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.

image

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.

image

“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…

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

image

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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?).

image

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”…

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

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.

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

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

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.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

image

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

Read the rest of this entry »

I do my best thinking when I sleep … another scientific rationale.

September 18, 2019

 By default, your brain “defragments” when you sleep.

=========

In a yesterday’s post, I reported some scientific evidence that most people really do think when they sleep.

For details, see: I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

Let’s take the science a step further…

image

First, an analogy…

Have you ever defragmented your computer’s hard drive?

Just in case your answer is “no” – or, you’ve never heard of defragmentation – here’s a short course:

When you save a file on your computer (think: Word, Powerpoint, Excel), the file isn’t stored in one piece.

Rather, it’s automatically broken into smaller pieces … and each piece is stashed in the first place that the computer finds an open space on the hard drive.

Since the file is stored in scattered pieces, the computer has to reassemble it when you subsequently re-open the file.

That takes time … and slows the process.

There’s a process called “defragmentation” that sorts through a computer’s hard drive, eliminates “dead links” and reassembles “live” files into contiguous pieces … making the save & open processes more efficient.

Well, it turns out that your brain comes with a process analogous to defragmentation … it’s called “synaptic pruning” … and it happens automatically when you sleep.

Here’s how it works …

Read the rest of this entry »

I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

September 17, 2019

Continuing on the subject of mental health, I’ve oft noticed that I seem to do my best thinking when I’m asleep.

Specifically, I like to get on the computer as soon as I jump out of bed (literally) … and  I often find myself doing a brain dump of thoughts that weren’t top of mind before I’d gone nite-nite.

When I mention that to folks, the revelation initially gets some chuckles … then some start nodding and chiming in with “me, too” variants on the story.

Of course, some remained unconvinced.

clip_image002

=======

For the skeptics, here some science …

Read the rest of this entry »

Brain health: The MIND diet.

September 16, 2019

In prior posts, we’ve addressed how intermittent fasting can improve (and prolong) brain health.

See: Can fasting make you smarter? and Is breakfast over-rated?

A logical question is: “So, what to eat when not fasting?”

Image result for image mind diet

The answer: The MIND Diet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mental toughness: 13 things not to do!

September 13, 2019

Recent article on CNBC caught my eye.

Summarized from a book 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do

The premise: Recognizing unhealthy habits is the first step in creating positive change so you can move forward toward reaching your greatest potential.

image

Gender-neutralized, here’s the author’s list of 13 things to do if you want to build constructive mental toughness…

Read the rest of this entry »

Can fasting make you smarter?

September 12, 2019

Let’s connect a couple of topics today…

Earlier this week, we posted how aeorobic exercise can stimulate neurogenesis — the growth of new brain cells.

And, last month, we posted that recent research suggests that intermittent fasting (e.g constrain daily eating to 8 hours – fasting for the other 16 hours) may be a better route to weight loss and improved health.

image

Among the health benefits cited is lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Read the rest of this entry »

More: Exercise for a stronger, sharper brain…

September 11, 2019

Yesterday we posted that you should Exercise to keep your brain alive and well…

Specifically, we reported studies demonstrating that aerobic exercise stimulates the development of new brain cells … a process called neurogenesis.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I spotted this on the wires:

image

A team of German scientists concluded that improving physical fitness leads to improved cognitive ability, including elevated memory retention and superior problem solving

Specifically…

Read the rest of this entry »

Exercise to keep your brain alive and well…

September 10, 2019

I’ve always been interested in the brain … mostly job-related … trying to understand how students learn.

These days, my focus has become more personal: keeping my brain alive and well in retirement … dodging the dementia bullet.

Specifically, I’ve been reading up on neurogenesis (how to stimulate growth of new brain cells) and neuroplasticity (how to “rewire” your brain by building new neural pathways).

image

One of my first conclusions: exercise really matters!

Read the rest of this entry »

Gotcha: You probably paid too much … especially if you’re bad at math.

September 9, 2019

Awhile ago, we reported a study that found when offered two deals on loose coffee beans: 33% extra free or 33% off the price, shoppers almost invariably picked  the “extra free” option.

Wrong answer.

Most shoppers considered the offers equivalent although the discount is by far the better proposition … it would take a 50% increase in the “free” quantity for the offers to be equivalent.

