise. And yes, that there are rights and wrongs in the United States.
So it does come down to people like Mr. Santorum to talk to the regular folks and say to them, yes, there is a place for you in the Republican party. Yes, I understand the economic anxiety you feel. Yes, the tax structure is out of touch with how every day people live. Yes, the United States has lost it's moral way. Yes, the United States is the greatest nation in the world and I am not ashamed of it.
It is because people like Mr. Santorum and Mr. Reagan believe those ideas. And yes, even Sen. McConnell finally treaded to that understanding.
Here is the thing.
The Republican party will expand beyond the White middle class when it can articulate that those ideas are not just the purview of Whites but of all Americans. We can not have one of the wealthiest men run for president and essentially write off 47% of the potential voting public as government freeloaders. And on that point, Mr. Romney had it somewhat correct. But it can not be done flippantly or off the cuff.
I don't know if Mr. Santorum is the one to carry the Reagan mantle in 2016. He currently has a great position being out of government for making the conservative case to a wide audience. Some like Sen. Marco Rubio have the opportunity as well.
But if we do not reach out to the next generation of Reagan Democrats effectively and in governing, the conservative cause and the Republican party will truly be on the margins of political life in the United States.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

THIS Is Why The Rest Of America Hates New York City

I know, I know, I'm going to offend about eight million people in one city, New York City.
But I don't care.
I am speaking for much of the rest of the United States in why I am totally outraged about the people of New York City and their continuing bitching, moaning and whining about the 9/11 memorial and museum.
A lot of this fauxtrage is being fueled by a newspaper I generally like and recommend people to read, the New York Post.
What started the latest two rounds of fauxtrage is that people did not realize that this memorial and museum is not fully funded and endowed in perpetuity. Very, and I mean very, few institutions of this nature are. Thus, at the end of the museum portion, there is-THE HORROR!-a gift shop!
Yes, a gift shop somehow can not be had at the World Trade Center site where some of the 19 jihadists declared war on the United States and destroyed both the 110 story towers with large passenger planes.
It's sacred ground.
But you know what? The reason so many New Yorkers are up in arms is because this gift shop is selling a lot of items. A lot of FDNY and NYPD stuff. Oh yeah, they are selling scarves and dog vests and charm bracelets. Pretty much what any museum gift store sells.
According to many upon many that have commented, it's just not right.
Because it's sacred ground.
Of course what many of the opponents fail to mention is after the cost of having a gift store, such as paying for employees and merchandise, the rest of the money goes right back into the museum itself.
But the latest in the Fauxtrage express is that they are going to open a restaurant as well. It is going to be called the Pavilion Cafe and will seat 80 people. And the cafe is being run by a company called Danny Meyer's Union Square Events. And as a rep from the company told the New York Post, it is not crass commercialism but “(We’re just trying to) create a thoughtful experience and bring our hospitality [to the museum and visitors].”
But if people visiting the museum should not be partaking a horrible, commercial enterprise such as a gift store, surely they should not be eating there as well.
For it is sacred ground.
One would think that the unhinged reactions of the many commenter's to the gift store and the restaurant that the terrorist attacks only happened in New York City. Only to the Twin Towers as the World Trade Center was once known as informally. That there was not a successful attack on The Pentagon that killed people. Nor the heroic passengers of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that crashed their plane to prevent an even worse assault. Nope, only Lower Manhattan, New York City.
First, let me explain something to the people expressing the irrational fauxtrage.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum cost money to build. The cost was $350,000,000. And while the federal government does provide $20,000,000 for the annual operating budget, that is just for the basics.
All museums have multiple revenue streams and not for profit. A lot of it is to keep the lights on. All museums that I have ever been to have at the very least a gift store and many have a restaurant.
Mrs. RVFTLC works at a very well known museum, botanical garden and research library all in one.
They are in the midst of a huge building project. It includes a new bookstore/gift shop, a coffee bar and a restaurant. Again all three entities get a percentage of money spent in the institution. And another revenue stream is memberships. Guess what? The dastardly folks running the 9/11 Memorial Museum sell tier memberships starting at $70 up to $2,000. There are incentives offered for people to become members. Even the Flight 93 Memorial site asks people to be "Friends Of Flight 93" and to donate. And it is ran by the National Park Service.
Like it or not New Yorkers, it is how museums are partially funded. ALL museums and some memorial sites.
Now let me get back to my earlier point about the fact that way too many New Yorkers not only take it as a personal assault to have a memorial museum, a gift shop and a restaurant. That somehow, what happened to them is the only thing that matters. That only they can grieve and the rest of the world just has to understand.
No, I will not understand it.
The arrogance of the average and majority of New Yorkers is on display.
And it is ugly.
I will never forget 9/11/01. I will never forget as my wife and our son were at Los Angeles International Airport as he was about to embark on his study abroad program in Paris. Hearing that the second plane hit the tower. Seeing it with my own eyes. Then the attack on The Pentagon. Then the take down of Flight 93. I will not forget that my wife and son literally had to escape the airport and they made it home. All while I was at work. I will not forget on that evening we went to church and prayed. And that at least I knew we would soon be at war.
New Yorkers, the rest of the United States, the fly-over country, the hick South, the Left Coast, we all felt like it was an assault on us as well. And many people from around the world felt the same pain. And three days later, then President George W. Bush standing on top of the World Trade Center rubble said what we were all thinking. That those who knocked the buildings down would hear from all of us soon.
We were all New Yorkers in those days and for a long time after.
But now you have ended all of that with your fauxtrage. Over a place where we can all take in what was once there. Where once we spend that time, we can purchase some memento or mementos of our visit. And maybe after a long morning or afternoon, grab a bite to eat. Knowing that all we do and the money we spend will go right back into the memorial museum. You don't get to hold it in your hearts only.
Again, New York City and most of its residents think that they are the world. Everything in this vast nation is New York centered.
Our politics, economy, media, sports and many other things.
As an aside, you know many of us don't really want to see the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox on every network that shows baseball games. For a change of pace, the Mets get thrown in. Yet I believe that the MLB Network is really the YES Network for that is almost all the games they will show. It is only an awesome Super Bowl if either the Giants or Jets are in it. If the Knicks don't get to the NBA finals, which they haven't for years, they guess the peons of Miami or Chicago can win it. And if the Islanders or Rangers don't make the Stanley Cup finals, then yuck! Some other team, maybe even a Canadian team, may win it all.
No New Yorkers, your arrogance is why the rest of the United States really does not like you. Since you look down on us, we can do the same to you.
The ridiculous reaction to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the fauxtrage, is why many of us hate New York City.

