Sunday, April 27, 2014
What was 80 year old Donald Tokowitz, aka Donald Sterling, thinking in his one hour Mel Gibson diatribe with V. Stiviano, his girl friend, aka “The Mistress?” He wasn’t. The old geezer was instinctively acting out of vanity and hubris. Donald Sterling is a very vain philanthropist. We know because he takes out ads, up to a full page, in the Los Angeles Times touting his charity in the community. Just this morning a half page ad ran, a thank you from the Department of Nephrology at UCLA for the largest gift yet given to basic kidney research at UCLA. As Carly Simon would sing “You’re so vain.” We also know the hubris because he has gotten away for decades with being a misogynist, sexist pig with a history of racial discrimination. Donald Sterling is a financial genius in his own mind. He paid $12.5 million for the Clippers in 1981. He was earning about $12.5 million a year even when they were chronic losers. The self-made real estate billionaire has a history of losing judgments for discriminating against African Americans, Hispanics, Koreans and tenants with children. How could he be a racist? The Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. It was scheduled to again grant him the award on May 15, 2014. Donald Sterling is invincible in his mind. Elgin Baylor, one of the NBA’s all-time great players, was the Clippers General Manager for years, doing Sterling’s bidding. He was unceremoniously fired a few years and filed suit in 2009 for wrongful termination. He claimed Donald Sterling ran the Clippers “with the vision of a southern plantation-type structure.” Donald Sterling won the case, proving he’s always right. The Los Angeles Clippers had to make a major decision years ago. They could stay in Los Angeles at the new Staples Arena, or they could move to Anaheim in Orange County, develop a fan base of their own, and get out from under the shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers. The rumor was that Sterling would not move the Clippers to Anaheim, where they played a few games a year, because he did not want to leave the “Los Angeles Hotties.” V. Stiviano was not the first. The Clippers remained in Los Angeles. Donald Sterling was a caricature of Dr. Jerry Buss, the late Lakers owner. The 80 year old reprobate succeeded for decades with no blowback. David Stern, the recently retired Commissioner of the NBA, had heard many complaints over the years about Donald Sterling, but he did nothing – at least publicly. David Stern knew, but never had the tape. Didn’t Donald Sterling learn the lesson from Marge Schott, the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, who was run out of Major League Baseball for her racist comments? Apparently not. What was Donald Sterling thinking with most NBA players being African Americans? He wasn’t. Donald Sterling is of the species that believes a kept woman should be a potted plant that reflects beauty on him. He spent at least $1.8 million on her in cars and baubles, including a 2012 Ferrari, 2 Bentleys, and a 2013 range Rover, a duplex apartment and a stream of cash for living expenses. She returned the favor by appearing in public with others, African Americans. That struck at Sterling’s vanity. Donald Sterling’s estranged wife is seeking restitution V. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. When I was a young man, perhaps in high school, but probably in college, I always thought when I saw an older man with a young honey draped around his arm, that I was looking at two idiots, unless she was his daughter, granddaughter or perhaps his niece. Once I reached my 50’s, I knew they were two idiots. Old geezers, sugar daddies, codgers, big daddies, or letches with young honnies, gold diggers, trophy wives is a recipe for disaster. The 89 year old J. Howard Marshall married the 26 year old Anna Nicole Smith. He died 18 months later, leaving a will that purported to disinherit his family from his prior marriage. The resulting legal battle enriched many lawyers. Five men and a corpse claimed paternity of her son when she died of an overdose in Hollywood, Florida. The 60 year old Paul McCartney did not have a prenupt when he married Heather Mills. Nor did search the intern to discover Heather’s x-rated photos. 82 Year old billionaire Kirk Kirkorian celebrated in 1999 a 28 day marriage with 34 year old Lisa Bonder, and then millions litigating “Who’s the dad” with Steve Bing. Barbara Piasecka, who came to America with $200, hit the jackpot as a 34 year old maid when she married 76 year old J. Seward Johnson, Jr. (of Johnson and Johnson fortune). Let us not forget 83 year old Summer Redstone and 44 year old Paula Fortunato. The best is yet to come from that marriage with Redstone having problems with the children of his first marriage. What was Donald Sterling thinking? He wasn’t; he was acting like a foolish old man.
