Posted by: coastcontact | September 4, 2017

A 2058 Prediction

The year is 2058. America’s greatest foreign relations challenge in the 21st century, North Korea’s desire to obtain a nuclear weaponized ICBM that can reach the United States has been stopped thanks to American and Chinese negotiators. The real threat has become nature. Rising sea levels and a warming climate has resulted in the United States becoming a super advocate for controlling all things that can further harm the environment.

Those that questioned the theory that climate change is real and doubted the effects that will result have largely become silent. They have become as rare as those who claim the world is flat.

Former Vice President Al Gore (deceased in 2036) is remembered as the man who first rang the warning bell about global warming. While his dates and impact were incorrect, his prediction that the world would be experiencing major changes thanks to global warming were correct.

There is now a 6 meter (20 foot) wall at the beach around much of southern Florida. Coastal plains have become part of the sea everywhere that is not protect by a sea wall.

Back in 2017 there were three successive years of Houston, Texas flooding that were called once in 500 years or once in a thousand year events. Even those who grew up there were trying to decide whether it was worth the fight to live in that flood plain. Most people have abandoned that city along with those who have left New Orleans.

Phoenix, Arizona summer temperatures now reach 120 Fahrenheit (49C) or more on the very hottest days. The population has grown because there is now an abundance of water and farming has become a significant industry in that state.

Los Angeles still has a Mediterranean climate along the coast but inland high temperatures now frequently reach 115 Fahrenheit (46C) in the summer. The highest temperature in the San Fernando Valley in 2057 was 120 Fahrenheit and the National Weather Service says more days close to that record are anticipated in the future. The humidity is now more similar to the east coast of the United States.

Solar panels are everywhere. Without them the cost of air conditioning would be too expensive for most families. Even now in 2058 many families have moved into communes to afford living in southern California.

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Posted by: davidbancroft | August 31, 2017

Jewish Boycott and the Muslims

Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

A while ago, Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Muslim World to boycott anything and everything that originates with the Jewish people.

In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a Jewish pharmacist, out of the kindness of his heart, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

“Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhoea, he must not seek diagnosis, because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner.

“A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.

Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.

If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must not use Insulin, the result of research by Minkowsky, a Jew.

If one has a headache, he must shun Pyramidon and Antypyrin, due to the Jews, Spiro and Ellege.

Muslims with convulsions must put up with them because it was a Jew, Oscar Leibreich, who proposed the use of Chloral Hydrate. Arabs must do likewise with their psychic ailments because Freud, father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew.

Should a Muslim child get Diphtheria, he must refrain from the “Schick” reaction which was invented by the Jew, Bella Schick.

“Muslims should be ready to die in great numbers and must not permit treatment of ear and brain damage, work of Nobel Prize winner, Robert Baram.

They should continue to die or remain crippled by Infantile Paralysis because the discoverer of the anti-polio vaccine is a Jew, Jonas Salk.

“Muslims must refuse to use Streptomycin and continue to die of Tuberculosis because a Jew, Zalman Waxman, invented the wonder drug against this killing disease.

Muslim doctors must discard all discoveries and improvements by dermatologist Judas Sehn Benedict, or the lung specialist, Frawnkel, and of many other world renowned Jewish scientists and medical experts.

“In short, good and loyal Muslims properly and fittingly should remain afflicted with Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Heart Disease, Headaches, Typhus, Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Polio, Convulsions and Tuberculosis and be proud to obey the Islamic boycott.”

What medical contributions to the world have the Muslims made?

David Bancroft

Posted by: coastcontact | August 26, 2017

Charlottesville Jews try to heal

Two weeks after neo-Nazis marched chanting ‘Sieg Heil,’ Charlottesville Jews try to heal

Congregation Beth Israel is the sole synagogue in Charlottesville and, although the sounds and sights of bigotry and hatred that stirred fear in worshippers as they prayed that day remain fresh, the community is now focused on moving forward.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—As a Jewish musician sang a prayer for healing, Beth Epstein started to cry.

She didn’t realize how broken she felt until now.

Two weeks ago, neo-Nazis marched past her synagogue on Shabbat chanting “Sieg Heil” while on their way to a white supremacist rally at Emancipation Park, one block away.

Epstein, 51, remembers looking out the window from the room she was now sitting in at Congregation Beth Israel and glimpsing a swastika. Later that day, 32-year-old Heather Heyer would be killed when a driver with ties to the neo-Nazi movement allegedly plowed into a crowd. Two state troopers would also die that day.