The researchers concluded that

Shoppers are generally bad at math … and easily succumb to the “power of free”.

image

More generally, consumers are notoriously bad at spotting real values. 

According to the Atlantic ….

  • First: Consumers don’t know what the heck anything should cost, so we rely on parts of our brains that aren’t strictly quantitative.
  • Second: Although humans spend in numbered dollars, we make decisions based on clues and half-thinking that amount to innumeracy.

More specifically, here are some more ways consumers end up paying too much …

Read the rest of this entry »

Screen time: Seniors complain about youngsters, but…

September 6, 2019

Nielsen study upends conventional wisdom.

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

Many parents and grandparents fret that  today’s youth (i.e. their kids) are screen-obsessed.

But, according to a Nielsen study channeled by The Economist, when all screens are accounted for, it’s older folk who seem most addicted.

image

Let’s break down the numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Parents: Stash your cell phones !

September 5, 2019

New studies raise concerns re: “distracted parenting”.

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

Lots written lately re: kids spending too much “screen time” on iPads, computers and cellphones … and too little time reading, exploring and conversing.

All true … and much concerning.

image

A recent analysis in The Atlantic stipulates to the cognitive development dangers of kids spending too much time glued to screens … but concludes that “When it comes to children’s development, parents should worry less about kids’ screen time—and more about their own.”

Here’s the essence of the argument…

Read the rest of this entry »

For climate change zealots: More perspective on China…

September 4, 2019

As the tariff war escalates, it’s a good time to dig into the archives for some climate change perspective.

Loyal readers are familiar with the 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change …

Note: I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

One of my reasons is particularly relevant in our current dealings with China:

Reason #10 that I’m lukewarm on climate change – Letting the perps walk

This one is pretty straightforward …

China has reached record-breaking levels of air pollution that the monitoring equipment can no longer keep track.

Unfortunately, air pollution isn’t just affecting China. Greenpeace states that India is now the world’s worst when it comes to air pollution.

The average India citizen is exposed to 5x as much air pollution as the average Chinese citizen. Source

Ouch!

image

=========

And, the revered Paris Accords won’t make things better any time soon…

Read the rest of this entry »

Flashback: My dumbest post ever … with a mea culpa.

September 3, 2019

Some may disagree … arguing that I’ve made some posts that were even dumber … but, in light of last week’s DOJ-IG report, I nominate my Dec. 21, 2015 post:

My nomination for President … experience, integrity, leadership.

OK, I’m ready to declare my pick for the top spot.

It’s a long-shot, especially since he’s not a declared candidate.

But I can dream, can’t I ?

I hoping that since the current field – on both sides – doesn’t have a president-ready candidate, that this guy will ride in on a white horse … or, be dragged in …. I don’t really care.

image

======

Here’s his top line bio:

Education: William & Mary, University of Chicago Law School (doubt that he studied under Prof. Obama)

Gov’t experience: DOJ under both GOP and Dem administrations

Business experience: Worked in both the defense sector and the financial sector (not just a political hack)

Proven track record: Has been demonstrably successful in everything he has done

High Integrity: Consistently praised by both ends of the political spectrum  — not for being bi-partisan, but for being non-partisan

Apolitical: He’s clearly “in the game” for the right reasons – to serve the country and its people.

Independent: Earned enough FU-money in his real world jobs that he can’t be bought or swayed.

Orientation: “Gets it” regarding the war on terror … realistic, aggressive

Strong leadership: When the guy talks, I think he’s telling the truth and glad that he’s got a hand on the tiller (think, the polar opposite to Obama’s speech after San Bernardino.)

======

Pretty solid, right?

So, who’s my pick?

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Labor Day !

September 2, 2019

Time to reflect…

The unemployment rate is below 4%.

Black and Hispanic unemployment are at an all time lows

Wages have started  to creep up.

And, according to a recent Harris poll, blue collar job satisfaction is over 80%.

Thanks to all who do the heavy lifting so that I can sit back and enjoy my retirement.

image

=============
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

China adopts “calm attitude”…

August 30, 2019

This week, we’ve been highlighting China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.These principles are excerpted from a book titled  The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

Principle #1 – Don’t provoke a powerful adversary – was evident this week in the apparent escalation in the tariff dispute.

image

Let’s recap the bidding….

