When is it all going to change!

For all too long now it has been all about the parties. Who will control the house, who will control the senate, conservatives, liberals, and not about the country.

It is internationally embarrassing, irresponsible, petty, corrupt, controlled by special interests, and just plain disgusting.  It is about power, about raising money to achieve it, and then holding onto it once you’ve gotten it.

The change we need — leadership: integrity, honesty, issue focused, a government the represents the people, not political parties and financial contributors.

The situation might be corrected when:

  • It is illegal for special interests groups and lobbyists to fund / contribute to campaigns
  • Term-limits apply to all elected congressional representatives and senators
  • Washington DC officials have the same health care plan and other benefits as any citizen
  • The federal budget is managed like citizens manage their household budget
  • Intense scrutiny of money that is sent, donated, given away to other countries
  • A positive (versus adversarial) focus on building an international economy and trade
  • Smaller government

The dilemma is that the very people who “benefit” from the corruption, who have put themselves first, instead of their country, are the very people who have to change it.

How, when, is it all going to change? And, who will change it?

The most abused phrase used in Washington, DC is “in the best interest of my constituents”.

***** S&E *****

2016 Yamaha Wave Runner Glove Box Latch Repair

This would apply to various years of Yamaha Waverunners.  See photo below.

The cheap plastic glove box latch design has the latch pivoting on a metal pin which is secured by very thin plastic holes on each side of the latch housing.  The holes break away quickly.  Pitch the latch !

The fix is to use E6000 industrial strength glue (small tube about $7).  I used magnets about $10 bucks from Amazon, glued to the glove box cover and the glove box housing.  Magnets fit perfectly.   Magnets:

Creative Hobbies Ceramic Industrial Magnets -11/16 Inch (.709) Round Disc – 3/16″ THICK (.198″ or 5mm) – Ferrite Magnets Bulk for Crafts, Science&hobbies – Grade 5-100 pcs/box!   You will get 100 for the 10 bucks, but magnets are handy.

Here’s a photo: You can see the magnets glued to the glove box cover (top of photo) and2016 Yam VX Deluxe Magnets glove box housing (bottom of photo).  Glue takes 24 hours to set. Do the bottom or top first, separately.  Use clamps on the top cover (with it open).  Do the bottom magnets keeping the top open.  Maker sure you have the polarity correct.

On average about $10,000 machines — bad design, or, maybe just the cheapest way out.

In balance, great engines and drive trains !!!!

***** S&E *****

 

 

 

Hurricane Losses and the Tax Code

I just read the tax laws for taking a deduction for expenses from hurricane damage.  Here is a link if you are interested.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/top-10-tips-for-deducting-losses-from-a-disaster

A couple of comments: (1) you just can’t simply deduct the expense.  There are calculations described in several IRS Forms, Schedules, and Publications.  (2) It is a 10 step process which includes establishing the basis, adjusting for Fair Market Value, and on and on.  Generally, if your loss does not exceed 10 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income, you will not be able to claim the loss.

IRS ImageSo for those who have losses in the thousands from Hurricane Florence, they will probably be tapping IRA’s to cover the loss since most don’t have thousands sitting and available in bank accounts to cover disasters.  That would be a taxable event (withdrawal from IRA), more expense, NICE!

At the least, Congress and the IRS could forgive tax on IRA withdrawals to pay for losses from disasters.  Better yet, simplify the tax code so you could SIMPLY deduct the loss.

You and I probably won’t live to see that!!!

I would suggest that when a Congress Person uses the phrase, “in the best interest of my constituents”, It probably should be rephrased to, “in the best interest of my campaign donors and sponsors”.

***** S&E *****

Resistance Inside the Administration

If you have not read the “Op-Ed” article published by the NY Times on September 5th, you should.  Among all the chaos in  DC, I find it encouraging… or at least evidence of a balance within.  I am a half-full glass person. 

There is an ongoing search for the guilty associated with the writer.  I find it interesting that organizations like the KKK (why past disgusting and much worse) can exist, hiding behind the first amendment, but that amendment apparently, in the presidents mind, is not applicable this situation.

Here is the Times introduction to the article:

The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

Here is a link to the full article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

***** S&E *****

 

 

 

Scary Smart

The link below will take you to a Nat Geo, May 2018 article.  The issue is entitled “Genius” .  I always regarded Chem Engineers, for one, as scary smart.

Tweety n Smart

A good friend of mine earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and then a PhD in emergency medicine.  I had a boss who I worked with on and off, due to job changes,  for maybe 8 years or so, another Chem Engineer — had a huge corporate job spanning domestic and international leadership for a multinational corporation.  And I have an investment advisor how works for a highly successful firm, yep, a Chem Engineer.

All Scary smart !  And all great people !

Here is the link to the above referenced Nat Geo article …, yep, scary smart.

Mapping the Stars…

***** S&E *****

Riding the Great Allegheny Passage !!! (GAP)

Five of us just competed the Gap trip from the Eastern Continental Divide in Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pa. This is the second year for the trip for me. Rigorous; always a life experience, enjoying the great outdoors for five days.

At the start !

Here is a summary:

 

Distance: 146 miles (225  km), 5 riding days on a crushed limestone path through the woods, tent camping at night.

On back or bike: Handlebar bag, backpack, rear saddle bags, and stuff on luggage rack .. About 40 lbs.

Fully packed bike at left.

Carried: Maps, clothes/shoes for 5 days, personal hygiene stuff, rain gear, tent and related equipment, sleeping bag, night lighting, tunnel lighting, extra bike parts and repair tools, energy bars and similar, medical emergency stuff, some food, folding table and chair, all in, about 65 items.  You say chair?  Your seat is thankful to have one after hours on that bike seat!

 

 

 

Rafting: our riding trail passed through a white water rafting area so we did a half day raft trip.

 

 

 

 

The Team Relaxing… we did a lot of relaxing!

 

Weather: rain for 3 of the 5 days; 2 of those days 2” and 3” downpours. We just rode through it.  Good news — dry nights and mornings so setting up camp and morning takedowns and re-packing the bikes, no rain !!!

Raccoons: Attack on last night — they made off with about 10 power bars and riding energy packets.  Where’s my gun!

At right, taking a break!

Equipment failures: None

Injuries: One – a broken metacarpal (hand) on the raft trip on the third day.  The dude completed the ride — tough!

***** S&E *****

 

The Rich and the Poor

We used a guide in Rome Italy when we visited there.  An American, our guide lived in Rome for 16 years, learned the lay of the land, and turned his love for the city into a job – Tour Guide.

As we were doing the tourists thing, since he lived in both countries long enough to understand the significant differences, I asked what those differences might be?  He instantly responded, In the USA the government is rich and the people poor… in Italy the government is poor and the people are rich”.

Today, April 17th the US Supreme Court will consider whether states can collect out-of-state sales tax for online purchases.  Currently, 45 states rely on sales tax as a revenue source, few are able to collect.

Governments are losing big bucks ….   How much?  Estimates range from $8 Billion to $13 Billion annually.  I know we want to give our governments more money as they manage it so responsibly!

I suspect the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the governments…. So I suspect we will continue to prove our Tour Guide’s statement accurate… in the USA, governments have more and the people less.

Here is the link to the entire NPR article….NPR news article, April 17, 2018

Was there not an event in Boston “a few years ago” over taxes and representation….?

This whole thing brings me back to the most overused, most inaccurate opening phase often cited by our elected “representatives” when they are addressing an issue…   “In the best interests of my constituents….”

***** S&E *****