April 2011 Archives
Ventura County school districts aren't in compliance with state sex education laws, Planned Parenthood found in a tri-county audit. Apparently, we aren't employing enough gay-themed material in the classroom.
"Seventy-seven percent of the districts fail to incorporate information that is appropriate and accessible to LGBTQ students and students with physical or mental disabilities," Planned Parenthood stated in its report.
LGBTQ is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and "questioning" (I had to look that last part up because it's impossible to keep up with left's penchant for creating euphemisms).
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood noted that "only six districts completely cover healthy image, which includes sexual orientation, gender roles, self-esteem, and positive body image."
It sounds like our schools aren't pandering to homosexuals enough.
But lest you think our educators aren't doing their jobs, rest assured that 100 percent of schools do not "teach or promote religious doctrine" in their sex ed programs. What a relief!
It's the most storied team in the National League--a century-old franchise that paved the way for baseball out west, broke the color barrier, won six world championships, and fielded teams that included Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, and Mike Piazza.
A major reason for the Dodgers' solid-gold reputation was the stability of the organization. From 1954 to 1996, the team employed only two managers, Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda. Loyalty between team and player was so great that Alston signed 23 one-year contracts. Stability was also seen in the field: the Dodgers kept the same infield intact for an unprecedented eight years.
The owners during the Dodgers' golden years were Walter and
Peter O'Malley. While father and son were two completely different men--Walter
was a brawling businessman who tricked the San Francisco Giants into moving to
the West Coast from
The return to family ownership under the McCourt regime in 2004 was a welcome change to many in the Dodger organization. In 1998, after steadily guiding the organization for 20 years, Peter O'Malley sold the team to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
O'Malley, only 61 at the time of the sale, made the
difficult decision to sell the team his father built because he realized that
the economics of the game were moving away from family ownership. The insidious
death tax would have forced his family to sell the team anyway upon his death,
and furthermore he was spurned by
The change from family to corporate ownership was a "culture shock," according to people inside the organization I talked to who were around at the time. I joined the Dodgers in 2004--the year Frank McCourt bought the team from News Corp.--and I picked the brains of those that survived the tumultuous years as a subsidiary of a global company.
They told me the change was an instant night-and-day difference. Despite the Dodgers being a world-class organization, Peter O'Malley made sure it retained a small-company feel. When News Corp. came along, the atmosphere was turned upside down.
The difference could be seen with the team. While the O'Malley's stuck with Alston and Lasorda for half a century, News Corp. went through four managers in a four-year period. Even worse, O'Malley's Dodgers had five straight Rookies-of-the-Year (breaking a record of four in a row set by the 1979-1982 Dodgers). The centerpiece of the franchise was 1993 Rookie-of-theYear Mike Piazza. Piazza was a superstar, the godson of Tommy Lasorda with Hall-of-fame written all over him.
One of News Corps's first moves was to rip the heart out of the organization by sending Piazza to the Florida Marlins in a 1998 trade.
The Dodgers spent the next seven years mired in mediocrity, failing to win even a single pennant.
Along came the McCourts. They promised to bring the O'Malley tradition back to Dodger Stadium. While they were initially popular, they were not without their detractors. McCourt--a parking lot magnate from Boston--seemed at times to be more interested in the Red Sox than the Dodgers. After he failed to buy that team, he turned his sights on the Dodgers and highly leveraged himself to make the deal.
Frank "McBankrupt" (oh, how mistaken we were to drop "court" from his name--little did we know how much time he'd spend there) nevertheless seemed to prove to be an adept owner.
I was present at all 81 home games that year and spent much of the time in the Dugout Club, where I would routinely observe McCourt intently watching the game from his front row seat. His inaugural team won 93 games and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1996.
McCourt was a young looking, slick businessman, who kept active and had an icy cold handshake. By contrast, his wife Jamie was an incredibly sweet woman who went out of her way to be nice to lower-level staff like myself. I remember thinking that I hoped Frank didn't cheat on this woman.
I had it backwards--six years later, the organization would be ripped apart when it was revealed that Jamie was a little too nice with her subordinates.
It turned out Frank was no angel either--as a condition of his loan to buy the team, he agreed to a salary cap for himself. No problem for Frank. The parking lot king immediately formed a corporation, and sold the Dodgers parking lot to his new company. The Dodgers then rented the parking lot from his new company, which paid him exorbitant sums of money. So much for the salary cap.
During the divorce proceedings, it was revealed that the couple had looted the team for millions of dollars, all the while sticking the fans with $10 beers and $5 hot dogs. Frank and Jamie drug each other--and the Dodgers--through the mud, each claiming to be the true owner.
