Sunday, September 10, 2017

SAN LUIS OBISPO: Showers of Hope at UCC 9/9/2017

Saturday 9/9/2017 Showers of Hope Report: We operated our Hope's Village of SLO - Showers of Hope - Mobile Shower Trailer at United Church of Christ parking lot at 11245 Los Osos Valley Road in SLO. We had another relatively low turnout, but right now, its quality, not quantity. We have provided a high degree of services, allowing folks to get clean and walk away with food and wearing clean clothes. Thanks to our crew: Carley, David, Marcy, Becky and Barbara.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Just for Fun! Chicago

Went to see Chicago at Vina Robles in Paso last night. Yes, they were that good. No, I have no excuse for not going to see them sooner. They were one of my favorite bands in High School during the 1970's. Sadly, I'll be missing my 40th high school reunion on 9/16 because Sue is having back surgery on 9/15. Oh well, that's life.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

EDITORIAL: The Destruction of American History...Are there any Lines Left to Draw?

UPDATE 9/14/2017: The "Destroy American History" movement continues unabated. As I originally predicted in this article, it would not be long before the venerated Fr. Junipero Serra of Alta California colonial history would be the next to be destroyed. See the section in this article below titled "Spanish Colonial Era Worship Must End".  For more information on Mission San Luis Obispo, reference this article. On La Purisima Concepcion, reference this article. 

On September 12, 2017, the familiar statue of Saint Serra which appears at most of the 21 California missions has been decapitated and defaced with red paint, and sadly covered over with a black burka sack. You can read about the article in the SLO Tribune by clicking here. Most historical statues scattered around America have gone largely unnoticed by the public, until this criminal movement to destroy them got started. I hope that others love history as I do, whether deemed "good" or "bad", and want images of our past preserved. Otherwise, how are we different from the Taliban and ISIS, who destroyed ancient and amazing works of historical art during their brutal occupations, never to be seen again by the world? Those in the "destruction" business would not appear to have a moral compass to consult. Sad indeed.
Above: Putting in a new adobe floor at La Purisima in the "Master Weavers Quarters". What an honor for me to touch California history.

San Luis Obispo, of course, is a mission town, and I am proud to say that I am a docent at the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, as well as a Core Leader for the state park system at Mission La Purisima Concepcion just outside of Lompoc, where we maintain and improve the mission structures.

Is it coincidence that our own Senator Feinstein (and Senator Durbin) just finished grilling appeals-court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” she was asked outright. The questioning was inappropriate, as well as also unconstitutional, violating the prohibition against religious tests for public office.” Of course, Durbin and Feinstein should recuse themselves from the Barrett vote, but no doubt that will not happen. The rules and laws are for the "little people", not the high and mighty up on capital hill.

In response, Father James Martin, S.J., a Catholic priest who frequently espouses progressive views on social issues, responded to video of Feinstein’s comments, adding, “Throwback to an era when Catholics were seen as unthinking tools of the Pope. You can be a good Catholic citizen in our country. Ask JFK.”
UPDATE 8/23/2017: Fascinating that we've moved from toppling confederate statues to toppling minorities with a "Confederate Name"! In this case, an ESPN Sports Broadcaster named "Robert Lee" has been pulled from ESPN broadcasts at UVA because his Asian name is the same as a confederate general that lived centuries ago. I'm not making this up - read about it in the New York Times by clicking hereSomehow, ESPN believes that Americans aren't smart enough to understand that an Asian broadcaster named Robert Lee has absolutely nothing to do with a long dead confederate general named Robert E. Lee. 
Above: Confederate broadcaster at ESPN - Robert "Gee" Lee! Toppled by hysterical vigilantes from his broadcast perch at ESPN in the middle of the night? The ivy leagues have been discriminating against overachieving Asians applicants in the middle of the night in college admittance - wonder how they are faring in the broadcast booth? Not leaving room for other "more deserving" minorities? Perhaps.

