Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pat Sajak For California Governor?

With the California governor, Jerry Moonbeam Brown, being term-limited out of office in 2018, no time like now to begin to see a replacement for the four-term left-wing governor.
So why not Pat Sajak?!

Pat Sajak?!
Isn't he the dude that hosts the Wheel Of Fortune game show?
And what, pray tel, makes him worthy of consideration for California governor? Haven't we already had an actor screw up the state once?
Normally I would be in agreement.
But Mr. Sajak is NOT Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Well, Mr. Sajak is a Republican, right?
Yes, he is.
So he must be a squish, right? Just like Benedict Arnold, right?
In reading this I do not think so in the least.
Mr. Sajak is a solid conservative.
One huge difference is that Mr. Sajak is, to be blunt, a Globaloney Warming/Climate change denier. And while not a certified meteorologist, Mr. Sajak was a weather reporter for KNBC channel 4 in Los Angeles before he made it big in Wheel Of Fortune land. Along the way one has to assume he learned a thing or two about weather. And where it all fits in on the great ecological debate of this era.
Mr. Sajak is not shy about the fact he believes in what we now call American Exceptionalism. Here is from the profile article:

"The Wright Brothers, what was it, 1903, they got about 20 feet in the air and went about 180 feet. Sixty-six years later we put a man on the moon and brought him back. Oh, and in the meantime we fought two world wars and fought a great depression."

A very short, succinct history of the United States in the 20th century. I would add that, under Ronald Reagan, the United States defeated and literally ended expansionist Soviet communism.
Mr. Sajak is a college dropout but serves on the board of Hillsdale College. And a vice-chairman, no less.
Unlike Benedict Arnold, who ran for California governor on a lark, I would expect Mr. Sajak to think about it with seriousness. He is 68 years old and a very young looking one at that. He would be about 70 years old if he were to take the challenge. And he is not annoying about his politics. It rarely, if ever, shows up on Wheel Of Fortune. One of the extreme times it did it was not so political as it was somewhat endearing. Mr. Sajak was talking to a contestant and he said to the contestant "You're engaged - some woman agreed to marry you!" the man told Mr. Sajak, "Some gentleman." to which Mr. Sajak retorted in an innocuous way, "Oh, I'm sorry - wrong again. I had a 50-50 shot." Of course the gay crusaders noticed it during the summer reruns and gave Mr. Sajak a hard time. When Mr. Sajak is not hosting a television gold mine, he is doing some writing over at the Ricochet conservative website.
Mr. Sajak is a lot like Ronald Reagan in that he does not take himself seriously but the ideas matter to him.
But in a clearly moribund California Republican party, he very well could be a shot in the arm in making the party truly competitive statewide.
While he is not thinking about it now, Mr. Sajak has nothing to prove in Wheel Of Fortune land. It is more successful than he ever imagined. Mr. Sajak literally saved the show. He is a wealthy man.
Maybe it will be time for Mr. Sajak to save California from the excesses of the leftist power structure.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kevin McCarthy In Speaker Race

No surprise as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield, Ca.) announced that he will run in the election to replace John A. Boehner as speaker of the house.
In Rep. McCarthy's announcement, he sounded the right themes. And he did address the growing chasm between the GOP base voters and the representatives in Washington, D. C. in both the house and the senate:

 "If elected speaker, I promise you that we will have the courage to lead the fight for our conservative principles and make our case to the American people. But we will have the wisdom to listen to our constituents and each other so that we always move forward together. I look forward to fighting for our conservative principles."

Forgive us in the rank and file but part of the problem is that Rep. McCarthy is a part of the GOP house leadership. The same one that has been led by John Boehner. The same leadership that ignored the base. The same leadership that cannot point to a meaningful, conservative accomplishment under this leadership.
It is possible that Rep. McCarthy, watching what happened to Mr. Boehner, gets the message. Rep. McCarthy has the chance to make amends with conservatives in the congress by not punishing opposition to leadership. And pursuing measures that conservatives want to see at least come to a vote. And to use his bully pulpit to pressure the senate GOP leadership to take up some of if not all the measures that go that way.
There will be more than Rep. McCarthy running for sure. It all depends on if conservatives can, once and for all, rally behind one candidate.
Are you ready for another election campaign?!

How Boehner Screwed Up The GOP

Well, it's not all John A. Boehner's fault as much as the wing of the GOP that continues to pretty much ignore the base and pursue a "we're better at running the Welfare State than the Democrats" strategy.
Yesterday, the soon to be former speaker of the house took to the Sunday morning snore-fests to, essentially, diss the conservative base not just of the rank and file but of his own GOP caucus itself.
On Face The Nation, Mr. Boehner hung out the white flag in an obnoxious manner:

"And so, we've got groups here in town, members of the house and senate here in town, who whipped people into a frenzy believing that they know - they know - are never going to happen."

