Posted by: coastcontact | July 21, 2014

Home to Presidents and President Want-to-Bes

Southern California is the home of everyone who wants to elude the extreme weather that is so prevalent in the rest of this country. Summers may be hot but the humidity is mild. It only snows in the nearby mountains. Movie stars, entertainers (like Justin Bieber) and so many politicians. It is called a Mediterranean climate.  Yes it’s true, you could surf board in the morning and ski in the afternoon all in the same day.

Richard Nixon to San Clemente at the south end of Orange County. Mitt Romney bought a home in La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego, President Gerald R. Ford moved to Rancho Mirage, and now the Los Angeles Times says that Barack and Michelle Obama are rumored to be buying a house in Rancho Mirage. 

“The First Family is believed to be in escrow on a contemporary home in a gated community where entertainers Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby once maintained estates,” Says the Times.

Barack Obama's Rancho Mirage Home

For those of you not familiar with the area, Rancho Mirage is the upscale Palm Springs where gated communities and golf courses are everywhere. Yes there is a Dinah Shore Drive, Frank Sinatra Drive, and a Bob Hope Drive in that town. Median family income in Rancho Mirage in 2009 was $92,831. 21.2% (976) had income > $200k. My source city-data.com. Read more: http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Rancho-Mirage-California.html#ixzz38ANKIkhs

Posted by: davidbancroft | July 17, 2014

Israel Palestinian War of 2014 – A Hamas PR

Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself, from the continued campaign of terror being waged by Hamas. The moral bankruptcy of Hamas, its lack of concern for civilians or international law (on Thursday, the UN said it had found rockets hidden in one of its Gaza schools), its indiscriminate rocket launches that it hopes will cause civilian casualties, its refusal to recognize the very existence of Israel gives Israel absolute right to defend itself.

Margaret Wente wrote the following commentary in the Canadian Globe and Mail  newspaper

Human shields are Hamas’s PR

Published Tuesday, Jul. 15 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 15 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

It’s hard to figure out why Hamas would launch a missile attack against Israel. They can’t possibly win. Their missiles are useless, and seldom hit anything before the Israelis blow them up. If they wanted to, they could crush Hamas like a bug.

What Hamas does get is good PR. The visuals are golden: fleeing civilians, injured kids, apartment buildings bombed to rubble. So are the lopsided statistics – hundreds of Palestinians dead but zero Israelis. European press coverage has been overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Palestinians. In the Guardian, one commentator called the conflict “as perverse as Mike Tyson punching a toddler.”

There’s another difference between the two sides. Israel doesn’t want to shed civilian blood. Hamas needs it – especially from its own civilians. That’s one reason why it puts rocket launchers and ammunition dumps in mosques and homes in crowded neighbourhoods. That’s why it told people not to leave northern Gaza this weekend after Israel warned it was going to bomb.

Even Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has called out Hamas. “We are the losing side, and every minute there are more and more unnecessary deaths,” Mr. Abbas said in an interview on Lebanese television. “I don’t like trading in Palestinian blood.” (In response, Hamas called him a criminal.)

Israel tries to minimize civilian deaths by warning people in advance of a strike, either with a telephone call or a harmless missile (known as a “knock on the roof”). These tactics don’t always work. A few days ago, the IDF mistakenly bombed a home for the disabled, whose residents were unable to flee despite the warning. Advance warnings also fail because instead of running away from the scene, some people rush to it. They hope their presence might deter an attack. Either it works or they become martyrs.

Earlier this month, the IDF targeted a compound in Khan Younis that was allegedly a headquarters for leading Hamas bad guys. They made a phone call warning noncombatants to get out. They also sent a knock-knock missile. But instead of leaving, people rushed in and headed to the roof to form a human shield. Eight noncombatants died, including several children. The IDF called it a “tragic mistake,” noting that by the time the people were spotted on the roof, the missile was already in the air.

Hamas openly encourages civilians to act as human shields. Here’s what Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had to say recently on Al-Aqsa TV (via the Middle East Media Research Institute): “This attests to the character of our noble, jihad-fighting people, who defend their rights and their homes with their bare chests and their blood … We in Hamas call upon our people to adopt this policy in order to protect the Palestinian homes.”

The willingness to sacrifice Palestinian children has served Hamas well. Rights groups have condemned the advanced-warning efforts as just another version of collective punishment. “There is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective ‘warning,’ ” said Amnesty International’s Philip Luther. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says there is “serious doubt” that Israel is complying with international human-rights law.

