Review: Creekside Christian Church

My son, Really Right Jr, is taking American Sign Language (ASL) in school. As part of the class, he is expected to attend a number of outside deaf events each grading period. With a few weeks remaining in the grading period, he wanted to get his outside event completed during his Thanksgiving break.

ASL sign for Jesus

We looked at a few options and decided to “stay within the lines” as they say here in Elk Grove and opted to attend the second service at Creekside Christian Church—the former First Baptist Church of Elk Grove.

FBC changed their name a few years ago and rebranded—this seems to be the fad in many Baptist churches. I spent over a decade of my life in and around Baptist churches so I thought I knew what I was in for but wow!

I have been on the campus of the church for various reasons in the past but never attended a service there before.

We arrived and took the first parking spot that we found which was far from the door. Parking is at a premium at this venue. We headed for the main building which was labeled as “Auditorium”. This is your first clue that this will not be a traditional worship experience. Why not a traditional name like church or sanctuary? Or even the more modern term worship center? Nope just auditorium.

Entering the auditorium building takes you into an outer room about the size of a large house. It was filled with a myriad of people. Near the entrance was a Christmas tree over 20 feet tall. Further in on the left was a generic Starbucks with gallons of various types of coffee and an assortment of donuts. The donuts were apparently for sale and not just given to members. I couldn’t tell if the coffee was complementary or for sale also. Many information tables were setup in the middle of the room. Of course the restrooms were located in this area also.

After navigating thru the chaos we finally made our way to the entrance of the auditorium proper. As expected, ushers were handing out bulletins to people as they entered. We let the usher know that our son was there to experience the deaf interpretation as a school assignment. He left his station and walked us to the area in the front where deaf and hearing impaired people were seated. Our son took a seat amongst the deaf folks and we found some open seats a few rows back.

The seats themselves were the kind that I really hate. They were padded but have interlocking hooks so all chairs in the row are linked together so you really get friendly with your neighbors whether you are comfortable doing that or not. I hate being cramped like a sardine. These seats make me feel like I’m in the lap of the person next to me. Think the stereotype of a Southwest Airlines flight.

After getting seated, we noted that there were no Bibles or hymnals available. We opened the bulletin and it was devoid of any information on the service order for that day. There was no kind of information on worship order or welcome to visitors or anything like that. It was devoid of song order, what we believe or similar doctrinal statement, and never even told us who would be preaching that morning. However, the back listed an extensive array of names that seemed to be mostly paid staff.

The other thing that you notice when you gaze around the room was the stage. It looked like a Hollywood stage for American Idol or some other television show with a little bit of a Christmas flavor added just to have an excuse for even more lights. There were two complete drum sets on the back left side of the stage which were both played simultaneously during the music, several singers, and guys playing electric guitars. A piano was on the right side but clearly missing was any semblance of a pulpit. On the back wall were large projection screens.

Creekside Concert

A few minutes after we were seated, the show began. The band cranked it up and started belting out songs that I had never heard anywhere before. Apparently if you go there a lot or happen to listen to “The Fish” radio station, you might know them.

Given the volume of the music, I can see why the church has hearing impaired people in the crowd. I thought the music was entertainment and not worshipful. By the second song, I was wondering if I had missed the popcorn line at the entrance. Maybe it was on the opposite side from the coffee. Anyway, as I watched the show, I was in the mood for a salty snack and cold ice tea. After a few more tunes, they took an offering and did another song.

Partway thru the show, a guy steps up to the microphone and starts talking. He made an announcement about the importance of a charity called Compassion International. And then he kept talking about Compassion. About 40 minutes later he finished talking about the charity. This was the sermon or done in place of it. I felt that I was at a live telethon and didn’t even know it.

Please understand that I like Compassion International and I’m happy whoever this guy is, does too, but typically I’ve seen stuff like this done at Sunday school or other non-worship time. Dare I say, even at concerts.

The program then continued and things really went strange… oh yes, there was more. Shortly after the presentation on Compassion International was finished yet another incongruity occurred. People were then invited to do Communion. Folks, I had a boatload of theological problems with how this was done.

First, the elements—bread and wine (or grape juice, not sure which)—were never blessed. There was no Scripture recited, no pray of thanksgiving, no “Do this in remembrance of me”, nothing. I’ve seen some fast and loose ways of doing Communion and felt a lack of reverence before but this one was just not there at all.

Second, the table was not fenced either verbally or in actuality. Folks this is a really big deal.

Communion was literally self-service and at a number of locations. I think Scripture makes it clear that there was one table where Jesus broke bread and said “Do this in remembrance of me.” Every Christian church service that I have heretofore attended has always had one table where Scripture and a prayer are said and then elements are distributed from there to the congregation. Jesus is The Bread and The Life. He is The Bread broken for you… This important symbolism of a foundational truth claim of the Bible was completely absent.

Also, Jesus’ body and blood were given for us. The symbolism of taking the elements out of unattended dishes where you literally help yourself instead of it being given to you by an ordained servant of Christ is just wrong. Yes I’ve seen unordained folks help in distribution but only after the bread and wine were consecrated.

Next, Scripture instructs us as to when to come to the table. We are told not to come unworthily. We come as sinners clothed with the righteousness of Christ but we are commanded to examine our hearts and be right with our brother before coming. No announcement (or even note in the bulletin) was made that you need to be baptized and not under church discipline to partake in Communion. Folks the biggest reason for someone to be ordained is to administer the Sacraments and these folks completely reneged on their responsibility. As I said before, no effort to fence the table at all.

Given the casual nature with which these guys approach the Sacraments, is it any wonder they dropped “Baptist” from their name. Baptists are well known not just for demanding that a person be baptized to receive Communion but also the method of baptism be immersion or it is not a valid one. “Believer’s baptism” is a real and unique theological term. The fact that it was never mentioned was frankly troubling given what I was expecting. Bread in a tray like Chick-fil-A mints and shot glasses of juice in unattended trays was deeply disturbing and irreverent. We didn’t go because we weren’t invited to and the elements were never blessed (consecrated). It was a mockery or parody of the Sacrament.

Chick-fil-A self-serve mint dispenser

As I left the service, I was left wondering whether they held to anything other than good works as their “Christian” duty. Other than the pronouns used, what I witnesses could have passed for Methodist or any other group. Was this a clubhouse or a church? I couldn’t tell.

