So, are the impeachment hearings moving the needle?

November 22, 2019

Short answer: Yes … to Trump’s benefit.
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Let’s ignore the partisan punditry for a moment and take another look at the numbers.

As we’ve posted before, TV ratings for the hearings have been dismal.

That’s no surprise since 60% of voters say that they are less interested in impeachment than are the politicos and the media … since the hearings are generally dull and confusing to most people … and since the hearings are broadcast during the day — when most people are at work.

So, people who do have an interest, resort to their usual partisan sources of news.

OK, so how are the numbers moving?

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Let’s starts with opinions re: the inquiry proceedings themselves…

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According to the RCP poll-of-polls, support for Schiff’s impeachment inquiry has slipped from 51% to 48% … and opposition to the inquisition (err, inquiry) has increased from 42% to about 45%.

So, support has gone from 9% net favorable to 3% net favorable.

Still, support is net favorable … but it’s less than a majority …marginally net favorable … and decreasingly so (i.e. the trend is unfavorable.

What about views on impeachment itself?

Read the rest of this entry »

The question that I’d ask at the impeachment hearings…

November 21, 2019

“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”
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The hearings have been so predictable and dull that — when I’ve been watching — I’ve played the game “What would I ask?”.

Yesterday, I watched some of the testimony of Laura Cooper — the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

Ms. Cooper seems like a serious, well-intended government bureaucrat.  I don’t have a beef with her specifically.

But, she prefaced several of her answers with a couple of recurring phrases: “My staff does that; “I’d have to ask my staff”; “that’s outside my purview”; etc.

Her answers flashed me back to a classic scene in the movie Office Space.

It’s only a minute long and worth the time … guaranteed: it’ll change the way you watch the hearings

click to view
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When interviewing a “customer specifications analyst”, a pair of efficiency experts — the Bobs — laser in on the most fundamental question…

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“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”

When watching the hearings, just substitute the words “the US government” for “Initech” and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

All of the witnesses:

  • Seem to have very narrow specialties.
  • The specialties seem to be duplicated in several departments.
  • The specialists in each of the departments seem to spend a lot of time in meetings, on the phone and at dinners … often with each other, honing their groupthink.
  • Nobody seems to have authority to actually do anything other than generate make-work for their staffs.
  • All seem to have locked up government paychecks and benefits for life.

May just be me, but the words “bloat”, “inefficiency” and “ineffectiveness” keep popping in my mind.

Where are the Bobs when you need them?

============

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Before climate change, there was the “Population Bomb”.

November 21, 2019

And, there are remarkable similarities.
============

Recently, in one of her articulated streams of consciousness, AOC warned that we all would be toast in 12 years if global warming wasn’t arrested.

Time to metal-cube our SUVs and mass-slaughter the bovine-methane creatures, right?

Well, not so fast.

While AOC’s warning may come to fruition, I’m betting the over on the 12 years … in part, because it fits a pattern of hysterical unrealized doomsday predictions.

For example, circa. 1970, Prof. Paul Ehrlich  (Stanford University) wrote Malthusian-inspired book: The Population Bomb. The book became a runaway “scientific” best-seller.

image
Smithonian.com

Ehrlich warned that because of unchecked population growth:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over.

Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.

All of us will face mass starvation on a dying planet.

While their were some deniers, demographers agreed almost unanimously with Ehrlich’s doomsday prediction ….

Read the rest of this entry »

CBS tunes out the Schiff Show … resumes regular soap operas.

November 20, 2019

And, public support for impeachment continues to erode.
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Earlier this week, we posted re: the dismal viewership the Dems’ impeachment hearings are getting.

Want an unmistakable indicator?

Well, CBS became the first major network to face reality — that nobody was watching the tedious hearings — and switched back to its usual soap operas, i.e. from one soap opera to another.

image

More important, the Pelosi-dreamed groundswell of support for impeachment sure doesn’t seem to be materializing…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Reduced to teaching at Georgetown” … say, what?

November 19, 2019

There was a part of Amb. Yovanovitch’s that made my jaw drop.

When the Dem counsel was prying into her firing, he was obviously trying his level best to get her to cry … “how did you feel?”; “what was the impact on your family?”; “can you describe how distraught you were?”, etc.

