It’s A Miracle!

It’s a miracle of modern technology and medicine.  See the picture below.

Selfie-eyes

This is me.  I now look like this all day while I’m awake.  Please notice that I am not wearing glasses.  For the first time in 63 years, I can see the world without Coke-bottle glasses, and that’s a miracle in my book.

I have had cataracts for many years, and they got worse within the last two years.  I had to start taking my glasses off to read, about a year ago.  I started having trouble reading my computer screen at work, which was very annoying.  So I made an appointment with the ophthalmologist at my local clinic.  We discussed what my options were, and I decided to have cataract surgery, and get implanted lenses, which would correct for both of my problems (nearsightedness and astigmatism).  This would be expensive, but that’s what I have savings for.

Last Tuesday morning, I had the first of two surgeries, on the left eye, which is the worst. I arrived at the clinic around 8AM, and there was an extensive pre-op routine where they put what seemed like a liter of various eye-drops in my eye, and inserted a Luer-lock port in my hand to allow IV sedation during the surgery.  That was the only painful part, and it wasn’t very painful.  Around 9AM, they wheeled me into the OR, and I introduced myself to the doctor and nurses.  The anesthesiologist injected the sedative, and I was draped with sterile drapes, and my face was cleaned with old-fashioned Betadine.  I got more eye-drops, and the surgery itself began.  You may not believe this, but I actually enjoyed the surgery while it was going in.  I was awake, and it looked to me like a light-show of various colored shapes.  I remember thinking that if I were an artist, I would like to paint what I saw. [I apologize if this gives you the willies].

The operation took about 15 minutes, and I was wheeled back into the Recovery area.  After about a half-hour of recovery, and finally being able to drink something (no food or drinks after midnight the night before is standard), hubby brought the car around, and we went home.  I could already see that the surgery was a success.  I could see things out of the left eye, like the clock display in the car, that were a blur to the right eye.  I had a feeling that this would be life-changing for me.  We got home, and I finally had breakfast.  I went home with three different eye drops, which I had to use every two hours while awake for the first two days.  What a pain!  After breakfast, I decided to just go back to bed, and I slept about four hours.  When I got up, I started getting used to my new vision.  For the first day, it looked like there was a gauzy curtain over the world, but that dissipated by Tuesday night.

I discovered that the human brain doesn’t take long to compensate for the different vision-capabilities in the two eyes.  When looking at distant objects, everything is clear, even though one eye is still uncorrected.  It is really remarkable when I cover my right eye and only look through the left.  I can see!!!!  I see my bedside clock without having to squint.

The next day, Wednesday, Hubby drove me to an 8AM post-op appointment at the clinic.  The nurse tested my vision, and my left eye, which was 20/200, tested at 20/25!  It’s not perfect, but it really is an earth-shaking improvement.  I don’t have the superlatives to describe how wonderful it is to be able to see without glasses.  That evening, I had my second wonderful experience.  I took a shower, and was able to see everything in the bathtub!  I will never again lose the sponge if I drop it on the floor.  I can see where the drips are, and wipe them off.

I went back to work on Thursday, and it was an adventure.  No more washing my glasses when they get dusty.  I can see my computer monitors without squinting, and unfortunately I can see clearly all the emails in my inbox! [I have limited backup in my department, so every little issue has to wait for me to return if I’m out]  I was pleased when two of my coworkers said I looked ten years younger.  After work, I had another new experience.  I had a haircut, and I could actually see what the hairdresser was doing while she worked!  In the past, I had to remove my glasses, and just trust that she was doing what I wanted, and now I can watch.  This is heaven!

The “intra-ocular lens” technology has been around for a while, but it’s only fairly recently that it became advanced enough to correct astigmatism.  I have always been in awe of the things human ingenuity has been able to accomplish, and I never take any of it for granted.  As the population of most countries ages, this kind of surgery is becoming more common, and eye surgeons do thousands every month.  It is minimally-invasive, ambulatory surgery, and has become almost commonplace in most advanced countries.  Medicare and most insurance plans cover it, so if it is recommended, there should be few if any obstacles to a person being able to get back nearly-perfect vision.

