Posted by: coastcontact | January 19, 2017

Chelsea Manning is a Traitor to the United States

I am aware that President Barack Obama wants to leave a legacy.  That appears to have been the wish of every president in the past 100 years.  The president has that legacy in creating the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).  So why would he besmirch his legacy by commuting the prison sentence of Bradley Manning, who through a sex change operation, is now known as Chelsea Manning?  I do not know the answer.

Manning was United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents.Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years’ imprisonment, with the possibility of parole in the eighth year, and to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.

There is no doubt that Manning committed the crimes.  She pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the charges. The trial on the remaining charges began on June 3, 2013, and on July 30, she was convicted of 17 of the original charges and amended versions of four others, but was acquitted of aiding the enemy.  She was sentenced to serve a 35-year sentence at the maximum-security U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.

The decision — which a senior defense official told CNN was made over the objections of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter — immediately touched off a controversy in the closing days of the Obama administration.

In my opinion, comparing his crime to General James Cartwright or General David Petraeus is inappropriate.  Cartwright lied to an investigator and Petraeus told some secrets to his mistress.  Manning stole 750,000 documents and gave them to Wikileaks.

Posted by: coastcontact | January 18, 2017

How about a Trip to Europe Before You are Too Old!

Look! You cannot take all you have saved with you to the next dimension. I know, you want to leave your children and grandchildren an inheritance. Unless your children are seniors themselves, they are more likely to spend that inheritance than save it for a rainy day.

Consider just one or two splurges before your time to check out has come. I am not suggesting you spend your money at a casino. I know, Las Vegas makes an enticing place to spend a few days. There is more than that spending trap.

You can still walk, although slowly. You can still appreciate beautiful art and architecture.

Trafalgar offers some easy walking tours of London and Paris. Actually they take you to the door of many of the most famous places in those cities. Seven day cruises on the Mediterranean Sea can take you to some of Europe’s most famous cities.

Careful planning will not break the bank on those tours.

Bring you camera or smartphone and capture the memories.

Some of the Best Photo Spots in the world are in Europe.

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              London Eye from nearby bridge

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Claude Monet’s Garden near Paris

Taking some of the most iconic shots is a snap when you book your one trip.
• London Eye, London
• Eiffel Tower, Paris
• Trevi Fountain, Rome
• Lagagrada Familia, Barcelona
• Santorini, Greece
• Tower of Pisa, Pisa

5 Tips for Taking the Best Vacation Photos
With a few tricks up your sleeve, the kids will be fighting over who gets to see your photos first.
1. Aim for natural light and try to avoid using flash
2. Don’t pose every shot – make candid photos of people having fun your aim
3. Capture the atmosphere by photographing food, street scenes, and the locals
4. Don’t be self-conscious – these are your memories!
5. Get a good photo editing app for your smartphone and lose the bulky camera bag

We took the Trafalgar tour in 2012 and now we are planning the cruise this coming summer.

Posted by: coastcontact | January 17, 2017

Betty White celebrates her 95th Birthday

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Betty White calendar pose

Happy Birthday Betty White! The actress is best known for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland.”

“The Golden Girls” is still being broadcast on cable television.

Here is a photo of Betty White at age 28. It was 1950. The beautiful brunette co-hosted music roundup Hollywood on Television for a whopping five hours a day, six days a week. “We were one of the only games in town,” she has said of her show with DJ Al Jarvis. “It was like television college.”

betty-white-at-28

Posted by: coastcontact | January 15, 2017

Who Started the Internet?

In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com took unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of Dorothy (Dot for short).  Dot Com was a comely woman, large of breast, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, “Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?”

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, “How, dear?”

And Dot replied, “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.  And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew.  It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew to The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.  And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates’ drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.”  And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said, “We need a name that reflects what we are.”

And Dot replied, “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.”

YAHOO,” said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began. And that’s the truth. I would not make up this stuff.

Author unknown

Posted by: coastcontact | January 13, 2017

Amazon plans to create more than 100,000 full-time jobs in America

Amazon said Thursday that it plans to create more than 100,000 “full-time, full-benefit” jobs in the United States over the next 18 months.

That sounds wonderful!

Don’t expect Amazon to hire 100,000 coders, however. Much of its current and future workforce is made up of employees working warehouse jobs and answering phones.  The average fulfillment associate annual salary is $24,000.  That equates to $461.54 per week or $11.53 per hour.  Of course if you don’t have a job, $11.53 an hour might sound like at least enough to put some food on the table.

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Amazon packaging line

Amazon says the jobs will offer “highly-competitive pay, health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans and company stock.”  That is good!

Where are the middle class jobs?  They are not at Amazon.  They are not at Walmart.

Low paid jobs are now becoming the new normal in America.

Posted by: coastcontact | January 11, 2017

All New Toyota Camry for 2018

As I am driving a 2001 Nissan Maxima with over 115,000 miles, I am considering a newer car, maybe brand new, in 2017.  Toyota’s 2018 Camry will be available in late 2017.  The car’s styling has always been a bit stodgy.  Reports are saying the 2018 model will offer some sleeker styling and some important safety features.  Knowing Camry’s reliability history makes this a car I am definitely going to consider.

