Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Bear Flag League

By the power vested in me by the people at the Bear Flag League, I now pronounce myself - almost, a little, somewhat, kinda important.

Thanks to the Folks at BFL for giving me a chance to tell you what is going on my little corner of the world, namely Yolo County.

Thanks again BFL, I will try not shame the reputation of your fine organization, at least not for a while.

The tale of two stories, and two photos.

Isn't it curious that when the Australian news paper writes a story about the 'validity' of the charges against David Hick, the terrorist from down under, they show a photo of good ol' boy David, in a t-shirt looking like he is waiting for the pizza guy to show up.

When I googled for another story about nice guy David, I found this story and photo.

I hope he isn't waiting for the pizza guy in photo number 2.

Fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes or you can kill the driver with an RPG.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Couric vs. Sawyer a morning slugfest?

And now for something completely different.

A battle for the hearts and what is left of the minds of people who watch network morning news shows.

Lebanon, releases Democracy 2.1, updates needed

Before we pitch out the baby with the bath water, lets remember our own history. The United States came dangerously close to falling to pieces a few dozen times, and then we had to fight a Civil War, come to grips with racial segregation and give women the right to vote. Those are just the highlights of the low lights. We still have a lot of work to do.

Lets give the Lebanese people a chance to make the best of their new found freedom.

I can't wait for my wife to get home so I can tell her I love her.

I was over at Mark D Roberts and found a link to this post written by a husband, a memorial to his wife. Very powerful.

The Brits may finally have had enough

This story caught my attention from the Daily Telegraph (free registration) in London. It seems that California is not the only government who can't seem to get the money from the tax payer to the classroom.

Unfortunately, state schools cannot afford to provide a decent education, since so much of that money never gets to them. It is dissipated in the panoply of penpushers in central or local bureaucracy, schools inspectors and consultants, all anxious to help, and all getting in the way of the employee at the chalkface. Add that to the classroom impotence against pupils whose only knowledge is of their human rights, and it's a miracle there are any teachers left.
I seem to recall a quote by President Lincoln, he said that sending troops to the front line is like shovelling fleas across the barnyard, only half of them get there.

Why do we have the State department of education, the County office of education, the school districts and finally the school? It is no wonder where they money gets siphened off to.

Why all the layers of bureaucracy? I have worked with many County Offices of Ed, Districts and individual Schools in my business. In the IT field, there are many schools where the COE handles the entire network, the school is so small the cannot afford an IT person. Some Districts have their own Network Administrators, and some schools have an on-site Network Admin staff. I have seen districts where the turf wars over the network is very heated.

I have seen a huge amount of waste in the IT field. Some schools have network infrastructure that most small and mid-sized businesses would love to have. Other small districts and schools are living with technology held together with baling wire and bubble gum. I can't tell you how many times I have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on network infrastructure so the teachers can get email and surf the web. Especially in elementary and middle schools. Some schools do a phenomenal job using technology, most do not.

One of the places where technology was being used in an elementary school ,was in a small farm community in the central valley. The school had used grants and federal dollars to build a solid network, but it was the principal and his leadership that drove the use of technology on that campus. The school was in a very poor part of the State, most of the students were children of farm workers, but they learned computer skills and english. Not because someone from the outside made them do it, not from the teachers union, it came from the drive and vision of a staff where the kids came first.

Someone once told me that if you find problems in a huge place because you know something about a certain subject, just imagine how many other problems there are.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Why is the title of 'moderate' such a prize to politicians?

As the MSM shifted into overdrive to praise the 14 Senators who 'saved' the Senate from the evil of majority rule on judicial nominees, one has to ask why do politicians love to be labeled as moderate? It must get you invited on more talk shows, to better cocktail parties and you must get a better table at Tosca's in D.C.

What is wrong with being partisan? I am a conservative Republican. I used to be a moderate Democrat. The difference between the two, as far as I can tell, is that a moderate Democrat wants to get along with everyone and will compromise his principals to do so. The same with moderate Republicans. What is wrong with saying what you believe and voting with the same convictions?

