• CONFUSION REMAINS OVER TAX DEDUCTIBILITY OF FOOD & BEVERAGE COSTS CONSIDERED ‘BUSINESS MEALS’ when accompanied by ‘Entertainment.’ Latest federal regulations clarify that Entertainment means ‘activity’ at sporting events, night clubs/lounges, theaters/concerts, athletic/golf/country clubs – which are no longer deductible. But Meal Expense remains deductible (at 50%) when food & beverages are: (1) provided to current customers, clients, advisers, or contacts; (2) “ordinary & necessary in carrying on the trade or business”; (3) not “lavish or extravagant under the circumstances”; and (4) supported by bills or receipts which are stated separately from any entertainment charges.
  •  “NEARLY HALF OF ALL AMERICANS TODAY SAY THEY ARE ‘LONELY’ and 13% say there are zero people who know them well.” Among seemingly evident impacts is the possibility that “partisan viciousness on social media has increased polarized politics, because people are turning to political tribalism for the sense of community they used to get from simple connection to those around them.” The implications are broad, potentially affecting all ages since “loneliness –defined by social scientists as having fewer meaningful relationships which make people feel known and understood – triggers the release of stress hormones which can lead to high blood pressure/inflammation/weakened immune system/heart attack/stroke/cancer/insomnia/ and depression. Also, combined with a “lacking emotional support system, this can lead to unhealthy habits such as substance abuse/overeating/and not exercising… Surprisingly, young people are actually most at risk of being lonely in modern society” according to a recent Cigna study of twenty-thousand people which found that Millennials and Gen Z (ages 18 to 37) scored highest, despite “seemingly infinite opportunities to connect online, but which can increase feelings of being left out or of being dissatisfied with one’s own life.” [THE WEEK – 1/11/19]
  •  MEANWHILE, INTER-GENERATIONAL SOCIAL MOBILITY – the likelihood that America’s next generation will end up in a higher social class than their parents – “is now among the lowest in all rich countries” for numerous reasons including Urbanization (expense/ overcrowding/ living outside a close-knit community); changes in Family Structure (smaller/ declining marriage & increasing divorce rates/ working mothers); but also most certainly Technology. “The vast majority of 15-year olds have their own smartphone and spend several hours daily online… This, combined with internet use and social media, makes many lonely and depressed, posing serious risk to physical & mental health, sometimes to the point of driving them to suicide.” A substantive Korean study “detected similarities between brain activity of cocaine addicts and computer-games enthusiasts,” and a recent American psychology book is titled ‘iGen: Why Today’s Super-connected kids are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.’ However, 84% of 15-year olds say “they find social networks online very useful and more than half feel bad if they cannot get online,” so evidence that too much screen time “severely impairs user’s life in the longer term” remains inconclusive. [THE ECONOMIST – 1/5/19]
  • EIGHT ‘B’ VITAMINS ARE GENERALLY CONSIDERED CRITICAL FOR AGING ADULTS, to inhibit cardiovascular & neurodegenerative disorders, vision loss, and particularly brain shrinkage. Studies have found up to five times “progressive brain atrophy” in seniors with lower levels of B12. Impaired brain damage – manifesting as slower thinking, attention deficit and memory lapse – is also an impact which can affect vegetarians & vegans who avoid meat & animal products.  [LIFE EXTENSION – Feb 19]
  •  OUR LEGAL SYSTEM IN ALL ITS GLORY: A Federal Class Action Complaint that the word ‘Diet’ in Diet Coke meant “it would help you lose weight (per se, without exercise or counting calories) by plaintiffs who felt they had been tricked” has taken a year of Federal Court time. Big time 700+ attorney law firm Baker Botts took on the challenge by “throwing this case against the wall to see if it sticks,” until the judge dismissed it “because no reasonable person would ever believe that Diet Coke would make you skinny” – however that hasn’t stopped an Appeal. Taxes of course fund the Court system (this judge’s salary is $244K/yr), Diet Coke’s attorneys charge who-knows-what, and frivolous cases like this “burden the courts and public, plus make the U.S. legal system & lawyers a laughing stock.” But it’s democracy! [THE FOOD LAWYERS NWSLTR – 1/8/19]
  •  THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: As the fascination of liberals with Islamic culture continues increasing, lawmakers in Iran have just reconfirmed age 13 as the legal age of marriage for girls, and as young as 9 with permission of their fathers or a Court.  

       A look at how America’s 11 Aircraft Carriers, each carrying 6,000 people operate: https://biggeekdad.com/2018/12/how-aircraft-carriers-work/

       A look at what to expect in the next few decades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUeWvtZ7crw&feature=youtu.be