Boo-hoo …

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In my business career, I was sold twice to new owners … and  “rationalized”, “synergized” and reassigned many times during internal regime changes.

So, I have zero sympathy when a “paying job for life” diplomat gets reassigned when a new sheriff comes to town.

But, that’s not what stopped me in my tracks …

Read the rest of this entry »

So, is the Dem’s impeachment action gaining widespread support?

November 18, 2019

In a word: NO!
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Pundits and politicos on the left are shouting BOMBSHELL! BOMBSHELL!! BOMBSHELL!!!

Those on the right are declaring: “nothingburger”.

So, what’s the answer?

image

Let’s look at some numbers…

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“Fan interest” for the televised hearings is pretty low.

Nielsen says that just under 14 million watched the first day of hearings.

That’s down from the 20 million that tuned into the Kavanaugh hearings … and only about 1% of the number of 2016 voters.

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And, what impact are the hearings having on voters?

Well, according to left-leaning FiveThirtyEight, support for impeachment FELL a bit during week one of hearings. (See chart above)

Support for impeachment is now a mere 2 percentage points higher that opposition … but, at 47.7%, it’s less than a majority. 

And, according to RCP, approval for the inquiry process itself slid during the week of hearings … dipping below 50% for the first time in weeks.

image

Bottom line: Pelosi said “no impeachment unless there was bipartisan Congressional support and widespread public sentiment.

Doesn’t look like Inquiry will meet those hurdles…

==============

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More: Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 15, 2019

A survey of 700 schools answers the question.
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In a prior post, we outlined the criteria and method that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) used to assess whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

image

In a nutshell, ACTA researchers culled through over 700 schools’ course catalogs and web sites to determine what courses were being offered and, more important, which courses were required of all students.

Specifically, they investigated whether undergraduates are gaining a reasonable college-level introduction in seven core subject areas:

  1. Composition & argumentation
  2. Literature and critical thinking
  3. Foreign language & culture
  4. U.S. government & history
  5. Economics: Macro, micro, behavioral
  6. Mathematics, logic & computer science
  7. Science & scientific experimentation.

Here’s what they found …

Read the rest of this entry »

Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 14, 2019

A survey seeks to  answer that question.
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In a prior  post, we reported that employers think that most college graduates are poorly prepared for the work force in such areas as critical thinking, communication and problem solving.

See A bigger college scandal than the recent admissions bruhaha…

Let’s dig a little deeper on that sentiment.

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The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) conducted a survey of “Core Requirements at our Nation’s Colleges and Universities” to determine what students are really learning in college.

Specifically, the ACTA survey focused on the courses that a student is required to take outside the major.

These courses — commonly called general education classes or the school’s core curriculum — are, according to the ACTA, “ the foundation of a school’s academic program”.

They are the courses “generally  designed to equip students with essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

Here is specifically what ACTA was looking for…

Read the rest of this entry »

Test: Can you find Ukraine on a map?

November 13, 2019

And, if you can, can you name its neighboring countries?
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OK, here’s a map of Eastern Europe.

Stick a pin in Ukraine…

image

And, the answer is …

Read the rest of this entry »

Test: Volodymyr Zelensky is the president of what country?

November 12, 2019

That should be an easy question since its been in the news 24 x 7 recently.

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But, I’ve heard friends, pundits and outraged Dem politicos say that he is the President of:

(a) The Ukraine (like The Philippines or  The Ohio State University)

(b) Ukraine (like Canada or Smokey Bear)

(c) Ukrania (like Romania)

So, which is it?

Read the rest of this entry »

More: Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 12, 2019

A survey of 700 schools answers the question.
===============

In a prior post, we outlined the criteria and method that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) used to assess whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

image

In a nutshell, ACTA researchers culled through over 700 schools’ course catalogs and web sites to determine what courses were being offered and, more important, which courses were required of all students.

Specifically, they investigated whether undergraduates are gaining a reasonable college-level introduction in seven core subject areas:

  1. Composition & argumentation
  2. Literature and critical thinking
  3. Foreign language & culture
  4. U.S. government & history
  5. Economics: Macro, micro, behavioral
  6. Mathematics, logic & computer science
  7. Science & scientific experimentation.

