Sunday, December 31, 2017


What was funny
Now isn’t funny;
It’s all about age

IN MY NECK O’ THE WOODS we have a number of “classic” tv stations, “classic” translating into “shows from yesteryear,” many monochrome (black and white for the toddler set).

They all come to my tv via a small antenna – no cable or dish needed. The antenna cost, if I recall correctly, about US$20. The house was built and wired for cable, but the cable ports go unused. The house also was wired for telephones in each room, but with Consumer Cellular’s ZTE “wireless home phone base” and a cordless network, those ports also are unused. (See to understand how the ZTE device works.)

I don’t spend much time in front of the tv during the day – after the morning local news, I spend a total of two hours watching westerns; sometimes not even that much. (The horse operas are Paladin with Richard Boone and, usually, Kam Tong , and Gunsmoke with James Arness.)

When my grand-daughter visits I watch Bewitched and Jeannie with her; it’s a hard job but someone has to do it.

Some shows I liked as a youngster no longer appeal to me. Too “silly.” I Love Lucy is one show I can do without. The Three (actually 6) Stooges also are skipped. I guess I’ve outgrown slap-stick.

I suppose as I aged – and the tv sitcoms did not – my taste in comedy changed. I might still enjoy Phil Silvers as Sgt. Bilko, but I’ll skip Jim Nabors and Gomer Pyle, USMC, gaull-ly.

My “taste” in comics also has changed, and still is changing. As a youngster, all the funnies were fun – well, maybe excepting Mary Worth, a soap opera on the comics page. (By the way, Mary Worth fans can find the strip at .) Now I visit at least six days-a-week and look at small sampling from the long list of available cartoons.

Ally Oop, Andy Capp: skipped.

Auntie Acid, Candorville (to keep up on how the political left is thinking), Over the Hedge, and 9 Chickwood Lane (where the dorks get the girls) all are on my list. Aside from Over the Hedge, I doubt these would have been of much interest to me even as a teenager.

I skip most of the tv westerns -- Bonanza, Big Valley etc. Even the ones I watch I find fault.

Notice how, when the good guy shoots the bad guy, the bad guy is killed. Rarely does the bad guy survive the good guy’s single shot, yet the good guy almost always survives – got to keep the series going.

In real life, that doesn’t happen.

Both the Paladin and Matt Dillon characters are remarkably accurate shots – shots that normally are made only with a rifle. Paladin fires a Derringer at a bad guy 20 feet away and kills him with one shot. The only place THAT happens is Hollywood (CA, not FL). If you, like me, count the number of shots a good guy’s six shooter fires, the total always is more than six -- without reloading! This is made more interesting in that most six-guns were loaded with only five cartridges (they lacked a safety feature; if the gun fell, the firing pin would hit on the empty chamber).

Most cowboy heroes draw and fire as if their pistols are single action. Back in the day, pistols were double action; that means the gun’s hammer had to be manually cocked before pulling the trigger (ergo “double action”). If you get a chance, watch the opening segment of the Lone Ranger; watch as Clayton Moore, chasing a bad guy, cocks his six shooter and fires. Double action. (While there was only one tv Tonto, played by a real Indian, Jay Silverheels, there were two tv Lone rangers: Clayton Moore and, briefly, John Hart. George Seaton, Earle Graser, and Brace Beemer played the Lone Ranger on radio -- for the younger generation, that's tv sans picture.)

I’m happy to have the opportunity to watch programs I enjoyed years ago, but I find that what I enjoyed then is not necessarily what I enjoy now. Laugh-in, yes; Star Trek, no, not even with Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

Bob Dylan was right, Times they are a’changin’ ( --- or maybe it's just me.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Friday, December 29, 2017


Bakery cannot refuse
Unwanted clients'
Wedding cake order

Never mind the many other bakeries nearby

A PORTLAND, OR, BAKERY‘S OWNERS have been told by an Oregon appealate court they must pay a lesbian couple $135,000 in emotional damages for refusing to bake a wedding cake for the couple. (See MSN article at

Never mind that there are many other bakeries available to the couple. According to:

    Yelp (The Best 10 Bakeries near Downtown, Portland, OR)
    Yellow Pages (Best 30 Bakeries in Portland, OR with Reviews – (4 Portland bakeries make list of America's 50 best) (The 15 Best Bakeries in Portland)

The Helen Bernhard Bakery specializes in wedding cakes.

Finally, The Knot website lists 114 total vendors under Wedding Cake Bakeries near Portland OR

LET US CONSIDER the reason behind anti-discrimination laws in the U.S.

Back when segregation was common, blacks often were turned away from lodgings and restaurants. Even water fountains and bathrooms were segregated. (This was not only in the southern states.)

The federal government stepped in and forced businesses to cater to all comers, regardless of color, particularly businesses on heavily traveled routes, so-called “U.S.” highways.

Everyone, the courts ruled, had a right to decent accommodations and while there were those who fought the idea, over time almost all Americans accept the courts’ rulings as final.

NOW we have another same-sex couple who – with a wide selection of vendors – insists on having a cake made by perhaps the only vendor around Portland OR that has religious objections to catering to same sex couples. No one suggested in either case that the couples should be prevented from marrying – the only issue is the bakery owners refused to countenance the marriage by providing product – in one case, flowers, in another, a wedding cake.

If the Portland bakery was the only bakery in Portland that could provide a wedding cake, then the couple suing the owners might have a case.

But as clearly shown above, there are many bakeries in and around Portland that make cakes, some even specializing in wedding cakes.

This is the 21st century; save for the Amish, most Americans drive miles to stores, malls, schools, fitness clubs, etc. and et al. There was no indication in the MSN article that the couple lacked transportation, either private or public. Indeed, Portland has a multitude of public transportation options. (See

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian claimed that "Today's ruling sends a strong signal that Oregon remains open to all."

Rachel Bowman-Cryer and Laurel Bowman-Cryer praised the ruling in a statement released through their attorney: "It does not matter how you were born or who you love. All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally. Oregon will not allow a 'Straight Couples Only' sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores."

Unfortunately, business owners can be pilloried by vindictive would be customers who complain that their rights were violated by the business.

Never mind that, as in the case of the Portland bakery, there are many competing bakeries; if one baker preferred not to cater to a segment of the population the baker found offensive, the prospective customer should have gone to another bakery.

Under the current political correctness, merchants have no rights.

The Portland bakery fined by the state has since closed down; the logical result of a rejected customer’s complaint. Now no one can buy a cake, wedding or otherwise, from what must have been a well-respected business.

I am left wondering why would the lesbian couple make an issue of the owner’s refusal to sell to them when they could have, and IMO, should have, taken their custom to a bakery where it would have been welcomed?

Is this becoming the “American way”? If it is – and it seems to be becoming just that -- it is a shame.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017


B.P. Richfield
Is alive & well
In Redmond WA

Back IN THE EARLY 90s (1991-1994) there was a tv program called “Dinosaurs.” Some people compared it to “The Simpsons,” but thought it funnier and more relevant. (See

The story line was about a dinosaur family and its domestic life. Rather like the “Dick Van Dyke” show with Mary Tyler Moore, only with cartoon dinosaurs instead of humans.

The father of the family, Earl Sinclair (think Sinclair Oil) worked for B.P. Richfield (BP & Richfield Oil) at a company called – here is the Redmond connection – WeSaySo Corporation.

