Posted by: coastcontact | August 31, 2014

The Problem Is in the Hyphen

Written by  in the Huffington Post.  She just wants to be an American.  I totally agree.

I don’t like being called African-American.

I’ve always been pretty fond of being an American. I come from a military family from Texas — patriotism is required. My appearance is not straight forward, black or white, so people often ask me what I am. Sometimes they ask for my ethnicity, sometimes they ask for my race, but sometimes they ask about my “nationality.” My nationality is simple and very straight-forward. I am an American.

I have an American passport. I was born here, and I’ve lived here for my whole life, just like my grandparent’s grandparents. Something interesting yet predictable happens when I respond that I am simply “American.” People are not content with that answer, because it does not give the full rundown of the information they seek. What they are asking for is a deeper explanation. Within my definition of myself they seek an answer to the question of what part of America I belong in, which part of America’s history my veins flow from. Being a citizen of America has always meant different things for different people, and deep down we all know that.

Native American. Isn’t that redundant? Qualifying the people who were here first. Apparently it is not length of time a person’s bloodline has on this land that makes an American, because then we would all have to agree that the only true “Americans” are the native population. So who is American? Who can say, in response to an inquiry about their ethnicity, that they are simply “American,” and people accept their answer?

“America” as we now know it began with the Declaration of Independence. We have a constitution, we have amendments and laws, all created for the advancement of the country of Americans. When those foundational structures were created they were made for a particular group of people — white, anglo-saxon, land-owning men. Over the years the pool expanded a bit, but the general aesthetic of the “American” maintained its potency. The blonde-haired blue-eyed beauty queens and the Barbies that circulate around the globe embody the imagined American ideal. The overwhelmingly white faces we see leading our country, and police forces, the faces we see in movies, in magazines, and on TV — they are the American ideal. They are the ones at the table, creating the structures, the companies, and laws. The founders of this country were white men, and their families and their descendants are understood to be the “Americans.” Never mind a majority of “African-Americans” (black people in America whose ancestors were slaves) are partially descended from white slave-owning men.

That is why certain (usually hyphenated) citizens of America do not feel protected by the laws of their own land. That is why sometimes it feels like there are many different Americas existing on the same large piece of land — some living comfortably and some living in what feels like a war zone, or an occupation.

I desire to claim my complete and comprehensive Americanness. I am American. I have the history of this country’s conception mapped out in my bloodlines. I am American. Some of my ancestors were born here and knew no other land, some of my ancestors journeyed here from Europe, and some of my ancestors were brought here from Africa. I don’t know the complete stories of any of their lives, but I know their stories merge to create mine. One that is very specifically American.

Asian-Americans are American. Hispanic-Americans are American. African-Americans are American. By hyphenating groups we create a subset that relegates certain Americans to a second tier of citizenship that we all internalize whether we want to or not. Being labeled African-American feels like a disavowal of everythingthat I am as well as the singular thing that I am — American.

I am ready to drop the hyphens. I am German-American, Irish-American, French-American, Native-American, and African-American. All of those hyphens make up who I am; who I am is the melting pot we learned about in school but have yet to fully conceptualize. I am what happens in a land of immigrants. I am the embodiment of the American experiment, and I am okay with that as long as I can call myself what I am. The push-back for “reclaiming America” or going back to “the good ole days” is a push back for something that never was. America has never been a happy place for everyone living in it, but the more of America a person can claim, the better America is for them.

It’s time to reclaim Americanness as inclusive rather than exclusive, as a nationality we wear proudly no matter the color of our skin. The founding fathers started this experiment, now we have to carry it out. African slaves built this country, the Irish built this country, Native Americans built this country, the Chinese built this country, the English built this country — we’ve all played our part, so why not let all of us have our name, no hyphens asked? It doesn’t make sense to have a country with a hyphenated majority. This is America, and I am simply American.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 27, 2014

America – A Violent Society – Part 2

I just posted my commentary about the United States being a violent society on August 21, six days ago.

The state of Arizona has provided more evidence of that observation. A nine year old girl accidentally killed a firing-range instructor while she was being shown how to operate an Uzi submachine gun.


9 year old kills with Uzi


It is legal to train children in the use of firearms. No laws were broken.