Say, You Know What Makes An Awesome Drinking Game? Jews vs. Nazis

Yep, you read that headline right.
The most awesome new beer pong game is one called Jews vs. Nazis.
Below is how the table is set up to play the game.
Now for those unfamiliar with beer pong, its very simple. You bounce a ping-pong ball across a table and if you get it in a cup full of beer. Once you do that, two-teams go back and forth until all the cups of one team are gone.
Beer pong is very popular among males in college and to a much lesser extent in high school.
An obvious aside is this is very much a binge-drinking game. And you know, after enough alcohol, people get pretty stupid.
But if one thinks that some Jewish website made this up, take a peek at this link at the site BroBible.
It is complete "rules" of the Jews vs. Nazis beer pong drinking game.
And it's ugly.
Here are the rules:

Its called Jews vs the Nazis. Its 3-on-3, 30 cups per team. The Nazis shape their 30 cups into a swastika, and the Jews set up their 30 cups as the Star of David. The cups are re-racked to a smaller swastika and a smaller star when 18 cups remain on either team. The Nazis start the game off with ‘blitzkreig,’ and each player on the Nazis shoots until they miss, but this is only allowed for the first volley. The Jews have the ‘Anne Frank Cup,’ and this ability allows them to pick any one of their cups and hide it anywhere in the room, but it has to be shootable, obviously. The Jews can only do that once per game and can be used only during their turn. To equalize this slight advantage, the Nazis also have another ability called ‘Auschwitz’ (or ‘Concentration Camp’ if you don’t know what that means). With this ability the Nazis can pick any player on the Jews team and they have to sit out of the game until the other two players on the Jews team each make a cup. After that happens the 3rd person on the Jews team can play again. Also, throughout the game you are supposed to talk alot of shit and say as many racist things as possible to make it more enjoyable.
My Jewish friends actually love this game haha.

Yes! I am positive that this nit wit's Jewish "friends" just love the game. Yes, I am sure that the lucky one is the one that ends up in Auschwitz.
My question is why, why would any self-respecting Jewish person, observant or not, participate in such an insulting game?
I mean, what if the game was, I don't know, maybe Slaveholder vs. Negroes? Think that there would not be a wee bit of an outrage? A massive investigation? Of course there would be.
And one really disturbing aspect is that this game is being played not just by college students but high school students as well.
There was this post on the Anti-Defamation League that educated about this game. There was one comment that I could not resist responding to. After we went back and forth, I understood the original point the commenter was really trying to make.
That ignorant people will not care anyway and maybe, just maybe it is not worth all the time spent on such things.
Oh, and the person is Armenian and we should all know, but do not, of the Ottoman Turks genocide of Armenians during World War I. So maybe that plays a role in the frustration of dealing with ignorant people.
I get it, but can not agree totally with it. But that person just can't take trying to educate ignorant people.
Well, since I do this blog, I take the mantle.
Here is the thing.
When drinking is involved, and make no mistake this is binge drinking to boot, the potential for bad things to happen dramatically increase.
And when the Holocaust and the result of that are mocked and turned into a drinking game, nothing good can happen. I mean, in the course of the game, one should shout and say the most vile and racist things possible.
Let's see, lots of beer, a racist game and racist humor to boot. Yeah, at the end all will hug and kiss and be pals.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
Let me be clear on this point. I don't want colleges to ban this game at all. High schools, totally. After all a high school student is about three years from the legal age to consume adult beverage of any kind. But colleges can and should inform students about this game. And make the game as unacceptable as possible. I am all for free speech and it is why adult college students should be shamed but not banned from this game. The only way to do that is to make colleges alcohol-free zones. To my knowledge, there are mostly Christian colleges that are alcohol-free zones. Two that come to mind is Liberty University in Virginia and Brigham Young in Utah.
By having this hideous game and what it is all about out in the open is a start. Using this as, and I hate this term but in this case it is appropriate, a teachable moment. To not just discuss the fact that six million of the 11,000,000 + killed in Europe in World War II but discuss the Gypsies, the homosexuals, the intellectuals, the handicapped, the Freemasons, Christians that opposed the Nazis.
See, it is true that many other peoples were killed other than Jews. But it was the Nazi ideology that specifically determined that the Jews, as a group, were a huge reason of the world's ills. That is why it is sort of elevated over the others. But maybe mentioning the others that faced the wrath of the Nazi death machine will make people that have not listened before pay attention. Because the Nazis had many enemies other than the Jews. But make no mistake, the Jews were enemy number one and they had to be dealt with in the worst and most humiliating ways.
Drinking and partying is a big part of college life. I am not such a prude as to want to ban that and playing an offensive drinking game. But it's not a cool game. It's not something to mock. It is a chance to tell the story to the next generation so that, God willing, it should never happen again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big Primary Election Night, But No Surprises.

Today, six states went to the polls to nominate candidates for the House of Representatives, the senate and some governorships and the result is that for the most part, there are no real surprises.
The best one-stop site for complete election results is here at the Politico website.
The big news is that the senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fended off what started off a serious challenge from Tea Party-backed Matt Bevin. But the Bevin campaign imploded on two issues. Mr. Bevin's confused and convoluted position on the TARP bailout, which I wrote about here, and holding a campaign event at a cockfighting event.
Even in Kentucky, cockfighting is not looked on in a good light.
In the end, Mr Bevin could barely muster up 35% and was trounced by Sen. McConnell, 60% to 35% and the remainder to a couple of has-beens. Sen. McConnell will face the Kentucky Secretary of State, Democrat candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes, in the general election in November.
Down Interstate 75 was the Battle of Georgia where the Republican field of candidates totalled six and the two front-runners are going to a run-off primary for the nomination on July 22.
The top two GOP candidates in the polls, businessman David Perdue and current congressman Jack Kingston came out the same in this primary round as neither could muster up the 40% plus one to avoid the runoff. FTR, I was hoping that former secretary of state, Karen Handel, would be one of the top two after Mr. Perdue essentially impugned her because she only has a high school diploma. But she could not get more than 23% and that is a respectable third place. Congressmen Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey mustered 20% between them. Art Gardner trailed the pack with only about 5,600 total votes out of about 576,500 total GOP voters.
Look for Congressman Kingston to win this one as I believe that Mrs. Handel will throw her support to the congressman.
That leaves one major race for the GOP and that is the Oregon senate primary.
In that race, Dr. Monica Wehby became the overnight front runner and has won her primary with 55% of the vote.
She won the crowded five candidate field with relative ease and her nearest opponent was state Rep. Jason Conger, who ran to her right.
Let me be very clear. To win a general election in Oregon, the GOP can't nominate a candidate like Rep. Conger for the reason of his traditional stands on social issues. After all, this is the home of Portland and it is left-wing central. And the suburbs around Portland is not all that much better for a Republican candidate. A good showing in Multnomah county (Portland) and high numbers everywhere else and Dr. Wehby has a great chance to win.
A real observation is that the Tea Party did win tonight in a way.
Because of the early strong showing of Mr. Bevin, Sen. McConnell was forced to run more to the right and will continue to do so for the general election. Both candidates in Georgia also ran more to the right, but Congressman Kingston will be more acceptable to Tea Party voters. And while Dr. Wehby is not all Tea Party, she is an outsider and a doctor that will be a great counterweight to the pro-Obamacare senator she is running against, Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Once the primary season is over, I sense that Republicans and the Tea Party will work together to elect more Republicans. Because after all, the common political enemy is the Dear Leader, President Obama, and the Democrat party.
At the end of today's voting, there were no surprises in who won key races. And that is more good news for the Republicans come November.

Why I Call Disneyland Satanland-And It's Not What You Are Probably Thinking

OK, I make this confession that Facebook is not always the place to pontificate on things that actually deserve much more explanation than the immediacy of posting something on any social media for that manner.
And to double my confession, I refer to Disneyland as Satanland and the Magic Kingdom, it's other moniker, as the Devil's Kingdom.
Why would I do that? What, do I hate Disneyland? Do I hate Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and all the other magical characters? Do I hate the concept of It's A Small World? That has to be it, right.
All wrong.
Today it was announced that once again, the admission price to get into Disneyland, which is now referred to as the Disneyland Resort, will go up four percent from $92 to $96 for anyone over the age of 10 years old.
THAT is what I hate about Satanland.
I use the strongest wording that I can think of in that reference, but I was righteously called out for it today by one of my nieces who made a valid point. Actually a couple. But what got me is that she said how much both her children love Disneyland and all things Disney.
That made me realize maybe I went a little overboard in the Satan reference. But it is not about Walt Disney and his vision for Disneyland. It is how I find that a beyond very well diversified company can not keep the price at the flagship of the business empire somewhat within the reach of the average family.
People rightfully complain about how much it costs to attend a sporting event. How it is pricing them out of attending more games and thus buying food, souvenirs and the like. And it is true. But that is another post at another time.
Disneyland was the brainchild of Walt Disney, who has to go down in history as one of the greatest people the world has ever known. I mean that. He was a visionary. And Disneyland was his vision.
When you read the history of how much time he took to even come up with the idea, you realize that he wanted his baby to be something different. And that it was.
There was no other amusement park like it when it opened in 1955. And the whole concept of different "lands" was something unusual as well. When the park opened in 1955, there were four "lands":


And of course there is Main Street, U. S. A., the entrance to the park.
Eventually there would be more expansion, and eventually the whole other park, California Adventure.
Personally, I am not all that impressed with California Adventure but I know they have done more to it than the last time Mrs. RVFTLC and I went about five to seven years ago.
What made the original Disneyland unique was the admission and how people went on the rides available.
A nominal admission fee was charged and if you wanted to go on rides, you bought a ticket book similar to the one below;