Great, Mr. Boehner. Then why are there two parties in the first place? Talk about feeding into the conspiracy theories. We give you a substantial majority in the house. We give Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a majority in the senate. And now you tell us it was all on falsehoods? Now you tell us that we need a Republican president; No kidding, Sherlock?! And a supermajority in both the house and senate. For what? To just drip the socialism slowly or to actually do what we, the voters, want?
I get it that there is a Democrat in the White House, the Dear Leader, President Obama. If Sen. McConnell had testes, he would force the nuclear option and block filibusters and send some of the legislation to the Dear Leader, President Obama, and let him veto it. That is what the Democrats did to then President Ford after the 1974 mid-term elections when they sent bill after bill that President Ford vetoed. Some were over ridden and became law. Other vetoes were sustained.
Taylor Millard over at Hot Air explains part of the problem and that is people being elected to do one thing, stay in Washington, D. C. way too long and become part of the problem.
John Boehner is but a perfect example of such a problem.
Mr. Boehner was elected in 1990 and joined with the Newt Gingrich forces that eventually ousted long-time house minority leader, Robert Michel. And he was all in on the Contract With America that was the cornerstone of the Republicans taking the house of representatives in 1994 for the first time since the 1950s. And when he saw that Mr. Gingrich was becoming politically toxic, Mr. Boehner was part of the so-called group that  led to the ouster of Mr. Gingrich as speaker.
So, Mr. Boehner for a while knew how to deal with the internal politics of the GOP caucus. And he moved up the ladder in leadership. And of course in 2010, he became the speaker of the house and the game seemed to change for Mr. Boehner, already a house member for 20 years.
Instead of talking about the efforts to fight the so-called health care "reform" and the other multitude of excesses of Team Obama, the is what Mr. Boehner thinks are accomplishments.

The Ryan-Murray budget and or sequestration. 

Extending most of the George W. Bush tax cuts.

Passage of the so-called "Doc-fix" bill. 

Mr. Millard, as I am, is not impressed with this record of accomplishment. I suspect most members of the house are not impressed either. And the rank and file GOP voter, forget it.
The problem is that there is just this obsession about the "institution" and "process" among the GOP leadership. Thus what happens is the conservative message is co-opted for elections and then we get crap. All the "accomplishments" Mr. Boehner cites are beyond inside baseball. Did Mr. Boehner have a tax reform plan? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! How about a plan to at the very least force some reform of Obamacare? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Those are but two issues that separate the GOP from the Democrats. And yet, yet nothing! NOTHING!
Now to many voters, the GOP is not a party of reform but of basically greasing the wheels for their clients.
THAT is how Mr. Boehner, and Sen. McConnell are screwing up the GOP.
I pleased that Mr. Boehner is retiring but mad that he did not appreciate the mandate that he was given to be bold and lead. He became the very establishment that he fought against in his early years.
Whoever replaces Mr. Boehner needs to remember that an opposition party can still get what it wants even if the end result is not a absolute victory.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Letter Of James

The letter of James is much more interesting now that I have taken to writing about it.
I did not realize how much importance there is to the letter.
Today's reading from the Letter of James is important as it speaks of bringing a Christian believer (although not specifically referred to as such since the Christian church was not distinct from first-century Judaism yet) who strays back to the fold.
The reading (James 5 13-20):

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them., anointing them in the name of the Lord with oil. The prayer of the sick will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
My brothers and sisters, if anyone wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul and from death and cover a multitude of sins.

There is so much to unpack, as they say. But I want to deal the last sentence because that is something that I know affects every believer at some point in the Christian journey.
As a Christian, I believe in the truth of Jesus Christ. That he was born of a virgin and lived and died as one of us. That he was betrayed, crucified, died and buried. And that he rose on the third day and is sitteth at the right hand of the father and will come back to judge the quick and the dead. And that He died on the cross to absolve me of my sins if I just believe in him as Lord and Savior.
That is the very, very short version of the truth of Christianity.
But many people, many actually brought up in the church from baby to young adulthood end up at some point rejecting that truth. Some look at other religions. Some look to the "earthly" things such a success and drive to achievement. In the process, they lose that understanding of the simple truths of the faith.
One of the most prolific reasons, I believe, is the reality that all organized religion of any kind is led by human beings. Some of those human beings are driven by their own agenda and not that which is God's agenda.
Think about before the Protestant reformation and the fact that the organized clergy kept the Holy Bible from the people. Only they could read from the Holy Bible and it was in a language that, as the Book of Common Prayer notes in the 39 Articles of Religion, not understandeth by the people. Latin was not understood by the average German. Spaniard. English-speaker. By translating the Holy Bible into the language of the people where ever they lived, it took so much of the mystery of of the Holy Bible.
It also meant that we could all study the Holy Bible and understand such a powerful reading as the one above.
Do you have someone that you care about who has left the Christian fold? One that you wished you could bring back to the fold but did not know how?
What I understand this reading to mean is that the power of prayer can work. It may not be the way we think, but by prayer and asking God to directly intervene, which he also can do in his way, not ours, is all that it takes. It may not be some way to beat to the power of Christ but simply and sincerely saying to that person, "I'll pray for you." maybe all that it takes.
Remember, God is the one in charge.
And that is what makes this letter so important to remember.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Ultimate Friday News Dump; John Boehner To Resign As House Speaker

The Flaming Skull over at the Ace of Spades and Allahpundit's updates are proof of the ultimate Friday news dump.
That is that the speaker of the house, John Boehner, will resign as speaker and the house at the end of October.

