12/26/12

Crazy to have cops in schools?

The MSM (MainStreamMedia) is going nuts over Wayne LaPierre's statements about a putting a cop in every school.

The kindest thing I have heard is that LaPierre is 'crazy.'

Really?

Then what do we call having an armed, uniformed guard in the La Junta Social Security office? We have had an armed, uniformed guard there for years. It's a common thing in SS offices throughout the land.

Why?

What is there at the La Junta Social Security office that is so vulnerable, so valuable, that it is not 'crazy' to have a guard there ... while it is crazy to suggest that we have an armed, uniformed guard in every school?

Here are some other sources on this:

Armed guard at social security office

Why does the Social Security Administration need 174,000 rounds of pistol ammunition?

Training exercise startles locals

Social Security requests massive amounts of .357 ammo (that's .357 Sig, not .357 Magnum)

12/18/12

Huckabee responds ...

Huckabee has posted a response to 'the left', over the uproar his comments have caused. You can find it in its entirety here:

Mike Huckabee on Facebook

But here is an excerpt that I find absolutely fascinating:

I realize my viewpoint sounds out-dated and archaic, but when that world view was the foundation of our nation’s social contract, we got in trouble at school for talking in class, chewing gum, pulling a girl’s pigtails, or slouching in our school desks. We took guns to school, to be sure, but they were in the gun racks of our trucks and we used them to hunt before and after school. It never occurred to us to use them to murder our teachers and fellow students. So yes, I can stand the contempt and criticism of the left. I’ll gladly accept their scorn as they substitute creative language with a steady stream of profanity-laced tirades that I’m an idiot, a throwback to the past, and a person who should be forever silenced. But when we as a nation feared God, we didn’t fear that a 20 year old with a high powered rifle would gun down our children in their schoolrooms.

No, Huck, we didn't fear a 20 year old with a high-powered rifle in the schools. We had other distractions, back when We As a Nation Feared God:

Pulling pigtails?


Nathan Bedford Forest, a God-fearing man.


God-fearing men interacting socially in America, back when We As a Nation Feared God.


This one is from Huck's Arkansas. Perhaps he pulled the pigtails a little too hard?

 God-fearing government officials explaining old-fashioned American Values to gathered citizens.

Another God-fearing government official, perhaps engaged in explaining God's Mysterious Ways to a fellow who didn't quite get it? Note the Moses-like rod in the hand of the God-fearing government official, who clearly oozes Christian spirit.


God-fearing Christian Americans. Pals of God-fearing Man Nathan Bedford Forest.

Chewing gum in class?

God-fearing Man enjoying the Blessings of a God-fearing Nation.


More God-fearing men - black veterans of WWI - enjoying the Blessings of the God-fearing Nation which they had served, presumably in a God-fearing manner.



















God-fearing government official explaining basic American values of truth and justice ("Your president is not a crook.").


Slouching at our school desks?

 John Chivington, God-fearing Methodist minister, and hero of Sand Creek, where he managed to slaughter a bunch of women and children who, being heathen Injuns, presumably were insufficiently God-fearing.

God-fearing corpses litter the field at Gettysburg, having been led into God's righteous battle by other God-fearing men, in defense of  "states' rights" - the God-given right of God-fearing men to own other men as slaves. Glory, glory, hallelujah!

 Talking in class

And no one had sex back then, outside the holy bonds of matrimony, We As a Nation Fearing God as we did and being too busy talking in class anyway. And of course, there was no child abuse, no child molestation, no domestic abuse, none of that back when Mike Huckabee was thinking about pulling those pigtails ... for We Were a God-fearing Nation:


I think I'll avoid Huckabee's God, and stick with my own. Fortunately, because of those 'liberal' courts and 'activist' judges, and because of people willing to tell the Christian Right to shove it, I do not have to accept the Republican version of God.

Perhaps Job should be re-written. Huckabee could ghost-write for Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. And, since he has such a handle on God, perhaps he should do a nice revision of God's speech as well.

Or perhaps he could just write scripts for a remake of "Ozzie and Harriet." 

And keeping it all in perspective:



Update 02.10.2015: Fresh remembrances from Huckabee's 'back when we as a nation feared God':

History of lynchings in the South documents nearly 4,000 names

12/17/12

Mike Huckabee - Bullshit

This guy Huckabee is really wearing thin.

All his other bullshit aside, he pushed a real shovel-load when he said he 'almost wished' that all  Americans should be forced to listen to the ignorant crap pumped out by David Barton ... even at gun point.

Now, this darling of the Republican Party and the Christian Right has come up with one that rivals the best of Pat Robertson:

 Mike Huckabee: Newtown Shooting No Surprise, We've 'Systematically Removed God' From Schools

Does Huckabee really believe that?

What unmitigated bullshit.

But I'm not the first to say that.

Actually, Rachel Held Evans was, so far as I know, the first to put it in writing on the 'net:

God can't be kept out

which is, I think, a far better assessment than Huckabee could ever present.

Here's another right-on-the-money view of the self-righteously despicable theological puke pimped by Huckabee and the Christian Right:

Facebook Faith #5

Does Huckabee really believe the garbage he preaches? Of course he does.

Bryan Fischer is another one:

"...  And I think God would say to us, 'Hey, I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've got to invite me back into your world first. I'm not going to go where I'm not wanted. I am a gentleman."

And not to be overshadowed, James Dobson of Focus on the Family chimed in with:

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.  I think that's what's going on.

Where is the Master of Disaster, Pat Robertson? We didn't hear much from him about Hurricane Sandy being a visitation of God's wrath ... where is he now? Can any attempt by the Christian Right to politicize a tragedy be complete without a dispensation from Brother Pat?

So basically God, denied access to the school because we have barred him (really? We have the power to bar God from anywhere? Huckabee, a Baptist preacher, really believes that?), then through his avatar, pulled the trigger on 20 kids and their teachers, up there in Connecticut?

Really? God can't go into our schools unless he has government approval? How does that work? Does God submit an application in triplicate, checking off certain theological parameters set by Huckabee, Fischer, Robertson, Dobson, and the rest of the Christian Right? Then is the application reviewed to make sure God is the right kind of God? Does God have to take some kind of exam? Does he have to answer a certain percentage of questions correctly in order to be allowed in? Is that how it works?

What bullshit.

And they wonder why people turn away from the church. And, since this is exactly what the Republican Party cannot separate from its politics ... why people are turning away from them, as well.

12/14/12

Harry blathers ... again

Harry Belafonte is at it again:

The American singer-songwriter, once considered the “Kind of Calypso,” this week ignited outrage – and plenty of eye rolls – after speaking with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton and saying President Obama should rule like a third-world dictator and toss his GOP opponents behind bars.
“That there should be this lingering infestation of really corrupt people who sit trying to dismantle the wishes of the people, the mandate that has been given to Barack Obama, and I don’t know what more they want,” he said. “The only thing left for Barack Obama to do is to work like a third world dictator and just put all these guys in jail.”

Belafonte went on to claim that Republicans are "violating the American desire" by working to keep government limited, taxes low and the country solvent. Sharpton was clearly amused by the suggestion – and could be heard laughing in the background.

I don't have much use for the Republican Party these days, especially here in Colorado, and in Otero County even more especially ... but c'mon, now.

Belafonte may not have noticed, but Obama and the Democrats do not have a 'mandate,' not with 49% of the people sitting on the other side of the aisle. Does he think that the 49% of us who are not fans of Obama or the Democrats - and who may or may not be Republicans - does he think that we are all 'really corrupt people?' But why does Belafonte stop with mere jail?

