Eclectic Research & Informed Opinion about.. Atheism, Cats, Chess, Economics, Finance, Futures, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Philosophy, Politics, Psychiatry, Science, 70's Disco, Sociology, Stock & Option Trading, Tennis....

Monday, November 26, 2012

70's Disco!--I Love America-Patrick Juvet

Due to a glitch in Blogger, I had to repost the title to include comments which follow:

"I love that tallest dancer who is right behind Patrick; is the one that brights more than all the others, with that fabulous smile, marvelous look, who steals the scene with her grace and simpathy! Does anybody know what show is this and who is she?"
"Your comment is right on the mark. I wish I could furnish you with that info! Absolutely terrific disco tune and video. I want to return to the 1970's!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

70's Disco!--"I LOVE AMERICA"--Patrick Juvet (1978)

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012 = 65.1% @Intrade

Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012 = 65.1% @Intrade

Intrade is a prediction market based in the U.S., similar to a futures market.

I rate Obama's chances of reelection at 75-80%, based on his narrow but consistent leads in most of the "battleground" states.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Fitness for Seniors in New York City Parks

NEW YORK—Free tennis lessons, yoga instruction, and fitness walking sessions will be available in 13 city parks for New Yorkers aged 60-plus, starting Sept. 24. The City Parks Foundation program runs through Nov. 2 and all instruction and equipment is provided free of charge. The sessions are an hour long and each runs twice a week.
“This program has a great social aspect to it and is an easy way for participants to meet one another in a low key, supportive, and fun environment,” Mike Silverman, director of sports programming for City Parks Foundation, wrote in an email.
MrKen has participated in the group tennis lessons at two locations over a three year period, and strongly recommends the program. It's a great way to socialize, play a fun game and get beneficial exercise. Here is the schedule:
Pelham Bay Park–Tues./Thurs. Yoga at 9 a.m. and Tennis at 10 a.m.
Soundview Park–Mon./Wed. 
Walking at 9 a.m. and Yoga at 10 a.m.
Van Cortland Park/Woodlawn–Tues./Thurs. Walking at 9 a.m., Mon./Wed. Yoga at 9 a.m.
Marine Park–Tues./Thurs. Tennis at 10 a.m., Mon./Wed. Yoga at 9 a.m.
South Oxford Park–Mon./Wed. Yoga at 11 a.m.
Astoria Park–Mon./Wed. Tennis at 10 a.m.
Cunningham Park–Tues./Thurs. Tennis at 9 a.m. and Yoga at 10 a.m.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park–Mon./Wed. Tennis at 10 a.m. and Yoga at 11 a.m.
Roy Wilkins Park–Tues./Thurs. Tennis at 10 a.m., Mon./Wed. Yoga at 9 a.m.
Carl Schurz Park–Tues./Thurs. Walking at 8 a.m. and Yoga at 9 a.m.
Inwood Hill Park–Mon./Wed. Tennis at 10 a.m.
John Jay Park–Tues./Thurs. Yoga at 10:30 a.m.
Staten Island:
Greenbelt Park–Mon./Wed. Yoga at 9 a.m. and Tennis at 10 a.m.
Schedules are subject to change and will be updated at
For the full story, click on the title of this post above (active link).
Curtesy of Epoch Times-9/6/12
Yes, MrKen has returned! This "Elderblogger" plans to resume posting on a regular basis. 

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tea Party Stormtroopers-The Return of Naziism

Ernst Röhm, SA Chief of Staff, & former "Tea Party" candidate. Deceased due to "inter-party" rivalry.

This writer has no hope that this country has any future other than a failed--VERY failed state. And retired seniors like myself should be afraid--VERY afraid.

It is a sad time to be a U.S. citizen. I am profoundly ashamed of what this country has become; a plutocratic, utterly corrupt, not to mention utterly incompetent oligarchic dictatorship.

I observe that the current "Tea party" movement is really a campaign based on stupidity & ignorance, which is evolving into vitriolic harangues by most of its candidates. Capitalism has returned to it's roots; exploitation of the masses by the VERY rich capitalists with unlimited pools of money--employed to retain & expand their power.

Their proper name is "GANGSTERS".

