Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

That Stinking Iraqi War

No, I am not happy about the Iraqi War. And, I am especially not happy that the son of one of my former partners was just killed in Iraq.

The stinking that I am referring to emanates from the rotting bodies of humans and animals slaughtered by Al Qaeda. No, the humans were not combatants. They were common villagers.

Read Michael Yon’s dispatch, Bless the Beasts and Children, for the details. See his photos, if you can stomach them.

The world of Al Qaeda and other Islamo-fascists is not a beautiful place no mater how many times they utter Allah Akbar! Get ready America. Europe is already feeling the heat. We are next, and it won’t be just our adult military children dieing, as they are now doing in foreign lands. But, we know that. Don’t we? It already happened on 9/11/2001. All of those American victims were non-combatants. Did you already forget? Did you let your hate for Pres. George Bush dull your memory? Pres. George Bush can be a political opponent. But folks, he is not your enemy.

Al Qaeda wants the stink of Iraq to be pervasive across the breadth of America. How the hell can any American be a liberal or leftist on foreign policy after 9/11/2001?

Update 7/3/07: The town of slaughter is al Hamira. Read Michael Yon's update.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Look At Me

Look at me. I’m so damn bitchin’. Or, you could substitute hot, sexy, fun, or provocative. It could be almost anything except accomplished. That’s the analysis of a variety of professionals in various fields commenting upon much of the current crop of adolescents, young adults and even so called mature adults. The crop can be characterized as the “look at me” segment of American society.

In Thomas Sowell’s piece “Attention Getters,” he states,

People can get attention either from their accomplishments or from their deliberate attempts to get attention. Today, almost everywhere you look, people seem to be putting their efforts into getting attention.
Wild hairdos, huge tattoos, pierced body parts, outlandish clothing, weird statements -- all these have become substitutes for achievements.

I wrote in, The Conformity of Non-Conformity or How I Learned to Love the Tattoo,

Noted psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Marmer stated on Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio show sometime ago that individuals who have not done anything to earn recognition will get a tattoo as a way of saying look at me, I’m somebody.

A recent Pew study entitled “Generation Next” stated,

Generation Next includes those Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.

They are the "Look at Me" generation.

About half of Gen Nexters say they have either gotten a tattoo, dyed their hair an untraditional color, or had a body piercing in a place other than their ear lobe. The most popular are tattoos, which decorate the bodies of more than a third of these young adults.

Apparently we have a whole bunch of shallow, narcissistic people who tattoo and pierce themselves in a subconscious response to feelings of inadequacy due to their perceived lack of accomplishment in some manner. Which is not at all the same as getting drunk and doing something stupid, or is it? At any rate, it is a grasping for attention.

For females, seeking attention expands into the realm of provocative sexual behavior and pornography. A California therapist stated,

"It has to do with pleasing somebody else — the grasping for attention.

He sees it as

… a sexual disconnect with girls who exhibit provocative behavior they're not ready for — from undressing online to performing oral sex on boys.

The therapist’s views are reported in Martha Irvine’s recent article entitled “In a porn-driven, 'look-at-me' culture, some women view physical appeal as power.” She wrote,

Many agree that the trend has had a particularly strong influence on young women — in some cases, taking shape as an unapologetic embracing of sexuality and exhibitionism.

It's a prevalent sentiment in our look-at-me culture.

"Instead of pornography or performative sexuality being one choice among many ways of being sexual, it's essentially become the standard of sexiness,"

Is society becoming shallower? Is it just my imagination? Is it the hallucinations of an old man? I think not. It is the telltale sign of an unraveling at the edges and seams of society.

Again, Thomas Sowell,

The problem is not just with people who want to get attention by the way they dress, act, talk, or show off in innumerable other ways. The more fundamental problem is that the society around them pays its attention to such superficial and often childish stuff.

In short, the problem is not that particular people do particular things to get attention. The problem is that the society at large no longer has standards by which to deny or rebuke attention-seekers who have nothing to contribute to society.

Out of the touchy-feely, free love environment arose the mantra of I’m ok and you’re ok. That mutated into a non-judgmental philosophy prevalent in many people today.

