Monday, March 30, 2015

You Know The Real Story Of The Indiana Religious Freedom Law? Mike Pence

It's an interesting aspect that the discussion going all over the internets over the passage and subsequent signing of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act has not even brought up one aspect that I absolutely believe is the real issue here.
The real issue is the governor who signed the legislation, Mike Pence.
Now this post is not going to delve into the merits of the law or not. I will provide this link by a gay conservative in favor of same-sex marriage to give a case for the legislation being OK. But there is the angst by the other side. And this link gives one of the reasons they do not like this legislation.
Now why is Gov. Pence the real story here?
Because he has expressed some interest in running for president. If that were to pass, the Republican governor would be the 318th non-announced potential Republican candidate for president.
Let's look at a fact.
Now 20 states and the federal government have some kind of RFRA on their books. The law is designed to allow religious groups to use religion as a legitimate defense if they break the law in any way. 
In essence it is to protect the American Indians who use peyote, which is illegal, as part of their religious ceremonies. It protects Christian Scientists, who do not believe in modern medicine, when their belief is challenged in court. In the case of CS', it is usually when a child's life is in danger and when modern medicine has an overwhelming chance to help lead to a full recovery. What about Jehovah's Witnesses who do not believe in blood transfusions? Sikh men and or teen boys that, as a part of their faith, wear a dagger on their person.?
In other words, this is very broad based.
However, suddenly the gay left has realized, OMG, that Indiana has jumped on board with this clarification and protection for Christians that have a business, such as bakeries and or wedding photographers, who chose to not provide the service to those same-sex couples due to their sincere belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
The rub is that it really just provides a defense and a day in court for those mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The same thing applies to the groups mentioned in the paragraph before that one.
What it does not do is give people a right to deny service based on flimsy belief. But that belief must be real and provable.
It is important to give background on this to understand the issue at hand.
So, when Gov. Pence was running for governor, this is one of the things that he ran on. That he supported the legislation and would sign it. Keep in mind that again, there are 19 other states that have similar legislation. There was not this kind of backlash against all the other states save for Arizona. In that state, under a ton of pressure from the usual suspects, then Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill. Here is a map to see exactly what states have similar laws.

The dark green state have RFRAs. Interesting that there are several pretty blue states as part of the 19 other states. Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Actually, the accompanying story is worth a read.
Back to point.
There was not one bit of a secret that Gov. Pence was for this and signed it.
And the left, especially the gay-friendly left went on an unbelievable screed as if this just happened out of nowhere.
It didn't.
But what makes the reaction interesting is how the venom is out for Gov. Pence.
Since he became governor, there has not been much to nail him on that could stick in the world of the left. Gov. Pence served in congress and gave up a sure seat for as long as he wanted it to run for and win the governor's seat in Indiana. He is pretty popular in his state. It is this reason that Gov. Pence has been on a fair number of people's lists of serious GOP presidential candidates. Now it's not like there has been a Pence for Prez bandwagon bursting at the seems. Gov. Pence is but one name in a large mix. But what would happen if he caught on and actually decided to run for president?
Nothing like a little bit of making Gov. Pence being Bull Conner and making Indiana the Alabama of the Upper Midwest in regard to businesses raging to deny services to gays, lesbians and all others in between.
One of the reasons the opponents have to use against the law is the fact that Indiana as a state does not have anti-discrimination laws. Yes, localities do, but not the whole state. Thus all those anti-gay bigots can whip out their signs that they don't want to serve gays, lesbians and all in between. Maybe throw in other liberals and Godless commies too.
Judging by the hysteria of many big businesses, it appears that there is not a slew of bigoted sexists using religion to deny a meal to anyone.
In 2015 America, does anyone really believe that a major company would use the RFRA to legally discriminate based on religion? Of course people will disagree on what constitutes discrimination. The point of the legislation is that those that have a genuine, deeply held religious belief have the right to defend themselves if they do deny a very specific service. As Christian Scientists do. As Jehovah's Witness' do. As Sikhs do. As American Indian religions do.
But what is really at play is whether or not Gov. Pence wants to run for president. If he does, the left is prepared to hang this one bill he signed as proof positive he is not fit to run for let alone be president. It would be something for Gov. Pence to consider in running for the presidency. And while he made a somewhat weak case for the bill on the Sunday political gab-fests, he has written this article to appear in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal (sorry there is a pay-wall, but excerpts appear here at the Pence Facebook page). I think that it presents the bill as it is supposed to be and is better than his appearances on national television on Sunday.
The moral is that if there is any chance of a solid conservative thinking about running for president, he better not tangle with the left unprepared. Mike Pence, not the law itself, is the real issue no matter what you will read and or hear.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Act Of Kindness, An Overreaction And The Social Justice Warriors Go Wild

