Indian Gaming: Proximity of Temptation

Let’s face it, Indian Casinos are a lousy idea.  They prey on people’s weakness and it is eroding the quality of life in California.  Think about it, every dollar put into those casinos is one less that spent in the community on goods and services.  Never mind that gambling is leaves people and their families broke and in debt. You used to have to go to Nevada to become a gambling bum, now you can find them in Casinos mid-week here in California.

Indian Gaming has ruined people because they can’t resist a casino that is located in their back yard.  Case in point was a senior citizen I met when I bought her houseboat.  She was a year behind on the dock fees and she needed to sell the boat before she lost all its value.  She gambled all her inheritance away after her husband died at the local Indian Casino in her community.  She didn’t have to buy a ticket and get on a plane or a bus to Reno or Las Vegas. She didn’t have to drive her car hundreds of miles to gamble.  She only had to go a few miles to give away her inheritance.  I felt sorry for her but she needed the money and I wanted the boat. 

I used to think gambling was a victimless crime but I don’t any more.  We are connected and our actions have an impact on our friends, families, and communities.  Some people have no resistance to temptations that are in their immediate proximity.   We contribute to ruined lives by allowing these money pits to be built among us.

I say among us because proximity to temptation is important.  Like a magnet, temptation loses power the farther away it is.  This is why car dealers press you so hard on your first visit to their dealership.  They know that their best chance to sell you something is on your first visit, when the temptation to buy that shiny fresh-smelling auto is right in front of you. They know there is high liklihood they will lose you if you have time to go home and think about it or shop elsewhere.  Your proximity to the temptation favors the dealer’s bottom line. 

Internet porn is another example of proximity.  Many people are hooked by the online flesh trade who wouldn’t dare buy a porn magazine or be seen walking into an adult book store.  It is the proximity of the temptation that has overcome the outside influences and internal controls that would otherwise present barriers to consumption of porn. 

Public visibility, public humiliation, a nagging conscience and potential exposure to the community all have time to creep into the person’s consciousness when temptation is distant.  Easy Internet access creates no space or time to cross in which to consider the impacts.

An even simpler example is that most people on a diet decide not to bring sweets into their house because they know having them close at hand presents a temptation.  If they have to actually leave the house to break their diet they are less likely to do so.  The chocolate temptation is safer on the shelf at the grocery store than in the fridge at home.

It is not a wise decision to locate gambling so close to home.  The argument in favor of casinos was an appeal to collective public guilt. Remember the tribal leaders who appealed to us on commercials to help his people? Approval of casinos may have eased public guilt about Native Americans but there must be a less damaging way to help Native Americans become a prosperous people.

Barney the Volunteer

Volunteers are great people who do good work at low rates. But sometimes their work is worth what you paid for it. This email exchange is an example of the latter.

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Dear Derek,

Dr. Tom Majors, the nonprofit executive director, told me you were hired to rewrite my grant from last year. I voluntarily authored last year’s grant because I am launching my career as a freelance grant writer. If I knew last year the agency was willing to pay, I would have charged them myself. LOL! It was a lot of work to write that grant. I’d like to work with you on the revision. I have some new ideas for it. Mr. Majors said that would be a good idea. I am willing to share the Microsoft Word files with you so that you can tweak my narrative that was almost funded last year. Please let me know if you’re willing to work together and I’ll send you the files so you can read up on the grant, then we can schedule a few hours to meet and make revisions.

Yours in grant Writing,

Barney

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
From: Derek
Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Dear Barney,

Barney, It was kind of you to voluntarily write the grant last year and thank you for your offer to work with me to co-author the grant; however, I must decline as I work alone. I don’t find group writing to be a productive exercise. Thank you for offering to send me your electronic files from last year but I prefer to write from scratch. I find that re-writing someone else’s grant is more work than writing original copy. I will not need your assistance but thank you kindly for your offer.

Sincerely,
Derek

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Derek,

I don’t understand why you’d want to write from scratch when my narrative is finished. Did you know it was almost funded last year? I know that with a little tweaking here and there it would be brilliant. I know my narrative would have been funded last time around if I didn’t get biased readers. Even though you said not to send it, I am attaching my narrative for you to use; perhaps you didn’t see it. I hope you won’t allow pride to stop you from working with me, working together would help you because I have a AA in English and I am fully certified by the ACME Grant Writer’s Association. I told Tom that I’d be in touch with you to offer my files and expertise and that we’d collaborate. He was delighted.