Friday, April 25, 2014
The California Senate, comprised of 27 Democrats and 13 unknown Republicans, voted 28-1 on March 28 to suspend with pay three Democratic Senators, Rodrick Wright of Inglewood, Ron Calderon of Montebello, and Leland Yee of San Francisco. Senator Wright was convicted in January of perjury and filing false reports of his legal residences. Senator Calderon was indicted in February on 24 counts of corruption. Senator Yee was indicted in March of corruption and gun running. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg celebrated one month without indictments by calling a mandatory one day course in ethics for all state senators and staffers. It’s called “A Day of Reflection” on ethics. The Senators reflected on whether they were as dumb or unlucky as the three disgraced Senators. Some were reflecting on how quickly they could get out of the malaise of Sacramento into the Big Time of Congress. No floor sessions; no committee hearings. Mandatory attendance at taxpayer expense. He called for it Wednesday at the State Library. The three suspended Senators and two no-shows did not make the meeting. The Senate’s problem is not political corruption by ignorant, unethical Democratic Senators. The problem is political corruption by arrogant, dumb and unethical Democratic Senators, two of whom were stupidly caught on FBI wiretaps. They knew they were violating the law. Senator Yee is recorded saying “I hope I don’t get indicted.” Senator Steinberg recognized the training would not have prevented the kind of corruption of Senators Calderon and Yee. He said “But that’s only half the point.” The full point was to make it appear that the California Legislature was taking pro-active steps to change its image, if not its conduct. Senator Steinberg, the righteous Senator Steinberg, had earlier contributed $15,000, presumably out of campaign funds, to Senator Wright’s Legal Defense Fund. Their problem is that the Senators do not heed the wisdom of former Assembly Speaker “Big Daddy” Jessie Unruh (1961-1969) about lobbyists: “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.” Today’s legislators just want to be bought. The Senators met in closed session, followed by a news conference. The first presentation was entitled: “Crating a Culture of Ethics – A National Perspective.” The ethically challenged California legislators don’t need the national perspective. This is California – not New York or Illinois or Rhode Island. The State Assembly has been too smart to date for a corruption scandal. They learnt from Big Daddy. They met as usual yesterday. Senator Steinberg’s office issued a press release: “The group sessions will include a presentation … on strengthening standards of conduct in individual and institutional decision making.” These sessions can be interminably boring. No word on rather or nor the Senators and staffers could bring their cell phones, Black Berries, laptops, and notebooks into the meeting, or even scratch paper to doodle on. No telling if any of them were checking to see if they will be indicted next. Remember, a whole month has passed by. No, these California Senators could not work a full day in a library. It only lasted two hours, but they thought it was a full day. They were paid for a full day’s work, including perks. Just another day at the public trough. Business, as usual, in Sacramento.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Reservoirs are not naturally clean waters. Stream water, the beautiful, radiant clear water of the mountain stream is impure. Take a look at “pure” stream water or your tap water under a microscope. Watch the bacteria swim. W.C. Fields was once asked if he drank water. His response was “I don’t drink water. Fish fuck in it.” Animals and birds relieve themselves in reservoirs. Humans, especially children, urinate in them. Dead birds and animals float in them. Municipal reservoirs often serve multiple uses, including boating, fishing, swimming, and bathing. On Wednesday, April 16 eighteen year old Dallas Jeffrey Delynn,a drunk skateboarder proved the power of today’s youth. He urinated a few ounces into one of Portland, Oregon’s reservoirs. The Portland Water Bureau responded by emptying Reservoir #5 at Mt. Tabor of its 38 million gallons of water, without waiting for the water quality tests. It flushed 38 million gallons of potable water down the stream without waiting for the water quality tests. The teenager was arrested for public urination in a reservoir of pretreated water. The reservoir’s pre-treated water was intended to go directly into the city’s water pipes without further treatment. An open reservoir cannot be clean. David Shaff, the Director of the Portland Water Bureau, explained “Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated.” He added “The basic commitment of the Water Bureau is to provide clean, cold, and safe water to its customers.” He continued “And the basic premise that is that we don’t have pee in it.” Or, at least, human pee! Bird pee is OK; it apparently passes David Shaff’s sanitary standards. Shaff admitted that birds fell into the reservoir. The bacterial risks of a decomposing bird or animal carcass greatly exceed those of a drunk teenager’s urine stream, which urine would be quickly dissipated in 38 million gallons of water. Portland's drunk teen was simply practicing pollution control by dilution, a time honored practice in much of the world. The water quality tests came back after the reservoir was drained: the reservoir was clean. The readings for Coliform and E. Coli clean. The Portland Water Bureau reacted similarly in 2011 by draining 8 million gallons from Reservoir #1. We would probably have to drain every reservoir and swimming pool in America because of human urination if we followed Portland’s lead. I believe Portland is one of America’s greenest cities. Yet, it wastes one of America’s most precious resources, water. I think we are looking at a pea brain in David Shaff’s pee hang-up. “Water, water, every where. Nor any drop to drink.”
