Monday, December 22, 2008

My Mortgage - A Little Personal Yesterday In History Sort of Thing

Today is the first day of the solar new year, the day on which daylight hours start to again get longer after yesterday having been the Winter Solstice with the shortest day and longest night of the year. It seems a fitting day for a new beginning and so it will be for me. Today I am sending in a change of billing form to my local town, and to my local village relative to my property taxes. My tax and insurance payments had previously come out of my escrow account; however, since my mortgage was recently payed off - exactly one year and one month early - it was time for me to make this change. It was a 15 year mortgage. We paid it off in one month under 14 years as the payment schedule stood.

Here is an event that is a funny coincidence, certainly not at all a planned event. As I sat here going through my papers, it became apparent to me that my wife and I took out our mortgage on December 21, 1994 - the Winter Solstice - or maybe the day before the Winter Solstice that year (info I have found varies on the date for that year between the 21st and 22nd). Whichever, it was darned close to the the shortest day/longest night of the year, a good time for things to end (such as being without our own home) and a good time to look forward to new beginnings. If it was the 22 back in 94 then what a coincidence that today, exactly 14 years later, our mortgage already has been paid off (done on the 1st), and I am making the change in the tax billing today. If it was the 21st back then, then it is still a pretty nifty coincidence that we got our mortgage at the end of the solar year, and we changed our taxes today on the commencement of a new solar year all by chance. Oh well, just thought it was an amusing thing to mention.

I had better remember to play the lottery today!

All the best,

Yesterday In History - Pan Am Flight 103 - 20 Years Ago

Yep this is a Yesterday In History instead of today in history because I wanted but forgot to write about Pam Am 103's 20th anniversary yesterday.

It was on December 21, 1988 that a bomb aboard Pam Am flight 103 exploded in flight killing a total of 270 people both on the Clipper Maid of the Seas (name of the aircraft), and on the ground. (It was an aircraft, and flight, with which I had quite some familiarity in my duites as a Customs Patrol Officer, and then as a Customs Investigator, at JFK Airport back then.) In all, 259 people on the aircraft perished, as did 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie Scotland on whom the exploded aircraft rained down. Many Americans are unaware of the facts that: Of all the victims who perished, 180 of them were U.S. Citizens; and this terrorist attack was the worst terrorist attack against Americans in history up until 9/11/2001. How people today have forgotten it, or just have never learned about it baffles my mind but such is the case with many Americans. It galled me no end yesterday when I heard on the radio news that the United States of America had or is about to resume diplomatic ties with Libya the country from which came the terrorists who were suspected of planting the bomb, and the country which bore responsibility for the actions of the bomber(s).

Only one was convicted for this bombing the other was acquitted by Scottish Courts. The convicted, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, a Libyan Intelligence officer, was convicted in January 2001 and sentenced to jail for a period of time only a liberal arse wipe could have chosen - 27 years. He got sentenced to 1 year in jail for each 10 people he killed - amazing. Imagine killing 270 people, destroying a multi-million dollar aircraft, destroying homes on the ground, causing a multi-million investigation, casing a settlement by your home nation amounting to a few billion dollars and then getting only 27 years in jail for your crimes. He has since appealed his conviction, but his first appeal failed. He then filed for a review of his case and it was determined by the Scottish Criminal Cases review Commission that his case may have been a miscarriage of justice. His second appeal is pending being put on the calendar. Of course he maintains his innocence. I maintain he is guilty since he was found so by a court of law in a civilized and just country, one that was overly just to him in that they gave him only 27 years behind bars. Of course there can have been a miscarriage of justice, and if that is truly the case he should be retried. If, however, it is some bullshit technicality by which his lawyers are trying to free him, well all I can say is a pox upon them.

As to Libya's part, Libya after quite some time admitted involvement and agreed to pay a substantial monetary amount to the relatives of the survivors, in the billions of dollars, at least several million per famly of each victim. I do not think it will ever even come close to putting this to an end although the execution of those responsible might help for their surviving relatives.

They who perished on on Pam Am flight 103 and those who perished in Lockerbie on the ground on December 21, 1988 have not been forgotten and they, and their families and loved ones, are in my thoughts and well wishes. As for the bastards who did it, and those who have committed other acts of terrorism, they should never be forgotten either. They too should be in our thoughts, and we should reserve special prayers or wishes for them too, but of a distinctly and drastically different nature than those with which we honor the victims - something much more harsh than a 27 year sentence should be in our minds set aside for them and other terrorists.

All the best,
Glenn B