Maybe we should move

I watched the first minute of Hand in Hand, the celebrity fund raiser for hurricane victims. In that minute I was told I was either blind or ignorant for not believing in global warming. I’m not a scientist but I’m pretty sure the climate has been changing since the beginning of time – human cause or not. We wouldn’t have the great lakes if the glaciers hadn’t melted. I don’t like the political fervor behind all of this or the belief that we can throw money at it and change the climate.

Here is something that we can change.

In 1900 Florida had a population of roughly 500,000 people. Most of these people lived in the northern region. Miami-Dade County (the general area) had only 5,000 residents. In 2000 the state population jumped to 16 million and between  2000 and 2004 the population jumped another 1.5 million. Most of this growth in the state is in the southern and coastal regions of the state. The estimated population of the greater Miami region in 2016 is 6.7 million.

The population on barrier islands in the US is estimated at 1.4 million. One half of that population is in Florida. Barrier islands are basically long sandy beach islands that are built up by waves, currents and winds and they are meant to protect the shore lines. Instead of protecting the main lands we have now built them up with fabulous vacation homes built on the sand. Yes, I love vacationing on a barrier island but I would need a whole lot more readers to enable me to buy a home there.

Houston: Houston was just a baby city in 1900. In 2010 that baby grew to over 2 million residents and is now the 4th biggest city in the country. This geographic area was marshes, swamp, rivers and lakes before being settled. It stands at a whopping 50 feet above sea level.

We can continue to blame fossil fuels for climate change or global warming. But wouldn’t it make sense to not build in areas that are so exposed to natural events? Moving millions of people in the hurricane strike zone doesn’t really make sense. Am I more ignorant in not believing in global warming or is the man who builds his house on the sand?

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Here is the most bizarre cry baby college offense of the week.  A small college in Pennsylvania has a group of students that wants to change the name of a building because it has historical offensive connotations.  Lynch Hall was named after an administrator (see link for full article).


If this isn’t bad enough. . . Do these students realize who our attorney general is?  Do they know her name?  Do they know that she is a black woman?  Why hasn’t she changed her name?  Better yet, why haven’t these students insisted that she change her racially offensive name?

C’mon people.  Are your lives so shallow that you don’t have better causes to fight for?

I hope I didn’t offend anyone with this post – you never know these days.


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You should believe everything you hear

Albert Einstein said it best: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Christians and political conservatives take a lot of heat for doubting science – especially global warming, I mean climate change, or is it global cooling?

It’s not that we want to be ignorant – we know the earth is round.  We know that we are not the center of the universe, etc.

But you have to admit that science CAN make mistakes and that big money is made in the process.  If the climate is changing we should figure it out and deal with it.  But don’t try to shove a hyped up theory down my throat before it is fact.

Here are a couple examples – there are plenty more:

“If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000,” claimed ecology professor Kenneth E.F. Watt at the University of California in 1970. “This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.”

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Health Insurance Costs

Random: Some of you claim that your insurance has gone down – I am doubtful.  Deductibles are rising at astronomical rates and I am finding that people are not paying them.  I recently had simple blood tests done – $850 out of my pocket.  If you haven’t experienced this, be warned!

Companies continue chipping away at health insurance benefits

Companies’ health care costs in 2015 rose at the lowest rate in at least 20 years, a report out Thursday shows, but workers’ share of costs continue to skyrocket.

The average health care rate increase for mid-sized and large companies was 3.2% this year, the lowest since the consulting firm Aon started tracking it in 1996.  Despite this, the average amount workers have to contribute toward their health care is up more than 134% over the past decade and that trend will accelerate.

“Our clients say, ‘I can’t keep paying more and more of these ever-rising health costs,’ ” says Craig Dolezal, a senior vice president of Aon’s health practice.

Employees on average contributed $2,490 toward premiums and another $2,208 in out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles in 2015, the report shows. The amount of employees’ premium and out-of-pocket costs combined was just $2,001 in 2005.

