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Happy 2008?
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  January 10, 2008 - reprinted with permission

   Is there anything new we should be thinking about? For one thing our wonderful congress kicked in means testing in a big way. In our case not only do they means test me they also do it to Agnes also which in my book means for the same income they have double charged us so that both of us are being penalized about $ 1,000 more in total because I happened to have sold some non-taxable bonds making more gross income and the way it looks when they base the means testing on our gross income they must also include most of our income which means our non-taxable bonds are now being taxed. Would some one please let me know how the DC Wizards of Odd Balls can do that without breaking the law? Oh you say they make the laws so in their case they can just ignore the law. By the way doesn’t this also mean they added more taxing of our Social Security check? So that must mean they now can include about 90% of our SS as being taxable when in the original program there was no such thing as taxes on SS. If I live to 99, will they have taken back most of the SS check they send use each month? And to make it even worse both of us are Notch Babies which means we loose about $100 a month per person in our household. Jeese why did I think of this horrible thing for the New Year?
On the 3rd of this month Vern and I gave testimony over the telephone to the Federal Justice Department in Washington D.C. concerning the acquisition of Sierra Health Services by United Health Group who already control 80+% of the health care HMO services in Nevada and if successful they would then have about 95% of the market which sure looks like a monopoly to us. Hopefully our testimony will be helpful but I wouldn’t bet on it. Vern asked how they found us and Tiffany Joseph-Daniels said she did a search on the internet to see if there were any senior groups. Our web page came up so she called. We gave them about a half dozen things to consider.

   I have one credit card that I have to pay either at the business or over the internet because they are not set up to take automatic payment. I don’t like it because it means I always must have the payment on my mind and most of the time I make the payment a week or more in advance but the last one I missed by hours of the dead line and guess what, when this months bill came there was a $29 service charge on the bill. I knew that was going to happen and I said here we go again. I will have to get down on my knees and plead for help. I seldom have this happen, so no problem in having it cancelled. I did ask the customer service person how come there is a 30 day grace period and if you miss the payment by a couple hours they still charge you for the month so if it is one day or 30 it will be the same $29 charge. My point was that yes I was late a few hours so why wouldn’t I be charged for one day or a little less than one dollar? Of course they don’t have an answer for that because they aren’t authorized to make such decisions. Think about it though, shouldn’t they prorate the bill a dollar a day for every day one is late paying the bill? The finance company might even be able to get rid of some help if late pay was by the day instead of the usury charges they put on us now. I am seldom late but I am sure millions of people have the late payment problem every month and our people in D.C. just let it go and do nothing about it. Their method of late charge is like going to a loan sharks office to get a one day loan of a few hundred bucks and they charge you a 20 or 30% late fee for one day and no one can do any thing about it. Maybe that is something we could try with our idea for a new federal web page for fifty states. So how about a

   It wasn’t very long ago that I wrote about our esteemed leader getting together with all of the possible participants in a transmission corridor from Ely to Las Vegas and all important points in between. For the first time I see some important movement by our Senator in trying to cooperate with the air space needs of the Nellis group where in he wants to find a location that would allow for his big wind fans that would not be in their air corridors, which makes sense. So why not set down with our power company and do the same. According to the RJ on January 4, 2008 the power company is ready to start the power plants for the Ely Energy Center with the understanding that they will provide the latest engineering technology for clean air knowing that waiting would no doubt cost more to include the latest clean air equipment so they want to start design and construction now post haste and agree to up date any clean air equipment when ever it is available. So this really makes for a win, win situation with their agreement. I honestly believe that if our Senator Harry Reid continues to block the energy center and when he finally is willing to look at the real cost ratio of megawatts cost comparisons for wind generators, solar systems and even geothermal against the cleanest coal generating plants he will find that the new technology costs for wind, solar and geothermal will not even come close as a comparative to the coal burning plants. That being the case dear Senator Harry Reid be advised that there will certainly be more than enough money to support one of the strongest Senate candidates that this state has seen for many years. If I were you Sir I really would become very cooperative, I would sponsor a power grid from Northern Nevada to Clark County and be able to connect to any of the power systems you want as well as the Nevada Power Company (Sierra Pacific, parent) and their parent company. Can you not see that this makes you look like a real winner because you are willing to let the new technology compete against the coal plants and where better to do this than in Nevada? I have been a solar advocate for at least 40 years which is far longer than you Sir were ever interested in same. As an Architect I should be a leader in all areas where it is possible to save the clients dollars of operating costs because such costs eventually eat you up if you overlook it. Senator this is an open invitation to meet with you and provide any help and cooperation that might be of assistance. I want to see progress as much as anyone and I have no blind sides so am willing to look at any good idea. I remember reading an article many years ago that Nevada has the best location for solar energy power possibilities in quantities large enough to provide energy for the entire United States. The problem has been that it is not cost effective. Just because we can put up a few solar panels that does not necessarily mean it is still the most cost effective energy system we can construct. Harry it might even take another forty or fifty years before this is ready to go in such large massive amounts but there is nothing wrong with getting started. If we do it right there would need to be maybe 100,000 acres dedicated to a solar field which would keep being improved as the systems became more engineering cost effective. Let’s put it this way Harry had Henry Ford not started mass production of Ford automobiles until he had driven the latest 2020 model out on the highways we most likely would still have need for horse drawn buggies and I know you wouldn’t want us to do that with our energy needs.

   Dear Senator Harry Reid lets get something going because we are going to need power before you want to admit it and I would hate to think that because of your desire to hold off everything until a viable solar system is ready to be produced you and I and a few million more might no longer be around to see such a working systems and our grandchildren could be back to burning candles. Now I know you don’t want that either.