Here’s what they found …

Read the rest of this entry »

Legally speaking, when does “death do you part”?

November 11, 2019

A prison lifer seeks clarification … and freedom.
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According to several sources

In 1996, Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced to life without parole for bludgeoning a man to death.

Usually, that sentence is pretty clear cut.

Not in Schreiber ‘s case.

Here’s the rub…

Read the rest of this entry »

What are your chances of dying from ___ ?

November 8, 2019

Yesterday, we posted that men are 9 times more likely than women to be attacked by sharks … and 6 times more likely to be struck by lightning.

Continuing in that vein, here’s a test for you  …

image

Rank the the following by the odds that somebody who is in the group or who is exposed to the risk is likely to die.

Make #1 the highest risk of dying in the next year; make #7 the lowest risk circumstance

  • For women giving birth
  • For anyone thirty-five to forty-four years old
  • From asbestos in schools
  • For anyone for any reason
  • From lightning
  • For police on the job
  • From airplane crashes

And the answer is …

Read the rest of this entry »

Is it more dangerous to be a man than a woman?

November 7, 2019

Some evidence says it is …  by far in some situations.
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According to Prof. Walter E. Williams writing about Proportional Disparities

Men are roughly half of the population, right?

But, sharks are nine times likelier to attack and kill men than they are women.

image

Men are struck by lightning six times as often as women.

And, 82% of people killed by lightning are men.

Why is that?

Read the rest of this entry »

The degree-earning gender gap…

November 6, 2019

An interesting analysis done by economist Mark Perry concludes:

Since 1982, women have earned 13 million more college degrees than men.

image

Let’s drill down on those numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Do students really learn what’s taught?

November 5, 2019

Though I’ve retired from the practice, I’m still very engaged on education issues … especially whether our students (at all levels) are being adequately schooled to compete in the real world.

So, one of my summer reads is “What Schools Could Be” by Ted Dinterersmith – a well credentialed, experience-deep educator.

In a nutshell, author Ted Dintersmith spent a year visiting schools across the nation to identify outstanding teachers and catalog their secret sauces.

image

One of the anecdotes that he recounts in the book hit one of my longstanding questions: Do students really learn what they’re being taught?

Read the rest of this entry »

Schools: Test scores falling from already dismal levels…

November 4, 2019

… and, the gap is widening between highest achieving and lowest achieving students.

==============

Every 2 years, an organization called The Nation’s Report Card conducts an “Assessment of Educational Progress” being made in America’s school.

The overall conclusion: not much progress is being made.

image

Specifically…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Half of all U.S. colleges to close or go bankrupt in the next decade”

November 1, 2019

That’s the gloomy prediction of disruption guru Clayton Christensen
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And, it’s not just the tidal wave of online programs or ballooning college tuitions.

Moreso, Christensen’s prediction is on track, according to a WSJ recap of economist Nathan Grawe’s “Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.”

image

Grawe’s central thesis: Birthrates have plunged 13% since the Great Recession … and that “birth dearth” will cost America 450,000 fewer college applicants in the 2020s.

Here are some of the specifics….

Read the rest of this entry »

Before climate change, there was the “Population Bomb”.

October 31, 2019

And, there are remarkable similarities.
============

Recently, in one of her articulated streams of consciousness, AOC warned that we all would be toast in 12 years if global warming wasn’t arrested.

Time to metal-cube our SUVs and mass-slaughter the bovine-methane creatures, right?

Well, not so fast.

While AOC’s warning may come to fruition, I’m betting the over on the 12 years … in part, because it fits a pattern of hysterical unrealized doomsday predictions.

For example, circa. 1970, Prof. Paul Ehrlich  (Stanford University) wrote Malthusian-inspired book: The Population Bomb. The book became a runaway “scientific” best-seller.

image
Smithonian.com

Ehrlich warned that because of unchecked population growth:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over.

Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.

All of us will face mass starvation on a dying planet.

While their were some deniers, demographers agreed almost unanimously with Ehrlich’s doomsday prediction ….

Read the rest of this entry »

How do the rich get richer ..

