Posted by: coastcontact | February 25, 2017

Los Angeles – Love It and Hate It

I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life.  My family moved here when I was nine years old.  We came here from Philadelphia in 1948.

As a boy, in those less sophisticated times, I rode the city on trolleys and buses without any fear.  It helped me to develop a little independence at a young age.  Of course living in middle class family I never missed a meal and never worried about homelessness.

As a young man I had access to a car that enabled me to drive where ever I wanted.

I have been to Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and downtown so many times I lost count decades ago.

So now I have started a blog titled “Los Angeles – Love It and Hate It.”

You are invited to visit it whenever you are curious about the second largest city in the U.S.A.  I will be writing about the good and the bad.  Included will be lots of photos mostly taken by me.

looking-west-past-hollywood-westwood-to-coast-from-observatory

Photo taken from Griffith Park Observatory parking lot looking west. Hollywood is in the foreground and the tall buildings are in Westwood (home of UCLA). Photo taken with a Panasonic DMC-FZ28 camera.

Posted by: coastcontact | February 24, 2017

1984

1984 is a book written in 1948.

The dystopian novel has experienced another surge in sales that has resulted in the printing an additional 75,000 copies this year.  As of January 25, 2017 according to Nielsen BookScan, which measures most but not all book sales in the United States, “1984” sold 47,000 copies in print since Election Day in November. That is up from 36,000 copies over the same period the prior year. 

Here is a summary of the story:

George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948. The novel is set in 1984 – Orwell’s near future and our recent past-but the novel is still relevant today, due to its depiction of a totalitarian government and its themes of using media manipulation and advanced technology to control people.

The movies do not do the book too well. I have seen both a read the book.

The book is on Amazon’s Best Seller list this year. You don’t have to wonder why. Consider “alternate facts” and “fake news” in the real world. The similarities between the book and the world of Donald Trump are too frightening.

Posted by: coastcontact | February 22, 2017

Nazi Laws were Based on Racist American Statutes

There is no back up information to support this opinion writer’s contentions.  However, as I have written previously, the United States has a history of discrimination against minorities.  The latest desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri and the threatened attacks on mosques and Jewish community centers is no surprise to me. White American Christians have viewed all others as a threat to America since its founding.  What troubles me about posting this opinion piece is its impact on those outside the United States that are reading the commentary.  I hope some of you post some responses.

When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

By James Q. Whitman, Los Angeles Times opinion page, February 22, 2017

The European far right sees much to admire in the United States, with political leaders such as Marine le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands celebrating events — such as the recent presidential election — that seem to bode well for their brand of ethno-nationalism. Is this cross-Atlantic bond unprecedented? A sharp break with the past? If it seems so, that’s only because we rarely acknowledge America’s place in the extremist vanguard — its history as a model, even, for the very worst European excesses.

In the late 1920s, Adolf Hitler declared in “Mein Kampf” that America was the “one state” making progress toward the creation of a healthy race-based order. He had in mind U.S. immigration law, which featured a quota system designed, as Nazi lawyers observed, to preserve the dominance of “Nordic” blood in the United States.

The American commitment to putting race at the center of immigration policy reached back to the Naturalization Act of 1790, which opened citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person.”  But immigration was only part of what made the U.S. a world leader in racist law in the age of Hitler.

Then as now, the U.S. was the home of a uniquely bold and creative legal culture, and it was harnessed in the service of white supremacy. Legislators crafted anti-miscegenation statutes in 30 states, some of which threatened severe criminal punishment for interracial marriage.  And they developed American racial classifications, some of which deemed any person with even “one drop” of black blood to belong to the disfavored race. Widely denied the right to vote through clever devices like literacy tests, blacks were de facto second-class citizens. American lawyers also invented new forms of de jure second-class citizenship for Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and more.

European racists followed these toxic innovations with keen interest. Of course they were well aware that America had strong egalitarian traditions, and many of them predicted that American race law would prove inadequate to stem the rising tide of race-mixing. Hitler, however, was cautiously hopeful about America’s future as a white supremacist state, and after he took power in 1933 his Nazi Party displayed the same attitude.

This is the background to a disturbing story: the story of the American influence on the Nuremberg Laws, the notorious anti-Jewish legislation proclaimed amid the pageantry of the Nazi Party Rally at Nuremberg in September of 1935.

At a crucial 1934 planning meeting for the Nuremberg system, the Minister of Justice presented a memorandum on American law.  According to a transcript, he led a detailed discussion of miscegenation statutes from all over the United States. Moreover it is clear that the most radical Nazis were the most eager advocates of American practices. Roland Freisler, who would become president of the Nazi People’s Court, declared that American jurisprudence “would suit us perfectly.”