I know that I am over-simplifying this to the extreme. D.C is D.C. and to get your bill passed, you must hold your nose and vote for their bill, I get it. But spending a little more pork on the Robert Byrd memorial center for the study of pop-tarts in West Virginia is different than voting against your party on judicial nominees. You remember your party right? Those extremist who gave you the money to win that seat in which you sit? The folks who wrote those first checks to help you get elected. Yea, those people. I am sure that if you would have told them when the time comes, that you would not support an up or down vote on Circuit Court nominees, you may have had a different outcome in your election.

Please list the great moderates of our time.

Neville Chamberlain? Peace in our time? Sure ask the Poles.

Jimmy Carter? "Khomeini is a man of faith, a believer, we'll get on fine together".

George Bush 41? No new taxes, ok but you promise to cut spending.

Hard to find these most elusive creatures, isn't it?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I wonder what those cops are doing up there? Oh crap, hide the dope!

Oliver Stone was arrested for suspicion of DUI and drug possession Friday night. That makes two times for the drunken doper director.

I am sure that the DUI checkpoint was un-constitutional and was set up by the Bush administration to stop him from making his next movie.

Maybe some of that brilliant intellect and in-depth research could have been used my Mr. Stone to find this.

As Captain Kirk once said "Double dumb ass on you"

Thursday, May 26, 2005

My prediction.

I predict this type of City ordinance will be brought up in 2005 with our trend setting neighbors in San Francisco.
Manfred Juraczka, a councillor in a Vienna district, said he wanted the city to register all dogs' DNA so that droppings left where people walk could be tested and the owner of the guilty dog punished, Associated Press reports.

It makes perfect sense for the city by the bay. More city workers, taking samples and doing DNA tests, cross-checking them against the city's database of registered dogs(and cats?) then issuing fines to support the expense of the testing. It would be the perfect storm of bureaucracy gone wild. The pet license fees would have to be increased to help with the costs, but hey folks, it's all in the effort to clean up our city! I know, how about doing this to the homeless that defecate in the doorways of businesses. If they are picked up for vagrancy, they submit to a DNA test to build a database and when a business owner discovers bum droppings in his doorway, he can call the city to find out who the perpetrator is? That I would pay for.

What about 'out of town dogs' leaving poop in golden gate park? Call in the Feds, they may have crossed state line to commit this horrible offense.

Could this be a new series for CBS?
CSI- gone to the dogs- San Francisco.

Who ever votes against this bill should be voted out of office.

Henry Hyde (R) Illinois, has introduced a bill that ties US funding for the Un to real reforms. Reforms such as not letting the worst human rights offenders sit on the human rights council.
Representative Hyde must be a reader of my blog. ( one could only hope )

Truthfully, who could vote against this? Only someone who believes like Amnesty International that the US is running a gulag in Guantanamo Bay.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Like a preacher on a bridge.

I think the line was by George Gobal, "I feel like the world is a tuxedo and I am a pair of brown shoes."

I had the privilege to officiate the wedding of my best friend and his lovely bride this past weekend. It took place on a small bridge over the creek on the most beautiful day we have had in while. I thought it may have been much warmer than it turned out to be, so I made the ceremony short, about 10 minutes total. When we were done, pictures taken and made it back to the Grange hall for the reception, I was met by many of my friends. I was a bit taken back by the reception I received. Most of the people congratulated me on the ceremony, but didn't know I was a Christian.

Most folks around these parts who know me, know I don't drink much, and try not to curse, but I feel I have not done a good job evangelizing to them. Most of my friends are good people. The kind of friends you could call at 3:00 am and ask them to drive 100 miles to pick you up if you had become stranded. However I can't think of one that attend church any regular basis. That may be partly because our local churches are very small and seem to be attended by mostly seniors. I don't know how welcome they would feel there.

I came from a great church in Granite Bay, near Sacramento, called Bayside Church. I was there when we held services at the high school gym. Recently, Bayside built a new church and is growing at a phenomenal rate. The differences in the local Presbyterian church and Bayside are night and day. The outreach ministries at Bayside are very dynamic, they have a ministry for almost everyone. The local church is limited by funding and the lack volunteers. I would like to see more of my friends and neighbors go to church, not because they should, but because they want to. I am not sure how to accomplish that goal or if it my place to try.

