Posted by: coastcontact | July 30, 2015

When Everything Was So Great!! ??

From Dutchman a HuffPost community moderator on 7-29-2015                                   

This is for the “everything was great when Republicans were president” crowd.

Here is my updated (as of market close last Friday) analysis of the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 returns.

Source data is available from Standard and Poors (www.standardandpoors.com) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( href=”http://www.bea.gov“>www.bea.gov)

Peak to Valley loss for the S&P 500 from October, 2007 through January, 2009: -50.9%. Who was president then?

Cumulative return to the S&P 500 since February, 2009: +111%
And then there’s this: Rank of the best performing presidenti­­al administra­­tion for the annualized return of the S&P 500 “under their watch”:

Clinton: 14.26%

Eisenhower : 13.38%

Obama: 13.15%

Kennedy: 11.10%

Bush I: 11.01%

Truman: 9.99%

Reagan: 9.51%

Roosevelt: 8.67%

Johnson: 7.16%

Carter: 1.20%

Nixon/Ford : −2.16%

Bush II: −5.18%

Hoover: −17.33%

Amazing! The president with the 3rd best annualized real return of the S&P 500 “under his watch” since the CRSP records begin in 1926 is OBAMA!!!!!  And he did much better than the GOP hero, Mr. Reagan did.

More importantly, in aggregate and individual­­ly, Republican presidents are TERRIBLE for the S&P 500.

Annualized, real return of the S&P 500 since 1926 under Democratic presidenci­­es: 9.57%

Annualized, real return of the S&P 500 since 1926 under Republican presidenci­­es: 3.85%

Moreover, 8 of the 10 WORST YEARS for the S&P 500 occurred under Republican Presidents .

The worst years are:

1931: -43.35% (Hoover)
2008: -37.00% (Bush II)
1937: -35.02% (Roosevelt )
1974: -26.45% (Nixon)
1930: -24.0% (Hoover)
2002: -22.1% (Bush II)
1973: -14.67% (Nixon)
2001: -11.87% (Bush II)
1941: -11.58% (Roosevelt )
1957: -10.79% (Eisenhowe­­r).

And then there’s this:  the ONLY presidents to ever see the S&P 500 lower after they left office than when they came in were Republicans.

Facts. You gotta love them. Unless you’re a conservative.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 27, 2015

Proof of Global Warming?

P1000385

Photo taken with Panasonic FZ200; 1/800 sec;   f/4.0;   ISO 100

All the grass was brown

And the sky was blue

We landed at SETAC

And the heat was on

We weren’t California Dreamin’

On this warm Washington day

OK, maybe I am not a lyrics writer but the message was clear. As we landed we could see the brown fields. It was a perfect holiday for southern Californians who abhor rain. We did cancel our trip to NYC because of the rainy days. So a draught stricken northwest gave us the opportunity to see Seattle and Vancouver without facing their usually rainy days.

It was no better in Vancouver. We wore shorts and T shirts on most days. To emphasize their problems in Vancouver we heard a report on the radio that ALL lawn watering was banned. Stanley Park, so famous for its green laws was a parched brown.

If this isn’t global warning, what is it? Even in Toronto they are selling rain barrels to help water the plants. The cost of beef has increased by 50% this year due to dwindling herds of cattle caused by the lack of rain and the high cost of feed.

Is this a prelude of the world as depicted in “Soilent Green?”

Posted by: coastcontact | July 26, 2015

Fire Arms Control

Rick Perry said in an interview Sunday, July 26, 2015, on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, earlier this week shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea” and said he believes people should be able to take their firearms to the movies.

“I think that it makes a lot of sense to send a message across this country,” Perry said when asked by host Jake Tapper if the former governor believed a way to prevent such violence would be to allow moviegoers to take guns inside. “If we believe in the Second Amendment, and we believe in people’s right to protect themselves and defend themselves, and their families.”

In other words after you enter the theater and take your seat you should pull out a pistol and keep it on your lap just in case there is a gunman in the room.