In the greater bloodbath that has engulfed the Middle East, this doesn’t add up to much. It will probably be over soon, and things will quiet down until next time. And there will be a next time – the younger generation of Israelis isn’t all that interested in peace. Nor are the kids on the other side. As one boy said on Palestinian TV, “We love the resistance. We want to die as martyrs. Long live the martyrs.”

David Bancroft

US bank bldg top floors

photo from LA Curbed

Arrow points to planned new observation deck

 This will be great for business.  Tourists will be flocking downtown.

The owners of the 72-story US Bank Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast (for now), will open up a public viewing deck like a real Empire-State-building-style tourist trap. The building is 310.3 m (1,018 ft). Top floor, 294.92 m (967.6 ft).  Maybe next they’ll light the Hollywood Sign! The 1989 building, formerly known as the Library Tower, will stay an office building, but get a new observation area on the sixty-ninth and seventieth floors, which will be connected by a new stairway; existing terraces on the sixty-ninth will be opened up as well, reports the LA Times. Meanwhile, the seventy-first floor, which has 18-foot ceilings and 360-degree views of Los Angeles, will get a new restaurant.

Plus new entry for tourists and a very high price. >>

US Bank visitors will enter through a new second-floor portal with upgraded elevators and newish owners Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. will also give the US Bank sign a “modernization” and add a curb cut at the Fifth Street entrance for passenger loading and unloading. Local mega-firm Gensler will design all of the changes.

Tourist traps do not come cheap: OUE will charge $25 a head, but thinks it can pull in half a million visitors a year. Broker/blogger Brigham Yen found that pricing is in the range for similar attractions: Chicago’s Willis Tower costs $19, the Empire State Building is $29 to the eighty-sixth floor. CN Tower in Toronto Canada costs $28.80 – LookOut Level at 346 m (1,136 ft.).

Not too far away from the US Bank building, however, the Wilshire Grand hotel/office building is under construction and set to be the new tallest tower in the West when it’s finished in 2017. It will have an observation deck, infinity pool, and restaurant on its roof, which according to Yen will still be lower than the US Bank Tower’s new deck.

 

source http://la.curbed.comUS Bank Bldg from 5th and Fig

my photo taken with Panasonic FZ150

Posted by: davidbancroft | July 14, 2014

Some Muslim History

Reflecting on the facts

Just a few things to ponder on a warm summer evening….

- In 732 AD the Muslim Army which was moving on Paris was defeated and turned back at Tours, France, by Charles Martell.

- In 1571 AD the Muslim Army/ Navy was defeated by the Italians and Austrians as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to attack southern Europe in the Battle of Lepanto.

- In 1683 AD the Turkish Muslim Army, attacking Eastern Europe, was finally defeated in the Battle of Vienna by German and Polish Christian Armies.

This crap has been going on for 1,400 years and half of these damn politicians don’t even know it!!! If these battles had not been won we might be speaking Arabic and Christianity could be non – existent;

Judaism certainly would be… And let us not forget that Hitler was an admirer of Islam and that the Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler’s guest in Berlin and raised Bosnian Muslim  SS Divisions: the 13th and 21st Waffen SS Divisions who killed Jews, Russians, Gypsies, and any other “subhumans”.

Reflecting A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine that America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves.

Pause a moment, reflect back. These events are actual events from history. They really happened!!!  Do you remember?

1. In 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a Muslim male.

2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim males.

3. In 1972 a Pan Am 747 was hijacked and eventually diverted to Cairo where a fuse was lit on final approach, it was blown up shortly after landing by Muslim males.

4. In 1973 a Pan Am 707 was destroyed in Rome, with 33 people killed, when it was attacked with grenades by Muslim males.

5. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim males.

6. During the 1980′s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim males.

7. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim males.

8. In 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim males.

9. In 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim males.

10. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim males.

11. In 1993 , the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim males.

12. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim males.

13. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon  and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by Muslim males.

14. In 2002, the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim males.

15. In 2002, reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by—you guessed it was a— Muslim male.

16. In 2013, Boston Marathon Bombing 4  Innocent people including a child killed, 264 injured by Muslim males.

No, I really don’t see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?

So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. Absolutely No Profiling! They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President’s security detail, 85-year old, Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winner and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males, alone lest they be guilty of profiling.

Have the American people completely lost their Minds, or just their Power of Reason???

Let’s send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldred and other stupid attorneys along with Federal Justices that want to thwart common sense, feel ashamed of themselves — if they have any such sense.

As the writer of the award winning story ‘Forrest Gump’ so aptly put it, ‘Stupid Is As Stupid Does’.

