Thursday, April 9, 2015


I would think that this is a good time to be a young woman.  For one thing, opportunities abound and the "glass ceiling" is being broken all the time.  Yes, there is the problem of getting equal pay with men, but women are on the way.  Though not up to 50%, there are lots of women in both the House and the Senate.  Some of the biggest companies now have CEOs as women in Fortune 500 companies e.g. GM, Hewlett Packard and IBM plus a whole host of other companies like the techies Oracle, Xerox and Advanced Micro devices.*

What about science and technology?  A women is president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Shirley Ann Jackson, 1999 - ?, Black woman physicist, ),** and Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (Marcia McNutt, 2009 - ? and former Griswold Professor of Geophysics at MIT),*** Geological Society of America (4 women Presidents), American Geophysical Union (4), and American Association Of Petroleum Geologists (3) in the Earth sciences, for example.  Women have won all the major prizes in the large Earth sciences societies such as the Geological Society of America (2014: Susan Kiefer, Penrose Medal; Lisa Tauxe, Day Medal for research) and the American Geophysical Union (Inge Lehman discovered the inner core of the Earth and has a Medal named after her. 2014: Jessica Tierney, Macelwane Award for young scientist; Mioara Mandea, International Award for foreign researchers).  In Earth science, women have a particularly strong contingent in seismology research.

I grew up in an environment somewhat similar to what women are in right now.  I got my Ph.D. in geology from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and there seemed to be unfair competition with the Ivy League.  It was sort of we non-Ivy Leaguers had to show we could do the job whereas Ivy Leaguers had to show they couldn't do the job.  It was a thrilling time and slowly the situation changed over a period of years.  I fully expect that the situation for women will also continue to improve over time.

Note added April 10, 2015: This morning on Morning Joe I saw an interview with the CEO of AFLAC (The Duck remember?) .  She is an impressive middle-aged (?) Black lady who said that 63% of their workforce are women.  They also have a department to help employees develop skills to get ahead.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The American economy is thought to be improving as 70% of those questioned feel the economy is fair to excellent in contrast to December 2008 when 70% thought the economy was poor.*  See the pdf table in the reference.  Of the 70% that feel the economy is fair to excellent, 25% feel the economy is good.  Though this may not seem like a lot, the number was only 16% as recently as September 2014 and was only 4% in December 2008.

Those questioned, however, are not so sure about the economy continuing to improve.  Only 28% feel the economy will get better, while 41% feel it will stay about the same.  These figures are down from December of 2009 when 43% felt the economy would get better and 29% felt it would stay about the same.


Thursday, April 2, 2015


You may recall the case of Terry Schiavo.  She went into a coma and was later pronounced brain dead, but she was kept "alive" by artificial means for 10 yrs.  When her husband got a court order to pull the feeding tube, Jeb Bush got involved.*  He got an order to replace the feeding tube.  When this was overturned by the courts, he manipulated things to try to have it replaced so Schiavo "lived" another 5 yrs before her husband finally got the tube removed and she permanently "died."

Now there are emotional reasons to have supported Jeb Bush.  My sister-in-law, who is a physician, for example felt that Schiavo was not brain dead from looking at TV pictures, though in an autopsy it was found the Schiavo was indeed brain dead.  There are cases, I guess, where a person in a coma for years does come out of the coma.**

No one seems to answer the question of how many Terry Schiavos can we afford?  Medicine seems capable of keeping many (any?) coma patients "alive" indefinitely.  Is the public responsible for keeping such people "alive" in perpetuity?

Jeb Bush's insistence of inserting himself into this case is a great disappointment to me.    It is scary to think that Jeb Bush is actually one of the more rational Republicans.  I suppose you have to accept some blemishes in whomever you select as a presidential candidate, but this blemish is very serious.

The upshot is that you should make sure your wishes on health are understood IN WRITING and NOTARIZED while you still have your facilities.

** Particularly notice case number 2 (

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


There are 16 stocks that have increased their dividends for 50 years or more.*  Note that one of these actually has joined a select new group of 60 consecutive years of increasing dividends.  The first stock to reach 60 years was Diebold (DBD); however, they then dropped out of the group, so there must be caution in getting involved in any stock.  It is called doing your own due diligence.  At one time Aon (AON) was the only stock with a 50 yr record of consecutive dividend increases, but they dropped out; however, the company is doing very well so dropping out of the list does not mean the company can't perform well.  Without further ado, below is the list plus two stocks poised to enter the group.