Read the rest of this entry »

China: Playing the long game in tariff war…

August 29, 2019

This week, we’ve been highlighting China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.

Note these principles are excerpted from a book titled  The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

Quite an appropriate title given CNBC’s observation regarding the current escalation in the tariff dispute.

image

Let’s dig a little deeper…

Read the rest of this entry »

The Chinese theft of Intellectual Property…

August 28, 2019

Earlier this week, we outlined China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.

Excerpted from The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

image

Today, let’s focus on #4 — Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology — and drill down on … the Chinese theft of intellectual property..

Read the rest of this entry »

The Chinese cyber-threat…

August 27, 2019

Yesterday, we outlined China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower … excerpted from The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

  1. Don’t provoke a powerful adversary.
  2. Turn your opponent’s house on itself.
  3. Be patient to achieve victory.
  4. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology.
  5. Target an enemy’s weak points rather than relying on an accumulation of brute strength.
  6. Beware political states that have a dominant influence or authority over others.
  7. Deceive others into doing your bidding for you.
  8. Establish and employ metrics for measuring your status relative to other potential challengers.
  9. Maintain a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia.

Today, let’s focus on #5 and drill down on  the Chinese cyber-threat.

image

Michael Pillsbury nails the point in his book …

Read the rest of this entry »

China’s 9 Principles for Replacing America as the Global Superpower

August 26, 2019

Keep that in mind during the escalating tariff war … there’s a higher purpose. 

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

One of my summer reads has been The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

image

Pillsbury is a bona fide China expert, having served 8 administrations in a variety of high-level positions in the state and defense departments and having worked for heralded think tanks, including RAND and the Hudson Institute.

Note: To me, the guy seems very credible since (a) he footnotes every major point with compelling source documentation, and (b) he is very self-effacing – often pointing out the mistakes that he had made in his China analyses.

As the title indicates, Pillsbury concludes that China is about midway through a 100-year strategy to replace the U.S. as the global superpower…

Read the rest of this entry »

How do the rich get richer ..

August 23, 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?

August 22, 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?

image
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?

August 21, 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 »

Shouldn’t Trump be eyeing Iceland instead of Greenland?

August 20, 2019

Recent reports are that Trump is mulling the idea of the U.S. buying Greenland from Denmark.

Rationale: Strategic military locale, rich resources, historical legacy.

True or illusory, got me wondering whether Trump has his eye on the wrong target.

Some friends & family recently tripped to Iceland.

They loved it, but remarked “it was pretty cold”.

I asserted that you waive you right to carp about chilliness when you choose to go to a place called “Iceland”.

After chuckling, I said “sounds to me like a  branding issue” … and, my friends said “that’s right … and there’s a story about the naming of Iceland and Greenland.”

image

=========

Digging a bit, here’s the story that I’ve been able to piece together …

Read the rest of this entry »

Is breakfast over-rated?

August 19, 2019

Recent studies indicate benefits from fasting … and, breakfast may be on the chopping block.

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

From the WSJ

For years, conventional wisdom has been “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.”

image

But, recent research suggests that intermittent fasting (aka.  time-restricted eating) may be a better route to weight loss and improved health .

Specifically, some doctors are advising patients to omit either dinner or breakfast, so that they don’t ingest any food for at least 14 hours at a stretch.

Here’s why…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Making dishwashers great again”

August 16, 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 »

$$$: What’s the impact of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act on house prices?

August 15, 2019

Answer: For sure, the TCJA put downward pressure on home values … how much depends on a home’s value before deduction caps were put in place.

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

In a prior post, we started thinking about this question (since nobody else seems to have landed on the issue) … and took a stab at estimating the isolated impact of the TCJA’s cap on the mortgage interest deduction.

A couple of readers asked (1) What about the impact of the SALT deductions cap?, and (2) Can you work through a example from start to finish … as simply as possible?

clip_image001

Always aiming to please my loyal readers, here’s a try at answering both inquiries with a simple(?) example….

Read the rest of this entry »

All the Olive Garden you can eat … for life!

August 14, 2019

For 2 years, I’ve been “punishing” Olive Garden for sleazy practice of adding $2 to my bill for the tablet computer that was on our table — even though we didn’t use it!

For the gory details (and a great read), see these prior posts:

I ended my personal boycott because I had the taste for Olive Garden bread sticks, not because the restaurant chain just announced a special promotion: the Olive Garden ““Lifetime Pasta Pass”.