Thomas Sowell,

In a "non-judgmental" world, what is there to determine who deserves notice, except who can make a big splash?
Do not expect sound judgments in a society where being "non-judgmental" is an exalted value. As someone has said, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

America, be not afraid to start looking for the causes when your children want to do something stupid that says look at me. If they try to hide it from you, you’ve done one thing right anyway; You set a standard. Sometimes all you can do is wait and hope they become secure and abandon their narcissistic indulgences. Other times, you can lay down the law.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gore No Fool

Say what you want about Al Gore, but he is a clever devil. Gore recognized the global warming issue as a great mechanism to get his face continuous international news coverage and avoid all the pitfalls of addressing the real world problems of Islamo-fascism and the Iraq war.

Now a New Hampshire poll states that Gore would be the top presidential Democratic front runner if he were to enter the race and that his presence would kick the current leader, Hillary Clinton, down the ladder. She needs a good kicking anyway

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fairness Doctrine & Political Correctness, Orwellian Speak

The very name “Fairness Doctrine” would lead you to believe that there is perhaps a need for such a doctrine due to a lack of “fairness” in something or the other. The truth of the matter is that some Democrats, and even some Republicans, are advocating for a new “Fairness Doctrine.” Why? To squelch or limit the radio listening public’s exposure to contrary views. In essence, the politicians are having a more difficult time pulling the wool over the eyes of the public. Suddenly politicians are being held much more accountable for their actions, or lack thereof. A combination of talk-radio and the Blogosphere have successfully offered a new avenue for contrary view, which until recently, was generally lacking in public discourse due to a lack of exposure. That must be exceedingly vexing because traditionally the majority of the public discourse was shaped by mainstream newspaper and television media largely in the back-pocket of liberals and leftists.

Author Rich Lowry explained it like this,

The report of the Center for American Progress on "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio" marks the latest phase in liberaldom's grappling with conservative talk radio. First came the attempts to create a liberal Limbaugh -- Mario Cuomo, Jim Hightower, et al. -- that fell flat. Then an entire left-wing network, Air America, was founded, and foundered. So there's only one option left -- if you can't beat them, and you won't join them, you can agitate for government to regulate them.

Liberals and leftists have also been perfecting the art of limiting speech under the guise of political correctness. They are lock-stepped in the suppression of freedom of speech from our so-called institutions of higher learning all the way down to many elementary schools. How else can you explain fourth graders advocating on global warming? Scientists can’t agree on the issue. Where do you suppose the fourth graders got their convictions? Of course, there are howls of protest from the liberals at the mere mention that they are biased and controlling speech. But, it is true, and the examples are numerous.

Totalitarian and leftist governments can not easily continue to function in the light of day. Consequently, the first order of business is the suppression of free speech and peaceful oppositional demonstrations. It happened in Germany, and it continues to occur in Russia, China and all other totalitarian regimes. Not the least of which is Iran, which is cracking down on dissent.

Fascists, Communists, leftists and some liberals all have a common cause of limiting speech. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Blog Update 6/26/2007: Follow this link for additional info: Censorship Disguised as Reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine

Paying the Price of the Desk

The following is determined to be true by

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.

The kids came into first period, they walked in, there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Ms. Cothren, where's our desk?"And she said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them."

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said.

"Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. second period, same thing, third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren's class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.

The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. And she says, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily." She said, "Now I'm goingto tell you."

Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. And by the time they had finished placing those desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks.

Martha said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."

It’s reassuring to know that this incident took place when the ingrates in other areas of the country are throwing out the military recruiters and ROTC programs.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Michael Yon-Be Not Afraid

According to Michael Yon, in his dispatch Be Not Afraid, a huge American offensive is on in Iraq. Michael should know since he is in the midst of it. Michael writes:

Thoughts flow on the eve of a great battle. By the time these words are released, we will be in combat. Few ears have heard even rumors of this battle, and fewer still are the eyes that will see its full scope. Even now—the battle has already begun for some—practically no news about it is flowing home. I’ve known of the secret plans for about a month, but have remained silent.

This campaign is actually a series of carefully orchestrated battalion- and brigade-sized battles. Collectively, it is probably the largest battle since “major hostilities” ended more than four years ago. Even the media here on the ground do not seem to have sensed its scale.