Controversy and scandal swirled around the Dodgers, affecting how the team played and how it was run.
During the 2011 home opener, a Giants fan was put into a coma by thuggish Dodger fans. The McCourts had fired their head of security the previous year and had failed to fill his position. More criticism poured in from all directions.
Meanwhile, the bills kept piling up. Frank tried to borrow more money to keep the team afloat, but on Wednesday MLB baseball had enough of the side show and assumed control of the once-proud franchise.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will now consider forcing a sale, as Frank McCourt prepares to sue him.
"This is one of the great franchises," said former Commissioner Fay Vincent. "It's hard to imagine a mess like this ever having happened."
Picking a tax return filing deadline seems like one of the easiest things in the world to do--that is, unless you're the federal government. Brought to you by the people who made the tax code impossible for even accountants to follow is the saga of the annual April 15th tax deadline, which this year includes the twist of a surprise postage rate increase that will cause many tax returns to be, well, returned.
April 15th is known as Tax Day, but in the seven years between 2006 and 2012 only three filing deadlines will fall on that day, leading to confusion for millions of tax preparers and accountants.
What is the source of the confusion? In 2005, at the prompting of a D.C. resident Loretta Carter Hanes, Mayor Anthony Williams signed legislation making Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16th, 1862, a District of Columbia holiday.
This isn't the famous Emancipation Proclamation, which came nine months later--this law freed 3,100 slaves and marked the only time the federal government paid compensation to former owners of freed slaves.
The problem with the D.C. holiday is that law requires that any holiday celebrated in D.C. also impact the IRS. According to the IRS:
By law, filing and payment deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday are timely satisfied if met on the next business day. Under a federal statute enacted decades ago, holidays observed in the District of Columbia have impact nationwide on tax issues, not just in D.C.
This year, since April 16th falls on Saturday, the D.C. holiday will be observed the previous business day--Friday, April 15th.
That, of course, is Tax Day, and according to law the IRS tax deadline cannot fall on a D.C. holiday. That means Tax Day is really Monday, April 18th.
To make matters worse, the United States Postal Service decided to raise postage rates on April 17th. That means you might have to include more postage if you mail your tax return on the last day of this year's deadline. If you don't, it will be returned and you'll be on the hook for penalties and interest.
Undoubtedly, the Post Office did not calculate the D.C. holiday when they picked the date to start the increase.
The holiday took the IRS by surprise in 2007. Since the prior April 15th fell on a Saturday, the IRS properly set the deadline to Monday, April 17th, 2006. Fully expecting to have the deadline fall on a Monday again in 2007 since April 15th fell on a Sunday, the IRS printed all its forms and publications listing April 16th as the deadline.
Oops--that's Emancipation Day. The IRS didn't realize the mistake until three months before the deadline.
Officials recently became aware of the intersection of the national filing day and the local observance of the new Emancipation Day holiday after most forms and publications for the current tax filing season went to print.
Next year's Tax Day won't fall on April 15th either, since April 15th will fall on a Sunday. It won't be on Monday either, as that's Emancipation Day.
Hopefully the IRS will figure that one out before they go to print. Take heart, these types of people are the geniuses that will be in charge of our healthcare.
With one week to go before income tax returns are due, the Ventura County Star ran an editorial that concluded that, unlike our European counterparts, Americans are whiny when it comes to paying their taxes.
taxed less than others but feeling it more," the Star wrote, "As much as
Americans and their politicians gripe about taxes, the
The Star notes that European countries derive a large portion of their revenue from a hidden value-added tax that is less obtrusive than the American self-reporting system. The VAT is "omnipresent," as the Star points out, and is subtly attached to just about every service or good that is sold. European consumers don't notice the VAT and so they don't have all the pesky Tea Party people whining about taxes like we have here. The Star writes:
Perhaps Tea Partiers balked at Obama's "modest" increase because they realized that the wealthiest in the country already pay a disproportionate share of taxes and shouldn't be called on every year to pay a higher rate. After all, a series of "modest" increases--if they keep coming, one after another--soon amount to a very large increase. Incremental increases, however, are appealing to myopic observers whose frame of reference is limited to only the previous 12 months.
For the rest of us, we see that the top one percent of income earners pay almost 40 percent of all the remitted federal income taxes. The top 5 percent pay almost 60 percent. The job-producers tend to occupy this tier, so I think we can cut the Tea Party a little slack for "balking" at the increase.
The disparity doesn't stop at the top tax brackets.
The disgraced former presidential candidate John Edwards ran
on the theme that there were two
We're divided between taxpayers and tax eaters.