American States Water (SWR) 60
Dover Corp (DOV)
Genuine Parts (GPC) 59
Northwestern Natural Gas (NWN) 59
Emerson Electric (EMR) 58
Parker Hannifin (PH) 58
Proctor & Gamble (PG) 58
3M (MMM)
Cinncinnati Financial (CINF)  55
Vectron (VVC)
Coca Cola (KO)
Colgate Palmolive  (CL) 52
Lancaster Colony (LANC) 52
Lowe's Cos. (LOW)
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) 52
Nordson (NDSN)


Hormel Foods(HRL)
Tootsie Roll (TR)

For what it is worth, GPC is the largest holding by far in my late wife's trust that also includes KO, and I have MMM in my own account.

* From tables compiled by dFish:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Like so many people, I was originally shocked at the thought of Gay Marriage, but as time went on I thought, "Well here is a group of people fighting to get into an institution where heterosexual people aren't doing very well."   So I changed.  It also occurred to me that at least these people are not out to get your daughter pregnant.  So my viewpoint changed completely.  I don't recall just what year my change occurred, but maybe in 2001.  I came to think that some small percentage of people are born with their mental wiring different from most.*  Because it has been found to be so difficult to change this wiring, it is probably hard wired.  As to the question of can homosexuality be acquired, I think it is probably so.
For example I have heard of women who became lesbians because of a or repeated  failures in heterosexual love, including a book of the bible (Ruth**) regarding the love of Ruth and Naomi..  Perhaps some men suffer from a similar problem.

So now Indiana has passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed by the governor Mike Spence presumably based on Christian religious teachings.****  Unlike somewhat similar laws passed by 20 other states, the Indiana law permits discrimination of gays by for-profit businesses.***  What surprises me is that the Republican governor and the state legislature are surprised that there is a big uproar over this difference.  I guess many (not all) Republicans just talk to each other with similar opinions and seem to be continually surprised at the uproar over their views.  Recall the Republican politicians who claimed that women who are raped are protected from pregnancy, or, if they get pregnant, it is God's will.

Although there are a number of factions in the Republican Party, the religious right seems to dominate today, a matter that concerns me.

*  For a contrary view see:

Monday, March 30, 2015


I still believe that solar energy is a booming industry and eventually that solar energy will be the common roofing material on houses and probably on buildings as well.  The innovation of having solar panels on the top of automobiles is interesting as the car will be recharged while you are at work of shopping during the day (sunny days anyway).  Here are a few things from an article in Motley Fool.*


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


“Imagine in 2017, a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare,” the Texas Republican said Monday during a speech at Liberty University in Virginia.*

This quote is among the many "Imagine" statements made by Sen. Ted Cruz's candidacy speech for the Republican nomination for president.  He has said it before, of course, and in fact he led the way to shutting down the government in an attempt to abolish the ACA in 2012.  There are even conservatives who wonder what Ted Cruz is FOR. Well, is he for repealing the right of students to be on their parents health plan to the age of 26.  Is he for letting insurance companies refuse health insurance to people because of preexisting conditions.  Is he for letting insurance companies changing things they insure during mid-contract.  These and others are things he is FOR.

Well let the record show that Obamacare has survived for five years in spite of such attacks.  The problem is that Obamacare does need reforms (It should be single payer, for one example) and Cruz's attacks only serve to delay honest reforms. But Cruz does not want a good ACA.  He wants no control of medical practices at all.

Suppose Cruz is elected president and repeals Obamacare, what does he do next?  Will he get rid of Medicare D, or emergency rooms having to take all comers?**  Or because these liberal initiatives were made by Republican presidents are they all right, even though they are not paid for?

** Ronald Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which requires hospitals to serve patients in urgent need, and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, which allows individuals to keep paying for coverage if they lose their insurance. In addition, with almost no support from his own cabinet, Reagan added catastrophic care to Medicare toward the end of his presidency, though the provision was later repealed. ..... George W. Bush pushed for and signed the expansion of Medicare to include prescription drug coverage. (