If you would have told me in 1987 that I would spend the next 30 years here at the Courier, I would have politely told you that you were nuts.
I would have been wrong.
Yesterday was Sept. 12, the 30th anniversary of beginning work at the Courier. I started at the Courier on Sept. 12, 1987. It's rare to see people these days work that long for one employer. I have worked for my company longer than anyone at its area papers, including the Manteca Bulletin, Oakdale Leader, Escalon Times, Ripon Bulletin, Riverbank News and Turlock Journal. By my estimation I have produced 1,850 issues because for a time we were producing two weeks a week.
Others my age may have already retired (mostly those who had cushy careers in government) but I work for a community newspaper in the private sector and I'm not getting wealthy.
At 56 I still consider myself young and don't have plans to retire anytime soon, sorry to tell some of you libs who find my opinions upsetting. But freedom of expression is one of the greatest things about our country, isn't it? That is unless you're Democratic Congressman Anthony Brown of Maryland (who strangely resembles Obama). Brown reportedly said he wants colleges to demonstrate they have initiatives that define to students "what is acceptable speech and what is not acceptable speech."
Well that's convenient, isn't it? Given our state of education today, I would bet my last dollar whose speech will be declared "hate" speech - anything they disagree with from the right or clergy.
The congressman must have flunked his study of the Constitution. How do people like him get elected to office? Answer: A lazy electorate which fails to check out the backgrounds of these anti-constitutional progressives. Or maybe they just don't care, or know what our Constitution says.
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When Sal Cannella was in the state Assembly he blew some minds when he voted to support a pilot program that paid young women money to not get pregnant. There was understandable outrage.
There came a story recently that the Sacramento City Council is paying gang members not to kill. Seems the story was not entireley accurate but the premise is still at work. According to Snopes.com, the city is not paying stipends to gang members - it's coming from a charitable organization Advance Peace via private donations. The city is however providing matching funds for the organization to implement a gang intervention program over a three-year period. Snopes says that gang members are not being paid for not pulling the trigger but for successfully completing an intensive program that requires men to have daily interactions with case workers and meet personal goals and benchmarks. Participants are people who Sacramento police haven't been able to build a case against, and are believed to most likely to shoot again or be shot. The city's matching funds will pay for program staff, coordinate the rollout of the program, set up a process for program evaluation and other needs.
Khaalid Muttaqi, director of Sacramento's Gang Prevention and Intervention Task Force, said the "stipends are not for not committing crime, it's for engaging in this program and demonstrating progress toward their goals. If you look at a lot of youth development programs, incentivized participation is not a new concept."
Participants don't get paid until they've been engaged in it for at least six months. The maximum stipend each participant can qualify for is a total of $9,000 - or $1,000 per month over a 9-month period. But when the program was offered in Richmond the average stipend paid was $300 to $500.
The program has well-intentioned goals but paying a person to do good and get one's life on tract seems askew to me. It's akin to bribing people to be good and not to terrorize your community.
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I'm convinced our state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is one of the worst AGs we've ever had.
Last week he issued a press release in which he "blasted U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' announcement that she will significantly scale back Title IX protections for students who are survivors of sexual violence on college campuses."
He wants DeVos to be "ashamed" for what he called slashing protections" to ensure college students' safety. In the vernacular of Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, "Hold your wad, there fella."
Let's look at Becerra's B.S.
DeVos wants to dismantle an Obama policy that eroded due process for students attending Title IX funded campuses accused of sexual assault. Obama's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), ordered universities to use the lowest possible standard of proof and allow accusers to appeal not-guilty findings. In other words, if the school believes it is even slightly more likely - as in, a 50.1 percent chance - that an accusation is true and the defendant can be deemed guilty. This is a far lower threshold than the "clear and convincing evidence" standard used before by most schools, and far lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of our criminal justice system.
Obama's policy discouraged colleges from allowing cross-examination of accusers, and urged institutions to deny accusers any right to a hearing by giving all power to a single bureaucrat to act as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. So the bottom line is, no matter how sketchy the evidence, you will likely be convicted of a sexual crime on campus without a fair trial because they automatically lean towards the accuser as telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
A recent study by UCLA professor John Villasenor concluded that an innocent student has as much as a one-in-three chance of being found guilty by campus sexual assault tribunals thanks to Obama policy.
DeVos is absolutely right that "a system without due process protections ... serves no one."
So, shame on our California State Attorney General.
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Memes drive me crazy but I saw a good one that made me laugh. It was a cartoon of a young lady posing for selfies, duck lips and all, with the caption: "Never before has a generation so diligently recorded themselves accomplishing so little."
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Really? Did actress Martha Plimpton really brag about her "best" abortion being the one she got in Seattle? Apparently she did, it's on videotape. Her audience cheered and clapped, as if killing a fetus was cause for jubilation.
What else could you expect from someone who's starring role was in Goonies?
And the left says conservatives who turn away illegal immigrants are heartless?
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The incivility of people in social media just floors me. It's gotten bad. And we're surprised when it spills out into the public forum and we have people killing others for their views at protests? What has happened in our country?
Case in point is the young lady who reported the health violations at Teriyaki King which resulted in the Health Department. People weighed in on this without the facts. One man wrote: "i call b.s. sounds like a disgruntled employee to me. perhaps if she could put together coherent sentences or validate her complaints.....just saying." A woman wrote: "This Natasha needs to get a life. She must of worked there and got fired."
Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He will read it, promise.