Congregation Beth Israel is the sole synagogue in Charlottesville and, although the sounds and sights of bigotry and hatred that stirred fear in worshippers as they prayed that day remain fresh, the community is now focused on moving forward.

More than 250 people—much larger than a usual Shabbat crowd at the Reform synagogue—showed up Friday night to draw inspiration and comfort from prayer and music by artists who journeyed there from around the country.

“My general feeling is that the Jewish community will come back stronger from this threat just like America will,” said Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, a member of the synagogue who attended the healing service.

The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched on the town Aug. 12 had chanted threats aimed directly at Jews: “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!” They held signs reading “the Goyim know,” a slur referring to non-Jewish people, and “the Jewish media is going down.”

The synagogue had felt it was important to continue weekly services that day, but leaders had taken certain precautions, said synagogue president Alan Zimmerman. Services started an hour early, and they moved Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll they knew was irreplaceable, to a congregant’s house for safekeeping.

As the white supremacist ralliers raged, Zimmerman stood outside the synagogue with an armed security guard hired by the congregation because he was concerned for his congregants praying inside, he said. Men in fatigues armed with semiautomatic rifles passed by, Zimmerman said, and he recalled hearing one shout: “There’s the synagogue.”

“I had no choice but to be out there,” Zimmerman said. “I’m not suggesting I could have done anything, affected anything, but there was no other place that I could be at that moment.”

Zimmerman felt close to crying, he said, as he later told the roughly 40 people gathered in the synagogue that it would be best for them to leave through the back door after services and travel in groups.

Signer said he had requested a police car and an officer at the synagogue that day, but the department was unable to fulfill the request, Signer said. There has been intense scrutiny over what many have criticized as a lack of police response to the eruptions of violence throughout that day.

“I am very frustrated and have called for accountability for those failures here,” Signer said. City Manager Maurice Jones countered in an Aug. 17 statement that police were stationed within just a few blocks of the synagogue that day.

As worshippers attended services, Beth Israel rabbi Rachel Schmelkin stood on the steps of the First United Methodist Church gazing out at the chanting protesters, as she sought to drown out the hate with music. Wearing her prayer shawl and carrying a guitar, she played more than 20 songs with themes of love and kindness. Despite the outward displays of hate, Schmelkin said, she was reassured by the other clergy supporting her, including rabbi Tom Gutherz, who was attending services that day, and the broader Jewish community. “We aren’t alone,” she recalled thinking.

Now, she said, “I’m now thinking of how do we heal? How do we start to heal as a Jewish community?”

Schmelkin, Zimmerman and Signer were in the crowd Friday evening enjoying prayer, songs and poems of hope. The artists had travelled to the service in Charlottesville, from Los Angeles, New York City, Cleveland and Chicago to help the community the best way they know how: music.

“Our reaction to violence and our reaction to hatred is that we sing louder and we make better music and we just we throw more love at it,” said Los Angeles musician Julie Silver, paraphrasing a quote by another Jewish musician, Leonard Bernstein.

“Good and evil exist in the world,” she said. “We just have to make sure that our good shines and that’s the best we can do.”

Though Jewish people are always aware that anti-Semitism exists, the brazen chants from that weekend seemed to have brought that threat to the forefront of the Jewish collective conscience across the country, said rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

In the days after the Charlottesville rally, the Anti-Defamation League tracked instances of anti-Semitism, including a man urinating on a Philadelphia synagogue, a swastika drawn on a California high school campus and a bomb threat written on dorm walls at Washington State University.

“What Charlottesville did was really shake our community to realize it’s not simply a historical memory or a small thing,” Jacobs said. “People woke up as this is something we need to be paying attention to.”

Wendy Tanson travelled from Chapel Hill, N.C., with her husband, James Falek, on Friday to participate in the musical services and reflect on what happened. Recent threats to Jewish communities nationwide, such as the act of vandalism at the Boston Holocaust Museum, have shown Tanson, 54, that what happened in Charlottesville can happen anywhere.

“This synagogue specifically was threatened in a profound way two weeks ago, in a way that shouldn’t happen in 2017,” Tanson said. “We felt it was important to be here and stand up and be counted.”

Over the past two weeks, the events of Aug. 12 have reverberated for others who attended the healing service on Friday.

