Posted by: davidbancroft | April 13, 2014

Matzos You Can Eat

Posted by: coastcontact | April 8, 2014

If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It!

Bill Gates Introduces Windows XP Oct 25, 2001

Bill Gates introduces Windows XP October 25, 2001

Windows XP was the most widely used operating system until August 2012. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP according to its life-cycle policy, focusing on Windows 7 instead. While users can still run XP after Tuesday. Microsoft says it will no longer provide security updates, issue fixes to non-security related problems or offer online technical content updates.

This operating system was originally released in 2001 but remains very popular. Many people have refused to update because the system functioned so well.

More recently Vista and the newest touch screen system (8.0/8.1) are glaring evidence of how so-called improvements have proven disastrous. I personally have delayed upgrading from Vista with a new CPU because the “tile version” of windows requires a complete relearning of the operating system. My experience my wife’s year old lap top has been a challenge.

XP appealed to a wide variety of people and businesses that saw it as a reliable workhorse and many chose to stick with it instead of upgrading to Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8.

Windows 9 is rumored to be released in April of 2015. Googling “windows 9.0” results in little in recent information. Desktop users might well be disappointed. Either way April 2015 seems a long way off.

Posted by: coastcontact | April 6, 2014

Republican Party Stands Opposed to Social Welfare

Social Welfare is the various social services provided by a state for the benefit of its citizens.

In the United States the range of services includes Social Security (a program that guarantees a stipend to all senior citizens), Medicare (a program that provides health care to all senior citizens), minimal support for those unable to earn a living (usually referred to as welfare), and unemployment benefits (for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own). Those are the primary programs that American residents are entitled to when there is a need.

In every instance those programs have been opposed by the G.O.P. In every instance those programs were instituted when a Democrat held the office of President of the United States.

The current chairman of the House Budget Committee, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan has sustained the Republican view on social welfare programs with the following words copied from his web site.

The current Medicare program attempts to do two things to make sure that all seniors have secure, affordable health insurance that works. First, recognizing that seniors need extra protection when it comes to health coverage, it pools risk among all seniors to ensure that they enjoy secure access to care.

Second, Medicare subsidizes coverage for seniors to ensure that coverage is affordable. Affordability is a critical goal, but the subsidy structure of Medicare is fundamentally broken and drives costs in the wrong direction. The open-ended, blank-check nature of the Medicare subsidy drives health-care inflation at an astonishing pace, threatens the solvency of this critical program, and creates inexcusable levels of waste in the system.

Ryan’s solution:
Beginning in 2024, for those workers born in 1959 or later, Medicare would offer them a choice of private plans competing alongside the traditional fee-for-service option on a new Medicare Exchange. Medicare would provide a premium-support payment either to pay for or to offset the premium of the plan chosen by the senior.

The Medicare Exchange would provide seniors a competitive marketplace in which they could choose a plan the same way members of Congress and federal employees do. Every plan, including the traditional fee-for-service option, would participate in an annual bidding process to determine the federal contribution seniors would receive to purchase coverage. Health-care plans would compete for the right to serve Medicare beneficiaries.

What Ryan calls “the president’s partisan health-care law” is an appointed government board like the FCC, the FDA, the FAA, and dozens of other appointed boards. He favors the unelected bureaucrats in privately owned insurance companies that answer to private enterprise. His view is those government bureaucrats aren’t as reliable to private company bureaucrats.

Ryan goes on to say The President’s partisan health-care law creates an unaccountable board of 15 unelected bureaucrats—the Independent Payment Advisory Board—empowered to cut Medicare in ways that will result in denied care and restricted access for seniors. The bureaucrat imposed cuts threaten critical care for current seniors and fail to strengthen Medicare for future generations.

So is it the blank-check nature of Medicare or 15 unelected bureaucrats that will be threatening current seniors? Ryan has covered both possibilities in his contradictory analysis.

The point is that Republicans are trying their very best to end Medicare, Social Security, and all other social welfare programs. They offer no substitutes. Their obsession with free market principles is the view of the rich who say they have no responsibility for the less well off.

There are many other reasons to oppose Republicans but that will be addressed on another day.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 31, 2014

Why My son Isn’t Voting Anymore

He’s a smart man who moved to the San Francisco Bay area to complete his college education. After graduation he worked at a few Silicon Valley computer companies then decided there is more to life than making big bucks.

Along the way he was inculcated by the liberal/progressive viewpoints that are so prevalent in that region. He was ecstatic over Barack Obama’s win of the White House. The speech at Grant Park in Chicago enthralled him. He believed that the new president would change the world for the better. That the new president would turn around the country and provide the new start that so many had anticipated.