The likely replacement will be the house majority leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
Ahh, not so fast.
According to one of Allahpundit's updates, some conservatives may try to "Livingston" the likely successor, Mr. McCarthy.
The short history of what "Livingston" means is when Newt Gingrich resigned in the late 1990's, his successor was to be the then house majority leader, Bob Livingston (R-La.). But then it was exposed that he was having an affair and he stepped aside for the eventual winner, Denny Hastert (R-Ill.)
And there has been speculation, of course not confirmed, that Mr. McCarthy is a married man cavorting. And not just with any gal but another Republican congressman, Renee Elmers (R-N.C.)
If that is the case one of two things can happen.
Mr. McCarthy will be a conservative dream, held hostage in a sense, to be at the seat of power. Or he will try to be like a Boehner and seen as to willing to compromise. That will lead to either a drip of a possible McCarthy affair or an outright exposure that will lead Mr. McCarthy to stand down and also resign a la Livingston. And if it is with another member of congress, that congressman will probably resign as well.
So what other candidates are there out there?
One to watch is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Oh.), a solid conservative and one that I believe will unify clearly disparate forces within the GOP majority.
Of course there is Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N. C.) who started the latest round of Boehner hate by filing a motion to "vacate the Chair" of speaker. Bet on him to run no matter what. Why not? He has nothing to lose, right?
My guess is that unless there is a serious attempt to oust Mr. McCarthy, he will become the next speaker of the house. And before people get all upset, Mr. McCarthy will be on a short leash by conservatives. Look for a possible McCarthy speakership to be more confrontational with Democrats and the Dear Leader, President Obama. Whoever is the new speaker that will be the case no matter what.
It really is the ultimate Friday news dump for John Boehner to resign as speaker while Pope Francis sucks up the news cycle on his first visit to the United States ever.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NR's Rich Lowry Drops A Bomb On The Donald

It's been a while since I wrote anything about Donald J. Trump, so why not write about this bomb dropped by National Review's editor-in-chief, Rich Lowry? 
Don't you love it?! I do. It may be a bit too "adult" in language, but it has the Donald in a tizzy.
And it is worth watching!
Now I believe that the Donald is threatened by strong women and thinks that he can bully them the way that he does pretty much to those who are under him.
Thus this is the line Mr. Lowry said that is a truth bomb:

"He knows that he insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls. No one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage. And it must kill him. He must be simmering about it to this night."

The highlighted area is what counts. That the Donald was able to vanquish Rick Perry and Scott Walker into dropping out of the race. But he was left praising the appearance of one Carly Fiorina rather than doing his usual shtick.
Needless to say, the Donald took to Twitter:

.@FoxNews owes me an apology for allowing clueless pundit @RichLowry to use such foul language on tv. Unheard of! 

Incompetent @RichLowry lost it tonight @FoxNews. He should not be allowed on TV and the FCC should fine him. 

Good Lord!
Really, you want to censor someone because he spoke the truth? You were punked and by a gal at that! Mr Lowry told it in the bluntest but truthful of ways.
I just want to see the Donald actually talk issues and not get into these childish, schoolyard games.
But until then I like to see a bomb dropped every now and then.

The Religion Of Peace Strikes Again

It is the most wonderful time of year in Islam when those that are able to make their once-in-a-lifetime journey to Mecca to participate in the Hajj. 
And every year it seems that there is a horrible stampede in which hundreds are killed in a stampede and earlier today was no exception as an estimated 700 plus have died as a result of one of those stampedes. According to the linked article 717 are confirmed dead and 863 are injured.
What makes this pilgrimage, and that is what it is, such a violent affair?
According to the Wikipedia link, there are expert guides and handbooks that, one can only surmise, follow the traditions of the pilgrimage and keep order.
But it appears thanks to modern transportation and the ability of Muslims from around the world to make the pilgrimage, starting in 1990, the Hajj Stampede became a thing. In that year, 1,492 people lost their lives. At this point that is the largest carnage to date. But today, today could rival it.
There is no such requirement in Christianity and Judaism, the other two great monotheistic religions. Sure, many Christians and Jews make pilgrimage to the Holy Land. And there are specific holy sites that each will visit. But how many times have you read about a stampede at the Church of the Holy Speculchre? That is where it is believed that Jesus Christ was crucified. Or at the Western Wall? That is supposed to be all that remained of the Holy Temple for Jews.
Why does it seem that even in what should be a peaceful once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage is there always some kind of violent stampede?
Like I say, the Religion of Peace strikes again!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ban The Man Bun