UPDATE 8/22/2017: The destruction movement continues, with "anything confederate, as long as its not democrat" growing stronger by the day. A large stone and bronze monument was donated in 1925 to the "Hollywood Forever" Cemetery in Los Angeles by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, founded in 1894 (obviously a racist and hateful group). It was recently vandalized and then forced to be hauled away "forever" (how ironic). Obviously, Californians will raise no fuss, and it will receive no press in California. 

Those who don't understand the 2016 election's results will just not know why members of the "Daughters" group will be upset and say things like "I feel very hurt, like this is not my America". Before you d*mn her as a racist that rose up from the depths of h*ll, perhaps you could consider her point of view.

The "Daughters of the Confederacy" are upset that white supremacists latched onto the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville. When the "Daughters" was founded in 1894, the ladies were trying to heal the nation, and themselves. Many women had lost fathers, brothers, husbands and sons in this deadly war. Most of these monuments were placed in cemeteries. The goal of the monuments was to honor veterans. For these reasons, the "Daughter's" monuments must now be vandalized, hauled away and destroyed immediately - all with official approval from government officials, who are standing by and watching it happen.

Until 2010, democrat Senator Robert Byrd continued to be elected to public office, as a living monument to slavery and racism. In the early 1940s, Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to create a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in West Virginia. Byrd became a recruiter and leader of his chapter for the next 4 years. When it came time to elect the top officer (Exalted Cyclops) in the local Klan unit, Byrd won unanimously. 

In December 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore G. Bilbo: “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

How many monuments to Byrd have been torn down? After all, he has schools, streets, parks and more named after him in West Virginia. Answer: none so far. Byrd later called joining the KKK "the greatest mistake I ever made." Does this trite statement absolve him of any responsibility for the damage that he caused? Why yes, it does. What he did in the past is merely an "inconvenient truth" but should not cause his reputation to be tarnished. No less a progressive icon than former President Clinton justified Byrds involvement in racist aggression by noting that he was "just a country boy" and merely "using the KKK to get elected". Let's spare all the monuments to Byrd - good idea.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE 8/17/2017: The Destruction of American History...Where Do We Draw the Line? Yes, its a that requires THINKING...

When I was growing up, I was educated about slavery, but knew that it took place long before I was born. It never occurred to me that I would be blamed for such a vile and hateful institution. Though I have no idea if I am a caucasian (no DNA test or anything), I certainly look the part. Must be guilty of "being white" as charged. But note that I now "self-identify" as "American Indian", and not white — a quick save there. Certainly, that won't matter to those who trumpet race guilt above all else.

I love history. Vile history, Glorious history. Factual history. History. The kind that actually happened (how do you know when it is destroyed?). The recent trend for American vigilante citizens (and even elected representatives) to viciously attack and destroy our American history is sad. I have to ask: "where do we draw the line?" (we'll get back to this question).

For many decades now, I have been saddened by the Taliban and ISIS extremists destroying massive amounts of middle eastern history, simply because they did not share the religious viewpoint of the creators of these artifacts. You might want to take some time and brush up on this subject:
If you love history, the above list should be enough to make you ill. If these readings do not bother you, then please STOP READING - I am wasting your time.

I am confused about how the islamic extremist destruction of historic symbols is somehow different from the destruction of confederate civil war symbols? Of course, I have a theory (always do!). Our horrific history of slavery, shared by the entire world during this same time frame (roughly 1800's and before), should have been allowed to die the historic death it deserved. However, many Americans choose to "resurrect this historical wrong", and thus love to draw truly race-blind people like me into this long-dead conflict.

I have accepted that many will continue to blame me for slavery and being a racist by virtue of the fact that I appear white. This, even though I had not been born when slavery occurred, and am in fact an "American Indian" (ain't "self-identification" grand!) and by definition, can only be a victim of racial bias.

The real question, though, is where does our destruction of history end? Civil wars are perhaps even more destruction than your "average" war, pitting "brother against brother" and a nation upon itself. Many never recover: see North and South Korea - apart forever, perhaps? Families never reunited. Tragic.