The deal: Shell out $400 and you’re entitled to “a lifetime of unlimited servings of pastas, sauces, and toppings. Plus unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks.”

image

Of course, there are some small print restrictions and and plenty of fodder for belly laughs …

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: A historical perspective on race relations in the U.S….

August 13, 2019

Controversial topic, so we’ll stick to the numbers…

Everybody knows that Obama’s words eased the racial divide … and that Trump’s words are blowing the gap wide open

Right?

image

Well, according to Gallup, that’s only partially right…

Read the rest of this entry »

Is the middle class vanishing up or down?

August 12, 2019

Analyzing Census Bureau data, economist Mark Perry concludes:

The “middle-class is disappearing” as we hear all the time, but it’s because middle-income households in the US are gradually moving up to higher-income groups, and not down into lower-income groups.

image

That conclusion is way different than we’ve been hearing from Dem Presidential candidates … and the mainstream media.

So, let’s dig a little deeper…

Read the rest of this entry »

Did Trump spur a Baltimore clean-up?

August 9, 2019

Last week — following Trump’s tweet calling out Baltimore — we reminded readers that:  Once upon a time, Baltimore was thriving…

Noting former mayor William Donald Schaefer’s positive leadership and attention to detail, concluded:

imagine a mega-initiative to clean-up the inner city — haul away the garbage (and maybe some of the rats).

Hire Baltimore’s notorious squeegee boys (and other unemployed residents) to attack the problem.

It wouldn’t fix all of Baltimore’s problems, but it would be a conspicuous step forward.

image

Well, the city administration didn’t rally the notorious squeegee boys (nor anybody else, as near as we can tell).

But, some people did step up…

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the biggest middle class tax break?

August 8, 2019

Hint: Medicare For All would eliminate it and nobody seems to be talking about it.

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

Anybody remember the Simpson-Bowles Report?

image

It was commissioned by President Obama shortly after he was first elected … reported out in 2010 …  and trash-canned shortly thereafter … since it predictably recommended spending cuts and  tax increases.

According to Simpson-Bowles, the “biggest“Federal tax break” is ….

Read the rest of this entry »

The (personal) economics of Medicare premiums

August 7, 2019

After paying Medicare taxes for years, weren’t the benefits supposed to be free?
============

Yesterday, we argued that Medicare’s payroll taxes can thought of as a mega-joining fee … or, as prepaid premiums that amortize to the equivalent of $10,000 per year over a retiree’s post-65 life span.

See Ouch: The (personal) economics of Medicare payroll taxes

And, we pointed out that the prepaid premiums are just the tip of the iceberg.

Once retired, the Feds collects additional annual Medicare premiums.

This may surprise pre-retirement folks who think that they pay in during their working years, but then get “free” healthcare insurance when they retire.

image_thumb[3]After

Today, let’s take a look at Medicare premiums…

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Trump: Inspired by the 1972 Cuban Olympic boxing team?

August 5, 2019

Last week the WSJ ran a piece calling him “Trump: A Brawler for Democracy” .

That calls for a reprise of a HomaFiles post from August 2015 … way ahead of its time !

======

Trump: Inspired by the 1972 Cuban Olympic boxing team?

Many of you may be too young to have witnessed and remember, but…

In the 1972 Olympics, the polished U.S. boxing team was predicted to sweep the competition.

But, something happened on the way to the medals’ platform that shocked the sporting world.

image

======

Here’s the story and why Trump’s first days in office jogged my memory of the 1972 Olympics …

Read the rest of this entry »

Ouch: The (personal) economics of Medicare.

August 5, 2019

Over the years, I’ve anteed about $250,000 into the Medicare tax kitty.

And, you may have  thrown in more than you think!
=============

Motivated by Medicare for All hype coming from far-left-leaning Dems presidential candidates, I finally took a serious look at the buckos that I’ve thrown into the Medicare kitty over the years.

image

I’d like to say that I was surprised, but I really wasn’t.

Here are the details…

Read the rest of this entry »

Once upon a time, Baltimore was thriving…

August 2, 2019

Anybody remember Mayor William Donald Schaefer?  Tom Peters does…

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

Baltimore has gotten a lot of attention this week … with Pres. Trump indelicately singling the city out as a poster child of inner-city blight and political malfeasance.