I like to think that I keep a healthy knowledge of pop cultural trends and I knew about the man bun but I did not realize this abomination actually had a name.
It is another blight of hipsterism that has polluted our culture nowadays.
For instance, today I had an appointment that I was really early for. So I took a visit to the nearby Starbucks. I got my beverage and decided that today I would sit outside. I had about 45 minutes and could still freeload WiFi. As I was on the phone looking at something, a gentleman walking by caught my eye. He was sharply dressed in suit and tie. And wearing . . .a MAN BUN!
Sort of looked like this guy.
OK, the beard was slightly better trimmed. But you get the idea.
Like pretty much everything else in hipsterland, this really sucks.
Somehow, this is so cool any guy can look like this, Why where I got the photo from is from a website called Man Bun Hairstyle Tutorial and Blueprint. How tragic.
Now I was criticised on my Facebook page for being a fashion police type. Usually, I don't particularly care. OK, I don't like tattoos. And a man bun can go away as did the dinosaurs.
So here's a RVFTLC confession.
Many a moon ago in college, I wore long hair. It was, to coin a phrase I heard on The Sopranos, a Jewfro. Really, with the right glasses I could have been a young Howard Stern. And even then, I was as much a conservative and Republican as I am today. But I was in college, a hard-rocker and looked the part. Why I even had a leather jacket to prove it.
But my theory held true. I wear my hair relatively short and gave up the leather jacket.
But a man bun?! Seriously?!
I do not get it. And then again, I get very little about the blight of hipsterism.
Seeing men my age (51) wearing such a thing is a sign of the end, folks.
It's all part of the culture that claims to promote individuality. Yet, surprisingly when so many people are doing the same thing, the individual factor goes right out the window.  Which is why certain things become trendy in the first place.
But the man bun is also a sign of male femininity that is rather disturbing. Women throughout the ages have in one way or the other worn their air in a bun. Now the man bun was something in Asian culture, but certainly not Western culture or Islamic or African culture. Now, thanks to hipsters, many a man is growing long hair to match their scraggly beards and wearing their said long hair . . .in a bun like a woman.
Does this light stop? Ever?
It does when it is continued to be mocked and ridiculed. Not by the old farts like me but by the young that are very influenced by pop culture trends.
If there was only a way to ban the man bun . . .

The Next GOP Casualty Is Scott Walker

According to The New York Times, the Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, will be the second candidate to drop out of the presidential race as he will make the announcement a formality today at 4:00 pm, PDT.
This may have been prompted by the latest CNN/ORC poll which puts Mr. Walker in asterisk territory. Not good for a campaign that should be much better than it is.
Another factor was two rather weak debate performances. Let's face it that it was pretty hard for anyone to get in words edgewise against the current front runner, Donald J. Trump. But that is no excuse. When Mr. Walker spoke it was mostly about his tenure, an excellent one, as the governor of Wisconsin. But really nothing that set him apart from say someone like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. To be blunt, Mr. Walker seemed to be not ready for the big game.
That does not mean Mr. Walker does not have a future in Republican politics. After all he is only 50 years old and can now finish his term as governor. There is always another presidential run or a more realistic run for the United States senate.
Good luck to Gov. Scott Walker.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Say San Fran, How's That Sanctuary Going For You?

An interesting post by Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air shows that the group Judicial Watch obtained information on crime in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, and, surprisingly crime-especially violent crime-is up in the city by the bay.
According to the report, since San Francisco became an official sanctuary city in 2011, arrests for murder have increased a substantive 55% with arrests for rapes increasing a staggering 370%. Yes, you read that right, 370%.
The following chart is helpful in following the trend. For your help in understanding the code violations:

187 - First and second degree murder.
240 - Simple assault.
243 - Battery.
261 - Rape.

Again, keep in mind that these are cases in which an arrest has been made. This is not counting any case that is unsolved. And according to the Judicial Watch press release the above are for arrests and bookings. Again, there is nothing about the actual number of murders, per se in the city.
So the question in this.
Is this a direct result of being a sanctuary city and the sheriff's department expanding the meaning of sanctuary city so as to not hand over any suspected illegal alien to federal law enforcement?
While it seems that there is a casual possibility, it is hard to quantify because, by sheer coinkidink, the sheriff's department of San Francisco county does track such a thing through it's jail management system.
Thus I come to the same conclusion that Jazz does and that it is not clear but extremely probable the spikes are at least related to the sanctuary city enforcement and the perception that if one is an illegal alien criminal, and just being an illegal alien does not count in this, they will simply go through the system like any other criminal.
But look at this year compared to all of last year. Already there are 78 murders in which an arrest and or booking has been made. There are 54 assaults. Which means with three and a half months left of 2015, 58 more murders and 40 assaults will have to take place to surpass the 2014 total. And with the trajectory edging upward, the chances that it will be higher than last year are better than 50/50.
The problem in seeking ways to engage in such crime protection and or prevention is that by not tracking the status of those going through the jail system there is not knowledge if it is indeed due to increasing crime by criminal illegal aliens or just the overall rise in crime that we are seeing in many major American cities.
What the powers that be in San Francisco are doing is intentionally burying their heads in the sands to appear to be tolerant and somehow morally superior to those cities that do track such statistics and cooperate with federal officials in turning over illegal aliens.
The people of San Francisco, so much as they know of this, need to demand that the sheriff's department make known whether or not a suspected, arrested criminal is an illegal alien and if so turn them over to federal law enforcement.
As an aside, a look at the San Francisco Chronicle website and the local news area shows nothing about this important story.
The reality is that the city of San Francisco is violating federal law and the federal government is doing nothing about it. And the people that elect the sheriff and the city council/board of supervisors (San Francisco is a city-county government.) have no one to blame but themselves.
If the sheriff would take such statistics and there is a correlation between higher violent crime and criminal illegal aliens, it would prove the abject failure of the whole sanctuary city scam. And prove ant-illegal alien pols to be right.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rick Perry, We Hardly Knew Ye