The top 50 percent of income earners pay over 97 percent of all federal income taxes. The bottom 50 percent pay 2.7 percent.
One half of all Americans barely pay into the system at all, but reap the most benefits--which are paid for by the other half.
When the Star reports that the average
In other words, if half of Americans' tax burden was zero percent, and the half that did pay taxes averaged 48 percent, the Star would claim that the overall tax burden is only 24 percent and ask, why are people so noisy about taxes?
Because the ones that do pay are paying almost half of their incomes!
But the main point of the editorial is that if we just hid the taxes a little more we wouldn't be so upset. Rather than make us swallow one big tax pill, VAT proponents would rather crush it up and sprinkle it into some milk for us to help make it go down.
"I spent many a wonderful day and night out at the ravine, but about 10 years ago I began to become alarmed with the drunks, fights and parking lot. I was a grunt in Vietnam during all of 1968, and it was safer over there than in the Dodgers parking lot."
Another large contingent of emailers, some calling it a Raiders-like crowd and others crossing the racism line, suggested the biggest problem in Dodger Stadium is the influx of gang-like characters.As one emailer wrote, "the drunken [gangbangers] who hurt others and cause our city so much embarrassment and shame need to be called out.''
Though several people were involved in the brawl, police are looking for two central suspects -- both Hispanic men in Dodgers-branded clothing, 18-25 years old, with thin mustaches. One had numerous tattoos on his neck, and the other had a goatee. They fled in a light-colored four-door driven by a woman with a young boy inside.
What is the Los Angeles Times thinking?
Glenn Beck, who announced Wednesday that his Fox News show will end this year, is number one in cable news at the 5 p.m. Eastern Time slot.
He's not just number one--his competitors can't even see him. His show is like a little dot in the distance to Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews.
On Tuesday, April 5th, he tripled second-place Wolf Blitzer. He beat the second, third, and fourth place finishers, combined (with 10% to spare). The same pattern holds true for the key demo.
It's not something that just started--he's been doing it since his show started on Fox two-and-half years ago.
So how in the world did the Los Angeles Times figure that Fox "dropped" the "once-popular" Beck?
Completing a swift rise and fall from TV stardom, controversial host Glenn Beck will lose his once-popular Fox News show later this year, the network announced Wednesday.
How can you "fall from TV stardom" if you have the top-rated show in your slot and average two million viewers? [continue reading]
It's not easy to make me--a lifelong Dodger fan--have sympathy for the Giants, but it happened during the Dodgers home opener late last week, after a Giants fan was beat by a group of men in the stadium parking lot. The man remains in a coma.
I think it's understood by long-term fans that Dodger Stadium has become a rougher place over the years, and a lot of it has to do with gangs.
The website Complex listed the ten most gang-affiliated hats in sports. The Dodgers came in at number one. Raiders gear--a staple among Los Angeles gangs--came in at number three.
NBC news reported that L.A. gangs traded in their Raiders colors for Dodger Blue, speculating: [continue reading]
Well, well, well.
A 26-year-old teacher admitted to e-mailing death threats to Republican senators in Wisconsin for their position on collective bargaining for public employees, according to police.
"We feel that you and your Republican dictators have to die," the email stated, adding, "we have all planned to assault you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head."
If we applied the Left's standards to this matter, any talking head that supported the unions in Madison would have to be taken off the air. That sort of hateful rhetoric and vitriol should not be allowed, right? Left-wing pundits should all be held responsible for this nut's actions--isn't that how it works?
That's what the Left tried to do after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. Progressives blamed it on Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Fox News--and the crime wasn't even committed by a conservative!
The teacher's motives for the alleged threats are pretty clear. CNN reported that she was "apparently enraged over the new state law that limits collective bargaining for government workers."
Oddly, she hasn't even been arrested yet.
Will the Left now call for people like Ed Schultz to be fired and MSNBC taken off the air? Of course not, and neither should conservatives. The Left wants to limit speech by holding high-profile Republicans accountable for every action taken by any nut who happens to be on their side. Nothing is more despicable, and we shouldn't play that game.
This blog attempts to add perspective and context to local and national politics, through a variety of disciplines, such as history, economics, and philosophy--all tempered with common sense. About the author
Eric Ingemunson's commentary has been featured on Hannity, CNN, NBC, Inside Edition, and KFI's The John and Ken Show. Eric was born and raised in Ventura County and currently resides in Moorpark. He earned a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. As a conservative, Eric supports smaller government, less taxation, more individual freedom, the rule of law, and a strict adherence to the Constitution.