My question is why would you want to put guns of any kind into the hands of a nine year old child?

The answer seems to be because we can and it is our right to bear arms.

Even Anthony Scalia, the Supreme Court Justice and strong supporter of the second amendment, told Fox News that the Second Amendment “undoubtedly” permits some restrictions on firearms.

How about starting with children?

Of course the NRA tweets “7 Ways Children Can Have Fun at the Shooting Range.” This is no surprise. The NRA believes the best way to stop a killer is to be armed and ready to shoot.

Convince me this is not a violent society.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 25, 2014

Toluca Lake – Home of Fame and Fun!

Beverly Hills 90210 star, Brian Austin Green, and his wife of Transformers fame, Megan Fox, purchased the Bing Crosby Carriage house in Toluca Lake for $3,350,000 on June 10, 2014.

Bing Crosby's Toluca Lake home #1 Bing Crosby's Toluca Lake home #2

Toluca Lake was the hometown for Crosby’s pal Bob Hope. Toluca Lake is easily ignored as the boulevards in that community do not confirm that this area is the home to many entertainment community favorites including Steve Allen.

Toluca Lake is also famous for Bob’s Big Boy Drive-in. It was a favorite hangout along with the Van Nuys twin when I was a teenager. Remember Cruise nights from the high school football game to Bob’s?

Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake

Posted by: coastcontact | August 23, 2014

Do You Pass The Israel Test?

Not just Americans should watch this video.  It is sponsored by Dennis Prager who is a right wing radio talk show broadcaster. Despite his right wing stance and some of his foolish commentaries, his position on Israel and Jews is on target.

Arabs should watch this video.


Posted by: coastcontact | August 21, 2014

America – A Violent Society

Americans pride themselves in the fact that we are a caring and considerate people who try to bring our civilized ways to the rest of the world. We are particularly insistent on sustaining our freedom to defend everyone’s rights as defined in the first ten amendments to the constitution. Freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom to bear arms, and freedom to hold demonstrations to express our views seem to be the most important.

In pursuing those freedoms we have also become a violent society. We have deteriorated to calling people names. After all, it’s a freedom. Using the F word is now so common place that few pay any attention. Weapon use has become so pervasive that it is estimated that there is one weapon for every person in the nation.

“Stand your ground” laws have enabled killers to avoid penalties for their actions. Is it any wonder that the police fear approaching a car that has been stopped for speeding or running a red light? After all the driver may have a weapon he might use against the officer.

Killing by civilians or police has also become so common place that few Americans are paying attention. Many have forgotten the Trayvon Martin killing. The week’s news is all about Michael Brown. It’s not the only violent item in the news. A California CHP officer was videotaped beating a homeless woman. Your neighborhood also has had its violent acts this past week.

The police have resorted to more weapons and apparel that makes them look like soldiers as they patrol the streets with vehicles that look like tanks in a war zone. Wait a minute, they are excess vehicles from war zones.

Violence has become our stock in trade. To keep track of my adult children and wife I have tracking devices on their smart phones. It’s not to watch their every move but to know that they are safe.

Politicians keep telling me this is a great country. What is so great having to fear for my life?

Read my addendum under comments posted on 8-22-2014.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 20, 2014

President of the United States is a Killing Job


Barack Obama

Barack Obama June 23, 2011

Barack Obama-August 20 2014

Barack Obama August 20, 2014

The job of President of the United States is a killer. Look at the impact on the appearance of President Obama. Look at other past presidents and you will observe the same impact. The world is a tough place. It’s bad enough that we have enemies in other nations but even worse is the beating the president takes from other political parties. You have to be a superman to withstand the constant barrage of verbal abuse. Add the many issues arising around the world and you have black hair turning gray and unknown effects on the many internal mechanisms.

President Obama is now 53 years old. Could a 70 year old handle the stress? Hilary Clinton is now 66. If elected president, she would enter office at 69. Why would she or anyone want the abuse the office must bear?

Posted by: coastcontact | August 17, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri on Meet the Press

On NPR this past Thursday there was a history professor talking about the fact that Missouri was a slave state and that has impacted the behavior of Whites ever since. I couldn’t believe what the man was saying. His justification of the behavior of White police in Ferguson, Missouri.