Increases in deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs stem in large part from the looming “Cadillac tax” that takes effect in 2018, experts at Aon and consulting firm Towers Watson say.

This tax — which some members of Congress want to kill — penalizes companies for having especially generous cost sharing beginning in January 2018.High deductible plans are the easiest way to avoid the tax.

“No question change is afoot and the excise tax is a catalyst for change,” says Randall Abbott, a senior strategist in consulting firm Towers Watson’s health and group benefits practice.

Although some critics say companies are going farther and moving faster than they need to in cutting health benefits ahead of the tax, Dolezal says companies couldn’t realistically wait and make drastic changes in cost sharing just for 2018. Employers are instead raising cost sharing and helping workers learn how to shop for health care.

“It’s a good time with cost pressure low to not be complacent,” says Mike Morrow, also a senior vice president of Aon’s health practice. “We need to do what we can to drive the right behavior so employees are making good decisions when costs increase as they inevitably will.”

No matter what happens to this tax, workers can expect to face more surcharges on spouses who can get insurance through their own employers and limits on specialty drug coverage. The surcharges average $100 a month, Abbott says.

Towers Watson did its own analysis of businesses’ health costs last month and found about 53% of employers already restrict coverage of specialty drugs and 32% more are expected to do so by 2018.

Such moves are already a big concern of groups representing chronically ill patients when it comes to plans on the federal and state insurance exchanges. Nearly 200 groups, including the AIDS Institute, theAmerican Lung Association and the Arthritis Foundation, submitted comments this week on a Department of Health and Human Services rule that they said doesn’t go far enough in preventing discrimination in drug coverage.

Large groups of people are still subject to plan provisions that limit access to treatment and drugs in ways including high coinsurance charges and costly specialty drugs tiers.  Such plans, the groups said, “are burdensome to patients and have the potential to disproportionately harm patients who rely on prescription medications and other health services.”

Facing what Morrow says is the largest increase in drug costs that they’ve seen, employers are looking at a variety of ways to share health costs with employees that are allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

“Cost sharing will be as compassionate as it can be and nondiscriminatory as it has to be,” says Dolezal.

Other changes Aon says are in store for more employer plans:

• More than 40% of companies may move to plans that charge employees based on the number of family members on a plan rather than a flat premium. Such plans are very rare now, says Morrow.

• While 16% of companies now offer a high-deductible plan as their only option today, another 41% are considering doing so in the next three to five years. High-deductible plans require consumers to pay at least $1,300 out of pocket before coverage of non-preventive care kicks in.

Despite fears to the contrary, companies are “not going to do something that puts them at a competitive disadvantage,” says Dolezal. “No employer wants to do something that puts even a small slice of their population at risk.”

Tell us your health care story at

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No Tipping Restaurants

Random’s prediction: we will see tipping in restaurants vanish over the next 5 years.  It is obsolete – and really pointless.  The original idea was to “tip” good service.  Now it is required no matter what.  What good is having a tipping system if the customer is not permitted to withhold the tip or give half the expected amount?  Many small take out restaurants now have a tip jar at the counter – that is fine.  No pressure.  It’s up to the customer to tip for good service/food or not.

(NEWSER) – Put away the calculator and enjoy dessert: There’s no more tipping at Joe’s Crab Shack, the first national full-service chain restaurant to test a no-tipping policy, Consumerist reports. In a conference call last week, Ray Blanchette, CEO of parent company Ignite Restaurant Group, told investors that 18 of its 131 units are trying out the no-tipping policy that began in August, making up for lost tips by upping servers’ starting minimum wage to $14 an hour from $2.13 (exact pay depends on work performance), Restaurant Business Online reports. The goal: to prevent staff turnover and improve service. “I personally believe tipping is an antiquated model,” Blanchette said in the call, per the OC Register. “The no-tipping service model gets us above the fray with regards to the increased minimum wage conversations that seem to be happening all over the country.”