October 30, 2019

… while others seem to just tread water?

============

Interesting study reported in the NY Times

The rich really are getting richer …  growing net worth faster than those on lower wealth rungs.

image

… and, there’s a logical reason why.

Read the rest of this entry »

So, how many “rich” folks are there?

October 29, 2019

Yesterday we reported survey results from Schwab and the WSJ that pegged the threshold for being classified as “rich” or “wealthy” at about $2.5 million.

Just being a millionaire doesn’t make the cut any more.

See What’s the “magic number” that makes you wealthy?

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Source: NY Times

OK, so how many households do make the cut?

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the “magic number” that makes you wealthy?

October 28, 2019

Several years ago I asked a colleague “What do you need to retire?”

image

His answer: “$5 million and playmates.”

Playmates?

What he meant was having enough leisure-time folks to hang out with during the day.

So, about the  “magic number” …

Read the rest of this entry »

Blame it on a Macedonian “content farm” … say, what?

October 25, 2019

Hillary is back … outing imagined Russian “assets”and rationalizing why  she lost.

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So, let’s flash back to her first book launch…

Remember when HRC perched on a faux-throne at CodeCon and the Javits Center … spilled the beans on why she lost?

image

Of course, there are the usual villains: Comey, the Russians, WikiLeaks, deplorables, etc.

But, she’s also starting to turn on her support base: the DNC (bad data, no money, no ground game), mainstream media (for disclosing that she had classified docs on her server), women (both suburban and rural, urbans were ok), and low-information voters (her base !).

My personal favorite: “content farms in Macedonia” … apparently there’s an army of tech savvy social media writers based in Macedonia who turned their cannons on her.

Really?

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Here’s a current list of culprits and ill-wishers …

Read the rest of this entry »

Gotcha: Soon, speed cams will be so yesterday …

October 24, 2019

Speed cams are bad … AAA has done audits revealing that 1 in 10 tickets issued by them are in error … with drivers having little recourse since only  the cameras are are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Yep, they’re bad, but …

Imagine all speed limits being tightly enforced … 24 X 7.

Scary thought, right?

image

Here’s what will replace the speed cam … and disrupt our lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

New evidence: Screen time makes you grow older faster…

October 23, 2019

For sure if you’re a fly… quite possibly if you’re a human.
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Excerpted from Fast Company

You probably already know that staring at the blue light beaming from a smartphone or computer screen might damage your eyesight.

Here’s some worse news…

image

A new study suggests that long exposure to blue light could be doing some more fundamental damage: making you age faster.

Read the rest of this entry »

Decline in MBA applications accelerates…

October 22, 2019

Schools pressured to innovate programs and tighten cost belts.

==============

According to data collected by the WSJ

Applications to American M.B.A. programs fell for the fifth straight year … down by 9.1% last year to just over 135,000.

Elite schools — except for Chicago (my alma mater) – are experiencing declines and being forced to dig deeper into their still formidable pile of applications … i.e. increase their acceptance rates.

image

What’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

About the Dems’ groundswell for impeachment…

October 21, 2019

Reuters / IPSOS: Support for impeachment cools.
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Speaker Pelosi has said repeated;y that impeachment requires public support that is broad and deep.

Her dream: Americans would be appalled by Trump’s asking the Ukrainian president to investigate 2016 election meddling and “look into” Hunter Biden’s lucrative set on a Ukrainian energy company’s board  –despite zero experience in energy and no obvious ties to the Ukraine, save for his father’s political influence.

Surely, Adam Schiff’s secret interrogations would uncover a string of “bombshells” that would doom Trump’s presidency, right?

image

Well, the groundswell of public support seems to be sputtering…

Read the rest of this entry »

Last week on the HomaFiles

October 20, 2019

What’s the impact of declining birthrates on future college enrollments?
Schools will need to adjust their business model … or close their doors.

Why some millennials are fleeing the cities…
Workers with mobile jobs trying to improve their quality of life.

“Making dishwashers great again”
DOE drafting regs to shorten cycle times and get dishes clean

Move over FitBit …
Counting steps is passé … now, count your prayers!

