It’s been another long time between posts on my blog. For a number of reasons. Sometimes life just runs away with you!

First off, our hosting account was hacked resulting in some malicious code being added. That meant that Melisa’s Alba Ranch blog and my mam’s old blog, Grace’s Scotland were both deleted and google started to flag up this blog as ‘dangerous’.

After some remedial hack and slash work, I was able to eradicate the malicious code, resurrect Grace’s Scotland and salvage the database for Alba Ranch’s blog. Unfortunately, all the images that Melisa had posted on Alba Ranch were gone for good. She has managed to re-up-load some of the images for her most recent posts but it may be a while before they are all back in place.

Dealing with the fall-out from all of that kinda took the fun out of it for a bit, then in the past year we have had more losses with the dogs. I hate it when the most noteworthy things to post about are sad ones. It’s not that we haven’t had good things to post about, but the losses weigh heavily on both of us.

In the immediate aftermath of the hack, we had contemplated moving our hosting to a different company, but decided to try to get things up and running again first so that we would have functioning websites to migrate. Even that ran into issues as, based on recommendations, we had selected a potential new host only for the recommendation to change just before we ‘bit-the-bullet’.

Part of the reason for changing hosting (as well as the poor support) was that we were looking at taking Alba Ranch in a different direction, and creating our own online store – that way, Melisa could start selling her fiber art without having to use Etsy, and I could also sell any paintings and woodworking projects once I get going with them. However, even that has hit a new stumbling block thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision in the case of South Dakota vs Wayfair.

The upshot of the Courts decision is that States can require on-line vendors who are located out of state to collect and submit sales tax for the purchasers home state. This verdict is a big win for the States (especially the States that rely solely on sales tax for revenues), not too much of a loss for big on-line retailers who have a large turnover – many of whom are already collecting and remitting the relevant taxes, or at least have the financial muscle and accounting power to deal with it – but it is the death knell to small, independent, or Mom & Pop on-line stores for whom the paper work involved in filing sales taxes in up to 50 different States, all of whom have differing taxation rates, filling periods, and thresholds in terms of volume and/or dollar value of transactions would be overwhelming.

From a Judicial perspective the case resulted in an unusual 5-4 decision, not only in that it overturned a previous Supreme Court decision from 1991, but that it was a strange split in the traditional ‘conservative/liberal’ alignment of the Judges. Justice Kennedy (the traditional ‘swing’ vote) along with Justice Ginsburg (one of the ‘liberal’ Justices) aligned in the majority with three of the traditionally conservative Judges; Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito, while Chief Justice Roberts (traditionally conservative) aligned with the three remaining ‘liberal’ justices, Sotomayer, Kagan and Breyer. As a side note, given that Justice Kennedy has now retired, to be replaced by Justice Kavanaugh, a thoroughly conservative judge, the likely-hood of many future 5-4 decisions seems increasingly unlikely and if they do happen Chief Justice Roberts is likely to be the new ‘swing’ vote.  

—Anyway, I have now digressed totally, having gone from a website hack to the make up of the Supreme Court, so I shall close here with the noted intention that the next blog posting should be less than eighteen months from now.


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