Regards,
Barnard

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
From: Derek
Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Hard G,

Thank you for attaching the files, but I’ve deleted them. I don’t download anything that my computer identifies as a potential virus. Tom gave me a hard copy of last year’s grant and the readers’ comments. I’ve just returned from a weekend retreat at a Buddhist Monastery where I spent two days in the Lotus position staring at a sand painting trying to get your narrative out of my head. I am grateful to have the scrap paper though because my kids are on a school holiday and making paper airplanes is all the rage around here at the moment.

Karmacally Yours

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

My MS Word files were not contaminated by a virus. My narrative received excellent scores last year except for one biased reader. I think you’re putting down my writing because you’re afraid that your lucrative contract might be undermined by a volunteer with superior talent. I can’t understand why Tom hired you in the first place since I was willing to revise my grant at no charge. I know all my narrative needs is a few minor adjustments to win the money. Your narrative won’t score any better than mine did and it’ll probably score worse. It is an inappropriate use of agency resources to let your kids make airplanes out of my grant.

B.C.G., CGW

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
From: Derek
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

As you plan a career as a freelance grant writer, the first thing to learn is that a high score of 37/100 among a three reader panel is not a strong result. These scores infer that you submitted a grant narrative version of Naked Lunch to the competition. The following passage from your narrative just flew onto my desk in the form of an F-16:

Another characteristic of our migrant population is their lack of means to access early intervention services. This results in detainment and many times, total lack of identification of special physical, emotional or cognitive needs for services to these families, which often have children qualifying for school accommodations or special education supports. Access to early intervention saves tremendous amounts of money in reaching the at risk students, and beginning participation in programs addressing their special needs, if neglected is often not identified until well into his/her school age enrollment.

I have no idea what that means, but after 40 pages of similar incoherent gibberish, your readers tend to infer you were shooting heroin and hallucinating about black centipedes in your kidneys. It was not a strong effort Barney.

Regretfully yours

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

My name is not Barney, it is Barnard. Will you please use my proper name? You took that paragraph out of context. Of course it is confusing without the rest of the section. I’ll have you know that I earned a distinction in my Certified Grant Writer coursework from the ACME Association of Grant Writers. I took all of their courses, some twice, and my instructor told me I was her most consistent student in many years. I’ll also have you know that I have never used heroin or any other drug. I do not eat lunch in the nude either. Is that what you did at your retreat?

Barnard

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
From: Derek
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

G. Chesty, I’m sure you were a big hit with the instructor. I find that anyone who pays me exorbitant sums of money for something I should give away rises in my esteem. I am reminded of a woman at my garage sale recently. She was a fan of some show called Antiques Road Show. She paid me $25 for a Norman Rockwell picture which my sons cut out of a magazine and glued into a frame for Father’s Day. Her enthusiasm told me she was inspired by my progeny’s craftiness, so I scraped off the 25 cent sticker on the back with my thumb and took her money. To this day I hold her in high esteem indeed.

Given your level of education, I am surprised you don’t know that Buddhist Monks are modest souls and do not eat lunch in the nude. You could go and suggest the practice; I’ll send you the address. The Monks may enjoy a change in routine, but bring your own heroin if you plan to do any writing whilst there.

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

I do not use drugs, and I did not buy my AGWA distinction. I have a certificate on my wall and I’ll bet you don’t have one. I doubt that the AGWA would certify a raving, cynical lunatic like yourself anyway. And my name is Barnard, not Barney, Hard G, or G. Chesty.

You suck.

Barnard

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
From: Derek
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Dear G-man,

I don’t have time to continue our banter; I have a grant to write. Even if your writing was less than appalling – a distinction it exceeds – I wouldn’t want to write with you. But don’t take it personally; I work alone. Perhaps after the grant is funded you’ll be invited to cut out construction paper gingerbread men for the after school arts and crafts program. I’ve no doubt that dull repetitive tasks are your strong suit.

Sincerely Busy,
Derek

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Derek

I hope your grant is read by ignorant, biased readers like mine was last year. I can’t wait to hear that your grant is rejected so I can call Tom and remind him how much you stink.

Drop dead.

Wishing you failure,
Barnard

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
From: Derek
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Barn,

I have an inspired idea, the next time you submit a grant, attach copies of your distinction certificate as an appendix so the readers will appreciate your talents and won’t be mislead by your narrative.

Helpfully yours,
Derek

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

I detest you.

Most sincerely,
Barnard

To: Barnard G. Chesterfield, CGW?
From: Derek
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

Dear B-Nard,

I checked your CGW status online. Did you realize it expired? As a protection to our industry, I called ACME and reported you for falsely using CGW behind your name. Since email crosses state lines via the Internet, I am pretty sure it’s a federal offense.

Let me know what your visiting days will be,

Derek

To: Derek
From: Barnard G. Chesterfield
Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: Grant Rewrite
Date: March 29, 2013

PLEASE open the attachment.