    Read about all the characters at A number of actors provided voices for the characters, including Stuart Pankin (Earl Sinclair) and Sherman Hemsley (B.P. Richfield).

As the company name, the WeSaySo Corporation, makes plain, it knows what is best for everyone, even when it is not.

Just like Microsoft.

Microsoft makes fairly decent products. No question. Millions of MS Office users can’t be wrong – can they? Microsoft products are so popular on Macintosh computers that Mac apps are a poor second.

It seems, however, that Microsoft has decided, a la WeSaySo Corporation, that it knows better than the people who buy and (try to) use it products.

For example: Updates.

Unlike Hewlett-Packard (HP) or the “old” Microsoft of Windows 7 and earlier, the “new” Microsoft downloads updates whether the user – the person who paid for the operating system (OS) -- wants the updates or not. HP also provides updates, but HP – thankfully lagging behind the Giant of Redmond – still allows the people who bought their Made-In-China hardware to see what the upgrade is all about and to decide to install or ignore the upgrade.

Not so Microsoft.

In the “old” days, Microsoft gave customers at least a hint of the reason behind the upgrade. Likewise, a user could opt to forego installing the upgrade.

Today, with Win 10, Microsoft pushes out the upgrade sans reason for the patch and offers the customer the option of installing it now or tomorrow … or until the user gets tired of being nagged.

For many people – those of us who use only the minimal features of the applications, e.g., Access, Excel, Word and whatever else Microsoft decides we need, there should be no problems when WeSaySo Corporation tells us to upgrade.

    If you prefer a different simile, think of a tough non-com in the military; the non-com tells the junior “do this” and the lower ranking person does it without asking why. Because I said so is sufficient reason. (Trust me, the non-com really does have a good reason for the command, it just may not be obvious to the junior following the order. Been there, done that.)

There ARE people who bought Microsoft’s operating system who do things other than use Microsoft Office. These folks don’t want upgrades that might impact other applications on their computers.

But Microsoft, in its WeSaySo Corporation mode, basically tells these customers to shut up and accept that we (Microsoft) want you to have. Some customer push-back, albeit useless, can be read at

If a customer – that is a person who spent good money to have Microsoft's operating system installed on a new machine or who purchased and installed the OS on an existing computer wants to install another (or several) additional OSs on the computer with Windows 10, the customer has to spend time trying to find out how to disable Microsoft’s Secure Boot. Mucking about with the UEFI (nee’ BIOS) is not for the novice nor faint of heart, and Microsoft does not make it easy.

    I found instructions to disable Microsoft’s Secure Boot on HP’s web site and on the web site.

I did what I was told when I was a young airman, but I am neither young nor in the Air Force. As a newspaper reporter, I asked questions and expected transparent answers. Microsoft’s heavy handedness is unacceptable.

Fortunately, there are options, many of them free, that let me accomplish everything I can do with Microsoft’s products, from its operating system to its applications.

    This blog entry originated, and was spell checked, using the free Libre Office Writer Ver. on a Win 10 operating system. Hopefully in the near future, I will replace Win 10 with a free OS from Linux or Ubuntu.

Having done my homework, I know that the non-Microsoft applications currently running under Win 10 can be replaced by similar (free) applications for Linux and Ubuntu.

One final thought

Microsoft’s help is becoming (has become?) arrogant – as expected for a WeSaySo Corporation – while there are active User Groups (UGs) for Linux, Ubuntu, and the applications that run under these OSs. Most of the answers to newbie questions are answered by a person who has “been there and done that.” The answers are (generally) given with consideration and understanding, no WeSaySo Corporation’s on the UG sites.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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One more reason
To leave Microsoft

I JUST ACQUIRED A NEW computer, a Made-In-China HP 7z laptop. It came with Microsoft Windows 10 installed.

I don’t expect a long life from the laptop; sadly HP isn’t what it was when Carly Fiorina ran the company.

I DO expect the HP laptop will outlast Windows 10 (Win 10) since Microsoft’s heavy hand just cost it another customer.

I HAVE USED MS WORD since it came out as a single 5 1/4” floppy insert to a popular computer magazine. It was great. WYSIWYG – wizi-wig – a character string many readers are too young to recognize.

Then, with each iteration of Windows and Word – bundled into Microsoft Office – the user interface (UI) changed.

THAT was bad enough.

But now Microsoft – still thinking it is the only game in town and behaving like the madman of North Korea – decides that IT will determine what operating system (OS) and application updates I will install – never mind if I want the updates of not. See

In Win 7 on another machine, MS pushes out an update with a description of the update’s purpose and politely asks if I want to install it.

Not so with Win 10.

No description.

No option to reject the update. It can be delayed, but the computer’s owner and who also holds the MS license will be nagged until the unidentified “upgrade” is installed.

The MS support page1 is replete with horror stories of upgrades that have made the OS untenable.

When I bought this latest computer I planned to split the 1 TB hard drive between Microsoft Win 10 and Linux Mint or, perhaps, Ubuntu’s latest and greatest.

There are a few applications that run under Windows that cannot function under OSs other than Windows.

ON THE OTHER HAND, there are other applications with the same form, fit, and function that DO function on other OSs. The most difficult one to find was one to support my security cameras. I found, after a little surfing, not one but two that work with Linux2/Ubuntu3.

Granted, I will miss my old favorites, but like old friends who have moved away, I’m sure there will be new favorites. (This blog entry is keyed using Libre Office’s Writer running under Win 10, the general equivalent to MS Office’s Word; in the end, it all gets dumped into the blog and turned into plain – albeit HTML coded – text.. Yes, Virginia, I hand code as I create.)

THERE WAS A TIME when using anything but shrink wrapped applications for either Microsoft or Macintosh OSs was the only way to go for a novice.

The novice that depended on Microsoft or Macintosh paid a price for this convenience; usually a high price.

Unix, DEC-VAX, and similar “professional” OSs were the domain of the computer specialists.

No longer.

Linux and Ubuntu are free and come with business bundles (such as Libre Office4).

The applications also are free – no cost. Libre Office, for example, has everything MS Office has. Different names. There may be some slightly different ways to accomplish something, but IMO, it is no worse than learning a new UI from Microsoft. Many of MS Office commands, e.g., Save (Ctrl-S), Bold (Ctrl-B), Undo (Ctrl-Z), are identical.

If intrigued with an OS other than Microsoft or Macintosh, usually a hard drive can be partitioned to support two (or more) OSs. Win 10 makes it particularly difficult to share a drive, but – with a little patience – it can be done. For all that, having a pro at hand, or even having a pro do the job, may be an option worth considering.

Many non-Microsoft and non-Macintosh OSs offer a way to try the OS without partitioning the hard drive. If you don't like it, nothing lost.

1. MS Support: – this is the same as the Tiny URL above.

2. Linux:

3. Ubuntu:

4. Libre Office:

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017


Who runs government?
President & congress
Or State Department?

IF YOU FOLLOW NEWS SITES on the WWW, especially those with an Israel connection, or if you are a student of history, you know when it comes to Israel, the State Department rules.

It overrides the president. It ignores the congress. It overrides the Department secretary.

Several recent articles from U.S. and Israeli media prove the point.