Now the ugliest part of this "movement" has emerged. Acts of violence (stomping & then demanding an apology from the "stompee") are strongly reminiscent of the behavior of Ernest Rohm's Brownshirts, the infamous 'SA'**--Adolf Hitler's private army of thugs. Blame the victim--whether it be the protestor, the unemployed, the poor (in Germany, mainly the Jew & the Communist). Threats by several "Tea Party" candidates of armed rebellion have been heard should the midterm elections not go their way.

As this writer has mentioned previously, former White House Counsel to President Nixon, John Dean, has described the United States of Amerika as a "proto-fascist" state.

As for stupidity, ignorance, & scapegoating, Amerikans are easy marks. Our citizens generally are now too poorly educated (math & science skills 21st & 25th in the world respectively) & thus too unsophisticated to employ the critical thinking skills necessary to maintain a vibrant republic, which vanished (if it ever in fact existed) perhaps 200 years ago. The super-rich, gigantic corporate entities, a corrupt capital-raising system (Wall Street), & the ever expanding Military get whatever they want & tell whatever lies are necessary to achieve their aims. And our "rulers"--likes pigs at a trough, are thoroughly unmotivated to interfere! (Think George Orwell's 'Animal Farm')

The gulf between the very rich & very poor is now the widest in recorded history in our fine 'republic'; WIDER now than the previous record year, 1929 (source:WSJ).

As Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany's infamous Minister of "Propaganda & Enlightenment" noted:

I Like this quote I dislike this quote

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

**The Sturmabteilung

Ernst Rohm picture & above definition Curtesy of Wikipedia--

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Want to See Serena? Wait Till U.S. Open

Image courtesy of timages/b8a5c2dbad5e0727..

Your swimsuit says it all Serena. It's ALL about you.

As the Wall Street Journal & the Washington Post reported (7/12 & 7/13), after cutting her foot, Serena Williams is withdrawing from the entire World Team Tennis season, the league said Monday. Williams was set to compete in four WTT matches-including one this Thursday in New York.

The Post reported that in the news release related to the injury, Williams issued what this writer describes as a classic disingenuous bald-faced lie--

"I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to play in the WTT matches this season," Williams said in a news release. "It is always such a fun experience and I love interacting with the fans in the cities that I don't often have the opportunity to play in during the rest of the year."

After perusing the 14 comments left by readers in response to the report, one critic had it so right, that I am reproducing it in its entirety below, since it characterizes this lazy brat & braggart far better than MrKen could hope to...

goodnight wrote:
News flash---- Serena is only committed to the Grand Slams if you follow tennis. She was conveniently "injured" earlier this year right after winning the Australian Open and turned up in Africa filming a special for the Tennis Channel, where she was seen dancing with a bad knee. Since the French Open and Wimbledon are so close together, there is not enough time to concoct a lie to miss a month or two. She will show up for on of the US Open Series tournaments, play half-heartedly and lose in the second-round; losing in the first will be too obvious. Then she will go on a tear at the US Open, explain away her sudden "foot injury", and either win the Open or lose in the quarters or semis.
She has chronic "I do not want to playitis" when there is not a slam involved. She and Venus held out until the last minute and then stiffed the Fed Cup team - which is hosting the championship match without them, thank you very much. Serena has claimed knee and foot injuries many times before, only to show up surfing with her now ex-boyfriend Common.
For those of you defending her, you may want to check her track record. In the real world, she could never hold a job.

The only items I would add to the above assessment is just simply look at the girl; (1) She certainly likes to pack away the burgers & fries, for sure, & (2) "Track & Field" workouts definitely do not exist in this player's workout regimen. If Williams actually has "cut her foot", it's on account of hauling a ton of "well-muscled whale blubber" around the tennis court (description by a NY Daily News writer @ 18 months ago)!
And shame on the tennis commentators extolling William's "wonderful shape", as she wheezes & labors her way through third sets, sweating like the overweight pig that she is. A role model for the younger generation--I think not!

Hey Mary Carillo, Martina, Johnny Mac & J Connors--did any of YOU look & labor like Serena as you competed for your many tennis titles?

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lust, Love & Like

Lust is Easy...
Love is Hard...
Like is Most Important.