The first casualty of the GOP 2016 presidential nomination field has "suspended" his campaign and that is the former Texas governor, Rick Perry as he made the announcement today in St. Louis.
In Mr. Perry's announcement, in a clear swipe at the current GOP front runner, Donald J. Trump, he spoke of the conservative grassroots,

"We have a tremendous field of candidates . . .so I step aside know our party is in good hands. As long as we listen to the grassroots, listen to that cause of conservatism, our party will be in good hands."

Hmm, as I write it, to me it is also a swipe at the so-called GOP "leadership" in Washington, D. C.
The reason that Mr. Perry is dropping out is the age-old problem of a candidate that can not even draw more than 2.5% does not get any money. And Mr. Perry was burning through what money he was getting trying to breakthrough a field of 16 other candidates.
As the article points out, when Mr. Perry ran in 2012, it did not turn out so well and he was seen as a lightweight in being unable to fully name three cabinet departments that he would eliminate. I personally do not think that people were thinking about that as much as that there are other candidates that in many ways saying the same thing this time around.
The issue that should have put Mr. Perry in the top tier, illegal immigration, was taken by the Donald. Somehow, people do not trust a border governor that took on the current occupant of the White House in regard to illegal immigration over a bloviator that talks a good game.
Mr. Perry was in my top five of candidates to look at carrying the torch of conservatism but when you can't be taken seriously by so many with bad poll numbers, it does not matter.
I leave you with this quote taken by Allahpundit over at Hot Air from the former Texas governor:

"For me the message has always been more important than the man. The conservative movement has always been about principles, not personalities. Our nominee should embody those principles. He - or she  - must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity."

I can tell you who will not be getting any endorsement from Rick Perry.


Today is the 14th anniversary of the Day of Dread; the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and the take down of United Flight 93 over Shanksville, Pennsylvania which invariably saved more lives.
I will write about what that day was like for me and the RVFTLC family. I probably have done so before, but I think there is always a different perspective every time I think of this horrible day.
In the RVFTLC household it was actually supposed to be an exciting day. Our son was leaving for his six months of study abroad at the Sarbonne in France. Mrs. RVFTLC had to leave for Los Angeles International Airport, better known by it's acronym code, LAX, in the wee hours of that Tuesday morning. I did not have to get up for work until about 5:45am. They had long left roughly about 4:30am. So when I woke up, I was all alone with Scout the Wonder Dog. Just us.
I began to prepare for work by eating breakfast. Fox News Channel was just added to our local cable company at the time so of course I was watching it. They were talking about a plane that seemed to crash into one of the World Trade Center towers. It seemed like a local story for the New York City area at best. The people that were talking seemed to believe and imply that it was an accident. As it turned out, it was American Airlines Flight 11 that had taken off from Gen. Logan International Airport in Boston heading to LAX. It impacted the North Tower at 8:46am, EDT.
To be honest, I got bored with the story thinking it was an accident and of little real consequence except it was more than likely people died.
How wrong I was.
I turned the television off and turned on my bathroom radio. At that time, radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt was on from 6am to 9am. He talked in passing about the situation at the World Trade Center. Again, not in a way that made it more than an accident. Although if memory does serve me right, Mr. Hewitt did speculate the possibility of a terrorist attack.
It did shortly become clear during those few moments that indeed, some thing more was about to happen and change the United States forever.
A little over 15 minutes after the first plane slammed into the North Tower, at 9:03am, a second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, also from Boston to Los Angeles, slammed into the South Tower while many television stations had cameras on the smoke and fire from the North Tower. In real time on live television the world saw a terrorist attack unfold in brutal fashion.
At that point it was clear something was amiss.
Hugh Hewitt was certain at this point that indeed, it was a terrorist attack.
I continued the process of shaving and showering for the work day, but very nervous about whether or not our son was actually in the air on his way to France.
During this time, Mr. Hewitt announced that the next piece of the terror puzzle unfolded as reports came in that the Pentagon had been attacked. It was American Airlines flight 77 heading from Dulles International Airport in Washington, D. C. to Los Angeles. Again a little over 15 minutes passed from the attack on the South Tower when more terror ensued. It was at that point when Mr. Hewitt said it. The United States was under attack.
And the infamous United Flight 93 takedown by passengers had not even taken place.
I left for work but was getting very concerned now. Keep in mind this is before the era of cell phones that we have now. A big deal that we gave our son was a phone card, remember those?, to call us from France. i heard nothing from Mrs. RVFTLC if the flight took off and if our son was OK. I called home after 8am and there was no answer. I left a message for her to call me ASAP as I wanted to know what the hell was going on.
While at work we pulled the television from our break room and started watching what, at this point, was non-stop coverage. It was no doubt my generation's Pearl Harbor and worse we were not as certain who committed this act of terror as we knew that Pearl Harbor was done by the Imperial Japanese navy and air force.
Finally I heard news that really got me upset.
All flights in the United States were to be grounded. No domestic flights. No flights going out of the United States abroad. No flights from abroad could come into the United States. It would be a surreal three days not seeing one airplane and or helicopter in the air.
Needless to say, still not hearing anything from Mrs. RVFTLC and not knowing at this point where our son was, work was pretty secondary. But I plugged along. And finally the call came.
Mrs. RVFTLC and our son literally had to play Escape From LAX as the airport, as were so many others, was being evacuated. However, there were idiots using the situation to cause more chaos and someone called in a bomb threat. It took what little order their was and made a stressful situation worse. The police were inspecting every car leaving the airport and needless to say my little family was a part of this. I did not get the call until I was at lunch around 11am. As it turned out, our son did not ever get on the plane. They had to watch the horror enfold on live television screens in an airport lounge. Mrs. RVFTLC had to tell our son that he would not be going to Paris that day. Needless to say there was a huge disapointment from him but in the end he understood.
As it turned out, our corporate headquarters was in New Jersey, not far from Ground Zero as it became to be known. And they ordered all offices closed throughout the United States. Our office closed at 2pm, PDT. By coincidence, I had an appointment to get a scan of my head to prepare for removing my tonsils and scraping some of the inside of my nose, I believe that is called rhinoplasty. My wife picked me up from work and we went to San Gabriel hospital where this had to be done. It was here that I admit, I lost it.
I just could not believe such a thing could ever happen here, in the United States. I broke down and cried because I was remembering seeing the film footage of people jumping to certain death rather than being incinerated in the fires that ensued and the eventuality of the Twin Towers falling to the ground like a Lego set. I got my composure and had my procedure and we went home. It was there that we found out our church, Church of our Saviour, was going to have a service of rememberance that night.
We went to church because it was meet and right to do. We all needed to ask God why he would let such a thing happen. It was to embrace loved ones. It was also to remember the importance that not even the act of terror that occurred would bring down the greatest nation in the world.
It was a scary time for the weeks after, but knowing that we would know it was al-Queda that committed the deed and that we were going after them made many of us feel somewhat better.
But I remember 9/11/01 like it was yesterday. It is a memory I shall never forget. It is why I have the photo above for we shall never forget.
God Bless America.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Is The Donald's Mouth Going To Finally Run Him Out Of The Presidential Race?