    • Despite Trump's declaration, State Dept. not recognizing Jerusalem (Arutz 7)
    • U.S. Still Won’t List Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital on Official Docs, Passports, Maps (Washington Free Beacon)
    • Report: U.S. Won't Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital on Official Doc (Newsmax)
    • State Department Continues to Not Recognize Jerusalem As Capital of Israel On Government Documents (Jewish Journal)
    • Report: The State Department still won’t recognize Jerusalem as a place that exists (The Blaze)
    • US passports won't reflect Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital (Washington Examiner)

According to Arutz Sheva, reports that

    A day after the announcement, the US State Department downplayed the move, adding that it had not altered its policy regarding government documents provided to US citizens born in Jerusalem. For decades, the US has listed the place of birth of individuals born in Jerusalem simply as “Jerusalem”, with no country listed.

    “At this time, there are no changes to our current practices regarding place of birth on Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and U.S. Passports,” the State Department told The Associated Press last week.

    “With respect to maps, we are, of course, examining that issue, and when we have a decision we will announce it with respect to how we will treat Jerusalem for official USG-produced mapping purposes.”

This DESPITE the fact that the US Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the State Department is obliged to adhere to the president’s decisions vis-à-vis recognition.

“The Secretary [of State] will not list a sovereign that contradicts the President’s recognition policy in a passport,” the 5-4 ruling determined. “The power to recognize foreign states resides in the President alone.”

The Newsmax article plainly states that

    Even though President Donald Trump announced earlier this week the U.S. would formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, State Department officials state "Jerusalem, Israel" would not be listed as a place that exists on official documents, the Washington Free Beacon reported Friday.

    What that means is that, though Trump's announcement has been formally codified into U.S. policy, "Jerusalem, Israel" will not appear on passports, maps and other official documents. It also means that Americans born in Jerusalem can't list Israel as their birth nation, as it is still not recognized as being located in Israel.

    The State Department stance on the issue has raised outrage among some lawmakers who view it as a way to undermine Trump's declaration.

    "The president is the commander-in-chief and America's sole organ when it comes to conducting foreign policy," said Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "Article II of the Constitution does not vest this authority in bureaucrats in the State Department."

    The statement was issued despite claims by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the department would “immediately begin” implementing President Trump’s decision, including the relocation of the US embassy.

Obviously neither the president nor secretary of state have any control of the striped pants set in Foggy Bottom (Washington D.C.)

According to The Washington Post, in 1995,

    Ten days before he was assassinated in Tel Aviv, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin gave a speech in Washington about the city of Jerusalem.

    “Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people and a deep source of our pride,” Rabin said at an event recognizing the 3,000th year of the city’s existence.

    “We differ in our opinions, left and right,” he said as the speech concluded. “We disagree on the means and the objective. In Israel, we all agree on one issue: the wholeness of Jerusalem, the continuation of its existence as capital of the State of Israel. There are no two Jerusalems. There is only one Jerusalem. For us, Jerusalem is not subject to compromise, and there is no peace without Jerusalem.”

    he evening before his speech, the Congress of the United States passed a law echoing Rabin’s assertions about the city. Spurred by the desire to act before Rabin’s visit, the House and Senate passed a bill called the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” which formally recognized the city as the country’s capital and called for the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be moved there from Tel Aviv by 1999. Support for the bill was overwhelming. It passed the Senate by a 93 to 5 vote, with four Republicans and one Democrat voting no. It passed the House 374 to 37, with 153 Democrats joining most of the new Republican majority that had swept into power in 1994.

The Times of Israel reports that

    Three Republican US senators have introduced legislation that would commit the United States to moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move US presidents have opposed for decades but which President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly signaled he is willing to do.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) proposed the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act on Tuesday, the first day the new Congress convened on Capitol Hill as Republicans prepare to control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 2007.

Given all of the above, it’s obvious that the real power in U.S. politics resides in the State Department. It has from pre-statehood days pandered to the Muslims and, despite executive orders and congressional actions old and new, it refuses to

    • Do as instructed by the president and congress
    • Ignores its own department head.

For the State Department, when it comes to Israel, Solomon was right: There is nothing new under the sun.

Arutz 7:
Washington Free Beacon:
• Jewish Journal:
• The Blaze:
• Washington Examiner:

Washington Post::

Times of Israel:

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Monday, December 11, 2017


My last HP ?


I once owned an HP Compaq – my original HP Compaq was defective (it happens) and HP’s Customer Service made sure I had a replacement in short order. HP, “back in the day,” was known to stand for High Price and High Performance. Carly Fiorina was CEO of HP when I got my replacement Compaq.

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG reporter for the Titusville (FL) Star Advocate I decided I needed my own camera rather than borrowing the company’s TLR Yashicas and Rolleis (both good cameras, but bulky.) The newspaper loaned me $125 – reporters didn’t make a lot then – and I ordered a Honeywell Pentax SLR.

Japan’s Pentax had a pretty good reputation, but Honeywell, before it let any cameras with the Honeywell name get into customers’ hands, did its own QC in the States. When my new camera (an H3v) arrived, the package included a note that the camera had been inspected by Honeywell. Comforting.

    I used the camera for many years before giving it to a friend who, after using it for many years, gave it to his son-in-law.

My latest – and likely last – HP product is made in China. Had I known that BEFORE I ordered the notebook I would have bought a different brand.

Being made in China, with that country’s well-deserved reputation for shoddy workmanship and zero QA/QC, is bad enough if there is at least QA/QC in the States a la Honeywell.

Because the notebook is being delivered by FedEx, I am able to track its movements from China to my door.

It came into the U.S. at Anchorage Alaska where it sat for 2 hours and 20 minutes; hardly time to inspect the product.

It then traveled to Memphis TN where it spent all of 17 minutes. Memphis is a FedEx hub. No QA/QC in Memphis.

HP – not the customer – instructed FedEx “Per shipper instructions, package will not be delivered until the scheduled delivery date. The “delivery date” is 12/12 before 4:30 p.m.

    TO BE FAIR, the computer was delivered by FedEx one day early, on 11 December 2017. (Added 12-11-17)

Since the product left Memphis at 4:19 a.m. 12/10 (Sunday) I wonder if

    (a) FedEx is trucking it to the local FedEx facility or (b) flying down where it will sit until HP allows it to be delivered.

My family geek will be arriving on the morning of 12/12, preparing for his Mother’s sufganiot and latkes and the lighting of a hanukiah (Hanukah menorah). Had the notebook arrived on 12/11, he could have helped me dual-boot Linux on the Win 10 machine.

    According to a ZDnet article, ​How to install Linux Mint on your Windows PC”1, installing Linux Mint next to Win 10 should be easy enough that (with apologies to GEICO) “even a caveman (this scrivener) could do it.” Still, having a computer-literate son standing by provides a “warm fuzzy” feeling.)

Bottom line

I know that being a private individual – vs. a Big Business – and ordering one device – rather than 100s – means I am a low priority for HP.

Low priority or not, given China’s reputation for sending garbage to the U.S. – even their food products are tainted2, – HP should have instituted some level of QA/QC on all (100% sampling)3 Chinese-made computers coming into the U.S. Granted, this would delay delivery (a small price for the consumer to pay) and would cost HP to develop an automated inspection process so manpower would be less of an expense, but it would give curmudgeons a level of confidence currently lacking.

    HP will take the computer back for repairs or replacement and even pay shipping costs for the first year, but while the computer is (a) in transit to HP, (b) at HP’s repair facility, and (c) in transit back to me, I have no computer. No email. No messages to print and snail mail. No blogging.