Why not just have the 49% put up against a wall and shot? Well, perhaps the Dems' position on gun control factors in on that one.

As for Al Sharpton's giggle-fit ... that's hardly surprising. It's just Sharptonian.

12/11/12

"There will be blood ..."

That, according to this article, is what Michigan rep Doug Geiss had to say just before the Michigan ledge voted to approve their 'right to work' legislation.

The final votes on the House side Tuesday deliver a blow to the labor movement in the heart of the U.S. auto industry. The measures ban unions from demanding dues from workers. 

The unions, who are more and more a pox upon the nation these days, seem to think that non-union workers should be required to pay union dues, in order to hold a job.

Another excerpt:

Coinciding with the votes were massive and noisy protests both inside and outside the Capitol from pro-union demonstrators. Thousands descended upon downtown Lansing to rally against the legislation that prohibits requiring nonunion employees to financially support unions at their workplace. 

Earlier in the day, two state school districts closed after hundreds of teachers called out, presumably to join the protests.  

FoxNews.com confirmed that the Warren school district had to close Tuesday after so many teachers called out absent; WDIV in Detroit reported that the Taylor school district had to do the same. A statement from the Warren system said that by 8 a.m. local time, 750 staff members had called out. 

Yeah, unions are a pox upon the nation. So are teachers who walk out on their students, to support such nonsense as this.

All that unionista garbage doesn't seem to be doing Michigan's students all that much good, according to this article on state rankings for math education. Michigan is 26th in the nation.

As to basic literacy in Michigan, we have this:

Horrific 10 percent literacy rate prompts ACLU to sue Michigan schools
 
an excerpt:

"Everybody is talking about the corruption in the school board and the deficit, but nobody is talking about literacy and the fact that 90 percent of 12th graders aren't proficient in reading." Meanwhile, the teachers are out screaming and yelling and carrying on like the unionista thugs they are. We can only imagine what the rest of the unionistas are up to. Predictably, Barack Obama agrees with the unionistas: President Obama also weighed in Monday, using a speech near Detroit to call out local Republicans. 

"These so-called 'right-to-work' laws, they don't have anything to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics," Obama said. "What they're really talking about is they're giving you the right to work for less money." 

No, Mr. President. What they are really talking about is not being held hostage by a gang of thugs, who - in the case of the teachers' unions - don't seem to be doing all that much for the inflated paychecks they are getting.

So we continue to wonder ... was that a threat on Geiss' part? Is he going to turn his unionista goons loose, in the best SEIU tradition, on those who oppose him and his pals? Is that how Rule of Law works in Michigan?

All of this prompted Leece to observe:

Do you ever feel like we're in a growing minority of people who think this way? Maybe I feel that way because these 'thinkers' are in control of the White House. Obama is not very smart about these things.

Given that union membership has dropped like the Titanic heading for the bottom, I don't think we are in the minority. However, unions have a political influence that seems all out of proportion to their numbers ... though apparently that too is diminishing like a sinking ship, as we have seen from events in Wisconsin and now Michigan.

We agree that Obama is not very smart at all. OTOH, he is not running for re-election, so he can pimp his unionista thugs all he wants. However, he is a master at conniving weaselry, in the traditional Chicago political hack sort of way. As we are seeing, it's very effective in gaining and holding power. It's worked for the Chicago machine for decades upon decades.

Speaking of Chicago-style unionista thuggery - the Michigan unionistas seem to have learned their lessons well. Here's an update:

Fox News contributor punched in face at Michigan pro-union protest

Watch the video. What a bunch of savages, are these unions. Thugs and brutes.

12/5/12

CASB at the Broadmoor

As many of us know, the Colorado Association of School Boards has developed the habit of holding their annual bash at Colorado's premier resort, The Broadmoor. Despite some fairly sharp criticism for such extravagance at the expense of We the Taxpayers, CASB continues to hang out at the famous luxury hotel as though it were their private club.

Oddly, only a few newspapers have picked up on this.

Here is an article from Denver-CBS4, published last May:

Education administrators live large at The Broadmoor

Here are some excerpts:

One staff member charged $30 for a room service hamburger. Another charged $48.19 for a room service delivery of a plate of chicken and a glass of milk. Still another staff member submitted a room service bill for a single $30 mahi sandwich.

“I mean the Broadmoor is the Broadmoor,” said Delay when asked about the meal expenses being passed through to taxpayers.

“The public ends up paying 30 bucks for a hamburger?” asked 4 On Your Side Investigator Brian Maass.


“That is the going rate at the Broadmoor,” said Delay.


When CASB fed 19 of its staff members lunch at the Broadmoor, the tab came out to $1,217.69 or $64 per person for lunch. Breakfast a couple of days later for 22 CASB staff members ran up a
$1,439.54 tab- that’s $65.43 per person for breakfast.


And if that ain't enough ...

“It’s a decision I’ve made that that’s a fair additional compensation piece because of the extra time, work and effort to put on a great conference for our members,” said Delay. “I made a call several years ago that it’s not inappropriate if you want to bring your spouse to this conference.”

So not only are We the Taxpayers funding the feedbag, so to speak, for school board members and others of that ilk, but also for many of their spouses as well.

So the public paid $42.30 for a CASB staff member and her husband to have a room service breakfast of double eggs Benedict and a single glass of juice. Another dinner bill for the pair came to $170 including a $38 plate of prime rib.

So ... that was in May. CASB was still being challenged over this, after several years of their bashes at The Broadmoor, and nonetheless, they still had their annual bash there again, this year.

School boards are about the most arrogant elected officials you will find anywhere. The fact that their excesses at The Broadmoor are exposed and written about year after year doesn't shame them is a pretty good indication of that. You would think they'd be ashamed of themselves, as school budgets are being cut, teachers are being laid off, programs are being eliminated ... but now they are feeding their faces with thirty dollar hamburgers, and having forty dollar breakfasts with their spouses. And the funding for that is coming out of the pockets of We the Taxpayers.

Here is another article about this fiscal stupidity:

Vindication: Mainstream media discovers Reese right about Broadmoor

The Gazette noted that some of the sessions offered were intended to instruct board members on how to lobby for increased tax revenue.

Really? For what? So school board members can move on up to Wagyu steaks?

And how about this:

Brett Reese, a former member of the school board who resigned earlier this year, said the information covered in the Gazette and then months later by CBS 4 are exactly the types of excesses he constantly tried to deal with as a board member.

“During my time on the board I brought this up every year and every year the other board members dismissed it,” Reese said. “This is just one example of how much wasteful spending there really is hidden within the school budget.”


Reese went on to note that whenever the issue was brought up he hit a wall of silence from local media outlets over the issue.


“I wrote columns to the Greeley Tribune over this issue multiple times and they not only refused to print them, they never even reported on the Broadmoor issue. However, they had no problem advocating for a tax increase to bring in more money to the district,” he said. “Expenditures like this are why residents are leery of giving this district any more money. Yet you watch, this summer they are going to say they need more money for school renovations. They need to get their fiscal house in order first."


This is the same mindset though perhaps on a smaller scale, that we saw with the GSA's shindig(s) in Vegas. I guess we're just lucky that CASB hasn't decided to try the slots.