=============

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Move over FitBit …

October 18, 2019

Counting steps is passé … now, count your prayers!
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Given the the success of Fitbit (and its imitators) — counting steps, recording sleep patterns, nudging butts off couches — you just had to see this one coming:

image

Here’s the scoop…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Making dishwashers great again”

October 17, 2019

For years, my wife has been justifiably complaining about how  dishwasher performance has gotten way worse because of goofy environmental rules enacted by the Feds.

Ostensibly, DOE rules were put in place to reduce energy and water consumption.

image

While well-intended (maybe) , from the get-go, consumers started complaining that dishwashers made under the new rules don’t clean very well — dishes come out dirty and smelly … and take forever to run … often requiring follow-on runs to finish the job.

DOE itself has acknowledged this is caused by its regulations, saying: “To help compensate for the negative impact on cleaning performance associated with decreasing water use and water temperature, manufacturers will typically increase the cycle time.” Source

The news: help may be on the way….

Read the rest of this entry »

Why some millennials are fleeing the cities…

October 16, 2019

In a prior post, we reported  that census numbers are showing signs that urban millennials are starting to flee to the suburbs … and beyond.

According to the WSJ …

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. census figures have shown that thousands of millennials and younger Gen Xers are leaving big cities.

Since 2014 an average of about 30,000 residents between 25 and 39 have left big cities annually.

image

Not exactly a groundswell … but, perhaps, an early indicator of the “next new trend for workers with mobile jobs: moving to a small town to improve our quality of life.”

A commentary in the weekend WSJ breathed some life into the trend…

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the impact of declining birthrates on future college enrollments?

October 15, 2019

And, how should colleges brace for the changes?
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According to Nathan Grawe, a professor of social sciences at Minnesota’s Carleton College …

A declining birthrate means the currently typical college-going population could decline by more than 15 percent starting about 2026.

The impact: schools will need to tightened their cost belts, aggressively recruit students and do a better job retaining and graduating their enrollees … or close down.

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Let’s unpack Grawe’s argument…

Read the rest of this entry »

Annapolis: Very high tide…

October 14, 2019

What do you get when you mix seasonal high tides, a full moon and a tropical storm stalled off the eastern seaboard?

Answer: Flooding in the streets of historic Annapolis.

image

P.S. It’s rare confluence of factors, but it has happened before.

So … no, it’s not proof of climate change.

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How’s your mental health?

October 11, 2019

Recent study finds that the prevalence of mental health symptoms is much higher than thought.
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MindShare Partners recently issued its 2019 report on mental health in the workplace.

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Specifically, MindShare  asked 1,500 working individuals if they had experienced any of the following symptoms in the year…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Johnny can’t write …

October 10, 2019

Faculty colleagues and I often bemoaned that there seems to be a consensus that writing skills among MBA students have been declining.

I’m not talking about flowery prose and precise grammar.

I’m talking about logical argumentation … being able to explain why something is happening and what to do about it.

My hypothesis was that colleges aren’t requiring students to take courses (or demonstrate proficiency) in, say, critical thinking or logic … and that college students today aren’t required to write many papers that hone their thinking and writing skills.

image

Testing my hypothesis on a middle school math teacher-friend, I got a rude awakening …

Read the rest of this entry »

Ethics: Is mathematics racist?

October 9, 2019

Seattle Board of Education thinks so.
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According to the Daily Caller (and numerous other sources)…

Seattle Public Schools are now offering a course for K-12 students titled “Math Ethnic Studies.”

The permeating theme: mathematics is fundamentally racist.

image

Say, what?

Read the rest of this entry »

Brokerage firms leveraging the “compelling power of free”…

October 8, 2019

I oft preached in class about the “compelling power of free”.

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Consumers just can’t resist free stuff … whether they need it or not.

So, “free” is consistently reported to be the most powerful word in advertising. It draws attention … and provokes action.

And, in terms of market response, there’s a big difference between “free” and “almost free”…

Read the rest of this entry »

Want to win a bar bet?

October 7, 2019

Whose approval numbers were higher – Trump’s or Obama’s?
================

Well, at this stage of their presidencies, Trump and Obama had approval ratings that were statistically equal.

Can’t be right … can it?