Monday, April 21, 2014
The State of Illinois disclosed to the Associated Press pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request that it had paid out in excess of $12 million to over 2900 deceased claimants since 1970. The Illinois state agencies of Healthcare and Family Services, and Human Services couldn’t explain how it happened, how they missed the 2900 deceased in state records. State Representative Patti Bullock (R. Hinsdale) said “I’m shocked, but not surprised.” We know. Think Illinois. Think Chicago. The dead vote in Chicago. Only Chicago can promise you immortality, at least on the voting rolls. Tombstones in Mt. Olive cemetery have voted for over a century - for Democrats. Who’s to say otherwise? The tombstones defy discovery. No depositions, no interrogatories, no cross examination. Their silence is eternal. Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960 by 112,827 votes. Or did here? The history of voting fraud in Chicago and Texas is fairly well documented. JFK carried Illinois by 8,858 votes. Or did he? Major Daley held back the Chicago vote until the next morning to determine the plurality JFK needed to carry Illinois. The Senator miraculously carried Cook County by over 450,000 votes, even including the large Republican margins in the Cook County Republican suburbs. The Mt. Olive ghosts fulfilled the first rule of Chicago voting: “Vote early, Vote often, Make your vote count.” William “Bill” Mullen won a Pulitzer prize in 1973 for documenting Chicago’s voting fraud in the 1972 election. The United States Attorney for Chicago estimated that the Democratic machine in 1982 manufactured over 100,00 bogus votes in a failed attempt to prevent the gubernatorial election of James Thompson as Governor. 63 were convicted of voter fraud in that election. My colleague, the talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, published in 2004 the book, which sums it up: “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends On It.” Senator Lyndon Baines “Landslide” Johnson, the 1960 vice presidential candidate, fulfilled his role in carrying Texas. The Kennedy-Johnson ticket carried Texas by 46,257 votes. Or did it? One representative example is Fannin County, which saw 6,138 votes cast, with a 75-25 split for the Democrats. Fannin County only had 4,895 registered voters. Vice President Nixon would have received 270 electoral votes, and thus won the 1960 Presidential Election, if he had won Illinois and Texas. If the dead can vote, then they can also receive benefits, an annuity, ad infinitum. This annuity is better than whole life insurance. It cost nothing. The corpses understand their role. The vote and benefits are passable to future generations: the gift, the annuity, that just keeps giving. Indeed, machine politicians understand that they must pay for votes. Philadelphia calls it “Walking around money.” Even the dead are paid for their votes. $12 million is a small price to pay for buying the votes of the dead.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
My wife told her lunch companions last week that she was going to Montgomery. Alabama. Their response, almost in unison, was an instinctive “why?” The short answer is that I was giving a talk on Tuesday in Montgomery. The longer answer is that Alabama is the only state that I haven’t been to. The answer is that I believe in history and Montgomery is the city with some of the most significant history in America. The downtown/Capitol area is a living history museum. So many critical points in American history occurred within a few square miles of downtown Montgomery. Prominent signage marks the historic sites in Montgomery. The memorial signs are not the same as being at the scene at the time, but you can “feel it.” The city and state are not hiding from their slavery, secessionist, segregationist past. They mark this past just as they do the Civil Rights Movement. They are airing it all out in public. Both Montgomery and Alabama publish maps and brochures with the appropriate Civil Rights Trail. Montgomery was the “Cradle of the Confederacy.” It is the Old South. Montgomery is the birthplace of the modern Civil Rights Movement. The Confederate States of America were formed on February 4, 1861 in the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery. The Provisional Constitution of the Confederacy followed on February 8, 1861. Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederacy on the steps of the Capitol on February 18, 1861. The first White House of the Confederacy is across the street from the Capitol. Jefferson Davis lived there with his family until the Capitol was moved months later to Richmond, Virginia. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed 25,000 from the same Capitol steps at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March. Dexter Street runs six blocks from Court Square, a rotary circling an artisan fountain, up Goat Hill to the Capitol. Rosa Sparks walked a few stores from her job as a seamstress to the bus stop on the square on December 1, 1955, a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. The three story Winter Building stands across the street from the bus stop. Leroy Pope Walker, Secretary of War for the Confederacy, entered the second floor telegraph office on April 11, 1861 and signaled General P.G.T. Beauregard in Charleston, South Carolina to remove the Union soldiers from Fort Sumter. The shelling began the next day, igniting the Civil War. Slaves were auctioned by the Court Square Fountain. The Dexter Street Baptist Church was earlier a holding pen for slaves. Two blocks, two bus stops down the street, is the bus stop where Rosa Parks refused to stand and yield her seat to a white passenger, igniting the modern Civil Rights Movement. She may not have been legally required under Montgomery law to yield her seat, but the bus driver believed she was. She was immediately arrested. Montgomery blacks responded by mounting a boycott of the busses. They formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to coordinate the boycott. The 24 year old Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., recently arriving in Montgomery for his first ministry (1954-1960), was named the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association. He soon became the face and voice of the Civil Rights Movement. Attempts were made to assassinate him in Montgomery. The Reverend Ralph David Abernethy preached at the nearby First Baptist Church (the one for blacks – not whites). He became Dr. King’s closest friend and successor. Troy University built the Rosa Parks Library and Museum next to the second bus stop. The museum has a replica of the bus, on which a video is shown reenacting the critical moments on the bus. (You can sit on the actual bus in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.) The museum contains several original documents from the history of the Boycott. The successful 381 day Boycott struck a large blow to segregation and the Jim Crow laws. Reverend King’s church, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, now the Dexter Ave. King Memorial Baptist Church, is just one block down from the Capitol. Tours are available of the Church. You can stand at his pulpit. The basement is a shrine to Reverend King and the Civil Rights Movement. It contains a wall length mural depicting his life. It is also where the bus boycott was planned. A few blocks away is the Dexter Parsonage Museum, where the King family resided during their six years in Montgomery. Also a few blocks away is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial and Center, beautifully and movingly designed by Maya Lin. A few blocks up South Court Street from Court Square is the Greyhound Bus Station, where 21 Freedom Riders (mostly college students) from Nashville were assaulted by 200 Ku Klux Klan protestors on May 21, 1961. None were killed, but several were severely injured, including John Seigenthaler, an assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who responded by dispatching hundreds of federal marshals to protect the Freedom Riders. Floyd Mann, Alabama Public Safety Director, was a segregationist, but also a man of the law. He believed a deal had been reached between Governor Patterson, Montgomery Commissioner L.B. Sullivan (the Sullivan of New York Times v. Sullivan) and the Attorney General to protect the Freedom Riders. He was wrong. Many Montgomery Police took the day off, while a few motorcycle officers directed traffic. Director Mann stopped the violence and saved lives by sticking his gun on the head of a demonstrator about to kill one of the Freedom Riders. He threatened to kill the demonstrator. I did not know that a white segregationist was the unsung hero of the day. He went on to an illustriuos career in Alabama and Washington, D.C. The Kennedys were hesitant to become too visibly involved in the Civil Rights Movement for fear of losing the southern states in 1964. The violence, especially in Aniston, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma forced them to act. The bus station is now the Freedom Ride Museum. The Capitol originally contained the Governor’s Office, the Supreme Court of Alabama, the Alabama House of Representatives, and the Alabama Senate. The Capitol is open to the public and is a museum. A small touch is that the House and Senate chambers now have plaques listing the African American Representatives and Senators who served during Reconstruction. A block from the Capitol is the Alabama Archives and History Building, which contains the Museum of Alabama. The new addition lays out the history of the state, again depicting the good, the bad, and the ugly, the heroic and tragic, the sordid and soaring. Where else but Montgomery will you find the the Hank Williams Museum and the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald House and Museum? We had no idea. Montgomery, like many cities throughout America, has seen better days. The once bustling Dexter Street, with wall to wall hotels, department stores, variety stores, jewelers, and other merchants, is now