Dana Mich, 30, said she has been thinking a lot about her grandfather, who survived the Holocaust. Jan Dorman, 60, said that during walks on the downtown mall she pictures the violence she saw on the news versus what she knows about the city she’s lived in for decades. Sara Rimm-Kaufman, 47, recalled waking up in the middle of the night before the Friday services, worrying that the synagogue would be a target for anti-Semitic acts this Shabbat.

After formal prayer services, Silver led the congregation in singing uplifting songs of hope. People got out of their chairs, linked hands, smiled and danced around the room, and Silver thought: “We are a resilient people.”

“We have a strong, vibrant Jewish community here,” said longtime congregant Fred Epstein, 50.

His wife, Beth Epstein, agreed. Though she was brought to tears earlier in the services, she joined in the dancing by the end. “I hope it continues,” she said. “It’s really special.”

Posted by: coastcontact | August 23, 2017

There’s No Place Like Home

 

Vacationers dreaming of overseas travel are facing so many limitations that it seems the best place to visit is their own home town. OK maybe it is safe to visit any place in their state. Wait that might not be accurate either. Is it safe to visit Time Square in New York City?

Here is a list some of the State Department’s latest travel warnings and alerts.

Mexico Travel Warning:
We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas. U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico issued December 8, 2016.

Baja California (includes Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate, and Mexicali): Exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state.

Baja California Sur (includes Los Cabos and La Paz): Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state. Exercise caution as Baja California Sur continues to experience a high rate of homicides.

Puerto Vallarta: U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to areas that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas because of continued instability.

Other parts of Mexico are also listed as unsafe that include most cities One big exception is Mexico City named by the State Department is Mexico City.

Europe Travel Alert:
We issue a Travel Alert for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country.

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout Europe. This Travel Alert expires on September 1, 2017.

Recent, widely-reported incidents in France, Russia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom demonstrate that the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS or Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe. While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department nevertheless remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning.

So after September 1, 2017 it will be safe? Given the terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Spain I am guessing the travel alert will be extended.

 

The list of other countries that there are warnings or alerts is long. Go to https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html to see if your destination is included.  You may be surprised at the number of countries that have warnings or alerts.

After the attacks in Nice, France and Barcelona, Spain we canceled our long planned European cruise and land excursions.

We will be spending six nights in Toronto, Canada and six nights in NYC.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 20, 2017

Jerry Lewis – A Great Comedian

I remember the funny part of the movie that made Martin and Lewis famous. It was My Friend Irma. A 1949 American comedy film.

The storyline follows two women, Irma Peterson (Marie Wilson) and Jane Stacey (Diana Lynn), who room together in New York. Irma is a somewhat dim-witted blonde who deep down has good intentions. Jane is an ambitious woman who dreams of marrying a rich man. She winds up as a secretary for a millionaire, Richard Rhinelander (Don DeFore).

In that movie Martin and Lewis had a small part as operators of a street cart where they sold freshly squeezed juice. Jerry was the squeezer and he did it by hand not with a machine. He held up his hand as if squeezing a piece of fruit and said “I can’t even shake hands with my girl friend.” Of course it was the way he said it and his protruding jaw that made the scene so funny. Lewis had me laughing and the Martin and Lewis comedy team lasted for about ten years.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 18, 2017

Pride in Southern Heritage Does Not Require the Confederate Flag

Associated Press Report:
Robert Castello literally wears his Southern pride. The visor, suspenders and ring he donned Thursday were all emblazoned with the familiar design of the rebel battle flag.

Castello, whose Dixie General Store sells Confederate-themed hats, shirts, stickers and signs in rural eastern Alabama, said he doesn’t have any use for overtly racist groups like the Klan. Read More…

Posted by: coastcontact | August 16, 2017

World’s 10 most livable cities in 2017

According to Business Traveller magazine these are the most livable cities in the world.  Of course these surveys are not the final word  but it is interesting to see the list.  My opinion is that Calgary and Helsinki are too cold to be very livable.  Perhaps those cities have some mitigating feature.

1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Vancouver, Canada
4. Toronto, Canada
= 5. Calgary, Canada
= 5. Adelaide, Australia
7. Perth, Australia
8. Auckland, New Zealand
9. Helsinki, Finland
10. Hamburg, Germany
Posted by: coastcontact | August 13, 2017

White Supremacist America

White supremacists have been an issue for the United States since its inception. When “all men are created equal” was written into the Declaration of Independence apparently not everyone was in total agreement. It seems that some thought those words only applied to White Christians. Thus the alternate idea was written into our constitution when it was determined that Black slaves would count in the population as three-fifths of a person.  Chinese came to America to help build the railroads but were not granted citizenship.  Similarly Latin Americans were denied citizenship in the 1800s.