To recap:

  • You have money changers in the lobby hawking coffee and donuts
  • A “worship band” that drowns-out congregational singing instead of leading them
  • A sermon that wasn’t (I like Compassion International so I can’t complain too much plus they prefaced the presentation by saying it was out of format)
  • Self-serve Communion with absolutely zero clergy involvement

Folks I love most Christian rock music and listen to it often but I also feel that congregational worship is not an appropriate venue for this type of music. Rock is entertainment and I don’t go to church to be entertained. Entertainment is a musician saying look at me, while worship should be look at God. Confusing who is truly worthy is not helpful. I think of Christian rock as outreach not an up-reach.

But the real deal killer for me was the Communion service. I do believe that a Biblical alter call is going forward for Communion with God not visitors doing the sinner’s prayer and walking the aisle but the way Creekside did it was outside of the practices of the historic church.

Sorry, but I have zero interest in returning—except maybe if they actually have a good concert. I can honestly say that the sound system rocks and there’s plenty of free parking too.

McClatchy News Corp Waives the White Flag

By Chief

McClatchy Corporation, parent of our local rag the Sacramento Bee, is teetering on the brink of insolvency, so I figured I would explain to their employees and writers how this occurred. Basically, McClatchy is headquartered downtown and is, in a sense, a newspaper conglomerate. It grew over the years from a small family owned (McClatchy family) paper into a large publicly traded company.

Over the years, they bought a few other daily papers and in 2006 they purchased a company far larger than them; Knight-Ridder–owners of about 20 daily papers; thus, forming a company with 30 daily newspapers. McClatchy is now the second largest newspaper chain in the US. However, the deal was ill fated; so much so that many analysts called it akin to a dolphin swallowing a whale. We entered a large recession soon after the purchase and by 2008 the company had lost 98% of its value. McClatchy’s stock was trading for less than a dollar! The executives did some financial engineering, stock splits, private investment, and sold some assets (the headquarters building) and stemmed a little of the bleeding. The company had layoffs and buyouts offered to employees every year, they even tried to grow digital (currently $129.99 yearly), but it’s been a slow climb. Finally, these past couple weeks, the company has finally realized the fate lies in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

Suddenly, it seems, everyone is talking about McClatchy’s future. A week ago the Sacramento-based company, the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain, said it’s facing a potential cash shortage. The news touched off speculation about the publisher’s future, including a potential sale of the company.

And, for the first time since its finances began deteriorating more than a decade ago, the company is publicly contemplating the possibility of filing for Chapter 11 reorganization.

Sacramento sheriff attacks McClatchy, as company’s pension and debt burdens pile up
McClatchy stock for Oct 23 – Nov 22, 2019 Current share value 36 cents

How bad did things get at McClatchy? They haven’t made a pension payment since 2009, and to remain compliant they must pay in 124 million by next year…more cash than the company has on hand. So, the answer is to foist this payment on the taxpayers!

… (McClatchy) has approached the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. about taking over its pension plan — a move that, if successful, would alleviate the need to contribute $124 million into the plan next year.

McClatchy said it approached the government about the pension plan after the Internal Revenue Service rejected McClatchy’s request for a three-year waiver on its required pension contributions. Without the waiver, McClatchy is due to pay $124 million into the plan next year, a sum that “greatly exceeds the company’s anticipated cash balances and cash flow,” McClatchy said in a prepared statement.

McClatchy also needs to work out a deal with their largest creditor Chatham Asset Management. McClatchy currently owes 708 million in debt and they have no means by which to even cover the interest anymore. Essentially, they need Trump impeached and Obama re-instated in the White House and to hope for an automaker-esque government bailout. Because as two Standard & Poor’s (S&P) analysts on Wall Street say, McClatchy will run out of cash by September next year. If you are wondering, the company will likely file Chapter 11 early next year after the Pension Guarantee Corporation declines the request to take over their pensions. To further their arrogance, McClatchy approached the Tribune, a larger company, about a merger to, in a sense, continue to delay the inevitable. Just adding more debt and more cash flow to service the debt into the future…sound familiar?

… a deal with Tribune would make a lot of sense for McClatchy because it could spread its debt over “a much larger cash flow. The (combined) company would be in much better shape than McClatchy is.”

Those talks fell apart.

This company is toast and they did it all to themselves.

Allow me to explain. They bought Knight-Ridder, which was a mistake. The family (McClatchy) owns 80% of the voting rights so what they want/say goes and no one can object. Currently, papers are dying and real journalism is going down with it. To say not a soul foresaw this should be criminal. To be fair Warren Buffett was buying papers and everyone likes to mimic the Oracle of Omaha. The debt pile was manageable for a while, but circulations decreased every year, the gig economy took away the need for classified ads, the wanted ads were replaced by Craigslist and the like. Worse yet, the papers decided to go on a war path criticizing any politician on the right, and openly rooting for any left-wing loon…hence the rise of Obama. This caused a huge readership decline, yet they doubled down on their arrogance. So, they helped push Obama over the finish line to a second term while denigrating Mitt Romney and his supporters. This caused another decline in readership. The rise of the smartphone and smart technology was never dealt with, people stopped needing a daily reader, as most updates on a third-party news app would make the paper pointless. None of this mattered. McClatchy continued doubling down on an ever-shrinking audience, Trump won, and the paper changed its tune, saying now they would hold all politicians accountable…. that’s laughable and everyone saw through it. Recently having pushed false narratives such as; Russian collusion, Ukraine quid pro quo, and a slew of other garbage not fit for print.

Now a closer examination of the leftist rag in McClatchy’s own backyard the Sacramento Bee. This paper hasn’t been worth anything in years, several scandals involving Democrat elected officials in our capital (literally blocks from the paper) went unreported (by the way they have an entire Capital Bureau mind you). Hard news became unchecked opinion pushed as fact. They no longer have a beat writer for the NBA team (again they play just down the street) and all the columns are now Associated Press as opposed to local journalists. They attack our elected sheriff yet ignore our Legislature and District Attorney when they decline to prosecute criminals or release them early . They criticize a super minority of Republicans in the Legislature, yet they have ignored the rampant malfeasance of Democrats in the Legislature and elected office such as our Insurance Commissioner’s scandalous pay-to-play policy. They employ Marcos Breton and allow local sewer rat, Bruce Maimon, to spew their stink daily; yet told Dan Walters, their last good reporter, to take a hike. Rumor has it, Walters does a periodic column, but he is happily retired, and I am happy for him! The local section disappeared; the food critic changes over more frequently than The Troll stalks Hope Hicks. Memo to the Bee, there is an app called Yelp; look it up. Your food critic is dead weight, and no one cares. Your sports section stinks, very little local coverage, not many people care about high school football. Recently the Bee announced that the Saturday paper will cease and be replaced with an expanded Friday and Sunday editions.