The governor of Missouri appeared on most of the Sunday morning TV talk shows. He wasn’t prepared to answer any questions. The word Obfuscation comes to mind.  Following is the transcript from Meet the Press of his interview by Andrea Mitchell.


I’m joined now by the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon. Governor, thank you very much for being with us. Tell me, why has a full week elapsed, and we still do not know anything? The public wants answers to what happened between Michael Brown and the white officer who shot and killed him?


Well, it’s been a challenge week with the horrific death of Michael Brown, shot down in the streets of his home town and the appropriate energy and acts that everyone’s had around there. I think with the dual investigations going on right now with the justice department and with the local prosecutor, and I’m especially appreciative.

After talking to General Holder, I appreciated them sending in 40 additional F.B.I. agents to make sure that they’re moving to get a thorough investigation, to get justice here. And I appreciate their response and that energy to make sure that they get this right.


But why is it taking so long? And you also have a county prosecutor who many say has a conflict of interest here, because he said that he disagrees strongly with your decisions in bringing the county police. He called it shameful, saying that that was in fact an illegal decision. So how is he the person that would be trusted by this very angry and eventful community to come with answers that are credible?


Well, he’s a seasoned prosecutor that has an opportunity to step up here and do his job. And also though, when you see a dual investigation going on, and the resources of the Justice Department, an F.B.I. agent’s out working in the community yet again yesterday, 40 additional officers, I think that having those dual investigations will help guarantee that this gets done in a timely fashion. That it’s done thoroughly, and that it gets justice.


Isn’t it more important to get answers, correct answers, and answers to the public? What of the timely investigation? What is taking so long about telling the people what happened to Michael Brown?


It’s been a week, and it’s a been a very long week. And late in the week, when we saw the additional militarization of the police response there and the security side, I had to take an unprecedented action, which was to replace and bring in our highway patrol to lead that. I think that that has made a big difference. You saw that first night, very much peace.

Second night, until late in night, there was peace. And last night, I think the vast majority of local citizens, the local elected officials and others called on me to put a curfew in place, so there’ll be guaranteed peace late last night. And of the thousands of protesters and the community members out there, I think they made a difference. In order to get justice, we need peace. Those are both intertwined here. And we look forward to keeping the peace and getting justice.


Well, governor, there was peace. There was peace on Thursday night after you appointed the county police to come in and take over. The state police, rather, their takeover from the county. But then the local police chief who released that video, what justifies releasing the video about the convenience store, while there’s still no details about what happened with the shooting itself? That is what caused everything to erupt again on Friday night and eventually led to the curfew having to be imposed.


Yeah, we and our security team and the highway patrol did not know that was going to be released. I don’t think the attorney general knew that. And quite frankly, we disagree deeply I think for two reasons. Number one, to attempt to in essence disparage the character of this victim, in the middle of a process like this is not right. It’s just not right. And secondarily, it did put the community and quite frankly the region and the nation on alert again. These are old wounds. These are deep wounds in these communities. And that action was not helpful.


Well, should the police chiefs, Chief Jackson then be fired or have to step down?


We’ve moved the highway patrol in to manage security. The Justice Department and the detectives in Saint Louis are doing the investigation. So he–



But he’s still, with all due respect governor, he’s still doing things, like releasing that video, without even reporting to the state police captain, Captain Johnson, who’s supposed to be in charge.


Yeah. Everyone can rest well assured that we’ve had very serious discussions about that action and how much we felt that it was not the right way to handle the victim’s family, which I had a chance to speak with. They were deeply troubled. And when you see your son gunned down in the street and then you see a police chief begin an attempt to attack his character.

That’s just not the way to operate. And we’ve made that clear to everyone. And our hope and expectation is that now that our folks are in charge of security, and we have these dual investigations going on, that, that bump is behind us, hopefully.


Well, governor–


But the wounds are very real.


Well, governor, I know that when you say that you were doing a lot of things behind the scenes, but why did it take you till Friday to get to Ferguson, what they call ground zero? And when did you first hear from the president about all this?