Below is the composite chart from RealClearPolitics — the bible of poll-of-polls aggregation.

Trump’s numbers are the bolder lines  – black for approval, red for disapproval.  Obama’s are the fainter lines – same color scheme.

Focus on the end-points — where the black lines converge.

image

That may be a little hard to read, so let’s zoom in to the summary box at the top…

Read the rest of this entry »

The perils of long-term financial planning…

October 4, 2019

Frugal savers bulls-eyed as Congress move to end “stretch” IRAs.

============

According to a WSJ recap…

Conventional financial planning wisdom has been to put as much money as possible into IRAs and 401Ks … starting early, maxing plan contributions, benefiting from company matches, growing accounts tax-free … and, if you don’t end up spending all of the dough in retirement, pass anything left in the pot to heirs.

image

While that basic logic still holds, Congress is moving to throw a monkey wrench into the works by substantially increasing the tax burden on heirs.

Here’s what’s going on…

Read the rest of this entry »

What if Warren wins?

October 3, 2019

“Resist” may be alive and well … with the tables turned

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Yesterday we ran through a couple of scenarios if Trump did end up getting bounced from office.

The scenarios assumed that Trump would still run in 2020, probably against Warren, maybe with a “moderate” independent jumping in.

My bet: Trump would be be re-elected.

Why?

Largely because Trump supporters would turn out in droves, angry that their votes were overturned by flimsy political machinations … and because:

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“In recent interviews of several big-money Democratic donors and fundraisers in the business community, CNBC has found that this opinion is becoming widely shared as Warren surges against Joe Biden.”

Specifically, big bank executives and hedge fund managers that electing Warren would be tantamount to “shutting down their industry.”

And, oh yeah, there’s that wealth tax that she has been proposing.

===============

Even while pulling back their support, some Wall Streeters are strategizing for a possible life under President Warren…

Read the rest of this entry »

NY Times: Schiff aid advised whistleblower … and tipped Schiff.

October 2, 2019

Big new from today’s New York Times

image

Here are my takeaways (with emphasis added):

The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint.

The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.

The early account explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy.

Note:: Schiff had said publicly (on tape)that neither he nor his staff “have spoken directly to the whistleblower” before the complaint was made public.

Oops.

The entire NYT article is worth reading … especially since it’s from the Trump-adverse New York Times.

Draw your  own conclusions.

Ah, the plot thickens.

============

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About the 2020 Presidential election…

October 2, 2019

Impeachment imbroglio raises some very interesting scenarios.

==============

Over the weekend, mused about possible outcomes for the Dems impeachment offensive and the impact on the 2020 election.

My current bet:

  • House will approve articles of impeachment on a straight party line vote (regardless of any evidence or legal logic) … a couple of GOP reps jump ship, allowing Pelosi to position the vote as bi-partisan.
  • A majority of Senators will vote to remove Trump from office but the vote won’t be close to the 2/3s threshold that’s needed, so Trump survives.
  • Biden will be toast, so it’ll be Warren versus Trump … and maybe an Indie will jump in.
  • It’ll be Nixon vs. McGovern 2.0 … as pro-Trumpsters come out of the woodwork in droves … and Dem fat cats reject Warren’s brand of socialism.

image

But, there are a couple of other interesting “what if” scenarios…

Read the rest of this entry »

Ouch: Employer health plans now cost over $20,000 per family.

September 30, 2019

How long until employers jump on the Medicare-for-All bandwagon?

=================

According to a Kaiser Foundation survey reported in the WSJ, annual health insurance premiums rose 5% in 2019 to hit $20,576 for an employer-provided family plan.

image

Drilling down on the increase….

Read the rest of this entry »

Millennials going suburban?

September 27, 2019

That’s what the WSJ concludes based on recently released census data.

Specifically …

“Large U.S. cities lost tens of thousands of millennial and younger Gen X residents last year.

The sustained declines signal a sharp reversal from the beginning of the decade, when young adults flooded into cities and helped lead an urban revival.

New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington and Portland, Ore., were among those losing large numbers of residents in the 25 to 39 age group.”

image

So, what’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Do brain training games work?

