On a Memorial Salute

Greetings on this holiday Monday in the USA!

Given the 3-day holiday weekend, I’ve developed this post ahead of schedule. If all goes as planned, our weekend will include two ballroom events, visiting the Cincinnati Museum Center for at least one (maybe two) Omnimax films, a bit of work around the condo, a long walk to town  (and back) for lunch, work, and hopefully some infrequent down time at home. What did you do this weekend?

Meals: The Musical returns this week. I wanted “Seafood” as a theme, but after researching the topic, I’m not convinced about the availability of songs. Therefore, Ingredients is the theme. Think flavors as herbs, spices, extracts, and other common ingredients that aren’t dishes themselves … however, no fruits or vegetables (a previous act) and no chocolate (reserved for later). There is a lot of leeway here, so chose judiciously.

Celebrations For Your Week

  • (Week) Week of Solidarity with the People of Non-Self-Governing Territories, Hurricane Preparedness Week, Frozen Yogurt Week, American Beer Week, Emergency Services Week
  • (Mon) Something Day, Wine Day, Tap Dance Day, Brown Bag-It Day, Missing Children’s Day. Nerd/Geek Pride Day, Cookie Monster Day, Towel Day
  • (Tues) Lindy Hop Day, Blueberry Cheesecake Day, Sally Ride Day, Cheery Dessert Day
  • (Wed) Cellophane Tape Day, Popsicle Day, Senior Health & Fitness Day, Sun Screen Day, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day
  • (Thurs) Brisket Day, Hamburger Day, Slugs Return from Capistrano Day, Whooping Crane Day

Monday is Memorial Day in the US, so I’m passing on the normal Monday frivolity for one of my favorite military tributes. Have a good week.

On Exploring a Piece of Pi

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I am ashamed to tell you to how many figures I carried these calculations, having no other business at the time. (Isaac Newton; philosopher, astronomer, physicist)

If equations are trains threading the landscape of numbers, then no train stops at pi.
~Richard Preston, journalist

This mysterious 3.141592…, which comes in at every door and window, and down every chimney. It is easier to square the circle than to get round a mathematician. (Augustus De Morgan, mathematician)

Whether any other Mathematician will appear, possessing sufficient leisure, patience, and facility of computation, to calculate the value of pi to a still greater extent, remains to be seen: all that the Author can say is, he takes leave of the subject for the present … (William Shanks, mathematician who spent a great part of his life in huge hand calculations of constants )

Ten decimal places of pi are sufficient to give the circumference of the earth to a fraction of an inch, and thirty decimal places would give the circumference of the visible universe to a quantity imperceptible to the most powerful microscope. (Simon Newcomb, astronomer)

The value of pi has engaged the attention of many mathematicians and calculators from the time of Archimedes to the present day, and has been computed from so many different formulae, that a complete account of its calculation would almost amount to a history of mathematics. ( James Glaisher, meteorologist)

A bell cannot tell time, but it can be moved in just such a way as to say twelve o’clock – similarly, a man cannot calculate infinite numbers, but he can be moved in just such a way as to say pi. (Daniel Tammet, author Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 260

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Generally avoiding questions by Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is an interesting strategy. I wonder if it will cost her votes in the long run. Then again, there is plenty of time.

At least three more Republicans could very soon be joining the fray of seeking the nomination: Sen.Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) … and more are on the way. It also appears former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md) will be announcing on the Democratic side.

Fox News and CNN recently announced their selection criteria for the early Republican presidential debates. Although CNN has a Segment B for additional candidates, I would like to see a debate with the top 5 candidates being excluded.

Politico is a popular and reputable online news source about US politics. They recently expanded into Europe at politico.eu.

Speaking of Politico, here’s a gallery for political junkies about political guests with David Letterman.

This is interesting: A conservative economist and member of the Reagan White House explains how he believes Fox News hurts Republicans. For those wanting to know more, click here.

Here’s an excellent report by CNN about surveillance over the South China Sea.

Speaking of China, I want to know if one can read this blog in mainland China. Do you have any connections that can answer my burning question?

Attention bacon lovers. US bacon prices are 25% lower than a year ago.

It’s Memorial Day weekend – a 3-day weekend – the official start of summer vacation season- the Indianapolis 500 – parades, ceremonies, 21-gun salutes, pools open, picnics, outdoor activities, and more.

I thought the Dancing With the Stars Finals show was very entertaining … and Sharna Burgess was on every week. Cheers to Season 20!

Meals: The Musical returns next week, so I’ll announce the theme on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

There will be a Saturday post as the Explore series resumes.