I still question if my friends would go to Bayside if were five minutes from their houses. The old adage of leading a horse to water comes to mind. It may be enough for me to share my story and my faith. For people who never think of God or that he might have a purpose for them on this earth, just getting them to think about God would be a good start.

My friend told me today that his grand daughter asked him if I was like a preacher in a church, he said no. He is like a preacher on a bridge.

The Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways.

Monday, May 23, 2005

RINOs win,

I will wait and see how this plays out, maybe the President can nominate for Supreme Court one of his confirmed circuit Judges without a filibuster from the dems.
Wait and see.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Just when I was getting back to the happy nice guy I usually am.

Driving home today I listened to Hugh talk about Indra Nooyi, the President and C.O.O of Pepsi Co, and her remarks given at a commencement speech at Columbia University. I was stunned.

"This analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and, in particular, The United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg-up in global business since the end of World War I. However, if used inappropriately – just like the U.S. itself - the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I’m talking about. In fact, I suspect you’re hoping that I’ll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I’m not looking for volunteers to model. Discretion being the better part of valor...I think I’ll pass. What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. – the long middle finger – must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand...not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. – the middle finger – sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally. Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as part of the hand – giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers – but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal."

She makes in excess of 8 million dollars a year. 8 Million dollars buys lots of things, it should also preclude you from making stupid political comments. What is she thinking? She works for Pepsi Cola, the 5th largest food and beverage company in the world. You know who buys a lot of their product? Americans. The middle finger of the world.

On Pepsi's worldwide code of conduct statement is says " There's only one way to hold together a company so big and diverse - through trust, shared values, common goals and consistent standards of conduct "

Seems to me that Indra Nooyi doesn't trust, or share the same values as the nation that allows her to prosper under it's freedom and protection.

That's a shame, I like Pepsi, my father-in-law is a retired route driver for Frito-Lay, a Pepsi Co subsidiary. I know there are literally thousands of hard working, dedicated employees who work for Pepsi. I don't want to effect them in a negative way, however I am not buying any of their products until Ms. Nooyi is either fired or goes on Good Morning America and begs forgiveness. I think her non-apology is a hastily written statement by the Pepsi lawyers.
Unfortunately, my remarks at Columbia University were misconstrued and depicted in a different context as unpatriotic. Although nothing could be further from the truth, I regret any confusion or concern that I may have inadvertently created. As I shared with the audience at Columbia, this country that I am proud and honored to call home is a “promised land” that I love dearly. I would never say or do anything to detract from our great nation and its people who have done so much for so many, including myself.

Misconstrued? Not Hardly. That Ms, Nooyi is a load of Bravo Sierra.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Give the guys in Gitmo a camera.

When I first heard of the Newsweek story of the alleged abuse of Muslim prisoners in Guantanimo Bay, I thought if it was true, what's was the big deal? I understand that to a Muslim the Koran is a much deeper symbol of his religion than my Bible is to me. It is said to be the actual word for word translation of God's message to the prophet Muhammad.

Ok, fine by me. I only have one question, when these same Muslims drive a carbomb into a Mosque that happens to belong to a different sect of Muslims, I bet they blow a couple dozen Korans into pieces. Where is the outrage in the Arab street at this?

If you gave the interrogators at Gitmo a digital camera and had them take a picture of a Koran being urinated on, they could apply for a National Endowment of the Arts grant.

Oh, wait, the NEA only pays for jewish or Christian symbols to be denigrated.

Digital Music, the bane of my existence.

For some one who spent more days in the saddle than in front of a keyboard, I consider myself to be somewhat tech savvy. I bought a mp3 player two years ago and had fun burning my CDs to mp3 files and listening to my player. I love to walk or workout with my mp3 player, it doesn't skip and holds more than 30 songs.