On the same program Donald Trump said there was “a very fine line. You’ve got to do it very judiciously. If a person is mentally ill and it’s proven and it’s documented, you have to be extremely careful not to let them kill people,” he said.

“Frankly, he should be committed. Because he has the kind of a record where he should be in a institution. He was a very sick puppy.”

Mr. Trump has essentially taken my view. We test everyone before they receive a driver’s license. That should conducted for everyone who want to buy a gun. The test should confirm you know how to handle a weapon and should include a written test and a mental evaluation. Will this be expensive? More than the cost now but perhaps will save lives.

The NRA will throw a fit over this idea. Can our congress stand up to the NRA? I doubt it. But perhaps there is a chance. I continue to hope.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 24, 2015

American Political Dynasties

Family dynasties in politics goes back to our second president, John Adams. His son, John Quincy Adams was the 6th president. John Quincy was an early proponent of Manifest Destiny, an American expansionist policy popular in the 19th century. He changed his position when the expansion of American territory also meant the expansion of slavery. What was he most noted for? He supported infrastructural and educational improvements in the shape of federal projects like road and canal building, a national university, and a national bank, but met with stiff opposition from supporters of Andrew Jackson in Congress. He is renowned as one of America’s greatest diplomats before his presidency and one of American’s greatest congressmen after his presidency, but was not a particularly effective president. Source: http://us-presidents.insidegov.com/q/27/9699/What-were-President-John-Quincy-Adams-s-accomplishments, www.john-adams-heritage.com/john-quincy-adams-facts/

Then there were the Roosevelts. Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was a republican (In office September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909) with a liberal view who started our national park system and the first anti- trust laws. He began construction of the Panama Canal. Later his famous young nephew Franklin Roosevelt who led America out of the Great Depression and through most of WWII.

The Kennedy Family was famous even before John F. Kennedy became president.

The Bayh family of Indiana consists of two representatives Birch Bayh and most recently his son Evan Bayh.

The Brown family of California. The father was Pat Brown who is famous for building the California aqueduct that helped to distribute northern California water to southern California. His daughter Kathleen served as the state’s Treasurer and son Jerry who is now serving his fourth term as governor.

The Bush family starting with Prescott Bush (1895–1972) brought us George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush as presidents. Today George W. Bush’s brother, for Florida governor Jeb is running for president.

The Gore’s of Tennessee, and the Dodd’s of Connecticut are two other families that also come to mind.

Last but hardly least is Hillary Clinton who would like to be remembered for more than being a former First Lady.

There are many other political families listed in Wikipedia.

The question is have these families really harmed America? I believe the answer, for some of them is Yes. They see politics as a business to earn money for themselves and their families at the expense of society. Here in Los Angeles at least two families were instrumental in the incorporation of separate small towns that were manipulated to purchase services from their private companies.

These situations should be a reason for more Americans to be involved in the political system.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 24, 2015

Will the Anthem-Cigna deal cost you money?

The question posed by the Los Angeles Times is ludicrous. Dave Jones, California’s insurance commissioner, said he doubts there will be any significant benefits to customers from this latest merger.

This is a no brainer. With reduced competition Anthem will be able to raise their rates and possibly reduce coverage for many with hard to treat illnesses.

In a society where profits are the driving force we all know that this merger will be approved and everyone will pay more for coverage. Even those not enrolled with Anthem or Cigna will see their rates increase.

Imagine the cost of the food you eat if there was only one source. You must buy your food from that one source or grow it yourself. That one giant food store chain sets the prices and the profits rise to the delight of the stock holders.

We need more people like Senator Bernie Sanders. When will this situation change? Not until the majority of the population voices their opposition.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 23, 2015

A Fun Trip with Challenges

After cancelling our trip to NYC due to repeating bad weather we decided to visit Seattle and Vancouver. Our last trip there in 1999 had its very wet periods. Drought in Northwest made this visit an easy decision.

