A few pieces of useful information

There are times when we deviate from our mission. This is one of them. So, if you are interested only in the financially impoverished people of Placer county, you might want to skip this and go on with the rest of the site.

I want to say a few things about the current state of affairs. Specifically, theft. And, I am not talking about bank robbery or burglary. Those crimes are immediately clear and dealt with quickly.

No, what I am referring to is what was once called a “white collar” crime. Some may call it “victim-less” crime, but that is a misnomer as there are real victims in any crime.

When I grew up, computers took whole floors of buildings and cost millions of dollars to buy. They were about as fast as your cell phone and had about 1/100th the storage. Now, everyone has a computer. And, if you don’t have one, you have access to one — at least at your local public library.

Some people use these machines to commit fraud — well, let’s call it what it is — theft. Sometimes this is done by teenage boys. (Girls are less likely to do this, but there are exceptions.) They feel that they are immune from their actions because they “are under-age” (less than 18) and can not be caught, or if they are, prosecuted for their crimes. [That is false. They can. But, it their belief which emboldens them — until they are caught.]

But, let’s not just restrict it to juvenile men as there are plenty of older people doing this (and now I do count women in this population).

What I am referring to is called “identity theft”. This was never an issue 50 years ago when computers were uncommon machines. It is the advent and general use of computers that has catapulted this crime to almost epidemic proportions.

Let’s take the typical route for the thief. The first is to find someone’s identity. They look for social security numbers or driver’s license numbers and even passport numbers or utility bills. You shred all you papers that you get in the mail listing things such as social security numbers, bank statements, bank checks, bank deposit slips, paid utility bills, etc. Correct? If you don’t — start!

The other way is to try to get the information from you directly over the telephone. I am sure that you have received calls claiming to be from the IRS saying that they have filed a lawsuit against you and you must call some telephone number immediately. Or, perhaps it is someone saying that you have won a lottery (for which you did not enter) and you just need to call them and give them the bank information to have the funds wired to your account.

All of these ways are trying to find the information needed to get your identity. It is a step to steal from you in a way that you may not notice for eight months; long after the thief has since fled in the electronic trail.

So, what is important about computers? Well, that takes me to the last part of the story. I can only say it revolves around your identity. If you notice when you sign-on to a bank, credit card account, social security office, or just your own email account, that you need two pieces of information. You need the account ID and a password. Rarely do you use anything else. But, in most cases you believe that your password is safe. After all, you know it.

A typical person trying to guess your password would probably give up after about 100 tries. They would try a password about once very five seconds. They would quickly get board and quit. But, your computer operates at a speed of around 2 billion instructions per second. It does not get board. It does not give up. It can try a hundred passwords a second; second after second; minute after minute; until it finds the proper one. And, everyone has a computer. They are no longer limited to companies who leased or purchased those multi-million dollar monstrosities from years past.

Once it found the proper password for one site, it probably has found the passwords for all of your sites. Like most people, you use the same password on every site. It makes it easy to remember, right? To put that into perspective, it you be the same as if every lock in your neighborhood had the same key. A thief breaking into one of your neighbor’s houses, has the key to your house too. Does that make you feel safe when you wake up to strange noises outside your bedroom at night?

If you find it hard to remember passwords, then get a notebook. Write them down in the notebook. But, use a different password, one that you have never used before and won’t use ever again someplace else, for each different website that you have an account — facebook, twitter, linked-in, photograph sharing sites, your bank, social security office, your email account(s), or your favorite shopping sites such as Amazon. Every site, every site, every instance must have a different password. Then, keep the notebook either in your home and next to the computer or take it with you to the library and bring it back. This is simple. It is safe and secure. You don’t need any fancy software. Use a pencil with a good eraser so the password may be changed in the notebook when you change it on-line.

Why is it important that you worry about passwords when you are concerned about identity theft? The answer is simple. Take your bank account access. You gave them your email address when you got access, correct? Well, if the thief can use your email address, they can reach the bank account information by a simple procedure of resetting the password. That access will give them access to your finances and possibly lead them to other locations such as your social security number and other ID that is kept with the bank.

All of this ties together. The first thing that you must do is to protect your accounts and your identity in any printed form. Shred what you throw out, even if it is just a simple offer for a new credit card that banks send out. Secure your online identity as much as possible.

A few articles for further reading may be found at the following address:

Understanding Password Security

And, to help protect your financial matters, the following site may be of interest:

Protecting your Financial Information

Finally, if it is too late, maybe this site will be of help:

Steps to help recover from identity theft.

Hello from afar

I would say that it has been some time since I have been here writing. That goes without saying.

With the changes in my life recently, and, as always, hopefully for the better, I have been very busy with many other things.