Now, on to the terror that is downloading music files. I still buy CDs, call me crazy, people that make music that I like should be able to sell their product for profit. It's called capitalism, it works. When the Napster craze hit the college campus' in the late 90s people were filling entire servers with music files without paying a cent. Like I always say, 'everyone likes a pig, but hog needs to be slaughtered'.

I am officiating the wedding ceremony of my friends this weekend and they asked me if I could get a song for the reception. I said I would and I did. I looked for the song and found it on Buy.com.

OK, now what? First you have to create an account, log in, pick the song, buy it with a credit card, try to download it, switch to IE Explorer, try to download again, successfully download it, try to open it, register it with the 'digital music police' open it as a WMA file, try to figure out how to convert it to a WAV file, download some free software that says it can convert WMA files to WAV files, open the software, click on the song and tell it convert it, then have it tell me the file is actually a WMAis file and it is an unsupported file type.

Luckily I was not anywhere near a firearm or a good piece of hardwood or I would be shopping for a new laptop right now.

So for the past two hours or so I have spent exactly 99 cents for a song that can only play on my laptop, downloaded software that probably has spyware in it and have wasted a good portion of my evening.

We had set a dealine of today to get all the music together.

I love deadlines, I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.

Monday, May 16, 2005

News weak, thanks for the riot.

I have never been a reader of Newsweek. Except in the waiting room of a doctor or dentist. I will never buy a copy on the news stand, ever. If I had a copy of Newsweek, I would flush it down the toilet.
I will send them my best wishes for a speedy demise. Email Newsweek.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The lessons we don't want to remember.

I was reading a piece by Victor David Hanson on the revisionist history being taught in our schools and around the world today. It as a great example of how our schools are failing. Young people don't understand the sacrifice made by their grandfathers to make the world a better place.

Revisionism holds a strange attraction for the winners of World War II. American textbooks discuss World War II as if a Patton, Le May, or Nimitz did not exist, as if the war was essentially the Japanese internment and Hiroshima. That blinkered and politically correct focus explains why so many Americans under 30 are simply ignorant about the nature and course of World War II itself.

Friday, May 13, 2005

This month is critical, and I'll tell you why.

As John Bolton's nomination as US ambassador to the UN goes to the floor of the Senate for and up or down vote, I am not sure that many people realize how crucial the next few weeks will be. I always look at how the opposition is acting to judge how important an issue is to them. The Senate democrats have been in hyper active, hammer down, full speed obstruction over the issues of Bolton and judicial nominees. Why? The easy answer is they don't like republicans and they want to thwart their agenda whenever possible, but that it not the whole story.

Republican victories in the past two presidential elections as well as control in both houses of the legislature have given the democrats only a few places where they have influence and power. First is the judiciary. Liberal activism is the only stop-gap measure left to get around the will of the American people. Let’s say a state wants to keep marriage between a man and a woman, they hold an election where the referendum passes two to one and the people of that state think that's the end of it. Wrong. Somewhere in a courtroom high atop a shining building sits a judge that thinks that gay marriage is a right and is sure that if the founding fathers would have thought about just a little longer, they would have put gay marriage in the Constitution.

Their bad. The judge says, I will fix it. The pledge of allegiance has 'under God' in it? That is un-constitutional. Never mind that Senator Robert Byrd can drone on while reading the book of Esther in the King James Bible on the floor of the Senate.

The only other place where the Liberal Democrats seek to retain power is in world opinion. Namely the United Nations, the World Bank and the EU. The next few weeks could be the beginning of the end for what is left of the Democratic power structure. If the Oil for Food scandal indicts Kofi and he gets the boot, or a nice warm cell somewhere, John Bolton will have good campaigning weather to change the UN from a do-nothing waste of US taxpayer money to a world body that can effectively become a force for good on the planet.

Bill Frist has just thrown down the gauntlet. As soon as the Highway bill gets off the floor, the judicial nominees will be next on the Senate's agenda. If the republicans can hold together for the next few weeks, enough to return the Senate back to its history on judicial nominees and confirm Bolton nomination, it could be one of the most important months in this decade.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Diana Griego Erwin resigns from the Sacramento Bee

I must admit that I was astonished to read this morning that DGE resigned from her Metro section column. The Bee's executive editor Rick Rodriguez said that the papers' own internal investigation found many people DGE identified in her stories did not exist.