To this day millions of White Christian Americans believe they are superior to all other people. That belief is the source of discrimination in America today. It is not just discrimination against Black people. It is discrimination against all other races and religions.

Thus it is no surprise that the KKK and Nazi groups are flourishing in this country.

Donald Trump has evaluated this situation and placed a bet that there are enough White supremacists in this country to sustain his re-election in 2020. Therefore there is no need to condemn the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia. There is no need to condemn the KKK and Nazi groups.

Sadly I believe Mr. Trump has correctly come down on the side of the electoral majority. The message to all non-White and Non-Christian emigrants is ‘You are not welcome in America’. Oh! Wait! We will welcome you to do the jobs we consider beneath us.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 11, 2017

Self-driving Car Timeline for 11 top Automakers

As I drive a 2001 Nissan Maxima that has gone about 118,000 miles and is still a smooth operating car with dirty upholstery and cruise control that has stopped functioning, I believe it is time for something new.

Aren’t self driving cars about to be the next big thing in just a year or two?

I found the following summary of when this is likely to happen.  Abridged article from venturebeat.com dated June 4, 2017

Should I wait another few years?  After all the car still runs quite well.

A company by company examination of public investments by leading car makers and statements from their top executives makes it clear that most car companies are betting self-driving technology is inevitable, and they’re all jumping in with investment and initiatives.

Defining “self-driving” by level

Level 1 automation: some small steering or acceleration tasks are performed by the car without human intervention, but everything else is fully under human control

Level 2 automation: like advance cruise control or original autopilot systems on some Tesla vehicles, the car can automatically take safety actions but the driver needs to stay alert at the wheel

Level 3 automation: still requires a human driver, but the human is able to hand some “safety-critical functions” off to the vehicle under certain traffic or environmental conditions. This poses some potential dangers as the major tasks of driving are transferred to or from the car itself, which is why some car companies (Ford included) are interested in jumping directly to level 4

Level 4 automation: a car that can drive itself almost all the time without any human input but might be programmed not to drive in unmapped areas or during severe weather. This is a car you could sleep in.

Level 5 automation: full automation in all conditions

 

GM: Rumors of self-driving vehicles by 2018

Unlike other big car makers, GM has not laid out a specific timeline for its self-driving cars, but the company has made it clear it’s moving aggressively in that direction. In December, GM CEO Marry Barra wrote, “We expect to be the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass-production assembly plant.” The focus will be on ride-sharing, rather than the individual buyer.

 

Ford: Truly self-driving vehicles by 2021

Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields told CNBC that Ford plans to have a “Level 4 vehicle in 2021, no gas pedal, no steering wheel, and the passenger will never need to take control of the vehicle in a predefined area.” Ford actually plans to skip right over Level 3 automation and go straight to Level 4. In the company’s tests, chief technology officer Raj Nair found that Level 3 automation would lead to engineers dozing off and not being situationally ready to take over when called on. CEO Mark Fields claims that Ford will have cars with no gas pedal and no steering wheel driving people around in select cities by 2021.

 

Honda: Self-driving on the highway by 2020

At the end of last year, Honda announced it was in discussions with Waymo, an independent company of Alphabet, to include Waymo self-driving technology in Honda’s vehicles.

 

Toyota: Self-driving on the highway by 2020

Toyota has been one of the most skeptical car companies when it comes to autonomous vehicles, but in 2015 it made a big investment to catch up. Toyota is investing $1 billion over five years in the Toyota Research Institute to develop robotics and AI technology. The company hopes to launch products based on its Highway Teammate programs in 2020, which would also be just in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Renault-Nissan: 2020 for autonomous cars in urban conditions, 2025 for truly driverless cars

Renault-Nissan is counting on its new partnership with Microsoft to help advance the company’s autonomous car efforts. Renault-Nissan plans to release 10 different self-driving cars by 2020.

 

Volvo: Self-driving on the highway by 2021

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in an interview, “It’s our ambition to have a car that can drive fully autonomously on the highway by 2021.” He envisions that full autopilot would be a highly enticing option on a premium vehicle and will initially be priced at $10,000.

 

Hyundai: Highway by 2020, urban driving by 2030

Hyundai is working on self-driving vehicles but with more of a focus on affordability. In an announcement, Hyundai claims it is “developing its own autonomous vehicle operating system with the goal of using a lot less computing power. This will result in a low-cost platform, which can be installed in future Hyundai models the average consumer can afford.”