This is a story that will by tomorrow, if not later today, that will gain national attention as it involves a restaurant, a woman doing a good thing and a homeless panhandler caught in the crossfire of the Social Justice Warriors and the rest of us.
This past Saturday, Florentina Albert, and her husband went to have a family breakfast at a local Pasadena, California family restaurant, Conrad's. It is been a fixture on the northeast corner of Lake and Walnut Avenue for decades. Neither Mrs. RVFTLC or I have ever been there. Every so often, we are thinking about going there, but do not.
Mrs. Albert saw a homeless man named Michael. The man asked Mrs. Albert if she could but him French Toast. She said sure. Her and her husband and Michael all went in. According to Mrs. Albert's account, she said that she would like to buy Michael a meal and to make sure that he would sit at the counter to eat his meal. A seemingly decent request.
It went downhill from there.
Mrs. Albert says that the owner gave Michael the food and asked him to take the food to go. And she was not happy with that and her husband saw Michael waiting to cross the street. She chased him down, told him to come back and confronted the owner. His response clearly was one of frustration:

"We don’t want him here. Why not? Michael sits outside and panhandles, bothering our customers asking for food.”

Does anyone doubt this?
Save that thought for later.
After a little more conversation, the owner relented and let Michael eat his meal. But not without the warning, "Today is the last time">
Mrs. Albert originally shared all of this on Facebook on a Pasadena page. But she also took photos. Of the receipts and a note she wrote of her displeasure.