To support these shifts, starting on Feb. 22, we will no longer produce a printed newspaper on Saturday and will launch with a Weekend Edition that includes expanded newspapers on Fridays and Sundays. Many of the features that you enjoy on Saturday such as comics, puzzles, TV listings, real estate, home and garden and local sports coverage will now appear in expanded editions in print on Friday and Sunday. On Saturdays, we will continue to publish breaking local news to our website and social media platforms and we invite you to visit our website or eEdition, which replicates the experience of a printed newspaper online.

The Sacramento Bee is replacing Saturday print edition with expanded Friday, Sunday papers

The Friday edition no one reads and the Sunday version you finish after your 8th cup of coffee all while ignoring the Saturday folks who read the comics or the puzzles, I’m sure the circulation won’t drop farther. When you get a papercut, chopping off entire limbs is not how I learned how to take care of myself.

Folks I feel compelled to make this point as well, McClatchy has been cooking the books on their circulation numbers for years. Papers like the Bee have two numbers that they use in order to sell advertising; namely, weekly circulation and the Sunday paper. Did you know that as a loss leader, the Sunday paper is given out to subscribers of other newspapers not owner by McClatchy? For the better part of a decade, here in Elk Grove, subscribers to the Laguna and Elk Grove Citizen are given the Sunday Bee for free? Its not just the paper that’s free but McClatchy pays for deliver to these homes too. As mentioned in the delivery article, AB-5 affects newspaper carriers too.

We also have an additional challenge in California. With the recent passage of AB 5, delivery costs for the printed newspaper will increase dramatically by 2021.

Fear not, leader of the slugs who operate and work for this corporation, Gary Wortel, had this to say after Sheriff Scott Jones lit into McClatchy, “What Sheriff Jones and the Deputy Sheriff’s Association say about our watchdog journalism is wrong. The Bee has been a leading independent local news organization and credible news source since 1857 and will continue to serve this community for decades to come.” Ah yes, Gary, “independent” is not a word I would use to describe your paper. The only chance you have of being around for a decade is if bankruptcy buys you more time.

Concerning the 20,000 people currently drawing a pension from McClatchy, Eliane Lintecum, the CFO and another leader of the slug brigade is banking on a Federal bailout of the pension plan. She had this to say about the company’s pension plans “we don’t believe their … pension benefits will be adversely affected” … if they get the bailout. Folks, would such a hope make you feel more secure in your retirement? What slugs!!!

Lastly chew on this trash which is conveniently listed atop each article of the Bee online:

Local news is more important than ever. Reporters are out in our communities each day, bringing you the latest news and holding leaders accountable. Subscribe — and encourage others to support local journalists with a digital subscription to The Sacramento Bee by using this link.

Thank you. And #ReadLocal

Hey McClatchy, you have hardly any reporters, you write very little about the local community, you hold no one accountable, and what the hell is the hash tag read local about? I guess it makes sense when you see a photo of McClatchy CEO Craig Forman, who may need a thicker pair of glasses to see through the mess he created.

The company is toast. The readers have either assumed room temperature, can no longer eat solid foods, live in assisted living, or don’t know which pro-noun to refer to themselves as. You were too late to digital, advertising is dropping, and the end is in sight. The best hope you have is that many still major in state sponsored journalism at the local university and don’t know any better. The last part being key, you control a group of slugs, they keep doing as told unaware they are trudging through a field of salt, watching their friends lose jobs and hoping for a turnaround…. No chance!

Hence the reason we here at Really Right refer to these journalists as “those with an IQ of a piece of meat” …as you leave them out too long, they spoil.


Earl Blumenauer (D-OREGON) Is a Real Moron

The Democrat’s moral elevator appears not to have a bottom floor. As you may be aware, a coup to replace Donald Trump is taking place as we speak; a coup so terribly thought-out it makes third world opposition parties (and the CRA) jealous. While congressperson (don’t want to assume gender here) Adam Schiff has done a great job to damage his own brand, this Earl Blumenauer fellow did him one better.

Democrat’s Elevator to Hell

Earl’s Stunt

You see, Ambassador Gordon Sondland initially refused to testify at the impeachment circus. Sondland was ordered by the State Department not to cooperation with the Democrat’s subpoena. As a result, Earl Blumenauer (I)—for registered Idiot—made this statement, “Anyone who cares about America should not do any business or stay at any of Gordon Sondland’s hotels.” Blumenauer’s news release then continued, “Not until he fulfills his duty as a citizen to testify and turn over all relevant documents to the House of Representatives.”

Earl Blumenauer calls for boycott of Gordon Sondland hotels

Subsequently, and no thanks to Congressman Earl, the Ambassador changed his mind.

“Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees’ subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying next Thursday,” Robert Luskin, Sondland’s attorney, said in a statement.

Sondland will defy State Department order not to testify in impeachment probe, lawyer says

Even after Ambassador Sondland testified, Blumenauer has not withdrawn his call for a boycott.

FYI: Sondland did testify, and essentially buried Schiff today by the way.

Another Boycott

Blumenauer called for a boycott, which seems to be a play the Democrats continue to run from their failed playbook. How many times have we seen it now? Chick-fil-A, Ivanka Trump‘s brand, and now Sondland’s hotel brand, conveniently located in Portland, Oregon Blumenauer’s district. Problem is? Sondland stepped down as chairman and an executive of this chain when he entered into public service a year ago. This is a factual matter that Blumenauer knows full well. Sadly whether due to all his years in public service or living in the Swamp, Earl Blumenauer decided to join the chorus chanting, “Who needs rules when hearsay is more important than truth?” Does Blumenauer even have the slightest idea who gets hurt the most under his boycott idea? Hint it ain’t the millionaires up top.