To lead you into this week’s headlines from The Onion, here’s their pros and cons about raising the minimum wage.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Anthropologists discover Ancient Greek Super PAC that helped shape first democracy
One year old still waiting for father’s first words
God realizes he forgot to put souls in humans
Child visits Ellis Island to see where grandparents once toured
McDonald’s reintroduces Hamburgler as attractive suburban dad

Interesting Reads
Cyber-archaeology saving relics
Islam and feminism
Photo gallery honoring BB King
Trains: driven by drivers or engineers
Columnist Roger Cohen’s thoughts about living in Italy
Smartphones and personal medicine

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Weekend) Mudbug Madness Days, Polka Weekend, Old-Time Player-Piano Days

(Fri) Toothpaste Tube Day, Buy a Musical Instrument Day, Don’t Fry Day, Vanilla Pudding Day, Canadian Immigrants Day, Harvey Milk Day, Heat Awareness Day, Biological Diversity Day, Maritime Day, Goth Day, Title Track Day, Wig Out Day, Maritime Day

(Sat) Lucky Penny Day, Jazz Day, Polka Day, Pickle Day, Crohn’s & Colitis Day, Turtle Day, Heritage Breeds Day, Taffy Day, Day to End Obstetric Fistula

(Sun) Scavenger Hunt Day, Escargot Day, Judgment in Paris Day, Brothers Day, Tiara Day, Mary Had A Little Lamb Day

The start of a 3-day weekend in a USA is a good reason for a 2-fer to send you into the weekend .. one from 1981 and one from today (which happens to be a Cincinnati band) … and both are timely. Which did you watch? Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Businesses and the ACA

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I appreciate the basic premises of the Affordable Care Act: the mandate for individual coverage and an insurance company inability to deny coverage to individuals with a pre-existing condition. Therefore, I look for these two points in any amendment or replacement.

There’s no question about the following:

  • Rising cost of health care insurance to all – including companies and individuals
  • Given a global economy, the company’s expense burden of healthcare insurance for employees is a burden many non-US competitors may not incur
  • The ACA requires employers (based on the number of employees) to provide healthcare insurance to employees
  • Over the past 10+ years, US employees have accepted an increasing cost burden of healthcare insurance

To me, the ACA’s employer mandate is an example of an unnecessary mandate and government overreach. Then again, given the Democratic majority that passed this law, I see it as another example of Democrats trying to do too much.

I offer a suggestion, and one that employees won’t like – but businesses would love. The Republicans won’t like it either because they couldn’t accept the two key points that I stated at the beginning. It’s also doubtful that Democrats would embrace the idea because it would amend what they created and they are less likely to pass the burden to individuals. In other words, it’s time to look outside the box.

Note: For the sake of this post, employees refers to full-time employees, which I define as those working 35 hours per week or more.

  1. Congress passes legislation to remove the employer mandate, thus companies have no obligation to provide healthcare insurance to employees.
  2. Therefore, given the ACA’s individual mandate, it is each individual’s responsibility to get healthcare insurance.
  3. In collective bargaining situations, the union and employer may negotiate coverage. If so, the burden of the negotiated coverage on the company and the employee is only with the employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (which is existing labor law).
  4. Outside of theCBA, employers would be
    1. under no obligation to provide healthcare insurance or Health Saving Account (HSA) benefits
    2. If the company provides any benefit of healthcare insurance or HSA to any employee, all employees not covered by the CBA receive the same package without exception. (That is, if the CEO gets something special, the same goes to all employees.)
    3. If the company decides to provide a fixed amount to all employees to go toward the cost of the employee’s healthcare benefits, that’s OK as long as the amount is the same for all.
  5. If a person chooses not to purchase healthcare insurance, they are fined at a price that is higher than the cost of insurance.
  6. Determining how to fund a tax credit for individual purchases would be a noble cause.

Yes, this would level the playing field for US companies in the global marketplace – and smart companies would boost salaries. On the other hand, the action amplifies another problem – the people of the US would be carrying a burden that other citizens in primary markets throughout the world don’t have – thus, a dilemma remains.

On Satire Bits: Vol. 133

Greetings from San Diego … oops … I mean Cincinnati … but our current weather is fabulous! I spent the day on the golf course, but the weather and company was better than the golf. Oh well, that’s the way the game is.

Thanks for the positive reaction about the previous post about Martha. I enjoyed putting that one together, and the variety of emotions surprised me. As I mentioned to some in the comments, my intent was around a tribute – not sadness. Nonetheless, I’m glad to know that some were touched by the post.

Below the image are the headlines from The Onion for your mid-week bump in satire. Any favorites? Don’t forget the Combo Challenge by making your own headline from the words in the headlines below. My Combo is at the end. Have a good rest of the week.

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Mother still searching for pre-school that focuses exclusively on her son

Email from Mom sent at 5:32 am

Man now too exhausted to repress both anger and sadness

Majority of Americans never use Physical Education after high school

Night of uninterrupted deep sleep really throws man’s day off

Breakthrough procedure allows parents to select sexiness of child

Trip to bar gives friends opportunity to sit around, do nothing in different place

Avoiding popular songs somehow accomplishment for local man

Study: Majority of frontal lobe occupied by thoughts of sausage links

Man on gurney has brief word with protagonist before entering ambulance

Apartment manager already knows to look out for tenant sending Minnie Mouse checks

Hollywood quietly shuts down after realizing entertainment a delicate matter of subjective opinion

My Combo: Man on gurney exhausted after searching for uninterrupted sausage links