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

Posted by: coastcontact | February 12, 2017

The High Cost of Disneyland and California Adventure Theme Parks

The price to visit Disneyland and California Adventure is going up.

disneyland-cost-graph

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure price increases are shown in this graphic from between 2000 and 2017.

ANAHEIM >> The price to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure – for either a day or with a year’s pass – is going up again.

Effective today, Sunday, it will cost $97 to go to one of the parks on Value days, the lowest-priced days of the year, up $2.

A visit on a Regular day will be $110, while a Peak day will cost $124, both up $5. Tickets are more on days when demand would be higher.

Parking is going to $20 from $18.

The price to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure – for either a day or with a year’s pass – is going up again. Effective this Sunday, it will cost $97 to go to one of the parks on Value days, the lowest-priced days of the year, up $2.

Since 2000, a single-day admission price to Disneyland has tripled on Peak days, with ticket prices going up at least once a year since 2002.

“Our pricing provides guests a range of options that allow us to better manage demand to maximize the guest experience and is reflective of the distinctly Disney offerings at all of our parks,” said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland spokeswoman.

Reaction to the announcement was swift on Saturday.

“Four hundred dollars for a family of 3 to get into the gate (on peak days),” said Tony Diamante, 57, of Temecula. “I can afford it, but this is a week’s pay for someone making $15 to $18 an hour, depending of course on taxes.”

James H. Carter II, 40 from Huntington Beach, who runs a podcast called Creepy Kingdom, said tourists will continue to pay.

“As a traveler, it doesn’t matter how much it cost. You booked the hotel, you flew down or drove down, an extra $10 is not really going to deter you,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the consumer but Disney raising tickets a few dollars is not going to stop people from coming.”

Jay Valles, 31, of Whittier said he was a former annual pass holder but discontinued and stopped visiting the park last year because of price increases and overcrowding.

He said while Disneyland is still a better value compared to other live entertainment options, Disney needs to get rid of the monthly payment options for annual pass holders to really lessen the crowds at the park.
Disney officials said the monthly payment option that makes their annual passes more financially bearable will continue.

“If they really wanted to control demand, they would do away with monthly payments,” Valles said. “Also, a one day, one park ticket is still a good price compared to a concert ticket or a show on Broadway…[But] If the pricing was high and the crowds were moderate I would return to visit.”

Last year, in an effort to spread out the crowds, Disney introduced its three-level pricing. Some observers say the tiered pricing structure has worked, with less people flocking to the park, for example, on the highest-demand two-week period including Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Prices for some annual passes will go up, too.

The Southern California Select and Southern California passes will be $339 and $469, respectively, $10 increases. Both passes have blackout days. The monthly payment option remains.

The Deluxe pass, with some Saturday and peak-holiday-period blackout days, is getting boosted by $20 to $619. The prices for the higher-end passes will remain the same.

In 2015, Disneyland posted an all-time record with 18.2 million visitors, an increase of 1.5 million from the previous year, according to the Themed Entertainment Association, an industry group that tracks theme park attendance.

Meanwhile, neighboring Disney California Adventure also reached record attendance with 9.3 million visitors.
However, according to Walt Disney Co.’s latest fiscal report, overall recent attendance is down 5 percent but revenue is up at Disney’s domestic theme parks. The company does not publicly break that number down for individual parks, though.

But with the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction opening this summer at Disney California Adventure, and a “Star Wars” land at Disneyland expected to land in 2019, demand should continue to be high for the Anaheim theme parks.

BY THE NUMBERS
Here’s what it cost to enter Disneyland between 2000 and now:
• 2000: $41 and $43 (price went up twice)
• 2002: $45
• 2003: $47
• 2004: $49.75
• 2005: $53 and $56 (price went up twice)
• 2006: $59 and $63 (price went up twice)
• 2007: $66
• 2008: $69
• 2009: $72
• 2010: $76
• 2011: $80
• 2012: $87
• 2013: $92
• 2014: $96
• 2015: $99
• 2016: $95, $105, $119 (depending on the day)
• 2017: $97, $110, $124 (depending on the day)

Source: Orange County Register archives; Los Angeles Daily News

Posted by: coastcontact | February 11, 2017

Wake up and smell the fascism

I want to thank 503me’s Blog for bringing the description below of fascism to my attention.

All this talk about Donald Trump being a fascist has no real basis.  It’s just Democratic Party clap trap. Right?

If that is so then explain this on blog with postings in the year 2005 on a site named MetaFilter.

February 9, 2005 7:47 AM   Subscribe

“Wake up and smell the fascism” ??? Me-Fites seem to be concerned with fascism in America recently. We’ve secretly replaced their regular government with new Folger’s Crystals! Let’s see if they notice the difference! posted by spock (74 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Well, hell. Hitler was voted in, too. But that can’t happen here….right? posted by cows of industry at 7:53 AM on February 9, 2005

I googled the name of Dr. Lawrence Britt, in hopes of finding where he teaches political science. I came up with nothing. No one mentions in any article I came across exactly where he’s based. Even if he is a real political scientist, and doesn’t play one in the papers, it would be a good idea for journalists and online people to provide readers with the man’s basic credentials. posted by raysmj at 7:59 AM on February 9, 2005

My question to everyone is: Do you see any similarities in the behavior of President Donald J. Trump.  I admit having a hard time typing the title president in front of his name.

Characteristics Of Fascism

By Dr. Lawrence Britt Source Free Inquiry.co 5-28-03

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos,slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media.  Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

From Liberty Forum

http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_constitution&Number=642

109&page=&view=&sb=&o=&vc=1&t=-1

Posted by: coastcontact | February 7, 2017

Theodore Roosevelt on Immigration

Update of Dec 26, 2015 posting

This is surprisingly similar to Donald Trump’s opinion.  Shouldn’t we support Theodore Roosevelt‘s recommendations?

Theodore Roosevelt‘In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.’ Theodore Roosevelt 1919

He advocated the compulsory learning of English by every naturalized citizen. “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or to leave the country,” he said in a statement to the Kansas City Star in 1918. “English should be the only language taught or used in the public schools.”

He also insisted, on more than one occasion, that America has no room for what he called “fifty-fifty allegiance.” In a speech made in 1917 he said, “It is our boast that we admit the immigrant to full fellowship and equality with the native-born. In return we demand that he shall share our undivided allegiance to the one flag which floats over all of us.”

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