September 26, 2019

These days many online games and apps claim to improve memory, brain processing speed, and overall problem-solving skills … and to postpone the onset of age-related memory loss.

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So, do these games work?

Read the rest of this entry »

Does music make you smarter … longer?

September 25, 2019

More from my summer reading on brains …

There seems to be scientific evidence that music can, in fact, make you smarter and keep your brain sharp longer as you age.

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“Basically, findings on how music affects the brain indicate that musical training—and perhaps even habitual engagement with listening to and appreciating music—can help the brain enhance its natural neuroplasticity (i.e. build “neural networks”) and improve countless abilities and cognitive skills.” Source

More specifically…

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Is your GPS dulling your brain?

September 24, 2019

Last week, we posted Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

We argued that persistent reliance on Google searching for routine information foregoes opportunities to strengthen your brain’s memory muscles … and,  minimizes the amount of memory “dots” that you have stored — lowering the likelihood of your being able to mentally connect-the-dots to draw insights.

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Today. let’s consider another technological advance — our indispensable GPS navigation devices — and their impact on our mental dexterity.

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Is Wile E. Coyote is alive and well … and working for the Dems?

September 23, 2019

Russiagate, the Mueller fail … and now the Ukrainian whistleblower fiasco bring back memories of legendary cartoon character Wile E. Coyote.

First, some background for younger readers.

Back in the olden days, there was a cartoon series called Looney Tunes.  One of the main characters was a clever, ground-running bird named Road Runner.

Road Runner’s nemesis was a wannabe clever coyote named Wile E. Coyote (get it?).

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Wile E. spent every waking hour crafting devious plots to “get” and eat the Road Runner.

Invariably, the plots failed … and often boomeranged … inflicting deserved pain and anguish on Wile E. Coyote.

For 3 minutes of flashback entertainment, see “Wile E. Coyotes Top 10 Fails”

Looks to me like Wile E. is on the Dems payroll these days.

Evidence: the unraveling of the Ukrainian “bombshell”…

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Using Federal whistleblower statute for cover, an “intelligence officer” files a workplace complaint that President Trump threatened to cut off foreign aid to the Ukraine if the Uke Prez didn’t restart an investigation into corrupt activities by Hunter Biden — Sleepy Joe’s son.

It’s alleged that Hunter’s firm rallied some dough from the Chinese, laundered it, and plopped it into Uke energy companies.

When the Ukes started poking around, then VP Biden stepped in and threatened to pull the plug on a billion dollar loan guarantee for the Ukes unless they called off the investigative dogs who were nipping at Hunter’s heels.  They did.

Want evidence?

In a classic video appearance:

Joe Biden brags about how he threatened to pull $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

The prosecutor, who was fired, was leading a corruption investigation into a company that employed Biden’s son, Hunter.

Trump admits that he told the Uke Prez — in a top-to-top classified phone call — to re-open the probe.

The whistleblower toots to an Inspector General that Trump pulled a no-no and the impeachment lobby rallied to the cause.

But, the case seems to be unraveling.

Some reports say that the alleged incident isn’t even covered by Fed whistleblower statutes, so the process is compromised.

But, Trump offered an illegal quid pro quo … that’s a big deal and needs spotlighting, right?

Well, some folks who were listening in on the call are saying that Trump didn’t offer a quid pro quo or threaten the Uke Prez.

Did you notice the nuance?

That’s what folks who were listening in report.

Turns out that the whistleblower wasn’t even on the call.

He was simply blowing his whistle on the basis of a rumor that he heard.

Say, what?

Oh, and did I mention that the whistleblower is alleged to be a Democratic political hack?

Or, maybe it’s Wile E. Coyote.

I guess we’ll eventually find out.

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Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

September 20, 2019

First, some background …

The tests I used to give to my students always included some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students were repulsed by them and oft-shoutdc the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

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What’s wrong with that argument?

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Diets: KETO vs. MIND

September 19, 2019

Earlier this week we posted that the MIND Diet is being promoted for brain-friendly nutrition.

A loyal reader asked: “I’ve been hearing a lot about the KETO diet.  How does the MIND diet compare?”

Good question.

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With the disclaimer that I’m not a nutritionist, here’s what I found…

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