If the failed computer or its hard drive is replaced, that means reinstalling Linux (‘course by then I’ll be an “experienced” installer) and restoring all the files I carefully saved to external media, and again purging everything that came with Win 10 (all I want is the OS – “just in case” I can’t find a needed driver on a Linux or Ubuntu site. I’m pretty confident I’ll find what I want for Linux, but . . . )

    • Chinese product.

    • No domestic QA/QC

    • Possibly delaying delivery for no good reason other than seller’s whim.

Pity I am a risk management practitioner who always looks at “what it” and not a Pollyanna who would never recognize a risk.

1. ZDnet:

2. Chinese products:

3. Sampling: If China ever earns a reputation for safe, quality products sampling can be on a decreasing percentage of incoming products.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Last HP?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Solomon was right

So the Arabs are rioting,
So peace talks in danger,

So what else is new?

THE MEDIA, IN AN “I TOLD YOU SO” MODE, REPORTS THAT the Arabs are rioting in the streets and bewailing the end of “peace” talks with Israel all because President Trump agreed that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

That is neither new nor news; the Arabs have been rioting in the streets – and worse, killing innocents with bombs, vehicles, guns, knives, and rocks – for decades. They have refused to sit down with Israeli government officials sans increasing impossible “pre-conditions” since Oslo, an agreement that they promptly violated.

THAT the media won’t admit.

September 18, 2014. A suicide bombing in Tel Aviv destroyed a bus and killed six on this date in 2002. It was one of dozens of such attacks over a four-year period from the eruption of the Second Intifada in October, 2000 until the death of Yasser Arafat in November, 2004, including: August 9, 2001, a suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub kills 21
December 1, 2001, 15 killed in a Jerusalem pizzeria;
December 2, 2001, 11 killed along a Jerusalem pedestrian mall;
January 4, 2002, 15 killed on a bus in Haifa;
March 9, 2002, 11 killed at a Jerusalem bar mitzvah party;
March 12, 2002, 11 killed in a Jerusalem cafe;
March 29, 2002, 30 killed at a Netanya hotel during a Passover seder; etc. The Second Intifada, coming on the heels of the failed Camp David Summit during the final days of the Clinton Presidency, destroyed the credibility of the Israeli peace movement and set in motion the tragic ascendancy of the Israeli right to this very day.1

A little more proof of Arab terrorism that has nothing to do with President Trump’s December 6th announcement that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Titled Terrorism Against Israel: Comprehensive Listing of Fatalities 2, the web site covers Arab terror attacks from Sept. 1993 to Nov. 22, 2017.

The obviously biased Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site includes a page headlined Wave of terror 2015-2017.3 While it covers only two years, it lends additional proof that President Trump's pronouncement is not the cause of Arab terrorism.

PA won’t discuss peace

The admittedly biased Jewish Virtual Library, under the heading Fact Sheets: Mahmoud Abbas is the Obstacle to Peace>4 reports that

    Rather than taking tangible steps toward peace, Abbas has done nothing but bypass and evade bilateral negotiations with Israel while incessantly repeating the longstanding irredentist demands of the PLO. Moreover, Abbas' insistence that Israeli intransigence - not Palestinian - has stalled the peace process, displays an incredibly narrow and hazy grasp on recent history. Abbas's power, prestige and popularity have dramatically weakened over the years, both internationally and amongst the Palestinian people, and the evidence is overwhelming that he is the biggest obstacle to making peace with Israel.

    Abbas's refusal in both January 2012 and October 2011 to discuss tangible peace initiatives with Israel through talks facilitated by Jordanian King Abdullah and the Mideast Quartet - a grouping of Russia, the EU, US and UN - barely made news headlines. Likewise, his requirement that Israel meet a set of strict preconditions before negotiations - including a settlement construction freeze, acceptance of a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 lines, and the release of Palestinian prisoners not included in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal - was also mostly excused by an international media all too quick to make excuses for the Palestinian leader.

The piece was last edited on May 20, 2016 – long before President Trump’s announcement.

Solomon was right

When if comes to PA intransigence and attacks on Israelis, there is nothing new under the sun. Certainly – and even if the media refuses to acknowledge it – today’s threats are just a continuation of past acts. As for Europe – most of their politicians are Pollyannas when it comes to the Middle East; Israel bashing, direct or bouncing off President Trump, is a fact of life for them, making them beneath consideration.

1. September 18, 2014:
2. Terrorism Against Israel: Comprehensive Listing:
3. Wave of terror 2015-2017:

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Comments on Solomon was right

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Comics fan hates
Readers’ remarks

I CONFESS, I AM HOOKED ON COMICS. I have been since I was a small child looking at the Sunday funnies in color.

I get my daily dose of comics now on the computer thanks, mostly, to (I have to go to dilbert.com1 for that cartoon.)

Many of cartoons allow readers to add their comments.

Some of the comments, indeed, too many of the comments, make a political issue of a non-political cartoon. Not only are the remarks political, some are downright vitriolic.

Darrin Bell’s Candorville clearly is a politically biased cartoon.

I can understand such responses to an editorial cartoon. On the other hand, if a reader knows the cartoonist promotes opinions that are anathema to the reader, why would the reader WANT to view the cartoon. Know your enemy, perhaps?

But non-political cartoons?

There are a few – and amazingly small number – of editorial cartoonists who seem to make an effort to be balanced.

Gary Varvel is one.

He is generally “conservative.” But – unlike Saturday Night Live – he also pokes fun at his own or at least is “neutral.”

What bothers me, and what I fail to comprehend, is why some commentator's remarks are so political, particularly railing against the present administration, when the cartoon did not justify the remarks.

I’ve been sorely tempted to respond in kind, but I don’t (mostly because I’m not registered to comment). I also don’t applaud those who attack the Democrats – as a party, a philosophy, or on an individual level.

I still sometimes fall into the “read the comments” trap on the more seemingly innocuous strips, e.g., Greg Evans’ Luann strip, but even here, while most comments are rarely political, the commenters are so involved they take the characters’ actions personally, or try to second-guess the cartoonist.

Perhaps I’m just “thin skinned” but I like my comics without editorial comment. It takes some will power, but I manage to almost ignore the temptation to peek at the readers’ comments. Most of the time.

1. Careful to correctly key the site name; there are similarly named sites.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017


The problems
With Christmas

ACCUSE ME OF BEING THE GRINCH, but I have a few problems with Christmas.

PROBLEM #1: The music goes on and on and on, and you hear it everywhere; on the radio, in the stores and the sidewalks in front of the stores, in tv commercials. If you cannot provide your own music you need to either wear a noise canceling headset (not suitable for drivers) or hide out in a soundproof room.

#2. Decorations are everywhere. They are lovely IN the home and OK IN the stores, but not so much on the highways and byways. Never mind that tax dollars pay to put up – and later take down – the decorations in most communities. (There are those, such as Ely NV, where the Jaycees do the work gratis.) The taxpayer also has the joy of paying for the extra electricity the electric decorations require.

The REAL problem is that the decorations, particularly the lights make it difficult to see traffic signals.