It wasn’t always so.

We lived in suburban Baltimore County for 10 years … starting in 1990.

The city had its issues, but they seemed to be under control.

Why?

“Excellence” guru Tom Peters credits the leadership of a William Donald Schaefer.

click to view
image

Who?

Read the rest of this entry »

Joe was more sleepy than mean…

August 1, 2019

But, this time,  it was Kamala that got Kamala-ed.

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

On balance the debate was pretty boring and uninformative.

The gang of many tried to pile on Biden

Joe was wobbly and a bit tired … but fended off the punches … often by putting up his strategic ObamaShield … saying implicitly: “If you attack me, you’re attacking Barack”.

For example, did you notice how Joe hung with “ObamaCare” … but other candidates kept referring to the “Affordable Care Act”?

I expect that’ll be Biden’s go forward strategy: wrap himself with an Obama cloak … and trade on borrowed adulation.

click to view
image

Basically, I think Biden played to a tie.

The bigger story last night was Tulsi Gabbard taking Kamala Harris to the hoop…

Read the rest of this entry »

Which will show up: Sleepy Joe or Mean Joe?

July 31, 2019

Anybody remember his debate against Paul Ryan?

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

Most (all?) pundits seem to agree that Kamala Harris got the best of Joe Biden in the first debate … by getting in his face on busing and, in doing so, hit him with a veiled accusation of racism.

Biden’s response was weak …  truncated by his throwing in the towel with “I see that my time is up.”

image

On the campaign trail, Biden has been telling supporters (and fat cat donors) that he’s going to up his game in the second debates.:

image

His chest-pounding is eliciting a lot of “yeah, right” reactions….

Read the rest of this entry »

2020 Dem candidates are starting to trash Obama’s legacy … say, what?

July 30, 2019

A politically expedient strategy to neutralize a potential Biden advantage.

===========

According to the far-left leaning Daily Beast

The idea that the Obama legacy would be anything other than a massive positive for Biden … has been treated as indisputable within Democratic circles.

But in recent weeks, the Democratic frontrunner has had that legacy used against him, with his competitors pointing the to shortcomings of the last Democratic administration.

image

On issues ranging from immigration to health care and foreign policy, the 2020 candidates have been increasingly critical in their public assessments of the Obama administration.

More specifically….

Read the rest of this entry »

OMG: I finally agree with Thomas Freidman on something…

July 29, 2019

Prior to Round 2 of the debates, he says: Dems may be handing Trump his re-election.

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

Back in 2005, Thomas Friedman’s book “The World is Flat” did much to legitimize and promote globalization.

For better or for worse, the book had undeniable impact … becoming a bible of sorts and playbook for globalization.

image

Since “Flat World”, Friedman veered far left and didn’t say much that I agreed with.

That is, until last week…

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

In an NY Times opinion piece, Friedman observed:

“A lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard (during the recent democratic presidential debates). I was shocked, too.

What shocked him?

I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for all” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option.

I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalize illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.

I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.

And I was shocked by front-runner Joe Biden’s feeble response to the attack from Kamala Harris — and to the more extreme ideas promoted by those to his left.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Tommy.

And, what does Friedman conclude?

A racist, divisive, climate-change-denying, woman-abusing jerk who is our president is going to get re-elected

Ouch!

And his remedy for the Dems:

Dear Democrats:

This is not complicated! Just nominate a decent, sane person, one committed to reunifying the country and creating more good jobs.

Hmmm.

Ironic that the guy who championed the migration of “good” American jobs to low cost labor markets is now championing the creation of good jobs.

As Forrest Gump would say: “What goes around, comes around.”

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

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

So, if Mueller didn’t run the investigation, who did?

July 26, 2019

… and, what are the implications?

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

I think that it was clear to any reasonably objective person that Mueller was testifying under what’s called “diminished capacity.”

image

For the record my mother fought a 20 year battle against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, so I’m both sympathetic and — while I have no medical credentials whatsoever — I’m reasonably well-versed in the symptomology and terminology.

Said differently, I’m sympathetic to Mueller and not just trying to take a cheap shot.

In my opinion, his symptoms weren’t a spontaneous response to the stress of testifying, but more likely, reflected an accumulative progression over time. 