And the ugly irony is that when the Nazis rejected American law, it was often because they found it too harsh.  For example, Nazi observers shuddered at the “human hardness” of the “one drop” rule, which classified people “of predominantly white appearance” as blacks.  To them, American racism was sometimes simply too inhumane.

That may sound implausible — too awful to believe — but in their early years in power, the Nazis were not yet contemplating the “final solution.” At first, they had a different fate in mind for the German Jewry:  Jews were to be reduced to second-class citizenship and punished criminally if they sought to marry or engage in sexual contact with “Aryans.”  The ultimate goal  was to terrify Germany’s Jews into emigrating.

And for that program, America offered the obvious model — even if, as one Nazi lawyer put it in 1936, the Americans had “so far” not persecuted their Jews.  Of course the Nazis did not simply do a cut-and-paste job, in part because much of American law avoided open racism. (Laws intended to keep blacks from the polls did not explicitly name their target.) But American anti-miscegenation law was frankly racist, and the Nazi criminalization of intermarriage followed the American lead.

In a sense, this ugly tale about the history of American racism is also about American innovation gone awry. Today, we’re leaders in the creation of corporate law; back then, it was race law. Other countries, such as Australia, put legislative obstacles in the way of mixed marriages, but the United States went so far as to threaten long prison terms.

And we must not forget how tenaciously the racist rulebook that the Nazis admired held on in the United States. Anti-miscegenation laws were only struck down at the tail end of the civil rights era, in 1967. Race-based immigration policies did not fully end until 1968 — long after the Greatest Generation stormed the beaches of Normandy and liberated Nazi death camps.

James Q. Whitman is a professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. He is the author of “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”  

Posted by: coastcontact | February 19, 2017

Which is better: Will or living trust?

As a Legal Document Assistant in California, I could not ignore these words from Liz Weston in today’s LA Times.

Liz Weston, financial advice columnist Los Angeles Times

Feb 19, 2017

Which is better: Will or living trust?

 

Dear Liz: I am 48 and my wife is 45. Should we set up a will or a living trust? Which is better?

 

Answer: One of the major differences between wills and Irving trusts is whether the estate has to go through probate, which is the court process that typically follows death. Living trusts avoid probate while wills do not.

Probate isn’t a big problem in many states, but in some – including California -it can be protracted, expensive and often worth avoiding. Another advantage of living trusts is privacy. While wills are entered into the public record, living trusts aren’t.

Living trusts can help you avoid another court supervised process called conservancy. If you’re incapacitated, the person you’ve named as your “successor trustee” can take over management of your finances without going to court. To avoid the court process without a living trust, you’d need separate documents called powers of attorney. If you have minor children, your living trust trustee can manage their money for them. If you have a will, you would need to include language setting up a trust and naming a trustee.

One big disadvantage of living trusts is the cost. Although price tags vary, a lawyer typically charges a few hundred dollars for a will, while a living trust may cost a few thousand. Also, there’s some hassle involved, since property has to be transferred into the trust to avoid probate.

There are do-it-yourself options, including Nolo software and LegalZoom, that can save you money if your situation isn’t complicated and you’re willing to invest some time in learning about estate planning. If your situation is at all complicated, though -‘if you’re wealthy or have contentious relatives who are likely to challenge your documents – an experienced attorney’s help can be invaluable.

Whichever you decide, make sure you have one or the other before too much longer. Otherwise when you die, state law will determine who gets your stuff and who gets your kids.

Posted by: coastcontact | February 18, 2017

How to Destroy the Republic

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, to discuss a Congressional resolution condemning the government of Syria for crimes against humanity and supporting the right of the people of Syria to be safe and to defend themselves. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, to discuss a Congressional resolution condemning the government of Syria for crimes against humanity and supporting the right of the people of Syria to be safe and to defend themselves. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Senator John McCain, a conservative Republican from Arizona, slammed President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media this week by noting dictators “get started by suppressing free press.”

“I hate the press,” the Arizona Republican sarcastically told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”

But he continued, “If you want to preserve — I’m very serious now — if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain said in the interview. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”

“They get started by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power — when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” McCain said. “And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

Imagine if President Trump announced that he wanted to oust California from the United States. If it weren’t for us, after all, Trump would have won the popular vote he so lusts after by 1.4 million votes. Trump just might be happy with the Calexit petition. Petition signature gathering for a “Calexit” vote was approved by the California Secretary of State on January 27. If approved by California voters it would begin the long, multi-step process for withdrawing California from the United States.

Read those 14 Characteristics Of Fascism listed on this web site and elsewhere and tell me Donald Trump is not on the path to creating a dictatorship.