---Carl Reiner

Link to Carl Reiner (Wikipedia)--

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Open Letter to J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Capital One, et al

Per your request, the following is an explanation as to why I am closing my Chase Checking Account.

I was not pleased that you intended to sharply increase the interest rate on my credit card inherited by Chase from WAMU to 22.9%--which is why I closed that account in 2009 prior to the increase taking effect. Evidently, you must think that all your customers are completely clueless about financial affairs. Chase charges exorbitant & constantly increasing fees & rates during a period when the Fed is holding interest rates near 0% (actually negative when adjusted for inflation) "for an indefinite period of time".

Thus while Seniors earn almost nothing on their painfully accrued savings, the Bernanke Federal Reserve caters to and rewards institutions like yours that almost destroyed the world's economy--and still may do so.

It must be very pleasant to have the ability to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars at the Federal Reserve discount window @ 3/4 % & immediately lend the same monies back to a supposedly hapless (but in reality not) Fed @ 3 1/4% (10 year T-Bond)-a completely riskless transaction which locks in untold profits! It's probably also quite agreeable for Chase & its ilk to pay next to nothing for deposits-- less than 0.25% for Fed Funds (overnight bank-to-bank lending rate) & savings accounts & nothing at all for Demand Deposits-DD's-(checking accounts).

And rather than lending these funds to small businesses in an attempt to help revive a moribund economy, commercial banks like Chase are choking off credit by raising rates & tightening lending standards.

And this after gorging yourselves at the taxpayer trough of unlimited "Fed favors" during the financial meltdown.

These outrages continue despite recent putative financial "reform" legislation--which was hopelessly watered down thanks to the army of Congressional lobbyists the banking & credit card "industries" employ.

Your operation would impress even Tony Soprano!

You don't break legs--but you greedy and unrepentant parasites DO ruin lives utilizing legalized usury.

A Federal government that was truly populist would indict all of the large commercial banks as criminal enterprises under the RICO (Racketeering) Statutes.

I have therefore transferred my business to a financial institution not based in the U.S. & that consequently has NOT taken ANY taxpayer monies and/or guarantees & subsequently announced obscene profits a la J.P. Morgan Chase, Capital One Bank, Citigroup, et al. And it even pays nominal interst on DD's!

P.S. Please explain to this writer, Mr. Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon, why I should pay down the balances on my two closed Chase Credit cards--interest rate 15.9 %--which both Chase & failed WAMU Bank tried to raise to 22.9 % ?! (An action only averted by my closing both accouts).

Uhmmm..Go get the money from Mr. Bernanke. He'll just print or borrow it. He is an associate of Tony Soprano. You see, he likes to confiscate the income of Seniors like me, too. Then he gives it to you, Mr. Dimon. It's the "American way".


Coming soon: The ultimate "thermonuclear" option Seniors can employ vs. the Banks, Credit Card Companies & Health Care Providers--BANKRUPTCY. How it actually IMPROVES rather than DAMAGES your credit and why. And what does it mean to be "Judgment-Proof"?

For an in-depth discussion of U.S. bank profits, please follow this link:



MrKen is NOT a registered financial advisor & any opinions, suggestions or strategies explained are based on his own experiences and knowledge. Readers of this blog should consult their own financial advisors, accountants and/or brokers before taking any action explicitly or implicitly recommended or recounted by this writer.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Jon Stewart Exposes "Dear Leader" Obama as a Charlatan & a Fraud

This former registered Democrat views both political parties as hopelessly corrupt. The "Yes, We Can" Administration is anything but. I suggest to the dwindling supporters of this "No We Can't & We Won't" Administration, that they view the first part of "The Daily Show" (6/15) with Jon Stewart---

Barack Obama thinks he can be trusted with the power, but... And here is a direct link to the video, where readers can also view comments.(Unfortunately, due to a video embed malfunction, I can only provide the link to the video).

This President is just another lying, corrupt American politician, worse than "W", because he is a constitutional scholar and surely knows better.

