• “THE LOW REGARD FOR MODERATION IN PUBLIC LIFE TODAY fuels the ideological and partisan zealotry that is tearing this country apart… Ideology encourages fanaticism, disregard for social outcomes, invites irresolvable philosophical disputes, and encourages dodgy reasoning due to what psychologists call ‘motivated cognition’ – deciding what you want to believe, and using your reasoning power to get you there… Reality is that what ideologues fiercely believe about empirical arguments has little to do with their ideological preferences, but rather with the policy implications of those arguments… Any attachment to a principled concern is largely personal and subjective; brilliant philosophers & theorists have disagreed throughout the ages about which principles could best rule society, and about which should be the first among equals in political deliberations… Most important, the defense of ideology as lens for measuring policy effects on well-being begs the question of how, exactly, we should define human well-being in the first place… The alternative to ideology is MODERATION – a need to respect pluralism, and a sober appreciation of the limitations of knowledge along with the irresolvable problem of unintended consequences… Few public intellectuals fly the banner of moderation or pay it much rhetorical heed.” A sad state of affairs. [NISKANENCENTER BLOG – 10/29/18]
  •  WHAT AGE TO TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT A CLEAR-CUT DECISION. Every situation is unique and based on Assumptions about life expectancy, physical health, income needs, spousal & survivor issues, along with plans about how long one intends to work and other financial elements. Conventional wisdom suggests that “one person in any given couple will live to be 100” as a start-point. The calculation of monthly benefits is based on both what age payments begin, and average earnings for the highest 35 earning years. When payments are requested earlier than ‘full retirement age’ (currently between 66 and 67 based on year born), amounts are reduced between 5 to 6%; when payments are delayed, they increase 8% annually thru age 70. But other factors also come into play, including whether (a) born before 1954; (b) first deceased spouse has a higher benefit than the survivor; and (c) ten year marriage to an ex-spouse. Analysis is complicated. DCG can help.
  •  COLD AND FLU SEASON IS HERE AGAIN. Cold symptoms are usually sneezing/ cough/ sore throat/ runny or stuffy nose; Flu symptoms include high fever/ chills/ body aches/ exhaustion. But treatment is mostly the same for either: resting, staying hydrated acetaminophen or ibuprofen, decongestants or saline nasal sprays. With over 200 viruses that can cause a common cold, and one-in-five people catching the flu bug each year, be aware that: (1) germs can spread six feet away; (2) flu viruses survive on surfaces for at least 24 hours; and (3) cold viruses survive on indoor surfaces up to seven days. [WEB MD – Dec 18]
  • THE GOOGLE ANALYTICAL PROCESS MANIPULATES SEARCH RESULTS based on ‘External Trackers.’ Google’s CEO describes the process as: “We provide search for any time you type in a keyword. We have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of pages in our index which match the keyword against the pages and grant them based on our 200 signals; things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it, and based on that, you know, at any given time, we tried to rank and find the best results for that query.” His response was to query from a congressional Representative who asked: “Why does an image search for the word ‘idiot’ produce pictures of President Trump”? [LBN EXAMINER – 12/26/18]
  • IMPORTANT 2019 TAX LAW REMINDERS: (1) Entertainment, Amusement, Recreation expenses are no longer tax deductible. However BUSINESS MEALS continue to qualify (at 50%) provided that the expense is “ordinary, necessary, not lavish or extravagant,” on behalf of a current or potential customer, client, consultant or similar business contact, and documented as to who/when/where/why; (2) ‘Independent Contractor’ forms 1099 are due by January 31 to workers and IRS. Penalties for misreporting workers include liability for all income & payroll taxes the business neglected to withhold, plus interest & penalties, plus a most-likely multi-year audit of all workers. The simplified test, per CA Supreme Court ruling, is based on 3-factors: (a) freedom from control & direction in work role; (b) services that are ‘outside the usual course’ of business services provided; and (c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently-established trade/occupation/business of the same services.
  •  THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Astonishing! The International Space Station: https://www.youtube.com/embed/doN4t5NKW-k

        Colonoscopies can detect early cancer and are recommended after age 65, but preparation & procedure are so unpleasant that many choose to avoid this screening test.  A new Israeli technology, utilizing an ingestible x-ray capsule, can now passively create maps to identify abnormalities, non-invasively and without laxative preparation. https://www.israel21c.org/35-ways-israel-inspired-the-world-in-2018/