The rocky coastline and the special appearance of the homes and buildings make seaside New England villages instantly recognizable. Those towns, with their gray-shingled structures and buoys bobbing off the coastline, have a kind of brand that Midwestern communities can never hope to attain. You see a picture and you can almost feel the cool breeze and smell the salt and marsh at the water’s edge.
This picture was taken from the fishermen’s dock, looking back at downtown Stonington, Maine.
An American Scene
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Posted in sports, tagged Breaking 90, Goals, Golf, sports on July 15, 2012 |
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Every year, on the links, I have the same goal: I want to break 90.
Trying to break 90 is the perfect goal for me. It’s realistic — an objective that I know I can reach — yet it also requires me to play well to achieve it.
Some years, I first break 90 in the spring, and go on to shoot in the 80s a number of times during the golf season. Other years, when my drives off the tee are even lamer than usual and my short game has deserted me, breaking 90 becomes an enormous mental challenge. In those years, the first round where I even have a shot at the goal becomes a pressure-packed exercise. I start to think that maybe today is the day, and what I need to score on the remaining holes to bring the round in under 90. When that happens, of course, tee shots get hit in the weeds, approach shots end up buried in a bunker, and three-putt greens become the norm, and the goal goes out the window.
Today, on a day when it looked like rain might wash us out at any moment, I hit some good shots and had a few lucky bounces and made a few putts, and I broke 90 for the first time this year. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and I feel like a weight has been lifted. Now, I’m off the schneid, and the golf season really beckons.
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Posted in America, crime, tagged Affordable Care Act, America, Confidential Information, crime, FTC, Health Care Law, Obamacare, Privacy, Scams, Supreme Court on July 15, 2012 |
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It turns out that the “President Obama wants to pay your utility bills” scam isn’t the only government-related scam making the rounds these days.
Now, crooks are taking advantage of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in a ruse to try to get our personal information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the scammers are calling people, saying they are from the government, and asking for personal information — Social Security numbers, Medicare ID numbers, and credit card and bank account numbers — that they say is needed to implement the law. The FTC says that if someone from the government calls and asks for your personal information, you should recognize it as a scam and hang up.
Of course, it’s not exactly far-fetched that the government would contact you about your personal information. We routinely provide such information whenever we file tax returns or complete other forms that the federal government requires from us. And since the Affordable Care Act says the government will be paying even more attention to our economic activities — such as whether we have appropriate health care insurance — and our health care usage, it’s not implausible that the feds might need our bank account or credit card information.
The FTC says with confidence that the government won’t be making unsolicited requests for information by phone — but isn’t it going to need to collect such information at some point, in order for the law to work? What happens when an official-looking letter to your home address that purports to come from the federal government asks you fill out a form that provides your confidential financial and personal information, including where you current have your health insurance, and instructs you to mail it to some random P.O. Box in Kansas City, Missouri? Should we just crumple it up and throw it away?
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