Today, I have updated the logo for our organization on the website. You can see it in the upper right corner of this page (well, actually, all of the pages have it too.) I played with trying to make the background color something that does not clash as much as the remainder of the banner, but failed miserably. The letters were just washed out too. So, I left it as I received it, dark letters on a white background.

The board of directors decided to upgrade our “company” image. The first thing was to upgrade the logo. Well, this is the best of the choices that they faced and probably the simpler of the designs.

Hopefully, this is the first of many postings that I will do in the future. I should have more time to write and that is a good thing.

More later.

Placer Care Coalition, Inc.

The Placer Care Coalition, Inc. (PCCI) is a group of about 30 individuals who gather together for about six months of the year to raise money for the homeless of Placer County.

Last year, they contributed about $10,000 to our organization which we use to buy food to feed the homeless which we distribute as far as we can to as many people as we can on a daily (well, 6 days a week) basis.

What they do to raise money is to solicit sponsors, sell tickets, run raffles, and in general, through a big “sponsored” (paid) party once a year. They gather food from restaurants, wine and beer from local wineries and breweries, and donations for gifts to hold a raffle. Last year, it was strictly a silent raffle. The years before it was both silent and open.

This year the event is on Saturday, April 30th, 2017 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM at the Catta Verdera Country Club, 1111 Catta Verdera, Lincoln CA.

So, if you enjoy good food (and too much of it I would say because I went away quite full and that was just from the samples they were offered). If you enjoy some good wine or beer samples then come. Please come. If you enjoy good company and good music then it is even more important that you attend. But, if you just want to walk around a great looking golf course club house and enjoy the scenery then that’s OK too.

The big thing is to come. Bring your family. Bring your friends. Bring your neighbors. The important thing is to enjoy yourself. Your contribution will help us feed the multitudes over the course of the year because without your sponsorship, we would not be able to do that.

Thank you.

Just Some News

Firstly, I want to apologize for not writing. I have been away on what is called “Holiday” across the pond. We here in the States call it “Vacation”. It seems that the vacation just lined up back to back and took too much of my time.

Secondly, I have to admit that the vacation cycle is not over. There is still a two-week jaunt yet to come so it I will still be absent.

However, that being said, I do have some news from last month’s board meeting.

We have decided to hold the meetings only in Roseville. With the death of Jerry Bablyon and the fact that his wife, Junia, has decided to take a less active role in the group, the two remaining people in Auburn decided to make the drive to Roseville every month not every other month. So, for the time being, the meetings will be only in the Roseville place. The meeting schedule is still the same.

Last month was a very interesting meeting. We spent most of the time listening to older members give their views about the move out of Stagustad park and to an “approved” site in Roseville. Let me say that, while we will listen to everyone and everyone has a voice, their views were directly opposite the current board of directors. Their views were to (1) stay in the park; (2) move to the front of the park and out of the back where we are now; and (3) fight the city tooth and nail over the issue.

While this is a good opinion; it is not shared by the current members of the board who feel that (1) the city of Roseville is offering us a place in good faith; (2) the site is not that far removed from the present place where we serve during the week; and (3) confrontation is not a good idea. It is best to accept their offer and be good neighbors. While the city of Roseville and us do not see “eye to eye” on the homeless situation, they are offering us a workable solution to the issue. It is something that we can agree upon. It is in the best interest of both parties. And to just snub their offers is not only a bad idea, it is not who we are. We are here to help people and we can’t do that if we are constantly fighting the city over this issue.

So, it has taken some time to work out the agreement between the city of Roseville and What Would Jesus Do?, Inc. But, as of last month’s meeting, the draft was acceptable and we have agreed to sign it. It should have been signed by now and we are going to move out of the park and over to the cemetery lot as soon as it can be cleared and prepared by the city to accommodate us.

I, for one, am happy that the issue can finally be put to rest in peace. Perhaps it needs a grave marker too.

“You’ve Got A Friend”

I heard this song the other day. It reminded me of things years ago when I heard it for the first time. Of course I was younger and did not pay attention to the real meaning of the song. It was just a cute melody.

I know that I try not to bring much religion into my articles. They are much more related to our customers, the poor and homeless. However, when I heard the song the other day, I could not help but think of the meaning of the words. I invite you to read the lyrics slowly and carefully. Take your time and think about what the song is saying. It is a great inspirational piece and worthy of buying the James Taylor rendition from your favorite song provider.

I hope that even the homeless can think of the song. They all need a friend, very many friends. The song sings of God’s love for everyone, no matter who they are, how much money they have, or where they live.

“You’ve Got A Friend”
by Carole King

When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there.