'During our inquiry we found we could not authenticate the existence of several people even though they were identified by name, age and sometimes by the neighborhoods in which they were reported to have lived. We used extensive online database searches as well as old-fashioned shoe-leather work in our investigation over the past 2 1/2 weeks.'

Sounds like nothing can get in the way of a good liberal story. DGE was one of the Bee's most liberal columnists.
"I did nothing wrong, but could not fully prove that to The Bee. My gratitude also to the thousands of people who let me into their lives. I loved telling your stories."

Yea, people love to tell stories Diana, except when the people you write about don't exist, they call it fiction.

Hats off to Rick Rodriguez for throwing out the trash.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Jimmy Carter and Ayatollah Khomeini were pals?

A story that I came across in french news. Does Jimmy Carter have any shame?

Then Presidents Giscard d'Estaing and Jimmy Carter got together and decided it would be a good idea to replace the Shah of Iran with the Ayatollah Khomeini, who was then lurking in exile in Paris. He vividly remembers Carter saying: "Khomeini is a man of faith, a believer, we'll get on fine together".

Way to go James.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Those darn auto-mobile things will never catch on.

So thought the buggy and carriage makers at the turn of the century. I have a few meadowbrook carts and a horse drawn wagon, you know what, it is hard to find anyone to work on them. The reason? They are obsolete. For the folks who use buggies and wagon for pleasure shows or to haul tourists about town, a good wheel-wright is hard to find.

Today's print media must look down the tracks and see if there is a tunnel through the mountain before they can start looking for the light at the end. The New York Times is searching for ways to stay relevant in the land between the north east elites and the west coast Hollywood liberals. This task is not just important, is a life or death struggle. The MSM has been showing all the signs of a fatal disease for years now, but if your a smoker with lung cancer, hanging around other smokers that are coughing up black tar and saying they feel fine is not going to make you seek treatment. What the Times needs to do is get a MRI and a full body scan to find out how sick they are. The Times panel solution to it's ills are like going back down to the smoke filled bar and asking one of your friends, how do I look? Limiting anonymous sources? That is the snow that is sitting on top of the tip of the iceberg.

I live in the country, I have for almost all of my life, I have visited New York City and had a great time. My Son and I loved it, we went to a Yankees game and sat in the 6th row. We navigated the subway with relative ease, and did most of the tourist things. Most of the people were great, and I enjoyed the flavor and diversity of all the different cultures. Does this make me qualified to be the City Editor for the Times? Not hardly. The differences go much further than geography and time spent in the region. One of the qualifications to be a reporter in the City is knowing the heartbeat of the city, and the hundreds of places to find its pulse. If you rarely leave Manhattan, and can't wait for the next dinner party with the important people, you will see the City in one way. However, your view will be very different from the electrician that works in the basement of a building keeping the lights on so he can go home to his family every night.

How can the Times hope to reach out to the inhabitants of fly-over country? The easy way is to find like-minded reporters from the Midwest and the South and publish more of their reports. Sounds great, more liberal bias from different parts of the nation, whoopee. Speaking for myself, I don't really care if the Times prints an article from a reporter in Davis about this or that, the story will be skewed by that reporter's political bias.

Where would I start if I were given the rudder of Times for a year? I would start by having a 'step into the light' edition. This is who we are, this is what we believe, and this what we think about these key issues. Paul Krugman needs to tell everyone that he would like nothing better that to have America become more and more Socialist. That's who I am, that's how I feel. When I write about the President and his policies, please know that this is where I am writing from.

What would I do next? Replace one quarter of the reporters and editors with middle-right conservatives. Why on earth would I do that? To better reflect the views of the nation. The day their first column hits the page, they must do a 'step into the light' piece. Now I know who is telling me their opinion, and I can decide if they have another agenda. Diversity, it is something that the Times loves to report about, but not something they practice. A good coffeepot-throwing screaming match at the editorial meetings would be the best sign that they are making progress. Diversity of opinion is a great thing.