I am looking forward to getting the right eye done in two weeks.  I am also looking eagerly forward to joining the ranks of people who keep losing their sunglasses!  I can now go out and shop for fashion non-prescription sunglasses to take on our cruise to Hawaii in July.  The doctor said I might also need reading glasses for close work, so I can shop for those too, and become a member of the “left their reading-glasses somewhere” tribe.  It is fortunate that Costco sells them in packs of four!  I am going to be enjoying this miracle of good vision without glasses, for a very long time.  It’s a miracle!

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…On the Other Hand… 2017 Wrap-up

…On the Other Hand… 2017 Wrap-up

2017 was an “on the other hand” year for RushBabe49.  For every great thing that happened, there was something disgusting in return.  No good thing goes un-punished, and 2017 was a great example.  Starting in January with the inauguration of duly-elected President Donald Trump.  Election night in 2016 was the most fun I had had in years, spending hours on the live chat on Ricochet.  Many members’ comments were priceless, and when we went to bed that night (some stayed up until the wee hours of the next morning) we were elated.  But the Left’s tantrums at having been defeated were not terribly unexpected, but they were more violent than we thought.  The “Resistance” was immediate and loud, and we have been putting up with it for the entire year.

badwords

This response shows the level of culture of the majority of leftists.  They immediately start with the worst curse words they can come up with.  Too bad, President Trump remained in office.  The resistance was also widespread within the bureaucracy in DC, and every one of the new president’s appointments was drawn-out and fought tooth and nail by the “deep state”.  I remember being on a trip in February, and being regaled by all the crap thrown at Michael Flynn, who was forced out of his position for communicating with the Russian ambassador, which was part of his job!

The Deep State and the Democrat Senate Losers tried their best, but they could not stop the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, one of President Trump’s most important achievements in his first year in office.  President Trump has also had confirmed twelve new federal Circuit Court judges, a victory for Constitutionalism.

On the other hand, 2017 was marked by numerous murders of police officers, many in ambush situations, all over the United States.  By July, the total of police officers killed in the line of duty had risen nearly 20% from 2016.  The Ferguson Effect, where community members not only do not help the police solve local crimes, but positively hinder them, was much in evidence.  The murder rate in cities like Chicago and Baltimore skyrocketed, as gang members felt more comfortable carrying on their wars in many neighborhoods.

The employment situation in the US improved in 2017, as companies brought jobs back from overseas and opened new factories.  About 1.7 million new jobs were created in Donald Trump’s economy, and the stock markets reached new record-highs multiple times throughout the year.  Locally, tech companies have been on hiring sprees, with software engineers and systems analysts able to field multiple job offers and basically write their own tickets.

On the other hand, the cost of living in many big cities has also gone up so high as to price non-techies out of the housing market.  Landlords raise rents, and ordinary working stiffs have to leave town to find places they can afford to live.  Those of us who own our homes already just face increasing property taxes and utility fees, but we can remain in our homes.

On the other hand, we saw huge data-breaches that exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans, who had NO choice of where their data were stored.  The big breach at the credit-reporting giant Equifax brought it home to Americans how fragile their hold is on their privacy.  The subject of cyber-security was a big one in 2017, and promises to remain so in the new year, and for the foreseeable future.

President Donald Trump’s 2017 economy also brought the opening up of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines and the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in places to oil exploration to increase America’s energy independence.  And the best news of all, the most consequential tax reform of recent history was passed in December, ensuring that the majority of Americans will see the government confiscating less of their hard-earned money.  The tax bill repealed the individual mandate of ObamaCare, so many young people will not be required to purchase unaffordable health “insurance” or pay a huge fine/tax.  Since their employers will also be paying less to Uncle Sam, employees may get another benefit from the new tax laws.  Many big companies have already announced special bonuses for their employees (including those sleazy liberal TV commentators who swore the bill was horrible for the country).

