Saturday, June 15, 2019

World War II in the Pacific, June 15, 1945

I've been scanning my dad's World War II diary. He was a B-25 bomber pilot. Here's his entry for today 74 years ago:
15 June 1945 Friday
Got up at 0530.  Ate and went back to bed until 0725.  I went to the line and went on my 12th mission over Borneo.  We went from Beanfort to Langhon up the valleys and mountains.  It was really interesting.  The mission lasted 5 hours.  I took pictures with the gun camera of a 13,000 foot mountain and our landing.  I went swimming.  I slept until 1700.  Ate went to a meeting at 1800.  Went to a show.  Saw “Brewster’s Millions”.  It was good & I finished my letter to Ruth.  I got one from her and 3 Oregonians.
The Oregonian had a miniature serviceman's edition. Each page was 8-1/2"x11" with the double page being 17"x11". It had eight pages. Content was a normal front page miniaturized, another page of national news, then a page of local news, editorial page, another page of local news with half the page being comics, a society page with half the page being comics, a sports page, and the final page was a photo essay on a war event in the two editions we have.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Email Blackmail

Just received the email at the bottom of this post from one of my email accounts that I rarely use.

Poor blackmailer! Doesn't know that not only do I not visit adult sites, but that the computer I usually use has no video camera or microphone set up. And the two laptops that do have cameras, have the camera covered (as my friend MaxRedline advised awhile back).

Turns out it came from a provider in Italy:

Don't know who this is, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't have access to my email account, but is spoofing the address.

I wish there were some way to track these guys down.


As you may have noticed, I sent you an email from your account.
This means that I have full access to your account.

I've been watching you for a few months now.
The fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited.

If you are not familiar with this, I will explain.
Trojan Virus gives me full access and control over a computer or other device.
This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.

I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence.

Why your antivirus did not detect malware?
Answer: My malware uses the driver, I update its signatures every 4 hours so that your antivirus is silent.

I made a video showing how you satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you see the video that you watched.
With one click of the mouse, I can send this video to all your emails and contacts on social networks.
I can also post access to all your e-mail correspondence and messengers that you use.

If you want to prevent this,
transfer the amount of $741 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: "Buy Bitcoin").

My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is: 1K1KMHpynJHQRbhzKHyik6yaJuQYxSaZCm

After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again.
I give you 48 hours to pay.
I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter.

Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
I do not make any mistakes.

If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.

Best regards!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Unanimous Supreme Court Strikes at Civil-Asset Forfeiture!

This post is dedicated to Max Redline, who has been blowing the trumpet on this egregious "legal" punishment for years.

In Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court has ruled that States are subject to the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause.

Civil-asset forfeiture is a legal process by which law enforcement agencies can seize any property, money, bank funds, you-name-it, by saying the items seized were involved in a criminal activity. They don't have to prove they were or that the person committed any criminal activity. The charge itself is sufficient to allow seizure and the defendant has to prove his innocence.

Here's David French at National Review describing the case:
At issue was the important question of whether the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause applied to the states and whether the excessive fines clause applied to a practice called in rem civil-asset forfeiture. Under this practice, law-enforcement officials often engage in two separate punitive legal processes against criminal defendants. The first is the criminal prosecution itself, which can impose prison sentences and fines according to statutorily defined punishments. The second is often a civil action against the criminal defendant’s property. Yes, the government will file suit against trucks, cars, jewelry, boats, and cash — leading to absurd case captions like, say, Texas v. One Gold Crucifix — claiming that the property was used for criminal purposes and then seize that property under a lower, civil, burden of proof.
Law enforcement agencies get to keep the proceeds, so there is a big incentive to finger anything they can for civil-asset forfeiture. French points out that "in 2014, for example, the state took more money from citizens than burglars took from crime victims."

Unfortunately, this is just the first step, as the Supreme Court has left the job of determining what is "excessive" in asset-forfeiture. But, it's a good first step.

What needs to be added beyond determining what is "excessive" is that the person whose property is being seized has to be actually convicted of a crime. Icing on the cake would be that law enforcement or government agencies could not profit by the seizure, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Windshield Wipers in Up Position - fixed itself

The windshield wipers on my parents' van got out of sync and stopped in the up position.

After doing research about fixing it, I decided going to a mechanic was better than taking off the shielding and getting into the works myself.

Well, procrastination (about 2 weeks of only 3 or 4 drives in the car) worked. One rainy day the wipers went back into the down position. Heh. No one on YouTube or the prominent articles on the internet mentioned that possibility. So, I thought I would post it here.

Perhaps it's like the check engine light. My car has had its warning light go on and off for the last 18 years. So far no problems with the car or engine that it was the warning for. I do pray, however, that it will not go on and stay on during DEQ testing time. The Lord has been good to answer my prayers on that.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Federal Tax Benefits Pale in Comparison to Damage Done to Charitable Giving and Churches

I've finally been able to compare the tax forms and tables from 2017 with the new ones from 2018. I'm not impressed.