These words flow on the eve of a great battle, but are on hold until the attack is well underway. Nothing is certain. I am here and have been all year. We are in trouble, but we have a great general. The only one, I have long believed, who can lead the way out of this morass. Iraq is not hopeless. Iraq can stand again but first it must cast off these demons. And some of the demons
must be killed.

Read this MSM account from today.

Monday, June 11, 2007

We Joined, We Serve

Writing from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Sgt. Maj. Sean Metaxas wrote,

It's tough getting to read my hometown newspaper here, but every chance I get I do. And it was with sadness that I read the reaction of some readers to military recruiters opting to stay off the UCSC campus.

UCSC is the University of California at Santa Cruz. Sgt. Maj. Metaxas is vexed because the vocal activists are actively opposed to anything military, including the existence of military recruiters. Heaven forbid that the recruiters have access to the nerve bed of leftist thought, the university campus. Unfortunately, the leftist professors and students have enough political clout to limit much of the diversity of thought, other their own dogma of course. So much for the concept of free speech.

During the Vietnam War, I spent a number of years on college campuses in Northern California and Southern Illinois, including Cal Berkeley, an activist hotspot. I have a fair view of what college kids were like. Most students were self-involved in their own lives and not active participants in the massive anti-war rallies of the day. If they were, it was just so much theater. I suspect that the students of my day were not all that different from those of today.

Sgt. Maj. Metaxas’ main point is that the “great kids” serving in the military should be appreciated by the kids remaining at home. But are they? Sgt. Maj. Metaxas wrote,

So if the 20-year-old kid that's dealing with life and death on the streets of Baghdad or Ad Diwaniyah or Baqubah or Ramadi isn't making some kid at UCSC proud, that's a shame.

The prism through which the military kids and the leftist college kids view the world is the difference between reality and wishful thinking respectively. The majority of the college kids are no doubt uninvolved.

Liberals and leftists like to think of themselves as the compassionate class. Sgt. Maj. Metaxas disagrees and contends that it is his kids who have the compassion.

They're such great kids with more responsibility than most will ever know. They don't live in safe little bubbles, they fully appreciate the human condition, and they understand compassion better than anyone on this planet — lessons you can't get in a classroom and experiences you can't buy with tuition.

A key ingredient missing from the college experience is the concept of military service as a valuable contribution to the continuance of our social existence. Sgt. Maj. Metaxas continues,

We serve for reasons that most can not grasp. We serve to be part of something bigger. We serve for each other. As corny as it sounds we are duty-bound. We came here and whether we like it or not we get the job done.

In the words of Sgt. Maj. Sean Metaxas, “… we joined, we serve.”

That’s a lot more than can be said for the brainwashed military detractors and uninvolved youth populating the halls of education and coffee shops. But, that’s the essence of the cloistered youth coddled and exploited by leftist professors. Youth that has not yet grown up. Some never will. But, one became a Presidential candidate after obtaining a Senate seat on the back of her husband-President.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Memorial Day Concert in the Park 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ride to the Walls, A Pilgrimage

As you may have gathered from previous blogs, a few friends and I recently returned from a personal pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to visit the various war and police memorials. We specifically targeted the Police Memorial Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Wall, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Iwa Jima Marine Corps Memorial and Arlington Cemetery.

Four motorcyclists set-out from Southern California and Arizona and a fifth joined us in D.C. for the return back West. In all, we took three weeks to make the reciprocal trans-continental crossings with four days in D.C. That was somewhere around 7,000 miles. I can’t really say for sure since my odometer went on the fritz, and my Harley is still in the shop.

We planned to use secondary highways and avoid the interstate highways as much as possible. As it turned out, we probably logged far more miles on interstates because we found ourselves outrunning and skirting around sever weather predictions consisting of heavy rain, wind, hail and tornadoes. We succeeded in avoiding the severe weather, but we did get rained on good and proper crossing W. Virginia and snowed upon as we unsuccessfully tried to cross the Rocky Mountains at Monarch Pass in Colorado. We journeyed east through the South and west through the center of the country witnessing the vastness and beauty of the United States. Everywhere was beautiful in its own right with one exception, New Orleans. What a dump, but that’s a story for another day.