President Trump’s foreign policies have also borne fruit, with ISIS being deprived of most of the territory they held, the UN de-funded of $285 million, and Jerusalem being declared the Capital of the State of Israel.  We have now brought the Israelis back as our friends, when the Obama administration had denigrated them and sided with the anti-Semites in Europe.

On the other hand, 2017 has brought increasing conflict (mostly words so far on our part) with the madman at the head of North Korea, and the mullahs who still rule in Iran.  But President Trump is doing his best to unravel the one-sided Iran nuclear “deal” which was a terrible bargain for the US.  2018 is bound to bring more tensions on those fronts, but America will now be dealing from a position of Greatness, not leading from behind.

Illegal immigration to the United States has gone down dramatically since Donald Trump was elected, and that is in the absence of the border wall!  This shows that even the expectation of action can affect the behavior of those who might be affected by the action.  On the other hand, the “deep state” judiciary has continued to throw obstacles in the way of the President’s legitimate power to allow or not allow anyone to enter the US.  This makes me very angry, and so far every one of the “bans of bans” that makes it to the Supreme Court gets overturned.  I hope that in the New Year the Supreme Court will be able to finally rule that the Executive Branch is solely in charge of immigration policy.

Personally, my own situation has remained very good in 2017 and going into the new year.  Hubby and I are still gainfully-employed, mostly healthy, and comfortable in our home, with our owner, Kikyo the black cat.  I again played the full-length Messiah the day after Christmas, and was just transported by the wonderful singing of the choir; an excellent end to the season.

I extend my best wishes to all my readers and followers at Calling-All-RushBabes for a very Happy New Year of 2018.

Oh, yes, here are my two last photos of 2017, taken on a shopping trip this afternoon.

Winter tree 1

Winter tree 2

 

Seattle Liberals-stuck on stupid with their Sweetened Beverage Tax

On January 1, Seattle initiates a new “sweetened beverage tax”, of $0.0175 per OUNCE of sweetened beverage (Coke, Pepsi, Simply Lemonade, VitaminWater…).  Below is information I copied off the City of Seattle Web site.  Now, the reason for this tax in the first place is to make the citizens of Seattle healthier by making it more expensive to drink those evil sweetened beverages.  Except that…wait for it…they say below that the tax is NOT INTENDED TO BE PASSED ON TO THE CONSUMER!
Now, what are the chances that the beverage distributors will simply eat the huge cost of this tax?  Yes, about zero.  They will certainly pass the cost on to the retailers who stock the beverages, who will increase the cost to consumers.  The tax will about double the cost of a 21-ounce bottle of soda. **The tax on one 12-pack of 12-ounce cans will be $2.52, which is about the wholesale price of that 12-pack!!!
Cook County (Chicago) tried this a while ago.  And you know what happened?  Well, citizens of Cook County simply traveled a few miles, across the county line, and bought their sweetened beverages in the suburbs and towns next door.  Distributors laid off employees, due to the reduced business within the city.  And the county made very little money from the tax.  So it was repealed.
Liberals always assume that when they levy a tax on an activity or a commodity, those subject to the tax will simply pay up.  Well, they don’t!  If you tax something, you get less of it, which liberals never seem to learn.  The city of Seattle states that the tax is not intended to be passed on to consumers, but they seem never to have heard of the law of unintended consequences.  When people get taxed, they tend to change their behavior.  When the price of cigarettes skyrockets in a municipality or state, cigarette smuggling skyrockets.  When the cost of a sweetened beverage doubles in the City of Seattle, I predict that citizens will simply make a run to the new Lynnwood Costco to stock up on Coke or Pepsi.  Costco even carries VitaminWater now, so they can save even more.  I wonder if Seattle will pass a new law outlawing the carrying of sweetened beverages across the city limits?  Another question: how much additional business will Seattle retailers lose due to this tax?   Probably few people go shopping just for beverages, so how much additional revenue will Seattle stores lose when residents simply do all their grocery shopping outside the city?
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SWEETENED BEVERAGE TAX (SEATTLE)

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the City of Seattle will impose a sweetened beverage tax. View Ordinance 125324.