With a departure on Jet Blue at 1:55 pm at Long Beach airport leaving the house at 10:30 am seemed a good idea. We would casually have lunch in Long Beach and drive over to the airport.

The first issue was the 101 and 405 freeways. The driving time turned out to be 1 1/2 hours. Then came the very small signs indicating a turn off of a wide Blvd. Not seeing that sign took us through the nearby oil refineries district. So instead of a casual lunch it was a mad dash to the air plane.

The long term parking is not $6.00 as I had planned. It’s $17.60 a day.

The not so fast TSA Pre check line got us to gate 7 with 10 minutes to spare. We were required to be there 15 minutes prior to take off. The plane was still disembarking passengers from the landed plane 10 minutes before our departure time. We actually started boarding 10 minutes after the scheduled depart time.

Our lunch was a muffin and bottle of water eaten after take-off. The take-off was 2:33 PM. That time the result of 5 minute delay by the Seattle control tower due to congestion at SEATAC and other unknown factors.

Happily I had made arrangements with the Hampton Inn for a car to pick us up at SEATAC and the driver called just as the plane came to a stop. No problem reaching the hotel (Hampton Inn). The hotel room is oversized but that’s OK since the nightly rate with tax exceeds $300. Dinner at the Crow a block from the hotel was a C-. It was both noisy and unappetizing.

Our one day in Seattle consisted of two round trips on the Emerald City hop on hop off bus. We did not get off once during those rides. The trips started at the Space Needle center city park. We ate lunch at the park and went through a well done fantasy museum that featured movies primarily from Star Wars and Star Trek but also included a fantasy section with costumes from Wizard of Oz and Princess Bride. The museum was well done.

Friday was our trip to Vancouver BC.
At about 8:30 am Friday morning I called Hertz to confirm the car pick up time. “We don’t have the car you reserved. We do have a Yaris.” I responded saying, “What’s the point of making a reservation over a month ago that was reconfirmed just two days ago?” The agent did not respond. I explained I need a car that will hold two regular size large suitcases. He responds that he expect a car return at 1pm.

A half hour later the Hertz agent calls to say he has a Ford Focus available now. I know this is larger than a Yaris. I ask the desk clerk to call a cab. Twenty minutes later I enter the cab for a 5 block ride. With tip that will be $10. Returning to the hotel I take a shower and shave. Wife is ready to leave.

The drive from Seattle to Vancouver went as planned until we were about 30 miles from the city. At that point we were approaching the George Massey tunnel. A sign informed us the highway would narrow to one lane through the tunnel. We sat in a 3 mile long traffic jam for 1 1/2 hours. Then the highway opened to 2 lanes. We arrived in the city in another 30 minutes.

The hotel (Holiday Inn on Broadway) is attractive and clean. Dinner was at the hotel restaurant. One prime rib 8 ounce split as we are small eaters. Breakfast at hotel is a mediocre buffet. We won’t do that again.

The hop on hop off tour of the city started from Canada Place at the harbor. Parking is $10.50 for 11 am to 6 pm seems reasonable. The two-hour ride was well worth the price. We only got off once at Prospect Point in Stanley Park. Ice cream there. The park is a beauty and a place you can spend all day visiting. We did that in 1999 on our last trip to Vancouver.

Dinner at Peaceful restaurant. It’s Chinese. It had been featured on the food channel and so was packed. It was a restaurant I had picked at random that was just a block from our hotel. When I offered my credit card they said they do not accept any credit cards. Fortunately I brought along $300 Canadian cash.

Sunday we drove to Chinatown and visited the cultural center. Lunch at Gastown across the street from the steam clock. Dinner at Cactus Club near our hotel was good.

Monday we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge. Wife did not walk across. The program there included other possible walks and climbs. Entering the facility felt like Disneyland. $35 per person but worth the price. Dinner at Earl’s on Broadway was very good and not overpriced.