Earl Blumenauer–honored as one of the most pot friendly guys in Congress

The bottom line is, the Sondland hotel workers in his district get hit the hardest. It’s similar to when a corporation does not perform well, the layoffs start at the bottom not the top. The folks being directly impacted work in the hotel industry meaning they are likely low wage jobs, in essence the people who need the work and money the most. Doesn’t that sound like the people the millionaires in the Democrat Party claim to represent and fight for?

These boycotts never go well or have unintended consequences. While Chick-fil-A may have caved slightly on LBGTQ issues, they saw a huge uptick in sales. Ivanka Trump’s line is doing outstanding, and from what I can see, business is booming at Trump properties! We here at don’t believe in boycotts and are happy to see this one implode.

Blumenauer and his ilk are the worst kind of humans. These guys get elected and try to influence everything and legislate things they hate out of existence. What exactly was the purpose of this call for a boycott? Because Sondland wouldn’t testify at the circus? Last I checked, you have a 5th Amendment right…maybe I should send Blumenauer a copy of our rights as citizens. On the other hand, maybe Earl Blumenauer could exercise his right to remain silent instead of opening his mouth and removing all doubt.

Blumenauer is the perfect example of a lemming. Pelosi or Schiff tell him to jump and he will gladly comply…for our county’s sake I hope it’s off a long pier!

Just remember, boycotts hurt those at the bottom not the top…and yeah, that impeachment trial is going just great for the Democrats! Not!


PS Hope Hicks I am truly sorry you have to watch your former boss go through this. I’m available by phone if you ever need to chat, a consultation, or just get something off your chest; just reach out to the owner of this blog.

Editor’s Note: With all due respect to Troll, whatever Sonderland did to Schiff, he managed to bury himself as well.

The disparity between accounts comes as Sondland’s spotty recollection of events related to the Ukraine matter came into question in other ways during Wednesday’s hearing. At one point, he blamed part of his difficulty in reconstructing events on the fact that he is “not a note-taker or a memo-writer.” Republican counsel Steve Castor later critiqued the witness’ lack of notes, records, and recollection as a “the trifecta of unreliability.” Sondland responded that his recollections had been “refreshed by subsequent testimony, by some texts and emails that I’ve now had access to.”

VP Pence contradicts Sondland testimony, says discussion ‘never happened’

Update: California’s War on Fossil Fuels

Three stories that make a difference that were buried in the last few days.

California is fulfilling their role as a take no prisoners, authoritarian regime. In the latest moves to ban the internal combustion engine and anything else that uses fossil fuels, California has created another list of politically incorrect people that are to be avoided. This time the list includes automakers that will not be allowed to sell to the State. First on the list are GM, Chrysler, Nissan, and Toyota.

Mary Nichols-California Air Resources Board

California issued a statement late Monday saying that as of January the state would only buy vehicles from automakers that recognize the California Air Resources Board’s authority to set tough greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. California also pledged only to do business with automakers that committed to stringent emissions reduction goals.

Separately, the state also said it will no longer buy sedans that are powered only by internal combustion engines, no matter who manufactures the car. It will buy only plug-in electric or hybrid sedans, although California would make an exception for certain public safety vehicles. That rule does not apply to SUV or truck purchases.

California Won’t Buy Cars From GM, Chrysler Or Toyota Because They Sided With Trump Over Emissions

This list is in addition to the ones that prohibit State employees and athletic teams from California State Universities from traveling to other States because the States are pro-life or pro-marriage; both of which are outlawed in California. I’m sure a similar list banning travel to places based on gun ownership is also in the works.

As a result of this utopian B.S., Elon Musk looks to be the beneficiary of more taxpayer money that he didn’t really earn. Of course this will be in addition to the money being directed to him as a result of the solar panel mandate that begins in January. Elon, by far, is the most heavily subsidized fellow in the history of the planet. Elon gets more corporate welfare from the government than any defense contractor ever dreamed.

Elon Musk has tax money to burn

Next up is California oil production, a story which is told via two news accounts.

But since taking office in January, Newsom’s own department of energy management has approved 33 percent more new oil and gas drilling permits than were approved under Newsom’s predecessor Jerry Brown over the same period in 2018—a median of 174 permits to drill new oil, gas, and cyclic steam wells approved a month, based on Geologic Energy Management Division (CALGEM) reports analyzed by CityLab.

The rate of fracking permits approved also soared at the start of the year, up 109 percent through June.

The fact that fracking approvals in California had spiked in the new year was first reported in July by the FracTracker Alliance and Consumer Watchdog. Newsom responded quickly to the news, firing the head of the approving agency for employing regulators who owned stock in oil companies, and directing the department to stop approving fracking permits. Since June 28, California hasn’t cleared any new hydraulic fracturing projects. After publication of this story on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Newsom announced he was fully stopping the permitting of new hydraulic fracturing pending independent scientific review. He also said he’d issue a moratorium on “new permits for steam-injected oil drilling.”

Why Is California Approving So Many New Oil Wells?
California Halts Fracking Permits In Oil Producer Crackdown

The lesson is, if you support jobs and energy then you won’t last long holding an appointed government office in California.

I think Chevron should move its headquarters from San Francisco to Texas ASAP and close all their California refineries when they go. If California wants to ban fossil fuels then I think the private sector should cooperate. Let’s give politicians a world without gasoline and diesel now. Why wait until 2040? After all, there’s no time like the present. Give fossil fuel users the same treatment that PG&E is giving their electrical customers. Clearly the environmentalist message is, if you hate the planet so much that you use fossil fuels, then you deserve some payback. You can’t break addiction without pain.

Oh and speaking of pain, our illustrious leaders also want to ban the last reliable fuel used to generate electricity, natural gas. (FYI nuclear is banned in California and hydroelectric is not considered renewable energy.)

Fearing for Its Future, a Big Utility Pushes ‘Renewable Gas,’ Urges Cities to Reject Electrification

More California Cities Exploring Natural Gas Bans

Maybe we could shut natural gas off for a week or so in February just to show people what that’s really like. Maybe such a move right before the Primary Elections in March would cause voters to make more sensible choices on the ballot.