Kudos to Jon Stewart for brilliantly exposing the broken promises & failed Obama policies--which include health care, environmental issues, the expanded war in Afghanistan & growing human rights violations.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Health Legislation Balanced on the Backs of Seniors as Medicare Payments to Physicians to be Slashed

Despite AARP's advocacy of this past year's putative "universal health care" bill, and uninformed--or purposely misleading--articles by sources that should know better; e.g., the New York Times-- seniors will most certainly pay a disproportionate price for this sell out to the insurance industry.

Who say so? Physicians who face a 21 % cut in Medicare reimbursements, which I suppose are part of the "savings" that the Obama Administration expects to help pay for last year's appalling legislation. This "the devil is in the details" surprise was pointed out by this writer during last year's so called health care "debate"--a misnomer for what really was a fraudulent campaign of disinformation.

In the Tuesday, June 15 "Letters to the Editor" section of the Wall Street Journal, a cardiac anesthesiologist who primarily provides care for older and disabled patients writes, in part--

"...Indeed, the proposed and continually delayed legislation ...preserves current levels of Medicare reimbursement to physicians by reversing a pending 21 % slash in Medicare physician payments..."

"...If over one-fifth of Medicare revenue is cut from physicians' offices, our seniors and disabled will likely suffer. Undesirable outcomes will likely lead to fewer physicians seeing Medicare patients, office staff layoffs, medical and support personnel cuts and overall impaired access..."

"...It would appear that this past year's health legislative changes are being balanced on the backs of our seniors and the disabled who depend on Medicare..."

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Serena Williams' Thuggish Behavior Continues

Image from Fox Sports

Serena Williams is really a disgrace to the game of Tennis, notwithstanding how many matches she wins. If she wasn't such a 'cash cow' for the USTA, the ITF & other corporate entities, she would have been banned from the 2010 U.S. Open, rather than having the ridiculously small fine of $82,500 assessed against her for threatening a lines person & uttering obscenities.

Tennis Magazine (March 2010)-'Baseline', (page 20) reported that--

"After being fined a record $82,500 for her outburst at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams, writing on, accuses ITF officials of sexism and says they should apologize for the "wrong and disastrous "foot fault" call."

"Metaphorically speaking, Serena might want to consider shoving a ball down her own throat at this point."

While this amount may seem like a lot of money to the average tennis fan, it's really a very small fine and barely a 'slap on the wrist' to this out of control athlete.

She earned $800,000 -with the potential to earn up to another $2,625,000 (Olympus U.S. Open Series) for making it to the singles final at the Open, and split $420,000 with Venus for winning the Women's Doubles Championship.

Williams was called for two foot faults in the match against Kim Clijsters, and later admitted at one of her three press conferences about the incident that she "probably did foot fault". Williams also apologized to the lines person (who was, of course not present) & said she would "like to hug her if she could".

What nonsense!

Serena, you really are a hypocrite & and a sore loser as well as simply being a nasty human being!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Justine Henin's Fantastic Run at the Australian Open-Also Analysis of Henin-Williams Final

Just out of reach! -----

-Justine Henin of Belgium stretches for a backhand return during the women's final match against Serena Williams of the US-

Photo by: Ben Solomon

Curtesy of 2010 Australian Open

(1) S. Williams *** (USA) 6 3 6
-------- (WC) J. Henin (BEL) 4 6 2

While I never expected Justine Henin to win the Australian Open--I certainly didn't expect to see her in the final either. Frankly, I thought Serena Williams might blow her out in a two setter.

Readers of this blog know that MrKen is in no way a fan of the younger Williams sister. But I was nonplussed at the following opinion & quote attributed to Serena in a story about Justine ('Good Times and Bad, Henin Has Kept Her Coach in View') reported in the New York Times (1/22-Joe Drape):

'Serena Williams, the world's top player, understands that Henin's enterprising shot-making and speedy persistence offer a counterpoint to her own formidable talents.'

"I'm so happy to see Henin back and doing well," Williams said. "She's such a good player and a fighter. I think she brings just a totally different theme to the game."

This is phony-baloney, disingenuous nonsense from Tennis's #1 Thug; there is plenty of bad blood between these two--& I am certain that Henin is the LAST player that Williams wants to see back on the WTA tour. Before this match, Henin had defeated Williams in 4 of their previous 6 meetings at MAJORS (remember--the only kind of tournament Serena feels is "worthy" of her participation).

