Posted by: coastcontact | December 25, 2017

Horse Manure Package left at Steven Mnuchin’s House

An L.A. mental health worker takes credit for horse manure package left at Steven Mnuchin’s house.

LOS ANGELES/BEL AIR DISTRICT >> A clinical psychologist with the county of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health has taken credit for the package of horse manure that was left at the Bel Air home of  U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the weekend.

Dr. Robert Strong, who goes by “Dr. Robert” on Twitter, cited the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that was approved last week by the U.S. Congress and signed Friday by President Donald Trump as his motivation. Strong agrees with critics who say the policy favors the rich at the expense of the poor and working class.

“If the GOP can fleece the American people in such a brazen fashion (then) like Hunter S. Thompson once said, “when the going gets weird, the weird turns pro.”

The package, discovered at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at 965 Bel Air Road, was a box filled with manure and wrapped in Christmas paper, Sgt. R. Briggs of the LAPD West Los Angeles Station said.

The bomb squad X-rayed the package and opened it to reveal the contents, she said.

It was determined the package contained a “pretty good quantity” of horse manure, police officials said.

Strong also included a handwritten note reading “Dear Misters Trump and Mnuchin, we are returning your Christmas gift of the Republican tax plan because it’s complete horse …. Sincerely, the American people.”

A neighbor discovered the package and alerted authorities, according to media reports.

No injuries were reported and no evacuations were ordered.

Bel Air Road was closed during the investigation, but the scene was cleared at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Officials with the Secret Service were aware of the stunt and planned to pick up the package, according to media reports. So far, Strong said he had not been contacted.

But he told KPPC radio that he realizes he  could get fired and face other consequences.

“In the long run,” he said “if we don’t do stuff like this, what are we going to have left.”

It’s not clear that any local laws were violated even though the package provoked an extensive law-enforcement response early Saturday evening, said Officer Ray Barron, of the West Los Angeles Division of the L.A. Police Dept.

“There was nothing other than insulting comments,” said Barron, describing a note that accompanied the box. “There was nothing dangerous in the box — no controlled substances. No threats were made.”

So I drove over to Mr. Mnuchin’s home.  I had never been in Bel Air before.  Surprisingly there is no gate guard at the entrance.  The street is lined with gated mansions that cannot be seen thanks to high walls and very tall shrubbery.  Dropping the manure on the street was sending a message.  I can empathise with Dr. Robert Strong viewpoints.  It may have felt good dropping the manure.  Was it worth his job?  I guess the answer is yes!

Posted by: coastcontact | December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Posted by: coastcontact | December 22, 2017

Laguna Colorada in the Altiplano region of Bolivia

My Lenovo desktop computer provides me with a variety of welcome photos that are from exotic places around the world.  This is the latest of what seems a never ending collection.

In the southwestern corner of Bolivia, near its border with Chile, the 23-square-mile salt lake called Laguna Colorada stands out against the stark landscape. The shallow lake sits more than 2 miles above sea level on the Altiplano—the wide, high plain in the Andes Mountains that includes the Bolivian Plateau. While this image highlights the reflection of the surrounding mountains when they catch just the right kind of light, other perspectives cast the Laguna Colorada showing off its own vibrant color. The tomato hue is courtesy of salt water, sediments, and red algae, the latter a food source for flocks of the increasingly rare James’s flamingo, which wade in the lake feasting on the microorganisms.

Posted by: coastcontact | December 20, 2017

Five Tax Decisons to Consider Before 2018

These tax ideas appeared in today’s Los Angeles Times.  The impact on those with home loans and values exceeding $1 million will be considerable.  California, New York, and Connecticut are reportedly most impacted. Accountants are going to have a busy year-end.

Posted by: coastcontact | December 17, 2017

The Never Ending Hike to the United States National Debt

Now that the Republicans have control of both houses of Congress and the presidency they have forgotten their “no new debt” crusade. It was just six years ago that Grover Norquist transformed a single issue – preventing tax hikes – into one of the key platforms of the Republican Party. Norquist’s biggest coup was getting more than 270 members of Congress, and nearly all of the 2012 Republican presidential primary candidates, to sign a pledge promising never to vote to raise taxes. Norquist may be happy that there will be a reduction in taxes but the price will be a new higher national debt.

President Barack Obama’s oversight of the deficit was leaving “America’s future in the balance,” the Republican National Committee said in 2011. A year later, Senator Mitch McConnell said the federal debt was “the nation’s most serious long-term problem.” The debt was “killing our economy.” 

How can today’s GOP vote for a new tax law that will raise the national debt over the coming decade? The answer is they are more interested in helping the rich get richer. The proof is the rise of the stock market since Donald Trump’s election.

Look at the history of our national debt since 1981.

Ronald Reagan, a member of the Republican Party, took office as the 40th President of the United States on January 20, 1981. After serving two terms the national debt had grown from just short of $998 billion to over $2.6 trillion. That was after his promise that the debt would shrink due to his plan that would encourage more spending that would more than make up for lower taxes.