Good Lord in heaven, these posts about Donald J. Trump pretty much write themselves.
But in the Donald's latest salvo, check that salvos, against fellow GOP candidates is it finally too much for most people?
To the Trumpettes, nope.
To them the Donald is speaking truth. Weird truth to most people, but to the Trumpettes it's truth. 
The Donald took on not one "fellow" Republican presidential candidate but two in the persons of fellow outsiders Dr. Ben Carson and former Hewlitt-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina. 
In an article from the Rolling Stone magazine, the Donald, as is his wont, did not take on Mrs. Fiorina on substantive policy issues but, I can't believe that I am writing this, her face. Directly from the Rolling Stone article on the Donald:

Trump's expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. "Look at that face!" he cries. "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of the next president?!" The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. "I mean, she's a woman and I'm not s'posdta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?"

So let me say that yes, I sure would vote for Mrs. Fiorina for president. And not based on her face for crying out loud but because I think she is strong without being annoying. She has expressed conservative thinking clearly. 
But the Donald, he was not done by a long shot. 
Dr. Ben Carson was asked a question about the Donald's faith and he answered this way:
"By humility and a fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. And that's a very big part of who I am, humility and fear of the Lord. I don't get that impression with him (Trump). Maybe I'm wrong but I don't get that impression. Probably the biggest thing is that I realized where my success has come from. And I don't in any way deny my faith in God. And I think that is a big difference here. 

So, Dr. Carson in his understated way somewhat finally said something critical of the current GOP front runner. 

"But I don't know Dr. Carson, perhaps-you-know-and okay doctor . . .we're not talking great-he was an okay doctor. And now because he is a doctor and hired one nurse, he's going to end up being president of the United States? For him to read the Bible from memory, it looked like he memorized it about two minutes before he went on stage. Look at his faith and your not going to find so much. And you look at his views on abortion and they were horrendous, and that's why I'm leading with all the evangelicals. I'm leading Ben Carson by a lot I'm almost double his numbers."

