Posted by: coastcontact | April 24, 2017

Never Again!

Those words “Never Again!” have been repeated again and again.  We will not permit another Holocaust.  Despite the words from world leaders it just keeps happening again and again.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Hebrew it is called Yom Hashoah. Six million Jews were killed by Hitler and his followers. So to answer the question: WILL OUR WORLD EVER LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES? Apparently the answer is NO!

Evidence of that is happening today in Syria. Evidence since WW2 is easy to find and goes back to the WW1 and other times.

The Armenian Holocaust remembrance day is also April 24. At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million died during the genocide conducted by the Ottoman Empire.

From April to mid-July 1994, members of the Hutu majority in Rwanda murdered some 500,000 to 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority, with horrifying brutality and speed.

In 1992, the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia, and Bosnian Serb leaders targeted both Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Croatian civilians for atrocious crimes resulting in the deaths of some 100,000 people by 1995.

The Cambodian Killing Fields are a number of sites in Cambodia where collectively more than a million people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979.

Donald Trump’s use of missiles to attack an air force base was the right thing to do from a humanitarian point of view. It just was not enough.

Posted by: coastcontact | April 21, 2017

California powered the nation

In March, California produced about 20% of the job growth in the entire country, which added 98,000 jobs last month. The state is huge, but it only accounts for about 11.5% of the country’s employees, which means that it is punching above its weight.

“We get beaten up for being a high-cost and high-tax state … but we have been outperforming many states,” said Robert Kleinhenz, an economist at Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles consulting firm.

California alone was responsible for 16% of the country’s growth from 2014 to 2016, according to Kleinhenz’s analysis.

California piled on 19,300 jobs in March and its unemployment rate dropped to 4.9%, according to figures released Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department. That’s the first time since December 2006 that the jobless rate has fallen below 5%.

It was another month of solid but not breathtaking job gains in a state that has slowed a bit after years of unbridled growth.

Still, California grew faster than the rest of the country in March, expanding at a rate of 2.1% year over year, compared with 1.5% nationwide. Californians were still slightly more likely to be unemployed; the U.S. jobless rate hit 4.5% in March.

The standout sector in March was construction, which increased payrolls by 18,900. The information sector — which includes tech businesses in Silicon Valley and moviemakers in Hollywood — faltered last month, cutting head count by 9,400.

Los Angeles County gained a net 16,000 jobs in March. The county’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, down from a revised 4.8% in February.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Posted by: coastcontact | April 18, 2017

This is not actress Scarlett Johansson

A 42-year-old product and graphic designer in Hong Kong spent a year and a half and more than $50,000 to build a female robot that’s meant to resemble a Hollywood actress whom he doesn’t want to name. (It’s Scarlett Johansson.) The crop-topped humanoid responds to a set of verbal commands and makes facial expressions.

Ricky Ma built the full-size robot, dubbed “Mark 1,” from scratch on his balcony, thus fulfilling a childhood dream, according to Reuters. “During this process, a lot of people would say things like, ‘Are you stupid? This takes a lot of money. Do you even know how to do it? It’s really hard,’” Ma said.

Have you seen the television program Humans? It is an UK series all about robots that appear to be human.  It can be seen in the USA on AMC.

After overcoming challenges like burnt-out electric motors and his inexperience with electromechanics and programming, Ma has created Mark 1, which can move its limbs, turn its head, bow, smirk, and wink. It can also respond to a set of commands with responses or movements.

Posted by: coastcontact | April 15, 2017

Evolution of American Industry

Valued at nearly $20 trillion, the U.S. economy is the largest in the world. Maintaining a competitive edge necessitates remaining diversified and dynamic. While this means that some U.S. industries thrive, others inevitably decline or are rendered obsolete.

As certain industries fade, so do hundreds of thousands of American jobs. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed employment figures from 2006 to 2015 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the 25 fastest dying industries. Employment in each industry on this list declined by at least 43%, and in the top two by at least 80%.