There were rumors that Venus had finally prevailed on Serena to "apologize" at her THIRD press conference/rant for her infamous "foot-fault" outburst at the U.S. Open, as one or more of Serena's sponsors may have been getting "cold feet".

I suspect the aforementioned comment was also prompted by her older, smarter & less mercurial sibling.
Long-time coach Carlos Rodriguez has been working with Henin to revamp her game-- her forehand and serve (especially her second serve). Her backhand is still the best in the women's & men's game (John McEnroe, among others think so). And Henin has indicated that she wants to play a more aggressive and varied style.

In my humble opinion however, I think that she may have overdone the aggressiveness a bit in the final, especially Justine's attempted forehand & backhand topspin "smashes" of Serena's many weak second serves--thus giving away too many precious points-many of them 'break' points'.

Before the final, I considered Henin a 4-1 or 5-1 underdog, mostly due to her weak serving during the Open. She had far too many double faults, and her second serve was very tentative. Not to mention this was only her second tournament back after a nearly two year layoff. I also considered that Justine might be unable to handle Williams' power after a 20 month layoff.

Interestingly, odds makers in Melbourne rated the final as 'pick em'!

Nevertheless, Henin is such a pint-sized artist on a tennis court-@ 5 feet 5 and 126 pounds-that her outsize talent, speed & mental toughness enabled her to defeat such top players at Melbourne as Nadia Petrova #19--who absolutely destroyed Kim Clijsters 6-0, 6-1 --(& what was that all about?) & Elena Dementieva #5, on her way to the showdown with Williams.

While Justine was reeling off 15 consecutive points at the end of the 2nd set & the beginning of the 3rd, one of the commentators (I believe Mary Carillo) said-to paraphrase-"well, Justine has the best technique in the game, much better than Serena's. Serena basically only has her power..."

Actually, Henin won only five fewer points than Williams in the match, and their service speeds were comparable.

Justine Henin's Official Web/Fan Site (in English) is:

Prediction: Justine will regain the #1 Ranking & is a good bet to win the French Open.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Justine Henin Returns to the WTA Tour!

MrKen's favorite female player has returned! I posted at length about Henin's rumored return on Sept. 3--

--and she has already beaten one of the top players--Nadia Petrova. The following selected copy appeared on 'Yahoo Sports' @ 4 hours ago:

Henin Returns with Win at Brisbane International
  • BRISBANE, Australia (AP)—''Justine Henin played as if she never left. She didn’t even make it to her first post-match news conference since coming out of retirement before talk began about when she’ll win an eighth Grand Slam singles title.

Henin beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of the Brisbane International on Monday, the former No. 1’s first official tour match since announcing her comeback in September.

“I feel better today than when I retired, that’s for sure,” Henin said. “Better emotionally, mentally. Better with myself, and that makes a big difference.”

She is preparing to make her return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18.

Henin abruptly left the tour in May 2008 after spending a total of 117 weeks at No. 1, winning seven major championships, an Olympic gold medal and 41 WTA titles overall. Now she is back, perhaps inspired by another Belgian, Kim Clijsters, who returned to the tour after about two years away and promptly won last year’s U.S. Open.

The 27-year-old Henin said she might be in stronger physical shape than she was 20 months ago. She certainly felt better psychologically after Monday’s victory, which followed exhibition wins last month, including one over Petrova.

'I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long,” Henin said. “At the beginning, everything seemed very big: the stadium, all the people. I’m not used to it anymore.'...

'...Grand Slam champions and former No. 1 players Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova—taking part in an exhibition event in Hong Kong—both predicted Henin will once again be a force.

“She was a great champion before,” Williams said. “She can keep on playing great tennis.”

Sharapova called Henin’s return good for the women’s tour.'...

For the full story, please follow this link:

As far as I know, Serena Williams had nothing to say about Henin's return. Henin crushed her in the 2007 U.S. Open, 7-6 (3), 6-1, and was ranked #1 in the world for over 12 months. Williams only offers gratuitous praise to players whom she crushes, but because she is a classless sore loser (see my previous post), S. Williams always finds excuses for her poor play when she loses.--She is never outplayed, in her mind; her opponent was lucky (2007 aforementioned loss to Henin), she was treated unfairly (the "foot fault" controversy), blah, blah, blah...