Tuesday we left late from the hotel. Visited Roedde House in downtown area. It’s a house built around 1870. Lunch at Tim Hortons. Drove around center city. Back to hotel at 4:30. Wife took a nap. Dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory was good and the décor was outstanding.

Wife’s walking problems are quite bad. Future trips must take this issue into account.

Up at 7 am we are up for an early get away to SEATAC airport. My plan is to depart by 10 am for a 3 hour drive plus one hour to cross the border. We leave at 9 30 am, stop for gas and we are on the way. I miss a fork on the highway and we end up entering Vancouver airport. That cost 5 minutes. The border crossing takes only 30 minutes. We stop for lunch at the Wonderful Buffet. It’s Chinese food. As we are leaving we engage conversation with a man who says go to airport as quickly as possible because Seattle traffic can make the drive a nightmare.

He was correct. Traffic through central Seattle crawls. I see a sign saying exit 154 for airport. At exit 160 I see a sign for gasoline. Pull off find the station fill up go south to Rainier turn right take 5 south. But the traffic is slow and the signs are not clear. Finally on 5 south we see a sign saying 5 south to airport. The traffic is unbelievably slow. Cars are moving at a crawl. There are no more SEATAC signs. I get nervous and exit, find a place to park and check phone map. We have passed the airport according to my smartphone map. We head over to US 99 north rather than struggle with the slow moving freeway. 

The clock is ticking. It’s now 3:45. The plane takes off at 5:08. Driving north on 99 looking for airport entrance. It’s a small sign partially blocked by tree branches and leaves. There is no large sign. We turn in and follow signs to car return. I takes a group of 5 turns to reach the return facility. The car return is about a mile from the terminal. We park. The agent gives me a receipt. Car is quickly unloaded. A porter brings a cart for the luggage. He escorts us to a bus that takes us to the terminal.

Fortunately there is an abandoned luggage cart nearby as we exit the bus. We rush into the airport to find that we are on the lower level for arriving passengers. Wife asks someone where is the boarding area is and she is told to go to the glass elevator and take to top floor. The time is now 4:25.

We take the elevator to the upper deck. Where is the Jet Blue check in? All I see is Alaska Airlines. It must be farther down the terminal, I am rushing ahead of wife. I see the Jet Blue sign and push the cart to the ticket counter. The line is unoccupied. The lady there asks my name and finds the booking. She wants to see both of our IDs. She issues us boarding passes and incorrectly says go to the right to go through security. It’s now 4:30.

We must go thru TSA security and get to gate D5 15 minutes before departure according to Jet Blue rules. Wife is a slow walker. I urge her on. Through TSA and it’s now 4:45. We are finally on corridor D. The time is 5 P.M. We hear “last call for flight to Long Beach” on the PA. Time is 5:03.

As we approach to gate we see people waiting to board the plane. There are four or five people ahead of us. The sweat is dripping of my face and into my eyes. We have made the flight. Surprisingly another four or five other people are behind us.

We did not depart on time.

Despite the challenges we had a good time.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 14, 2015

“Peace for Our Time”

The phrase “Peace for Our Time” was spoken on 30 September 1938 by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his speech concerning the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German Declaration.[1] The phrase echoed Benjamin Disraeli, who upon returning from the Congress of Berlin in 1878 stated “I have returned from Germany with peace for our time.” It is primarily remembered for its ironic value: less than a year after the agreement, following continued aggression from Hitler and his invasion of Poland, Europe was plunged into World War II.

In an exclusive interview with Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist in the New York Times, the president explains why he has no second thoughts about the accord with Iran. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/opinion/thomas-friedman-obama-makes-his-case-on-iran-nuclear-deal.html?_r=0

In my opinion President Obama has provided the world “Peace for Our Time.” He offers a series of explanations justifying his decision to reach a deal with Iran. The problem is that Iran has a history of supporting terrorists throughout the Middle East. The agreement does not stop Iran from obtaining conventional weapons that are used against everyone they consider an enemy. Iranians gather in their streets to yell “Death to America.” Is that the sign of a new friendlier Iran? We will live to rue the day this agreement was put in play.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 11, 2015

How Changing Demographics could change America’s Politics!