The sweetened beverage tax is a tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages in the city of Seattle. The tax is collected on the final distribution of sweetened beverages by a distributor. The tax is not collected by the retailer nor is the tax burden intended to fall onto the consumer. The intent of the sweetened beverage tax is to tax the distributions of sweetened beverages into Seattle for retail sale in Seattle.

For more information, please review:

If you have questions or concerns, contact SweetenedBevTax@seattle.gov.

Tax rate

The standard tax rate for the sweetened beverage tax is $.0175 per ounce. There is a reduced tax rate for certified manufacturers. That rate is $.01 per ounce.   ***Editorial comment by RushBabe49:  Which manufacturers in Seattle will voluntarily pay that exorbitant tax on their legitimately-produced soda?  Might those businesses simply write off Seattle and move their factories outside the city?  If they do, how much B & O tax revenue will Seattle be losing?

Guidelines to follow

Distributors are liable for the sweetened beverage tax on distributions of sweetened beverages into Seattle for retail sale in Seattle. Distributors need to file the sweetened beverage tax online at https://www.filelocal-wa.gov/. Distributors will either file annually or quarterly; following the same schedule as its B&O tax filing due dates. The imposition of the tax does not begin until Jan. 1, 2018. For quarterly tax filers, the first due date to remit the tax will be April 30, 2018.

Exemption from the sweetened beverage tax

If a distributor sells products from a certified small manufacturer (annual worldwide gross revenue of $2 million or less), those sales are exempt from taxation. The manufacturer must apply for the exemption with the City.

Reduced tax rate

If a distributor sells products from a certified manufacturer that has worldwide gross revenue of over $2 million but less than $5 million, those sales are eligible for a reduced tax rate ($.01/ounce). The manufacturer must apply for the reduced rate certification with the City.

Additional exemptions

For a listing of sweetened beverages that are exempt from the sweetened beverage tax, please see Seattle Rule 5-953.

Redistribution Certificate

The intent of the Redistribution Certificate is to ensure that the tax only applies to distribution of sweetened beverages for retail sale in Seattle. Retail businesses that receive distributions of sweetened beverages in the city of Seattle but then redistribute some or all of the sweetened beverages for retail sale outside the city may issue redistribution certificates to distributors. The retailer then becomes responsible for remitting the tax to the City only on those sweetened beverages receipted and sold at retail in Seattle.  ***Editorial Comment from RushBabe49:  Just read this paragraph-can you imagine the labor involved in determining when this rule applies?  What distributor will do this?***

In accordance with Seattle Rule 5-953 Sweetened Beverage Tax, this certificate may be completed by a person who requests to the distributor that they be liable for the sweetened beverage tax on sweetened beverages ultimately distributed for retail sale in Seattle.

Any distributor that accepts a Redistribution Certificate must provide a copy of the completed certificate to the City of Seattle within 15 days of receipt and the distributor will receive a confirmation of receipt from the City. The Redistribution Certificate is only valid with a confirmation receipt from the City of Seattle.

Distributors that accept a Redistribution Certificate must remit a copy by fax to (206) 684-5170 or by email to sweetenedbevtax@seattle.gov.

Read the code

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) for legal details about the sweetened beverage tax.

SMC Chapter 5.53 covers the sweetened beverage tax.

Seattle business tax rule 5-953 provides further information.

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

Right now, the US Congress is hashing out a “tax reform” set of bills intended to change the ways taxes are confiscated from American workers and savers.  Those on the Left often refer to “tax cuts for the rich”, showing their basic envy of people who actually EARN their livings in the real world.  Republicans, in the majority in both the House and Senate, and in possession of the White House, consider it their responsibility to reduce the tax burden on working and saving Americans.

The concept of “revenue neutrality” was originated by Democrats who are horrified at the thought of Government receiving one fewer cent of its lifeblood from those Americans who pay income taxes (currently just slightly over 50% of Americans).  A young member over at Ricochet opines that the current tax scheme MUST be “revenue neutral”, as the Federal Government is already overdrawn on its accounts and can’t tolerate any reduction in its “income”.

That is not true, and here’s why.