WOW! Where, oh where do I start to dismantle this pant load of crap from the Donald. 
Let's see, this okay doc was a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics. And the okay doc only specialized in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and several other things that I have never heard of. And the highlight of Dr. Carson's career, an okay career, was separating conjoined twins at the back of the head. 
Not too bad for an okay doc who probably hired a nurse. 
As far as Dr. Carson and his faith, he has been a committed Christian for quite a while now. And he at least can cite a biblical verse. The Donald can not cite one. Not even the most well known of all, John 3:16. Unlike the Donald, Dr. Carson is a student of the Holy Bible. 
Yes, Dr. Carson did some things in regard to fetal tissue research that he truly regrets (which means that he, unlike the Donald, asked the Lord for forgiveness of what he came to recognize as a sin). 
And what awesomeness has the Donald done? Use the government to throw people off their property by eminent domain to buttress his real estate fortune. 
Yeah, that was a wee bit sarcastic. But the point is if the Donald is comfortable in his own skin, he does not need to answer any or perceived slight by his opponents. Run on the record. Oops! My bad! The Donald does have a record that he is trying to run away from. 
So I read Ace's view over at Ace of Spades and, remember this is Ace so there is colorful language and imagery, and he pretty much nails the reasons that the Donald may have or is about to peak. Ace reminds us, much to the chagrin of the Trumpettes, that we are not so angry that we would actually elect Donald J. Trump. Maybe, and I do not concur, the Donald can win the GOP nomination, but not the general election. 
Allahpundit over at Hot Air points out that the Fiorina comments will hurt more among women. Like it or not, the Donald has to win some women over among a lot of other groups. If he keeps looking at women as bimbos or ugly, what support he does have among women may begin to break. 
Which leads to this conclusion of your humble blogger. 
While according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls has the Donald at about 30%, how much of that will actually vote for the Donald? I think that is probably a lot softer than anyone realizes. There is a difference with liking the idea of the Donald and the reality that even on his signature issue, illegal immigration, he will be hamstrung by a reluctant congress and an overtaxed federal court system. His overall incoherence on issue after issue will also hurt unless he really starts talking policy. Then he will bore people to be honest. Which is probably why, as the Rolling Stone article says and the former Trump strategist, Roger Stone said, he is not really interested in policy. 
The reality is that yes, the Donald's mouth is going to eventually either run him out of the GOP race or to crushing defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire at the hands of the best ABT-Anyone But Trump-candidate or candidates. And it can't come soon enough. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Is Boehner's Speakership Nearing An End?

According to this report from a media confidant of the speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Oh.), Mr. Boehner may be thinking the time is right to hand off the gavel to someone else in 2017.
Now that does seem like a long time if the report is even to be believed.
Many on the right would see this as a welcome development. Count me in as one of those who have been beyond disappointed with Mr. Boehner's "leadership". It's not so much what he has done as the tone that he will not be at the very least somewhat confrontational with the Dear Leader, President Obama. Like it or not, Team Obama has been able to constantly put the speaker in a box rather than the speaker ever going on offense. And he does have the numbers to do so. I mean, the largest number of Republicans in the house since 1949 and he acts, more often than not, like they are in the minority.
In the article, there are points of success that Mr. Boehner has been able to achieve. Here are some of them:

A permanent way that doctors who participate in Medicare are reimbursed, which saves over $200,000,000,000 and does not raise taxes. 

Mr. Boehner sherpherded a free-trade agreement. 

The creation of the select committee on the Benghazi saga that has operated with a free-hand. 

None of the above is exactly, for lack of a better word, glamorous or even sexy. While making doctor reimbursement a good thing, what about voting to repeal Obamacare?
The free-trade agreement passed with Democrat support and a split in the Republican caucus.
The select committee on Benghazi has forced the Hillary Clinton team to be on defense, and there have been dribs and drabs of a possible "smoking gun", but nothing so far.
Essentially the current revolt against Mr. Boehner is being led by Rep Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and it is a parliamentary maneuver to "vacate the chair" and to force a vote for the speakership similar to the January drama earlier this year. And it is possible that there are the votes to do it. It would in fact and indeed force Mr. Boehner to beg Democrats to vote for him to possibly save his skin as speaker. If there is nothing that would fuel the fire that Mr. Boehner is a RINO*, that surely would be it.
For argument sake, let us imagine that the challenge ends up being successful. Who do these conservatives have in mind to replace Mr. Boehner? That is the problem that the conservatives had in January and thus votes were split among several potential successors including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.) and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). If those wishing to oust Mr. Boehner can agree on one and only one candidate, that would make the threat a lot more credible. What happened in January was how not to oust a speaker. A solid game plan is nessesary to commit and to act upon.
One name floated is that of of the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Many look to Mr. McCarthy as way too much like Mr. Boehner and a deal cutter above all else. What I am about to write is absolutely speculative, but there are rumors Mr. McCarthy, a married man, is having an affair with a fellow congressman, Rep. Renee Elmers (R-N.C.). It is unconfirmed, of course. But if in some way Mr. McCarthy is elevated to speaker, conservatives may use the specter of having an affair exposed to keep him in line.
After that, I do not really know who can replace Mr. Boehner outside of the leadership. Some would like to see Mr. Gohmert, but I don't see him as speaker material. Maybe Mr. Meadows himself. Possibly Mr. Webster. I need someone to tell me who can do a better job than Mr. Boehner.
Mr. Boehner is right that some things are not going to get done because of the current occupant of the White House. But that does not mean votes to force the Democrats and the Dear Leader, President Obama's hand, should not be taken. Again, to me it is style more than substance that bothers me about Mr. Boehner.
Here is what I believe will happen.
Mr. Boehner will hang on long enough to see if a Republican is elected president. If so, he will go for one more term as speaker to finally get so much of the agenda through on his watch. That means he will run for reelection. If a Democrat wins the White House, even with a still overwhelming GOP majority, look for Mr. Boehner to resign from congress and let others carry out the fight.
As much as it pains me to write it, I do not think Mr. Boehner will be ousted as speaker and he will leave office on his terms.