#3. Christmas is – surprise – not everyone’s holiday. Granted, the majority of Americans either are Christians or they are “into” the commercial holiday; keeping up with Jones in gift giving and receiving. (To be fair to the merchants, many depend on the Christmas buying to make – or break – their financial year.) The Christmas symbols – primarily “borrowed” from pagan worshipers of trees and poisonous plants (mistletoe and poinsettias) and “yule logs” among others – are OK in small doses, but, as with the music, they are easily over done. Christmas day itself – December 25 – is when pagans, worried that winter never would end, realized that it was close to the Winter Solstice1 … when the days once again lengthen and the fear that “the world is about to end” is set aside until next winter. The Winter Solstice for 2017 falls on Dec. 21.

#4. Some folks simply go overboard on decorations. There is one family in the neighborhood that puts up more lights than Carter ever had “little liver pills.”2 There are so many lights the neighbors have complained to the city; the home owners with the lights simply thumb their noises at their complaining neighbors. “Bah, humbug to the community.” Add to the lights the notoriety of the place causes traffic jams to further aggravate the neighbors.

#5. While for some the season brings out the best in humanity, for others it brings out thieves, pick-pockets, con artists, brazen burglars, and other miscreants.

#6. From Thanksgiving until Christmas, organizations make headlines proclaiming they feed the needy – for one day. What about the rest of the year? Don’t people get hungry in January? How about March? If anyone has funds to feed the hungry, give those funds to organizations that either feed the hungry year round or that run food banks.

#7. As with #6 above, the “milk of human kindness” flows more generously between Thanksgiving and Christmas; once the New Year party’s hangover are history, the “milk” turns rancid. (As an aside, New Years actually is a Jewish celebration. How so? Jesus was a Jew, a fact with which almost everyone agrees. Jews circumcise their sons on the boy’s eighth day of life unless the child’s health prevents it. Count the days between Christmas and New Years and you’ll see that New Years is eight days from Christmas. Never mind that Jesus’ real birthday, according to some scholars3, was something other than December 25th.)

8. Christmas, with its focus on gift giving, can cause the less financially fortunate extreme discomfort. Little Susie is getting a special (read expensive) anatomically incorrect doll and little Joey is getting a new 16-speed bike with all the bells and whistles. The less fortunate girl might get a rag doll and the boy a second hand no-speed two-wheeler sans bells and whistles. It’s a competitive world where bragging rights belong to the kids – and their parents – of whoever got the most and fanciest loot. (Sad but true.)

9. Too many families, gathering for a Christmas meal, end up in acrimonious battles, sometimes due to too much Christmas “spirits.”

10. Highway fatalities increase. Some due to over-tired drivers, some to weather, and some to too much Christmas “spirit.” Some simply due to a distracted driver. The end result is, unfortunately, the same.

1. Winter Solstice:

2. Carter’s Little Liver Pills:

3. Jesus’ birth date:

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Monday, December 4, 2017


GOP talks to Russians
Diversion from Hillary?

COLOR ME CONFUSED. There is a major stink in the media about Trump people talking with Russians before the election.

The media contendCQ that the GOP emissaries were in Russia to encourage the Russians to disrupt the elections – after all, the media determined, by selective sampling, that Clinton would win easily.

Mucking about in other peoples’ elections is nothing new – the U.S. does it on a regular basis.1

Talking to a foreign power at any time, as long as it is not treasonous, is SOP for Americans; the topic usually is NOT about throwing elections.

So what’s the big deal.


Are the media and the Democrats simply trying to keep the focus off Mrs. Clinton’s shenanigans?

If I were a presidential hopeful, and rest assured I never would be that foolish, I would want to let both my “friends” and those who are not my “friends” to know where I stood vis-a-vis the issues of the time.

Trump, then a political unknown, at least on the world stage, would want to let friend and foe alike know his positions on critical issues shared by the U.S. and the governments of the countries with which his people were having talks.

The U.S. media was making Trump out as a madman; unfortunately his knee jerk Tweets lent credence to that notion (and, sadly damage the image many conjure up for a diplomatic leader). Theo. Roosevelt dealt with friend and foe alike with the Great White Fleet, although his quiet diplomacy could not prevent WW 1, so perhaps Trump’s bellicose Tweets might prove more effective. They DO get the world’s attention.

The liberal media that I’m certain sincerely believe that the president’s Tweets will lead the U.S. into WW 3 should think back to the so-called “Cold War” when then Soviet Union premier Nikita Khrushchev was blustering how Communism would be America’s fate.2 His words did not lead to WW 3. Granted he was more realistic that Kim in North Korea or the ayatollahs in Iran.

Being of a suspicious mind, I wonder why Mrs. Clinton is suddenly out of the news.

After the election she and her party did nothing to stop, or even discourage, her followers taking to the streets to destroy neighborhoods. While she told her supporters to “keep on fighting,” she never even hinted that they should support the new administration.3

I also wonder about Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’ sudden dismissal as DNC boss.

Now we have Barrack (“I can win again”) Obama visiting China, India, and France, among other places. In the several articles4 I read, NONE reported that he was on an authorized-to-represent-the-U. S. trip. Given his reaction to Trump’s success at the polls, one has to suspect Obama’s trip is to undermine the president – and by extension, the country. The liberal media, of course, would never suggest that. Still . . .

The Russians have, unless I misheard, admitted that some hackers tried to impact the election results; however, there was no indication from any election officials that the Russian hackers succeeded in their efforts.

The question, and the courts will eventually determine the answer, is “Did any American (Trump supporter or not) encourage the hackers?”

The truth may never be fully known, just as Obama’s place of birth remains in question, but meanwhile it is fodder for the liberal media.

And just what IS Obama’s real intent behind his visit to foreign leaders?

1. Election tampering

    The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere
    Washington Post

    The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries
    LA Times

    Database Tracks History Of U.S. Meddling In Foreign Elections

    Foreign electoral intervention

2. Khrushchev quotes:

3. Clinton’s concession speech



    Vanity Fair

4. Ex-president Obama meets with foreign leaders – sans authority

    Obama to meet with China's Xi during 3-country trip

    Former president Obama to meet with Xi Jinping during foreign trip
    USA Today

    Barack Is Back: Obama Returns To World Stage With Visits To China And India

    Obama re-emerges on global stage with trip to Asia, France
    Chicago Tribune

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017


Bills by Wilson,
Won’t save any lives


It knocked out power to many, including the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. The center is located directly across the street from a fully staffed regional Level 1 trauma center (Memorial Regional). The hospital, preparing for the storm, sent as many patients home as medically feasible; it had empty beds.

The loss of power ended up causing a number of residents to die unnecessarily.

Rep. Wasserman -Schultz, in whose district the facilities are located, and Rep. Frederica Wilson, who represents a Dade County district, each rushed to propose legislation to assure no more nursing home deaths would occur due to lack of electrical power.

Neither politico knows what she’s talking about.

THIS SCRIVENER was for many years an Enterprise Risk Management practitioner. I worked on plans for private industry, and for city and state governments.

Wasserman-Schultz and Wilson, who apparently know nothing about risk management but do practice knee jerk reactions, immediately demanded that legislation be passed that would require nursing homes and similar facilities to have standby power generators with sufficient fuel to operate for 90 hours.

Both Wasserman-Schultz and Wilson – despite being within a few miles of each other – independently proposed basically the same thing. There was a Wilson bill and a Wasserman-Schultz bill.