Reductions in Tax Rates, especially for high-earners, always result in more revenue for the government (small and large business owners keep more of their earnings, add employees to their payrolls, and create more taxpayers). Why is this so hard for people to understand? This is Econ 101. And why, oh why, should the all-mighty Government not shrink? Why can’t waste be eliminated from all levels of Government? The less Government confiscates from your paycheck, the more you have to spend, and save!

The problem is that those in Government do not trust their fellow Americans, who pay their salaries from their own legitimate earnings, to know how to allocate their own money. “Revenue Neutral” is a crock!

I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year…

I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year…

But it’s just too important for me to miss.  We (hubby and I) have so much to be thankful for, this year and every year.  We both have been incredibly fortunate to have kept our jobs all through the financial crisis period after 2007, and even advanced.  Hubby will celebrate 38 years at Big Aerospace Company in January, and I will celebrate 10 years at Supplier to Big Aerospace Company on January 2.  I was absolutely convinced that I would be toast when our big layoff came in November of 2008, since I had been there less than a year, but nope, I was spared.  We sure had something to be thankful for that year!

We are so lucky to have been born in this Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth (hat tip to Michael Medved), whose exceptionalism nurtures native-born and immigrant alike.  We have been allowed to make our own way, choosing our own careers and living arrangements, with minimal interference from the Big Brother State (even though it was touch-and-go during the Obama years).  And we never take for granted all the benefits of living in a country governed by a Constitution which protects our right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  No country, ever, in the entire history of humanity on Earth has ever been as prosperous and free as the United States of America, and I give thanks for that every single day.

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This year, I give special thanks to God for the tenuous health of my brother-in-law, who suffers from end-stage liver disease.  He is on the waiting list for a liver transplant, which could give him many more years of life.  Just think, this benefit has only been available for tens of years, and was developed right here in the USA (along with many other places).  It has been difficult for brother-in-law, but he is still around and livening up the holiday meal.

We give thanks for our beautiful cat, Kikyo, who keeps us smiling with her antics.  I love sitting, reading, with her on my lap purring.  Even when she has to go to the vet for a checkup, she explores the exam room and captivates the tech and the doctor.

Warm Cat
Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and I never forget how magnificent our mountains, lakes, and prairies are.  We travel all over the state in our private automobile, taking advantage of our Liberty.

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Diablo Lake from Overlook on Highway 20

Winding Road
Winding Road-Eastern Washington State

We give thanks for our fellow men, who help us every day, who build, maintain, and inspire all the infrastructure around us.  Whenever we drive over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth on US Highway 2, I always marvel at the ingenuity of the road-builders whose work enables us to drive in comfort many miles without even thinking about it.

We thank God and our families, friends, and fellow Americans, past and present, for allowing us to prosper, and live comfortably in the greatest, most unusual nation ever conceived by men on Earth.  Oh, yeah, and thanks to God for putting us on this beautiful planet in the first place!

[Featured Image by Michael Ramirez]

Giving “Transformation” a bad name: why I’m not doing a photo challenge this week

Giving “Transformation” a bad name: why I’m not doing a photo challenge this week

In the past 8 years, two major events have totally soured me on anything that bills itself as a “transformation”.  The first one happened back in 2008, when Barack Hussein Obama was elected president.  His mission, stated boldly before the American people during his campaign, was to “totally transform America”.  He basically was dissatisfied with the way the United States was founded and had developed, and he did his level best, in his eight years in power, to bring that about.  From his first “apology tour”, to the fight to socialize the medical care industry with Obamacare, to the tight leash on the banking industry with Dodd-Frank, he succeeded fairly well.  And we, the American People, are still feeling the adverse effects of that success.

Excuse me, but America did not need to be transformed, and we are now a demonstrably weaker, less-satisfied, and less-capable country.  More and more ordinary citizens have felt the yoke of Big Government ruling their everyday lives.  The US economy has been hobbled by more intrusive regulations, and no, you were NOT allowed to “keep your health plan” or “keep your doctor”.  Millions of self-employed and small business owners lost their medical plans all at once, and were forced to purchase unwieldy, very expensive, “approved” plans that did not meet their needs.

