No reforms? U.S. retirees to face dwindling funds — in 21 years!

Yeah, I know. “Jolting news” that would cause Congressional hacks to jump into action in 20½ years!


These creeps want to shut down Social Security – after all, they don’t need it

Aging baby boomers got some jolting news on Monday when the U.S. government said the Social Security retirement program is on track to go bankrupt three years earlier than expected if reforms are not made.

Unless Washington politicians, who have been at war with each other over government spending priorities and federal budget deficits, can decide how to put Social Security on a sound footing, retirees’ pension checks would start running out in 2033, according to an annual report…

“Never since the 1983 reforms have we come as close to the point of trust-fund depletion as we are right now,” trustee Charles Blahous told reporters. “Our window for dealing with it without substantially disruptive consequences is closing very rapidly,” he said…

Craptastic!

Blahous and fellow trustee Robert Reischauer said lawmakers should be aware that it will become increasingly difficult to “avoid adverse effects” on retirees or those close to retirement if legislative changes are delayed much longer…

Members of Congress also have mulled raising the retirement age or cutting some benefits to the wealthy. But no action is expected before the November elections.

You can RTFA for all the gory details. All the pissing and moaning about coming up with solutions are hogwash. Want to see me solve the question for another hundred years or so? With one sentence?

Add this to the law. “THERE WILL BE NO CAP ON COLLECTING THE SSA TAX.”

That’s it. All that is needed is to remove the cap which stops collecting the tax once you’ve earned $104,000. That carries through well into the next century. The NY TIMES surveyed readership on that solution and got a 76% “Yes” vote. So, what’s the problem with Congress getting off their rusty dusties and following through?

One in four Starbucks card transactions now done via mobile

Starbucks customers apparently are finding buying via mobile as addictive as the company’s coffee.

Less than a year after Starbucks launched an app that allows mobile payments, it has hosted 26 million such transactions on iOS, BlackBerry and Android, according to the chain. One in four Starbucks card transactions is now executed via mobile.

The mobile-payments initiative has built momentum recently: In the nine weeks after it was released, there were 3 million transactions. But in the past nine weeks, there have been 6 million, says Adam Brotman, SVP and general manager of Starbucks. He adds that New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and San Jose, California, are the top cities by volume for mobile purchases…

When asked why mobile payments seem to have caught on at Starbucks, Brotman said he thought convenience was a major factor. “It’s a faster, easier way to pay,” he said. “We not only developed the feature, but we also rolled out scanners in our locations.”

As we all know, once a feature catches on in one chain – because of ease and convenience – other competitors, other chains had better climb on board with the concept or lose a measurable increment of business.

“Give us our damned data!” – a few cautionary tales


Who’s in charge?

For five days as her husband lay in his hospital bed suffering from kidney cancer, Regina Holliday begged doctors and nurses for his medical records, and for five days she never received them.

On the sixth day, her husband needed to be transferred to another hospital — without his complete medical records.

“When Fred arrived at the second hospital, they couldn’t give him any pain medication because they didn’t know what drugs he already had in his system, and they didn’t want to overdose him,” says Holliday, who lives in Washington. “For six hours he was in pain, panicking, while I ran back to the first hospital and got the rest of the records.”

Despite a federal law requiring hospitals and doctors to release medical records to patients who ask for them, patients are reporting they have a hard time accessing them leading to complications like the ones the Holliday family experienced.

‘What part of “Give us our damn data” do you not understand?’

RTFA and when you get down to the end – there is a list of tips to make certain you get your medical records.

Pundits wrong: Digital TV changeover is a piece of cake


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

For most viewers, the transition amounted to a minor hiccup at most. But the industry estimated that 12 million homes had not installed the necessary converter boxes, putting them at risk of losing TV altogether.

Across the country, television stations set up help lines and community organizations held events to aid confused viewers. Most stations didn’t receive the flood of calls they had expected, a sign that the transition was smoother than many had predicted.

Mike Burgess, the general manager of KOB in Albuquerque, said he had braced himself for calls when the station switched at 5 a.m. on Friday. According to Nielsen, Albuquerque had the highest rate of unprepared viewers of any market in the country. Acknowledging his surprise, he said the station had logged only three calls in the first digital hours.

“One of ’em was, when’s your weather guy coming back from vacation?” he said.

As of Saturday evening, the station had received about 150 calls.

Steve Stucker rules. One of the best TV weather guys in the biz.

Michael J. Copps, the acting chairman of the F.C.C., said the “overwhelming majority of households” were ready for the transition. Still, he acknowledged that it represented a “great challenge” for some viewers…

The operative phrase being “some viewers”.

Many of the calls concerned the rescanning of TV sets. The F.C.C. says that over-the-air viewers must rescan their sets to pick up the new digital signals that are being powered on…

The pundits give me the biggest chuckle. I know a couple.

They were wrong before – and after – about Y2K. But they don’t know why. They have no perception of the successful work accomplished especially by banking IT people. All they know is that the disaster didn’t materialize.

What remains this time – is tidying up the calls that will dribble in from folks who never read the manual for their converter box and don’t know how to press a button to rescan. You know. The one that says “SCAN”.