At least one of three broad factors is behind the decline in each of the fastest dying industries. The first factor is cost reduction. Cheaper labor abroad has caused many American companies to outsource manufacturing operations. In China, for example, the minimum monthly wage in the garment industry is less than $150 a month. Perhaps not surprisingly, the bulk of clothing Americans import was made in China.

Click here to see America’s 25 dying industries.

Click here to see America’s 25 thriving industries.

In addition to outsourcing, robotic automation in U.S. factories have hurt employment in manufacturing. The sector has shed nearly 2 million jobs in the past decade, a 12.8% decline. Of the 25 fastest dying industries, 10 are in the manufacturing sector, and seven of those are related to clothing and other textiles.

The second cause for massive employment declines in certain industries is the wide adoption and exponential growth of new technologies. Online streaming services and on-demand programming are largely responsible for the 61% employment decline in DVD and video tape manufacturing and the 89% decline in the video rental industry. Similarly, the proliferation of cellphones and smartphones has greatly reduced employment in both telephone manufacturing and photofinishing, industries where employment has declined by 51% and 60%, respectively.

Finally, broad macroeconomic conditions have also contributed to lower employment in many industries. Most notably, within the last 10 years, the subprime mortgage crisis and resulting recession have contributed to a considerable drag on construction. Since 2006, new home construction has declined by 51%. Over the same time period, the broad construction sector has shed over a million jobs, or 15.3% of total employment. The land subdivision and framing industries were hit especially hard, with employment declining by 57% and 55%, respectively.

To identify the dying industries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment growth from 2006 through last year for 704 U.S. industries in the fourth level of detail in The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. All data, including the number of establishments within each industry, average weekly and annual wages, as well as breakouts of these data over government, private, and local levels were retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The BLS tracks industry employment by tallying the number of workers in establishments whose primary sources of revenue fall within a given industry. As a result, a given establishment along with all of its employees may be reclassified depending on business decisions and market performance. For the finance and insurance industry, where the primary source of revenue for a fund, trust, or financial vehicle can change from a single trading decision, industry employee counts may not be comparable from one year to the next. To help ensure that 10-year employment changes reflected natural growth, all industries related to the management of funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles were excluded.

This is not the kind of data Donald Trump wants to see.  He, along with millions of people who have lost their jobs, does not want to face the realities of a world economy.  Instead of working to retain outdated technologies the US government should be spending its time training the population in technologies of the 21st century.  We have the money to change but we lack the will.

Posted by: coastcontact | April 7, 2017

U.S. Missile Attack on Syria – The Real Meaning

I have not watched any commentaries on television or read any in newspapers.  This is my personal opinion.

Donald Trump was put to the test.  Depending on your point of view he either passed or failed.

From the perspective of “Will the new president take military action in difficult circumstances?” the answer is YES.  From the perspective of “Will the new president avoid war at all costs?” the answer is NO.

I believe Trump’s order to fire missiles at the air base where chemical weapons were sent to kill a civilian population was the correct decision.  He sent a message to Syrian dictator Assad that the United States, while not participating in the war, is still a world leader that is concerned with all humanity.

The second message was perhaps even more important.  It sent a message to North Korea and China that a nuclear armed North Korea, that is trying to build the ability to fire ICBMs at the United States, will not go unanswered.

Finally, the third message is that the United States will not cower to others in the world who believe that that this country is a paper tiger.

Posted by: davidbancroft | April 4, 2017

You will be Happier without Jewish Food

If you are not Jewish all this may be meaningless to you. All the Jewish people I know only eat these delicacies on special occasions. Jewish people eat at BJ’s, McDonald’s, KFC, and all the places you know. The exception being the Bagels.