mostly empty storefronts in faded glory, hopefully awaiting redevelopment. The First Confederate White House was moved in 1920 from the bottom of Goat Hill to its present location across from the Capitol. The former location is now a skate park. How quiet is downtown? There is no Starbucks. No Subway. No McDonald’s. No fastfood restaurant at all. One of the downtown restaurants is Wintzell’s Oyster House, part of a chain based in Mobile, Alabama. Its wall is plastered with small signs. The two I like are “A dime is a dollar with the taxes out,” and “Success only comes before work in the dictionary.” Downtown shuts down on Sunday. Montgomery lacks corporate headquarters. Most of the jobs are in government and, to a much lesser extent, tourism. It does have the minor league Class AA Montgomery Biscuits baseball team in Riverfront Stadium. The city is bringing back the downtown riverfront area. Old Alabama Town, scores of restored old stores, residences, and lofts, many in their vintage splendor, is nearby. Taxis do not line up outside the new Renaissance Hotel, connected to the new Montgomery Convention Center and the new Montgomery Performing Arts Center, is nearby. The current bus map lists attractions, Wal-Marts and Sam’s Club. Why Montgomery? Because
Monday, April 14, 2014
Praise Be To The Lord: American Atheists Meet In Salt Lake City Thursday The 51st Annual Convocation of American Atheists is in Salt Lake City on Thursday, the equivalent of bringing refrigerators to Eskimos in January. The opening prayer by no one is on the being of nothingness, followed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s classic rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The atheists fear not Charlton Heston or Joseph Smith descending from the Wasash Mountains with tablets in their hands. The atheists are tempting fate in Salt Lake City. Fortunately, the Mormons are known for their boundless warmth and hospitality. The atheists are reknown for their interminable dourness and hostility. Less than a thousand parishioners are expected in attendance, probably half of whom are media representatives looking for the journalistic miracle that gets them media attention and immortality: “Lightning Smites Atheists: God has Spoken.” Legal Tender can neither be tendered nor accepted because it says “In God We Trust.” The atheists are in an evangelical mood with the 94% of Americans who believe in God. Alas, atheists cannot convert with the divine fervor of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Atheists have nothing to offer. May the Church of Latter Day Saints unleash the power of scores of Mormon missionaries upon the hapless atheists. The American Atheists claim a kinship with devout Christians worldwide. Just as Jesus Christ was martyred, so too was their spiritual and corporeal founder, Madelyn O’Hair Murray, who was killed along with her son and granddaughter by a money hungry apostle, David Roland Waters, in 1995. Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver grew to $500,000 in gold coins by David Waters. God has no power over human caused inflation. Rather than Salt Lake City, the atheists should have chosen the United States Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs. The Air Force brass are acting like the pre-Constantine Roman Emperors with Christianity. The atheists do not meet in such heathen centers as New York City and San Francisco. The Big Apple is always at risk of a Ghostbusters IV and St. Francis’ city has been described as the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. Nor do they gather in the snake handling Pentecostal churches. The atheists are mortally scared of the demon rattlesnake. Let us lift up our arms and pray for them; let us pray for their immortal souls. Let us pray for the Mormon missionaries to do God’s will.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
The University of Connecticut’s Woman’s basketball team decisively defeated Notre Dame 79-58 Tuesday evening. Number 1 and Number 2, both undefeated, played for the national title. UConn prevailed, ending the season 40-0 and earning its ninth national title. The University of Connecticut’s Men’s Basketball Team defeated the University of Kentucky 60-54 Monday evening to win the national title, it’s fourth. The University of Connecticut thus won both titles in one year. It has only happened once before, in 2004 – also by UConn. The University of Connecticut had a lot to celebrate. Celebrate it did in its sleepy, rural town of Storrs, Connecticut after Monday’s win over Kentucky. UConn simply joined the recent trend with college campuses. Unfortunately, some students and non-students rioted after the men’s victory. 34 were arrested, of whom 20 were students. The 35 arrests matched the number ten years earlier when UConn also won both titles. Significantly, no riots occurred after the women’s victory. These athletic riots are not a new phenomenon. Rutgers, Maryland, Penn State, and Nebraska have experienced them. The riots cross the spectrum of academic institutions. 