I will assume that the first receipt is that for Michael's meal. It is not for French Toast, but hey, he changed his mind. And Mrs. Albert didn't care and wanted to willingly pay for it.
If anyone reads this blog with any regularity, I am not very sympathetic to the homeless because we as a society are allowing them to be out there and in most cases not getting the proper help that they need.
In this case, I actually side with both people.
I do get where the owner is coming from. I don't like going somewhere and before I get in the door, I am accosted by a homeless person. Most will ask for change, but there are many that ask for dollars. Not just a buck but dollars. Usually its a buck or five bucks. I always say no and that is no matter what. And I am usually not a happy camper to be accosted in the first place. Mrs. RVFTLC is more open to being sympathetic and has helped me at least try to have compassion about the homeless. But the problem has grown a lot here in Pasadena. I have lived here for 13 years and it is clear that there is a larger problem. Ask any member of the Pasadena police department. They will not speak on the record and it is like anything else there is some variance of opinion but they all will admit that the problem has grown, especially since the Gold Line light rail train from Los Angeles to here opened up. While most are not overly aggressive, many are. As I noted, they want more than the change you may have in your pocket. And many of these homeless are addicts, mentally ill or just plain not wanting to deal with life. The families that may get to a terrible condition of homelessness are much, much lower than we are led to believe by homeless advocates.
So, the unidentified owner of this family restaurant deals with Michael, or someone like Michael, almost every day. And there is no doubt that they scare a fair share of customers off.
But the unidentified owner could have dealt with the matter differently.
He did not need to be abrupt for after all, Mrs. Albert was taking responsibility for Michael by paying for his bill and I am sure watching for him to see how he would be in regards to the other customers. Now I do not know what Michael looked like. How he was dressed. Whether or not he was somewhat clean or dirty and smelly beyond belief. He should have taken the initiative to personally go to where Mrs. Albert was sitting with her husband and explained that although a nice gesture, Michael is a "regular" and does this all the time and that he will let Michael have his meal at the counter but it's probably not a good idea to do this again. If Mrs. Albert is a regular, I have no doubt she is, the owner should be more thoughtful.
As Mrs. Albert was actually doing something that many homeless advocates recommend. Offering to buy a meal, or in this case she was asked by Michael, instead of giving some loose change or dollars. It is a way to test if a homeless person is really hungry or just wanting money for other things. She had a moment of compassion for Michael and decided not just to pay for the meal but told him to come in with them and have the hot meal at the counter of the restaurant. She gave a down and out man a moment of dignity.
I don't question either person's motive.
The restaurant owner is doing two things. Looking out for his customers and, like it or not, trying to make a buck the way that he best knows how.
Mrs. Albert wanted to do something awesome for a man that needed a lift up. Even if it is for a few moments of time on a Saturday morning.
What is irritating about this is the Social Justice Warriors, who have no clue what it is like to run any business let alone a family restaurant, are leading the charge of condemnation against Conrad's. As I noted, this story will get bigger as the local ABC television station had this story on the 11pm news last night. It will be nationwide before you know it.
The SJW crowd loves to show how much they care for the cause they are fighting for, but how many really get both sides of such a story? I get Mrs. Albert being upset and not wanting to eat there again. But here is an opportunity for a businessman to show some good will and reach out to Mrs. Albert and at least try to make things right. Maybe they can do something good together.
I don't think that the owner is getting it, however.
In the aforementioned story on the 11pm news, an attorney spoke for the owner of the restaurant. Not dissing an attorney, but at this point the owner needs to show his face and explain his side of the story. It just is bad optics.
Here's something the SJW crowd does not get or care in reality.
Homelessness is one of those problems where there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are varying degrees of how to deal with the different kinds of homeless. Mentally ill. Addicts. A combination of both. Transients. And the few but very sad cases of families caught in this economy.
Neither they or businesses can look at the issue and offer anything beyond the bromides. It does not help when people who have probably never set foot into Conrad's use social media to diss the restaurant and give it poor ratings on outlets like Yelp. The owner feels cornered and that he is convinced he did nothing wrong.
An act of kindness and an overreaction by a frustrated businessman should not be so blown out of proportion but some cooler heads should prevail and maybe, just one time something good can come out of such a situation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Starbucks "Encourages" Baristas To Discuss Race Relations; What Can Go Wrong?!

Good Lord, I swear that Starbucks is doing everything in it's immeasurable power to discourage me from remaining a customer.
Really, I mean I don't care that there about 50 Starbucks in my hometown of Pasadena, California. For if the latest attempt at feasting on a festering social issue as race relations by having baristas write a message, "Race Together" and encourage customers to discuss their views on race relations continues, many customers will finally say enough is enough with the fricken social activism.
OK, OK, I get it. Starbucks' CEO, Howard Schultz, is a big liberal. And this is not his first foray into using Starbucks not just to make a buck but to do so on the back of controversial issues.
One thing we can all agree on is that race relations in the United States is at the lowest it has been in my 50 years of God's Green Earth.
Blacks against Whites.
Whites against Blacks.
Hispanics against Blacks.
Blacks against Hispanics.
Whites against Hispanics.
Hispanics against Whites.
And so on, and so on and so on.
So Mr. Schultz seems to think that if his mostly White, hipster crew of baristas (also known as coffee makers for the regular folks) just write a smarmy, sentimental message of "Race Together" and encourage people to talk about their "race journey" then he is in for a rude awakening.
Picture this scenario.
Some Black gal steps into a Starbucks in Urbanville, USA. Let's say her name is Azelia Banks. You know who she is, right? She is a a rapper. In an interview with Playboy magazine, she made it clear what she hates about the United States. It's us eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll WHITE Americans! Here is the inflammatory comment:

"I hate everything about this country,"Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma -- that's really America."