Latkes A pancake-like structure, not to be confused with anything a first-class health restaurant would put out. In a latke the oil remains inside the pancake. It is made with potatoes, onions, eggs and matzo meal. Latkes can be eaten with applesauce but COULD also be used to comb your hair, shine your shoes or lubricate your automobile. There is a rumor that in the time of the Maccabees, they lit a latke by mistake and it burned for eight days. What is certain is that you will have heartburn for the same amount of time. It tastes GREAT but will stop your heart if the grease gets cold.

Note: Eggs are not necessary since the potatoes will bind the pancake when they cook. Also it is not necessary to fry it in much oil. Use Pam or the like or a Teflon pan.

Matzoh Israel ‘s punishment for escaping slavery. It consists of a simple mix of flour and water – no eggs or flavor at all. When made especially well, it could actually taste like a cardboard box recycled from the Tel Aviv city dump. Its redeeming value is that it does fill you up and stays with you for a long time–sometimes far too long–and you are advised to eat lots of prunes with it. If the prunes do not work, try castor oil, or even gun powder as a last resort before a surgeon has to mine it out.

For eight days every year religious Jews must eat matzoh.  No bread. It is part of the Passover tradition that will start on the evening of April 10, 2017.

Eggs are not necessary and the constipation can be avoided by eating whole wheat matzos.


Kasha Varnishkes  One of the little-known “delicacies” that is even more difficult to pronounce than it is to cook. It has nothing to do with varnish, but is basically a mixture of buckwheat and bowtie noodles (not macaroni). Why bowties? Many sages in the Old Testament discussed this and agreed that an ancient Jewish mother must have decided, ‘Son, you can’t come to the table without a tie or, god forbid, place your elbow on the table.” If Mamma said ‘bowties,’ you better believe that’s what the family used, even if they had to invent them on the spot.


Blintzes  Not to be confused with the German war machine’s ‘blintzkreig.’ Can you imagine the Jerusalem Post in ’39 with huge headlines announcing: ‘Germans drop tons of cheese and blueberry blintzes on Poland. Shortage of sour cream expected’? Basically, this is the Jewish answer to Crepe Suzettes. They are actually offered on the menu at the local International House of Pancakes, but no one there knows what the hell they are. In ignorant bliss, they often serve them frozen from the blintz factory. No modern woman will take time to make them if she can find a grocery store selling frozen ones (assuming she can find someone in that store who knows where they are kept). 


Kishke You know from Scottish Haggis? Well, this it ain’t. Remember what I say if you should go to the Highlands . You do not want to eat Haggis, no matter how much Scotch you’ve downed. In the old days they would take an intestine and stuff it to make kishkewe use parchment paper or plastic (made in China). And what do you stuff it with? Carrots, celery, onions, flour, and spices. The skill is not to cook it alone, but to add it to the cholent (see below) and let it simmer for 24 hours until there is no chance whatsoever that there is any nutritional value left. The gravy can be purchased in bulk at any southern Bisquitville drive-thru.


Kreplach They sound worse than they taste. There is a rabbinical debate on their origins. One Rabbi claims they began when a Chinese fortune cookie fell into the chicken soup. Another claims they started in an Italian restaurant, where the owner yelled at the chef, ‘Disa pasta tastes like-a krep!’ Either way it can be soft, hard, or soggy, and the amount of meat inside depends on whether it is your mother or your mother-in-law who cooked it. Tastes best if made in a Manhatten deli where they serve the soup by the barrel-load.


Cholent This combination of noxious gases had been the secret weapon of Jews for centuries. The unique combination of beans, barley, potatoes, and bones or meat is meant to stick to your ribs and anything else it comes into contact with. Precursor of Superglue. At a fancy Mexican restaurant (kosher, of course) I once heard this comment from a youngster who had just had his first taste of Mexican refried beans: ‘What, they serve leftover cholent here too?” A Jewish American Princess once came up with something original for her guests (her first and probably last cooking attempt at the age of 25). She made cholent burgers for night supper. The guests never came back. The dogs ate the burgers but later threw up and had to be taken by ambulance to the pet emergency room.


Gefilte Fish A few years ago, an Israeli politician had problems with the filter in his fish pond and a few of his fish got rather stuck and mangled. His son (5 years old at the time) looked at them and asked, “Is that why we call it ‘ge-filtered fish?” Originally it was a carp stuffed with a minced fish and vegetable mixture. it usually is comprised of small fish balls eaten with horseradish (pronounced ‘chrain’ to rhyme with ‘insane,’ which you have to be to inflict it on your innards) and is judged on its relative strength in bringing tears to your eyes at 100 paces. The VERY NAME OF THIS DISH FRIGHTENS FULLY GROWN AND SOPHISTICATED GENTILES and they actually run when it is merely mentioned.


Bagels How can we finish without the quintessential Jewish defense weapon, the bagel? Like most foods there are legends surrounding the bagel, although I don’t know any other than it was first discovered when unsugared donuts accidentally petrified. There have been persistent rumors that the inventors of the bagel were the Norwegians who couldn’t get anyone to buy smoked salmon (Lox). Think about it: Can you picture yourself eating smoked salmon or trout on white bread? Rye? A cracker? Naaa! The Israel Defense Forces research lab looked for something hard and almost indigestible which could take the spread of cream cheese and which doesn’t take up too much room in desert-maneuvers ration kits. And why the hole? The truth is that many philosophers believe the hole is the essence and the dough is only there to indicate where the hole is placed.

Some say the wheat bagel is less constipating.  I love onion bagels.  I am especially fond of the bagels from Western Bagel.

David Bancroft

The article on CNN reads, “Trump signed into law a resolution that repealed protections requiring Internet service providers to get your permission before collecting and sharing data. These protections — which had not yet gone into effect — were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the final days of the Obama administration.”

It is panic over absolutely nothing.

This resolution changes nothing. It only reinforces an existing reality. Here is the reality.

– I apply for life insurance and the carrier does an investigation of my past life. I am not qualified for their lowest quotation because they learn something about my life that they consider to be concerning. Where did they get that information?

– I do a search on-line for information about the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze and immediately every car maker offering competitive models has advertising in the header of my screen.

– The internet constantly bombards me with advertising that an algorithm has concluded will interest me.

– My bank has studied my buying habits and concluded I should have a new credit or debit card. They send the card to me without my request.

You think this resolution will change anything? No it won’t because almost every company knows almost everything about you now.

Posted by: coastcontact | April 1, 2017

Are robots about to replace humans?

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he wasn’t worried at all about advancing artificial intelligence taking over jobs anytime soon. In fact, he said, he wouldn’t be worried about it for another 50 to 100 years.

That was a surprising commentary considering the advance of AI (artificial intelligence) and the advances in robotics. New York developer Rockefeller Group is building two warehouses in Riverside County, California that will span 1.45 million square feet. The purpose of those warehouses is to be a distribution point for goods received at the ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles.

Giant cranes unload those cargo container ships far faster than the longshoreman directed activities of the past. Thanks to bar code technology the location of every widget in a warehouse can be identified and fetched by robots that can lift and move 3,000 pounds with ease. That means fewer jobs for operators of large fork lifts.

Recent studies from McKinsey and the economists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne estimate that around 45 percent of workers currently perform tasks that could be automated in the near future. And the World Bank estimates that around 57 percent of jobs could be automated within the next 20 years.

Robots install rivets on a 2015 Ford F-150

Robots install rivets on a 2015 Ford F-150

Automobile welding as car move down assembly lines have become so common that photos of the action no longer attract too much attention.

Sellafield, on the coast of the Irish Sea, more than 300 miles north (and a bit west) of London, at the dawn of the Cold War; the U.K. chose this site as the place to begin enriching uranium for its first nuclear weapon. But in the country’s haste to build a bomb, little thought was given to disposing of the waste. The U.K. government is spending about £2 billion ($2.5 billion) a year at Sellafield to contend with the nuclear waste. A new model of a cleanup robot “will make its own decisions” in dealing with the waste.