George Herbert Walker Bush was left to explain the giant tax cuts passed into law under Reagan. Remember his “No new taxes” campaign? He did raised taxes and the debt continued to soar. It was almost $4.4 trillion when Bush left office in just four years.  HIs loss for a second term was the result of raising income taxes and a recession.

During the Clinton presidency of eight years the debt had grown to over $5.7 trillion. That was a relatively small expansion of the national debt.

Between 2001 and 2008 the debt climbed from $5.7 trillion to $10 trillion. Those were the years of the George W. Bush administration. That was after a tax cut and the cost of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Obama did even worse than his predecessor leaving office with a $20.5 trillion debt. For eight years, Republicans warned the American public that we were hurtling toward certain fiscal doom. In 2012 Senator Mitch McConnell said the federal debt was “the nation’s most serious long-term problem.” John Boehner, when he was the House speaker, in 2013: The debt was “killing our economy.”

There is nothing in the current plan to cut taxes that will change the trend of more national debt. The party out of power seems to always cry over the growing debt. Republicans have a history of opposing any thing that will increase the debt as long as they are not in the majority.

Posted by: coastcontact | December 13, 2017

Who Is Doug Jones, Newly Elected Alabama Senator?

My take on the Jones versus Moore election is at the end of this post.

After earning his law degree in 1979, Jones worked as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Alabama Senator Howell Heflin. He then worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the early 1980s, before resigning to work in private practice. In 1997, Bill Clinton named Jones U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Jones left office in 2001, returning to private practice. In 2013, he co-founded his own firm, Jones & Hawley.

Jones is perhaps best known for having successfully prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan over the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four African-American girls. As a former federal prosecutor, the 63-year-old had never before run for office prior to his Senate bid.

Here is the time line for the prosecution of those responsible for the bombing.

September 15, 1963 – Four girls are killed and 14 injured in a bomb blast at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
– Riots break out, and two African-American boys, Virgil Ware, 13, and Johnny Robinson, 16, are also killed. In all, at least 20 people are injured from the initial bombing and the ensuing riots.
– Alabama Governor George Wallace sends 500 National Guardsmen and 300 state troopers to the city. The next day, they are joined by 500 police officers and 150 sheriffs’ deputies.
September 16, 1963 – President John F. Kennedy responds by saying, “If these cruel and tragic events can only awaken that city and state – if they can only awaken this entire nation to a realization of the folly of racial injustice and hatred and violence, then it is not too late for all concerned to unite in steps toward peaceful progress before more lives are lost.”
September 16, 1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holds a press conference in Birmingham, saying that the US Army “ought to come to Birmingham and take over this city and run it.”
1965 – Suspects emerge: Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Robert Chambliss and Herman Frank Cash, all Ku Klux Klan members. Witnesses are reluctant to talk and physical evidence is lacking, so charges are not filed.
1976 – Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopens the case.
September 26, 1977 – Robert Chambliss, 73, a retired auto mechanic and former Ku Klux Klan member, is indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder.
November 15, 1977 – On the second day of the trial, Chambliss’s niece, Elizabeth Cobb, testifies that before the bombing, Chambliss confided to her that he had “enough stuff put away to flatten half of Birmingham.”
November 18, 1977 – Chambliss is convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1985 – Chambliss dies in prison.
1994 – Herman Frank Cash dies without being charged in the bombing.
July 1997 – The case is reopened by the FBI, citing new evidence.
May 16, 2000 – A grand jury in Alabama indicts former Klansmen Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton with eight counts each of first-degree murder – four counts of intentional murder and four of murder with universal malice.
May 1, 2001 – Thomas Blanton is found guilty of first-degree murder and is sentenced to four life terms.
May 22, 2002 – Bobby Frank Cherry is found guilty and given a sentence of four life terms.
November 8, 2004 – Cherry dies in prison.
February 20, 2006 – The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is declared a national historic landmark.
September 12, 2013 – Fifty years after the bombing, all four girls who died are awarded Congressional Gold Medals.
September 14, 2013 – A bronze and steel statue of the four girls is unveiled. It is located at Kelly Ingram Park, on the corner of Sixteenth Street North and Sixth Avenue North.
August 3, 2016 – Thomas Blanton, the last living convicted bomber, is denied parole. Blanton, 86, had asked the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles to let him die as a free man. He won’t be eligible for parole again until 2021.

Roy Moore stood before his supporters refusing to concede his loss to Doug Jones. Among his words were “Wait on God, and let this process play out,” Moore said. “It is not over.” Perhaps God has interceded to say the election of Doug Jones is a good thing.

Posted by: coastcontact | December 12, 2017

Mall owner Westfield sold for nearly $16 billion

The end of brick and mortar retail bonanza.

Westfield, the Australian firm that operates 33 malls across the United States, is being bought by Unibail-Rodamco, a European property investment firm based in France. The real sales price may be $24.7 billion. That higher amount was reported by another web site. The Westfield web site claims the value of its properties at $32 million. Whatever the sales price is we can most definitely say it is in the billions of dollars.