Yeah, so Miss Banks steps into the Starbucks and makes her request. The young, White hipster with his beard and horned-rimmed glasses gets her order, probably all wrong, and writes the requisite "Race Together". Miss Banks reads it and, well I'm sure there will be an intellectual discourse that probably would include the police department of Urbanville, USA. And probably see the hipster dude carted off to jail for his trouble.
Somehow, I see this happening all across the United States. Not necessarily angry, but with many customers saying that their views on race relations are not the business of some barista at Starbucks.
You know what those customers care about? The barista getting their order right. They don't care if said barista is name the race group. The average customer is shopping their for a specific service.
COFFEE. And COFFEE related products. Maybe some FOOD to go with that.
The average customer is not going there for discussion on current events with a server and fancy title. Really, we are not.
I like Starbucks coffee. Yeah, so sue me. And I just want to get a large coffee most of the time when I partake going there. Maybe I want a  large Frappacino. Oh, and since I am a simple guy, it's small, medium and large. Not Tall, Venti and whatever large is. I don't care who provided the coffee. I don't care if it is "fair trade", free trade or whatever. I do not care what Starbucks does in the community. I don't care what cause their management thinks I should care about.
I am there for a product. I am there to use the free wi-fi while I am enjoying me drink. If I have time to stick around.
It is so pretentious  people like Mr. Schultz to use his angst and self-flagellation about race relations to all but force employees to start a "conversation" with someone on race relations.
What would happen if a Black employee wanted to start a race conversation with a seemingly nice White guy? What if it turned out that he was the local chair of the Ku Klux Klan and used this tender moment to explain to said Black employee why he and all Blacks are sub-human and if he had his way, they would all be shipped back to the African continent.
How about an Asian employee starting the conversation with a tatted-out, shaved head Hispanic customer? Yeah, somehow I don't think it would go all that well as there is already resentment in the area I live among non-Asians about their seemingly strong economic power over other race groups including Whites and, and ethnic Jews.
Oh, that would also be an awesome conversation. Any group suggesting that Jews have unfair advantages and that really, they control everything.
Do you see how such an idea is so bad? Do you, Mr. Schultz?
There is a place and time for any discussion. But not in such a way at a business that depends on goodwill to all people. All potential customers. To bring up such a alienating issue is beyond asking for trouble.
If this goes as well as I expect it will, Starbucks may lose a lot of customers. Customers that they should be listening to and not disrespecting.
What can go wrong with a Starbucks barista wanting to discuss race relations? Everything and anything.

GOP Rep. Aaron Schock Resigns From Congress

Embattled GOP Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) announced today that he is resigning from congress as questions have embroiled the congressman over using taxpayer and campaign funds for remodeling his Washington office, taking trips that were questionable.
The fact is that evidence was mounting that Rep. Schock was fast and loose with money for himself. In the linked article are other stories about a clear pattern of Rep. Schock taking plane trips with heavy-hitting campaign contributors. Also, the cost and Downton Abbey style of his office remodel was exorbitant, even by Washington standards.
One of the youngest members of congress, Rep. Schock was emerging as a foreign policy hawk. But getting fast and loose with money is not a good thing and it is clear that he saves having the Republican majority in the house of representatives from doing an investigation from the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee. But he still could face potential charges as the Federal Election Commission and the Justice department could continue investigating Rep. Schock.
Good that Rep. Schock resigned.
Look, the GOP can not claim to a party of reform and have a potential major league crook be the face of the party. We can not say we are fighting corruption while having a member all but stick his middle-finger in the face of the taxpayers.
We conservatives must hold our people to the high standards we set for them. No excuses. If we do not then there truly is not one difference between the Democrats and Republicans.
This is a message to other Republicans who think that they can pull off this kind of corruption and think that they can get away with it. They can not. Not in this age of social media. A social media that the narcissistic Rep. Schock used and ended up being the albatross that brought him down.
One less Corruptican like Rep. Aaron Schock in congress is better for all.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How Does A Conservative Vote And Participate In A Liberal City?