The famous Disneyland ticket book. You will notice how they are lettered and lettered backwards. It was best to worst rides, so to speak and depending on one's own taste. From this has come the expression, "An E-ticket ride", meaning the best of whatever any given situation is.
This is how one did Disneyland when I was growing up.
But, in 1982, after Walt Disney had long been to the Great Beyond, this whole concept was eliminated.
No ticket books. No E-ticket ride. Nothing of the sort.
One paid a flat admission fee and could go on as many rides as much as they wanted as long as the park was opened.
In 1982, the flat admission price was $12. And it was still a relative bargain. But, since the ticket books were eliminated, prices have increased 26 times to the now current $96 dollars. Oh, and because Disney considers Disneyland and California Adventure as two separate entities, you have to pay $96 each park. That would make it $192 for one person to go to both parks. Now they do offer what is called a "Park-hopper" pass in which one can go to either park for two days and that is a $42 discount and only $150 per person.
Now each price increase has been an average of about $2.62c. But in the last four years, the price has increased $20. That is a five-dollar a year hike.
So lets take the family of four scenario.
Mom, dad, two kids, both under 10 years old.
Mom and dad, to go just to one park or the other will pay $192. For the two kiddies, at $90 each, that is $180. The total to walk in? A grand total of $372. And of course, you have to pay to park. And that also went up to $17. Make that $389 to park and walk into the gate. If the same family of four wanted to squeeze in both parks, plus parking, they would have to fork out a grand total of $605.
Six-hundred and five dollars for going to Disneyland and California Adventure?
In the recent past they have totally redone the Disneyland Hotel and added a hotel in California Adventure called the Grand Californian. And added attractions as well.
But the interesting little ticketing scheme that they have added is the annual pass. A pass that started out at $99 per year. Now it is a monster.
They went from an inexpensive pass to four-tiers and no more is any of them $99.
The least expensive one starts at $289. The next level is $379. The next level is $519 and the last one is $699. The least expensive one gives you 170 days, pre-selected, to go to both parks. Usually weekends and holidays are blacked-out. The next level is 215 pre-selected dates at both parks. The next higher level gets one 315 pre-selected dates at both parks. But if one is willing to part with $699, there are no blackout dates, you can go to both parks and free parking. And if that is not enough, you can make monthly payments on a credit card.
What is wrong with this picture?
What's wrong is the vision of Disneyland was not to make it an elite park that the upper-income and wealthy people could attend. It was reasonably priced so that many people, of almost all incomes and stations in life could attend.
The Disney Company is a huge multinational concern. They are involved in more than theme parks. They have stores, media, and are almost as much penetration as humanly possible.
So why not have the flagship of the empire stay to its roots and maintain affordability for most people and families?
Because I am told, it's all business.
Wait, aren't you the defender of free enterprise? Champion of capitalism? Doesn't what you are saying sound, well a little commie?
No, it is not at all.
For it is because of the Disney studios and Disneyland that there is a behemoth called the Disney company.
All I would like to see is that the company maybe try and realize that Disneyland, the original, is a special place. It is what started it all. It is where Walt Disney's dream of a wonderful, and yes affordable, amusement park like no other spawned all that there is in the Disney empire.
I think that it would send a signal of good will to the many fans that now stay away from Disneyland because they just can't even afford to walk in the door.
Now, I bet that you thought I was going somewhere else with this post, didn't you? Nope, not in the least.
I may cut back on the Satanland and Devil's Kingdom references on Facebook. Or keep it among a select group. But I am actually looking out for the folks and the real meaning of Disneyland before it is too late.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gov. Moonbeam Brown Is Back

Yes indeed you read it right about Gov. Jerry Moonbeam Brown.
Just as one thinks that Gov. Brown, at least on budget matters, is not as insane as his fellow Democrats in the state legislature, he pontificates on Globaloney Warming.
Specifically, that Los Angeles International Airport will be underwater as a result of Globaloney Warning.
In about 200 years.
The fact that Gov. Brown is mentioning the very distant possibility in a state budget news conference shows that he will not tone down in the least in the whole economic sellout of California to the Globaloney Warming regime.
The basis for Gov. Moonbeam's remarks are two recent reports about a large swath of glaciers in Antarctica that are collapsing irreversibly. In this report from The National Geographic, even those scientists discussing the matter admit it could take a minimum of 200 to a max of 900 years for the sea levels to rise as much as four feet around the world.
So it would take 200 years for the potential, not a guarantee, that sea levels around the world could rise up to four feet and Gov. Moonbeam feels the need to remind us of a few facts.
That LAX will be underwater. That San Francisco International Airport will be underwater. And the now closed San Onofre nuclear power plant will be underwater.
In 200 years.
Gov. Moonbeam was making the suggestion that it would cost billions to move the two airports.
Yet the reality is that no one knows what kind of modes of transportation we will actually have in 200 years.
Does anyone think that in 1800, even a small, minuscule minority thought that by the early 1900s, people would discover how to fly an airplane? That by 1950, air travel would bring much of the world together?
Or another 1800 scenario is did anyone think that cars would be the most popular form of transport for the masses?
The point is that to suggest that airplanes will still be in use as they are today is silly. And it is possible, no probable, that the San Onofre power plant that is now closed could be destroyed and the nuclear waste disposed of in a different way.
Is what Gov. Moonbeam trying to promote is a huge public works project based on so-so science? A huge project that, yes, would provide jobs that are desperately needed in California.
If the proposed bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco is any indication, I think not.
But for Gov. Moonbeam to make a possibly off-the-cuff remark makes me think that the Moonbeam is back!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Tea Party Candidate Loseth, A Tea Party Candidate Winneth