Logic dictates that I must propose the following:

George Washington, father of our country, and slaveholder. Destroy his home of Mt. Vernon. Bulldoze it to the ground. Leave nothing. He was the vilest of slaveholders - read your history (while you can).  Vigilantes must destroy all George Washington statues and monuments immediately (be careful with the Washington Monument - somebody might get hurt!). Owner of 1 slave - 100 slaves - does it matter? Like murder - right? Oh wow - we have to rename Washington DC, too - any ideas? Maybe "Django DC"? (I gotta be safe on this one - "Django" is the name of a famous Belgian guitarist).

Thomas Jefferson. James Madison. Considered co-Father's of the Declaration of Independence. Their call to war was an act of treason against mother England to begin with. They start out as traitors. And slave holders. Destroy it all. Including all known copies of the Declaration of Independence. Written and signed by a slaveholders hand with a slaveholders pen.

12 American Presidents owned slaves. Burn their historical homes. Everywhere they slept. All their statues and monuments. Should we dig up their graves, and throw them in the local dump in disgrace? Its already happening. A recent editorial in the Orlando Sentinel has proposed digging up some of the 482 confederates buried in "our cemetery" to make room for more deserving Americans. That will show them. Don't bother getting permission - just grab your rope, and begin toppling 'em like the mini-confederate statues they really are.

Abraham Lincoln. Finally, we get to a president that we don't have to destroy? The emancipation proclamation? Nope. Lincoln was elected by a country that included many slaveholders, and reigned as President over a nation of slaveholders. Isn't that even worse than simply owning a few slaves? Tear down the Lincoln Monument as well.

Perhaps the best part is that apparently all this looting and destruction of history that offends us is legal! Law enforcement stands by and watches while it happens, and arrests nobody. Well, that's how it should be, isn't it? "Erasing" the stain of our foul history is the right thing to do, so why should it be illegal? There is that thorny question of who decides which of our history is so disgraceful that we must erase it? Apparently, the mob gets to decide.

Send the Mob to Germany. In our country, being called a Nazi is far worse than being called a racist. Of course, America is a racist country, so it would come as no surprise that we individually are called racists with great frequency. Now being called a Nazi - why, that usually makes the national news, so being one of Hitler's admirers is particularly offensive to us. Our trendy new "vigilante law" would appear to obligate us to head to Germany and bring down anything in that country with links to Hitler. With all the skinheads over there, we should find plenty of targets. Surely, the Germans would not object, would they? 

Vietnam War: In the civil war, confederates were wrong to cede from the union and support slavery. Clearly. On an individual basis, that decision was not so obvious. Let's look at the map of America in 1861. Note that the 1860 census showed America to have 31 million total people, with the north have 22 million and the south 9 million (no idea if any slaves were counted in any of these totals).

The war quiet literally divided the country in half. Wonder what happened if you were in the "pink" half and decided to fight for the "blue" half? Bet you slipped away in the middle of the night. Consider the reserve: living in the blue and deciding, through family affiliations or political point of view, to fight with the south. I bet you slipped away in the night too. Times were harsh back then - how much do you want to bet that if you were caught on either side "slipping away" that your head was "slipped into a noose"? That will be a research question left for another day.

Fighting for the wrong side makes you a wrong person. Back to Vietnam. Many (most) believe it was an unjust war - plain wrong war. You know that 58,000+ Americans died in that war - we have the memorial to tell us that. But did you know that an estimated 3,000,000 Vietnamese died? Yep. Three million. Very bad. Bad war, yet we remember our dead - but should we? We revere the Vietnam War Memorial, but will that change in 150 years, as in the civil war? Once upon a time, Americans saw confederates as still Americans. Abe did. Everybody did. What has changed today? Are they no longer Americans. Time to topple that memorial to innocent Vietnamese death, shall we?

American Indian Genocide. Historically, this was far worse than slavery (trust me - look it up). Indians are the most impoverished minority group today, by far. We still treat them poorly.  None other than Union President Ulysses S. Grant was a major perpetrator in the killing of innocent indigenous tribal men, women and children. Monuments to Grant are all over the place - time to get busy.