5,000 Michigan fans rioted after the 1989 national basketball championship. The fight song became, for a short time afterwards, “Hail to the Victors, Violent.” 5,000 Ohio State fans similarly rioted in Columbus on November 23, 2002 when the Buckeyes defeated Michigan 14-9 during the Ohio State perfect season. 107 fires were started, 20 cars damaged, and 70 arrests followed. Winning a title is a joyous occasion for the school, the team, and the fans. A celebration is in order. But not a riot. It’s not limited to college teams. Laker fans rioted a few years ago after a game. They were outside Staples Center the entire game. Fans on losing teams have been known to vent their spleen by rioting, such as those of Arizona after its loss, and a few fans in Lexington, Kentucky after the Wildcats’ loss to UConn. I remember the campus riots of the 1960’sand 1970’s. They were focused on social issues, such as anti-Vietnam War riots, as well as “Free Speech” and “People’s Park” on the Berkeley campus. Tragedies resulted at Kent State and Jackson State. I also remember one of the jokes at the time. The riots always occurred in the spring (except for Berkeley and San Francisco State) after the snow melted. The students needed to let loose after being confined for months. Think of Frost Belt students loose in Florida for Spring Break. Today’s riots seem to be sheer hedonism and exuberance, fueled by alcohol, underage drinking, and a sense of FUN. The rioters apparently believe they can get away with it because of sheer numbers. Individuals will be lost in the crowd. Some evidence supports the proposition that athletic success is simply the spark, or the excuse, that triggers riots that might otherwise occur. Students two nights ago at Iowa State rioted at 11:30 during the annual Veishea Celebration. The Iowa State President cancelled the remainder of the week-long festival. 55 people, students and non-students, were arrested in Amherst, Massachusetts in pre-St. Patrick’s Day festivities this year. The annual Blarney Blowout is sponsored by bars, and has caught on with University of Massachusetts students. UMass lived up to its nickname “ZooMass. (By way of disclosure, my wife has a masters degree from UMass). Drinking was allowed to commence at 10:30AM. The result with undergrads is highly foreseeable. Over 100 were arrested and 44 hospitalized last Saturday in Santa Barbara during the annual spring break Deltopia. The crowd of 15,000 went out of control. Several police officers were injured. The riots occurred in Isla Vista, often referred to as the student ghetto at UCSB. About 100 were arrested last year with dozens of injuries. Umass and UCSB students subsequently complained about overreaction and police brutality in responding to the riots. The crazed rioters do not realize that their faces are captured by video cameras and smart phones. The Ohio State University showed the way in the aftermath of the November 23, 2002 riots. The police posted online photos of suspects. Not all campuses, and most students do not engage in these riotous activities. The University of Connecticut has successfully used its athletic success to raise its academic profile and improve the quality of the academic program. UConn Law School adopted the motto: “A law school the basketball teams can be proud of.” Huntington Beach became notorious for riots on the 4th of July. The police cracked down, but a riot occurred July 28 on the last day of the U.S. Open of Surfing. Police posted over 20 photos of suspects online. Luis Gonzalez, one rioter, is apparently a dim bulb. He posted he liked his picture. The police wanted him for writing “F_CK the Pigs” on the sides of police cars. Michael Jay Lytle, another suspect, was arrested a few days after the riots. He was an off-duty Fullerton firefighter. A small minority of students and non-students besmirch the reputations of these colleges, but administrators need to take action to prevent such riots in the future. Universities should expel students involved in campus and community riots. Second, turn off the cameras. One lesson from the riots of the 1960’s was that they were energized by the media’s coverage. It is difficult for the media to exercise restrain in covering mass riots. They should not publicize these riots until after they are over.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Congressman Jim Moran Cries Out for a Congressional Pay Raise The fiery, bombastic, hot-tempered, anti-Semitic, always colorful Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia’s 8th Congressional District announced earlier his retirement from Congress. The lifetime Congressman is a living , breathing, walking, bloviating argument for term limits. The now politically liberated Congressman said Thursday Congress needs a pay increase: “I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid.” Congressman Moran is not known in Washington as a deep thinker, but rather for thinking more with his fists than his brain. Second, our “underpaid” members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, which puts them in the top 2% of America. However, the top 2% can still demagogue against the top 1%. These are some of the benefits our “underpaid” members of Congress receive: 1) Full vesting of pensions after 5 years of service. They only contribute 1.3% of their salary to their pensions. Congressman Moran is in line for a Congressional pension estimated to be as high as $100,000 annually. 