Past posts on CASB:

CASB's party at the Broadmoor

School Daze

High times at the Broadmoor

12/4/12

Pinwheels and Panels

 State lacks strategy on alternative energy

From the article:

The commission took note of the environmental effect of the energy initiative. California's deserts are scheduled to host large-scale solar power plants that have been criticized by conservationists.

"Without more careful calibration of these policies, Californians may wind up paying more than necessary for electricity and the state may unnecessarily degrade pristine habitat in its rush to implement renewable energy goals," Hancock said in a statement.


Surprise, surprise ... California has over 13,000 pinwheels between Techapi, San Gorgonio, and Altamont Pass. It does such wonders for the desert environment. California is covering the land with pinwheels and panels, and generates 'enough to light a city the size of San Francisco.' Really? How much will have to be covered with pinwheels and panels to 'light the state?'


Up at Limon, we have a pretty good 'windfarm' started. We can only wonder what Limon will look like in a few years. All that prairie, covered with pinwheels. How about a few hundred thousand acres of solar panels?

In North Carolina, Core and Pamlico Sounds could be filled with pinwheels in order to generate ... what? Enough to 'light a city the size of Raleigh?'

And in the article, we see how the customers are getting thoroughly screwed:

In the rush to incorporate new energy sources, the state has approved 20-year power agreements that lock in "unnecessarily high prices," the report says.

"This sets the stage for a potential ratepayer revolt," the report said.




11/26/12

The feasibility study

We were sitting around our favorite table in The Holy Land Quickee's.  Actually, we had joined DinkyDau Billy, who had his Bill Gates Surface set up and hooked in to someone's unsecured WiFi.

We were all slurping diet Dr. Peppers. Tookie was nibbling chocolate-covered espresso beans.

"So what are you doing, Unca Billy?" she asked our stalwart, as his fingers fluttered over the rather slick keyboard of his new toy.

"I'm lookin' up email addresses a all them players who might be innerested in the Tabares Affair," he confided, pausing to tuck his dreadlocks back under his AFDB.

"Why?"

"Well, I'm gonna bid on that feasibility study, you see," he explained.

We all sat there, not seeing.

"Well, I'm gonna undercut that arkie-teck. I'm gonna bid on the study. I'm gonna do it for $5,000," he told us.

"Oh. OK. And then how will you do the study?" Leece asked.

"Easy. I'll jist send ever one a email, and tell 'em to meet here at Quickee's. Easiest thing in the whirld," he explained, "Shucks, I'll even put out for the lunches. Like at one a them tourism or eckermomic development meetin's up in Vail or Aspen or Breckenridge or Silverthorne or the Broadmoor or some such place."

"Oh." That from Tookie. "You can't do the Broadmoor. CASB's got dibs on that."

"Billy, I don't think they will go for that. The Swink Quickee's lacks that resort atmosphere they've all gotten so used to. And what are you going to offer for lunch, anyway?" asked Leece.

"Uh. I was thinkin' Juan Diego burgers?"

"It won't work, Unca Billy. You aren't spending enough tax money, at a fancy enough place, with fancy enough eats. Nope. It'll never work."

We all nodded in agreeance.

"Not even if I include chunks a Daylight Donuts on the snack plate?"

We continued nodding, like a bunch of bobbleheads.

"So you think my bid for the feasibility study is ... feaseless?" he asked, somewhat plaintively, I thought.

Feaseless, indeed.

Kit Carson Redux


Here we go again.

Back in September, the Urban Renewal Board took up, yet once again, the Tabares building.

Urban Renewal purchased the Tabares building for $22,000 back in 2007. The funding came out of the taxes accruing through the Tax Increment District. There was a fair amount of discussion at the time the decision was made to make the purchase. Here is an excerpt from the minutes of the Board's meeting of 09.13.2007:

Ron Davis discussed his application to purchase the Tabares Building for a  Highway 50 museum. His proposal is that a non-profit entity, such as Urban Renewal, be the owner of the building. Much discussion was held concerning the condition and safety of the building and the fact that the owner is not willing to allow anyone to inspect the building. The consensus of the Board members was that this building qualifies as blight and Urban Renewal could purchase the building and if it is not possible to  rehab, it could be demolished.

Sandra Leonard made a motion, seconded by Rebecca Goodwin, that Urban Renewal purchase the Tabares Building at 8 &  10 East 1st Street for the purchase price of $22,000 with the acknowledgement  that it is considered blight. Motion carried with a vote of 6 Yes and 1  No.


If memory serves me correctly, the 'No' vote was from Board member Mack Burtis. You will note that the board of that time, including members Rebecca Goodwin and Sandy Leonard, acknowledged that the building in its state five years ago was considered 'blight.'

It seemed a pretty good idea at the time, although there were no plans presented as to how the Highway 50 Museum would come to fruition. But, if the rehab costs for the building were too high, the idea was that it could be torn down and turned into a parking lot. It makes sense, don't you think?

But nothing ever came of the Highway 50 Museum - or any other cost-effective use for the building - and it's still there, deteriorating by the day.

The building was finally put on the hit list along with the Kit Carson back at the Public Hearing on Demolition Projects on 05.21.2012 .

But now, we are pulling another Kit Carson. We have a 'historical' building that is collapsing upon itself, as noted by Mayor Rizzuto in the minutes of the September 2012 Urban Renewal meeting. Suddenly, we have another push to spent huge piles of tax dollars to rehabilitate an old building, for some nebulous purpose as yet undefined (well, I suppose a 'nebulous' purpose is by definition, 'undefined.') Suddenly, we have an architect coming in - whose idea was that, anyway - to give advice on how the building may be fitted into an economic development plan (the problem with that being that there isn't one) and in the meanwhile collecting about $7,500 in Urban Renewal tax-generated funds plus whatever he can get from a 'grant' of other tax-generated revenues. A 'grant' is when the government takes money out of your pocket, in the form of income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, some kind of taxes, and /or fees (we have a lot of those in Colorado, the Land of the Fee) and gives that free money to someone else. Grant writing has become an art form. People make their living engaging in creative writing so as to shake out 'grant' money.  I've even done a bit of that myself.

In this endeavor, the architect has enlisted the aid of Charise Boomsma, 'President' of Preservation Studio. Preservation Studio, according to Mantra, has a staff of one (we assume that would be the 'president') with annual revenues of $75,000. Yes. $75,000. So a 'study' paying them $15,000 or so is a pretty substantial amount, wouldn't  you agree?  Well, to me, $15,000 is a pretty substantial amount no matter what its source or purpose. What could you do with $15,000? What do you think of the government taking $15,000 from you and your neighbors, and giving it to this architect and the president of Preservation Studio? BTW ... don't confuse Boomsma's outfit with these guys, who are on the other side of the Mississippi.

Why, asked Board member Mack Burtis, is an architect giving advice on economic development? And why, I must ask, is the board willing to give an architect $15,000 to do a economic development 'study' of uses for the building?

During the September 2012 meeting, Board member Mack Burtis got a bit testy, as he is occasionally wont to do. He was, in our opinion here at Blogger Central, right on the money, as were those who joined him in the 'no' vote regarding spending piles and piles of money on this disaster-in-waiting.

You gotta take a look at the minutes of that September 2012 meeting. You can find the minutes here, but here is an excerpt of the discussion over the Tabares building. It's a long one, but if you have any concerns at all about how our tax dollars are being spent by our elected officials, you really should read it.