Over the years I have gained some experience with electric generators. As a young airman in Orlando FL, I remember sticking fuel tanks and confirming batteries were charged so I would not have to pull a rope – much like a lawn mower – to get the generators working. The generators – 13 of them – had to work; they were attached to 13 hospital wards, all of which were in use.

Later I worked for a manufacturing facility that had to have power 24/7/365 to maintain the production line.

Even later, I worked for an international shipping company that had to have power in order to maintain its database of in-transit containers. If the database was not up to date, Customs would fine the company … heavily.

In each case, there were policies and procedures (P&Ps) in place to assure

    the generators had full fuel tanks
    the fuel was free of water
    the generators would start (push button starter or pull cord)
    The generators were run for at least an hour once a month. When initially installed, they were run for 24 hours under full load.

The procedures required to conform to the policies were fully documented.

    Person performing the procedure

It makes no difference if a giant generator is sitting right outside the back door – not too close, the start-up noise could give an elderly person a heart attack – if the fuel is insufficient or bad, if it won’t start – automatically with a power outage or manually with a start button or pull rope – or if the machine gives out or burns up after “n” hours of operation.


In addition to P&Ps for power supplies, there also must be P&Ps to evacuate residents.

    Know what resources have available space and trained personnel
    Know how to move the residents – or, know people who have the expertise
    Know when to move the residents; moving sick people is a “worst case” event
    Know what is needed to relocate residents – ambulances, wheelchairs, etc.

The first needs to be determined as soon as the possibility of relocation is identified. For Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, that moment came when the hurricane was forecast to hit south Florida; never mind where in south Florida. The risk, no matter how small, of the storm making a direct hit was sufficient reason to activate the risk management plan.

There is a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Pinellas County. Pinellas is a peninsula on a peninsula; it sticks out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Once a year, every year, the hospital administration “rounds up” local volunteers to practice evacuation techniques. Using volunteers eliminates the need to move real patients, Some volunteers are dressed up with moulages (fake, albeit real looking wounds). Doctors, nurses, aides, and technicians all are involved in the exercise; the local press covers the exercise as well.


The bills proposed by the two south Florida representatives will not save any lives and it will run into strenuous objections by the nursing home lobby, sufficient to either kill the bills or to drag out the process until another hurricane season has passed.

This simply is a case of people with a little power who don’t know what they are doing other than perhaps trying to grab headlines.

If the representatives wanted to do something useful, their bills should consider the foregoing and include a requirement – the absence of which would terminate Medicare, Medicaid, and other state and federal funding – that the plan be exercised at least once a year.

For an experienced planner, what is proposed here is just good common sense, and good business sense, too.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017


LibreOffice Writer
Can act like Word
Just add patience

I AM SLOWLY MOVING FROM Microsoft’s Word – I’ve used it since Ver. 1 – to LibreOffice. (I’m also moving from Microsoft Office’s Operating System (OS) to the Linux OS.

I know Word and I was comfortable with it. The only problem was that Microsoft kept mucking about with the User Interface (UI). With each new iteration of Word, I had to learn how to use it again.

That, and the fact that Microsoft’s Office – Access, Excel, Paint, and Word – are, to be kind, “’pricey.” Linux’ OS is free, gratis even. Ditto the LibreOffice comparable-to-MS Office suite.

I can open a Word file in LibreOffice Writer and vice versa. Since my main use for any “Office”is word processing, that is a critical consideration. As a former technical writer I no longer need heavy duty graphics and page composition (book making) software … but it is there for both MS and Linux OSs.

I was, however, having a problem with one “little” issue with LibreOffice (hereafter “LO”) Writer.

I create blog material using a word processor. (This was created using Writer.)

The file is dumped into Google’s Blogger.

Both Word and Writer can SAVE a file in HTML (web) format, but the amount of unnecessary coding “fat” bothers me sufficiently that I hand-code the HTML as I create the file. I know my most commonly used code

<B> - </B> = Bold Face
<BR> - </BR> = Soft return (line feed)
<I> - </I> = Italics
<SUP> - </SUP> = Superscript
<U> - </U> = Underscore
<UL> - </UL> = Indent

I also insert – after the fact – </P><P> in front of each new paragraph. I could do this manually, but it’s time consuming and can interrupt my chain of thought. I leave it until the end of the document and do a global search and replace.

It isn’t strictly necessary to include </P><P> in the document, but Blogger. seems to look better; a tad more space between paragraphs.

With Word, the Search for field was populated with ^p.

The Replace with field was populated with ^p</P><P>

Worked like a champ.

While many of Writer’s commands are identical to Words, e.g., Ctrl-B turns on boldface while Ctrl-I turns on italics, the ^p for paragraph was missing in Writer.

I asked on the normally helpful User Group and got an answer that was wrong.

Then, looking through some other LO documentation I discovered the answer.


Writer’s paragraph indicator is $ – a dollar sign.

I tried a number of combinations in the Search and Replace fields before I finally tried

    Search: $ Replace: \n</P><P>

There IS one extra task.

Click on OPTIONS and check REGULAR EXPRESSIONS. (See screen capture, below)

I’m sure I’ll find more LO “got’chas” as I use the applications more and more, but I’m pretty sure I can, with a little effort, figure out how to make LO behave as MS Office.

No one said they were identical or even had to be identical (but it would have been nice).

There are benefits of using Microsoft’s Office suite, especially if the user has been using the applications for a long time.

But I remember that there was a steep learning curve when I first started with Word and a less-steep but bothersome RElearning curve with each modification of the User Interface.

I’m hoping that LO’s applications will have a stable UI over the years.

For what it’s worth LO runs under Windows and (I think) Mac OS, no "dual boot" required; it’s free to download and compare it to whatever is being used. There also are other OPEN OFFICE options besides LibreOffice, most of which are (a) free and (b) function on multiple platforms (e.g., Linux, Mac OS, and Windows). They may not be identical to the familiar shrink wrapped applications, but with a little patience and a little reading the documentation, who knows what will be taking up hard drive space in a few months.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Friday, November 24, 2017



All Americans have two “big” holidays and several “small” celebrations.

Easter, Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are NOT American holidays; they are originally pagan and now, for most Americans, “Hallmark” celebrations. Comparatively few Americans celebrate the days as Christian holidays.

The only two major truly American holidays are, in calendar order:

    Fourth of July/Independence Day

That’s not intended to slight Veterans’ Day (nee’ Armistice Day), Memorial Day, etc., although most of those special days are not celebrated as intended; bar-be-ques, days at the beach, and similar activities replaced visits to cemeteries and honoring those who protected our liberties.

Aside from American Indians and some non-Indian sympathizers, Thanksgiving is almost universally celebrated in America with family gatherings.

There are a few religious folks who argue that Thanksgiving is not allowed because it smacks of being someone else's religion. These people are part of a very small minority, even within their own religion.

I wonder, however, as we sit around the groaning board, how many of us take time to express – even if only to ourselves – for what we are thankful, and from whence the bounty.

Admittedly, those preparing the feast (and cleaning up after) may have to look elsewhere for things to be thankful. A person with a terminal illness might not be in the mood to consider being thankful for the years of good health preceding the illness.

For all that, each of us must have something for which we are thankful.

Even the folks who have to labor on the holiday – be it the Fourth or Thanksgiving – should be thankful they have a job and income. As a reporter, I worked most holidays, big and small. That is, admittedly, a great deal different than slinging hash or pearl diving (washing dishes) at the local burger joint, but a job is a job. (Yes, Virginia, been there, done that.)