Last week around this time, many of us Tea Party supporters were at the very least disappointed in the North Carolina race for the United States senate as Speaker of the House Thom Tillis beat back a divided challenge in the Tar Heel state.
And judging from the leftywhore media, it was a huge loss for the Tea Party and a huge win for the senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.). And it was confirmed in the usual confines of the leftywhore media. In defense of Mr. Tillis, I don't think that North Carolina Republicans exactly nominated a total RINO* in the manner of maybe Mike Castle. Mr. Tillis is a solid conservative, but not exactly a fire-breathing, tried and true Tea Party type.
But tonight, Republican voters in Nebraska gave the Tea Party a substantive win in the candidacy of Ben Sasse.
As of this writing with about 80% of precincts reporting, Mr. Sasse is handily ahead of a late rush challenge by Sid Dinsdale with 50% of the vote to Mr. Dinsdale's 22%. In third place, yes you read that right, third place is the establishment-backed candidate, Shane Osborn with 21%. The rest of the vote is scattered between two also-rans with about seven percent of the remaining vote.
This race was much more animated than the North Carolina race.
The senate minority leader, Mr. McConnell, put all of his weight behind Mr. Osborn, the former state treasurer. He was helped out by Karl Rove and his American Crossroads group. Most of the Tea Party and aligned groups backed Mr. Sasse, the president of Midland Lutheran College. These groups helped raise $2,000,000 for the Sasse campaign. In fact, Mr. Dinsdale, former chair of Pinnacle Bank, was himself pretty RINO, definitely not right of center. He was a supporter of Obamacare. And yet between two establishment types, they could not unite to defeat Mr. Sasse. A late endorsement from the Omaha World-Herald may have helped Mr. Dinsdale to end up finishing in second place.
But here's the difference in North Carolina and Nebraska.
In North Carolina, the Tea Party candidate, Greg Bannon, was weak. And there was a third candidate, Pastor Mark Harris, that took away votes from Mr. Bannon. There was division among Tea Party voters.
In Nebraska, there was no such division on the Tea Party side. Most groups were united behind Mr. Sasse. Most establishment groups backed Mr. Osborn. And, as noted Mr. Dinsdale was able to gain some establishment-like support. The establishment ended up being divided.
This is why we have primaries.
It is the only way that we can take a look at candidates and see which one will be the best in a general election.
Check that.
On the Republican side, what conservative can be the best in a general election.
The fact is that this is good for the Republican party. It is the way to see how a candidate will react in a general election campaign.
And we will see a lot of this back and forth in the upcoming primaries.
In the end, it will be a Tea Party candidate loseth, a Tea Party candidate winneth.

*RINO-Republican In Name Only

How Can We Have That Race Conversation With Twits Like James Clyburn?

You know, the attorney general, Eric Holder, once that that Americans are afraid to have a serious conversation about race.
So, I bring you Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC).
Congresstool Clyburn is fourth in the Democrat party leadership in the House of Representatives.
I do not know why Congresstool Clyburn was asked about the South Carolina Senator, Tim Scott (R-SC), who is running for a full senate term. But he was asked. And here is a real starter about that race conversation:

“If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress.”

Get it?
It's not that he does not vote the party line. Its that he does not vote for or promote the race line.
The implication of Congresstool Clyburn is that for the most part, about 95% of that part, Blacks think and act exactly alike.
At least in South Carolina. And keep in mind that Sen. Scott is Black.
It does seem to be the case of voting patterns at least. It is estimated that well north of 90% of Black Americans did vote twice for Democrats in general and Barack Obama in particular. And I do get the voting for the Dear Leader, President Obama, the first time. Second time, not so much. Democrats in general I do not get either. But that is not the point.
The point is that people like Congresstool Clyburn make such an absurd, and quite frankly racist statement about a fellow Black American and the way that he does or does not vote.
But in the linked article, Roger Clegg of The Center For Equal Opportunity, he does make an observation about the likes of Congresstool Clyburn and the one-sided Democrat vote of Black Americans.
It's tribalism.

“It’s tribal. … It’s a step backwards from Martin Luther King’s dream [and from] maybe a couple of millennia. He (Clyburn) is saying that not only should individual African-American politicians not be allowed to vote their consciences or for what they think is the best policy for all their constituents, he’s also saying that individual voters are shackled to their respective skin colors and can vote only after asking themselves ‘What is best for my group.”

The tribalism is not unique to Blacks. Same can be said for Hispanics, the LGBT community, Asians, women. But for these groups, it is not as uniform as Black support for the Democrat party. It would really be news if an Asian, Hispanic, LGBT, or woman Democrat were to make such an absurd statement as did Congresstool Clyburn.
But it's what is the prevailing fact of the Democrat party. That Blacks will only get more of a piece of the American dream and a seat at the table if they are Democrats and vote Democrat.
So, if we are to have a serious conversation about race as the attorney general, Eric Holder, once said, how can we if it is not only so one-sided but one-sided to the point of the ridiculous.
The fact is that Sen. Scott maybe Black, but does not see everything through the prism of a Black experience. He is a man of the New South. A South that will elect him to a full term to the United States senate. Remember, Sen. Scott is running statewide. Congresstool Clyburn is a gerrymandered district so that he can win with relative ease. I think that Sen. Scott speaks more for the progress of Blacks than Congresstool Clyburn.
And what about the Dear Leader, President Obama, himself? How did he not win one but two national elections? Was it just on the backs of Black voters? Or just on a coalition of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, LGBT, women and labor unions? Did not some Whites vote for the Dear Leader, President Obama? Of course that is the case.
In general, Black Americans have made great advances in American life. Not just politically, but economically, in education and their general standard of living.
But there is no question that there have been horrible drawbacks.
It is a major drawback that up to seven out of ten child births among Black women are out of wedlock. And that Black women are more likely to have abortions than other groups. That Blacks are more likely than most groups to drop out of high school and thus never go to college. That Black men are more likely to spend a part of their life in jail. And yes, there is still some lingering of outright racism that reared its ugly head in the name of one Donald Sterling.
Not just electing a Black man to the presidency has even made a difference and in fact may have made the above worse.
So to have that honest conversation, especially among Blacks, why not two people like Congresstool Clyburn and Sen. Scott sitting down together and find some real common ground? Not just a photo-op session and play to their respective bases, but let it all hang out. Because I bet a dollar to a donut that they might just find out that they do agree on many things and can and should work together.
See, that is the conversation that needs to be had.
But if we have to vote our "race", then how can we expect people to talk to each other and not over each other?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Charlie Crist A Most Loathsome Politician

The former Florida governor, Charlie Crist, is quite possibly the most loathsome politician in the United States today.
In this short piece in The Daily Caller, Mr. Crist, a former Republican, Independent and now a Democrat, claims that the real reason he left the Republican party in 2010 is . . .get ready for it . . .raaaaaacists!
Remember, there are five a's in raaaaacists.
Yes, astonishingly, Mr. Crist, now running for governor of Florida again as a Democrat, blames Republican "activists" and their sheer hatred of the Dear Leader, President Obama, as the reason he could not take it anymore being a Republican.
So let me take you back to the 2010 Florida senate campaign.
Then Gov. Crist was the Republican governor of Florida and decided that he was bored with that position and announced that he was going to run for the Republican nomination for the federal senate. No problem. He has that right. That was in May, 2009. And in the same month, Marco Rubio announced he too was going to run for the senate seat being vacated by then-Sen. Bob Martinez. And I totally endorsed Mr. Rubio's candidacy. The reasons are at the link. As it turned out, it was providential to support Mr. Rubio for once he gained steam and overtook Mr. Christ in polls, once it became clear that Mr. Rubio was going to win, Mr. Crist saw the light, the error of his ways and announced that he was running for the seat as an Independent. Mr. Crist began a clear left turn by doing so. One big issue I noted here. But as The Daily Caller notes in this link to Buzzfeed, not exactly right-wing central, ol' Charlie has spent much of his political career flip-flopping on issues to suit where the wind was blowing in the Republican party. And he gained the support of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2010. Of course until it became clear that the rank and file supported Mr. Rubio. Mr. Rubio won the nomination handily, Mr. Crist became an independent and suddenly realized, no I am not a conservative but a "Barack Obama Democrat".
May I note here that all of those raaaaacist activists were pounding the pavement and working hard to vote for and nominate the Hispanic candidate, Mr. Rubio. Why those dasterly raaaaacist Republicans!
I guess that what it was is that they saved all the venom in their cold hearts for Barack Obama. Only because he was Black. Not that many, no most, no all his policies sucked.
It would be one thing if Mr. Crist was a moderate or even liberal Republican during his tenure as Florida attorney general and governor. But he wasn't. He ran as and governed as a conservative Republican and only began the left turn while running for senate. Because he had to contrast himself somehow with Mr. Rubio. And once he lost that election, he eventually made the transition complete and is now running as a left-wing Democrat for his old office. He has changed on every position that he once had as a Republican.
And he now is totally Barack Obama's homeboy.
The complete interview with Mr. Crist is here.
Here is a quote from Mr. Crist that is, well just so fake as he is:

“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there. was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”

Oh, please!
Running for office as a Republican, he sure as hell did not mind trying to win these raaaaacist activists over. And more than once. And he sure as hell did not mind taking campaign money for the raaaaacist activists.
There are many other politicians that have changed parties. Ronald Reagan is a pretty famous one. The current governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chaffee, is another who was a liberal Republican senator, ran for governor of Rhode Island as an Independent and became a Democrat as governor.
A former Vermont senator, the last Republican one, Jim Jeffords, also was a liberal Republican and became an Independent that caucused with the Democrats. The other way was former congressman and Texas senator Phil Graham who went from Democrat to Republican. A slew of mostly Southern Democrats switched parties in 1994 after their party went down in electoral flames. One of those still in office is Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama).
I don't mind honest people seeing that they no longer are comfortable in the party they once belonged to. Most of the time voters make the right judgement when they run for reelection or election to another office.
But Mr. Crist, he is just totally special. And he makes his real reason for getting out of the Republican party is because some activists, supposedly, are raaaaacists.
One only hopes that Florida Democrats see that Mr. Crist will turn on them if the political winds demand it. One hopes that the Florida Democrats will not put all their eggs in the Crist basket in an attempt to wrest the governor's office from the current Republican occupant, Rick Scott. If not, and the Florida Democrat voters nominate ol' Floppin'Charlie in their primary, they deserve what they get. A political opportunist who knows no bounds of being a worthless, loathsome politician.

The War Against Dr. Eric Walsh Continues

The Pasadena, California, Director of Public Health, Dr. Eric Walsh, is being persecuted for his personal beliefs to the point that it appears he will lose his position as the pound of flesh to shut up the "social justice" fanatics.'
Let's take a walk back to last week when I first wrote about the assault on Dr. Walsh. Please make sure to read the links.
Understand that Dr. Walsh was asked to be the Pasadena City College commencement speaker as a second choice. The reason that he was second choice is because the original gentleman that was asked, Dustin Lance Black, a PCC alumnus, Academy Award winner and openly gay, was unceremoniously disinvited. I don't know if Mr. Black was going to speak about homosexuality primarily, but the college got the heebie jeebies due to the scandal involving former professor, Hugo Schwyzer. And it does not help that Mr. Black had some racy photos on the internets.
Enter Dr. Walsh.
He was invited in place of Mr. Black to deliver the commencement address.
But the "social justice" crowd, led by a group called Students For Social Justice, decided to find some dirt on Dr. Walsh.
And boy, did they.
As noted in the link above, this group found some sermons that Dr. Walsh had given as a part-time minister of the Altadena Seventh-day Adventist church. And at least one sermon was about the evils of homosexuality. Again, look at the link for more information.
And the "social justice" crowd whipped the Pasadena citizenry into self-righteous wanting to get rid of the guy. Not for anything work related, but what are his religious beliefs.
Before I continue, I have written a couple of posts calling him out by his name not for his views on homosexuality and homosexuals, but his performance as Pasadena Director of Public Health and they are here and here. See, I care about what he does in his role as the Director of Public Health. What he says in his pulpit has not proven to be relevant.
But now that the "social justice" crowd has forced the city to have a full blown investigation of Dr. Walsh, of course they will find something, anything, to use when they do the inevitable and fire Dr. Walsh.
And it looks like they may have a smoking gun according to the local fish wrap, the Pasadena Star-News.
Yes, Dr. Walsh failed to file a disclosure form for outside income sources to prevent any potential conflict of interest. It is known as California form 700. It is not a bad thing, but the city had to know that he did not file the form from the time that he was hired in 2010. And it took until 2014 to discover this anomaly that could have been corrected under regular circumstances? Understand that Dr. Walsh is on administrative leave while the city manager, Michael Beck, completes an "investigation" that is supposed to focus only on whether the multiple controversial sermons affected his role as Public Health Director. But if there was no "investigation", no one would apparently know about Dr. Walsh' failure to file the California 700 form. That is what I get out of it.
I do not doubt that this is what is going to be used to rid the city of this otherwise decent employee. In this Star-News article it notes that Dr. Walsh has pretty much been an advocate for aspects of his job that probably conflicts with his religious views. Here is a money paragraph:

In contrast to his statements at the pulpit, at public events Walsh has spoken about the negative effects of discrimination and has championed progressive causes at the Public Health Department, including opening the state’s first city-run dental clinic for HIV patients.

See, his religious views did not affect his job as Public Health Director.
But the "social justice" police will have none of that.
Of course the AIDS Healthcare members chimed in at the city council meeting condemning Dr. Walsh as a pastor and saying, even though the evidence proves otherwise, that he just can't provide services unique to AIDS and or HIV positive patients.
A group from New York City, the Catholic League, weighed in on the issue because at least in one sermon, Dr. Walsh suggested that there are differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The Seventh-day Adventists are Protestant Christians. It may shock Bill Donohue that some Protestants still hold negative views about the Roman Catholic church, but there are. And again, I do not see any evidence that Dr. Walsh intentionally sought out Roman Catholics and openly or secretly discriminated against them due to them being Roman Catholic. But Mr. Donohue wants to discriminate as evidenced by this statement:

“The first I learned of Dr. Eric Walsh was last week when he was asked to give the commencement address at Pasadena City College. After reading some of his hateful, and astonishingly ignorant, statements on Catholicism, I wondered why anyone would invite him to speak anywhere, never mind a college. Dr. Walsh is not fit to be the head of Pasadena’s Public Health Department. It is not worth attempting to rebut the man’s bigotry, so outlandish is it. Anyone whose judgment is that impaired has no legitimate role to play in public life.”

Yes, I do agree that they are probably ignorant statements about the Roman Catholic church. But to say that because of that a person has "no legitimate role to play in public life" is also very ignorant.
Say, Mr. Donohue, what do you think of you coreligionist, actor Mel Gibson and his anti-Protestant and anti-Semitic views? Views based on his being raised a very ardent Roman Catholic. Are you happy that he has been shunned by the entertainment industry? That he cannot work and provide for his family? Get back to me, Mr Donohue.
If that is not enough, it appears that his own denomination is turning on him.
Once again in the Star-News, they report that the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists are not only saying that Dr. Walsh does not represent the views of the church, but that he is not even ordained or hold ministerial credentials of the church. Yet the Conference pays Dr. Walsh's salary.
Can I get a Whiskey? Tango? Foxtrot? on that one?!
Betty Cooney is a spokesman for the Conference and wrote this statement to the Star-News:

“He does not hold ministerial credentials from the Adventist Church, does not speak on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, and as far as we know, does not represent his views as anything other than his own.”

Maybe not completely accurate. For you see, the SDA church is pretty clear about homosexuality according to their own 28 Fundamental Beliefs. It does not explicitly come out against homosexuality in general, but it is pretty clear that marriage only is the way to have sexual relations. And in this from Wikipedia, the fount of all information, they state that the church does in fact have a very strong stand against homosexuality. And yep, they do refer to the Roman Catholic church as The Great Whore of Babylon. So me thinks that Miss Cooney needs to take a primer on her denomination's basic beliefs.
So yes, it appears that through no fault of his own, Dr. Walsh was asked to be a replacement speaker at the PCC commencement as a second choice. And because the first choice was not properly vetted by the powers that be in PCC, Dr. Walsh has been the victim of "social justice".
It does not matter that there is no, I mean no evidence, that Dr. Walsh let his clearly very traditional if not unusual Christian beliefs affect his job as the Pasadena Director of Public Health.
A question I have is this.
What if PCC had invited Dr. Walsh in the first place, would there have been such a hue and cry from the "social justice" crowd? The Roman Catholics? Gay rights activists?
I think not.
But don't worry.
In the name of "social justice" a man that appeared to meet job requirements at the time of hire in 2010 and had no complaints about his job performance in any way will be ousted because of some people that needed a pound of flesh. The "social justice" crowd.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Hmm, A Lesson Not Learned In The Sterling Kerfuffle