Tim Stroh: I am an architect and my specialty is in working with old buildings mainly in southern and southeast Colorado and for fourteen years around the state. Also with me is Charise Boomsma, President of the Preservation Studio. She writes grants, does grant administration, grant management, project management, and project development. She and I have collaborated on many successful projects. She can interject on things I might miss because we work together on these things a lot. The reason I am here is I was invited to come down a couple of meetings ago to talk about the Plaza Building. At that meeting you had the Historical Fund and USDA and you listened to all kinds of different resources that Urban Renewal has at its disposal. I listened at that meeting and they gave you options and I wondered have all the options been explored and why I feel you don’t need to tear it down. I thought about it while I was on vacation and when I came back I contacted Lyn, Rebecca and Rick and told them I would like to give you a proposal for a feasibility study. I would basically provide you with goals and expectations to assess whether it is worth removing or rehabbing the building to be a positive economic impact for this community. The feasibility study will assess all the information on the building so you can say “We have looked at the building and looked at all our options and this is our decision.”  I’ve worked with a lot of buildings all over the state in worse condition and most of my clients don’t have half the resources you have for all of this and they make these buildings work. With a feasibility study you can really look at it with your goals and expectations to see if it works for you or not or if something else works. That is the goal of the feasibility study. The cost of the study is $14,300. This is our cost to do this project. We aren’t making a big profit on this. We feel like we have got some skin in this because we think it is pretty important to your community. We have talked to the State Historical Fund and they don’t have any funds for a feasibility study but they are committed to have future grants.I talked to Lee Merkel and he said there is a 50/50 grant available for this feasibility study. We checked into other grants but they would probably take a year or more to get that money and I don’t think that is not an option for the time line you have. We have researched a number of other options to find a way to offset some of the costs to you. There is some commitment on your part but we will look for other agencies to buy in.

Charise Boomsma: DOLA funds are available right away.

Those DOLA funds are some of that free munny.

Tim Stroh: What we are trying to do is to take in the big picture and gather all the relevant information available. We think it might be useful to talk to the people that have expressed interest. Three or four already expressed interest in this building for retail or kitchen space. We will actually meet with potential tenants and see how much they are willing to pay. Willthey really be willing to pay market rate for a space?  In the feasibility study we want to see if this building can work financially and be sustainable in the long term. As far as the assessment we would like to meet with a core group of people from Urban Renewal and the community to work with us to establish the goals and expectations of the feasibility study. What do you want this building to do?  If it is going to work what does it have to do to perform. We need to come up with a concept on how it could be used. We would provide the leadership with you giving us the guidelines to see if it would be workable and to find out what funding is available as far as loans and grants or a mixture of several different options and to bring it all together as quickly as possible to make it successful. That also includes project timelines and budgets working with contractors to establish real budgets. Really working on this project to make it sustainable financially over the long term.

Mack Burtis: I am not attacking your qualifications as an architect but what would this building be used for?  Normally you wouldn’t go to an architect to research that kind of question. What background do you have where you have done a project with this kind of starting point?

Tim Stroh: Every single project we have to deal with this issue at some level. As an architect it is our responsibility to work with owners to determine what the highest and best use is for the building. The feasibility study is to research the type of tenants, the people that have expressed interest and flush them out within the feasibility study.

Mack Burtis: Who are the people expressing interest?

Tim Stroh: I believe there is housing and the college.

Charise Boomsma: Some local produce/farm people have expressed a need for a commercial kitchen and processing spaces. There is some interest from some local tourism groups because you are on the Hwy 50 corridor like the birds people, and the SECHOR group.

What exactly does 'some interest' mean? How did Boomsma come by this information? Who are 'some local produce/farm people'? Stroh 'believes' there is 'housing', whoever that is, and 'the college', 'expressing interest.' So is this thing supposed to be a soup kitchen, an apartment set, a tourism office, a kaffee klatch for bird watchers, or a museum?

Rebecca Goodwin: A couple of years ago the County had an idea for a commercial kitchen to teach families how to provide healthy meals for their families as part of the Human Services Department.

What? So Goodwin wants to spent a million bucks of our tax money to build a commercial kitchen to teach people how to cook? Seriously?

Tim Stroh: The feasibility study is really to define who those people are and bring those people to the table. People who need more business space and are willing to pay for space on Hwy 50. What I hear in this meeting this is about those buildings and what resources are available to see if it would work or not.

So we here at Blogger Central have to agree with Mack Burtis. The structural assessment, which has already been done, examined the 'soundness' of the building. This 'feasibility study' is not for an extension of that. It is to examine the use of the building. For tourism and economic development purposes. Why is Mr. Stroh, an architect, doing this, for $15,000, and where is the tourism committee and our economic development people, who are already paid to do this kind of thing? 

Rebecca Goodwin:
  With what Tim does will give us an opportunity to look at the problem we have in the community with these buildings in downtown La Junta to look at a bigger picture of what to do and what to do in the future. At the hearing on the demolition project everybody that spoke up said they don’t want to keep losing these buildings. To do this process we would be in $7,500. We need to look at revitalizing commercial buildings, we need new businesses, and we need economic development and jobs. How do you pull all that together?   There is potential here for a project with the Plaza Building. Tim has a stellar reputation around the state. We have something here where we could look at these buildings and see what can be done with these buildings and how to approach this whole picture. Looking at other options for the Plaza Building vs $300,000 to tear it down. With this he will really study the building. Also as a community we have to look at other buildings. We have to do something for economic development, jobs, and answer the concerns I heard at that hearing from the citizens of La Junta and from La Junta Elks. That is why I am looking at it not just for the Plaza Building but the bigger picture. This is an exceptional opportunity for very little money. These opportunities don’t come along very often. From my standpoint I don’t want us to lose more historic buildings. We have a lot of them. As a community we have to find another way of looking at these problems and all our community to go in the same direction.


It seems to me that these concerns should be asked not by Urban Renewal, but by city council, and not of an out-of-town architect, but of economic development and tourism. What is Urban Renewal's charter and purpose? Is it now tourism and economic development? We do know from Mayor Rizzuto's comments at the last city council meeting that it is most emphatically not sign emplacement and design.

Sandra Leonard: Can you provide references on the areas you have done, exactly what you have done like what are you doing here?

Tim Stroh: Every project is different and in different formats as to the overall project scope of work. You have an outline for this project. This feasibility study will be a custom report for you. The references we have are recent people we have worked with various levels of services.

Sandra Leonard:  I think we have come to the crossroads for the Urban Renewal Board and the community on what to do with the Plaza Building or whatever building comes next. As the Urban Renewal Board we have to decide what our philosophy is. We have lots of buildings like this and our community doesn’t have a plan. To me this is the first step in a plan. I think as Board members we need to look at ourselves individually and our philosophies for what we want in La Junta. And whatever we do we are setting precedence for a long time. If we don’t do this now we will be right back here again with another building three to five years down the line with the same issue. Step out to find out the information and then get a hold of people that know what they are talking about and then decide as a Board what our philosophy is.

Ah, but there is a plan for the Tabares building. Tear it down and swap lots with the GM dealer. Board member Leonard should read the minutes of her own board meetings.

Rebecca Goodwin: If you look at the overall process of what they are proposing with the project is how we need to look at all these buildings and all these issues in our community. We better start looking at the bigger picture at what we can do and how to analyze and come up with a plan. This is at least a process to show what other options we have for these buildings and to look at similar issues. We have a chance to do something with experts from outside that do this for a living to come and look at our community. We have a problem with these buildings and we don’t know what to do so we tear it down. That is basically the choices we are going to be facing.

