“Secret Empires”

“Secret Empires” a book by Peter Schwiezer

I avoid political comments in this blog… but this one got the best of me!

The book can speak for itself.

Here’s an April 9, 2019 Washington Times analysis / opinion on the book “Secret Secret Empires CoverEmpires”.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/9/book-review-secret-empires-by-peter-schweizer/

I’m not buying the book; it will not change anything. And why aggravate yourself over stuff you can’t change. You say to me, “that is why we have elections, to change what we are unsatisfied with”. My response, “even if you elect 50 new congressional people, assuming they are all of the highest integrity and honesty, that is only a 10% change. The 10% is not going to change the 90%.

The only thing for certain is that “THEY”, for sure, will not change it.

Why would “THEY”?

I will continue to vote … hope springs eternal!

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

A Moment of Notoriety

Sitting in a New Bern, NC restaurant with friends, just finished eating.

Fleetwood MacWe are yet seated at the table and this 20 something strolls up to the table, politely excuses the intrusion, saying they swore I was Mick Fleetwood from the famous band, Fleetwood Mac.  And, she asked if I was.  I said no, I could tell by my bank account.

She stayed for a few minutes, fancifully and with great animation, going through her table’s conversation about, “is that really him” and we all talked about Fleetwood Mac.

Then she apologies again, and kindly, shyly asked me to stand so she could do a selfie with me. I did.

I relayed this tidbit to a friend of mine and he noted that I could not have been mistaken for Mick Fleetwood.  Mick is 6’3″ and your, 5’8″.  Notwithstanding my friend’s sarcastic comment…

…. I’m leaving for my world tour tomorrow!

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

Really ?

I spent way too much time completing the surgical center’s pre-op online patient information prior to shoulder surgery on January 2nd… pages!  All that information is available at my surgeons’ office and my family doc’s office, in the same city.  Proximity is not important… please read on.

I complained about this to the surgical center to no avail.  I registered a complaint in my surgeon’s office and their answer was the office and the surgical centers are not related facilities.

Global CompetitionWhen the hell is the medical profession going to get real about central records on global servers?  That argument about proprietary information and confidentiality does not stand.  Just look at global transactions made and information storage used by business and industry and banking and their customers, suppliers.  Do those businesses get hacked? Yes. Do they recover, yes!  Do they abandon global record keeping, transactions and interfaces?  No!  They just get better at security!

And think of the advantages for the patient and physician:

  • So little paperwork in doc’s offices
  • New doc’s would know the patient’s entire medical history
  • That history could be updated as necessary following patient visits and procedures
  • Doc’s could see a patient’s script history before prescribing new/additional drugs
  • Few patients show up with a complete memory of all procedures, exams, drugs, allergic reactions, etc.

I’m sure the medical and information technology community could add many more bullets to the above list.

Really?

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

So badly out of balance?  Anyone have a cure?

You need to read the article entitled, “ the shrinking middle class”,  in the January  2019 Fortune Magazine. it is a long article.  it is divided into a series of sub-articles. However, you can obtain a disturbing summary in the lead  article , pages 52 to 55. Here is the link:

http://fortune.com/longform/shrinking-middle-class/

If nothing else, there is a telling chart you should view entitled “Growth In Prices Compared with Earnings, 1990 – 2018″.

price vs earnings 1990 to 2018

Very worrisome at the least and evidence of how badly out of balance the country is.

Have a cure?

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

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 *****