Johnnie Does: California Real ID

Recently I received my CA driver’s license renewal notice in the mail, and to put it bluntly, it was one of the most confusing forms I have ever laid my eyes on. Since mine expires in December, I am classified as a “wobbler” in that any state issued ID card/driver’s license will allow me to board an airplane until October of next year, but a REAL ID will be required after that. I could either fill out the forms mailed to me, or “complete online,” I chose the latter. In CA, your driver’s license is usually good for about 4 years, so I had a choice to make as far as the REAL ID goes.

The forms mailed out are confusing because it states pay $38 and we will renew your driver license. Here in lies the problem. Renewing this way only gets you a state issued license, not a REAL ID. Which is fine if you do not plan on traveling or already have a passport. Here is the key, if you want a REAL ID, you MUST VISIT a DMV location in person! Also filling out the form online gives you a head start on the others also getting a REAL ID.

I completed the process online and was given a control number (you want to write this down) and was directed to make an appointment with a DMV location…I declined. This is a personal choice, but I would rather show up and get in line before they open and be out within an hours’ time, too often I have had appointments run way late or still take forever. I decided to go to the Lodi location, about 30 minutes south of my residence on a Saturday morning. I prefer this one to the South Sacramento location because I always feel like I need a shower after visiting the South Sac office due to the people; both workers and customers.

Lodi’s DMV location opens at 7 am, so I got there at 6:30 and was about 50th in line. About 10 minutes before the doors opened, a lady with a cart came by asking what we needed and assigned a number based on the service you needed. The doors opened and you had to stand in line to approach the non-appointment window. What I like about this location is this is kind of a failsafe system they use, they checked over my documents and told me they would text me when it was my turn at the counter. When I was called, the lady asked who I was, and I was aghast…I said, “Johnnie Does…big time food critic…” She shot me a blank stare. I gave her my control number and my documents. She typed a few things in the keyboard, scanned in my documents (more on this later), asked for a thumb print, I was asked to pay the $38 (debit only no credit cards accepted), did a vision test, and was told to go to another window to have my photo taken. I went to said window, was thumb printed again, a photo was taken, and after issuing me a fancy schmancy paper driver’s license, I was off, with a promise the REAL ID would arrive in about 3 weeks.

Whole process took 50 minutes, I was actually impressed. The people in Lodi were very efficient, friendly and even joked a little bit, what a total contrast to any other DMV I have been to. Let’s face it, no one likes going to the DMV, usually it’s the dregs of the earth you are dealing with. But this process was very quick and efficient, especially because technically it’s a federal program to have a compliant ID to travel now. I actually got my ID 10 days later. Be prepared to be unimpressed. Here I thought I would be getting a Homeland Security like ID and instead it’s just like your old driver’s license with just a couple of modifications.

Real ID from DMV website

Closing thoughts: It was very fast and efficient, and I actually felt like this government agency took care of business. That being said, here are my tips for when you get your REAL ID. Don’t take the documentation process lightly. You need your original birth certificate (not a copy), your Social Security Card or a W-2 with your Social Security Number on it (you will have to go back 3 years on that one), and 2 bills with your full name and address on it (not a PO Box). I showed up with the completed application, my control number from the DMV, paperwork I did on the website, my birth certificate, Social Security Card, my mortgage statement, and county property tax bill. I ran into no problems at all; however, the man at the counter next to me ran into a bunch. He had a worn-out birth certificate, and his personal documents had a PO Box listed, sorry no dice for him. Some tips I have are make sure 2 utility bills have your name and/or your spouses on it, as some households I know only have 1 listed, and don’t take this lightly, they will turn you away or send you back to get the correct info.

That being said, I do have a slight concern about this process; they scan in all of your personal documentation, and I’m sure it is “stored” somewhere and will eventually be hacked in a gigantic data breach. Now the state will have a database of your birth certificate, Social Security Number, your mortgage statement* and county tax bill* knowing the types of databases the state uses in other departments like the Controller’s office, I would be very scared.

Johnnie Does

*Denotes if you choose to use these documents to get the ID

Hostile Work Environment

Folks I apologize for not blogging too much lately but when things in your personal life go south, it tends to distract you from your hobbies. Right now I feel the need to vent so here we go.

I work for the State of California and let me tell you, their structure of management is ridiculous. For every six or seven employees, there is a supervisor. Then for every three supervisors, they have a supervisor. At my office, this goes up four layers before you get to the guy in charge of our building. Our site houses about two hundred people and of course is just one of many such facilities.

The management structure was codified into law (and union contracts) back in the early 1970’s when Jerry Brown was governor the first time. Back then office workers used IBM Selectric Typewriters, carbon paper, Webster’s Dictionary, rotary telephones, vacuum tubes to send intra-office messages, snail mail, and filing cabinets. Office workers dressed more formally, men wore ties and women wore dresses. Unions were a new idea in civil service.

Anyway, my second level supervisor has become a microcosm of what is wrong with government in general and California in particular. This supervisor has one set of rules for her friends and another for everyone else. This double standard, coupled with her Type A personality, is a killer combination for a bureaucrat. Another trait of this manager is that she has no regard for the chain of command under her. Having been in the military, I know that the chain of command flows from the top to the very bottom and vice versa.

This manager knows how to talk a good game but as you would expect, the disparity between words and deeds is vast. The manager often will talk about giving people opportunities to advance but the track record in my unit is atrocious. In nine years, only two people have been internally promoted from my level to the next step. During that period, we have added three more positions at the next level and a year ago, Type A declined creating another.

Two of the three managers directly under her are bullied and abused on a regular basis. These two folks happen to be from a different ethnic group and culture than she is and she runs roughshod over them all the time. They are documenting her behavior but have yet to pull the trigger on an EEOC or other complaint. They happen to be nice people and she despises them. Like some twisted soap opera, they all pretend to be collegial but it is clear that all is not well.


The latest office drama in my life began when an employee in my unit left at the end of April. This departure created a vacancy at the level above me. This rather sudden resignation created a flurry of activity behind the scenes. It took a month or two for the vacancy paperwork to work its way thru the personnel office. Filling the vacancy involves advertising the position, screening candidates, and conducting interviews. The paperwork done behind the scenes to get this done is horrendous. Management was ready to begin this process but it was halted in June for an unexpected reason. A Muslim lady that used to work in my unit contacted her old supervisor to say she was being failed on probation and would be returning to our unit—probably in July.