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend? People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you. Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call, Lord, I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend. You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend. Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.

Fourth Of July


The “firecracker” came from the use of a bamboo cracker. In ancient times, a beast called “Year” was believed to appear in the Eve of the New Year every year. In order to scare it away, people burned a bamboo joint in front of their house. As the air in bamboo heated, it caused the bamboo cavity to expand. The bamboo cavity eventually burst which caused large noise. People used this noise to scared away of the Beast. The term “fire cracker” (two words) came from this.

With the invention of gunpowder, gunpowder cracker replaced the bamboo firecrackers. A small amount of gunpowder was rolled into a paper roll to which a fuse, also made from gunpowder was attached. The fuse was lit and when it burned, the heat from the fire caused a chemical reaction to occur in the gunpowder that rapidly expanded the gas which burst the sides of the paper roll in a small explosion. The effects were similar to the bamboo cracker but were much more predictable.

The firecracker was safe if you held it in an open hand. However, if you close your fingers around it, you could easily lose your fingers when it exploded.

I hope that you all had a nice fourth of July and enjoyed the fireworks show near you. Please remember that in California, we are in the midst of a dry spell and everything is very dry. The danger of fire is paramount and the use of local fireworks is curtailed as a result. The safest method of enjoying the holiday is to go see a professional show rather than to “roll your own”. It only takes a few sparks to ruin your holiday festivities should your ignite a fire that was not planned; possibly on your roof. It is not fun to have your house burn down on the fourth of July just because you wanted to have a few fireworks.

Obama Phone

This is the common name given to the Lifeline Assistance program. The program is designed to give telephone service to those who need a telephone but can not afford to own one. Not everyone qualifies for the Lifeline Assistance program. However, if you’re struggling financially, if you already take part in another state or federal assistance program, or if your income is low enough, you may be one of the fortunate ones who do.

The next time that you get a bill from your telephone provider, take a look at the list of government fees that are charged. You will probably find a fee called “universal lifeline” or something like that name.

The program provides for a partial subsidy on a land-line telephone. These phones are connected to the telephone network by a dedicated wire. In the dark days of telephone service, perhaps back to the time when President Woodrow Wilson was in office, this was your only method of a telephone. Then, there were many competing telephone companies. At that time, the it was difficult to get a telephone; not because it cost so much, but because there were too many competing companies that the interconnect and interoperability was becoming impossible.

Back during the time of Franklin Roosevelt, the Federal Communications Commission was created. This group, identified simply as the FCC, regulated the telephone industry, the radio industry, and later the television industry. If you had a telephone company or telephone service, your government regulators were the FCC. They controlled what service you received, and regulated the prices that you paid for the service.

During the time of Ronald Reagan, the FCC created the first Lifeline Assistance Program. It just offered a subsidy for land-line service since cell phone service was not yet available. There were mobile phones but were very primitive compared to today’s standards. (I had one. It was quite large and was not something that you just “slipped” into a pocket. I carried it in my briefcase. But, like most everyone else, I too had a land-line telephone which is what I normally used because the quality was far superior.)

Then came Bill Clinton’s tenure. During that time, congress authorized a subsidy for land-line telephones under the new name “Universal Lifeline Assistance”. Now, people could actually start to get money to pay for the telephone service. It was basically at this time that the act started to help people.

Now we come to President Obama, and what is commonly called the “Obama Phone” act. It is called Obama Phone because it has so rapidly during his administration to over 20 million needy families. Today, you can get a partial credit for a land-line phone or a free cell phone under the plan. Why free cell phone and only a partial subsidy for a land-line phone? Because, a cell phone actually costs less than a land-line phone to the telephone company. They don’t need to string wires to your telephone. Your cell phone provides the interconnect to the telephone network directly. In addition, the telephone company may limit the amount of time that is actually available on the plan. Some limit the time to 250 minutes, or about 4 hours, per month.

The original provider to offer free cell phones to those people who are financially impoverished, the poor and homeless, is Safeline Wireless. The company is in Tennessee. All that you needed to do was show that you are either receiving Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income you qualify for the help under the federal law. However, the state regulates the programs as well. This means that it will vary from state to state. Some states will go above that and demand that the program be open to those on other programs, such as California’s Medical, CalWORKs, or GAIN programs, Oklahoma’s OK Sales Tax Relief, or Massachusetts’ MassHealth. Each state also determines the income level under which you qualify. For example, a family of six in Hawaii can earn as much as $62,249 per year and still qualify. (The cost of living is higher in Hawaii and Alaska, so the figures are higher as a result.)

If you qualify in California, you can get your one free telephone for a family from Safelink Wireless, a subsidiary of TracPhone, Assurance WirelessBudget Mobile or Reachout Wireless.