Barnard

trojan.docx
17K  Download

Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin

I’d like to say the title is original but it isn’t, I heard it at Esther’s Follies in Austin, Texas way back when George W. Bush was serving BBQ to Putin on his ranch in Texas.

I imagine Putin liked Texas, or at least he felt a kinship with the large ego of the place.

But what Putin is doing now is interesting. He’s got the West exactly where he wants us, frozen in place drooling, mouths hanging open. Western leaders are all standing around with their thumbs in their mouths wondering what to do next.

What they should do is not an easy question. Do we move forward into WWIII? Probably unwise on all sides. But is Putin banking on the fact that the West doesn’t have the cajones to fight? He may be willing to risk it and nip away at one former Soviet Satellite after another until he has the most advantageous parts of all them back under his thumb. What is one step too far before the West steps in and does more than freezing a few bank accounts?

Almost 3/4′s of Russia’s gas exports go to Western Europe and account for about 30% of energy used there (Christian Science Monitor) The USA could work with world energy providers to undermine Putin’s market share. But I suppose Putin could retaliate with price cutting and increasing production to swamp the market.

The bigger question is what rights does the USA believe the people of Crimea have in voting themselves back under Putin’s control? If we believe in Democracy, since we say Democratic action underpinned the coup against the Russian installed (elected) leader of the country, then why not support the people’s decision to be part of Russia again? If they want to be under Putin’s thumb, let them.

I wonder if a stronger Russia bad for the world? They have nukes, we have nukes, stalemate, double check mate, zero sum game. Is a triumvirate of world powers better than two (China and USA)? We seem to think separation of powers is a good thing in three parts. Triangle power and all that jazz.

But maybe a stronger Russia is bad for the world. They suppress human rights, they are not concerned about what is good for anyone but Russians. It is better that their corruption and mafia are contained.

It may be time for the USA to pull back and worry more about what goes on here. It is high time we assert less outward power, especially military power to no end. It is time to spend the money here, re-invest in new industries and training for young people.

The best long term strategy versus Russia and the oil industry is to create new alternative fuels that create true energy independence and separate us from our competitors before they solve the riddle first and we become beholden to them for technology advances.

I am for leaving Eastern Europe concerns for Western Europe to deal with unless they ask for our help. Let’s invest at home rather than worry about who is choosing sides with Putin.

 

 

African PR

Much of the PR coming from Africa is negative with Uganda and Nigeria leading the headlines. The news from Africa has  been mostly bad for decades, but all the issues in the past made me feel sympathetic. I’d donate funds to help in a crisis.

But now I hear negatives with a much different slant. Gay people being jailed for life? Beaten by the police to name names.  Executed? Not with my money. I am writing to my legislators to ask them to stop funding countries with such horrific laws.

I fear that bad PR in Africa may erode sympathetic feelings. It may set up its people for more crisis as aid shrinks from people like me who disagree with punishing people for being who they are. What surprises me more is to learn that white, American fundamentalist Christians are behind these laws. I’m not shocked because they would push their agenda, I am shocked that Africans are buying what they’re selling.

As a Christian, I am just disgusted.

Holy Frack It’s 2014 – How Stimulated Wells are Coming to California

Did you know that fracking (one form of well stimulation) is already being done here in California? I drove to Sacramento up I-5 yesterday returning from a holiday and I saw 4 different Halibuton trucks rumbling on their way somewhere to frack.

Now to be fair, those trucks may have been there last year too because I didn’t know what a fracking truck looked like before I  researched the issue. I not only learned what they looked like, I also learned that Dick Cheney’s beloved Halliburton is a key player in fracking.

Senate Bill 4 (Pavley, Ventura County) passed and signed into law requires California to pass regulations related to fracking to assure it is done safely. It also allows the California Department of Conservation to set regulations for the interim year of 2014.

Various forms of well stimulation have been used for a long time but a large scale drilling into the shale reserves in our state has not bee undertaken before now. A big concern about water isn’t only about the ground water quality, it is also about t huge quantities of water needed for fracking in a state where water is in limited supply. Another concern is the chemicals mixed with the waste water pumped out of the wells.

Another major concern is the use of highways and pollution created by large trucks bringing equipment, chemicals, water, fuel, etc. By some estimates hundreds of truck trips for a single well.

As I bumped for hundreds of miles through pot holes on I-5 yesterday, I wondered if I would be needing a hummer to make the trip a year from now.