The supposed massive raise in the standard deduction is not that massive. Though they increased the standard deduction by about $6,000 for singles and $11,000 for couples, they did away with the $4,050 exemption per person deduction. So that makes the actual increase about $2,000 for singles and $3,000 for couples.

Switching the exemption dollars to standard deduction makes it difficult to itemize medical or charitable expenses and get anything back. So, those with significant medical outlays are hurt as are charitable agencies and churches since donating to them gives no tax benefit to the average person, even the average generous person.

2017 form 1040
2018 form 1040
This is a poor trade off that the Republicans own the blame for (227 of 239 Republican representatives and all 51 Republican senators). I much prefer a system that encourages charitable giving, supporting churches and giving a break to those who have significant medical bills or who are paying off mortgages even though I personally had no problems in the medical or mortgage areas. The extra couple of hundred dollars off my tax bill isn't terribly significant in contrast to the damage to societal values that this new tax system encourages.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Many Merry Christmases from Hamilton Beach

My cousin just sent me this picture of her using our grandmother's 70+ year old mixer to mix cookie dough today.

 It was made by Hamilton Beach. That's a lot of service from a well-used mixer.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Remembering William F. Buckley, Jr.

William F. Buckley, Jr., was born November 24, 1925, ninety-three years ago.

He was my most admired political thinker. He taught me that values are at the center of politics. That it was really conservatives and those who support the free marketplace who care about the poor and victimized.

His summations were a call to follow what is good, right and true.  He loved Whittaker Chambers and Alexandr Solznhenitsyn.

He was a devoted Christian. He was, by the grace of God, my friend.

Here's what he said in conclusion at a debate in Portland in 1973 in defense of individual freedom vs those who admired Chinese, Russian and Cuban societal "discipline" to make a better society.

"Yet in today’s climate set by the revolutionary left in America, metaphysical defenses of man are somehow just a little embarrassing, irrelevant. Even Whittaker Chambers, the ardent counter-revolutionist, would make gentle fun of the inflexible defenders of the individual. Of the late Frank Meyer, for instance, whose implacable book which is called In Defense of Freedom, was current when the Republicans suffered their great congressional defeat of 1958. 'If the Republican Party does not find a way to appeal to the mass of the people,' Chambers wrote me at that time, 'it will find itself voted into singularity. It will become then something like the little shop you see in the crowded parts of great cities in which no business is done or expected. You enter it and find an old man in the rear fingering for his own pleasure oddments of cloth, caring not at all if he sells any. As your eyes become accustomed to the gas light, you are only faintly surprised to discover that the old man is Frank Meyer.' 
"I submit to the critics of American Society, if they are really concerned about the restoration of the individual, they should begin by focusing on him and his reliance on the marketplace. Focusing on those oddments of cloth by a familiarity with which a few men know to hesitate not at all when someone asks the question, 'Is it wrong for the State to tell the writer what to write?'. 'Is it wrong for the State to tell the scientist what to study?' Those few who don’t hesitate for a moment to answer, 'Yes, it is wrong. It was always wrong. It is now wrong. It will forever be wrong.'
"The old man with the oddments of cloth is fingering some of the great truths that permit us to penetrate the circumlocutions by which we are somehow persuaded that we serve the individual by moving against the principle institution through which the individual exercises what freedom of movement he is left with. Or by suggesting that we can make a profitable beginning by a revolutionary renunciation of the religion which tells us in the words of Ecclesiastes that 'God has made man upright'.
"The whole subject is strangely, quietly, sadly as we meet so often in America in the college campuses and elsewhere for the purpose of deploring the free marketplace. But, in Russia people go to the only free marketplace available–the black market. And pay their 80 rubles a month wages for a single novel by Solzhenitsyn. And there in Russia, whose rulers denounced the marketplace fifty years ago with a blaze of [indistinguishable] and a rain of bullets aimed righteously at the temples of teenage girls and a hemophiliac boy in a cellar at Ekaterinburg, there in Russia fifty years after the advent of socialism there are old men and old women and young men and young women who transcribe by hand, not for profit, from Radio Liberty risking prison by the very act of listening to it the latest novel of Solzhenitsyn. Word after word. Sentence after sentence. A process that takes them months to complete. Resulting not in thousands, let alone millions, of copies, but in a few dozen or perhaps a few hundred. The oddments of cloth. 
"But it is worth it if we are to rescue man from the tools of ideology. Worth everything to preserve those oddments. To make them available to those who are graced with a thirst for them. The books of Solzhenitsyn accumulate even as the disdain for the institutions of freedom perversely accumulates. For an understanding of which paradox we find no help at all in Marx, but a considerable help in Jesus, whose servant Paul observed, “'that though our outward man perish yet the inward man is renewed day by day.'”