He came to visit for my birthday and wedding anniversary. Now that the party is over he tells me that he is beyond disappointment with our government. There is no point in voting in any election any more. The president, he says, had the opportunity to do the sorts of things that FDR did to employ the unemployed, build the kinds of infrastructure that so many previous presidents had inspired, and start the kinds of new education that would carry the United States as a leader throughout the 21st century.

We talked about the president’s failure to quickly end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We talked about the president’s failure to assertively stand up to Vladimir Putin.

He spoke about Ralph Nader as the man who spoke the truth but was denied participation in debates with Al Gore and George W. Bush.

How can I console my son? I pointed out that someone will be elected president. He will have to make a choice. That the system has been designed to deny third party candidates an honest opportunity and you just have to accept this reality. I pointed out that the public may be sufficiently disillusioned with the Democrats and that a Republican will most likely win the White House. He said it won’t make any difference.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 30, 2014

Another Los Angeles Earthquake

The Southern California Earthquake Data Center (SCEDC) operates at the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech and is the primary archive of seismological data for southern California. They list 233 significant faults in this area. The Puente Hills fault is not listed. How many more faults are not identified? Obviously no one knows.

The Los Angeles metropolitan area is built on an active earthquake zone. I live in the west end of the San Fernando Valley. A distance of about 55 miles (Yes, Los Angeles Metro area is even bigger than that!) The 5.1 quake in La Habra resulted in a two to three second jerk motion at my home. If you were in motion you most likely did not even notice the movement. ABC television network news gave the impression that the entire city was impacted. That is an incorrect report.

Are earthquakes frightening? YES. Are earthquakes memorable? Rarely.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 26, 2014

When Freedom of Religion Conflicts with American Laws

What will America look like if religious rights trump all other rights?

We now have three private enterprises contending that the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) is prohibiting the exercise of their religion. They are required by the ACA to provide birth control services to their employees and that is contrary to their religious beliefs. The lead challenger in the case is the Hobby Lobby corporation, a chain of 500 arts and crafts stores that has 13,000 employees. The company is privately owned meaning no one can buy shares in the business. Forbes magazine reports Obama Administration Suffers A Drubbing In Hobby Lobby Arguments.”

The United States constitution first amendment starts with these words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

The arguments by the Hobby Lobby team and the government are contentious. We won’t know the Supreme Court decision for many months.

My problem is that many laws that have existed for generations could be opposed on religious grounds. Examples are Social Security taxes, welfare programs, when should the USA go to war, etc.  In other words does every religious group have the right to decide what it considers acceptable behavior and participation in every passed law?  Or to put this another way do religions have he right to nullify laws?

As explained in Wikipedia: Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), is the case in which the United States Supreme Court found that Amish children could not be placed under compulsory education past 8th grade. The parents’ fundamental right to freedom of religion outweighed the state’s interest in educating its children. The case is often cited as a basis for parents’ right to educate their children outside of traditional private or public schools.

Jews want to keep their neighborhoods in the NYC metropolitan area and upstate New York exclusively for them. Using the Hobby Lobby contention that equal housing laws deny them right to practice their religion as dictated by religious beliefs they too would be allowed to keep their communities segregated.

Many religions permit discrimination against people of other faiths. Consequently refusal to serve gays, blacks, or any other group could be viewed as their religious right.

The consequence of a decision favoring the plaintiffs is that many of our civil laws would be deemed unenforceable. This nation would be no freer of religious tyranny than Muslim countries that place religious (Sharia) law above all other laws.

If the plaintiffs in this case prevail then the United States will cease to exist as a country that treats all people of all races, colors, and creeds equal rights. Religious law will prevail.

This translates to “Goodbye America.”

Posted by: coastcontact | March 23, 2014

A Dog’s Life

I am taking a short story writing class.  My intention is to add original short stories to the postings on this blog.   The class is just five weeks long.  That is enough time to obtain some exposure but little else.  The following story is about my dog Freddy. He is a friendly mixed terrier.  He looks like the dog in the Traveler’s Insurance television commercial.

Travelers Dog_edited-1I can’t remember the first year or so of my life.  When I started realizing something of life I saw that I was in a fenced area.  There were animals everywhere.  Mostly dogs that kept barking.  The barking noise kept me awake at night.  I needed to sleep all day just to recover from the nightly barking and howling.  Someone always came by to give me some food and water.  The food was really bad.  I had no choice.  Either I eat that horrible stuff or I die.

Then one day there was a puddle of water and in it I saw my reflection.  I just did not know it was my reflection.  I thought it was just another dog.  A dog standing near me said “That is your reflection.  That is what you look like.”  I was horrified.  For the first time I realized I was a dog.  I was depressed and curled up in a corner of the prison.

Was there no way out of this place?  How did I get here?  I couldn’t remember.  I thought all of us are doomed prisoners for the rest of our lives.