*RINO-Republican In Name Only

Monday, September 07, 2015

From The Letter Of James

I like to do this on Sunday, but hey, it's a holiday weekend so even though this is a Monday, it still feels like a Sunday.
Anyhow, one of the readings at church yesterday was from the letter of James and while in our tradition, the sermon is usually on the Gospel reading, I like this reading as it is part of the classic Protestant-Roman Catholic divide.
The reading:

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord, Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice the one wearing fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while the one  who is poor you say, "Stand there," or "Sit at my feet," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen by beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? 
You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. (For the one who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall not murder," Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become transgressors of the law. So speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement. 
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say we have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm and eat your fill," an yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith, by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

This is one of the favorite passages of the Christian modernist. For the Social Justice Warrior types. There is so much there that seems to back their assertion that Jesus Christ was an SJW. To a point, maybe he was. But that is nowhere near all Jesus was, as the Son of God and the savior of the world.
However, that is not what I want to explore at this point.
It's the last paragraph that I want to talk about.
Works vs. grace.
One of the great theological divides between believers is the importance of works, expand that to good works, and whether or not one is saved by grace alone.
It is essentially what Martin Luther thought. It is what now most what we refer to as evangelical Christians believe.
What indeed are good works?
Is it not the many examples that Jesus himself lays out in the multitude of parables? One that comes to mind is that of the Good Samaritan. Or are good works including and especially robbing those of means to give to those who do not?
Remember that in the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus reminds us that the poor will always be with us in physical form. But that he (Jesus) would not.
Many a politician will use the above to justify higher taxes and social welfare programs. This passage is apparently one of the current secretary of state, John F. Kerry, favorites.
But I advise that the whole passage be read.
Which is what so many for whatever reason choose not to do.
It is by grace that we are forgiven for our sins. Out of that grace is the ability to do good for people. So instead of giving the best seat in the house to the best dressed, give it to someone that is not the best dressed. For Jesus wants us to be the best that we as his followers can be. And don't just make a comment about someone in need, help 'em out to the best of one's ability.
What if it that person's fault they are in such dire straits? So, find out why. Say one is a businessman and takes the time to deal with a person in such a condition. That could be a future employee. An awesome employee.
Jesus is saying, through this letter that we not only should but must take a chance on any one.
Also, I should note that it is clear the Ten Commandments are being used to make the broad point. Remember, Jesus did not come to change the law but to fulfill the law.
I think that sometimes the greatest sin we commit is not reading  a whole passage. There are certain ones that we like but forget what comes before or after what we like.
The bottom line of this reading is that works cannot happen without the grace of Jesus Christ in a believer's life.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Trump Vows Not To Mount Third-Party Run

For once, I will write something positive about Donald J. Trump and the fact that he has signed a pledge that if he is not the Republican presidential nominee, he will support the actual nominee.
One of my biggest problems with the Donald is that for all this time, he either flirted with and or left the door wide open that if he does not win the GOP presidential nod, he would be open to running as a third-party candidate. And before any Trumpette tries to deny such a thing, remember that he did run a half-assed campaign for the Reform party nomination in the 2000 election.
As an aside, imagine that it was he and not eventual Reform party nominee, Pat Buchanan, that caused trouble in Palm Beach county during the infamous 36 days of confusion in which eventually George W. Bush won Florida and the 23 electoral votes and the presidency.
But I digress.
It was not out of the realm of possibility that the Donald would keep that option in his back pocket. And in reality he probably could still do so if the hard core demands it.
But signing a pledge and showing this
for all to see would hurt him substantially with a certain amount of supporters if he chose to still threaten or indeed after someone else wins the GOP nomination, run third-party.
It appears that some of the hard core may have be dealt their first disappointment at the hands of their political messiah. Some feel that the Donald sold out to the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll GOP establishment and their Snidely Whiplash, Reince Priebus.
But for some real GOP history, after a contentious and bitter campaign between then former California governor Ronald Reagan and incumbent GOP President Gerald Ford, Mr. Reagan backed Mr. Ford as the GOP candidate. No, Mr. Reagan didn't campaign for Mr. Ford, but his endorsement was enough for some of Mr. Reagan's supporters to at least cast their vote for the battered incumbent president.
And that is all I would expect from the Donald.
Some who have lost became good if not better surrogates for the winning candidate than that particular candidate in the last two elections.
In all honesty it is the very least I want to see from the Donald. If he believes that this election is about his slogan, Making America Great Again, and he should not be the GOP candidate, not undermining the actual nominee and encouraging that nominee to indeed Make America Great Again would show me it is not all about the Donald and it is indeed about the United States.
Of course anyone who runs for president has to have a certain amount of stones to do so. The Donald has that and then some.
By signing a pledge not to be a sore loser, Donald Trump may be indeed a serious candidate for the GOP nomination for president.