Rick Klein: I have talked to Lee and got an extension to October 1st on our project. I can ask him if we can  get an extension to November 30 or do we have to lose the funding and reapply? Tim Stroh: I didn’t have that specific conversation with him. My experience is if you have something in the works I have never seen a problem with getting an extension.

Bill Jackson:
When I talked to Lee he gave us to October 1st to get the environmental assessment done. Can the feasibility study be done by mid-September?


Tim Stroh: No.

Bill Jackson:
We need 30 days to get our part done.


Tim Stroh: I can write a report in a week. But getting the information takes a long time to meet with all these different groups.

Bill Jackson: What is your best estimate?

Tim Stroh: November 30th if we started on August 1st
.
Rick Klein: We can go for another extension to February 1st to give us time.

Tim Stroh
: We are going to get it done as quickly as possible but not so quick we sacrifice the information in the report.


Jeff Reeder: How long has Urban Renewal owned this building?

(Mr. Reeder never receives a direct answer to this question. He is ignored. Later, Mack Burtis mentions Urban Renewal having owned the building for about three years, in comments unrelated to Mr. Reeder's question. He is incorrect, as the building was acquired in 2007.)


Rebecca Goodwin: The first step was the structural assessment and it took 14 to 15 months to get the grant from the State Historical Fund because they were going through staff changes but we finally got the grant. If we were going to do anything with the building it is going to cost something to do it. That building is feasible and we have these people that can help us with it.

Sandra Leonard: It would help economic development to put up a Hwy 50 museum. We heard before that was to be a viable option. That is why we did the structural assessment.

 Rebecca Goodwin: In hindsight the next time we go through this process we need to do it a little differently.

Sandra Leonard: In hindsight if we had done this at the Kit Carson at the very beginning things might be different now but we didn’t. Let’s learn from our mistakes.

Rebecca Goodwin: And develop new skills for the future of La Junta. That is what I heard from the public hearing.

Tim Stroh:  I don’t have history about a Hwy 50 museum but what I heard is you have a sizeable amount of money for demolition. People struggle to find this kind of money to help with those old buildings. It could be doubled or tripled. A private owner would never get that kind of money.

And there is a reason for that. A private owner is going to be dependent on the likelihood of someone seeing a profit in investing in the project. Government grants - that free money from the government - requires no such underpinning of fiscal responsibility. Grant money can be blown off; all that is needed is some 'creative writing' on the grant application. If it disappears down the toilet ... well, it was free munny, from the gummint, you see.


Rebecca Goodwin: State Historical Fund asks for 25% from a public entity. It is 50% from private and a minimum 65-70% if you want to be competitive. That is the advantage to Urban Renewal.

We can only wonder why that is.


Tim Stroh: You could research options available to this group with this feasibility study.

Roger Roath: Have you seen the building?

Tim Stroh: No.

Huh. Imagine that. It's right around the corner and down the street a couple of blocks from Jodi's Grill, which is where Urban Renewal has taken to having their meetings.


Rebecca Goodwin: But you have looked at the structural assessment.

Tim Stroh: I spent two hours with Jesse Silversteen of Brownsfield talking more about the La Junta building than the Pueblo buildings. We discussed the asbestos issue and he feels there might be an alternative to mitigate the asbestos rather than tear it down. He was very interested in that. They are happy to get into the feasibility study. There is a great amount of interest in this building. He seemed excited about it.

You will notice that Mr. Stroh did not answer Goodwin's grasp at straws. Did he examine the structural assessment, or not? And why is the board accepting Mr. Stroh's subjective view of Silversteen's excitement, rather than objective statement of fact? Is it perhaps because this isn't 'real' money? And why is Goodwin steering Stroh's answers?

Chairman Horner: I look at the Plaza Building a bit different than the Kit and 801 Edison. We really had very little options because of their conditions. Plaza Building has issues and yet because of its location and condition I think we should look at all options. It will cost us a little bit of money but not major money to see what our options are. If it is not feasible then we make that choice for demolition and move on.

Rebecca Goodwin: If we go through this process we as a community can learn how we should analyze these buildings and those kinds of projects and how to look at future projects. It does give us the tools how to look at other things for this community. We don’t have a really clear plan for downtown. This could give us an approach in developing a plan. Then we will know what other options are out there. How do you develop a Master Plan for the community knowing what options are out there instead of getting a grant to tear it down?  Let’s see what the other options are.

Chairman Horner: If somebody would make a motion to decide what direction we want to go.

MOTION: Rebecca Goodwin made a motion that Urban Renewal accept the proposal from Tim Stroh to do a feasibility study on the Plaza Building with an application to DOLA for 50% of the total cost and Urban Renewal put up 50% or about $7,500 to go through this process and look at how and if there is a way not just for the Plaza Building but potentially other buildings. Nancy Bennett seconded the motion.

Don Rizzuto: I am voting No. I think we have had this building for three years and the back is falling out. I don’t think the college or anybody could pay the kind of rent necessary to support a million dollar project. The building is in a bad location. Would you pay the price? I don’t see it. I don’t want to put another penny into it.

Good move on the part of Mayor Rizzuto. And a good question, also not answered. Who indeed would pay the price? If this is such a swell business deal, where if nothing else, is the consortium of local captains of industry and commerce willing to back it? Why the need to rely on 'free money' from the government? But on the other hand, the Kit Carson owners needed five million. That figure is from the Babb's now defunct website about the Kit Carson project. Surely a mere million, especially if it's being taken out of someone else's pockets by the government and handed out as grants, is no big deal?


Mack Burtis: I will also vote No. Rebecca says we need an overall plan for downtown La Junta. An economic plan is not an architect problem. With all due respect I will not hire you for an economic development project of what La Junta needs.

Burtis asks some good questions in this exchange, and never really gets a satisfactory answer. One of the most important of these is ... why is an architect calling the shots in an economic development matter. He was never answered. The question was tap-danced, but never answered.


VOTE:  Yes – Nancy Bennett, Lynn Horner, Sandra Leonard, Roger Roath, Rebecca Goodwin
No – Karen Kelley, Jeff Reeder, Mack Burtis, Don Rizzuto. Motion carried.

Chairman Horner: We may find out in about five months we are at the same spot but with this report at least we have given it a shot to see what the options are to make something happen.

Mack Burtis: I am requesting that the Executive Director have the Economic Development Director become personally involved in this issue. It is an economic development problem. He has been silent since his plan that led us to owning the building.

Another good point by Burtis. Brother Mack was on a roll at this meeting.


Rebecca Goodwin: I also suggest that the Director from the Small Business Office, Bryan Bryant  and the County Economic Development Director be included. They may have other options to work with the City on this.

Mack Burtis: We should expect the Economic Development director to make those kinds of contacts.

Burtis makes yet another good point. This is, bottom line (dare I use that term with this group?) an economic development project.

The local paper has an editorial on the meeting, here. I think it's supposed to be a news article, but it isn't. Not with comments like: "The board voted along predictable lines, five to four in favor of the feasibility study." Perhaps the author of the article should do a little research on the acquisition vote(s) regarding the property, and see how that fits with predictability. And why does the writer feel the vote was all that predictable?