The combined company will have 104 shopping centres around the world. Westfield’s two (soon to be three) London sites were mentioned as particularly attractive for the new owners.

In the Los Angeles metropolitan area the list includes malls in
Century City
Culver City
Sherman Oaks (Fashion Square)
Santa Anita
Canoga Park (Topanga and Village)
Palm Desert

The issue for all malls is the growth of internet marketing. Amazon, Apple, and Walmart are the three really big participants. They are referred to as E-commerce companies.

Amazon boasted of being the biggest employer of all the internet companies with a workforce of 268,908 people in 2015 and generated revenues of $70 billion. The growth has been spectacular as it is reported that Amazon’s latest reported revenue is now over $94 billion.

Posted by: coastcontact | December 6, 2017

Time magazine person of the year is “the Silence Breakers”

The choice of most significant person or event of the year is always a subjective decision.  Donald Trump is probably furious that he was not Time magazine’s final choice.

 Sparked by actress Ashley Judd and others speaking out in a New York Times exposé of producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual misconduct, men and women in Hollywood and Washington D.C. started speaking up, dragging the likes of Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., Senator Al Franken, Roy Moore and more into the light over alleged harassment of various levels of severity.  Companies heads not in the lime light are now also being impacted by public reaction. 

Also on the Time shortlist of finalists (though the reader’s poll included many more names):  “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Given all the possible choices no one can question their final choice.

If only this stepping forward by victims of harassment really does change behavior.


Posted by: coastcontact | December 3, 2017

Who are the richest people in the world?

I do not know what value this information is to anyone.  It is more or less an answer to the question, who are the richest people in the world?  Following is a list of the 25 richest.

Jeff Bezos, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Amazon (Total net worth $99.6B). The richest man in the world!
Bill Gates, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Microsoft (Total net worth $89.9B)
Warren Buffet, Nationality: American (Total net worth $83.1B)
Amancio Ortega, Nationality: Spanish (Total net worth $76.2B)
Mark Zuckerberg, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Facebook (Total net worth $73.1B)
Carlos Slim, Nationality: Mexican (Total net worth $62.1B)
Bernard Arnault, Nationality: French (Total net worth $61.6B)
Larry Ellison, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Oracle (Total net worth $54.4B)
Larry Page, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Google (Total net worth $51.5B)
Ingvar Kamprad, Nationality: Swedish (Total net worth $50.6B)
Sergey Brin, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Google (Total net worth $50.2B)
David H. Koch, Nationality: American (Total net worth $47.8B)
Charles Koch, Nationality: American (Total net worth $47.8B)
S. Rob Walton, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Walmart (Total net worth $46.2B)
Jack Ma, Nationality: Nationality: Chinese (Total net worth $46.2B)
Jim Walton, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Walmart (Total net worth $45.6B)
Alice Walton, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Walmart (Total net worth $44.9B)
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, Nationality: French (Total net worth $44.3B)
Pony Ma, Nationality: Chinese (Total net worth $40.2B)
Mukesh Ambani, Nationality: Indian (Total net worth $39.8B)
Sheldon Adelson, Nationality: American (Total net worth $35.5B)
Hui Ka Yan, Nationality: Chinese (Total net worth $34.5B)
Steve Balmer, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Microsoft (Total net worth $34.2B)
Li Ka-Shing, Nationality: Chinese (Total net worth $33.7B)
Jacqueline Mars, Nationality: American, Source of wealth: Mars Candy (Total net worth $33.4B)

Posted by: coastcontact | November 29, 2017

Georgie Porgie and other Molesters

I did write that I would like to kiss pretty girls. But did I ever do it? Only those that I was romantically involved with me and only after they behaved in a manner that told me a kiss was appropriate.

So it’s been years of faithful marriage. Still, I couldn’t help recalling this nursery rhyme.

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

Although not unequivocally linked to an historical event or specific year, this is another example of a nursery rhyme with a historical background. The song tells a story:

Georgie Porgie, Puddin’ and Pie,
1) It seems that Georgy Porgie, whoever he is, may be overweight because he eats too much pudding and pie (Bill Clinton loved McDonald’s burgers, Newt Gingrich is clearly overweight)

Kissed the girls and made them cry,
2) He promised a lot of things to girls, but he never kept his promises – or simply was unattractive to them (what promises did Harvey Weinstein give?)

When the boys came out to play
3) For unknown reasons he got into trouble with other boys (perhaps the other “boys” are concerned that they too will be exposed for their misdeeds)

Georgie Porgie ran away.
4) In case of any conflict, he prefers to run away, in other words, he is a coward. (the cowards are always concerned about their image like Donald Trump)

Therefore, we can assume Georgie Porgie (fill in your choice of molesters) is an immoral figure: lazy, despicable, greedy and cowardly.

Could that be the case for Donald Trump Roy Moore, John Conyers, Al Franken, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose and all the rest who have been sexually harassing and molesting women?

How many men reading this blog have molested but thought their actions were entirely acceptable?

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