Author is unknown

David Bancroft

Posted by: coastcontact | July 12, 2014

Big Brands Close Factories in Bangladesh

This situation was brought to my attention by the Toronto Star newspaper based in Toronto, Canada. That is the reason I like to read foreign press reports.

When governments do not protect their citizens who will? We all remember the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh which took the lives of 1,129 people and injured thousands more on April 24, 2013. That was not the first time there have been building code violations. Corruption and bribery in Bangladesh is well known.

Historically the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911 in Brooklyn New York killed 145. High levels of corruption in both the garment industry and city government generally ensured that no useful precautions were taken to prevent fires. The Triangle Shirtwaist factory’s owners were known to be particularly anti-worker in their policies and had played a critical role in breaking a large strike by workers the previous year.

Finally the Bangladesh issue is being addressed, but not by their government. A North American-led group of companies operating in Bangladesh said Friday, July 11 2014, that it had closed or partially shut seven factories for remediation after inspectors found structural problems and safety concerns.

Bangladeshi garment workers arrive for work in Dhaka

Bangladeshi garment workers arrive for work in Dhaka

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said it will extend compensation to workers for up to four months if they are unable to work due to the closures.— The current group of 26 includes the following companies: Ariela and Associates International LLC; Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited; Carter’s Inc.; The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc.; Costco Wholesale Corporation; Fruit of the Loom, Inc.; Gap Inc.; Giant Tiger; Hudson’s Bay Company; IFG Corp.; Intradeco Apparel; J.C. Penney Company Inc.; The Jones Group Inc.; Jordache Enterprises, Inc.; The Just Group; Kohl’s Department Stores; L. L. Bean Inc.; M. Hidary & Company Inc.; Macy’s; Nordstrom Inc.; Public Clothing Company; Sears Holdings Corporation; Target Corporation; VF Corporation; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; YM Inc.

The four months compensation is a wonderful gesture. My question is what will those workers do to make a living if building owners and manufacturing businesses do not co-operate? As poor as their pay may be it is more than they earned before the factories came to Bangladesh.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 10, 2014

An Incompetent President

I have always voted for the Democratic Party presidential candidate so this commentary was an unpleasant task.

It is not unusual to believe the current president of the United States is incompetent. I cannot recall one that received my appreciation while he held office. Presidents usually receive their lowest approval numbers in the last two or three years of their second term. So perhaps it is not unexpected that I too do not approve of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The difference is that I believe he will be listed as one of America’s worst presidents. The honor for worst, in my opinion, is Jimmy Carter. The reasons Barack Obama #3 be addressed in another column.

President Obama came to office when the country was in economic collapse. It was not his fault. We have the Bush administration to thank for that horror. Banks were on the verge of bankruptcy, many large companies were experiencing rapid declines in sales that were jeopardizing their very existence, unemployment was at 7.2% and falling, home foreclosures were massive, etc.

What did the president do? He proposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, his $800 billion stimulus bill for a $14.57 trillion economy. Was that enough? I don’t think so. Many economists said the stimulus should have been twice his proposal. The money was to be spent on “shovel ready projects.” There just weren’t very many of those projects immediately available. Although the administration claims that law created jobs the reality is the unemployment rate continued dropping through October 2009 to a rate of 10.1%. That rate did not decline to 9.5% until June 2010.

In the meantime the administration pushed his health care law (Affordable Care Act: AKA Obama Care) that has yet to prove its value in any significant way. That was the wrong focus. The introduction of that new program was a disaster. It is his signature program and yet it was not given the attention needed to accomplish a near perfect launch.

In other domestic issues he has been late to the table. Veteran’s Administration, gun regulation, domestic spying, immigration, and massive outsourcing of jobs are the issues that come to mind.

In foreign affairs the president has pulled back from every situation in the world. From drawing a red line in Syria, to a too fast draw down of troops in Iraq the president has not considered the unintended consequences of his decisions. Today Islamic terrorists are threatening Iraq, Syria, and many African nations. Now we are faced with thousands of children entering our country from Central America. He didn’t see the issue of thousands of children entering the country until the situation has become overwhelming? How can that be?

What we have here is a reactive presidency rather than a proactive presidency . The president reacts to situations. CNN and FOX seem to know what is happening before the president. He does not initiate attention to an issue.

Americans want their president to initiate the steps to resolve issues even before the public is aware. This is not a characteristic that can be evaluated until a person is holding the office of POTUS.

Barack Obama was the wrong choice for president. Sadly the Republicans did not offer Americans a good alternative. Perhaps this column should have been titled “America’s Broken Political System.”