According to Toyota, the redesigned Camry features a lower center of gravity aimed at making it more aerodynamic and fuel efficient. The new car also has a two-inch longer wheelbase. And the hood, cowl, and dashboard height have all been lowered for better outward visibility.

Mechanically, the 2018 Camry offers the same familiar powertrains: a 3.5-liter V6, and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Both will be paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, as experienced recently in Consumer Reports Highlander and Sienna test vehicles.

A four-cylinder hybrid will also be available, mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and featuring Toyota’s latest fuel-saving technology. Horsepower and fuel economy estimates were not disclosed.

Posted by: coastcontact | January 9, 2017

Meryl Streep’s Speech at The Golden Globes 2017

Posted by: coastcontact | January 6, 2017

Interesting American Population Statistics

Massachusetts, home to one of the nation’s wealthiest and most highly educated population, leads the nation in quality of life. Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, trails the other 49 states according to 24/7 Wall St. that reviewed three statewide social and economic measures — poverty rate, educational attainment, and life expectancy at birth — to rank each state’s living conditions. Socioeconomic outcomes vary greatly between states.

West Virginia came in at 49th place.  That is no surprise.  Here is a link to the rest of 24/7 Wall St. ratings.  Nine of the ten with the poorest quality of life are in the South.  That too is no surprise.  What is a surprise is that Florida came in at number 30.

California at number 15 is the result of the high cost of housing.  The median home value in California is $449,100, more than double the value of the typical home nationwide. If you can handle that then it is a great place to live as there is no snow in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  Life expectancy is the third highest in the nation.

New York state is dominated by NYC is at 13th place.  If you love the really big city that never sleeps it might be the place to live.

I would have thought that Hawaii might be in 2nd place but it’s at a mere 10th place. High incomes do not go as far in Hawaii as they would in other states.  Goods and services cost about 17% more across the state than they do on average nationwide, the highest cost of living of any state.

Connecticut in second place and appears to be a great place to live.

Interestingly the people of America are not entirely in tune with the above opinions.  Below is a U.S. Census map showing the change in population from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016.  California’s low percentage growth is a consequence of being the most populated state. With 10 year growth of 11% it now has a population of over 39 million people.  As there are over 324 million people in the USA, that means that 12% of the all Americans live in California.

population-change-7-1-2015-to-7-1-2016

Posted by: coastcontact | January 1, 2017

Affordable Health Care is an Oxymoron

The words “Affordable Health Care” are a contradiction.  By its very nature health care is unaffordable.  That is the reason so many countries have embraced universal health care as a national responsibility. 

The rhetorical term oxymoron, made up of two Greek words meaning “sharp” and “dull,” is itself oxymoronic.

As you probably remember from school, an oxymoron is a compressed paradox: a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. British writer Thomas Gibbons characterized the figure as “sense in the masquerade of folly.”  This explanation comes from http://grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/100-Awfully-Good-Examples-Of-Oxymorons.htm.

In my opinion the most outrageous oxymoron statement was “Peace for our time.”  It was said by  Neville Chamberlain on September 30, 1938.

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is “peace for our time.” Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

On September 3, 1939 in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France, both allies of the overrun nation declared war on Germany.

 

While health care is hardly in the same category as a war, the Affordable Health Care Act is not affordable.

Obamacare rates are going way up. The latest estimate from the federal government is that the average midlevel Obamacare plan, the most popular choice, will cost about 22 percent more in 2017 than it did in 2016.  This is based on data from 39 states where people sign up through the HealthCare.gov website and some preliminary data from four other states and the District of Columbia.

The health care industry is a “for profit” system that hides under the IRS category of “non-profit” but pays its management high rewards.  Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson  earned $2.3 million in salary and other compensation in 2010, according to Kaiser’s federal tax filing.

For profit companies Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini and Cigna CEO David Cordani both saw their total pay surge to $17.3 million in 2015 after earning $15 million and $14.5 million, respectively, in 2014.

Over the past six months, Mylan, which is one of the world’s largest purveyors of generic medicines, raised prices more than 20 percent on two dozen products. And Mylan also boosted prices by more that 100 percent on seven other products, according to Wells Fargo analyst David Maris, who called some of the price hikes “exceptionally large.”

So where is the affordability?  The idea of controlled costs is a myth.  There are no laws limiting the profits that hospitals earn, pharmaceutical companies earn, or insurance companies earn.

For reasons that evade me the GOP’s war on Obamacare offers no reasonable alternative.  Of course if their intent is to protect health care profits by returning health care to the way it was before Obamacare was enacted, they are on the right path.

Posted by: coastcontact | January 1, 2017

Moaning Means You Are Happy

You did not know that moaning means you’re happy?  Scott Adams’ cartoon really is a reality.  Following is today’s Dilbert.

dilbert-1-1-2017-moans-means-you-happy

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