 

Daimler: Nearly fully autonomous by early 2020s

Daimler announced this month a high-profile development agreement with Bosch, one of the largest parts suppliers. The goal is to bring both Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles to urban environments “by the beginning of the next decade.” This announcement came less than a month after Bosch announced its own collaboration with chip maker Nvidia to develop self-driving systems.

 

Fiat-Chrysler: CEO expects there to be some self driving vehicles on the road by 2021

Fiat-Chrysler also teamed up with Waymo last year to test some self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

 

BMW: Fully self-driving vehicles possible by 2021

Last year, BMW announced a high-profile collaboration with Intel and Mobileye to develop autonomous cars. Officially, the goal is to get “highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021.”

 

Tesla: End of 2017

As a smaller startup car maker, Tesla has always focused on pushing the edge of technology. Last year, Tesla began making sure all its cars had the hardware needed for full self-driving capabilities, even before the software/data was ready. Tesla constantly updates its car’s software to improve safety.

I have no car payments now and  the car still runs quite well.  Maybe some new tires and I will ask the mechanic what is the cost of fixing the cruise control.  

Posted by: coastcontact | August 5, 2017

Homelessness in the West Valley is a Serious Problem

While this commentary by Councilmember Blumenfield explains the issue of homelessness it lacks any solutions. We all know homelessness is a crisis and “work with the community to help our homeless while also protecting the values and integrity of the West Valley” really means preventing any homeless people from living in the West Valley.

Neither  Blumenfield nor any other councilman has a single worthwhile idea on how to solve this problem.  However the city council does have ideas on raising taxes and voting to hold the Olympics in this city.  For this we pay city council members $184,610 per year.

New Editorial from Councilmember Blumenfield for the Valley News Group- Homelessness in the West Valley is Serious and Must be Taken Seriously

Homelessness is a crisis, and although we may feel worlds away from downtown Skid Row, the West Valley is not immune. We are seeing encampments in neighborhoods that never had them before. People are visibly panhandling, and the human misery of addiction and mental illness is evident and creates a depressing and sometimes dangerous environment for the housed and the homeless. I share the frustration of residents who are very disturbed by what we are seeing. Though my district has the fewest homeless people compared to every other district in the City, homelessness in the West Valley is serious and must be taken seriously.

The reality is that it’s not illegal to be homeless, and asking strangers for money is protected by the first amendment. The courts struck down City laws that prohibited living in a vehicle or sleeping on the sidewalk. However, the City Council was able to pass laws prohibiting sleeping in a vehicle that is parked in a residential zone and limited times and places where someone can erect a tent on public property.

In September 2016, I brought together LAPD and homeless advocates for a Town Hall on homelessness. I continue to meet with constituents at mobile office hours and community events, hearing many opinions on what needs to be done. Some say the problem is addiction, or lack of mental health care, or the economy, or PTSD, or Prop 47, or a lack of affordable housing. They are all right to some extent. It is a complicated problem with a complicated road to resolve.

Recently, I introduced City legislation that will help with one related problem concerning illegal human waste being dumped on our streets. Over 2,300 RVs in Los Angeles are being used by homeless people with only two public sites for dumping waste, one by the airport and one in San Pedro. We must do something to stop illegal dumping and provide a feasible option to prevent disease and blight.

Additionally, my office coordinates “Homeless Connect Days” to connect people to services, organizes community and encampment cleanups, and promotes patrols on the LA River. I also meet regularly with LAPD Senior Lead Officers, command officers, and officials from LAHSA to discuss the tools they need to do their work. My office pushed for and funded “no loitering” signs under all freeway under passes and tunnels in my district to help LAPD connect the homeless to services. These are some steps of many that I am taking.

Thanks to voters passing Measure HHH, which my colleagues and I put on the ballot, and Measure H in the County, there are funds coming to help with housing and services. But nothing will immediately prevent homelessness. That’s why my website has links to help residents find nonprofits in the West Valley that operate locally. The idea is that a “help up” is often better than a “hand out.” So, please consider donating clothes, food, hygienic products, and funds to these organizations. Go to blumenfield.lacity.org/facing_homelessness to donate and learn about the many efforts I am involved with regarding homelessness.

Though there is no easy fix, I will continue to work with the community to help our homeless while also protecting the values and integrity of the West Valley.

As Senator Al Franken says, “You have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but first you have to have the boots.”

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