Will the Times change? Nope. They will put a new tie on the pig and haul it out to fair for all to see, but its the same old pig. The will slowly suffocate under the weight of their bias and traditions.

In the words of Agent Smith " Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of inevitability"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Why don't we celebrate V.E. Day anymore?

I have heard the statistic that everyday 1,500 veterans of WWII die. The recently celebrated 'Greatest Generation' is fast becoming just ink on history book pages and fading images in old photographs. That is a shame.

I am sure that my grandchildren will ask me if I knew anyone who fought in WWII and will tell them about my Great uncle and my step grandfather who fought in the Pacific. I never knew my great uncle, his submarine was sunk in the Pacific, and my step grand father Manuel did not like to talk about the war.

My father was born in 1915 and could not serve in the armed forces because he ruptured his eardrum as a young man and no service would take him. He spent a good deal of the war at Mare Island Naval Base building PT Boats. He would get sad when he talked about that time because of the friends and ball players he knew that never made it back home.

I did the math one day and if a young man of 18 fought in the Civil War in 1865, he would have been 78 years old when my father was 10. It would have been fascinating to hear from someone who talked to an actual soldier from the Civil War. That is what I think of when I take my son with me to my friend's ranch and talk with his grandfather. Barney is in his 80s and was in the Navy before Pearl Harbor and stayed in through Korea. I enjoy talking with him about his life.

If you have WWII veterans in your family, talk to them and listen to their stories, even if you have heard them before. Even if they are cranky and bitter, they will be gone soon and those memories can never be replaced.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

What ever happened to the geek from the audio/video room at High School?

Found Him.

Muscle Cars, just another thing I cannot afford right now.

This is a picture of my brother-in-laws 67? Camaro. It is his new baby. If he didn't live a thousand miles away I would ask to drive it. I think I would need a home equity loan to fill it up with 94 octane.

At 5 miles a gallon, it is not a daily driver, but when you can break the tires loose at 60 mph, who cares!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Beekeeper cracks me up, yet again.

It reminds me of a story my buddy Dan tells about a guy he worked with a few years ago. This guy was Hispanic, a few generation removed from the home country. Dan asked if he had anything planned for Cinco de mayo. The guy said not really, he was just not that into it. He then added "but we sure whooped your ass back then".

My friend Dan replied " Are you under the impression that Mexico defeated America for it's independence?"

"Isn't that what Cinco de Mayo is?"the friend asked

Classic, just classic.

I bet that if you asked 100 twenty year old kids working at Blockbuster who we fought in the Revolutionary War you might get 11 or 12 that would answer correctly.

I guess I'll put down these stones now, I see some streaks in my glass house.......

Everything must go at crazy Pierre's! .......almost.

Looking at France is like getting into a time-machine. This is where the left in America want us to be as soon as possible. No Wal-Mart, no big-box stores, only mom and pop shops protected from competition from the courts.

I run a small business, two in fact, there is nothing better that finding a small business with knowledgeable staff and fair prices. I am not asking them to compete dollar for dollar with Wal-Mart and Home Depot, I just don't to pay double for my purchases.

Having a court tell Wal-Mart that they can't sell a box of Rice Crispies for less than 5% off retail is insane.

What did you do in school today? We made protest signs.

I was commenting on another blog and came across this example of the curriculum used in 8th grade in 1895. As Slim Pickins used to say "what in the wide, wide world of sports in a goin on here?"
I doubt if the average Freshman college student could complete this 8th grade final exam.

When are we going to realize that culture, activism, art and personal growth instruction are the function of the parents, not the schools? If you are passing all of you real courses, then you may take an elective, art or band or poetry. The liberals that control the teachers unions and the 'teach to the whole student' crowd are not helping our kids to compete for the jobs that America needs to remain a leader in science and technology. You remember science and technology right? That is where we could find an alternative to foreign oil and cure AIDS and cancer, you know, the kind of important stuff.