It would be terrific for the WTA if Justine can quickly get into top form, as Kim Clijsters did at the U.S. Open. I'm looking forward to a Henin-Clijsters match, as well as a renewed competition with the Williams' sisters.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Why You Can't Get Social Security If You Refuse Medicare!

MrKen will turn 65 next year, and has been researching articles on Medicare in an attempt to ascertain whether it's worthwhile or not to sign up. On balance, the Medicare system may not represent an especially good value for seniors, both on the issues of access to certain tests and treatment options--not to mention the pressing issue of economic viability--a nice way to say it is careening towards insolvency.

Make no mistake about it, should a version of "ObamaCare" somehow become law this year or early in 2010, much of the putative 'savings' will come out of the Medicare budget; some experts estimate payments to doctors and hospitals next year would drop as much as 20%, the obvious result being that many more physicians than heretofore will refuse to accept Medicare patients. To quote a paragraph in a recent New York Times editorial entitled "Medicare Scare Mongering"- 9/26/09 -

Republican opponents have also been warning that planned cuts in payments to hospitals and other health care providers might make them less willing or able to serve Medicare patients. If true, that is a problem that Congress will have to address in the future.

"If true" - ! That certainly does not indicate that the Times has done particularly careful research on the matter. In fact, many diagnostic tests and treatments are not covered by Medicare even now, and wholesale fraud is rampant in the system, as a recent "60 minutes" documentary revealed.

But all that is NOT the point of this post.

Incredible as it may seem, if I decide to forego enrolling in Part A of Medicare--the basic hospitalization coverage--I would lose my Social Security Retirement benefits, present and future! Not only that, but since I chose early retirement at age 62, if I opt out of Health Insurance at age 65, I would have to pay back to the government ALL the benefits previously collected!

And here's why...

On August 30, 1993, the Social Security Administration added two substantive rules to its “Program Operations Manual” to address the fact that “ Some individuals entitled to monthly benefits have asked to waive Hospital Insurance (HI) entitlement because of religious or philosophical reasons, or because they prefer other health insurance.” -These rules, while promulgated by SSA, are enforced by both SSA and HHS-[Health & Human Services].-

The first rule reads:

“Individuals entitled to monthly benefits which confer eligibility for HI may not waive HI entitlement. The only way to avoid HI Entitlement is through withdrawal of the monthly benefit application. Withdrawal requires repayment of all Retirement, Survivors, Disability Insurance (RSDI) and HI benefit payments.”

The second rule reads:

“To withdraw from the HI program, an individual must submit a written request for withdrawal and must refund any HI benefits paid on his/her behalf … An individual who filed an application for both monthly benefits and HI may:

• Withdraw the claim for monthly benefits without jeopardizing HI entitlement; or

• Withdraw the claim for both monthly benefits and HI. The individual may not elect to withdraw only the HI claim.”

Notice this Clinton rule change allows you to yield your SS benefits and keep Medicare, but you may not keep your SS retirement checks and yield your Medicare enrollment.

To read the rest of the article, go to...

Still skeptical? No, I have never heard of the "floppingaces" website either. But 'The Wall Street' in an editorial dated 10/28/08 wrote:

Senior Liberation Act

Why You Can't Get Social Security If You Refuse Medicare

For all of America's cherished belief in choice and freedom, it remains an astonishing fact that the U.S. government forces citizens over the age of 65 into a subpar health plan of its choosing. And so it is with some hope that we greet a new federal lawsuit (Hall v Sibelius)* that aims to allow senior citizens to flee Medicare. *per MrKen

The suit comes courtesy of Kent Masterson Brown, a lawyer who has previously tangled with the government over Medicare benefits. Mr. Brown represents three plaintiffs who are suing the federal government to be allowed to opt out of Medicare without losing their Social Security benefits.

Amazingly, this is not currently allowed. While the Social Security law does not require participants to accept Medicare, and the Medicare law does not require participants to accept Social Security, the Clinton Administration in 1993 tied the programs together. Under that policy, any senior who withdraws from Medicare also loses Social Security benefits.

For the rest of the article, please follow this link:

And a follow up Journal article on 10/4/09:

'...Last week, Washington D.C. District Judge Rosemary Collyer handed a victory to three plaintiffs seeking that right. President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services had sought to dismiss the suit challenging so-called POMS rules that say seniors who withdraw from Medicare Part A must also surrender their Social Security benefits. (Part A covers hospital and outpatient services.) The judge ruled the plaintiffs have standing to contest their claim on the merits.

POMS were imposed in 1993 during the Clinton Administration and set forth rules that aren't in the statute or regulations governing Medicare. The three plaintiffs—Brian Hall, John Kraus and former U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Armey—all had health-care plans they preferred to the coverage they were compelled to receive through Medicare.

In her ruling this week, the judge said that "neither the statute nor the regulation specifies that Plaintiffs must withdraw from Social Security and repay retirement benefits in order to withdraw from Medicare." Article I of the Constitution gives Congress sole power to legislate—so when agency rules conflict with federal statute, the statute takes precedence.

The Obama Administration argued that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs had not exhausted the available administrative remedies for challenging POMS. Judge Collyer rejected that notion, noting that one plaintiff had sought an administrative hearing but "received no response from the SSA for approximately three years." Exhaustion of remedies was therefore "futile." A three-year wait is precisely the kind of bureaucratic hassle, or deliberate stonewalling, that government is famous for...

The response of the Obama Administration to this lawsuit is revealing about its principles, as opposed to its rhetoric. President Obama says his plan for a "public option" wouldn't be coercive, saying that "If you like your health-care plan, you keep your health-care plan. Nobody is going to force you to leave your health-care plan." But here is a case where federal bureaucrats are using their power to force Medicare on seniors. Let's hope the courts restore a genuine right to choose....(emphases MrKen)

Link to full story:

Apparently SSA conjured the requirement to sign up for part A of Medicare out of thin air "without public notice and comment."


MrKen is growing increasingly frustrated and alarmed with the Obama Administration. Along with comedian & libertarian Bill Maher, I really cannot see very much difference between Bush & Obama's increasingly reactionary policies. Are the aforementioned the kind of "choices" we can expect from the Administration's so-called Universal Health Care?

And no thoughtful person can seriously expect another huge new government program to actually save money over the next ten years. According to the WSJ, Medicare is now 37 times more costly (taking into account inflation) than at its inception. And it is nearly bankrupt. Considering the looming trillion dollar plus deficits on the horizon due to massive overspending and yet another expensive, open-ended military adventure -Afganistan- where exactly will the money come from? The same Times editorial optimistically opines:

...The Obama administration and Congressional leaders are hoping to save hundreds of billions of dollars by slowing the growth of spending in the vast and inefficient Medicare system that serves 45 million older and disabled Americans. The savings would be used to help offset the costs of covering tens of millions of uninsured people. (italics mine)


As I noted, where will the money come from?


On Oct. 13, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Kent Masterson Brown, discussed the lawsuit and recent judicial rulings re Hall v Sebelius at a Capitol House Briefing. Also speaking was Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute, and co-author of Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

How Government "Competes": Grab Arm, Twist Cato Institute: Capitol Hill Briefing

(Simply click on the above text to view video)

Finally, for an overview of articles on this lawsuit & related issues, go to "The Fund For Personal Liberty" website at

While this site appears to be a conservative mouthpiece (quoting the Washington Times, etc.) it does contain many interesting and useful references-e.g., Ron Paul on Medicare [it's broke].

Posted using ShareThis

**Capitol House Briefing Curtesy of the Cato Institute-

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Serena Williams Foot Fault vs. Kim Clijsters in Women's Semifinal

Viewers please note: a complete discussion of this controversial default is contained in post below (after Cats that look like Hitler). The original link to the video in that post is broken & cannot be deleted.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Does Your Cat Look Like Hitler?

chaplin (owned by vikki) (3834)
Mon Sep 14 2009 at 02:49:59

DOLPHY (owned by Pauline) (3822)
Thu Sep 10 2009 at 17:06:49

Adolph the stray! (owned by Sotiris) (3809)
Tue Sep 08 2009 at 17:25:12

Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland? Does he keep putting his right paw in the air while making a noise that sounds suspiciously like "Sieg Miaow"? If so, this is the website for you.

Follow the link for more details on this amusing site...

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Serena Williams Foot-Fault in 2009 US Open semi-final vs Kim Clijsters

As a tennis player who wished that more recreational hackers knew at least a little bit about the rules, and more importantly, the "Code", I have more than a passing interest in the Serena Williams "foot-fault" controversy.

After reading many press reports of the incident & after personally viewing the Williams-Clijsters semifinals match on ESPN 2 Saturday night, as well as the You Tube videos of the incident, here are my conclusions...

There is no video that shows that the foot-fault call by the lines person on Serena's second serve at 15-30 and 5-6 in the 2nd set was incorrect, despite some reports to the contrary in the press & TV. While ESPN's replay and angle were inconclusive, other coverage (British broadcast?) played the incident in slow motion and seemingly at a better angle--which clearly showed the foot fault. The commentator then remarks "There's the foot-fault."

Please study the video above***the 'Cats that look like Hitler' post (especially at the point after the sequence of events is explained to Clijsters) and decide for yourself if I am indeed correct. I suggest that the clip be viewed in full screen mode.
***please ignore the video below--link is broken.

Williams had been called for a foot fault earlier in the set, not to mention being called for a number of foot faults in an earlier doubles match.

As a matter of fact, foot-faults are a problem she has had her entire career, not just at the U.S. Open--as she insisted at her "ridiculous, disingenuous" news conference (description by Mike Lupica of the Daily News). She sarcastically offered to "stand 2 feet in back of the baseline" in future matches in New York.

However, it must be admitted that foot faults are called very inconsistently--even at Grand Slam events. There seems to be an unwritten rule that this violation is not generally called unless it is egregious, and especially not on 'important' points, where the fate of the match might be decided by the call.

That this problem occurs again and again is certainly the fault of the ITF, USTA, the Grand Slam and other tournament commitees. The obvious consequence is that lines umpires are inadequately trained and unsure how to rule. Do line judges now have to consider the score and the importance of the event? Wouldn't this impact their impartiality?

Also, in this specific incident, few have pointed out that the chair umpire had the power to overrule an incorrect foot fault call. Why Williams did not appeal to the chair instead of threatening the line judge with her ghetto/thug act we'll never know...

'In matches where line umpires are assigned, they make all calls (including foot-fault calls) relating to that line or net. The chair umpire has the right to overrule a line umpire or a net umpire if the chair umpire is sure that a clear mistake has been made...'

USTA Tennis Rules & Regulations Handbook ITF Rules of Tennis
Appendix V

Since the chair umpire did not overrule in this case, it must be assumed that he was NOT sure that a clear mistake had been made. Incidentally, Williams later appeared to agree that 'she probably foot-faulted'.

In "Straight Sets", the Tennis Blog of The New York Times, these interesting and relevant insights into sports officiating were offered on 9/13--

The Thinking Behind Calling Foot Faults

"A foot fault occurs when the server touches the baseline or the court with either foot. Sometimes a player’s foot slides forward and touches the line inadvertently, and, because a player can’t see the rule violation, the foot-fault call provokes a lot of anger. Often the players’ frustration with themselves is then directed at the line official. For Serena Williams, who has been called for foot faults throughout her career, the call came at a critical moment in the match. Down by a set and serving at 5-6 and 15-30, the call on her second serve gave Kim Clijsters two match points.

Carol Cox, a veteran tennis official who evaluates line officials and referees for the United States Tennis Association, said there were two schools of thought on making a foot-fault call at a critical juncture in the match.

“One philosophy is that it is a rule, and you call it when you see it,” Cox said. “The second way of thinking is more in line with a good N.B.A. official: You don’t make a call that can decide a match unless it’s flagrant.”

John McEnroe had a similar view to the N.B.A. comparison when he was commenting on the CBS broadcast on Saturday night. “You can’t call that there,” he said.

Serena Williams had received a warning for a code violation, for smashing her racket after the first set, so her next offense resulted in a point penalty. The lineswoman, whose name has not been released, is trained to report such abuse immediately to the chair umpire.

In the end, Williams’s outburst decided the game, the set and the match.

To read the full article quoted above, please follow this link:

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