Barack Obama learned very well from his Communist father that America was a nasty place, where black people were mistreated at home, and abroad; and other countries were beaten down by that terrible US foreign policy.  He did his best to make the majority of Americans (those of us who are white and US-born) feel guilty for oppressing all those downtrodden (illegal) immigrants.

So that ‘s the first Transformation that has made me cringe whenever I hear the word, and prevented me from ever again supporting anything that bills itself as transformation.

The second major event took place at my place of work, a medium-sized company that makes items for the aerospace industry.  In late 2014, the company hired a new chief executive, who came from a huge conglomerate.  With him, he brought other executives, and a big plan to totally transform our factory to make things more efficient and profitable.  In October of 2015, our plant underwent a “total transformation” of the factory floor and production processes.  The plant was basically shut down for what was supposed to be a week and two weekends, but ended up as two full weeks, and minor shutdowns over the next year.  We employees were issued safety gear (hard hats, vests, steel-toed galoshes, safety glasses), and were directed to help move things around where needed.  I spent a day helping pull up carpet tiles, but mostly stood around and watched. Oh, and the Customer Service department, while we were destroying and rebuilding the factory (while not engaging in any production), was in a conference room taking new orders from our customers at normal lead time.  No mention of the factory shutdown-they were basically lying to our customers about when their parts would be ready.  More on that later.

Those high mucky-mucks from the head office were convinced that they knew exactly how to run our factory, and they changed everything with NO input from us peons.  Big noisy machines, which had been behind a wall, were brought out into the main factory, so production employees who assemble small parts now had huge machines right next to them.  The ambient noise level in the factory rose by 100%, and many of us were forced to wear earplugs so we could hear ourselves think.  Production procedures were altered so operations were done in different order, and components that used to be stored close to the production areas were moved back to the main stock room.

Well, funny thing, that total transformation was a fiasco.  Production levels suffered, on-time delivery plummeted, and we had a bunch of unhappy customers.  Many of the new production procedures had to be reversed when they were found to make the process worse instead of better.  And now, two years later, some of those big noisy machines are being moved back behind the wall!  Over the past two years, dozens of employees quit the company, and those of us who are left are forced to take on more and more of their work.

So you can see why anything that is billed as a total transformation makes me frown these days.  Sorry, but no photo challenge this week.  I have had enough of transformation.

On This Labor Day…Proudly Working and Supporting Myself at Age 68

On This Labor Day…Proudly Working and Supporting Myself at Age 68

Today is a holiday for me.  At age 68 (two years past my full retirement age of 66), I am working full-time (actually, more than full-time with all the overtime I put in), at a job I love, and with a side interest for my professional association.  As a Planner/Buyer for an aerospace company, my job is vitally important to the smooth functioning of my company, and I never worry about becoming irrelevant or being laid off. Yes, even at my advanced age, I make a difference every single day.  There have been layoffs large and small since 2008 when I was hired, but after I survived the bloodbath at the height of the financial crisis, I think I’m pretty safe.

There used to be three people with  my job title at the company, and over the years the other two left the company, and I took on their work.  So I am literally doing the work of three people; very competently, I might add.  One of the principal values I live by is being a productive member of society.  I made a mid-life career change (from hospital pharmacy technician), and I feel like I’m just hitting my stride, with many productive years ahead of me.  I don’t feel old, and people tell me I don’t look my age <grin>.  My boss appreciates my work, which is gratifying.  And I can guarantee that my coworkers and other internal customers will miss me while I’m on vacation next week.  As of today, I have no intention of retiring any time soon.

Since 1999, I have been the Business Survey Chairman of ISM-Western Washington, the association of purchasing managers.   Putting out the Survey every month keeps my finger on the pulse of the local economy, and provides excellent economic information to the local and national press and economic community.  I get enormous satisfaction out of this work, and I intend to keep on doing it, even if I retire from full-time employment

So, on this Labor Day, give a wave and thanks to those who keep the world turning around, food on the table, and planes in the sky.