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Michael Burns's blog

What is Christmas all about?

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Sadly, we have people like the following saying that "religion mucks [Christmas] all up."


Medical Editor Denounces Religion Part of Christmas

Here, we have the classic speech by Linus that explains "what Christmas is all about!"


Linus Explains What Christmas is All About

And, for more information about "Christ's Mass", you can read all about it on Wikipedia.

Christmas - Wikipedia

Misleading to garner support ...

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So, how far will people go to mislead others into supporting their cause?

The site crystalbridgesfoundation.org was created on November 19th of this year consisting of a single page, a press release purportedly from the Crystal Bridges Museum supporting the Black Friday Strikes at Walmart stores. Well, the site and press release have no association with the real Crystal Bridges Museum.

The domain registration (below) shows that it was created on November 19th and registered for just one year. And, the information about the person or entity who actually registered the domain was made private, so we don't know who actually did this. Clearly though, it is an attempt to mislead others into supporting the Black Friday Strikes against Walmart. Knowing how the unions have been targeting Walmart for years, it would be logical for one to come to the conclusion that a union or member representing a union was behind the site.

-----------------------------------------------------
Domain ID:D167154404-LROR
Domain Name:CRYSTALBRIDGESFOUNDATION.ORG
Created On:19-Nov-2012 21:34:05 UTC
Last Updated On:20-Nov-2012 20:30:52 UTC
Expiration Date:19-Nov-2013 21:34:05 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Web Commerce Communications Limited dba WebNic.cc (R140-LRO
R)
Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:ADDPERIOD
Registrant ID:WN18277372T
Registrant Name:YoHOST.ORG Hosting Solutions Privacy Protection
Registrant Organization:Venture i. S.A
Registrant Street1:50th Street, Global Plaza Tower
Registrant Street2:19th Floor, Suite H
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Panama City
Registrant State/Province:-
Registrant Postal Code:-
Registrant Country:PA
Registrant Phone:+1.8159814410
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:+0.0
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:info@yohost.org
-----------------------------------------------------

The real Crystal Bridges site is at http://www.crystalbridges.org.

2012 Propositions - How I Am Voting

There are 11 propositions on the ballot for November (2012). Here is how I will be voting along with a short comment as to why.

  • Proposition 30 -- No
    Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

    We do not need to be taxed any more!!! As one of the arguments against this proposition states, "We already have the 2nd highest state income tax rate, as well as THE highest state sales tax rate." Businesses are already failing or moving out of state. We don't need to push them even harder.

  • Proposition 31 -- No
    State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

    There are a lot of things that sound good in this proposition. However, I am very concerned about the reach of this proposition. It not only changes the rules at the state level, but also at the local level as well.

  • Proposition 32 -- Yes
    Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.

    I am supporting this for one reason. No one should have the right to take money out of my paycheck for political purposes unless I say it is okay. It is that simple!

  • Proposition 33 -- Yes
    Auto Insurance Companies. Prices based on Driver's History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

    Competition in business is always a good thing for the consumer.

  • Proposition 34 -- No
    Death Penalty. Initiative Statute

    I support the death penalty. However, in California, those who oppose the death penalty have already ensured that it will rarely, if ever, happen. The fact that there has only been 13 executions in the last 46 years is proof of that.

  • Proposition 35 -- Yes
    Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute.

    We need to get tougher on those who commit these types of crimes.

  • Proposition 36 -- No
    Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties. Initiative Statute.

    We do not need to weaken the Three Strikes Law. It is serving us well!!!

  • Proposition 37 -- No
    Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute.

    I am opposing this primarily due to Section 110809.4. Enforcement which opens the door to numerous lawsuits because of incorrect labeling especially when the benefit from that labeling requirement is minimal.

  • Proposition 38 -- No
    Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute.

    We do not need to be taxed any more!!!

  • Proposition 39 -- No
    Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

    This is a transfer of wealth from successful businesses to fund clean energy. The loss to the successful businesses will result in people losing their jobs. We need to focus on creating jobs, not becoming number 1 in the nation in terms of unemployment!

  • Proposition 40 -- Yes
    Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

    As Julie Vandermost, the official sponsor of the proposition, states, "This measure is not needed and we are no longer asking for a NO vote." I'm curious to see how many still vote No.

Proposition 32 -- Paycheck Protection

There is a battle waging here in California for political control of this State. And, the results of Proposition 32 will determine that control for years to come.

There are many who believe that the political actions within this State are heavily influenced by the unions, especially the CTA (California Teachers Association), and have been for many years. Proposition 32 addresses this by making all contributions for political activity to unions or corporations voluntary.

And, there are others who believe it is large corporations who have the strongest influence. Proposition 32 addresses that as well as contributions to state and local candidates are prohibited with the passage of this proposition. Both unions and corporations will be allowed to fund PACs (Political Action Committees), but direct support of state and local candidates will be prohibited.

There have been a couple attempts within the last 15 years attempting to accomplish the goals in Proposition 32. However, each meet their demise at the hands of the unions who spent millions in ensuring their defeat. And, once again, the unions are spending millions (approximately $40 million to date, $16 million from the CTA alone) to defeat Proposition 32.