Posted by: coastcontact | July 9, 2014

When You Are Powerless

This is a very unusual situation. A piece of land, a lot of about 10,000 square feet sat unused immediately adjoining the freeway in Woodland Hills, California. Most of the property was a steep hill. We have driven by the lot every two or three weeks for many years. I said someone with lots of money and a love of auto and truck noise will ultimately buy the lot and build an unusual structure.

I was correct. The house has two garage entrances and is built into the hill.

A turret tower on the corner makes for an unusual design. The owner had the house built for his 72 year old mother. However, he cannot obtain an electrical connection to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It seems there is no easement to the property to string the power line.

The electric line used during construction was a temporary line that was OK’d during construction only. So he called the Los Angeles Times to tell them of his plight. The item made the newspaper both in print and on-line. Others have picked up the story.

How a building permit could be issued before confirming that all utility connections were available has not been explained. The city has also issued an occupancy approval certificate.

This is my photo taken with a Panasonic FZ150 camera.

San Luis & Shoup

Posted by: coastcontact | July 6, 2014

A Duck is Dead

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet…

“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

Sad Dog - editedThe vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman…

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!” she cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the CAT scan, it’s now $150.”

Modern Family - Dunphy's House

Exterior shots of the home, found in Cheviot Hills, were used to portray the family residence of Phil and Claire Dunphy. (Media Carrot Photography | Inset: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Cheviot Hills (West Los Angeles area of upper middle class families) home is used as the fictional family residence of Phil and Claire Dunphy on the sitcom. And no, Phil was not the listing agent. Only the exteriors of the house are used to depict the Dunphy residence on the show. Interiors scenes are shot on soundstages.

Cheviot Hills is located about between Sony Studios and Fox studios.  Median household income of $103,165.  Close enough to the beach to feel a cool ocean breeze without too much morning fog.  There is a nice pitch and putt 9 hole golf course nearby.  When single, I lived nearby.  Lots of memories.

More pictures of this house here

Posted by: coastcontact | July 5, 2014

NO to more California Water Bonds

 

40,000 people watch water spilling into the San Fernando Valley

LA Aqueduct opens Nov 5, 1913

40,000 people observed the opening of the aqueduct into the San Fernando Valley

The latest water bond proposal calls for $7.5 billion that would allocate $2 billion for surface and groundwater storage projects, $850 million for Delta levees and habitat restoration, and $1 billion for groundwater cleanup. If this sounds familiar you are not mistaken. We have spent billions of dollars doing the very same thing. None of those projects has resulted in more available water.

On December 9, 2012 George Skelton, Los Angeles Times commentator/reporter, wrote “The truth is that no matter what the size of the bond issue no additional water will come to Los Angeles nor will there be any additional water for agriculture. The reality is that Californians will have to face water rationing. However, construction companies will benefit from this giant expenditure. I wonder how much money will be donated to campaign re-elections.”

I conducted my own on line research on California water bonds and found the following bonds approved.

Proposition 13. In March 2000, California voters approved Proposition 13 (2000 Water Bond), which authorizes the State of California to sell $1.97 billion in general obligation bonds to support safe drinking, water quality, flood protection and water reliability projects throughout the State.

Proposition 40.In March 2002, California voters approved Proposition 40, a $2.6 billion state bond measure for conservation, neighbourhood parks, and coastline and watershed protection. Proposition 40 was the largest conservation bond measure ever approved in California.

Proposition 50.In November 2002, the $3.4 billion water bond measure, the largest in California history, was approved by voters. It provides $825 million in funding for CALFED for a variety of programs, including surface water storage studies, water conveyance facilities, levee improvements, water supply reliability projects, ecosystem restoration, watershed programs, conservation and water recycling. More on Proposition 50 is available at http://www.water.ca.gov/grants- loans.

Proposition 84. In November 2006 California voters approved this measure that will fund water, flood control, natural resources, park and conservation projects by authorizing $5,388,000,000 in general obligation bonds. The bonds will be used to fund various projects aimed at (1) improving drinking and agricultural water quality and management; (2) preserving, restoring and increasing public access to rivers and beaches; (3) improving flood control. See details of the law at http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/1008/files/prop 84 text.pdf.

My calculator says these propositions spent more than $13 billion. The cost to pay back those bonds with interest will most likely be double that amount.

California is up to its neck in commitments and needs. The recent claims that the state government has a surplus is incorrect. The surplus is only in terms of money needed to pay this year’s bills. We are drowning in future debt owed to retired teachers, retired state employees, and other bond commitments. Our infrastructure is falling apart.

Unless I hear some startling reason for this waste of tax dollars we should all vote NO to this give away.

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