Here is more background info:

Archived Urban Renewal meeting minutes, CY2012

11/16/12

Obama staves off computer programmer panic

Hostess, makers of Twinkies, the staple diet of computer programmers everywhere, has announced that it is closing operations and declaring bankruptcy:

Hostess Closing

The US Department of Labor moved quickly to stave off panic among computer programmers nation-wide. "The governor of Washington, at our request, has mobilized the National Guard. We are using National Guard trucks to ship in Little Debbies and Moon Pies, to Microsoft's corporate headquarters," a spokesperson for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced, speaking on condition of anonim ... anonyn ... not revealing who he/she is. "We believe this will stave off the growing panic among programmers," the spokesperson continued, also noting that Microsoft stock had dropped 20 points following the Hostess announcement.
  
 Nutrition experts Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg high-fived each other when the news was announced, according to embattled restauranteur and Food Channel host Guy Fieri. "They were bustin' my chops over the Wells review," Fieri told our reporter, "and Bloomberg was threatening to ban D3 in New  York City if we don't start including organic vegan establishments. Then someone came in and whispered in Ms. Obama's ear, and they both jumped up and started dancing around, high-fiving. I thought maybe, like, you know, Boehner had stroked out or something." 
  
On another front, the Department of Education is preparing a series of re-education videos to make the computer programming industry aware of the joys of RC Cola and Moon Pies, with the Bell Buckle, Tennessee RC and Moon Pie Festival set to become a major national event. President Obama, though momentarily distracted by whining Hurricane Sandy victims and Peckergate, is expected to announce the hiring of 5,000 former Hostess employees and union members to handle that project. "The other 13,500 former workers will have an opportunity for re-education themselves, at one of our facilities, the recently reactivated Camp Amache in southeastern Colorado," announced Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, earnestly, "but only after they sign up with the Baker's Union and register as Democrats." 


11/14/12

Obama gets a bye

So now 'they' are wanting to know why PeckerGate was kept a deep dark secret till Election Day. That's a reasonable question. Certainly it would have provided some real fodder for the anti-Obamanians among us, and with good cause.

Back in the Nixonian era, Tricky Dick kept on with that 're-elect me, and I will end the war in Vietnam!' His argument against ending it then and there was over Vietnamization. We had to prepare the ARVN to stand up to the North Vietnamese. He needed time to implement his PeacePlan with Honor©™.

Of course, that was a joke, though not a laughable one, proven so by the bloodshed wrought during the fiasco of Lam Son 719, February through March of 1971. Nixon insisted, in one of his greatest lies to the American people, that it was a great victory; his sycophantic kiss-ass pal Henry Kissinger echoed that, or not, depending on the audience. Everyone else who was anywhere around it knew it was the writing on the wall. It was the last little bit after Nixon and Operation Menu, and Nixon and Laos, and Nixon and Watergate... no ... wait ... that last was still coming down the pike.

So Nixon was re-elected. 

This time around, it has been 'Re-elect me, and I will fix the economy!' And here we are.

This business with PeckerGate is more of the same; keeping things a secret so some cheap political hack who happens to occupy the Oval Office can keep his perks and power. We have our top generals sending phone-sex emails back and forth to a couple of whacko bimbos. We have one of these bimbos, a West Pointer, and a light colonel in the reserves, carrying on like a 15 year old Smile Hi cholita; we have the other, a 'socialite' with contacts among the rich, the famous, the powerful, and claiming to be 'an honorary consul general' hiding behind the curtains down in Tampa and providing huge laughs to readers of Al Arabiya News ; we have an FBI agent pulling a Weiner (scorry, couldn't help myself) with the 'consul general'; and all the psycho nonsense in between, which certainly included our two heroes, Petraeus and Allen, carrying on like a pair of high school jocks with perpetual boners. All the while they are offering We the People clich├ęd platitudes about how they are going to 'win the war.'

How many of our people died Over There, while Petraeus and Allen were getting themselves worked up in front of a laptop? I have this vision of our top generalissimos flogging their logs in front of a smeared-with-greasy fingerprints computer screen, while people are dying down in Helmand Province.

We can only wonder when these jokes in uniform found the time to actually 'manage' the war.

And no one dared say anything; these guys and their bimbos were much too powerful. One word, and anyone raising The Question(s) would be history. That's the way it always works.

And Obama, not having to face the people again, gets a bye on the whole sordid affair.

These days, when I visit a national cemetery, or when I see a VA marker in a civilian cemetery, I wonder ... '... was your sacrifice for us, for the nation ... or where you a sacrifice at the feet of the Great God of Political Expediency, like so many on The Wall?'

Our so-called 'leadership', especially the political leadership, has rarely been worthy of the sacrifices we have made.

A pox on them all.

11/13/12

Ya think?

Bobby Jindal rips a few knickers:

Jindal to GOP: Stop being the stupid party

“We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters,” Jindal said, adding Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.”

Ya think?

Unfortunately, Jindal is just repackaging:

Bobby Jindal's Plan To Reposition the GOP on Economics Without Changing Any of Their Economic Policies

PeckerGate expands ...

So now it looks like Petraeus is not the only star-studded ... uh ... stud. General John Allen, top commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and US forces in Afghanistan seems to have had something going with Jill Kelley, the Petraeus pal who was the target of Paula Broadwell's harassing emails.

And the FBI agent who got the whole thing started? Well ... Kelley, it seems, did not make her complaint through official channels, at least not initially. She told a friend about it, and the friend, who is an FBI agent, got things moving.

As for that fellow:

Further, Fox News confirms that the FBI agent who originally spurred the Petraeus investigation was taken off the case because authorities grew concerned about his relationship with Kelley. Kelley had alerted this agent to her concerns about the harassing emails from the start, but the agent was removed from the case over the summer because of his behavior, which included sending shirtless photos of himself to Kelley. He now faces an internal investigation. 

One can only wonder when Anthony Weiner signed on to the FBI.

All I can say is, these must be some talented babes, if you get my drift (wink wink nudge nudge) if they are able to cause gen'ruls and FBI agents to lose their minds like this, and run around like a couple of high school jocks with perpetual ... well ... never mind. You get my drift.

Top US commander in Afghanistan under investigation

ISAF Chief John Allen under investigation amid Petraeus probe

Meanwhile, from Jay Leno:

 "So this Broadwell woman was imbedded in his unit - wasn't it the other way  around? Speaking of the "surge."


Pillow Talk

Petraeus

11/12/12

Pillow talk

We were sitting around our favorite table at The Holy Land Quickee's. DinkyDau Billy was pensively slurping a diet rootbeer - it was Veteran's Day, after all - and absent-mindedly adjusting his new AFDB. The Petraeus Affair had his Paranoia Meter pegged.

Leece was delicately sipping a crappuccino, and nibbling at a chocolate fudge Grandma's cookie.

"Well, the Petraeus thing is really growing some legs, hey wot?" I tossed out, to get things moving.

"Yeah. Yeah. Now it's coming out that the whackjob he was boffing is leaking confidentshul info," Billy replied.

"Pillow talk, do you think? Like, 'Wow, that was great! Hey, guess what! My boys had a couple of Libyan militiamen in their compound. We think maybe that Benghazi thing was over trying to get them out," I asked.

"And what? She replies, 'Oh, you savage you, I just love it when you reveal secrets, it just gives me tingles up my leg?" Leece was rather scathingly scoffing.

"Well ... yeah."

"Hah. You were ready to write it all off as a 'boys will be boys' thing, with no attachment to security risks," she added, rather intensely, I thought.

"Well ... no, you'll note that I included a caveat there, that that is all it was. I've known guys who would cheat on their wives and lie through their teeth over it - yet would cut out their own tongues before they would betray the country." That was true. It doesn't make the matrimonial betrayal right, but the two sets of circumstances are not necessarily related.

