Archive for April, 2015

“Hail Elizabeth”

April 24, 2015


It’s time we put a lady in charge.

She’s not named Hillary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) comes from a working class background. Her father, a janitor, suffered a heart attack when Elizabeth was twelve. Remaining in school, she subsequently helped support her family as a waitress while excelling as a student at Oklahoma City’s Northwest Classen High School, eventually winning a debating scholarship to George Washington University at the age of 16.

Ensuing years saw her graduate from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science Degree in speech pathology — then obtain her law degree at Rutgers. She married Jim Warren, a NASA engineer, and became the mother of two, working as a lawyer from home writing wills and handling real estate closings.

After her children entered school, Senator Warren initiated a stunning academic career teaching law at such institutions as Rutgers, The University of Houston, The University of Texas and the University of Michigan. She became a full professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987 and then a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in 1995. At Harvard, Warren was recognized as one of the most highly cited law professors in the United States with particular expertise in bankruptcy.

Senator Warren voted as a Republican for most of her life until 1995, when she concluded that general financial policy was starting to consistently favor the rich over the poor with potentially threatening long-term consequences.

13 years later, following cataclysmic economic collapse, Elizabeth was recruited by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to chair a five member Congressional Oversight Panel. In this capacity, she oversaw implementation of the Emergency Stabilization Act in November of 2008.

Barack Obama bowed to severe political pressure in July of 2010 and failed to appoint Warren as Director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Republicans had feared Elizabeth Warren, Obama’s original choice, would be an ”overly zealous regulator.” Warren resigned from the government – and took on her adversaries.

If she couldn’t beat them – she would fight to join them and obtain equal footing.

In spite of significant, well-funded opposition from major corporate interests, Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown on November 6, 2012 to become the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate from the State of Massachusetts. She’s been making history ever since. I hope she makes even more – with election next year as 45th President of the United States.

Ignoring those clamoring clowns bellowing “Benghazi” as though it magically encapsulates unimaginable sins of negligence and naïveté, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton has surely worn out her welcome among those conscientiously concerned. Bill Clinton gets a half-million bucks dressing for the Russians? Come on.

Senator Warren so far remains a loyal soldier, pledged to support Hillary’s bid for ultimate office. Yet Elizabeth has been most outspoken against the Trans-Pacific Partnership pending before Congress, not afraid to take on even President Obama in her strong opposition.

The President told Chris Matthews on MSNBC, “I love Elizabeth, but she’s wrong on this.” Warren’s response? “The government doesn’t want you to read this massive new trade agreement. It’s top secret. Why? Here’s the real answer people have given me: “We can’t make this deal public because if the American people saw what’s in it, they would be opposed to it.”


Even much of the Tea Party is with Elizabeth on this one in opposing TPP.

“There’s a great number of people in Congress on both sides of the aisle who are very beholden to big business — the chamber of crony capitalism,” says Jay Devereaux of Unite in Action, a Tea Party group that received heightened scrutiny from the IRS. “It’s all about favors for their buddies, and the average American be damned.”


Let there be no anointing in this land of the free and home of the brave. It’s time to resort to initiative and take bold, decisive action.

Head home, Secretary Clinton, and leave the field open to fresh faces and new ideas. Your legacy will be immeasurably enhanced by such unselfish surrender and gracious withdrawal. Let future generations recall with appreciative commemoration, these words of wisdom:

“Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street’s irresponsible risk taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished, and she never hesitates to hold powerful people’s feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials and, yes, even presidential aspirants.” – Hillary Clinton (April 2015)

“Matthew 7: 1-2”

April 10, 2015


“Judge not, that you not be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”


God Bless Harry Baker.

After we moved to Oakhurst in November of 2006, I kept seeing Harry Baker’s name all over town. It was here. It was there. It was everywhere.

When I started asking about him, I heard all sorts of stories. It was clear from the outset of my inquiries that here was a man of superior civic consequence. What hadn’t he done?

An honored World War Two veteran and life member of the American Legion and VFW. President of the Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce. Eastern Madera County Man of the Year. Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Business Person of the Year. Sierra Historic Sites “Man of the Millennium.” Recipient of the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Award. A member of the Madera County Board of Supervisors for twelve years. Yosemite High School’s first Board President. I’m skimming highlights.

Harry Baker’s involvement with charitable endeavors is similarly impressive.

He gave us Oakhurst Community Park, brought an ambulance service to town, was responsible for our annual Community Christmas Tree, led the way to establishing Yosemite High School and was immensely supportive of such area endeavors as The Elks Lodge and Sierra Historic Sites, including Fresno Flats.

Harry Baker’s entrepreneurial genius and stunning triumphs with Sierra Tel are nothing short of breathtaking by any measure, taking a tiny rural phone company and guiding it to a position of major industrial prominence serving tens of thousands with state of the art technology, moving into the future with brilliant leadership and focused determination.

With rare exception, his employees loved him. I’ve spoken with many.

I was delighted when I saw Harry Baker’s passing headlined in our Sierra Star with the words, “Philanthropist Harry Baker dies in Fresno” – for — of the many qualities he represented, Mr. Baker surely should best be remember by future generations for his remarkably generous contributions in time and treasure to the advancement of this community.

I write this even though I solemnly promised to never again refer to him as “Mr. Baker.”

It was a wintry night in early 2012 when I was returning to my car in front of Von’s and saw an elderly gentleman slowly stepping through a light snowfall to his own vehicle, grocery bag held close and pronounced care taken with every measured move. We had never met, but I couldn’t help but loudly exclaim, ”Good evening, Mr. Baker!” He stopped, stared in my direction, and then proclaimed with feigned annoyance, “My name is NOT Mr. Baker.” Walking toward me with hand extended, he said, “My name is Harry! You call me Harry!”

So I did from that point forward, then and upon several other occasions when we would encounter each other for brief, passing, inconsequential chats as we traveled separately through time.

It still seems impossible reconciling my own impressions of “Harry” and his stunning, lifetime achievements in Oakhurst with the horrid public humiliation that haunted his final years, concluding with six months of incarceration and death under guard — deserved or not.

Sordid details need not be repeated here. Suffice it to say it would seem to me that admittedly seedy, tawdry, mindless indiscretion was subsequently followed by a tragic legal miscalculation with the debatable victimizer thus turned ultimate victim.

But let Harry Baker be recalled for his best, not his worst.

Goodbye, Harry. I was honored making your acquaintance.

You were a great man.

 “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”


Romans 14:10