I prefer to shop at stores that are closed on the Fourth and Thanksgiving; I make it a practice to do all my shopping the day before, and hopefully my larder will be stocked sufficiently to get me to the following “the sales are over” day. (I stood in enough lines when I wore a uniform for my favorite “uncle” (Sam); I don’t need to do it again.)

U.S. citizens are not the only ones in North America to celebrate Thanksgiving; the folks north of the border also make note of their blessings on the second Monday in October The Canadians also are “ahead” of the U.S with Canada Day celebrated on July 1.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Friday, November 17, 2017


Selecting provider
For Medicare plan

THE FOLLOWING are some considerations when selecting a Medicare Advantage plan.

Finding a plan in your area Medicare plans are location dependent. A plan that’s offered in Washington may not be offered in Florida. The best place to find out what plans are available in your area is to go to MEDICARE.GOV. Unlike commercial sites, lists ALL the plans available in your area. Some commercial plans fail to tell you about plans that may be best for you.

Selecting a Primary Care Physician (PCP) If you have a PCP you want to keep, go to the web sites of the plan providers in which you are interested. Locate the plan's PROVIDERS LIST. This lists primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers. Bookmark this page; you will come back to it when checking other providers.

Are the plan’s PCPs “capitated?” Some Advantage plans claim patients can see any specialist in their network. If the primary care physician is “capitated,” that physician has an abbreviated list of specialists to which you may be referred; the desired specialist may not be on the physician’s “capitated” list. Finding out may require a phone call or email to the plan and a call to the PCP.

Does the plan cover your prescriptions and what “tier” are the drugs? If you have long-term medications, go to the provider’s web site and find it’s FORMULARY page. Find the drug(s) you take and look at the drug’s TIER level. Most plans have four tier levels and most plans have $0 copays for Tier 1; some have $0 copays for Tier 1 and Tier 2.
To determine the copay for each tier, get the plans EVIDENCE OF COVERAGE from the plan’s web site. This is the MOST IMPORTANT document on the plan’s web site..

The Evidence of Coverage, EOC, is a Medicare-approved document that commits the plan to provide certain services at specific copays for the calendar year. The EOC may be downloaded from the web site; a hard copy will be provided if you sign up for the plan.

    Providers may change, and modifications may be made to the formulary, but benefits are fixed for the duration.

About the EOC Most EOCs closely follow the same format. Benefits are alphabetized – usually in Chapter 4 of the EOC -- and presented as a two-column table or “chart.” The first item on the chart should be Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening with Services not covered as the final entry. (I found one EOC that failed to follow the standard; I quickly ruled that plan out as a possibility.) Many benefits, e.g., breast cancer screenings, PAP smears, colorectal cancer screening, and prostate screenings are $0 copay due to Medicare requirements.

Copays Copays – the patient’s out-of-pocket costs – vary widely. Most, albeit not all plans, have a $0 copay for routine visits to the patient’s PCP. Many have copays for visits to specialists. If you are like many seniors, PCP visits are frequent and specialist visits come with greater regularity than before.

Emergency room visits – always expensive for both the insured and the insurer – are discouraged for “minor” problems, e.g., URIs, cuts and abrasions, even cuts requiring sutures; instead plans wisely direct patients to urgent care facilities. Some plans cover an urgent care visit 100%, others require a copay that always is less than the copay for an ER visit. Most plans offer emergency care worldwide, so subscribers are covered no matter where they need medical care. All plans include the caveat: If you think the ER is necessary, GO!

Hospital stays When I was talking to sales people for my first Advantage plan I was concerned about hospital costs. Some had $0 for the first “n” days then high copays for additional days. The salesman told me – and after three major surgeries I confirmed he was correct – that most hospital stays are five days or less.

Everything else in the EOC deserves your attention since items that apply to you may not apply to others. The EOC’s “chart” is easy to understand and the plan’s Customer Service Reps (CSRs) are available via toll-free numbers for clarification.

I created a spreadsheet listing MY critical issues and then expanding the list by copying each EOC “chart” items. Since I was comparing a number of products, it took several hours, but in the end, I think it was worth the effort.

AGAIN, THE STARTING point is Medicare.Gov

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017


No statute of limitations
For sex-related crimes?

IT IS INTERESTING to watch both men and women come forth to claim they were abused by someone many years in the past.

It seems that the people seeking justice are behaving like wild animals who, having smelled their victim’s blood, rush to claim their pound of flesh.

I do not sanction sexual assault — not on women, not on children, and not on men. While adult males are most often accused, adult women and juveniles also commit sexual crimes.1, 2

Women are not the only victims of rape although they unquestionably are the majority of victims. 3

My problem: apparently there is no statute of limitations on sexual assaults.

I AM NOT suggesting that a victim of sexual assault — or any other attack on his or her person — should remain silent.

What I AM suggesting is that claims of sexual assault — even in its broadest terms — have a reasonable statute of limitations.

Claims of sexual abuse of an adult — 18 and older — that occurred more than 20 years ago should be looked at skeptically.

For adults, if the victim has not come forth in 20 years and suddenly, when someone else claims to be a victim, the quiet victim finds a voice . . . that makes me suspicious that the latest person to claim abuse is simply climbing on the bandwagon; especially if — and it seems only of — the alleged abuser is a “high profile” personality.

AS FOR children, my suggestied 20-year limitation would start when the child reached 18, regardless of the age then the child was molested.

I think the term “abuse” needs to be narrowly defined.

The problem today is that one person’s abuse is another’s flattery. If a man tells a women she looks nice, is that sexual abuse or flattery? If a woman comments about how a man fills out his trousers — “Are you happy to see me, or …” is that sexual abuse? Depends on the man; a man of the cloth might take umbrage at such a remark; but then again, he might not.

If a girl wins a spot on the school wrestling team and during a contest a male opponent touches her in a way that might be inappropriate during normal (non-competition) times, is that sexual abuse? It could be, depending on the duration of the contact, but probably not. The same applies to the girl who is trying to pin her opponent.

For all that, “no” means “no” whether it’s a kiss in passing or an invitation to something more serious. No matter who the aggressor — and sometimes it is a female who may want to “tease” a male (or female) acquaintance.


According to SMART.GOV5, there is widespread recognition today that recidivism has a direct impact on public safety and that recidivism reduction should be a key goal of the criminal justice system. This is particularly true with regard to crimes that are sexual in nature, given their impact on individual victims and the larger community (see chapter 1, "Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Offending," in the Adult section).
Unfortunately, recidivism remains a difficult concept to measure, especially in the context of sex offenders. The surreptitious nature of sex crimes, the fact that few sexual offenses are reported to authorities, and variation in the ways researchers calculate recidivism rates all contribute to the problem.

I do not continence sexual abuse by anyone, but I think we need better ground rules to define:

    a. What IS sexual abuse and
    b. An established statute of limitations to prevent the sudden “piling on” of long-silent victims that seems to designed to make headlines.

Maybe Abuser “X” did indeed violate someone’s (sexual) sensibilities, but it seems strange that Victim “A” suddenly comes forth after 20 or more years and after another person alleges abuse from Abuser “X”; I look at such revelations with a jaundiced eye.6

1. Child sexual abuse:

2. Statistics on Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse:

3. Statistics about sexual violence:

4. Recidivism:


6. Jaundiced eye:

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017


In other words,
Translation, please

THERE IS A PUBLIC LIBRARY almost within walking distance for me of my abode.