I know, I know; why would a conservative even live in a liberal city, right?
Well, unlike many on the other side, we conservatives can appreciate a good city despite it's politics. We can even find some agreement with political opponents if it serves the interest of the city on the whole. And some on the other side will work with those of us who self-identify as conservative to reach such a goal.
This past Tuesday were the municipal elections for my hometown of Pasadena, California. The Crown City. Home of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game on New Year's Day.
We had elections for mayor, several city council seats and two school board seats.
And let me be clear that there was no self-identified conservative running for anything. Yes, there was a Republican who ran for mayor, Bill Thomson. But in the six-candidate field, he was the only one. And because in this election the winner must win 50% plus one, that did not happen. And in one city council race, it did not happen either. Thus we move onto round two on April 21. Here are the election results.
The leader of the mayor's race is a city council member, Terry Tornek. He is an establishment type as he really has not many new ideas and is fine with the status quo. Sure, he pays lip service to some liberal issues such as raising the minimum wage to a "livable" wage of $15 an hour. And he speaks of supporting public safety employees (fire and police), a more conservative issue, yet offers no ideas to fully fund and staff such departments.
But I assure you that the second place finisher, another city councilman, is much more of a true-believer liberal.
That is Jacque Robinson.
She is totally down with the $15 "living" wage scam. She is one of those that does not think we have a problem in staffing and compensation for public safety employees. And she is definitely anti-police. But worse is, like Mr. Tornek, she has a large role in the $6,400,000 embezzlement scandal that is gripping our city. If you are interested in comprehensive coverage, there are numerous stories about it here.
Make no mistake, Miss Robinson will definitely move Pasadena even further to the left.
Since I am extremely concerned about public safety, I think that Mr. Tornek will address the problem much more favorably than Miss Robinson.
And if one does not believe that there are problems with the police and fire departments, one should read this article as well as this article in the Pasadena Weekly. The Weekly is not exactly pro-police so if they are disturbed enough about things in the department as well as the fire department, one should take it seriously.
Like I said, there are issues that neither candidate will address that I think are important as a conservative. So it is a tough one for me. But in having conversations with neighbors and police personnel, public safety is the issue I will focus on like a laser beam and as such, I will end up voting for the lesser of two evils.
I will vote for Terry Tornek for mayor of Pasadena in the runoff election.
For conservatives, we have to narrow down to one major issue that can unite the community. We can't go on some esoteric approach and run campaigns that are guaranteed to be losing efforts. Since conservatives can get behind support for public safety, we have to find candidates that will offer strong support for the most important services a city must provide.
Another way to determine who to support is to go to the website of a candidate and see who endorses the candidate.
In the case of Miss Robinson, it is a veritable who's who of every left-wing group one can imagine. And to be honest, a lot of endorsements are from a lot of people and groups outside of the city. And it should be noted that while she does have union support, two unions not supporting are the police and fire unions.
Looking at Mr. Tornek's endorsements, it is clear that he is focusing on people within the city and not any particular group or party. To me, a good sign. It shows that Mr. Tornek is more focused on Pasadena and our unique issues.
And while at the website, see what issues a candidate wants to discuss their position on. For instance, Mr. Tornek addresses that there are new kinds of crime and wants to work with the police department to address those crimes. And while overall crime has gone down, there has been a very recent uptick in crime including shootings and murders. On the other hand, Miss Robinson looks at the police as glorified social workers rather than the last line of defense between reasonable order and anarchy. And Miss Robinson thinks that she is also on the local school board as she wants the city to partner with the public schools in a way that is frankly out of the purview of the city council.
Before any conservative or Republican says why does it matter, a liberal Democrat is going to win anyway, we have to recognize we will not be taken seriously if we do not engage in the process. Also, in California all elected officials are supposed to be non-partisan up to state assembly and further up the chain. Thus a winning candidate can be held accountable to issues of importance to conservatives/Republicans who participate by voting and or even volunteering for the candidate closest to what we stand for.
That is how a conservative and or Republican participates and votes in a liberal city.