Blanchette explained that, in addition to servers being more likely to stick around for the long haul with a higher hourly wage, they’d also be guaranteed the same pay whether they worked a dead shift on a Monday afternoon or a busy Friday night, per National Restaurant News. And service would likely improve, too, he noted, especially when servers start sharing table duties for large parties (instead of getting territorial over a table for an anticipated big tip). The wage increase is paid for by raising menu prices 12% to 15% — which could still save customers money if they usually tip 18% or more. Results so far have been positive. “What makes us optimistic is the restaurant that has been in test the longest is gaining the most traction,” Blanchette tells NRN. Consumerist notes that the parent company of 13 well-known NYC restaurants has been testing its own no-tipping policy since October, leveling wages between front-house and kitchen staff. (A New York Times writer says tipping is “degrading” to women.)

This article originally appeared on Newser:

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Is anyone taking notice to this?

Keeping a tally of job cuts at major companies

Friday, 2 Oct 2015 | 11:07 AM ET


COMMENTSJoin the Discussion

Pedestrians walk by a sign outside of the Hewlett-Packard headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

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Pedestrians walk by a sign outside of the Hewlett-Packard headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

There is a scary trend happening this fall: A series of job cuts at several big-name public and private U.S. companies, most of which began in September, are continuing into October. (Tweet this)

U.S.-headquartered companies put 58,877 jobs on the chopping block last month, up 43 percent from just more than 41,000 in August and the third-highest monthly total this year, according to a report from global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

It all began in September when Hewlett-Packard announced its spinoff could mean up to 30,000 job cuts. Other companies to follow that month were Chesapeake Energy and Whole Foods.

The layoff announcements have continued thus far in October. For a running tally of major job cuts so far, see the chart below:

—CNBC’s Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

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Customer Service part 2

Every business makes mistakes.  Everyone makes wrong judgments – especially in customer service.  Correcting the mistakes is the key to surviving.  This is an update to my previous blog – A Tale of Two Box Stores. (

A big Thank You to the manager of Walmart for responding to my letter and another Thank You for the $40 gift card.  You took a bad memory and turned it around!

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Planned Parenthood Supporters

According to recent posts, this is a list of major companies giving to Planned Parenthood.  You decide what to do with it. . . Get it . . . We’re pro-choice – who do you choose to support?  Make a call.  Take a stand.  Choose life.

Here are the 38 companies that have directly funded Planned Parenthood.

  1. Adobe
  2. American Cancer Society
  3. American Express
  4. AT&T
  5. Avon
  6. Bank of America
  7. Bath & Body Works
  8. Ben & Jerry’s
  9. Clorox
  10. Converse
  11. Deutsche Bank
  12. Dockers
  13. Energizer
  14. Expedia
  15. ExxonMobil
  16. Fannie Mae
  17. Groupon
  18. Intuit
  19. Johnson & Johnson
  20. La Senza
  21. Levi Strauss
  22. Liberty Mutual
  23. Macy’s
  24. March of Dimes
  25. Microsoft
  26. Morgan Stanley
  27. Nike
  28. Oracle
  29. PepsiCo
  30. Pfizer
  31. Progressive
  32. Starbucks
  33. Susan G. Komen
  34. Tostitos
  35. Unilever
  36. United Way
  37. Verizon
  38. Wells Fargo – fascinating read.

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Katie Couric and Ted Cruz

In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Senator Ted Cruz was asked about his eligibility to be President because he was born in Canada.  His response was interesting but Katie’s face and body language said 1,000 words:


Although this is interesting, her next comment was even better:  “do you think it is possible to be too conservative to run for President?”  Hmmm  We all know what colors Ms. Katie wears on her sleeve but . . .  Wouldn’t shock our socks off if any interviewer asked “is it possible to be too liberal to run?”

Don’t hold your breath.

