Thursday, May 31, 2012

15 Trillion Reasons to Give 500 Pennies to Richard Tisei

Congressional challenger Richard Tisei (R-Massachusetts )is asking for 500 pennies from each of his potential contributors.

While looking for stray coins to throw in his surging campaign coffers, I realized that I can think of 15 TRILLIONS reasons why to vote for him. The national debt is a disgrace, and we need men and women in government who will do something to stop the spending.

The nation is broke, and the liberal establishment does not want to fix it.

We have entitlements that are leading this country into bankruptcy.

The Bay state has lost one representative to redistricting. Why should the voters of Massachusetts suffer with nine knee-jerk leftists who do nothing but spend this country into oblivion?

To the voters of the 6th District, please elect Richard Tisei for Congress!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Artur Davis Joins the GOP

Another Black politician is scandalized and marginalized by the anti-growth, pro-relativism policies of the Democratic party. Artur Davis has moved his residence to newly-christened swing state Virginia, although the recent arrival claims that he will run for office again as a Republican.

What made Bill Clinton a success, what drove economic recovery following a crushing redirect in 1994, was a centrist-minded focus on economic growth and limited engagement in foreign affairs.

The Democratic party has done less to convince future voters that the liberal caucus in Washington wants the best for all Americans, including the now majority class of minority voters.

Former Congressman Artur Davis voted against ObamaCare. He is dismayed by the progressive tax policies, which run contrary to the pro-growth agenda of John F. Kennedy, who for many Democrats turn Republicans was the last good Democratic President.

Welcome to the GOP fold, Mr. Davis. We anticipate great things from you for our country in the next four years, as a stronger Republican Congress with standing Tea Party upstarts demands an end to the waste, debt, and fraud devouring our nation.

Welcome to the GOP, Artur Davis

Romney Will Run All the Way

Mitt Romney is now king of the hill -- at least of the GOP.

Having weathered with grace and truth the primary gauntlet of a former House Speaker, a stalwart libertarian, and a contrarian social conservative, the former Massachusetts governor has arrived. Seven years of invested grassroots campaigning and preparation have finally paid off. Romney has proven to the political class and the American people that he is worthy and able to be the next President of the United States.

Because his GOP challengers have raked him over for everything from the controversial medical insurance mandate to his gradual shift from moderate to conservative on certain social issues, he has exhausted the sting of these attacks during the general election. Obama's cash flow from Hollywood and left-leaning Super-PACs will only retread the same tired arguments which failed to deter Romney from the nomination.

He has fought back against unjust attacks on his record as a senior member of Bain Capital.
He has overridden any dissension over the medical insurance mandate in Massachusetts, which President Obama has trumpeted was the blue print for ObamaCare.He has waged a decisive and consistent battle against more right-leaning stalwarts. No longer an "etch-a-sketch" candidate, Romney is shaping up to be considerable opponent to the beleaguered incumbent.

Following his sudden support for gay marriage, Obama has alienated swing voters in swing states, including Iowa, Nevada, and North Carolina. 2012 will secure for every political scientist that 2008 was a Facebook fluke in response to a steep and stark anti-incumbent climate. On no other issue has Romney presented a more unified stance than his opposition to gay marriage, a policy which a growing majority of voters across the country share.

Following Wisconsin Governor Scott's Walker certain victory over a weakening recall effort, Romney may take two of the Great Lakes states for the GOP for the first time in over two decades.

President Obama has no record to run on, and he is running out of attacks to run against the former Massachusetts governor, who balanced budgets with an oppositional legislature all four years, assisting  job growth and tax relief for voters in the Bay State.

Romney has tenacity, character, and experience: everything that this country is looking for in a Presidential candidate. Here's to his decisive victory in November.

Teaching as A Forced March -- Should be a Dance to Your Own Beat

It has taken me long enough to get to this point in my life:

I do not like being a teacher. I hate the job, frankly. Well, I cannot be so conclusively cynical. Teaching depends as much on the audience as the one teaching. I have found that teaching in a public school is an unrewarding exercise in futility. Students deserve better, teachers deserve way better, and the taxpayer -- he deserves his money back.

I am worried, however, about what I am supposed to do, then.

In one sense, the world is open to me. I have so many things that I could do, if I wanted to.

On the other hand, I have no idea what I want to do. I have never really thought about the matter.

One thing is for sure. Teaching is just not my bag. I desire so much more, and I deserve so much better. The sooner that every person can arrive at this understanding, the better for everyone. We do not serve each other if we just play small and play along because we are afraid to get into the greater game of life, and that more abundantly.

I cannot say that I have had a miserable time the whole time that I tried to make the most of my career in public education. However, the fact that I could not stay in one site for more than one year says a lot, yet what it declared so obviously to me did not get through until I realized that I would never really have a chance at succeeding in doing what I really wanted to do.

Teaching can be a forced march for everyone involved. That is not the way that learning should be, however. Learning is innate and intense, if you are willing to go with the flow within you. Sadly, school districts are intent on making money and getting test scores up in order to justify their placement. They want to convince the local community share-holders that they deserve more of our tax dollars.

Teaching is about finding the rhythm for every kid, for every adult, and each of us does march to the beat of a different drummer. Teaching must be a free exercise of one's time and resources. There is no sense, moral or otherwise, in pushing people into classrooms when they simply do not want to be there. I understand why so many students harass their teachers. They need to do something to shake up and break up the monotony of teaching.

One instructor told me that a classroom can run like a symphony orchestra or a jazz band. In the former example, the teacher is conductor, leading every student through every role and reason that they are required to fulfill. The power, the role, the focus is on the teacher. In a jazz-band type of class, every student knows what to do, and they know that they know. The classroom runs as a self-contained community, in which every student knows their role and fulfills it for the common good. Like a well-trained and well-tune improv, student and teacher make the most of their freedom without hurting or impeding others, The world runs like that, if people let it.

The more freedom the better, the more the students can be themselves without being abusive or disruptive. Students can learn without getting burned by peers.

For the majority of classrooms in Los Angeles, though, students have become so accustomed to getting by doing little, that a teacher is hard-pressed to motivate students to participate. For student, teacher, and administrator, the music of learning has turned into a dirge that everyone is forced to march to, and no one is getting into the gloomy groove.

"Do You Talk To Your Father Like That?"

Self-pity is a pit that you may never get yourself out of.

I have decided that this is the proper tack to take with students who have down-and-out home lives.

I have worked with a diverse number of student populations, but the one constant of single-parent families and broken homes is an alarming trend.

Some students live in foster homes. In juvenile hall, I met students who had at least one parent in prison. The cycle of dysfunction and failures seems to perpetuate itself without fail.

Usually, when students would set me off or challenge me, I would yell at them for being so disrespectful. That might work on some students, but for most students, that was their express interest, so they reveled in putting me out of form.

One afternoon, the secretary in the front office of local school was reading over a newspaper. Normally, she worked in the copy room, but at the end of the day she covered the front office for the head secretary, who would leave early. One students sneaked into the back to get some band-aids.

When the replacement secretary noticed that the young lady was taking an extensive, and invasive, amount of time, she pestered the student to move along. Then the girl cursed at her. I have never seen a woman get as visibly upset as this secretary:

"You will not talk to me like that! You talk your mother like that!" The woman was shaking with rage, perhaps touched with a tinge of shock. "My children do not talk to me like that!"

I would never think about cursing at an adult, when I was a student. The values  have changed considerably, and for the worse, in many schools. When in the past students would refrain from using profanity in a teacher's presence, now students routinely curse at teachers, with little chance of reprimand or follow-up.

The whole affair can be quite traumatizing. That day, I learned to start pressing kids on where they learned the outrageous habit of cursing at other people.

At Los Padrinos, I reared up into gear taking down students who justified themselves with cursing at others, especially substitute staff such as myself. I asked one student, from Hawaiian Gardes, "Do you talk to your father like that?" when he had begun to argue with me at length. This young man acknowledged quietly that he did not curse at his parents. When I pressed another young man for about his rude  behavior, he responded, "Sir, my father is in prison." This boy had either never met his father or his father had been absent from his life for quite some time.

Of course, I still insisted on pressing students about the manner in which they addressed their parents. Another student snidely chided me one day for leaning over one student's desk to check over the math assignment. "Sir, don't you think it's kind of rude to stick your butt in another kid's face?"

I refused to let a juvenile delinquent lecture me on how to behave. I ordered him to step outside.

"How dare you talk to me like that? What's the matter with you?" I blurted out at him.

"Well, sir, I am just saying that you should not be doing that. . "

"What difference does it make what I am doing? What are you supposed to be working on?" Then I reared up and fired at him, "Do you talk to your father like that?"

In a flash, the hardened  and haughty offender starting shivering and cried out, "Don't talk about my Dad!" He then shed a tear. One of the probation officers deflected the situation, saying. "OK, well, would you talk to one of your friends like that?"
While the staff was calming the sniffling student, I took some measure of pride in bringing him down a notch. I did not intend to offend the student to insulting or shaming him, but I am glad that I got his attention. The question had worked, pointedly knocking him off-balance of the rest of the day, enough to keep him quiet, as I watched him sit down, the sordid smile wiped off his face. I learned that day, however, that pressing kids on their upbringing could bring up some unpleasant memories or reactions.

Back at one of the local comprehensive schools, I confronted one young lady who just burst out at me on afternoon, "Alright, dude! What the F---! Calm down!" I guess she was expressing some quiet incredulity, but I was shook up by her little outburst. I told her to step over and speak with me for a minute. Dawdling in a petty-defiant manner, almost like a five-year old who has been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, she started sulking and looking away.

"Do you talk to your father like that?" I asked.

"Don't go talking about Dad," she retorted, "He's got nothing to do with it," she fired off, swagging her head around her shoulders. I assumed that she and Dad were having troubles or were not even speaking to each other. I later wrote a referral for one of the assistant principals to take of later on.

The most forward confrontation that I remember when pressing a student about their dissolute conduct vis-a-vis their parents occurred at Lloyde High School in Lawndale. The young man was a courteous fellow, one who did not invite trouble. He did not do a lot of work while on campus. Once, I had to confiscate his phone because he was playing video games under the table.

Notwithstanding his "off" behavior from time to time, this kid, Steve, looked forward to when I came to cover a class. He would joke about the other times when I was a substitute teacher long-term at the comprehensive high school that he had transferred from. The class that he was a part of was one of the two classes that I looked forward to while working at the school, yet even then it was a slog at best that I managed to get through those six weeks without losing my mind.

That afternoon, my birthday, no less, I was covering one of his classes. He walked in grandly and gladly, shouting my last name for all to hear --- "Schaper!" I smiled meekly, not really thrilled that he welcomed me as a big brother, not a teacher. Perhaps I misjudged his kindness in months past, I thought. He had said that it was fun when I was the long-term sub. Then again, it was fun for him, but not for me. Not that it was his fault, but I was not interested in playing buddy-buddy anymore. After five months of covering classes on and off at Lloyde, I started to get this sinking feeling that I was adding to the problem rather than helping students to graduate. The same students who looked forward to seeing me were the same students who sat and did nothing day after day. If my being their clown and their babysitter was contributing to their failure, I thought, then it's for a different tone.

The first ten minutes of class, Steve sat near my desk talking with two other friends of his. The other two were getting work done, but he was just talking away. Finally, I had had enough. "Steve, you've been sitting there for the past ten minutes, and you're doing nothing. Go move your seat."

"What?" he exclaimed. "You're trippin'! The teacher lets us sit and talk all the time."

"Not like this, though, with you sitting there doing nothing."

"That's just bull----!" he shouted. "Step outside," I then told him furtively.

He grabbed his stuff calmly, smiled in a brazen fashion at the other two students, who quietly went back to work. After five seconds, when Steve had crossed outside the threshold of the classroom door, I quickly and quietly followed him.

Then I asked the stirring question within:" Do you talk to your Father like that?" emphasizing "Father."

 "I don't have a Dad," he answered feebly.

For a split second, I felt invited to pity the kid, take him under my wing, so to speak. Then I shook the notion away and pressed on. ""Do you talk to your mother like that?"

"No," he answered laconically.

"Then you will not talk to me like that." I knew then and there that I had  his attention. I also sensed that perhaps he was a little confused. I was the teacher who had no problem joking, playing around, letting him pass the time without getting any work done. Today, I was a different teacher. I wanted to be more of  a parent, less of a pal. I was not interested in this young man wasting more minute of his time at the school doing nothing and feeling validated for it by a silly substitute who put up with little effort and no referrals.

I chose not to pity him. Self-pity is a pit that people rarely get themselves out of, and I did not want to make it easier for him to define himself by the failure of another.

"Now, I am going to tell you where to sit, and I expect you to get some work done. I don't mind if you talk, but I want to see you working."

I walked back in, strong and sure-footed. I refused to brook no nonsense. Briefly, I glanced back to see him seated closer to the front of the room and near the door. He looked up at me, sad and quizzical, trying to understand the "new me" that was not playing anymore. In hindsight, I realize what a mixed message that may have been to Steve, but it was better late than never, especially when it comes to disrespect.

"Do you talk to your Father like that?" The phrase has a ring of authority around it. For a long time, though, I did not believe that I had the right or responsibility to take such a stand, to make such a point. I was so unsure of myself, that I was culling for approval from the students as much as teaching them. I am certain that many students struggle with enough inconsistency at home, single parents or otherwise. At least, I decided to myself, I would be one fewer adult permitting students to make less of themselves, no matter what they may have thought of me.

The Righteous By Faith Live -- And Learn

Normally, I do not have warm memories of my time at Hawthorne High School.

The students were --- well, let's just say that not every student lived up to his potential or loved spending his time in my class. I cannot say that I was the best educator that every graced the hallways of the Beach Boys before they hit their prime. Still, I would have to say that "California Girls" is the best thing that ever came out of Hawthorne High School.

But I can also share that one of the best teaching moments in my seven year career as an educator also came from my experience there.

I never thought that students would remember me after I had finished a long-term assignment at the campus earlier last year. When one student greeted me with a warm shout: "Schaper!" I was glad that I had left a favorable impression on someone. One stalwart, who used to curse a blue streak, welcomed me with a loud "No Profanity!" -- the one tirade that I used to lash out. At least he learned to clean up his language.

I also remember standing up to the mean secretary. Most staff members told me just to drop off my keys and leave. Say nothing and do nothing more. Of course, I have always loved a challenge. She learned to get used to me as I learned to live and let live with her.

Then there was that one reading class  that I covered at the end of one week. Three students, two boys and one girl, were seated toward the back. The teacher's aide left after half an hour, as every teacher's aid is expected to leave earlier. The teacher I was covering for had paperwork to fill out, as he was assigned special students that year, and the documentation required for those students can be daunting.

Two boys, one girl, special ed students, a reading class, Friday, last period of the day -- and they are supposed to start reading. I knew that not much work was going to get done today.

When  a lull of awkward silence settles in, I get out my notebook, filled with fun drawings and verses which I have collected over the years. The past year or two, I was drawing up a storm. I had two profiles of King George VI, the stuttering monarch who rallied his people  against the Nazis in a rousing speech, based on the award-winning film "The King's Speech". I also included a pencil portrait of Benoit Mandelbrot, a brilliant mathematician whose work in fractal geometry influenced a wide number of disciplines, including telecommuniciations, medicine, and art. This intellect, who worked his way up to top-tier leadership of IBM, was a Holocaust survivor who could not memorize his times tables. I also copied in large letters some Hebrew phrases which have motivated me time and again.

The two boys were impressed with my drawings, but the Hebrew phrase really caught their attention and fired up their interest. The curves and wavy end-points, the foreign allure of a language sculpted from a different alphabet commanded their focus. "What does that mean?" one of them asked me.

"The righteous by faith live." I then pronounced for them the original Hebrew. I have never seen students get so excited about anything. Next, I shared with them the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Fascinated, they began copying the letters that would spell their own names.

For the next thirty minutes, those two boys were engrossed in the spiritual immersion of Hebrew letters, a verse of scripture of great import to me and many others. The young lady who had sat by reading her own book became very interested. I invited her to join us, and she sat next to one of the boys and began writing out her own name.

I admired how the students were able to craft letters from an ancient language into today, making them relevant and personal. I was so happy that they were completely interested in something that I had shared with them.

Time passed very quickly that afternoon. One of the boys looked up at the clock high above. Sighing, he sadly remarked, "I don't want to go home. I want to finish this!"

Two boys -- one a freshman, the other a sophomore; one girl, a quite junior; all three of them, special ed students - who have a hard time concentrating; a reading class, which ends up usually turning into a useless study hall period; and a Friday, the last period of the day, the last ten minutes of the day -- and these kids did not want to go home.

For seven years, I have taught in schools all over -- rich, poor, urban, suburban, white and minority -- and never have I worked with students who, about to go home for the weekend, have told me that they wanted to stay and work on something that I had shared with them. It was a stirring moment for me, the teachable moment that most teachers and educational instructors love to talk about but seem  to encounter less and less in their careers.

I joked with them that I would love to stay, too, but the principal kicks every substitute off campus at the end of the day. Because I did not want them to have to quit what they were working on, I gave each of them a copy of the Hebrew and Greek alphabet. "Hey, the Greek's easier!" One of the students remarked.

Still, the righteous by faith live -- and learn!

Growing and Grace and Knowledge with Abraham: Identified in Grace

In our walk with God, we learn not only to see Him as a source for our needs, but the source of every good and perfect gift in our lives (James 1: 17)

Eventually, we find ourselves transformed by his grace, changing from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

For Abram, it was the grace of God which then transformed him from an "exalted Father" to " Father of many".

"As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. " (Genesis 17: 4-5)

By adding the letter הָ֔ "He", the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the letter of grace, God graced Abraham with a new identity. He expected his servant to identify himself complete with God's promise.

For every believer in Jesus, we identify with Him in name and power, for God has made us of the same righteous standing in Him through His name:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" ( John 1: 12)

By the name of Jesus, everyone of us is saved:

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3: 18)

In His name, we can ask God the Father for anything that we need:

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14: 13)

In Him, we stand and receive His grace and power:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

Jesus came to us, full of grace and truth. Now that He lives in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, He wants us to know that we have the same grace and truth in us!

God provided this transformation by changing his name, by transforming the identity of the faithful Patriarch. Let the Lord Jesus do the same for you!

Growing and Grace and Knowledge with Abraham: the Lord as Complete Covenant

The Lord has taken Abram from his former home to a land of promise. He has blessed him immensely, and Abram responded by worshipping the Lord at length.

Even though Abram did not obey perfectly, God led him through challenges that caused him to be obedient. He left Lot, he stayed by his wife, even though he had lied about her being his sister. Yet in all of these trials and errors, God still blessed Abram, because he walked in faith.

Then the Lord went further, presenting Himself as the source of all good things in Abram's life

"After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. " (Genesis 15: 1)

In our walk with God, we learn not just to love the Lord for what He does, for what He promises. We learn to receive and bask in His love for who He is. He is our shield, our protection, and the ultimate in terms of every reward. We can receive nothing without him, for God who gave us His own Son will not withhold anything else that we need (Romans 8: 31-32)

Abram still held onto God's promise that he would be the father of many nations, yet he still had doubts, which he was not afraid to share:

"And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

"And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir." (Genesis 15: 2-3)

Even though Abram admitted his skepticism, he still expected to receive something from God. Every believer needs to develop that patient tenacity with God, in which we trust in Him as our source, as our great rewarder, that He is and will meet our needs (Hebrews 11: 6; Philippians 4: 19)

"And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15: 4-6)

This passage is telling because Abram has gone from believing God's promises, believing in His power to provide and protect for him, and now he believes in the Lord, the God of Covenant. In our faith walk, we learn to trust in God because He is God, He is King of the Universe, yet he deigns, desires to work in our lives, too.

Growing and Grace and Knowledge with Abraham: Defeat Enemies, Receive Blessings

Even though Lot and Abram endured strife for a period of time, Abram did not forsake his relative.

As we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, we find ourselves able to forgive and receive those who had harmed us in the past. We forgive because God has forgiven us through His Son, Jesus (Ephesians 4: 32).

When Lot was captured by enemy kings, Abram came to his rescue:

"And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

"And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan." (Genesis 14: 13-14)

Abram possessed such wealth and legacy, that he commanded an army of servants -- born in his own house. Of course, this was no surprise to Abram, for the Lord told him that he would be a blessing.

After surely routing the enemy kings who had kidnapped Lot, Abram restored to his nephew all that was stolen from him. Not only do we possess greater wealth, but we are able to restore the substance of others who have lost much:

"And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." (Genesis 14: 16)

Following the immense victories which Abram accomplished, he received a glorious visit from Jesus in a pre-incarnate form as Melchizedek, priest of God Most High:

"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

"And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

"And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all." (Genesis 14: 18-20)

As we do greater things in our faith walk with God, we learn that we are not doing anything but receiving the grace and power of God, who works in us (Philippians 2: 13)

We receive greater blessings when we acknowledge that God has delivered our enemies into our hands, not we ourselves. Melchizedek provided bread and wine, the symbols of Jesus' future sacrifice which would reconcile and restore man to greater fellowship with his God.

The last part of this account is also important. After Abraham received a great victory over his enemies, he tithed a tenth of all that he got. In taking in greater blessings, the believer learns to give back a tenth, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9: 7)

Growing and Grace and Knowledge with Abraham: Honing Our Faith Walk

Abram obeyed the Lord, Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10: 17) but he did not obey perfectly, because he took his nephew Lot with him.

Many believers make the same mistake. We choose to follow Him, but we hold onto old comforts, as well, convinced that perhaps God is not enough, that He may not be fully trustworthy.

Yet as we grow in grace and knowledge of Him, we find that not only does He supply all of our needs, but that our previous comforts become cumbersome to our walk with God:

"And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

"Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." (Genesis 13: 8-9)

Abram had no reason to second guess his relative. He trusted that God would prosper him, no matter what Lot chose to do.

After Lot left Abram, the Lord expanded his vision:

"And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward" (Genesis 13: 14)

As we learn to trust God's supply for our lives, we no longer feel compelled to influence other people's decisions. Lot chose Sodom and Gomorrah, an unwise decision based on sight, not faith. Abram walked by faith, and the Lord expanded the vision of blessing in store for the Father of Faith.

Growing and Grace and Knowledge with Abraham: Blessed in the Midst of Wrongdoing

Now, Abram did not walk in faith perfectly. When he went to Egypt during a great famine, he lied to the leaders there by telling them that his beautiful wife Sarai was his sister. Notwithstanding this deceit, the men of Pharaoh's land treated Abram well on account of his wife:

"Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

"And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

"The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

"And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels." (Genesis12: 13-16)

Even when we sin, even when we fall short in our faith, God still blesses us, making all things work together for good (Romans 8: 28).

God is interested in us growing closer to Him, and it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2: 4)

Growing and Grace and Knowledge with Abraham: The Example of Abraham

The life and growing victory of Abram, who later became the Father of faith, the Patriarch of many, whose promises every believer receives through his seed Jesus Christ, provides a telling and teaching survey in how every believers grows in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18).

In Genesis12, the Lord spoke to Abram:

"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12: 1-3)

Abram obeyed the Lord. In the first steps of his journey, he responded to God's appearance with an altar, showing that Abram honored the Lord:

"And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

"And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD." (Genesis 12: 7-8)

In our walk of faith, we learn to listen and repeat to ourselves that promises which God has made to us. We respond to God's love and generosity by worshipping Him, just as Abram did. He set up two altars, serving as reminders not just of God, but of what God promised.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate

Even before the 2012 election for Texas' next U.S. Senator went into full swing, I was rooting for Ted Cruz.

This country does not need any more establishment types who will cut a little off the edge of budget deficits and national debt.

We need legislators across the country who will take a chain saw, a machete, acid launchers, just about anything to bring down the debt and stop the spending that is robbing this country of potential investment and purchasing power.

The GOP needs as much minority support as possible, too, not just to maintain a competitive edge in a country whose demographics are changing dramatically, but also to allay the unjustified fears that constitutional rule, limited government, and fiscal conservatism are only the by-words for rich, white males who want to subject all other races, creeds, and colors to post-racial segregation of poverty and political inaction.

As a Tea Party sympathizer in Southern California, I ask that every voter in Texas reject the status quo of "cut just enough" and send Ted Cruz into the general election and on to Washington D.C. in November.

Romney: Dump Trump

If there is any better portrait of  nouveau riche as exemplar of crass, boorish, and stupid, look no further than real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Wolf Blitzer is spot-on for calling out the Donald for his idiotic obsession with Obama's citizenship. The president is a born and naturalized citizen of this country. He mus be judged on the merits -- in truth, lack thereof, in leading this country for the past three and a half years.

Donald Trump does nothing but expose to the world the depths of his ineptitude in leading a final, failing charge regarding the "birther" movement.

And to think that this man was considered presidential material over a year ago!

I do not care how much money this man amasses for the GOP, he is a blight on the political discourse of the general election, which needs to focus on scaling back the government, promoting wealth creation and job growth, and decimating the deficit spending which is eating away at this country's core.

Governor Romney does not need any more help stirring up the embers of Tea Party partisans. He should dump Trump as soon as possible.

Challenge to Dupuy's Call for Gun Control

Ms. Dupuy,

Your analysis of the connection between the untimely death of Trayvon Martin and lax gun control measures was not persuasive.

The circumstances of the youth gunned down in Florida have nothing to do with lax or strict laws regarding ownership of possession in the public square.
Granted, the second amendment of the Constitution recognizes that the right to keep and bear arms is connected with militia, yet the militia is composed of private individuals possessing the power and responsibility to defend themselves, their homes, and their state and country.
The right has been construed as an individual right as recently as 2008. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 struck down the handgun ban for individual owners.
Recent morality rates for the federal district following the ruling against the gun ban may not indicate much beyond the reaction to higher crime rates altogether in D.C.
Still, this country should not institute sweeping changes in social policy over one death in Florida. The four witnesses interviewed for the case have already changed their stories. The alleged assailant George Zimmerman was clearly wounded in the altercation shortly before Trayvon's death. Moreover, there were traces of marijuana in the child's system. The facts of this case have become more convoluted since Zimmerman's arrest. Therefore, the media has no reason for indicting "lax" gun-control laws as the primary culprit.

Students Need Parents, Not Pals

The Cult of Equality is in full swing in today's public schools.

Instead of disciplining students, teachers are expected to accomodate them. Accountability has shifted from the students to the adults, many of whom are still struggle to grow up, themselves.

There is no excuse for this laxity of behavior. Students do not have the right to air grievances, to talk back to their teachers, to misbehave. Even if the teachers' conduct does not measure up all the time, authority is the final arbiter. There is no excuse, none, for students to demonstrate disrespect to a teacher, especially in public.

Students have become so accustomed to acting anything but their age, that when one teacher does expect students to conduct themselves with decorum, he is treated like an alien or a Nazi. The tough approach to student discipline is crucial if we want our young people to become young men and women of substance and structure.

Students need parents, not pals. They need fathers and mothers, not friends. The Cult of Equality is now making it acceptable for teenagers to be treated like adults with enduring the rites of adulthood that accompany adopting the attached liberties.

Editorial on Education Reform

Former LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines was implicated in an illicit affair with another high-ranking employee in the district from which he retired last year. For his indiscretion, Cortines’ former employer handed off a hefty severance, all taxpayer money diverted from the classrooms across LA Unified. The school board bought out David Brewer, the previous superintendent before Cortines, following his increasingly apparent incompetence to handle the awkward monstrosity of school politics, despite his celebrated tenure as a naval officer.

Mark Berndt, elementary school teacher in one of the lowest performing schools in South Los Angeles, has been indicted for perpetrating lewd against minors for a number of years. The state credentialing commission never received record of previous allegations against the teacher. This man is still slated to receive a generous pension following the district’s discreet settlement for him to resign. The horrendous revelations have sparked a witch hunt after every whiff of misconduct even hinted at in the district.

LAUSD’s new Superintendent John Deasy has crowed about denying tenure to 850 teachers. In a twenty-hour day, he visits every campus in his sprawling district, sizes up teachers, staff, listening in on the growing complaints of administrators (  He also took time berate substitute teacher Patrena Shankling for delivering a “sub-standard” lesson to high school seniors (

These outlandish and perverse cases distract the nation from the daily failures of the public school system in Los Angeles, where a growing minority of students are still dropping out in alarming numbers, where students who do graduate have little to show for their public education. Charter schools either face an uphill battle to retain their charters, or they retain politically connected support in the School board. One glaring example, Academia Semillas, boasts some of the lowest scores for a charters school yet was authorized to remain in operation for another five years ( This in contrast to high-performing charter programs in West Los Angeles which are still fighting for space and respect in the midst of real estate and social policy concerns from elite citizens blocking the expansion of special education schools (

The allegations of misconduct and fraud which have beset one of the largest school districts in the country have persuaded voters throughout California that a tax increase is perhaps not in the cards for Governor Jerry Brown and liberal associates in Sacramento. Yet Governor Brown persists in pushing outrageous “soak-the-rich” tax increase initiatives, which will further drive wealth creators from the state and available wealth into remote tax shelters. California schools do not lack for money. Evidence from the Rand corporation has pointed out steady increase in per-pupil spending, yet no correlation to rising test scores (See

Voters from the South Bay to the Valley love their city, but they do not love the shoddy education which their youth are receiving. Gloria Romero of Democrats for Education Reform (   LA Times Op-Ed, May 21, 2012) has reported strong opposition from establishment Democrats in the state to meaningful education reform, especially from the teachers’ unions, which are not above bullying President Obama’s reelection committee appointments for non-compliance with their status quo agenda.

Beyond the kickbacks, pay-perversions, and political infighting which are throttling public education reform, a former LA Unified teacher I have also witnessed as the lack of oversight, insight, and hind-sight have plagued local schools, discouraged teachers, and intimidated leaders from introducing meaningful reforms. The Democratic Party in this state has claimed the lead on education reform, yet the teachers’ unions have compromised this commitment with donations and influence, which have scuttled meaningful ballot initiatives to promote school choice (

Because of teachers’ unions dominating and demeaning influence to discourage teacher and school reform, because of legislators’ growing reticence to stand up to the collective power of public employees, I propose that if there must be tax increases, then the power of public sector unions in education must be curtailed.

School boards also are demonstrating a disturbing lack of accountability. There is no justifiable reason why school districts should hand out taxpayer dollars so frivolously without regard to the waste, fraud, and scandal infiltrating and decimating our public schools.  By limiting the chokehold of union power on Sacramento, by taking power form school boards to local communities across the state, voters would initiate necessary steps for fiscal and academic reform while ensuring that our youth receive the best education possible.

Capitalism is About Profits -- Everyone's

The United States needs a crash course in economics.

Or perhaps the economics teachers in our public high schools need the crash course in how economies really work, not the high and flighty aberrations which passes for learning in elite institutions throughout the nation.

The centralized, anti-capitalist bias of economics courses today almost disregards the fundamental value of scarcity. There is simply not enough of everything to give to everyone, whether the country function according to Communist, socialist, capitalist, or democratic principles.

The material world is inevitably a closed order, one in which politicians can promise the sun, moon, stars, and all the strata in between, but voters have only themselves to blame when taken in by the metaphysical kool-aid of getting everything without having to pay for it. The near defaulted Greeks are learning this notion the hard, and they are fully at fault for it.

Private equity is about making money. In fact, all business and capitalist initiatives are about making money. Job creation is a result of wealth creation. Men and women do not go into business because they want to hire people. We must stop demonizing entrepreneurs and corporations who are out to make a profit first and foremost.

Mitt Romney help create, build up, close, diminish and expanded business through his firm Bain Capital. We should not shirk or shrink from pointing out the obvious: in the course of making companies profit and profitably, some workers had to be let go. Capitalism is hardest on the capitalists themselves, however, as they risk a substantial amount of their own money to make money over a long period of time. Currently, they are harassed by shifting government regulations, populist uprisings, and cowardly politicians who spend more time reading the visible, risible polls instead of implementing steady economic policy.

Capitalism is about profits first. Job creation comes afterward, but not by primary focus, no more than a tea kettle boils on a stove because the cook is staring at it. The fire that drives investment is low and intense, rising to the surface, apparent to all  only after money starts exchanging hands again, and that without extensive direction from the state.

Obama Faces Campaign Concerns

The economic recovery has not recouped the jobs lost over the past three years. The military is  still overextended in every continent in the world, with small relief hardly shoring up the pacifist lobby which help propel the President into power in 2008.

The low starting point in 2009 has worn thin for voters, who expected a rollicking surge of economic growth. This progressive president, however, has only expanded the role, scope, and sway of the federal government, taking money from impoverished taxpayers to buoy a vision of state intervention from womb to tomb. "Julia" is as fictional as "Big Brother Watching You", just without the dystopian myopia of comrades wringing their hands in the midst of perpetual propaganda and war a la 1984.

President Obama's election was a hyped-up, Facebook-drive fluke, a bandwagon of reaction following eight years of extensive government expansion in the name of "compassionate conservatism." The current chief executive has held onto the "passion" of Big Government, whether voters have wanted to come along with the sorry and misguided program or not.

Swing states  are swinging away from President Obama in growing numbers. Iowa is turning into a battleground state once again. North Carolina and Virginia are returning to the conservative fold, along with the Sunshine state. Governor Scott Walker and his diligent party of union-limiting crusaders are cruising to survival of recall efforts and witnessing the revival of a Great Lakes state which has courageously curbed an expensive entitlement of legalized cronyism. The Dairy State is slated to send another Republican senator to Washington, as well as looking like a promising red state for the next election cycle. Perhaps native Son and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney will also pull Michigan into the Republican fold for the first time in over two decades.

Minorities feel the minority pinch of "little to show" for their colored enthusiasm for a distinctly different president, at least on the outside. It was the white vote that got Obama into office, and it is the white vote that the President is also losing. African-Americans, resolutely opposed to gay marriage and still waiting for adequate education reform, will most likely sit out 2012 in greater numbers instead of casting their voters for the Republican candidate -- yet at least the successful venture capitalist is not afraid to venture into poor, urban, black neighborhoods to pitch himself as alternative to three and a half years of failure.

 Obama cruised into office with a bare 5% advantage over a seasoned legislator who had run for the highest office in the land eight years prior. He was not anti-Bush, sadly, and the incumbent has been W. on steroids. He is crashing and burning now, commanding less respect than Carter, still blaming the past of others for the present that is unequivocally his. The nation is hoping for change. Like him or hate him, or just plain distrust him, Governor Romney is poised to take back the White House and usher in real reform and recovery for the United States of America,

Debt Stand-Off Renewed on Capitol Hill

Speaker of the House John Boehner must lead the charge to stop the spending.

He should not refer to his member as "frogs in a wheelbarrow." It is time that House Representatives assert their independence and their loyalty to their pledge to stop government spending, or at least force Congress to take necessary looks at the cuts that need to be considered in the future.

It is not surprising, though appalling none the less, to listen to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi shame the conservative majority as irresponsible and immature. For the first two years of the Obama Presidency, Democrats increased spending to obscene levels while forcing an unwanted, unneeded, and unread medical insurance mandate on the American people, which a majority of Americans still loathe and want repealed as soon as possible.

The Progressive vision of Big Government without borders or boundaries has not swayed the growing majority of disaffected and disillusioned voters, many of whom are regretting voting for a "Hope and Change" executive with little experience or insight into the proper workings of American Government.

The Republican majority in the House, with their minority counterpart in the Senate, could not have selected a better time to raise awareness about the debt, deficits, and spending which are still assaulting the American economy while discouraging the jittered and anemic business class. Right-to-work states like Indiana have encourage a resurgence in growth and gathering of entrepreneurship., yet the withstanding regulations that are intimidating banks from loaning and discouraging businesses from hiring are still on the loose. Cut spending, limit government, free up the powers of the states and the people, and the American economy will grow once again.

"Soak The Rich" Sucks

Despite the liberal trend in the mainstream media today, I am glad that one columnist in the LA Times has outlined the obvious: taxing the rich will not bring the state of California  more revenue nor end the yo-yo budgeting that has driven the state to the edge of fiscal collapse.

I am sick of people still repeating the empty mantra that the rich are not paying their fair share. Every person in the state takes advantage of core public services, yet how voters actually pay any taxes? I agree that every voter should have some ''skin in the game" when it comes to raising revenue for state coffers. Lower tax rates, expand the tax base. Tax services, not just income, and lower the amount of money that the state can take from individuals who work and invest.

When will Governor Brown give up the loony tax-and-spend lunacy of previous decades? He has the veto pen, he has the respect of the Republican minority, and the growing skepticism of voters taxed in wallet and patience both tell a sordid tale for the tax increases proposed for the November ballot.

The state of California has plenty of money. Brown and his liberal associates could learn a lesson from John F. Kennedy, who understood the paradoxical yet empirical link between lowered tax rates and rising tax revenues. The Governor has already evinced a streak of political pragmatism with his 12-point pension reform proposal. A more moderate and mature set of policies for spreading the demand while lowering overall rates would definitely stimulate growth without letting anyone get away with not contributing something to the Sacramento coffers.

The Poor Health of Health Classes

In the beginning, health classes focused primarily on ensuring that youth knew how to care for themselves, how to behave toward the opposite sex, how to command respect with peers and parents, how to handle the emotional pressures which afflict youth surviving adolescence.

Now, districts across Los Angeles County are cutting health classes, shoring up remaining funds for core classes and preparation for standardized tests.

Perhaps this trend is nothing to lament. Health classes, sinking in the moral relativism of accommodation and multiculturalism, were trending toward student individualism and promiscuity. Long gone are the days when students were encourage to practice self-respect and self-control. Current teachings not include preparation for pregnancy and "safe sex",  an overly tolerant misnomer of titillating proportions. How many unintended pregnancies are tolerated in our society today will indicate the rise in crime, deviance, dysfunction which are rising in our communities, whether urban or suburban.

Parents of immigrant status play a diminishing role in the lives and upbringing of their children. Youth who do not regard their parents as primary role models inevitably contribute to a culture of adolescent-driven angst and insolence, with the proliferation of disease and dismal consequences following.

Students need a moral compass more than the mere parameters on how to treat their bodies. Self-worth based on feelings and student comity contributes to the terrors of adulthood absent the mores of values and vision so desperately needed by students today.

Death to the Death Penalty

Yes, the death penalty has deterred some criminals from committing atrocious acts. Cal Worthington admitted in his memoirs that the one reason for resisting bloody-thirsty revenge against another was the threat of the needle.

However, in an alarming number of cases, innocent individuals have been sent to Death Row as a result of sloppy, hasty, or politically motivated investigations. Confessions, poor evidence collection, DNA revelations have challenged the notion that juries pass predominantly infallible verdicts in death penalty cases.

Plus the cost of lengthy court appeals through state then federal jurisdictions are costing the state of California money which the state does not have.

How much longer will voters continue to suffer under the burden of a criminal justice system which incarcerates too many non-violent offenders without properly adjudicating the cases with serious implications for the community? Murder and rape are serious crimes, yet the rush of the justice system tends toward implicating the innocent and increasing miscarriages of justice, creating a greater undue burden on taxpayers and the shuttering court system throughout the state.

The death penalty has become too fraught an affair, both morally and economically, for the People of the State of California to tolerate any further. Let us hope that a requisite majority of voters support the SAFE Act and abolish the death penalty.

Wedge Issues Driving Democrats Apart

The Democratic Party in California has touted itself as the party of public education. At the same time, this growing liberal faction has also taken easy handouts from public sector unions, including the powerful California Teachers Association.

The coalition of ideologies which has prided itself on doing the most to expand the role of the state now faces the dwindling justification for holding hands with the teachers' unions, which resist  reform in every form. Voucher initiatives, the safeguarding of membership dues, and the limit on their power over Sacramento lawmakers have all been handily defeated by operatives throughout the state.

Gloria Romero inaugurated Democrats for Education Reform. Setting off outrage from establishment leaders, Romero has inadvertently exposed the latent contradiction of state power as a means of advancing the best interests of all. More government means more workers paid out through taxpayer dollars. These same employees have coalesced their power to move politicians to increase their wages and protect their hierarchical authority over individual  members, who must contribute dues whether they join the union or not, and who must accede to the contributions of party leaders to pet candidates and causes.

The Teachers' unions direct even the President's staff to support choices and causes which line up with their interests, not afraid to withhold criticism or a retraction of support if necessary. When a spokesman for Parent Revolution was tapped by the Obama Campaign to help the President's reelection coffers in California, the statewide teachers' union threatened to withdraw support for the incumbent.

This subtle bullying will backfire against the Democratic Party, no doubt, but more importantly public education may enjoy a renaissance of decentralization unprecedented in decades. The Democratic party may lose its grip over key constituencies, where voters have grown tired of delays and scaled-back reforms to parent power and student protest. Minority voters are adversely affected by the current status quo of government monopoly schooling, much of which forces Hispanic and black students to suffer in the worst urban schools without choice or authority to demand meaningful reforms.

Chancellor Michelle Rhee stood up to the teachers' union in Washington D.C., despite sharing the same party affiliation. Perhaps the rise of independent voters will peel off a growing number of disillusioned voters to abandon the Democratic Party, thus offering the struggling Republican caucus another chance to surge in prominence on a wedge issue that is driving the Democrats apart.

33rd Congressional District and the Challengers

Congressman Henry Waxman has waned in recent years.

He has not served this country as well as he could have. This nation needs economic recovery. The ObamaCare mandate has all but throttled business expansions while shaking up current businesses, who have no clear vision from the federal government regarding the extent of regulation and taxation that will influence their bottom line for better or for worse.

The residents of the South Bay are now cycling through their third Congressional representative in three years. This rapid change in representation is unacceptable. The aerospace industry and international business interests stationed in this region need stable and stalwart support from the federal government, especially in the arenas of deficit reduction and responsible deregulation.

Like Congressman Waxman, many residents in the Beach Cities care about the environment. We worry about energy independence while filling up less of our gas tanks with more money. However, the fiscal irresponsibility out of Washington D.C. must be curbed as soon as possible. Congressman Waxman is just one more vote for more of the same: tax, spend, delay, increase -- this country needs less of government altogether.

I do not understand why the nonpartisan redistricting commission refused to include LAX in the district. The thin strip of  Dockweiler Beach stands in stark contrast to the more contiguous districts which have retained a greater integrity than previous congressional reapportionment. The "strip of shame" still serves as a reminder that even non-partisan initiatives can create partisan problems. No matter who wins the top-two spots in the General election, the voters from Malibu to Rancho Palos Verdes must pay close attention the rhetoric and reality of candidates who promise to represent the needs of every voter in the  33rd Congressional District. Even Waxman has acknowledged that he could never visit the entire district adequately in one day. Let's hope that the next representative for this district will acquaint himself appropriately within the diverse confines of this reapportioned district.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Republican for the 66th

Whether Nathan Mintz or Craig Huey take either or both of the top two spots for the 66th Assembly Seat General Election, a Republican candidate will play a pivotal role in maintaining some check and balance to the top-heavy lop-sided liberal majority which threatens to expand the overburdened tax base of the state.

Craig Huey has signed the requisite pledges to protect Prop 13 and to oppose any tax increases. The Sacramento legislature has no right or authority to be pushing tax increases without first instilling spending and entitlement reform that ensures that all taxpayer money will go toward defraying the immense debt holding this state hostage.

Nathan Mintz has tailored himself as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. He was a Tea Party favorite the last time that he ran for office, but he apparently wants to make sure that he can scoop up the swing votes which are plentiful in the South Bay. I believe that candidates should persuade prospective voters to the similarities which they hold in common; however, to switch labels, even within two years time, sends a troubling message. Nevertheless, Mr. Mintz' aerospace experience would serve his constituents capably if he wins the run-off and the seat.

The last thing that the voters in California need is another knee-jerk lock-step Democrat who will tax, tax, tax. Unions hold too much power over our legislatures. This immoral amalgam of special interests and political favoritism must come to an end. Al Muratsuchi's connection to the District Attorney's office is commendable, but his questionable service to the Torrance Unified School District -- which has endured budget cuts for eight years with lax oversight and budget foibles -- would indicate that he is more interested in wielding power than limiting it. He has connections with teachers' unions and has refused to pledge not to raise taxes. The residents of the 66th Assembly District must consider fiscal and economic issues above any other matter when choosing an acceptable candidate for the Assembly. A conservative voice is crucial for our state's long-term recovery.

Applause for Marina Del Rey's "Aid and Assistance"

Our veterans indeed deserve as much “Aid and Assistance” as possible. James Moore and Lt. Commander Ernest Cowell (ret.) should be commended for their consulting firm assisting our armed forces who leave active military life yet still need assistance in their later years.

No matter how many wars that our government insists on sending our troops to fight in, our veterans return to a dramatically different set of demands in civilian life. Some of them transition into stable lives and careers, while others face fiscal and emotional challenges. Any assistance that civilians and ranking officials can provide is welcome. Our country should provide our military personnel, both those active and in retirement, with the best care possible.

However, our country also needs to provide a country that our fighting men and women can return to and prosper in. A nation that bleeds red ink demonstrates a demeaning disrespect to those shed their blood, sweat, and tears for our freedom. Why should anyone fight for this nation, only to witness our country’s credit rating downgraded while enemy foreign nations buy up our debt? I fear that Washington D. C. is undermining the very financial aid which they promise when they insist on spending money which they do not have on entitlements, unnecessary military expenditures, and discretionary endeavors which neither defend the Constitution, our borders, nor our strategic interests abroad.

Furthermore, do monthly disbursements from the state provide the best care for our veterans? Do they have access to the best medical care in VA hospitals, or will they be a victim of the drastic budget constraints making war on the stability and financial well-being of this nation? Our veterans deserve the best care possible, and they deserve a government that supports them not just in transition o civilian life but to overcome the wounds, hardships, or disabilities which they have incurred in active duty. Our leaders in Washington must find the best means possible to protect this country, restore her financial footing, and properly foot the bills for our returning armed forces.

California Legislators' "Taxorexia" Addiction

Senator Ted Lieu (D-Redondo Beach) never loses an opportunity to loose his opposition to the most minimal and meandering of problems in his district.

The Argonaut recently radiated a full frontal exposure of Senator Lieu’s opposition to tanning for minors. In spite of rising crime rates, reduced educational opportunities, and increasing deviance among youth in Southern California, the South Bay Senator has decided to wage war on skin cancer. If there is one addiction that Senator Lieu needs to treat, it is his obsession with press releases for picayune legislative proposals. The over-bronzing of our skin is a private matter, one which every citizen is responsible for treating. The spread of red ink from Sacramento to Washington D. C. is a more devious and aggressive cancer, one which requires immediate attention.

Reading over the article again, I thought that I spied a typo in the column, which printed “taxorexia” instead of “tanorexia”, the terrible condition which compels suffers to seek out tanning salons to the detriment of their health. On second glance, I believe that this editorial faux pas was in fact the mot juste for what really ails our state representatives.

If there is one addiction that Senator Lieu, Governor Brown, and the liberal political class of Sacramento must be weaned away from, it is indeed “tax-orexia”, a terrible condition in which politicians keep heaping and hyping up tax initiatives to close the growing budget gaps which they have created. Of course, “taxorexia” inevitably leads to and exacerbates the more sinister condition of “tax-ulimia”,  in which the state gorges itself with rapacious rapidity on taxpayer dollars, only to wretch this revenue excessively and effusively on the most inane and inconsequential of initiatives, like limiting juvenile “tanorexia”.

Voters across the state must stage an intervention. Our politicians will never break free from this destructive cycle of “taxorexia-taxulimia” unless we the voters stand up and confront them. We must love our legislators into wholeness, encourage them to admit that they are powerless, that they are making our lives unmanageable. They may deny that they have a problem. They may hide or minimize their bingeing and purging, but we  must show that we care, that we want what is best for them, and by extension ourselves, our state, and our future.

If Senator Lieu and his addicted political pusher-peers want to stimulate recovery in this state, they must seek a power greater than themselves -- we the voters --and turn their will and life back to legislating and leading according to the best interests of all Californians.

Entire Santa Monica Bay in One District

Former Energy Chairman and Environmentalist Henry Waxman has thrown his hat into the ring for the 33rd Congressional district. The current incumbent in the 30th Congressional district, Waxman has commanded an imposing and long-standing presence in the Beverly Hills region, where has faced token opposition so often that every election cycle he hardly invests in campaigning.

His recent interest in the South Bay is a new development of the Congressman, one which will force him to focus his time and resources over a larger swath of constituencies. For decades, the 36th Congressional district centered around the Port regions and the LAX area. Now, voters throughout the entire Santa Monica Bay will cast their vote for the same representative. Wealth and privilege accentuate the greatest link for the voters throughout this well-position region of Southern California.

Will the more rural yet elite regions of the Northern side of the bay find a compromise candidate with the more urban and engineer-based voters in the South, or will the differing economic and cultural interests pit the distinct communities up and down the Santa Monica coast and prompt a second-tier candidate to surge ahead? No matter what the outcome, voters across the South Bay will be able to vote for their preferred candidate of any party. Should their candidate fail to get into the top-two general contest, everyone will be able to settle on a compromise candidate.

For the record, I support independent Bill Bloomfield, a well-respected businessman with connections to education, community policing, and small business interests. His well-rounded savvy positions him appropriately to represent the widespread needs of the sprawling district from Malibu for Rancho Palos Verdes.

Jungle Primaries in the South Bay

The “jungle primary” will definitely jumble up the status quo of gridlock, interest groups, and slumbering incumbency in Sacramento and Washington.

When moderate Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) championed this reform of our state’s primary system, I knew and believed that voters would finally have real influence in electing better candidates for public office. In districts where for decades long-entrenched politicians would run for office unopposed, now a challenger from the same party can advance to the general election and challenge the incumbent. Congressman Peter Stark of Fremont will face a diligent referendum for the first time in nearly forty years, a breath of fresh air for a district weary with the entitlement-minded boorishness of  a Congress who up to know was assured only token Republican opposition.
Registered Republicans can vote for a Democrat or an Independent at any stage of the election. During the previous election cycles, I was forced to support a candidate in line with my views yet who had little chance of competing in the general election. At least in the jungle primaries, I can select the better of two candidates, even if the preferred candidate is only marginally better and from a different political party altogether.

Mr. Pinzler should be commended for his moderate praise for the Santa Maria moderate’s successful proposal to expand California voters’ options. Future reforms to fine-tune the current reform should wait for until a later time, but at least every voter can enjoy the opportunity of voting for a likely winner.

On another note, Easy Reader’s nuanced evaluation of the electoral contests for the newly designated 33rd Congressional and 66th Assembly districts has informed my choices. Whoever eventually represents us in Congress, we will have the satisfaction of a representative who respects the shared interests of the entire Santa Monica Bay.

Even though voters of the South Bay have been effectively gerrymandered to Malibu and Beverly Hills, at least we can disrupt the incumbency of former Energy Chairman Henry Waxman. We need less spending, more pro-growth and pro-business policies with compromise and agreement. For the record, I am supporting Independent Bill Bloomfield and whichever Republican advances to the general election run-off for the 66th.

"Forever Young" Take on Educational Reform

Paraphrasing Alphaville’s hit “Forever Young”,  Redondo Beach Unified Superintendent Steven Keller remarked about his district’s looming budget concerns: “We always plan for the worst and hope for the best.”  Our youth should not be stuck with the “forever” budget shortfalls of public education. Our youth are like diamonds in the sun, but they cannot wait forever. Voters in the South Bay will praise their leaders when they get in tune with cost-cutting reforms in public education.
Instead of floating bond measures and soaking taxpayers, school districts should drastically reduce overhead. Eliminate unnecessary administrative staff in public education. School districts with one high school and two middle schools do not need three assistant superintendents. Instead of large bureaucracies, dedicate more money to the classroom.

 Replace school boards with a board of trustees. Instead of politicians’ positioning with abstract proposals, parents, teachers, and community leaders can implement curriculum and instruction in the best interests of the students. They can invest the time and energy in designing policy and evaluate its effectiveness.

 Entitlement reform must be enacted. School districts disburse the majority of their depleting funds to off-setting pension obligations. Teachers’ unions must embrace reform or forfeit their collective bargaining rights. Merit pay for exceptional teaching, along with flexible contracts will permit districts to evaluate teachers and dismiss unqualified staff more efficiently

 Above all, student choice through a voucher system would ensure that districts compete for funds and spend taxpayer dollars effectively.

We have the power to make education better. Never say never!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Education Reform, Money Savings for the Beach Cities

Redondo Beach Unified –like many school districts in the state – is facing major budgetary constraints due to revenue shortfalls from Sacramento. Instead of floating bond measures, City school districts should initiate cost-cutting reforms which will cost nothing.

Replace distant school boards with local board of trustees for every school, following the charter model. Instead of politicians jockeying for positions to implement abstract proposals, empowered local parents, teachers, and community leaders can implement curriculum and instruction in the best interests of the student. They can invest the time and energy in designing policy and evaluating its effectiveness more efficiently.

 Administrative staff in public education is still too top heavy. School districts with one high school and one or two middle schools do not need three assistant superintendents. The ancillary bureaucrats who answer to upper-level staff should be eliminated, dedicating more money to the classroom.

 Entitlement reform must be implemented. School districts disburse the majority of their depleting funds to off-setting the increasing obligations to retired staff. Teachers have the right to organize, but unions must embrace reform or lose key elements of their collective bargaining rights. Merit pay for exception teaching, along with liberal rewriting of teacher contracts to permit districts to evaluate teachers more frequently and dismiss unqualified teachers more quickly would save money without tax increases.

Above all, a voucher system would ensure that districts compete for funds and spend taxpayer dollars effectively. Parents should not settle for low-performing schools simply because they are forced to by law.

Shout-Out to Debra Saunders

Ms. Saunders,

I very much enjoy reading your columns in the op-ed section of my local paper, the Torrance-based Daily Breeze.

I was not aware of the abusive behavior of self-described atheist Peter Stark until your recent columns outlined his outrageous conduct towards you and his fellow Congressmen.

I sincerely hope that your pieces will direct requisite attention against a politician who has become so accustomed to the entitled privileges of long-lasting power in Washington.