The technology already exists to make long haul trucks self-driving. There are 8.7 million trucking-related jobs in the United States. It is easy to understand why the changeover to those autonomous trucks will take time. It is not going to take 50 to 100 years.

This Robotic Sex Doll Isn’t Just Looking For A One Night Stand, She Wants To Meet Your Parents.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 28, 2017

Remember Slow Food?

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 Levi’s, 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 11.

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 19 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?

Posted by: coastcontact | March 26, 2017

Donnie in the Room

This entertaining piece from The Weekly Sift.  You will laugh. Read it to the end!

(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Republicans that day.
They’d promised for six years that they’d repeal the ACA.
But when the caucus gathered, and they looked from man to man
They knew that not a one of them had ever had a plan.

“I’d counted on a veto,” said a rep from Tennessee.
“The blame Obama always took would fall on Hillary.
Then Pennsylvania went for Trump, and Michigan the same.
And now we run the government, we can’t just play a game.”

A colleague from Wyoming was equally concerned.
Shaking his head sadly, he stated what he’d learned.
“My hopes from the beginning always had one little flaw.
I’d pictured making speeches, never thought I’d write a law.”

Neither had the others, though they often said they would.
They knew what programs shouldn’t do, but not the things they should.

Then said a man from Texas, “We’ll never have success.
We got so used to saying No, we’ll never get to Yes.”

“I know,” said Ryan hopefully, “that’s sometimes how it feels.
But Donnie wrote the book about the art of making deals.
I know agreement’s hard to find, and deadlines closely loom.
But we can still succeed if we get Donnie in the room.”

Oh Donnie! Clever Donnie! How everyone agreed.
The plan that he campaigned on was just the one they’d need.
It ended it all the mandates! It set the markets free!
And still it covered everyone, from sea to shining sea!

“It offers better treatment,” noted one committee chair.
“And cheaper,” said another, “I know cause I was there.
You should have heard the cheering. I thought the roof would fall.
And Mexico will pay for it! No, wait, that was the wall.”

But just how would he do it? That wasn’t in their notes.
It wasn’t in the speeches that he made while seeking votes.
It wasn’t on his website, and they recognized with gloom.
They’d never reproduce it without Donnie in the room.

So Ryan checked the White House, but Donnie was away.
He wasn’t in Trump Tower, and he hadn’t been all day.
Ivanka took his message, “Call me when you can.
We can’t repeal ObamaCare without your TrumpCare plan.”

When the President returned his call, he sounded tired and mean,
As he contemplated bogey from the bunker on fifteen.
“Write whatever bill you want. I really couldn’t tell.
Content doesn’t matter, Paul. It’s all in how you sell.”

“But what about the plan you had, the one in the campaign?”
“I only planned to have a plan, that’s no cause to complain.
Grasp this opportunity, and you’ll know what to do.
I sold all the voters, now you get to come through!”

So Ryan then picked up his pen, and wrote a plan so good
It didn’t do a single thing that Donnie said it would.
And as the caucus read it, they all wanted to vote No,
Both from the left, and from the right, and from the CBO.

The Speaker counted noses, and he always came up short.
And for the ones who criticized, he had no good retort.
But Ryan still was smiling as he sorted hateful mail.
For Donnie, clever Donnie, would soon complete the sale.

Trump was back in Washington with all his awesome charm.
He flattered and he compromised and twisted by the arm.
“Those whip counts are fake news,” he said, “we’ve got the votes and more.
Everyone will back me when we take it to the floor.”

Oh, somewhere in a favored land, the people get their way,
And illness leads to treatment, even if you cannot pay.
And somewhere leaders pass the law that makes their promise real.

But there’s mourning in the caucus, Donnie could not close the deal.

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