Let me, the parent, decide what cultural instruction my child needs. It seems the only college most children will be ready for is a liberal arts college. They should do quite well at UC Santa Cruz. Maybe the world will start outsourcing all its sociology, and cultural studies needs to the US, that is what we will be qualified to do. We may not be able to compete for this century's technology and science breakthroughs, but we can 'feel good' with the best of them.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Separation of Mosque and State?

What is up with our secular buddies and France? The are financing Muslim studies, and the building of mosques.

After months of hesitation and negotiation, the Minister of the Interior Dominique de Villepin has announced the formation of a foundation to finance the activities of the Muslim religion. The agreement was signed by the four main tendencies, those associated with Algeria, the Frères Musulmans, the Comité de coordination des Musulmans Turcs de France. When the conseil d’état has given its blessing the foundation will come into being. It will then be possible to finance courses for the training of Immams in France. At the moment one third of those in France do not speak French. It will also be able to help finance the building of mosques. A government commissioner will sit with the foundation to monitor the projects to be financed. The aim of the government is to integrate the Muslim religion in France and to end secret financing from dubious foreign souirces.

Nothing worse than a wet dog.

Except wet hay.

For anyone suffering from a drought, I am offering my services as a rain harbinger.

I will be happy to fly to your county and find a field of hay. When my fee is met, I will call the local hay farmer to cut the hay. As soon as the swather drives off the field, the weather should change, in three days the field will receive 1/4 to 1/2'" of rain or hail if that would be more suitable for your situation.

" your results may vary"

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Hey let's get drunk and go to the Casino!

Living here in western Yolo County means many things, the beauty of the Blue Ridge in the spring, bringing the family to a picnic at one of the neighbor's ranches, the 4-H spring show at the fairgrounds and trying not to be killed by the Casino traffic.

Friday night it happened again, one of the locals that lived in Capay was struck and killed by a casino patron as he walked to his house. So what you might say, people get killed all the time and this is no different. No, this is different. When I was in my twenties living here, you could set up a poker game on Highway 16 after 10:00 pm on any weeknight and not get disturbed until 4:30 or 5:00 am when the farmers and ranchers started their day. Not anymore, now it's bumper to bumper on weekends and during the week its still 24 hours a day of speeding casino players. What has changed? Ten thousand new residences built in a small farming community? Nope. I know that has happened all to often in other places, but Yolo County is very agriculture friendly and does not allow much new building at all, especially in the rural, western part of the County.

What happened is the Rumsey band of Wintun Indians built a small bingo parlor on their land. I understand it's their land and they have the right to do what they want with it. I also know that before the bingo parlor went in, there were only a handful of Indians living there. As bingo grew more popular, the traffic increased. In the 90's the tribe, flush with money, opened a large casino. Cache Creek Casino was much larger and their patrons were coming from farther away to spend their paychecks.

The Casino is about 15 miles from Interstate 505, so when you take this exit you must drive through three small towns before you can start loosing your money in Brooks. The towns of Madison, Esparto and Capay are just obstacles for these people. Think of having a casino at the far end of your street in a residential neighborhood. Do you think people will slow down because you live there, your kids are playing and this is a residential area? Nope, hammer down, I've got to play those slots!

In 2004 the tribe opened the new Cache Creek Resort Hotel and Casino. The locals were not thrilled. The promise of no alcohol at the Casino was disregarded and now we have drunken casino players speeding through the valley. The tribe has built new luxury homes for their members and the handful of Wintuns has grown to close to a hundred. The tribe, to get approval on the new resort, is giving millions of dollars to the County over the next 10 years to help mitigate some of problems that the new resort is causing. Who replaces the lives of the people killed?

I don't want to get into the Ward Churchill debate of we screwed them first and now we are getting payback. My wife is a Pottawattamie Indian. I am an avid reader of US and western history, I know what happened.

I guess what really gets me, is they are beating us at our game. They have taken capitalism and greed to its highest form. The tribe may be good business people, they are just lousy neighbors. Their new motto should be "Yea for us, sucks to be you".

I geuss I can sell out move to Montana with all the other Californians.