"It seems to me that a fellow who would break his vows to his wife would be a fellow whose word could not be trusted in other matters, either, " she insisted.

"You raise a good point, and in a rational world, in theory, you would be correct. But the two sets of circumstances are often sharply separated in practice. If you want a classic example, we have Eisenhower and his Jeep driver. Which is why I will hold to my original position on this," I countered, "What I really did not like was his fallback on that alleged 'code of ethics and sense of honor'. That came out as a matter of convenience, to help him look better, when he really couldn't look any worse. That's a dog that don't hunt."

"She's a whackjob," DinkyDau Billy repeated, "she's a wrapped-too-tight ring-knocker junior officer who got too close to the nosebleed heights, and got infatcherated with the power factor. What got it all started with the FeeBees was her whackjob harassing emails to that other woman. You gotta be a whackjob to first engage in that harassing behavior, and you gotta be dummer than dogpoop to do it by email. She's a psycho."

"Yes, and Petraeus is clearly not thinking with the right body part,  not to have seen that," Leece went on, "and that right there is enough to can him."

That statement was pretty hard to dispute.

"And lookit this," Billy added, "they knew about this back in 2011, and it never came out? Who are they kidding? Petraeus, as either the head generalissimo over in the sandbox, or as CIA director, is never really alone. He has a security detail; his movements are logged, all that. It's like Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. People knew; they just kept it quiet. Same with Petraeus."

"Well, the tinfoil hat crowd is going nuts over it. No offense, Billy ... "

"None taken," he replied. Leece can get away with things that would lead Billy to otherwise end a life-long friendship.

"... but some of the fact patterns emerging really do smack of conspiracy, just not the whackjob kind."

"No kidding," I added. I was thinking of Nixon and Operation Menu, and Nixon and Laos, and Nixon and Watergate, and that was just the start.


11/9/12

Petraeus

A U.S. military official and long-time aide to Petraeus told NBC News the director resigned "because he screwed up."

"In his mind, in his views, with his code of ethics and morals, he did a very dishonorable thing," the official said. "This had nothing to do with Benghazi, nothing to do with his relationship with the White House."

Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair

I really don't care that he was dipping his wick. If that's all there was to it, I'd go with Feinstein on this.

But that statement, "In his mind, in his views, with his code of ethics and morals, he did a very dishonorable thing," is so much horsecrap. The only reason the ethics and morals thing came up was because he got caught and is trying to save a little face. That's not 'ethics and morals'. That's horsecrap. If it hadn't been for the FBI stumbling upon the little hide-the-salami games with the biographer, he'd still be doing it. And who would care, outside of Mrs. General. And maybe not even her. Who knows what kind of relationship they have, and who cares. It's their business.

But "Code of ethics and morals?"  What a joke. He could have offered almost any excuse, even no excuse, but that. It makes him sound like a Republican "Party of Family Values" Congressman.

And that's why the door shouldn't smack him on the backside as he exits, stage left.

It isn't the 'sexual pecadilloes' that put me off. If he wants to dip his wick, with someone who isn't a subordinate, and he isn't using his position and authority to coerce sex, as was, apparently, that 'issimo from the 82nd Airborne, then it really isn't any of my business. OTOH, with someone in Petraeus' position there has to be concern that she wasn't a honey trap from a 'foreign power' or even from some corporation looking for a hook for contracts. Maybe something like that was happening here. She seems to have been up to no good but what that was, remains unclear at the moment.

But if all it was, was some 'issimo carrying on with his biographer, or a stripper he met on TDY, or something like that, firing him is really unreasonable, and Feinstein is right. It then falls into exactly what Thomas Ricks is talking about in his book, 'The Generals:American Military Command from World War II to Today".  I am also mindful of Patton's famous quote that seems to pertain to the matter at hand.

So are we, in Petraeus' case, dealing with a real security 'issue', or is it just that puritanical crap we have been pushed into by the Christian Right, over the decades? We seem to lose a lot of competent people that way.

And, then, the real thorn for me is that 'ethics and honor' thing. If Petraeus' standards of personal ethics and honor were so high, what was he doing between the silken thighs of some media maggot? Falling back on that after getting caught is, in a word, horsecrap, and I cannot respect him for that.

The whiners in the conservative media

The conservative media continues to go on with their cries of woe, pointing fingers at the liberal media for having skewed - or perhaps skewering - the entire campaign and election process.

The conservative media, as usual, is full of self-serving nonsense.

Here is a very good analysis of why and how the 'conservative' media utterly failed the American public:

 How conservative media lost to the MSM and failed the rank and file 

Combine that view, with what Rich Galen has written in this morning's column - and what he wrote the other day - and you have what is essentially the writing on the wall for the Republicans. They are not going to win the way they are going. Their failure was not in 'turning their backs on conservatives', as that Glen Beck clone Todd Starnes maintains, but in failing to understand that We in the Middle have had more than enough of their far right extremism. It is not an answer to the far left extremism we now suffer through. Until they get their minds around that, the Republicans will continue their slide into the dustbin of history.

11/7/12

The last Republican vote

This time around, I voted for Romney, the Republican candidate. This election is the last one in which I will go with a Republican national candidate ... unless the Repubs can come up with another Reagan, which is not likely.

Here's the deal:

The Republicans are on the way out. While they have retained control of the House, and in our own back yards the Colorado 3rd and Colorado 4th, they are essentially has-beens. And by now, they should have taken the Senate, but they have not. More on that one in a minute ...

The Republican Party is not now, and never has been, a party that appeals to me, and I certainly do not appeal to them, other than perhaps I might vote for them. In fact, in the past, I have voted for more Democrats for national office than not. But in the last decade or so, the Democrats have moved to a leftist extreme that I do not like. Rather than the Democratic Party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson, we now have a Democratic Party of Pelosi, and Reid, Obama and Biden, Barney Frank and Rahm Emannuel, all of whom I consider either whackjobs, or socialist extremists, or Chicago-type political crooks, or all of the above.

So why am I fed up with the Republicans, to the point where I would actually vote for the Democrats as they now exist?

First, I don't like the way they cannot separate religion from politics.

Leece is of the view that if one is a 'Christian', and adheres to Christ's teachings, then this will be evident in one's behaviors toward others, and in how one conducts one's daily business. A truly 'Christian' politician will therefore exercise his office properly, without the need to make his religious beliefs and perspectives part of an official political doctrine.

It is not necessary to advocate that students, for example, be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with God, by God, included in it; it is not necessary to have the Ten Commandments posted on the wall behind a judge's bench; it is not necessary to require Christian prayers at the opening of school board meetings, or the meetings of political bodies (and if you don't think 'Christian' is a requirement, try having an imam give a Muslim invocation sometime). It is not necessary to deny gays a marriage option because 'God says it's an abomination' (it may be, but that's between our gay friends and neighbors and God, not me, not you, and certainly not some politician); if they want to deny such a union because of the fiscal impact (which is really what drives all this anti-gay marriage nonsense, I think) then they should have the guts to spit it out there rather than hiding behind cherry-picked verses from Leviticus.

And only a Republican could think that a pregnancy resulting from rape means it wasn't really a rape.