Every day human beings came by the prison to look at us.  Many dogs barked to get the human attention.  They spoke to each other but I did not understand a word they said.  As time passed some of the dogs in the prison were taken out and never seen again.  Those of us who remained wondered what had happened to them.

One morning a human came into the cell and put a leash on me.  I was taken to an open space outside the prison.  I was frightened.  Who are these beings?  What do they want to do with me?  I sat as far away from them as they would let me.  It wasn’t far enough.  The leash was still hooked onto me.  After what seemed like an eternity I was taken back to my cell.  The other dogs all wanted to know what had happened.  They all said I was lucky to be back in the cell.

Weeks went by and I continued to be bothered by the barking and howling.  Still it was better than what might have happened if I had not been put back into the cell.

The human beings continued to come by the prison every day.  They all seemed to be looking at everyone in the cell.  I never understood a word they said.

I prayed for my freedom.  There was nothing I could do to get of that jail.  The security was too good.

One day I was hooked to a leash and taken to an open area with a high wall.  The leash was removed.  There was still no escaping this place.  The wall was too high.  There were two human beings there.  They were talking but I could not understand a word they said.  Suddenly one said “Free the dogs.”  Or at least that’s what I thought.  At last my freedom was about to happen.  I ran up to the human and jumped up and down in excitement.

Later I was in a large moving box with the same person that said “Free the dogs.”  Then I realized she had said “Freddy.”  I have a great place to live now but when she says “Free the dogs” she doesn’t really mean it.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 18, 2014

A Super Power Proves Its Strength

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Makes a Fool of Himself and the United States

This video has an indistinct sound track

The White House imposed asset freezes on seven Russian officials, including Putin’s close ally Valentina Matvienko, who is speaker of the upper house of parliament, and Vladislav Surkov, one of Putin’s top ideological aides. The Treasury Department also targeted Yanukovych, Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov and two other top figures.

The EU’s foreign ministers slapped travel bans and asset freezes against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine.

Somehow I don’t think that’s much of a problem. Not from the least threatening Secretary of State in American history. Hillary Clinton was more threatening in her sleep than John Kerry is after four cups of coffee and three Belgian snubs.

But still John “Unbelievably small strike” Kerry took the time out to reassure Vlad that America was not threatening him.

John Kerry, “We hope President Putin will recognize that none of what we’re saying is meant as a threat. It’s not meant as a – in a personal way. It is meant as a matter of respect for the international multilateral structure that we have lived by since World War II and for the standards of behavior about annexation, about secession, about independence and how countries come about it.”

“So we very much hope that President Putin will hear that we are not trying to challenge Russia’s rights or interests, it’s interest in protecting its people, its interests in its strategic position, its port agreement. None of those things are being threatened here. They can all be respected even as the integrity of Ukraine is respected, and we would hope that President Putin would see that there is a better way to address those concerns that he has that are legitimate, and we hope he will make that decision.”

Those are the words of the Secretary of State (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) of the one claimed super power in the world.  The United States apologizes to Russia for taking a minimal action.  It’s an action so small that no one will notice that it happened.

Is it any wonder that the world holds contempt for the United States?

Posted by: coastcontact | March 16, 2014

Unemployed – Explained by two eminent economists

So how can over 873,000 people come off the unemployment line when there were only a little over 114,000 jobs created?

Luckily I found a transcript of a conversation between two eminent economists discussing this very

Abbott & Costello explain unemployment

Here we go, the recent unemployment report explained –

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 7.8%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 14.7%.

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 14.7%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 7.8%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how the current administration gets it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. Our govt. doesn’t want you to read about 14.7% unemployment!

COSTELLO: That would be tough on those running for reelection.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have administration supporters stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like the Economy Czar.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Obama.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 16, 2014

Annexing the Sudetenland, Putin Redux


While this is not 1938 the possibilities are frightening. This commentary does not point out the how swiftly the USA mobilized its military in 1942. Perhaps Mr. Putin will re-consider his actions in light of America’s ability to convert to a war footing. If not, the United States must be prepared to help defend all NATO nations.

Originally posted on his vorpal sword:

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” – Mark Twain


John McCain expresses his military philosophy to the nation

Well, the brown stuff is about to hit the rotating blades whether the violence occurs now or not. The consequences of the next 48 hours or so may well echo and ripple for years to come. Happily, two complete idiots have come up with a bipartisan foolishness that’s guaranteed to go down in the Anals [sic] of the Senate as a truly cringe-worthy moment [emphasis added]:

Durbin, McCain: Send weapons to Ukraine
Peter Schroeder / The Hill

A pair of senators, including a close ally to President Obama, is calling on the White House to send arms to Ukraine.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), currently visiting Ukraine, said the U.S. should supply the poorly-outfitted [sic] Ukrainian military…

View original 1,656 more words

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