I am a frequent visitor to the library, a “habit” I acquired when I was in first grade c 1950 when the main library was a block down the alley from where I lived.

I’ll read almost anything, but I the favor mysteries that my neighborhood library conveniently marks with a blue dot. (It has colors for other genre as well.) I am working my way through the authors alphabetically.

Some of the authors are English, and their English is somewhat different than mine. Someone — Geo. Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill have been credited, perhaps blamed — said that "England and America are two countries divided by a common language."

As a former technical scrivener writing to an international audience, I know some of the words the Brits used to identify what Yanks call something else.

As examples:

    Bonnet = automobile hood
    Knock me up = wake me at an agreed to time
    Petrol = gasoline
    Spanner = wrench

But every so often I encounter a new “Britishism.” Most can be figured out by the word’s context. Occasionally I’ll resort to an on-line dictionary, and worst case, I’ll turn to my aging unabridged dictionary.

J.G. Goodhind’s Walking with ghosts introduced me to “trainers.” From the context, I concluded “trainers” are the equivalent of “sneakers.” This in the first five pages.

A word I DID look up was “anorak.” I’m not certain this word travelled across the Atlantic — it allegedly came from Greenland — but it pops up in many stories penned in the UK. There, it means both the coat with a hood — a waterproof hoodie — or , according to Wikipedia, British slang which refers to a person who has a very strong interest, perhaps obsessive, in niche subjects. This interest may be unacknowledged or not understood by the general public. I have only read it in the first sense.

In the U.S. traffic goes around a circle; in England and elsewhere, they go around a “circus.” Why a “circus?” As an American by guess would be because the way inconsiderate drivers push their way into the flow with no concern for others’ vehicles. A circle/circus also may be called a “roundabout.”

When a European lives on the first floor, that person lives on what would be the second floor in the States. The European who lives at street level — American’s first floor — lives on the ground floor. If the building has many floors, it probably has a “lift” (elevator).

An umbrella is not a “bumbershoot — that is an American word. In England, an umbrella is a “brolly.”

“Bumbershoot,” for all its American background, led me to Glossary of British terms not widely used in the United States, a site that lists, I’m guessing, more than (never “over”) 100 Britishisms with translations into American English.

Having a decent vocabulary — gained mostly by reading books freely available from the local lending library — is a definite advantage when seeking employment. It puts the reader head and shoulders above many collegians, even those with masters degrees (too many of whom are unable to correctly spell or to put together a grammatically correct sentence)

If the job is in any place where the English ruled (except of coourse for the U.S.), British English is the common English. It pays to know some “Britishisms.”

Besides, sometimes it’s just fun.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Monday, November 6, 2017


Death penalty:
Some thoughts

MOST PEOPLE EITHER ARE for the death penalty for certain crimes or against the death penalty for any crime.

Many countries have eliminated the death penalty. Some keep it on the books but don’t utilize it. A few, such as the U.S., have a mix, depending on the makeup of a state’s population. Israel, which has the death penalty for very specific crimes is considering broadening the crimes deserving of the death penalty. (The Israeli military courts can order an execution, but this never has happened.)

The bottom line question: Does the death penalty deter capital crimes?

WIKIPEDIA1 provides an alphabetized list of countries with and without the death penalty. There are 58 countries that still have executions2.

Amnesty International offers a table listing the “10 countries with the most executions” between 2007 and 20123. China leads the list with “thousands” of executions.” Iran comes in at #2 with more than 1,600 suffering capital punishment. Amnesty fails to provide figures for terrorist groups such as Deash and Al Qaeda that regularly behead-before-cameras anyone who disagrees with their philosophy. That of course does not include the murders of “non-believers” committed by Daesh, Al Quida, and other Islamic groups’ followers,

There is an on-going debate: Is the death penalty a deterrent to capital crimes (murder, rape)? The Internet is replete with articles on both sides.

An Associated Press article in the Washington Post 4 states that “A series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument _ whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.

The reports have horrified death penalty opponents and several scientists, who vigorously question the data and its implications.

On the other hand, Zachary Rickens, writing on the PennLive site5 contends that “Death inflicted by the government in itself is cruel and unusual, a clear violation of all citizens’ Eighth and 14th Amendment rights. The oft-used justification for capital punishment is that it is justified retaliation for the murder victims. It is supposed to give the victim’s family a sort of closure, but retaliation is just another word for revenge. As Mahatma Grande once said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

It is worth remembering that the non-violent Gandhi told the Jews of Europe that they should surrender to the nazis and quietly die sans resistance6. Fortunately for Jews alive today, the Jews Gandhi wanted to die quietly disagreed. For Gandhi’s appreciation of Palestine, read “Where Tutu (and Gandhi) got it wrong” (LA Times at

On the “no death penalty” side is AmnestyUSA7 that holds that “The murder rate in non-Death Penalty states has remained consistently lower than the rate in States with the Death Penalty.

“The threat of execution at some future date is unlikely to enter the minds of those acting under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, those who are in the grip of fear or rage, those who are panicking while committing another crime (such as a robbery), or those who suffer from mental illness or mental retardation and do not fully understand the gravity of their crime.”

The ProCon site8 offers opinions on both sides of the issue. It may be the only site that provides sane, side-by-side arguments for and against the practice.

The financial cost of executing a person is a consideration for some over and above any moral convictions.

The Death Penalty Information Center9 claims that “Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population.” The statement did not specify if these were a nationwide average or state-specific.

Given the number of DNA tests that freed prisoners on death row, and the number of people committing capital crimes who are found mentally deficient, there seems to be ample grounds to carefully consider limiting application of the death penalty to a few specific crimes, terrorism being one.

While many death penalty advocates site the Bible’s “eye for an eye” as justification for executing a person who murders another, they fail to cite another Biblical admonishment. According to the Bible, before a person can be put to death, at least two eye witnesses to the crime must testify AND that the murderer was warned before the crime was committed that (a) murder is wrong and (b) the penalty for a murderer is execution. One witness is one witness too few, and sans a warning immediately prior to the crime, the death penalty cannot be invoked. It is said that the ‘eye-for-eye’ never was carried out; a monetary penalty equivalent to the value of the eye was ordered.

Something to consider.


1. Wikipedia:

2. 58 countries:

3. Amnesty table:

4. Washington Post:

5. PennLive:

6. Grande on Jews and nazis:

    “Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves in the sea from cliffs…. It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany…. As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.”
    If only the Jews of Germany had the good sense to offer their throats willingly to the Nazi butchers’ knives and throw themselves into the sea from cliffs they would arouse world public opinion, Gandhi was convinced, and their moral triumph would be remembered for “ages to come.” If they would only pray for Hitler (as their throats were cut, presumably), they would leave a “rich heritage to mankind.”
    Gandhi wanted the victims of Nazism to remain courageous, and to adopt positive non-violence -the strength not to use force- in dealing with the killers. In 1938, just after Kristallnacht, when the Nazis systematically destroyed Germany’s and Austria’s synagogues, Gandhi wrote these shameful words where he urged Europe’s Jews to joyfully accept the Nazi onslaught.
    "If I were a Jew and were born in Germany... I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon.... And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy.... The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant.”

7. AmnestyUSA:

8. ProCon:

9. Death Penalty Info Center:

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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