Sacramento Parking – The Ghost of Christmas Crass

The City of Sacramento was playing Grinch today. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a meter maid dressed in his meter maid gear. Unbelievably, Sacramento traffic cops were out writing Christmas parking tickets first thing this morning! Holy Ebenezer Scrooge! What about the poor country cousins who arrived last night and didn’t read the signs, drank a bit too much eggnog and didn’t emerge from their naps til after 10 AM? Who would assume that Christmas Day would not count as a holiday? Shame on Sacramento City Council, Sacramento Mayor, and whoever else should be shamed by this. Cancel all those tickets!

Feinstein’s Robot Gives Me a Generic Bird

I wrote an email to the Senator Diane Feinstein about Obamacare and the mess it has made of my once wonderful health insurance. Her initial email responding to my concerns said she couldn’t respond because Republicans had shut down the government. So she had no staff to write emails for her. Her staff has been back for weeks now and should have had plenty of time to craft a response to my concerns. Their carefully considered kiss-my-ass response is as follows:

Dear Friend:
Thank you for taking the time to write and share your views with me.  Your comments will help me continue to represent you and other Californians to the best of my ability.  Be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers legislation on this or similar issues.
If you would like additional information about my work in the U.S. Senate, I invite you to visit my website, http://boxer.senate.gov.  From this site, you can send a message to me about current events or pending legislation, access my statements and press releases, request copies of legislation and government reports, and receive detailed information about the many services that I am privileged to provide for my constituents.  You may also wish to visit http://thomas.loc.gov to track current and past federal legislation.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Diane Feinstein’s response-to-friend auto-responder is so generic that it can’t even pick up my name.  That response could be sent out for any email on any issue by an autoresponder without staff present.

The good thing about Feinstein’s response is that by ignoring the topic of my email altogether it helps her avoid saying ANYTHING. She avoids the direct screw you, believe the lies you jackass response that I got from Doris Matsui’s office restating the Democratic talking points about being able to keep my healthcare.

Feinstein’s say-nothing approach also doesn’t say stupid and ignorant things like NBC’s Peter Alexander that this just isn’t happening to people with employer-provided health care. Misinformation that the President repeated even today when he said that cancelled policies only impact 5% of the people and they’re all individually insured people.

All this refusal to even address these serious issues makes me VERY nervous about the “representative” government I am supposed to be living in. The California Senators and my Congressperson are supposed to represent me and I feel nothing but well-taxed.

I don’t think any of my elected representatives or the media give a damn about what has been done to my health care insurance.

Isn’t it ironic that Feinstein’s last sentence says that, “I appreciate hearing from you”? I don’t think she heard anything from me, and if she did, I don’t know what the hell it was.

What if it was Purposeful?

I know it may be fanciful in the eyes of the RIGHT to suggest that politicians are careful about what they say, especially in new conferences. But what IF John  Kerry threw out that bait about Syria giving up its chemical weapons on purpose?

What if the state department was poised to deny the validity of the offer?

What if this was don’t to offer Putin cover making It look like it was HIS idea instead of an offer from the US to avoid bombing – which if it came from the US Putin and agreed he’d look weak?

What if this was done in exchange for progress on stopping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb? Is this the reason for the new President coming forward?

What if Russia’s main interest in the Syrian conflict was to maintain their military base in Tartus, Syria and they agreed to pressure both Assad and Iran to compromise in order to maintain that position?

What if everything that’s happening in the public eye is driven by back room negotiations and planning?

If you find this harder to believe than John Kerry tossing out some ad lib’d answer in one of the most serious press conferences he’s ever been involved in, you my friend are a damned fool.

A Good Legislative Idea

I got this message from my Assemblyman Roger Dickinson. I am happy to see someone with a heart and who understands grace working for the people.

I wrote a message to Governor Brown in support of this effort  here because everyone deserves to make a living.

AB  218 - Increasing Fairness in Government Hiring and Reducing  Recidivism

AB 218 would prohibit requesting criminal background  information on the initial employment application for local and state  government employees, with the goal of reducing unnecessary barriers to  employment for the one in four adult Californians who have an arrest or  conviction record.

Studies have shown that stable employment significantly  lowers recidivism and promotes public safety. Not only will employing people  with a conviction history increase public safety in our communities, but it is  cost-effective. Reducing the prison population and increasing tax revenue from  newly-employed individuals will help to fuel a strong economic recovery.

AB 218 would remove any inquiry into a conviction history on  an initial job application and delay any background check until the employer  has determined that the applicant’s qualifications meet the job requirements.  An employer would still be permitted to ask about criminal history after the  initial job application. With this bill, the state and our cities and counties  will take an important step toward allowing people with a conviction history to  compete fairly for employment without compromising safety and security on the  job. This policy will open doors for qualified workers who have turned their  lives around.

Update 10/14/13:

It passed! Thank you Assemblyman Dickerson and Governor Jerry Brown

Cranky Since 2008