Spanish Colonial Era Worship Must End. Far worse, at least in California, than the American Indian wars was the period of Spanish colonialism in America, starting in 1769 with that Saint Junipero Serra fellow. The Spanish were determined to convert the "heathen" to Catholicism or treat them like slaves until they died of disease or overwork. We can start with all those statues of Saint Junipero Serra at the California missions (heck, we have one in my home town of San Luis Obispo). You don't need much of a rope, because he was really short (only 5' 3" - who's ever heard of any super anyone who is that puny?).
Conclusion: I say, let's be more moral than the Taliban and ISIS. Let's keep our history out on display where people can see it, discuss it, and debate - maybe even learn something from it.  Any moron throw a rope around a monument and tie it to their pickup's bumper, and hit the gas...Think about it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

CALIFORNIA; “Park Champion” Program at Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima

UPDATE 8/25/2017: SAN LUIS OBISPO / SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: You are invited to be a California State Park Foundation's ("CSPF") Park Champions Volunteer Leader in training, or a volunteer (no training necessary!).  If you are interested, please contact Tim Waag at 805.440.9144
Figure 0: La Purisima "Linear Mission" in the background

I’ve been a Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers volunteer for 25+ years, and a CCCMB “Crew Leader” for 4 years. I am in training to be a “Volunteer Crew Leader” (technically, “California State Park Foundation’s - Park Champions Core Leader") for Mission La Purisima near Lompoc. My role will be to organize and lead work days at La Purisima Concepcion, the 11th of 21 missions in the California chain, founded in 1787.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

WORLD: The Russians are Laughing Their Asses Off!

INTRODUCTION: This is not a reflection on any particular political persuasion in American  - not D's or R's - not L's or C's. Its just a statement of fact. What's going on between Russia and America is like what often happens in the world of sports: when a less-talented team takes it to the more highly skilled team, by using clever tactics and psych-outs. 
Photo (above): yep, this silly Russian prop is in the Kremlin. The Russians are probably laughing like this statue is right now while swilling down a bottle of Vodka!

BACKGROUND: Russia is a weak country that is in decline: their population is decreasing, and their economy is growing ever more dependent on fossil fuels (and we know which way that is heading). Their currency is in continual turmoil, and their people are regressing towards 3rd world living standards. All they have is a popular dictator, a large army and a bunch of nukes. 

EFFECTIVELY STIRRING THE POT: The Russians got what they wanted when they "stirred the pot" during the election in America — and then some. We are so off of our "game" that we're not even on the field - heck, we're haven't even arrived at the ballpark! Instead of taking care of the business of running the country, our political parties are in full war footing — against each other! Am I the only one that sees this that Russia is making us the laughing stocks of the world?

For liberal/conservative sake, lets just say that both political parties are losing in this arena. Therefore, America is losing this internal battle. They must be laughing their *sses off in Moscow. As far as I can tell, there is no concrete evidence of malfeasance on the part of Americans during the election - only the Russians (if I'm wrong, please point out the facts to me). 

The Ruskies had to do very little to create this mess! There are now 5 separate investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians - no doubt involving 100's or 1,000's of government employees (who is doing their jobs while they are "investigating"?), while it is costing "we the people" 100's of millions of dollars, and distracting our elected officials from doing the job they are supposed to be doing of running our country.
Above: Yep - Red Square and the Kremlin.

Well, I hope somebody is happy about this (besides the Russians), because I'm not. We in the private sector don't have any choice but to get up each day and do our jobs and run our businesses. If we didn't, there'd be no business left to run. But the politicians? Right now, it seems they've never met a camera or a TV crew that they didn't want to jump in front of and start accusing the other side of the most extreme things that they can dream up in their vivid imaginations. Politicians were screaming to impeach Trump even before he took the oath of office! Facts don't seem to play a significant role in any way that I can tell.

Enjoy my photos of Moscow from a trip a few years back. No, I'm not part of the conspiracy, but I wouldn't be surprised if some government A.I. bot (Artificial Intelligence Robot) picked up on these photos of the Kremlin and put me on their private "watch list".
Above: Yep - the Kremlin, again. On display - world's largest cannonball!