2) Free, preferred parking at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. 3) Bipartisan international junkets on “fact finding” missions 4) First class tickets at taxpayer expense. Then Speaker Nancy Pelosi topped that by flying military jets back and forth to San Francisco from D.C. 5) A Congressional gym 6) Death benefits 7) Heath insurance, albeit now through the District of Columbia Exchange 8) House and Senate Dining Rooms, often operating at a loss 9) Congressional barbershops, often operating at a loss 10) House and Senate gyms, which remained open during the government shutdown. The House gym includes a heated swimming pool, sauna, basketball court, paddleball courts, a steam room and flat screen TV. The Senate gym includes tennis courts 11) Hitting on interns, pages, and secretaries – at least in the past 12) Occasionally supplementing the Congressional income on the side 13) Insider trading. Members of Congress can legally trade on inside information. Third, our elected representatives are part-time workers. Congress may technically be in session for extended periods during the year, but members of Congress are not. 5 day weeks are anathema to our elected, public servants in D.C. The proposed 2013 House Calendar had 239 days off. Our “underpaid” Representatives currently hold a 15% approval rating by the public. If only they were paid what they were worth? Congressman Moran also remarked that “A lot of members can’t afford to live decently at their job in Washington. He’s not one of them. He resides across the Potomac at home within easy commuting range of the Capitol. We’re not sure about the home. The once-millionaire is going through his third divorce and lost his millions gambling in the market. Members of Congress knew the pay when they ran for office. They have free will and determinism. THe Representative noted that members of Congress have now gone three years without a raise. The millions of Americans who lost their jobs and benefits, or saw them reduced over the past half decade, are hardly sympathetic to Congressman who have received a frozen $174,000 each of the past three years. Congressman Moran never forgot that we the public are serving the “public servants” rather them serving us.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Oxymoron: “A figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.” “Gun free military zone” is a true oxymoron. Military personnel are not even allowed to keep personal guns in their on-based housing. Our highly trained military personnel have less ability therefore to defend themselves and their families than off-base civilians. That too is an oxymoron. Our brave young men and service are trained to protect us, but they are not allowed to protect themselves, except by “duck and cover” or “shelter in place.” Yet again, an oxymoron within an oxymoron. Thus, as in the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood attack by Nidal Hasan with 13 dead and over 30 wounded, the Washington Navy Yard killings of Aaron Alexis on September 16, 2013 with 12 dead and 3 wounded, and Wednesday’s second Fort Hood shooting in 5 years with Ivan Lopez killing three and wounding 16, the highly trained, defenseless soldiers, marines, and sailors can be moved down. The policy is 20 years old, being attributed to the first months of the Clinton Administration, but it actually began in President George H. W. Bush’s Administration. A Defense Department Directive in April 2011 reaffirmed “Armed DoD personnel with firearms shall be limited and controlled.” “Gun free zones” do not deter shootings. The killings in schools, such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech are in gun free zones. The shootings at movie theatres, churches, city halls, post offices, law firms, hair salons, factories, and fast food restaurants were in unarmed civilian facilities, technically not “gun free zones,” but tragedies, broken only when police can arrive on the scene after the mass killings commenced. Military bases are different. Armed soldiers could respond immediately, as they are trained to do, rather than waiting for the inevitable delay, however short, before the arrival of MP’s or civilian police. President Obama said of Tuesday’s shootings: “They served with valor. They served with distinction. And when they are at their home base they feel safe.” Our soldiers serve with valor and distinction, but they should not feel safe at home on their base. A “Gun free zone” is not gun free when crazed fanatics can bring guns onto a base. Gun free is not gun proof. That is not an oxymoron. Never forget, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”