I will be voting yes on Proposition 32 for one reason and one reason only. I believe no one has the right to take money directly from a person's paycheck without their consent. In this case, it is not uncommon for unions to take funds from their members paychecks specifically for political purposes. If a member voluntarily provides those funds, so be it. And, that is exactly what this measure does. It requires all political contributions to be voluntary.

It is time we level the political landscape here in California. It is time the citizens of this state to have a louder voice than the unions and corporations funding the campaigns of state and local politicians.

Vote Yes on Proposition 32.

Reference Links:

Note: Please read the text of the proposition. The No on 32 campaign is suggesting there are exemptions for corporations. If you read the text of the proposition or even just the summary at BallotPedia, you will see there are no exemptions!

Hypocrisy?

President Obama address the United Nations yesterday (Tuesday, September 25, 2012). In his speech (full text available here), the President made some statements that, when considered against recent actions, are blatantly hypocritical.

"True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be open without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people."
-- President Obama, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2012

Here, the President is referring to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which protects our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly among others. However, if we look at a recent action, we find that intimidation is a tool of this Presidency. In this article, we are told that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, contacted a Pastor in Florida, Pastor Terry Jones, and asked him to withdraw his support for the film blamed for the violence that has occurred around the world over the last couple of weeks.

So much for citizens being able to "speak their minds ... without fear."

"In other words, true democracy, real freedom is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents."
-- President Obama, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2012

Here, the President is referring to the actions often employed by dictatorial leaders whereby they use their positions to silence opposing views. Again, if we look to recent actions, we find that using the tools of law against those this President disagrees is a possibility. In this article, we see how a federal agency is pursuing a possible probation violation for Mr. Nakoula, the suspected maker of the film referred to by General Dempsey. As Mark Werksman, a defense attorney, stated, "It’s all about politics with this guy."

So much for resisting the "temptation to crack down" on those with opposing views.

The statements of President Obama and the actions of his underlings are the definition of hypocrisy!

The blame game ...

The philosophy of many today is to place blame on someone or something other than the person who committed the action of concern. For example, with each shooting incident, the blame is placed on the availability of guns as calls for stricter gun control laws always follow.

The recent attack resulting in the death of Ambassador Stevens is a prime example. Rather than focusing on bringing those who killed the Ambassador to justice, the maker of an anti-Islam film is taken into custody for questioning because the film is being blamed for the violence.

I too hear and see things that upset me as I know many others do as well. However, we recognize that these types of acts are wrong and we restrain ourselves. It is a choice we make.

We must not forget that it is a person or group of people who "choose" to commit these acts. We recognize that the people who commit these types of acts have varying reasons for why they commit them. Nonetheless, they "make a conscious decision" to commit the act. Therefore, those who commit the acts need to experience the full force of justice, not the "reasons" they have for or the "instruments" they used in committing the acts.

Sign of the times ...

Another sign of the times ...

I was waiting to pick up my daughter from her part time job. I noticed that the music instruction business had some signs on the door and window. And, I noticed that the furniture that was in the front area was gone as well. So, I got out and took a look at the sign.

The sign said, "We've moved. We now offer in-home instruction. Call ### or go online to xxx to schedule an appointment."

What does that really mean?
There was no forwarding address, so why would it say they've moved?

They are trying to make it clear that they aren't out of business. However, they can no longer afford to pay the expenses of having an office. The lease payments, the utilities and the other costs associated with maintaining a place of business (not cheap with the various California and Federal regulations one must meet) were just too much. So, they will now provide the instruction in your home.

This is a sign of the times. I continue to see businesses closing around where we live. No matter what the economists or the media reports, the truth is, the economy is not recovering. Small businesses are dying and the majority of the workers in this country are employed by these small businesses.

My daughter is one of those workers employed by a small business. And, I know her company is struggling. I worry that she too will soon become one of the unemployed.

We need a change, "real" change!

Popular Vote ...

The following article proposing that voting should be mandatory was forwarded to me in an e-mail last week. I didn't read it right away because I have already dismissed that proposition. However, I finally did read it and realized it was necessary to point out the flaw in the premise behind the whole article.

Making Voting Mandatory

The very first sentence is misleading. It is clearly an attempt to persuade readers who rely on individuals such as the writer of this article to provide them with factual information. Yet, the writer here is intentionally vague.

The assertion made is that "it's very likely NO U.S. president has ever been elected by a majority of American adults." The premise being that ALL Americans are not represented in the makeup of the government because ALL Americans don't vote.

That premise is wrong!

The fact that many in this nation choose to forgo their duty as a citizen and vote does not diminish the results of an election. Those citizens who choose not to vote have abdicated the election, and thereby their representation, to others. And, in America, they have the freedom to make that choice!

Let's not take away yet another freedom!

Note: The majority of elected presidents have been elected by a majority of those who have chosen to vote. You can view the results here.

Update 6/27/2012:

Here's a good response to the article referenced above. The writer echoes my sentiments exactly!

Voter Apathy Isn’t a Crime