Friday, May 12, 2017

SAN LUIS OBISPO: The Faces of the Chronically Homeless

UPDATE 7/6/2017: Our Hope's Village of SLO "Showers of Hope" program recently received an endorsement from the Police Chief of San Luis Obispo, Deanna Cantrell (see below): 

"Hope's Village of SLO has my blessing for their "Showers of Hope" program that will allow people who are homeless (and without access to other showers) an opportunity to not only be clean but be cared for. My hope is that this will be part of supporting folks to move towards a better life. Thank you Hope's Village for your leadership on this." 
— Heidi Harmon, Mayor, San Luis Obispo, California

“I am pleased to support the work of Hope’s Village to provide portable ‘showers for Hope’ to San Luis Obispo. Health and cleanliness should be important to everybody in the community. Providing everybody the dignity to shower is a great thing. I applaud Hope’s Village and their community partners for making this happen.”
—Ian Parkinson, Sheriff, San Luis Obispo County, Calif.
“The San Luis Obispo Police Department is in support of Hope’s Village of SLO offering something many of us take for granted, and that is the ability to shower.  The homeless in SLO that are unable to use Prado Day Center can benefit from having access to a clean portable shower that will not only bring them dignity, but can also prevent sickness and disease."
—Deanna Cantrell, Police Chief, San Luis Obispo

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

NATION: Feminists - Life is Tougher in Almost Every Way for Men!


Men have it worse than women in every measurable way. Go ahead: Call me a sexist. Call me a mysogenist. Call me whatever you want - I don't care anymore. I'd say its not true, and give reasons, but you've already made up your mind. There's an interesting web site called Real Sexism that you can see by clicking here. I posted an article on this web site several years ago, then inexplicably deleted it, but never again. I'll try to make my point, starting with the most important points first.

LIFE EXPECTANCY: To see a table with the history of life expectancy in the United States, please click here. Worldwide, women live 7.3% longer than men (68 years 6 months for men vs. 73 years 6 months for women), or 5 years longer. In America, in 2000, women lived 7.3% longer than men, while in 2012, they gap narrowed to 6.4% longer.

HORRIBLE DEATH: Certainly, we all value life. In every meaningful statistic, men die horrible deaths at a far higher rate than women. Men are make up 97% of combat fatalities and 81% of total war deaths. Men make 94% of work suicides and 80% of all suicides (not just at work). Men make up 93% of work fatalities, and 77% of homicide victims are men.

GENDER PAY GAP DEBUNKED: Somehow, this obvious falsehood is still perpetuated as true. You've heard it before and it goes something like this: for every dollar men earn, women earn 77¢ or some such number. Not even close. The real pay gap, when taking all factors into account, barely exists: study have shown it to be about 3 to 8¢ - a far cry from the oft-quoted 23¢ gap. 

However, the best proof yet is this: if this gap of 23% were real, I would immediately start a company and hire only women, and have a dramatic 23% marginal wage cost benefit over all my competitors. In many industries, the entire corporate profit margin is far smaller than 23%! If I did this, I would have an incredible money-making machine! Yet I haven't done this - why not? Because the gap doesn't really exist. Put another way: suppose I ran a gas station, and could buy my fuel for 23% less than my competitors. Actually, at most gas stations, the gas business operates at a loss, and all the profit is made at the so-called "C-Stores" (Convenience Stores). If I could do this, I would absolutely SLAM all my competition and put them out of business in the blink of an eye.

Let's suppose this 23% gap does exist. Surely female employers are not responsible for this, are they? Let's look at Hillary and the Clinton Foundation during the last presidential election. Surely, this is a bastion of equal pay by gender? Not even close. The men on her staff earned a whopping $81,000 more (on average) than the women! Don't believe me - read it here. Even more, the Foundation employed far more men than women. This must be an anomaly. What about our President of the last 8 years - Barack Obama? Surely, our first black president, having felt the burn of discrimination based on race all his life, would not extend the gender discrimination pay gap? Well, if you guessed he did better than Secretary Clinton, you would be wrong. Read about it by clicking here. This gap on President Obama's staff persisted at different (high) levels throughout his entire administration. But hey - who cares? Hillary and Barack's heart is in the right place, correct? That's all that matters.