Then we get into the whole creation versus evolution thing, wherein we are to believe - and have our kids so taught in the public schools - that the earth is only 6,000 years old and there are herds of stegosauruses hiding somewhere in the jungles of Cambodia. Or some nonsense like that. Or Huckabee's '... at gun-point ...' endorsement of David Barton's garbage. Religion, especially mindless fundamentalist religion as a political doctrine scares the crap out of me.  You have to understand that while most people think the First Amendment protects the church from the government, most people miss the point that it also protects the government from the church. We are not a 'Christian' nation, never have been, and despite the rants of the Tea Party's pathetically uninformed 'constitutional scholars' and the others of the so-called 'Christian' right, the Founders never intended it to be so. 'Christians' have always been, in this country, the most virulent oppressors of the faith of others, including the faith of fellow Christians of the 'wrong' denominations. Based on the history of Christianity in the New World, one can make good argument that the religion clause of the First Amendment was written to protect us from so-called 'Christians'.

Then, of course, there is their flag-waving super-patriot garbage. This is the attitude that led to the beatings of Jehovah's Witnesses over refusing to recite a bit of doggerel, written by a national socialist in Baptist clothing, and which has taken on a status that is mind-boggling in the levels of hatred the Repubs can spew over it. This is the attitude that led - as but one example - to the wretched treatment of men like Hugh Thompson, a man who did in fact stand for Christian values in the face of mass murder, yet who was vilified by the very politicians and citizens who claimed to stand for all those Judeo-Christian values. I haven't seen anything recently to indicate a change; quite the contrary.

Then, there is the fact that when I take issue with some of their positions, I become some kind of leech upon society. Twenty years in the United States Air Force and service - five tours, in fact - in and for their Holy War in Vietnam is no longer 'patriotic'; I should probably not bother showing up at Veterans' Day celebrations.  To them, I am nothing more than leech sucking at the public tit for a paycheck, while they all work their asses off at 'real jobs'. Nowhere was this more evident that when we had our little dustup with the Otero County Republicans over their pathetic behavior, joined by RNC committeeman Mark Hillman. They want my vote, but unless I sign onto their crazy nonsense, I am otherwise just a POS to them.  And, especially after their last display of incompetence in the 2008 elections, the only way I would vote for a Republican in Otero County or the State of Colorado is if the Democrats had a child molester on the ticket.

None of that 'political doctrine' or whatever it is that is part and parcel of the Republican platform has anything to do with running the country. It's emotional pukery, most of it not even based on reason or logic.

Then, there is the deficit, and the economy.  The Repubs insist that the deficit is Obama's. It is not. It is theirs. They hold the House, and have since the last mid-terms. The deficit is theirs. Obama cannot unilaterally and /or arbitrarily borrow or spend money. Congress does that. Taxation arises from the House, not the Oval Office. The budget must be approved by the House, no matter what arises out of the Oval Office. That's the Republicans. They do not have the political balls to put a stop to the spending, and blaming Obama for it is political cowardice. Obamacare is about to slamdunk us; we have seven doctors basically fleeing the community in the next couple of months; we are going to have people standing around clutching their Congressionally-awarded ObamaCare cards, with nowhere to go.  That's Congress, not Obama. It may have been a Democrat-controlled Congress that passed it, but it's a Republican-controlled Congress now. When are we going to see some of that gutsy principle-based Republican leadership, rather than 'continuing resolutions?' When are we going to see some real concern for we middle-class, middle-of-the-roaders rather than the upper crust rich? Then we get into their infatuation with Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged," ignoring utterly the contempt Rand had for the unwashed masses of the middle class. 


This was the last time I will vote for a Republican presidential candidate. Or a Republican congressional candidate. The Republicans have had their chance; and they have lost it. I may not vote for a Democrat, but I will not vote for a Republican.

Just one vote. Do they really care what I think? Of course not. But I'm not the only one who sees it this way. Here are some points from Rich Galen's latest column:

  •     In the past two elections Republicans have nominated at least four candidates for the U.S. Senate that resulted in what should have been easy wins to losses: Delaware and Nevada in 2010; Missouri and Indiana in 2012.
  •     If the Senate comes back on January 3 with an effective 53-47 Democratic majority, you can see how important those kinds of mistakes can be: It should have been 51-49 R.
  •     The Tea Party which began as a purely anti-deficit, anti-spending movement has morphed into demanding fealty to its fiscal and social policy positions.
  •     The "right wing of the Republican party" has become a redundancy. It now IS the Republican party and there simply aren't enough voters who agree with all of the Tea Party doctrine to win a national election.
  •     The future of the Republican party is in the hands of the Republican party.
  •     A smaller and smaller share of a larger and larger market is no way to win an election, much less win the future.
 And that's why what I think does in fact matter. Because it ain't just me. It's a whole lot of people, who, if not just like me, have for their own reasons decided that the Republicans do not represent our values, our concerns, our goals and dreams for the nation, and especially for our kids' and grandkids' futures.

At the moment, neither do the Democrats, not really, not in the Congress nor in the White House ... but they scare us less than do the Republicans. Or maybe it is just that they seem to hold us in a lesser degree of contempt ...

And a PS: Here's an interesting article from Relevant. I don't necessarily agree with all of it; in many respects it seems a bit naive, but I certainly understand where it's coming from, and agree with the sentiments expressed, if not the means of execution.

Update 11.09.2012: Here is a very good analysis of why and how the 'conservative' media utterly failed the American public:  How conservative media lost to the MSM and failed the rank and file
 

     

11/1/12

Walmart receives scathing reviews

The 12 worst supermarkets in America

Walmart was the second from the bottom of the heap. I'm shocked ... not.

Our local Walmart seems to be setting the standard for America's Favorite Place to Shop's low scores. Have you shopped their deli lately? Last evening - as has been typical of late - the deli cases were half-empty, and what was there was pretty much a non-choice. And if you are going to shop the deli, plan on being there awhile.

The produce was pretty much picked over, and although the few bell peppers that were there were actually green rather than that odd yellowish-green-kind-of-wrinkled reject look, the Roma tomatoes were a faded, pale pinkish color.

The French bread continues to have holes in it big enough to drive a truck through.

The floors were, as usual, stained and dirty.

OTOH, the deli worker (singular) was cheerful and friendly, as was the checkout cashier. They usually are, providing the one single strong point for The Smile Hi's Walmart.

From the survey results, it would appear that it isn't just us here at Blogger Central being negative once again.

Our Walmart does suck. They all do, just some more than others.

Shop somewhere else, you say? Well ... remember all that carrying on about how Walmart was going to put everyone else out of business? The only other place left now is Safeway, and if the truth be known, it isn't much better. Prices are higher if the meat counter is better (but you do have that 'membership' to put the prices somewhere down near 'normal', sometimes); the place is dark and cramped compared to a SuperMarket of The 21st Century; the lines are usually at least as long as over in America's Favorite Place to Shop and since the aisles are more cramped and shoved in closer to the register, the whole front of the store is a sardine can on busy days.

Shop somewhere else you say? Well ... there is Sam's, over in Pueblo, which is usually a Who's Who of Smile Hi City society on any given day, especially weekends.

King Sooper's ain't no prize, over  yonder in The Steel City.

That's what happens when local services and outlets ... well ... in a word ... suck. Why is that? Because, we think, the corporate powers-that-be assume that we Hicks from the Sticks are just that, Hicks from the Sticks, and will just take whatever is dished out.

But we all go where we can get the most for our buck, no matter the long-term cost.

10/31/12

Praise God from whom all blessings flow ...

The singing of the Doxology, at the 37th Rocky Mountain Mennonite Relief Sale, 10.20.2012:



and a gallery of images from the sale:

37th RMMS 10.20.2012