If you want to watch the entire interview, please click:

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Running for President

Random: Could a regular person EVER run to be the President of the USA?  Could a regular person ever get the needed attention through a grass roots social media run?  Do all candidates really need to be millionaires/billionaires or politicians with national exposure?   Even if a regular person could get there – could they manage the political machine once there?

Aren’t you tired of the standard Washington crap and the campaigns that go on forever?

This is what it costs to run for president

A lot of people want to be President, but it won’t come cheap. Here, our breakdown of the cost just to launch a 2016 campaign.

The Republican presidential primary is already shaping up to be a sprawling free-for-all. More than a dozen potentially serious contenders and counting have already joined the scrum—popping up in early states, snagging operatives, and wooing donors. But only a handful will still be standing a year from now after the first burst of contests. Surviving will require, among other things, a little luck and a lot of money.

Just how much? The answer comes with an elephant-size asterisk, since so much of what determines the outcome is unknowable. Consider the involvement of Super PACs. Those loosely regulated outside groups rattled the GOP’s 2012 primary by empowering a few billionaires to prop up the bids of moribund candidates who exhausted their own resources. They’ll play an even greater role this time around, tipping the playing field unpredictably. Nevertheless, the pols angling to carry the torch for the business wing of the party (think former Gov. Jeb Bush; his protégé, Sen. Marco Rubio; and Gov. Chris Christie) must cobble together a daunting number of four-figure checks for their official campaign organizations simply to meet the competition’s de facto ante. To put some hard numbers on what it takes to get through the first four states (the only ones on the calendar so far), Fortune surveyed leading party strategists, fundraisers, media consultants, and the historical record. This is our field guide to the punishing, and expensive, crucible of the Republican presidential slugfest’s opening round.


Startup costs: $10 million

Before the campaign even starts, the first step of any operation is setting up a headquarters. And it’s not cheap. Although campaigns run more like franchises in the pre-election year, with candidates looking to shovel most of their resources out to the states hosting the first contests, they still need a physical home base, along with a nucleus of staff to formulate policy, strategy, and message. To get the whole operation started, figure $5 million for that overhead, and another $5 million for the campaign’s other major early expenditure—
all the costs associated with raising the money itself.

Iowa: $8 million to $10 million

Iowa Republicans aren’t impressed by lavish campaigns. The object here for Establishment contenders is to manage expectations, place respectably, and live to fight another day. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won the state’s 2012 caucuses on a hard-right message and a shoestring budget, spending less than $1 per vote on television advertising. But compare his ROI with that of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who spent roughly $300 per vote and finished fifth. Despite Iowa’s modest media markets, campaigns will need to spend more to be heard above the din of the field at its most crowded.

New Hampshire: $12 million to $15 million

Campaigning in tiny New Hampshire is surprisingly pricey. And for that, candidates can thank Boston. They’ll need to buy time in the city, the seventh-largest media market in the -country—its airwaves are three times as expensive as those in Iowa—to reach the population centers in the southern part of the Granite State. In 2012, Mitt Romney, a part-time New Hampshire resident, romped in a subdued contest. But with no favorite son making the race this time, expect a livelier, costlier battle.

South Carolina: $6 million to $8 million

The primary calendar isn’t locked in past New Hampshire, but after that, the race is likely to head south, where South Carolina will offer something of a reset. The first two contests will probably have squeezed at least one of the more centrist candidates from the race. (Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman dropped out in 2012 after a disappointing third-place finish in New Hampshire.) If past is prologue, others will limp in broke and looking to their Super PACs to float them.

Nevada: $4 million to $7 million

Running just one month of TV ads here costs roughly $2 million, but Nevada’s caucus draws a twentieth as many people as the South Carolina primary, so the contest favors a strong ground game. It’s a moment a big dog could exploit to begin shutting the door (see: Romney 2012). It may also present an opportunity for a well-organized, underfunded contender to shine. The early strength of the field suggests nothing will be settled so soon, and we’re in for a longer and pricier slog.

This story is from the April 1, 2015 issue of Fortune.

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