(In State employment, when you promote, this often involves moving to another unit or agency. If you fail probation—typically a six month term—then per agreement with the union, you have a right to return to your previous position.)

At this point, everything went dark. Type A manager decided there was no scenario in which she would allow the Muslim lady to return back into our unit. Instead, she arranged to have the Muslim lady handed-off to another unit. Only when the Muslim lady was safely back and with a different unit did the paperwork go forward to advertise the opening in my unit.

Finally, after almost six months, the vacant position was advertised. I was one of many applicants, but what surprised me was the number of qualified people within my unit that did not apply.

It has been convention that the interview panel would narrow the field to the top three and then let the immediate supervisor make the determination as to which person they wish to hire. (In the above, I’m using “convention” because although I thought it was required, I can find nothing in writing requiring that the selection to be from the top three or the hiring decision is the prerogative of the immediate supervisor.) Typically, the hiring manager does the paperwork, screening, and arranging of candidates for interview. This protocol was not the one followed in filling the vacancy.

Type A manager immersed herself in the minutia of what should have been a routine hire by one of the three managers under her. She screened applicants, selected the candidates for interview, scheduled the interview times, wrote the interview questions, selected the panel members, and selected the candidate via an undisclosed criterion. This all was frankly above her station.

Remember what I said about chain of command? She stripped the person under her of the authority to conduct the interview. Her place in the process should have been simply to oversee the process and if necessary be on the interview panel. Her actions deliberately undercut the authority of the supervisor under her to manage and select his employees.

To add even more insult to the injury, Type A manager added an employee under the mistreated supervisor to the interview panel. In effect, she diminished the supervisor and elevated a person under him. Note that the elevated person was at same level as the vacancy and was the most recent hire at that level. Word is that Type A manager is grooming this employee for advancement by personally directing his career path and wanted him to be able to use this experience to put on his resume. Other people at this level have never been on any interview panels.

Oh, I’ve been in this unit for ten years and worked my way up from the bottom. I was not on Type A manager’s list of candidates to interview. The abused manager under her had me on his list and requested that I be interviewed. In a pyric victory for me, Type A manager agreed. Obviously I had no chance of getting the job when she had already excluded me.

Interview and Beyond

Type A manager frontloaded the interview panel and then began the interview by reading the criterion that the selected candidate would need to work until 5 pm. We were then asked a series of questions about being managers in the unit and asked what we would do. These questions were all outside the scope of the duty statement and materials used to advertise the job. (I found out later that Type A manger had tried to advertise the job this way and was shot down by personnel because that was not an appropriate description of the vacant position. Apparently, she ignored both our personnel office and her org chart.)

Two days after the interviews were completed, each of the five people in my unit that had interviewed, were called one-by-one into Type A manager’s office and told they were not selected and then dismissed. I attempted to ask questions and was booted from her office. A coworker asked what happened and I described the experience ask being scraped off the bottom of her shoe like a piece of excrement and tossed away.

I grumbled to a few employees and a week later this resulted in me being called on her carpet yet again. Unlike last time, I was allowed to speak. I made a case that no one has been internally promoted in over five years and that many of us have done the work of those above us and were more than qualified for advancement. I tried to keep it from being flipped into a situation where I could be dismissed as just being mad that I was passed over. I also made the point that the primary duty of senior people was to train those under them. I cited the example of the lady whose resignation created this vacancy in the first place. I specifically talked about the time that a new hire in her second week on the job went to her and asked for help. The new hire was told, “Go figure it out for yourself” and then sent away. New hire then came to me. I answered her question and made sure that she was properly trained. I said it was inexcusable for someone in a senior position to treat a new hire like that.

In response, I was told by Type A manager that my experience and knowledge were not relevant to the position even though during my time in the unit, I’ve done the same production work as the people above me. She made it clear that I will never be promoted in this unit…as if I needed further clarification.

Oh the outside candidate that she picked was unwilling to work until 5 pm so she gets to go home at 4 pm instead. Of the five that interviewed for internal promotion, currently four work until either 4:30 or 5.

Final Thoughts

Because such heavy-handed tactics leave many enemies in its wake, I have been told by others about many things I’m not supposed to know about Type A manager. Such happens when you’re willing to speak-up if even a little. Type A manager has been known to redo interview results to give her the outcome that she wants, just in case someone actually challenges the results. Oh, favored recent hire mentioned above as part of the interview panel was the recipient of her generosity. He reportedly went from sixth to first due to manipulation of post-interview results. My sources on this information are impeccable.

So that’s my story. I’m looking for an exit strategy where I land on my feet. I think it’s tragic that this manager chooses to behave like this. It just goes to show that unchecked power corrupts. I doubt her conscience even keeps her up at night but I bet it used to.

Conversations with the Naïve: Denial of Debt

We speak about the perils of debt quite often on this blog and when I try to share my concerns with people it falls on deaf ears. Or in other cases I’m told “don’t worry about the national, state or county level debt everything will be fine” and “the creditors aren’t coming to take back our municipalities, possessions, and the like”. We are always told to take off the tinfoil hat, stop being alarmist…we don’t know what we are talking about…fine!

I want to share a story of an acquaintance of mine who lives his life with this same attitude about his own debt!

This guy is married with 2 kids; both of whom have hereditary health issues…first question is why have another kid if you know the issues are hereditary? Any who. They own a house near a golf course and own two new very nice cars; one a pickup truck and the other a Mercedes.

They also are the proud owners of $75k in credit card debt. Combined they bring in $7,500 a month, which is a very solid middle class income and should support such a lifestyle. However they have been doing nothing but keeping up with the “Joneses,” more on this later.

Sensing that he was in trouble, he asked for help from an organization for which I volunteer. I was tasked to visit him and evaluate whether a onetime gift of $2,000 would make a difference. I rolled my sleeves up and put my finance background and degree to work.

What I found was shocking. This guy took keeping up with the Joneses to a whole new level. In fact, I think the Joneses would have a hard time keeping up with this family! His house is pristine with every upgrade possible; granite counter tops, marble floors, top notch security system, I was in awe! I actually thought I was at the wrong house at first. I went over his expenses with him and the picture finally came into focus. Their expenses–mortgage, car payments and incidentals–totaled almost $6,200k a month. Keep in mind this is making only a minimum payment on the credit cards, so in essence the balance was growing each month. This guy and his family are on a debt treadmill and sadly they were about to fall off.

First recommendation, let’s sell the house. This guy and his wife both commute almost an hour each direction for work! Easy solution right? However, they are upside down by over $100k–even in today’s environment where housing prices are sky high. (I think there is/was a consolidation loan here). As a result, they are stuck in a house way above there means, but ok…moving on.

Let’s sell those cars. Who needs $900 a month in payments? You don’t need a brand new truck or a Mercedes just to get to work. But he can’t do that either because both loans are 7 years and the cars have nil value as far as a trade in goes…high mileage. What they need is an economical vehicle, one where they can forgo the expensive full coverage insurance. (As an agent by trade, I estimate economy vehicles run about $300 a month to insure).

Next, I brought up food expenses…$1K a month, that’s a lot of eating out, regardless of whether it’s a chain restaurant or fast food that is a lot of money. He didn’t want to make changes here either. So I looked next at the incidentals and said ditch the cable and security system, again resistance. I said you live near a golf course, you don’t need a security system, and this one was top of the line, think all remote controlled by your Alexa device, and every square inch of the place covered by cameras, almost as if it was an illegal marijuana grow. The cable thing I do not get one bit, it’s actually becoming a thing to cut the cord…oh well.

After looking at different options, it hit me that he had no intention of righting the ship. However, my appointed task was completed. I now needed to sign paperwork which determined if he could apply for a one-time grant of $2,000 to help with his situation.

As I contemplated this man’s situation, I was reminded of a quote from Dean Warner from Animal House “Being fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son.” In this man’s case, drunk refers to his debts. He is drunk on debt and the worst part; his wife and kids are unaware that there’s even a problem. Yes you read that right! He is on his second marriage and this one looks all but lost.

He claims that he is 100% reliant on this one-time grant to “help with his payments.” This is false. This money is just enough to kick the can past Christmas and hope in the future that a miracle happens. This guy doesn’t want help. He, like a growing number of voters in this country, want their debts wiped out…a clean start…a new slate. A fresh new start so he can spend again…but he doesn’t want bankruptcy or the consequences that come with it.

This is part of a larger problem in America today, we run our lives just like our Government. We spend money we do not have and make a minimum payment every month. By doing that we lie to ourselves, saying we paid our bills this month. We live in the moment without a plan for the future. In this family’s case, I hate to say it but a diet is not going to help. This family needs a significant lifestyle change. Their debt needs to be handled and living outside of their means must cease ASAP.

How would I handle this issue if it was me? Easy. Ditch the cable, security system, and other unnecessary add-ons. This will free up about $900, at least in my estimation. The $1,000 on food…cut that in half at least, decide you like ramen noodles and quit going out to eat. Start brown bagging it at lunch and cut out the fast food. That should amount to about $1,400 or so in extra cash. Use this money to start immediately paying down that credit card debt. Trade in both cars and get a couple economical rides that have higher mileage. You need to unload the car payments and high insurance bill. As far as your house goes, look at it as most people view an economy hotel, a place to lay your head and serve as a dwelling, not a place to entertain people. Frankly no one cares about your marble, granite, or anything else, it’s not medieval times and you don’t live in a castle. Learn how to do yard work so you can ditch the gardener, ditto for the housekeeper. Take a look at the Cadillac cell phone plan and get something cheaper. Oh, I bet that’s under long-term contract too.

Most importantly you need to sit down and have a review with your wife, she needs to know the situation. Be honest and have a plan that will work, more on that in a second. The short term disappointment she has in you will be ok in the long run because she has to know you were living a lie. Truth be told, you can’t afford a divorce so there is that. As far as attacking the debt goes, start with the lowest amount owed and pay that down first, then move to the next one. Try calling the lenders and try to negotiate a lower interest rate or something. Burn the phones finding anyway to cut your expenses, however stick to your plan, as credit card/cable/security companies love to try to talk you out of it, actually they have entire departments of commissioned associates dedicated to it. Put about $1K in a savings account for emergencies.

Cut up your credit cards. Do not put them away for “emergencies.” With your track record, you need to get rid of them, they got you into this mess. Oh, FYI birthdays and Christmas are not “emergencies.” Then find a non-profit debt consultant or watch some Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman videos on YouTube. Find somebody to hold you accountable. The biggest problem is you both have champagne taste on a beer budget. The climb out of this is not easy and will not be fun but it’s doable. Need vs Want?!?!?!?!?!?! Know/learn the difference.

Final point: as far as keeping up with the Joneses goes, remember this, the Joneses are most likely in the same shoes as you; spending money they do not have, trying to impress people they probably do not like, on stuff they don’t need. Stop treating your life like your fantasy football team. No one cares about your possessions just like they don’t care about your team.

I think you know my decision on giving him the $2K.

Johnnie Does

Editor’s note: Johnnie Does is spot-on with this article. My wife and I attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University five years ago. Since then we’ve paid over $100K in debt (not including our mortgage). This only works if both people in the marriage are committed to getting debt free but it is really worth it.

DMV Punishes Online Payment

My wife’s car registration was due in October. After getting my paycheck at the end of September, I dutifully went on the Internet to pay her registration. Amazingly enough, the DMV payment system was down. No, not because of hacking or PG&E power outages but for an overhaul of their payment system. Furthermore, I was greeted with a note that when the system came back up, DMV would be charging me a percentage for a processing fee.

DMV Warning of extra charge

Being a thrifty guy, at least when it comes to surrendering money to the government, I decided to write a check for the renewal and snail mail it. I wrote them a check and mailed it on September 28th.

On the 15th of October, I received a note from DMV that there was no payment enclosed in the envelope. I know this is not true. These guys lost the check. I even wrote the license plate number on the memo line of the check.

Knowing that the due date was imminent, I wrote them a check the very same day and mailed it again, but not before holding the sealed envelope up to the light and reading every part of the check to verify that they are without excuse.

Yesterday was November first and neither check has cleared my bank. Now I’m worried. Did they lose the second check too? I looked on their website and there’s no way to verify if something is paid. So, I came up with an experiment that seems to do the job. Here’s what you need, last five numbers of the VIN and license plate number. You pretend to pay online, and one of two things will happen, it will give you an error or show you an amount due.