Today is June 6th. Sixty-three years ago today, the Allied troops began Operation Overlord and went ashore in Normandy to begin the actual liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany. Ultimately, the war claimed many thousands of American lives and many more were wounded as Americans did what they considered to be their duty. The same can be said for Americans who paid the ultimate price in numerous other conflicts.

We need to display our gratitude for their sacrifices, otherwise how will our children learn of the cost of freedom both abroad and at home? And, how will they learn about those who paid the bill?

We each had the opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude on Memorial Day. What did you do? Whatever it was, we can do better. We must teach our children, or their children will have far less to inherit.

Children do learn by observing. My four year old granddaughter traveled with her mother and grandmother to join me in Washington, D.C. We took her to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where she witnessed the changing of the guard. Upon returning home, my granddaughter saw a depiction of the tomb on television and remarked to her mother that she had seen it on her trip. The bottom-line is that children are sponges, and they will absorb those things to which they are exposed. But, they won’t absorb that which is not demonstrated to them. What you do matters.

It is my privilege to pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to make a personal effort to honor those who lost their lives. And, it is a privilege that I will exercise as many times as I can. It’s a good example that I am setting for my children and grandchildren. Pictured is the beret that I had made and wore on my trip.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dining Via GPS

When traveling, I like to visit new restaurants and sample local adult beverages. Finding suitable establishments in new areas can be challenging, to say the least. And besides that, it is a downright pain in the rear. I don’t stay in hotels that have a concierge, so I’ve previously been left with interrogating the hotel clerk, a problematic proposition at best. Then there’s the whole hassle of yellow pages, maps and getting to a selected location and finding the place closed or a dump. Then you start all over again. Well, not any more now that I discovered Global Positioning Systems.

Here’s the deal to go dining via GPS. First of all, you can’t be in a tight time constraint, and you can’t be starving and on the precipice of a hypoglycemic crash. Other than that, I only have one other major rule. I will not enter an establishment where I feel that it is best to be packing a gun while going in, coming out, or remaining inside. That’s it. Pretty simple.

Here’s how you locate those quaint dining spots via GPS. Ask your GPS to give you all of the restaurants in your immediate area and begin sorting through them from the closest to the furthest. Disregard any fast food or national chain restaurant and select the first interesting name that you come upon. Tell the GPS to route you to the selection and head out. If the first selection does not meet your standards, make a new choice and travel on. If you find yourself in a less than desirable neighborhood, see if you can get into a better area and start the procedure over.

On a trip to Chico, CA, I found the Black Crow Grill & Taproom, which is a very nice location. But, I didn’t find it until I rejected a number of closed or seedy joints. I dined upon grilled pork tenderloin and enjoyed a very nice Black Butte Porter draft by Deschutes Brewing out of Bend, Oregon. I had a good dinner. I didn’t spend an arm and leg. And, I got to observe the locals in their own habitat.

Al Martinez, the recently rudely sacked Los Angeles Times columnist, is quite the martini aficionado, and he likes to travel around sampling the fare. Al, if you happen to read this blog, take a look at the Black Crow list of martinis. They don’t mean anything to me, but they probably do to you.

Sometimes GPS dining doesn’t work out quite as well as anticipated. While recently returning from my motorcycle “Ride to the Walls” in Washington, DC, we were traversing Santa Fe, New Mexico, via highway 285 and looking for a good local restaurant. As we were about to leave Santa Fe near the intersection of Interstate 25, I decided to use the GPS to find that special spot. Little did I know that we must have entered the GPS version of the Bermuda Triangle. My GPS assured me that a Mexican restaurant was close by. If it was, it was disguised as a home in a residential area. The second attempt led us to a dirt road, and I opted to not take my Harley Davidson off-road exploring. Being under a time constraint, you will recall my previous advisory at the beginning of this blog, we abandoned Santa Fe and headed for Albuquerque.

Having said all of that, try the GPS method for new dining and imbibing adventures.

Previous Blog Posting: Al Martinez Sacked-One Less Reason to Read the Los Angeles Times

Update 6/5/2007: I thought that my use of the phrase “Dining Via GPS” was my original thought. It turns out that it was original to me, only I was not the first one to use it. used the phrase almost a year ago. Damn, that author is good.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pres. Bush Tired, But Still Plenty of Heart

I think that there is certainly a large amount of wisdom in limiting our President to two terms of office, eight years. And, I’m not referring to the potential to accumulate too much power. It’s mental and physical exhaustion that concerns me. Living under the level of stress that a President is subjected is unhealthy in the long-term. And, an unhealthy person is likely to make unwise decisions, which is not good for the country.

I was in Washington D.C. for President Bush’s national police officer memorial speech on May 15th at the U.S. Capitol. The photo of the President was taken from a long way off with a hand-held camera, and that accounts for the photo’s low quality. Nevertheless, it is clear that the President looks very tired.

President Bush was forceful and passionate in his speech, and it was clear that he appreciates the personal sacrifices police officers make for others. Pres. Bush specifically mentioned Honolulu motorcycle police officer Steve Favela, who died as a result of injuries sustained in a traffic collision while escorting the President’s motorcade.

Unlike the previous President, this President cares about the little people. By happenstance, I ended up standing near a U.S. Capitol police officer as the President’s motorcade entered the Capitol grounds. Suddenly there we were, the two of us with no one else around, with-in a mere few feet of the President as his car passed by. I didn’t really surprise me, but there went the President waving at us. And, who were we? Just a police officer in uniform and an off-duty officer in civvies. Neither the officer nor I waved or made any untoward moves, which is a good thing because it would have made some Secret Service Agents pretty nervous. I didn’t even make an attempt to bring my camera into play. I’ve been in close proximity to Presidents previously, and I know better than to make stupid moves.

I think that the President is tired, and he’s beaten upon by low approval ratings. Nevertheless, I believe that he is buoy up by his personal values, and he’d rather do what he feels is right than to succumb to criticism or worry about his legacy. Those are values that were absent from the White House for eight years and will be absent again if a certain Senator from New York becomes our next President.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Al Martinez Sacked-One Less Reason to Read the Los Angeles Times

I tried to send an e-mail to my favorite columnist at his work web-site the other day, and it was returned as undeliverable. That was an immediate red flag because Al Martinez is, actually now it is was, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

I basically abandoned the Los Angeles Times quite some time ago after many years as a faithful subscriber. I did so because I could no longer stomach the leftist/liberal persuasion that escaped the editorial pages and wormed itself into the news sections like a virus infecting and sickening the entire body. Gone, for the most part, was objectivity and balanced reporting. In short, the LA Times could no longer be trusted to be my news provider. Their dishonesty and misinformation was more than I could stand.

Last weekend, the LA Times had a booth at the Simi Valley Cajun Festival. I got a chance to use my favorite newspaper joke when asked by a booth sitter if I wanted to subscribe to the LA Times. The scenario goes like this. The solicitor said, “Do you take the LA Times?” I replied, “No, but I will when it is printed on pink paper.” One of the solicitors smiled and laughed, but his companion didn’t get the joke, and he was left standing there with a blank stare. I had to explain about the LA Times’ political agenda bleeding over and contaminating the news sections.

There is no secret that the LA Times has fallen upon financial bad times, and it has been reported that there were to be staff reductions. So, it is no surprise that Al was let go. He may be a dinosaur in today’s newspaper business world. He’s an old school sort who writes honestly from the heart with no pretenses about his admittedly liberal persuasion. He’s a columnist and as such he is entitled to write with a liberal bent. I did not know of Al’s writings as a news journalist, but I can’t help but believe that such a decent man wrote with anything but fairness and balance.

So, Al wrote his goodbye column, “Goodbyes are just too damned hard” and it ran in today’s paper. Now I have no reason to go to the LA Times on the Internet every Monday and Friday. I’ll just have to find some other way to start my day.

Al, I won’t say goodbye because you have more to offer to the world, and I’m hopeful that I will find where you will be published in the future. But, I will say that I’ll miss you for the time being.

Yes Al, I am violating the principle that you taught me about letting a piece sit for a day or so before publishing to be sure that it resonates properly. But, I’m writing from the heart, and today that’s good enough.