Like some other government subsidy programs, this one too is not without its share of fraud. Companies were signing people up for this service who did not qualify just to get the subsidy from the government.

But, for the most part, the program runs well and helped those to have telephone service. Today, in this shrinking world, you must reach people. It is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity. And, since the homeless never seem to have a single home, a cell phone is the best method of reaching them while they wander under the stars.

Be good for goodness sake

Here is a small bit of wisdom from Mother Theresa. It is something to consider, from one human soul to another. …

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best that you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

‘Git A Job!

Recently I heard someone yell “‘Git a job![sic] to a homeless person who was standing on the corner, panhandling for money. The man just rolled down his automobile’s side window and yelled to the person to go find work.

I am sure that the person who exclaimed the phrase has a job. It is probably a menial job, but a job none the less. Perhaps that is all that the person could find a job himself. It would have been better if the person just did not say anything and drove by the homeless man on the corner without giving him a second glance.

But, to tell the homeless person to find a job is pretty useless. I hope that the driver felt better saying that. He needs help and pity. He certainly needs a dose of compassion and understanding. It did nothing to the person looking for help, except perhaps devalue him.

This piece is about such an attitude. It is about work. I do believe that the only real way to get out of being homeless is to find a job. You need to find a job that pays you a wage, even if that wage is the federal minimum wage. And once you are hired for a job, you need to keep the job.

To find a job you need to do a few things.

  • You must want to have a job. If you don’t want a job, you won’t find one.
  • There must be work available for you to find a job. If everyone is unemployed then you will probably be unemployed as well.
  • If the job requires some skills, then you need to have the skills. You can’t apply for the job as an airplane pilot if you can’t fly an airplane.
  • You need to clean up your “act”, and be presentable, courteous, polite, well-spoken.
  • It will take a bit of time to research the organizations for which you are applying; their needs, markets, products, services, etc.
  • You need to show up on time for the interview.
  • You can’t give up at the first failure. You need to keep looking. Remember that the race was won by the tortoise, not the hare.

Now, all of that is common sense in finding a job. All of those items are just making a good first impression on people. They are not hard for someone who really wants a job.

With a job, you get some self-esteem. You get some level of pride. You get an income that will pay for rent, food, and other necessities. Besides, it occupies your day. It takes you off the street. With a job, you are no longer homeless.

We will help with some of the items that I listed. We will give you nice, presentable, clothing if we have it. We will help you with some of the research. We will even, at times, drive you to the interview. But, we can’t help you if you don’t want a job or are going to be rude about asking for the job.

It seems that many of the homeless people just don’t want a job in the first place. Some of the homeless people have had jobs. They were terminated due to anger issues or the simple fact that they just didn’t want to work. Those people we can’t help with employment. They will forever be homeless.

The other issue is that once you find a job, you need to keep the job. You can’t be terminated from the job. To keep a job the person must be conscientious and have a desire to work. You need to show up, on time and be ready to do a day’s work for a day’s pay. To many of the homeless, that is almost too much to ask.

In many cases, the homeless person is mentally ill. I do not mean that he is the next “Jack the Ripper”, but that if you talked to him or her you would wonder if the person was living on the same planet as you. For those people, there is no hope. No one will offer them employment. They couldn’t keep it even if was given to them.

Like life in a ghetto, the homeless live from one government hand-out to the next. They rely upon Social Security to give them a welfare income.

But, telling someone to get a job, or as it was phrased to “git” a job, is useless. Of course, it says something about the person making that comment as well. It defined him. It put him in a class of people who are barely literate themselves. It will keep him a paycheck or two or three from being homeless himself.

So, in the end, I guess that this leads us to the one inescapable truth. Our organization, or one like it, will be needed for the foreseeable future. I truly wish that we would be phased out due to lack of need.

Updates, Oh Blessed Updates

It is nice when things work well for updates to the software system. Unfortunately, when you have the hosting company do the update for you, automatically, then things just don’t seem to work the way that they were designed to work.

Last night the hosting company, DreamHost, updated the CMS that we use. (CMS is “techno-speak” for “Content Management System”, or the software that runs this site.) It is called WordPress if you are curious and haven’t looked at the bottom of the pages.

Well, today, when I checked the site it just did not work. “Oh, great!” I thought. Now, I have to totally re-install everything. We have backups for all the data but it is still a mess re-installing things.

Fortunately, they kept the original pre-update copies around and I just swapped them. I will still need to do the update, but I will do it on my own when I have the time to do it this weekend.

This means that the site may be down for a few hours this weekend. I am sorry about that. But, we do try to keep things current and that means that the updates need to be performed as needed.

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