DMV renewal screen

I tested this on my car that was paid many months ago and then with the car due in October. I got the same result, so my conclusion was that both were shown as paid at DMV. I still don’t know what happened to either check.

If you get this error then DMV shows your renewal as paid

I think if enough of us start opting out of paying electronically, they will drop the surcharge to pay online. Just don’t wait until the last minute because if they lose your check you need time on your side.

Apple Breaks Tesla App

Elon Musk has been rewarded by the 90-day calendar guys after surviving the third quarter report. Elon apparently sprinkled magic pixie dust on the financials and turned a year over year sales loss into a $50 a share boost in one day.

Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) third-quarter revenue tumbled 39% in the United States, its first drop in more than two years…

U.S. sales, which account for the biggest share of the company’s total revenue, fell to $3.13 billion from $5.13 billion a year earlier.

Tesla filing shows U.S. sales tumbled 39% in third quarter

If it weren’t for all the hysteria about saving the planet from imaginary destruction and other automakers being forced into giving billions to Tesla in the name of carbon credits, his goose would have been cooked years ago.

Speaking of cook, our friend of the blog, Tim Cook, has found a new way to be featured in tech blogs, he broke Apple’s Tesla app. Yep, iOS 13 has struck again. The latest iteration of this troubled operating system—also known here as “Apple’s Vista” —has killed the iPhone’s ability to run apps in the background and multitask.

iOS has of course never been famous for being an operating system which placed multi-tasking first, but some developers have come to rely on having their app running in the background.

One of these has been Tesla, which lets you replace your car keys with your phone. Tesla owners are now complaining that their doors do not open when they approach with iOS 13.2.

Of course, not only Tesla owners are affected. Many home automation systems like electronic door locks rely on the same feature.

Apple is rapidly earning a reputation of delivering more issues than features with their software updates, and I suspect more iOS users will be reconsidering installing the latest OS update without it being well tested in the market first.

iOS 13.2 aggressive killing of background apps is causing problems for Tesla owners
Elon Musk is the Svengali of the green religion

Apple ‘s iOS 13.2 update was supposed to fix bugs introduced with the initial buggy iOS 13 release and add a few new features, but it seems like all is not well over in Cupertino.

iOS’s RAM management is so heavy-handed that it shuts down apps almost as soon as you switch away from them. Users find it hard to maintain a conversation on say WhatsApp and switch to Safari to get some information because the former app will reload when they switch back to it and Safari will shut down tabs when they switch away. This issue has shown itself on iPhones as expensive as the top-end iPhone 11 Pro, so it has been a frustrating experience even for superfans.

“I’m sure Apple has good excuses about why their software quality is so shitty again,” Overcast and Instapaper creator Marco Arment said over on Twitter. “I hear the same thing over and over from people inside: they aren’t given enough time to fix bugs. Your software quality is broken, Apple. Deeply, systemically broken. Get your shit together.”

Modern software is often developed with a ship first, fix later attitude. Apple’s fast updates mean that while users can get fixes as soon as they’re ready, they’ll also be more likely to experience bugs due to the initial shipping scramble.

iOS 13.2 may be killing your apps faster than you’d expect

Last I heard, north of 60 percent of Apple phone users—that don’t loose support November 3rd—were running this version of the operating system. I have faith that Apple will eventually get it right. I know it will irritate their customers but when you have folks locked into your eco system on two and three year contracts, then these sorts of errors don’t hurt the 90-day clock too badly.

Back to Tesla’s founder; California’s looming solar mandate for new construction and PG&E blackouts are breathing new life into another Elon Musk venture. This convergence of mandates and malfeasance is looking like the next step in cordcutting, being able to live off the grid in suburbia.

Once again, Elon is benefitting from government interferrence in the free market under the guise of saving the planet. It’s amazing how he has inserted himself into the minds of many as the high priest of the green religion. Musk’s use of captalism to fleece socialists is kind of poetic.

Trump brings a Championship to DC!

By Troll

Folks he promised a lot of winning so much winning you would get tired of all this winning. Well……guess what? The Washington Nationals baseball club won the World Series, defeating the Houston Astros to bring the championship home to ole DC!!!!

Trump made good on his pledge, frankly he brought a championship in hockey in 2018, but that’s a Canadian sport so it doesn’t count. Plus I think NAFTA was ripped up so, I’m sure the liberals won’t count it anyways. Frankly they probably think the Capital are just Capital letters anyways.

President Trump with Stanley Cup winners

Yes, the Nationals, by the way a former Canadian team…the former Montreal Expos won the World Series, and the home crowd booed the Trumpster, he was there for game 5. It is very odd they would do this, especially since Houston most recently had an executive fired for making insensitive comments about a pitcher (Roberto Ozuna) who beat his wife and was subsequently suspended by MLB. The executive was fired and I figured it was a new #metoo movement? I figured everyone would be behind the Nationals, but I guess not. Even those who hate Trump I figured they would unite behind the Nationals, but to no avail.

Pour one out Charles Krauthammer you were a huge Nationals fan and I hope you are smiling in heaven (where you go upon death non-believers) your team won it! You were a believer in the Trumpster and I know your legacy is being carried on by Trump!

The Washington Nationals will visit the White House on Monday to celebrate the franchise’s first-ever World Series title.

The White House made the announcement on its official Twitter account on Friday. The team defeated the Houston Astros in seven games to win the World Series on Wednesday.

Washington Nationals to visit White House on Monday to celebrate World Series title

In many ways this World Series was much like the election…the underdog Nationals (Trump) beat the heavy favorite Astros (Crooked Hillary) badly and the entire country is stunned, even those in our nation’s capital. Oh some in DC doubted him but Trump brought it home, another championship, some said he couldn’t do it…but he did…..I’m tired of all this winning.

We’re Nuts…about the Nats….we’re nuts about the Nats
We’re crazy about the Nationals and nuts about the Nats…..
They are nuts about the Nat’s
Sing it proud
They are crazy about the Nationals and nuts about the Nats!

I will never get sick of winning….go Trump!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope Hicks, I’m on fire come on…….
Look I even wore my best Trump costume on Halloween and no one says “No” to the Troll when he puts on his dancing shoes!!!!!!

The Troll as President Trump–greatest costume ever!!!

Come on Hope…..Date the Troll, much like your old boss, I win at everything!!!!!

Hope Hicks reading another text from The Troll

The Troll