Could White People be the New Minority?

John Adams painting by Charles Wilson PealeOpposition to immigration has a history going back to our second president, John Adams. The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by the Federalist Congress in 1798 and signed into law by President Adams. These laws included new powers to deport foreigners as well as making it harder for new immigrants to vote. Previously a new immigrant would have to reside in the United States for five years before becoming eligible to vote, but a new law raised this to 14 years. In essence, this Act prohibited public opposition to the government. Fines and imprisonment could be used against those who “write, print, utter, or publish . . . any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against the government. (source: http://www.ushistory.org/us/19e.asp)

At the end of 2014 California’s population exceeded 38 million people and was on its way to 40 million in 2015.

Latinos outnumber Whites in Calfornia

A new tally, released in late June, shows that as of July 1, 2014, about 14.99 million Latinos live in California, edging out the 14.92 million whites in the state.

Asians account for more than 14% of our population. That equals more than 5 million people. Almost 1.5 million are Filipino.

Walk through your neighborhood mall and you will appreciate the large number of Non-White Americans living here.

This is bad news for the Republican Party. According to a Gallup poll taken in 2012 “Republicans are overwhelmingly non-Hispanic white, at a level that is significantly higher than the self-identified white percentage of the national adult population. Just 2% of Republicans are black, and 6% are Hispanic.”

Failure of the GOP controlled Congress to pass revised immigration laws along with their new idea of limiting legal immigration to a greater extent almost guarantees that Non-White Americans will be voting Democratic in the next national election. The Democratic Party is depending on that outcome. They have every reason to expect the turnout will be in their favor when you listen to GOP candidate talking points.

Donald Trump Donald Trump stands for a shrinking White minority.  Google the views of the Republican candidates and you realize they do not have a solution for the 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. They oppose amnesty and none wants to grant any recognition to those people. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has even discussed limiting legal immigration.

Not one candidate, neither Democrat nor Republican, for president has voiced the idea of enforcing current law that would result in penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.

Hillary Clinton sees a path to the White House by emphasizing the Republican opposition to any legal solution.

Unless the Republican Party changes in a dramatic way it will become part of America’s history.

Posted by: coastcontact | July 9, 2015

Jenny Horne

From the floor of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Jenny Horne of South Carolina

http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&siteSection=latimes_hom_non_sec&videoId=29347031

Posted by: coastcontact | July 7, 2015

G.O.P. has a Chance to Win the Next Presidential Election

Twelve million undocumented immigrants are working here in the United States. Many can’t speak English. Those people are doing jobs that Americans won’t take because the pay is too low. Those illegal aliens will do those jobs because it’s better to live in the United States illegally then staying in their native countries.

Donald Trump has put the issue of illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants) front and center. The rest of the Republican presidential candidates have been too timid in condemning Trump’s remarks.

As things stand now the Republican Congress has not lived up to the promises it made. Few laws have been passed. The One Hundred and Fourteenth United States Congress has been a continuation of the gridlock of the previous two year session.

The Senate did pass an immigration reform bill in 2013. The vote was 68-32. Fourteen Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with all Democrats in favor. Unfortunately the House has not acted on the bill. “The strong bipartisan vote we took is going to send a message across the country, it’s going to send a message to the other end of the Capitol as well,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the leader of the so-called Gang of Eight. “The bill has generated a level of support that we believe will be impossible for the House to ignore.” Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/immigration-bill-2013-senate-passes-93530.html#ixzz3fG7LNSir. We know how that has worked out.

Imagine now if the House passed that legislation. That would give the G.O.P. the campaign issue that could win them the White House. Today the Republicans are considered the party blocking immigration reform. Ah, but couldn’t the Democrats claim the victory? Thus the deadlock will probably remain.

Are the Republicans wise enough to blaze a new trail? At this time there is no answer.

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