If I’m right, that conclusion raises major questions and implications…

Read the rest of this entry »

“I’m not familiar with FusionGPS” … say, what?

July 25, 2019

Yep, being retired, I watched most of Mueller’s testimony live yesterday.

I agree with David Axlerod’s assessment: painful.

This morning, I flipped between CNN and MSNBC.

Their storyline: Great fodder for the impeachment cannon … poor optics … Republicans were disrespectful to Viet Nam war vet.

But, even they were admitting that Dems – who were reportedly aware of Mueller’s “challenges – share “some” blame for contriving yesterday’s sad spectacle.

image
Source

Here are my morning after takeaways…

Read the rest of this entry »

#16 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change …

July 24, 2019

Reason #16: Pretending that the 1930s didn’t exist.
============
For the record: I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.
============  

During a recent DC heatwave, we did some historical data-digging.

Among the conclusions that we drew was that it was pretty damn hot during the 1930s … when SUVs didn’t roam the earth and factories were operating.at Great Depression levels

Heatwaves in the 1930s lasted longer in the 1930s (over 10 days then vs. less than 7 recently) … and hit higher temperatures (101 degrees then vs. 99 degrees recently).

And, based on a WeatherFacts analysis, “19 (38%) of the 50 U.S. states recorded their (current standing) hottest temperatures in the 1930s.”

More broadly, only 13 states have recorded their highest temperatures since 1940 … and, only South Carolina has set its record in this decade.

Hmmm.

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

So, is the globe really warming?

I guess it depends on:

(1) What’s your starting point

(2) What parts of history you flat out ignore

(3) How much you dink with the data … See Dinking with the data  

(4) Where you take your temperature readings and how you combine them into a “global metric” … See What’s the earth’s temperature?

=============
See all 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change …
=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

 

Recap: 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change …

July 24, 2019

I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

==========

For the record, here are 16 reasons that I’m a lukewarmer … with links to the prior posts:

1.   Unsettling science   From “Ice Age” to  “Global Warming”  to “18-year Pause” to“Climate Change”.

2.   Expired doomsday predictions   By 2016, NYC would be swamped, Polar bears would be extinct, etc.

3.  The “97% of scientists” baloney   Oft-repeated doesn’t make it true – here’s the real story

4.  Dinking with the data   Temperature data “adjusted” by the NOAA eliminated the 18-year pause and bolstered the global warming case

5.  Temperature readings – plus or minus   Bottom line: thermometers weren’t very precise in the old days … and still have wide variances

6.  What’s the earth’s temperature?   It depends on the mix of reporting locations and an array of factors at each of them

7.  The Climategate Emails   Climate scientists were exposed hiding exculpatory data for political purposes

8.  Low on American’s worry list   Folks will nod that it’s probably getting warmer, but have more urgent matters to worry about (like keeping their jobs or getting healthcare)

9.  Seen a Volt recently?   Obama vowed a million EVs by now – where are the “believers”?

10. Letting the perps walk   For all practical purposes, the Paris Accords gave the world’s worst polluters – India & China – a free pass.

11. Celebs who “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”   In the aftermath of a flood or hurricane, you can count on celebrities coming forth to bellow “I told you so”  …. even if the facts and the science say otherwise.  You see, science – and its relevance – is always malleable to the cause..

12. When is weather “climate”… and when is it just “weather”?   The short answer: hot spells are “climate”; cold spells are just dismissed as “weather”.

13. The “moral license” that “believers” carry in their wallets.  A rationale for the classic “do as I say, not as I do”

14. Climate change zealots are piss-poor marketers.  “The promotional efforts of the climate catastrophists have lacked the cornerstones of effective persuasion: clarity, credibility, and empathy.”

15. Did Paris just pull out of the “Paris Accords”? Macron enacted a gas tax … then retreated when the mass of working folks objected.

16. Pretending that the 1930s didn’t exist … even though heatwaves were worse then and many states recorded all-time high temperatures in the 1930s

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

And, my advice to climate change advocates:

(1) “Re-brand” the cause to fighting pollution — people can relate to that and it gets to the same end-point

(2)  Stop the incredible (i.e. not credible) scare tactics

(3)  Walk-the-talk … dampen the hypocrisy

(4)  Keep an open mind … sorry guys, the science isn’t really settled yet

==========
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles