Medicare A required at age 65?

Should You Enroll in Medicare if You're Still Working?


Why You Shouldn't Enroll in Medicare Part A While Still Employed: You should pass on Medicare Part A while working if you are making contributions to a health savings account (HSA) and wish to continue to do so while working. Enrolling in Medicare Part A will terminate that option.
Should I enroll in Medicare if I'm still working past age 65?


Am I required to enroll in Medicare if I keep working? If you are still working and covered under your employer's or union's health insurance, you are not required to enroll in Medicare at age 65.
Comment: The ship has sailed for us because both Kathee and I are on Medicare. I was still working at 65 and should not have enrolled in Medicare A. I continued to contribute to an HSA plan and was penalized for that. Kathee retired at 65 so there was no issue for her.

Understanding Antisemitism

Comment: Important! More on Rabbi Sacks. Source of video. Shorter version:

Sending a letter to India

Readers may find this interesting. On February 19th we dropped a letter into the mailbox at the Plymouth MN postoffice. Today it arrived in India. 


Home-going of Charleen Thompson

Charleen Thompson, 89, of Freeport went home to be with her Lord surrounded by loving family on April 20th, 2017.  She was born in Hastings December 17, 1927 to Clarence & Doris (Hayward) Cappon.

Charleen graduated from Hastings High School in 1945. She started her first job in the office at Consumers Power Company while still a senior in high school and continued there until 1949. Charleen married Kenneth Thompson on May 25, 1947.

An accomplished bookkeeper, Charleen managed the finances for Ken’s family farm, while also working as an office manager, accountant & secretary for Chenoweth Machine Company in Hastings from 1955-1971.  The company was sold to Ketchum Machine Company and relocated to Freeport, where she worked from 1971-82.

Charleen lived a life of service to her church and her community. She served on committees in her local congregation, Hope Church of the Brethren, and on the Michigan District Board. She was a co-leader for the annual Citizenship Seminar to Wash. D.C. for several years. As a dedicated member of the Farm Bureau, she went to Washington D.C. to promote agriculture policy and served on the state Policy Development Committee. She chaired the Women’s Committee of Ionia County Farm Bureau, and served on the County Board of Directors and the State F.B. Women's Committee (1979-85). She eventually became District IV Director of the Mich. F.B. Board (86-88).  

Together, Charleen and Ken were involved with Habitat for Humanity on a local and national level. In addition to volunteering, Charleen enjoyed antiquing, knitting, quilting, caning, baking, reading novels, camping and traveling.  

Charleen and Ken traveled with their motor home for many years and made friends from all over the country. The couple spent the winter months in Florida or Texas for 25 years. The couple’s home in Freeport--and their home on wheels--were always open for gatherings for family and friends.

Charleen was preceded in death by her parents, grandson Sean Wilcox, sister-in law Connie Cappon, special family friend Pam Burson, in laws Floyd & Mabel Thompson, sister-in law Evelyn (Thompson) Walton in addition to other family members and friends.  She is survived by her loving husband of nearly 70 years, brother Ron Cappon, children Dianne Thompson (Ann Fiorini), Donna (Lee) Wilcox, Lynette (Wayne) Guyer, Brian (Carole Stowell) Thompson, Melanie Basler, 5 grandchildren, one great grandchild and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews & friends.  

Comment: Charleen was my 1st cousin, once removed. Photo above: Ken and Charlene and two of my 2nd cousins, and one 2nd cousin once removed. Charleen was like an Aunt to me.


On the overuse of #RIP in the media

Comments: To wish eternal rest and peace to someone who has died ("Rest in peace" (Latin: Requiescat in pace) presumes that one is a Christian. Only Christians have peace with God!


13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970

13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970
Saturday is Earth Day — an annual event first launched on April 22, 1970. The inaugural festivities (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded.

Sound familiar? Behold the coming apocalypse, as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:
  1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
  2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
  3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial
  4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
  5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich
  6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
  7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
  8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine
  9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich
  11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine
  13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt
Comment: Junior in College ... I remember it well. Image source

The real green agenda:


Flaco (Spanish for "Skinny") the cat

We've been cat-sitting for 6 months. Such a lovely pet. Goes back to my son & daughter-in-law on Monday.


Investing in the Airlines: Still a "death trap for investors"?

So far I have eschewed investing in the airlines. I've followed the sage advice, since changed, of Warren Buffett who famously said (2002):
"It's been a death trap for investors ... If a capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk back in the early 1900s, he should have shot Orville Wright. He would have saved his progeny money. But seriously, the airline business has been extraordinary. It has eaten up capital over the past century like almost no other business because people seem to keep coming back to it and putting fresh money in. You've got huge fixed costs, you've got strong labor unions and you've got commodity pricing. That is not a great recipe for success. I have an 800 (free call) number now that I call if I get the urge to buy an airline stock. I call at two in the morning and I say: 'My name is Warren and I'm an aeroholic.' And then they talk me down.”
He since has changed his mind ... at least a bit (2017):
These aren't last century's airline companies, and that's why legendary investor Warren Buffett is spending money on them. "It's true that the airlines had a bad 20th century. They're like the Chicago Cubs. And they got that bad century out of the way, I hope," Buffett said Monday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "The hope is they will keep orders in reasonable relationship to potential demand." Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway revealed late last year in an SEC filing it had taken a stake in American Airlines, United Continental Holdings and Delta Air Lines. CNBC also reported that Berkshire had taken another stake in Southwest Airlines. Ironically, Buffett implied he had not taken a commercial flight in several years. "We'll save that (conversation) for after the show," he said. The Oracle of Omaha also revealed why his holding firm previously hesitated to take significant positions in the industry. "I think there have been almost 100 airline bankruptcies. I mean, that is a lot," he said. "It's been a disaster for capital."
So I am thinking of dipping my toe into the airlines ... just 10 shares of each. Thoughts? Advice?

Top image: Biplane crash, East Boston Airport, 1928-05-31

Updated: Passengers may hate airlines, but investors love them (even United)

Muslims, Drinking and Halal

Quran 5:90


O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.
Comment: Halal regards Muslim rules for eating and drinking.  For the Christian, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17) Yet many Muslims do drink in violation of Halal. Image source top



$20 trillion in debt: Fighting wars, big tax cuts and economic stimulus packages have all added to the debt burden

Here’s how the U.S. got to $20 trillion in debt


The U.S. is approaching $20 trillion in national debt — the nation is a cool $19.85 trillion in the red as of Friday — and when it crosses that mark, get ready for some finger pointing over who’s to blame. If history shows anything, it’s that both parties share responsibility for boosting the debt. Fighting wars, big tax cuts and economic stimulus packages have all added to the burden over the years.
Comment: Article is worthwhile. Virtually no one seems to care or be concerned about this.


Before we involve ourselves in Syria

So You Want To Go To War In Syria To Depose Assad. Can You Answer These 14 Questions First?


  1. What national security interest, rather than pure humanitarian interest, is served by the use of American military power to depose Assad’s regime?
  2. How will deposing Assad make America safer?
  3. What does final political victory in Syria look like (be specific), and how long will it take for that political victory to be achieved? Do you consider victory to be destabilization of Assad, the removal of Assad, the creation of a stable government that can protect itself and its people without additional assistance from the United States, etc.?
  4. What military resources (e.g., ground troops), diplomatic resources, and financial resources will be required to achieve this political victory?
  5. How long will it take to achieve political victory?
  6. What costs, in terms of lives (both military and civilian), dollars, and forgone options elsewhere as a result of resource deployment in Syria, will be required to achieve political victory?
  7. What other countries will join the United States in deposing Assad, in terms of military, monetary, or diplomatic resources?
  8. Should explicit congressional authorization for the use of military force in Syria be required, or should the president take action without congressional approval?
  9. What is the risk of wider conflict with Russia, given that nation’s presence and stake in Syria, if the United States chooses to invade and depose Assad, a key Russian ally in the Middle East?
  10. If U.S. intervention in Syria does spark a larger war with Russia, what does political victory in that scenario look like, and what costs will it entail?
  11. Given that Assad has already demonstrated a willingness to use chemical weapons, how should the United States respond if the Assad regime deploys chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against the United States?
  12. Assuming the Assad regime is successfully removed from power, what type of government structure will be used to replace Assad, who will select that government, and how will that government establish and maintain stability going forward?
  13. Given that a change in political power in the United States radically altered the American position in Iraq in 2009, how will you mitigate or address the risk of a similar political dynamic upending your preferred strategy in Syria, either in 2018, 2020, or beyond?
  14. What lessons did you learn from America’s failure to achieve and maintain political victory following the removal of governments in Iraq and Libya, and how will you apply those lessons to a potential war in Syria?
Until these questions are answered with specificity, and until the U.S. government is open and honest with the American people about the potential risks and likely costs of a war to remove Assad from power in Syria, it makes little sense to discuss the idea further.