OK, it appears that one thing about the whole Donald Sterling kerfuffle that I forgot to mention in this post is the following.
While I provided a pretty comprehensive history of Mr. Sterling's pretty public transgressions, the fact is that the revelations of his mistress, V. Stiviano, was done in private conversations that she was tape recording. In California, one can not tape a phone conversation unless both parties agree to it. Miss Stiviano claims that Mr. Sterling did approve of it. But we only have Miss Stiviano's word for it. So it is very possible that Miss Stiviano did the recording without sufficient approval of Mr. Sterling.
In other words, while there is ample history of Mr. Sterling's racism and misogyny, this is what has made the NBA seek to remove him as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Now, what a Pasadena city employee does when he is not on city time is coming back to bite him in much the same way as it did Mr. Sterling.
The Pasadena director of public health, Dr. Eric Walsh, was going to give the commencement speech at Pasadena City College later this month. Now Dr. Walsh replaced one Dustin Lance Black who is an Academy Award-winning screen writer and alumnus of PCC. And he happens to be an open homosexual. And there are racy photos of Mr. Black and a former boyfriend floating around the internets. And PCC found a way to "disinvite" him as this article notes. Now to be fair, PCC has already had a scandal of sorts with now former professor Hugo Schwyzwer and his inviting a porn actress to speak at one of his controversial classes. Read the link for why it was controversial. Now when PCC decided to "disinvite" Mr. Black, one can cut the college slack due to their previous seemingly inaction in the Schwyzer affair.
But not to this student group called Students For Social Justice.
Led by fourth year student Sarah Belknap, the group decided to take to the internets to find something dirty on Dr. Walsh.
I have to digress a moment on this point about Miss Belknap.
PCC is a two-year community college and Miss Belknap is in her fourth year. Maybe if she hit the books and study a little harder, she would take her social justice wares to a four year university. Just sayin. . .
Well, Dr. Walsh is a Seventh-Day Adventist preacher and needless to say, they found plenty of his sermons that were, well not exactly politically correct.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Walsh spoke on such topics as the evils of the one-time hit television show Will And Grace. The Will character was openly gay. And Dr. Walsh, associate pastor at Altadena Seventh-Day Adventist church, said this is in a sermon:

"Today you have whole shows like 'Will & Grace' where the whole theme is around gayness -- if there is such a thing. How does the devil do it?…A slippery slope, he doesn’t give you whole lot of it all at once, it's just a little bit at a time. And you become kind of immunized to something that was once revolting to American society.”

So, he is not a fan of Will And Grace and thinks that it sets a bad example for Americans. Again, this was not said in his capacity as the Pasadena director of public health but as a minister. In fact according to this in our local fish wrap, the Pasadena Star-News, Dr. Walsh spoke in his capacity as director of public health at All Saints Episcopal Church, a very modernist Episcopal congregation that has and does perform same-sex marriages. And he has spoken at the Mayor's prayer breakfast on the need to maintain the multicultural feel of Pasadena. And that discrimination can lead to public health problems. And he even quoted Oprah Winfrey and Tupac Shakur.
However, in the pulpit, he did not care for such people and groups that he believes are bringing down America's morality, such as it is.
In other words, in Dr. Walsh's capacity as director of public health, a job he has had since 2010, he is doing and saying all the right things. But as a minister, he is not sure all about the things he comes to understand are bringing down his nation and yes, his city.
In other words, to people like Miss Belknap and the Students For Social Justice ilk, people like Dr. Walsh who do find a way to thread the needle of his primary job for the city and his belief that God wants a different world, especially regarding moral issues, can not do both.
And the response to the social justice crowd is putting Dr. Walsh on paid administrative leave by city manager, Michael Beck, while the city "investigates" whether or not what he said as a private citizen would affect his job.
I put "investigates" in quotes because I am pretty certain that the city of Pasadena will find a way to make Dr. Walsh go away. They will be more afraid of the social justice crowd rather than whether or not Dr. Walsh has done a good job.
And what does this have to do with Donald Sterling?
How we have come to find out about both Mr. Sterling and Dr. Walsh.
A private and or series of private discussions are just that. Private. It does not give the right for someone to tape record it without permission of both parties. Even if in the end it is for some good. The law in California is very clear.
In the case of Dr. Walsh, he was unfortunately a victim of a college administration that got caught with it's pants down, so to speak. They disinvited an openly gay speaker for possibly having racy photos online. They asked Dr. Walsh to be a second choice. Because Mr. Black raised the "they don't want me cause I'm gay card" and whipped up the social justice crowd, Dr. Walsh not only has been scrapped as the commencement speaker, but Mr. Black, of course, was reinstated as the commencement speaker. And because of the social justice crowd they may cost Dr. Walsh his job because when he was on HIS OWN time, he spoke honestly, as he saw it on such hot-button so called social issues.
Mr. Sterling has a record as a racist and misogynist and one who openly discriminated against minorities and families with children in his rental properties. Dr. Walsh has no such record. But as a minister of the Gospel, as he sees it homosexuality is wrong and he spoke that truth. Mr. Sterling is going to be forced to sell his basketball team not for any of the past evils, but for what he said to a mistress on tape. Dr. Walsh will possibly  lose his position as director of public health not for anything job related but what he has said outside his capacity of the director of public health.
The lesson we have not learned it appears is that nothing is private anymore. Nothing.