I’ve been involved all week. I’ve been having meetings and phone calls and meeting with local officials, been here a number of times. And once again, yesterday in the morning conference call with local officials have asked me to put a curfew in place, to make sure that we have safety as well as peace, so that this community could be safe.

So we’ve been here all week. I’ve been here most of the days. And I talked to the president in the middle part of the week. I talked to General Holder at some length later in the week, and I appreciate deeply, and actually that conversation, General Holder and the F.B.I. sending 40 additional F.B.I. officers in to make sure they’re getting a thorough but timely investigation here. And I think that’s helping.


Thank you so much, Governor Nixon, from Missouri. While the events in Ferguson this week have certainly shocked the nation, focusing renewed attention on the nation’s disparity that still exists in our justice system. Our Kevin Tibbles takes a closer look at that situation.

Posted by: davidbancroft | August 16, 2014

Charlie Rose talks to Khaled Meshaal

Charlie RoseKhaled MashalCharlie Rose is a highly respected interviewer who has television programs on Bloomberg, CBS, and PBS in the United States.

Hamas’s exiled leader on the Gaza bloodshed and the effects of Israel’s seven-year blockade of the Palestinian enclave. Carefully read, Khaled Meshaal considers Israel as an occupier nation. The goal of Hamas, as stated in their charter, is the destruction of Israel.

Mr. Rose’s questions are in bold font. Key reply statements are underlined.

This interview was scanned from Bloomberg BusinessWeek and was shown on PBS.

How does the killing stop?
What do you want?
Human beings have to defend themselves. If we are starved, if we are besieged, we have to defend ourselves. When [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu stops every effort to reach peace, the rest of the world ought to expect an explosion in the West Bank and Gaza. What do I believe Hamas needs or wants? Peace. But we want peace without occupation, without settlements, without Judaization without the siege. We want to live on par with every single nation. We need to live in Palestine.

Will you pledge not to eradicate Israel?
Do you want to live in coexistence with Israel?
I do not coexist with occupation and with settlements. Do you think that Palestinians who suffer from occupation and settlements can eradicate Israel? No, this is beguiling, misleading propaganda …. We in Hamas believe in moderation of Islam. We are not fanatics. We do not fight the Jews because they are Jews per se. We fight the occupiers. I’m ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians, with the Arabs, with the non-Arabs. I do coexist with other religions …. When we have a Palestinian state, then the Palestinian people can have their say. There are disproportionate standards, but we have the upper hand. Every single occupation ends, and the people are victorious.

Will the people of Gaza continue to support
Hamas despite the terrible consequences?
The Palestinians of Gaza are saying we are suffering because of the crimes of Israel. Even with the carnage and their homes reduced to rubble, they say, “Mr. Khaled Meshaal, we don’t want to emerge from this war without breaking the siege. We were dying slowly. Now we are dying instantly because of the F-16s and all the Israeli and American technology.” The Palestinian people have had enough. They do not make distinctions between slow death and instant death. They say, “Our families are targeted in their homes. However, we want to resist, to insist on lifting the siege.”

Why are you in Qatar and not Gaza?
This is a very reasonable question. You can ask not only Khaled Meshaal, you can ask the 6 million people in the diaspora. Why are they not in the West Bank? Why are they not in Gaza? Because Israel expelled the Palestinians in 1948 and 1967. I’m from the West Bank. Since 1967,I was expelled. I used to live in Jordan, in Kuwait, when I used to be a student. Then I moved to Syria and now Qatar. You have hundreds and thousands of Palestinians in America. They long to go back to Palestine. Although they are American citizens, Palestinians long for their home country. That’s why we insist on the return of the refugees, for me and for others to return. My natural existence is there, but I’m compelled to be here.

Some suggest, to preserve Israel’s
security, the sovereignty of a
Palestinian state must be restricted.
Why does the world understand Israeli security issues and not take heed of Palestinian security issues? In order to have a Palestinian state, why ought that state be demilitarized? Who accepts a state without arms? It will be subject to the aggression of others. I cannot accept any tutelage of any other entity. If you say, “Come, you are Palestinian. We can give you a piece here an a piece there in piecemeal fashion”-no. No.