Frankly, Ms. Saunders, you would b do a great service to the state and the country if you could also provide some requisite information on another thorny incumbent, Henry Waxman, a politician who delights in slighting business interests while collecting autographs from baseball stars called to testify before Congress over steroid use.

Mr. Waxman has no business representing constituents as far south as Rancho Palos Verdes, yet it appears that most of the voters in the South Bay may have little choice but to suck up this compromised pol.

Thank you again for shedding light on the expected results which pushed Richard Lugar out of office.

On Municipal Problems in Mammoth Lake

To the Editors of the Sheet News:

I have been following the economiomic developments which are threatnening city governments throughout the state of California.

I was not aware of the budget concerns which were afflicting Mammoth Lake, but the bankruptcy which has already taken down Vallejo and threatens Stockton has determined not to stop in port cities or in the Bay Area. The problem of municipal pressures to pay out pensions and benefits is a serious one, one which has not arrested the attention of voters in the state.

I hope the best for the Mammoth Lake community. No city should have to suffer through economic constraints because of public sector unions who refuse to negotiate.

Iowa is Ground Zero for 2012

The Hawkeye state has been the bull's eye for presidential contenders since Jimmy Carter's stunning upset from Southern unknown to front runner who upset incumbent Gerald Ford in 1976.

Iowa's influence has diminished considerably, however, since the flip-flop over the final tally over the GOP caucus results earlier this year. First, Romney appeared to win the state by the most razor-thin of margins, then the voters tallied later gave the number one spot to Rick Santorum, who played well in rural states and evangelical voters, yet did not launch Santorum into the much-needed front-runner status to overtake Romney, whose money and campaign centers in key states enabled him to maintain his higher delegate tally.

Now with the GOP nomination all but wrapped up, Romney is on the offense in this key swing-state, which has flipped for the GOP, then the Democratic contender in every other presidential election since the disputed 2000 debacle.

Following the ouster of three Supreme Court judges for supporting gay marriage, Iowa has retrenched itself as a tilting-right Midwestern state, still resisting the liberal influence of media elites and academic circles, both of which enjoy an unsavory representative in the current president. Despite Romney's business pedigree and North Eastern roots, the GOP challenger should have little trouble shoring up the remaining skeptics of the Republican field, taking with him the Hawkeye state and the other central and mountain communities which uncharacteristically swung for Obama in 2008.

Wieckowski Attempts to Back-Peddle on Municipal Mediation

Last year, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) drafted AB 502 in order that municipalities like Stockton could mediate with public employees rather than file for bankruptcy.

Now, Wieckowski has moved to compromise the very measure which would succor compromise from city leaders and public employees. His back-peddling legislation, AB 1692, would reassert the stalling tactics of public sector unions and prevent cities from filing for bankruptcy protection. While public sector unions can badger their municipal employers to keep their end of an unfair bargain, cities are stuck with paying the daily bills as well as managing the growing fiscal chaos -- which forces their hand not just economically, but also politically before voters who cannot change or frustrate unions or their coven of waste and fraud.

The double-dealing of this legislator is a malignant symptom of the growing plague of collusion between politicians and public sector unions. City governments, and more importantly the voters and residents in these communities, deserve leadership which is free to negotiate for reductions in benefits, pensions, and other emoluments provided during previous administrative tenures during more lucrative periods of growth.

I hope that the residents of Stockton stand up to their public workers and demand reform to public sector entitlements. Public sector unions have intimated our political class long enough. Now is the time to demand that our representatives either stand up to the collective interest groups which have padded their campaign funds in exchange for lucrative and exorbitant contracts at the expense of the taxpayer.

Brownstein's Take on Wedge Issues

National Journal Columnist Ronald Brownstein is attempting to wedge into the debate which is pushing the embattled incumbent further to the marginal left.

President Obama has embraced positions on wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion, and even immigration which threaten the very demographics which generally favor Democrats, as well as pushing back into the Republican column those states which helped propel him into the Presidency in 2008.

Obama's uninformed and unjustified attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital are uninspired and improperly motivated. Wealth creation is the primary goal of investment, which every time lends itself to hiring and job creation. It is foolish to assume that businesses are invested in creating jobs, for why would anyone hire workers, other than to accomplish tasks that turn a profit?

The primary goal of profit is not a scandalous motive, when taken in light or the positive consequences which ensue. Liberal economist Adam Smith pointed out at length in his seminal work "The Wealth of Nations" that men go into business not out of the goodness of their hears, but for profit, yet this self0sh motive serves the community and the individual far more than government charity.

President Obama is already waging a losing war on a Republican challenger, who according to Rasmussen polls has inspired the growing majority of voters as possessing a great zeal and skill for improving this nation's economy.

Whatever other wedge issues which may surface in the course of the 2012 general election, they will certainly be overshadowed by the economic straits which have forced Americans to budget down and buckle in for trying times at the gas pump, at the super market, and at home.

For Debate: Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment

The argument for repealing the Seventeenth Amendment must be taken up.

Since the direct election of Senators was initiated by Progressives looking to tap into populist power, the Senate has witnessed a growing chaos of membership, in which Senators outside of the cultural and political norm of entire states have won elections in a bad year for the opposing party.

Virginia Senator Jim Webb rose to power only because 2006 was a bad year for Republicans, including the incumbent George Allen, who following some nasty missteps and faux pas, faced the wrath of a petty press.

The Senate makes decisions which affect the entire country. These members should not be elected directly by the voters, but by the more stable and politically inclined legislatures.

The Framers of the Constitution created a form of government which discouraged power being concentrated in the hands of any one group, including the masses of individual voters. The Senate was the chamber which would protect the interests of the several states, which in many cases differs greatly from the will of the people or the ambitions of the federal government.

The proper check on populist sentiment and federal encroachment is a chamber whose members respond to the states themselves, represented by the legislatures of each state.

Double Jeopardy Redefined, not in Jeopardy

Formal verdicts are crucial to creating the double jeopardy protection. Blueford v. Arkansas has confirmed this precedent.

If a man is tried for murder, which can also be ruled manslaughter or even negligent homicide, the same individual can be indicted on both charges, even if a previous jury decided not guilty on the more serious charge followed by deadlock on the lesser charge.

The Roberts Court has sided with the role of prosecution and the jury in this case, and rightly they did. The final arbitration of a citizen tribunal should not be compromised because in the first case a formal verdict was not reached.

Romney on Class Size and Minority Outreach

No, smaller is not always better -- that argument has salience in the discussion of public education reform. Choice, accountability, less governmental meddling -- these changes would free up time, space, and dwindling funds

Despite the Los Angeles Times' oblique hint that Romney does not care about the needs of inner city youth, the former governor of Massachusetts, who established a commanding legacy of expanding educational opportunity through charter schools, has demonstrated an open savvy to reach out to prospective voters in the most forbidding regions of the country for Republican candidates.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, he stood by his reasonable claims that smaller class sizes in themselves do not advance the learning of the student. Extremes like five students to a classroom are financially irresponsible, while fifty students in one class poses academic challenges beyond the ability of one teacher. Citing the learning and graduation rates of students in Finland and Singapore, Romney touches a third-rail in urban politics: the importance of stable, two-parents, a phenomenon devastated by government welfare.

On another note, I have always admired Mitt Romney's willingness to visit neighborhoods which have been historical hostile to the Republican brand, including South Los Angeles and Compton in California. Democratic operatives have taken Romney's visits to urban, working-class, and minority communities as an opportunity to skewer his wealthy connections and hefty business legacy, but they refuse to acknowledge the very elitism in their progressive stalwart champion Barack Obama, a Chicago organizer who has discouraged school choice for the black community, yet owns enough capital to enroll his two daughters in the most selective private schools. This double-standard must be attacked by leaders in the black community, who I am certain are tired of promoting candidates because of their color, yet who refuse to expand opportunities to their own people.

Perhaps Mitt Romney would be the first president in nearly five decade to erode at the liberal hegemony over the black community which the Democratic party has held for so many years.