Posted by: coastcontact | February 18, 2017

More Rain than We can Handle

Southern Californians are unaccustomed to rainy days.  It rained yesterday from about 7 a.m. to about 7 a.m. today. I have a rain gauge in the backyard.  4.2 inches of rain was not a record but was one of the rainiest days we have had since 1997 when I started collecting data.

The Mojave Desert and adjoining mountain areas are more susceptible to significant rainfall.  A local television station was on Highway 138 just a few miles west of Interstate 15 reporting on the blocked two lane roadway.  As the reporter is giving an update from inside the vehicle a wave of water rolled across the desert surface that looked like a wave at the beach.

Nearby a few hours later, on Interstate 15 in El Cajon pass a fire truck was helping people evacuate from their cars, when the freeway itself collapsed sending the truck into a ditch.  That same local television station was there when that happened and you actually saw the truck quickly fall.  No one was injured as the crew was helping motorists.

fire-truck-falls-due-to-rain

With more than 22.5 inches of rain to date this season is one of the rainiest I have recorded.  The rainiest I have recorded was 48.3 inches in the 1997-98 El Nino year.  Long range forecasters had predicted this season would be a La Nina dry year.  So much for long range forecasting.

The following photo taken by a Daily News reporter in Studio City, that is near Universal Studios. That area is in the city of Los Angeles.

rainy-day-in-san-fernando-valley

Two vehicles fell into the 20-foot sinkhole in Studio City Friday and firefighters had to rescue one woman who escaped her car. (Photo by Rick McClure for SCNG)

Posted by: coastcontact | February 16, 2017

A very clever Credit Card SCAM

Credit Card SCAM-very clever PLEASE READ

This is a heads up for everyone regarding the latest in Visa fraud. Royal Bank received this communication about the newest scam. This is happening in the Midwest right now and moving across the country.

This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.

This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard telephone Credit Card Scam works, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself. One of our employees was called on Wednesday from ‘VISA’, and I was called on Thursday from ‘MasterCard’.

The scam works like this:

Person calling says – ‘This is (name) and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460, your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona ?’ When you say ‘No’, the caller continues with, ‘Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address). Is that correct?’ You say ‘yes’.

The caller continues – ‘I will be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. ‘Do you need me to read it again?’

Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works – The caller then says, ‘I need to verify you are in possession of your card’. He’ll ask you to ‘turn your card over and look for some numbers’. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?’

After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, ‘Don’t hesitate to call back if you do’, and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. We were glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. We made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the Scammer wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don’t give it to them . Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or Master Card directly for verification of their conversation.

The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information, since they issued the card! If you give the Scammer your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you’re receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a ‘Jason Richardson of MasterCard’ with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA Scam. This time I didn’t let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. I dealt with a similar situation this morning, with the caller telling me that $3,097 had been charged to my account for plane tickets to Spain , and so on through the above routine.

It appears that this is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful….

You might consider passing this on to all your family and friends.

Posted by: coastcontact | February 15, 2017

Firefall returns to Yosemite National Park

The last Firefall was on Thursday, January 25, 1968. Since it was winter, no crowd was present.  The cameras I owned in those days could not capture the image.  The Firefall was a daily event that occurred in Yosemite Valley.  Traffic stopped and so did everything else at 9 PM every night.  It took an hour for the traffic to clear.  It was a pollution problem for Yosemite National Park,

The Yosemite Firefall was a summer time event that began in 1872 and continued for almost a century, in which burning hot embers were spilled from the top of Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park to the valley 3,000 feet below. From a distance it appeared as a glowing waterfall. The owners of the Glacier Point Hotel conducted the firefall. History has it that David Curry, founder of Camp Curry, would stand at the base of the fall, and yell “Let the fire fall,” each night as a signal to start pushing the embers over.

firefall-photo-not-taken-by-me

 

Now to replicate the past artificial lighting has brought back the effect.  It is a challenge for photo hobbyists.  It is claimed that it is a natural phenomenon.

firefall-illuson-2017

Posted by: coastcontact | February 15, 2017

Kate Upton lands Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover for third time

Ladies, you don’t have to look.  Men will be looking.  I traditionally post the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

kate-upton-on-si-2017-cover

More photos of Kate Upton here.

Posted by: coastcontact | February 14, 2017

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s English Country House

This home cost a reported $10 Million USD.  That is 8,027,600.00 British Pound Sterling. Isn’t it wonderful to be wealthy? Well, of course. Money makes every issue of life just a little bit easier. We should congratulate them on the upcoming birth of twins.

george-clooney-and-amal-alamuddins-english-country-house

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