How do you create trust between
Israelis and Palestinians?
You think the key is trust. We actually are enemies. They are the occupiers. The solution doesn’t start with trust. The international community’s full mission is to say to the Israeli occupation, “Stop. Enough is enough.” They ought to compel Israel to withdraw. How could I trust my enemy? We had a number of negotiations. The negotiations failed.

Do you need the approval
of the military wing of
Hamas to commit to any
We are not two heads or two bodies. We are one single movement. When the political leadership commits to something, then the military wing will commit itself, too. If the leaders take a decision, then every single person, whether militant or civilian, they will follow.


Posted by: coastcontact | August 15, 2014

Try to Remember



‘Someone asked the other day, ‘What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?’
‘We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,’


I informed him.



‘All the food was slow.’


‘C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?’



‘It was a place called ‘at home,” I explained. !


‘Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.’


By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.



But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it:



Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card.



In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck.Or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck.


Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.


My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer.


I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow)



We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 19.


It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.


I was 21 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called ‘pizza pie.’ When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It’s still the best pizza I ever had.


I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.



Pizzas were not delivered to our home but milk was.



All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers– my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6 AM every morning.


On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.



Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.


If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren


Just don’t blame me if they bust a gut laughing.


Growing up isn’t what it used to be, is it?


MEMORIES from a friend:
My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother’s house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old.


How many do you remember?


Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.
Ignition switches on the dashboard.


Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall.


Real ice boxes.


Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.


Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.


Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.


Older Than Dirt Quiz:

Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about. Ratings at the bottom.

1. Blackjack chewing gum

2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3. Candy cigarettes

4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes

6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7. Party lines on the telephone

8. Newsreels before the movie

9. P.F. Flyers

10. Butch wax

11. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 3 channels…[if you were fortunate]

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody

14. 45 RPM records

15. S& H green stamps

16. Hi-fi’s

17. Metal ice trays with lever

18. Mimeograph paper

19. Blue flashbulb

20. Packards

21. Roller skate keys

22. Cork popguns

23. Drive-ins

24. Studebakers

25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-5 = You’re still young, If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older,  If you remembered 11-15 = Don’t tell your age, If you remembered 16-25 = You’re older than dirt!


I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 14, 2014

American Corporations try to Dodge U.S. Taxes

As more and more giant American corporations try to dodge U.S. taxes by moving overseas, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday, July 25, announced legislation to ban those businesses from receiving lucrative U.S. government contracts. Sanders said that he will file an amendment to a Department of Defense authorization bill to prohibit the U.S. government from awarding federal contracts to companies that reincorporate overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes.  “I have a message for these corporate deserters: You can’t be an American company only when you want corporate welfare from American taxpayers or you want lucrative contracts from the federal government. If you want the advantages of being an American company then you can’t run away from America to avoid paying taxes.”

Sanders announced the legislation on the same day pharmaceutical giant AbbVie said it plans to take over Shire, its European rival, in a merger that would allow the Chicago-based drug maker to reincorporate in Britain and lower its effective U.S. income tax rate from 22 percent to just 13 percent by 2016.

Walgreen’s, the giant drugstore chain, recently announced that it is considering moving its corporate headquarters from the U.S. to Switzerland to avoid $4 billion in U.S. taxes over the next five years.  According to a recent report from Americans for Tax Fairness, nearly a quarter of Walgreen’s $72 billion in sales last year came from Medicare and Medicaid.

At least a dozen other major companies are considering abandoning America through a loophole in the tax code known as corporate inversion.  Such inversions allow U.S. companies to move their corporate headquarters overseas by merging with a foreign company in a low-tax country, even though most of their profits and sales occur in America.

Sanders last year introduced the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act (S.250) that would prohibit these companies from receiving tax breaks by shifting their headquarters to the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens. That bill would also stop rewarding companies that ship jobs and factories overseas with huge tax breaks. The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated in the past that the provisions in this bill will raise more than $590 billion in revenue over the next decade. Nearly two-thirds of the companies who have established subsidiaries in tax havens have registered at least one in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands, according to a June 2014 report from Citizens for Tax Justice.

Companies that have received billions in corporate welfare and have made billions in profits should not be allowed to renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying U.S. taxes,” Sanders said.

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