August 24, 2016

Caster Semenya: IAAF Will Likely Challenge Ruling Suspending Female Testosterone Monitoring

I posted about the Olympic Games yesterday, and mentioned Caster Semenya, the "intersex" female who crushed the women's 2016 Olympic 800 meter field to win the race.

Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, has indicated the IAAF will likely challenge the ruling which stopped monitoring of female athletes who have extremely high testosterone levels. The ruling allowed Caster Semenya to discontinue taking testosterone-lowering medication, which had the direct effect of a dramatic decrease in Semenya's middle-distance race times.

Read the article in the Guardian here.

And here is the photo on the article. Pretty telling, huh?

I'm sorry, but this person should not be allowed to race as a woman.  Being sensitive to Caster Semenya's physical deformities is one thing.  But allowing her to compete as a woman is quite another thing, and is simply not fair to the rest of the competitors.  No woman would naturally have this physical appearance, nor would a woman naturally have a sky-high testosterone level.

Hopefully common sense will prevail.  But then again, as my late father-in-law said, "There is really no such thing as common sense, because sense is not common."

Mary Rae Fouts

August 23, 2016

Olympics: Are the Olympic Games Even Relevant Anymore?

I didn't watch any of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.  The TV production and event announcers are put-to-sleep boring.  Plus, who knows who is doping, and who is not?  Sometimes doping cheats are not found out for years, resulting in ongoing changes to past Olympic results.

Heck, according to an analysis by the New York Times, at least 120 athletes at the Rio Games were previously suspended for doping.  And of the 974 Olympic medals awarded, 35 went to athletes who previously served doping suspensions.  That's beyond sad.

And don't get me started on the women's 800 meter race. How can it possibly be fair to other competitors when a person who is a hyperandrogenic female is allowed to run as a female in the woman's 800 meter event?  I'm talking about Caster Semenya, of course, who crushed the field to win gold.  According to the The Daily Telegraph of Australia, Semenya has internal testes and three times the testosterone level of a typical woman.  However, the Daily Telegraph's claim has never been verified.  A claim that Semenya has no uterus or ovaries also has not been verified.

Caster Semenya has dominated women's middle-distance running since a ruling which previously forced her to take drugs to cut her testosterone was overturned.  Here Semenya is winning a semi-final heat at the Rio Olympics, and another photo from a 2009 race in Berlin.  Don't they speaks volumes?

Photo Credit:  Unknown
Plus, that the International Association of Athletics Federations allows Caster Semenya to compete in women's track events via an unpublished gender-verification process adds more controversy and questions to this highly-debated matter.

Are the Olympic Games Even Relevant Anymore?

The days of Jim McKay, a field of amateur athletes, and figure skating compulsory figures are gone from the Olympics.  Heck, the US Men's Basketball Team is stacked with NBA pros.  The US beat Serbia 96 to 66 to win the Olympic gold medal.  That level of dominance is not an Olympic event to be glorified, it's a superhuman joke.

Video:  Figure Skating Compulsory Figures Through the Years
Video Credit:  floskate 

I'm beginning to  think the Olympic Games are no longer relevant.  At least in their current state.  Perhaps creating permanent Summer and Winter Olympic Venues with rotating host countries would at least add consistency and financial stability to the games.

Yes, perhaps I'm a sap for yearning for Olympic events such the gutsy yet charming Olga Korbut, the challenge of the figure skating compulsory figures, and all-smiles Dorothy Hamill telling Jim McKay that she had a hot fudge sundae for dessert after winning her Olympic gold medal in the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics.

But I can still wish.

Mary Rae Fouts

August 22, 2016

Homeowners Insurance: Is Your Coverage Adequate?

Is your Homeowners Insurance or Renters Insurance coverage adequate?

When is the last time you reviewed your Homeowners or Renters Insurance Policy, or took an inventory of your home and its contents?  If its been a while (or if you've never done this), you may be surprised to learn that your coverage is far from adequate, and that you are at risk for significant financial loss in the event of an unfortunate  insured event.

Here is a handy booklet from the California Department of Insurance about taking a Home Inventory for insurance purposes.  This booklet will help walk you through the process.

Questions or concerns about insurance matters?

As a licensed Life and Disability Insurance Analyst, Life Agent, and a Fire and Casualty Broker-Agent, I provide consulting services and expert witness services to clients  for a wide array of insurance matters, including property insurance matters.  No commission, fee-only compensation.

August 19, 2016

Lexi the Dog: Look at the Wonderful Transformation in my Pretty Girl!

My little princess Chow-mix Lexi.  My, how she has blossomed since we adopted her from the Antioch Animals Services Shelter in late October 2014!

Our Chow-mix Lexi lead a horrific life before we adopted her.  She was one of 7 dogs seized by Antioch, California police in August 2014 due to severe abuse and neglect in a backyard puppy mill.  Lexi was the only dog to survive.  She remained at the shelter for 3 months while legal proceedings related to the seizure, abuse, and neglect made their way through the courts.  During that time she gave birth  to a litter of puppies; sadly none survived.  We adopted Lexi as soon as she became available.

At adoption in late 2014, Lexi was very skinny, thin furred, and very frightened.  So frightened she held her tail between her legs and shook.  As my husband Jim says, Lexi was scared of everything including her shadow.  She clearly had never been walked in a neighborhood setting, each walk was a wonderful new experience as she soaked in all the sights and smells.  Poor Lexi was terrified of men, sticks (and anything resembling a stick), garden hoses, unfamiliar approaching dogs, and people who attempted to pet her on the top of her head.  Lexi was never fear aggressive, she just wanted to flee when frightened.  Lexi would only walk up 2 steps; I had to carry her upstairs at bedtime.  Poor soul didn't even know how to get into the backseat of a car.  Didn't know what a toy was, or what to do with one.  Her 2 lower canine teeth were fractured from trying to chew her way out of her backyard puppy mill pen; we had them surgically removed.  She also had a v-shaped chunk of her tongue torn off, it likely got stuck in her pen while she was trying to chew her way out.  Poor Soul.

But with time, love, patience, and positive exposure, Lexi flourished and blossomed into a wonderful, confident, healthy, gorgeous, and simply fabulous dog.  We laugh that Lexi now has a set of furry haunches the Kardashian sisters would envy!  Our friendly, goofy, wants-to-meet-every-dog Husky-mix Sid was instrumental in teaching Lexi "how to be a dog" again, what rough house dog play was like, and how to chase squirrels.  Sid actually got Lexi to start wrestling/rough housing and playing chase with him by rolling onto his back next to Lexi and whining.  Pretty darn incredible, that brought tears to my eyes, Sid trying so hard to help Lexi.

Within 5 days of adoption, Lexi and Sid were bonded as if littermates.  Within 2 1/2 to 3 weeks she was playing and wrestling with Sid.  And within 2 1/2 to 3 months Lexi came up to husband Jim for pats and scratches; she had been terrified of him before.  Lexi is a wonderful Canine Companion with the face and facial expressions that melt your heart.  And she is absolutely full of fun mischief, a professional shoe and slipper thieve!  Lexi is an excellent watch dog and the alpha of our dog pack.

Here is Lexi at adoption in late October 2014.

And here is Lexi now.
This photo was taken yesterday after our morning walk.

Is that a coat of fur, or what?

And as you can see, Lexi is now one Happy Girl!
Here she is smiling earlier this summer.

Would you ever think these are the same dog?!

We love you so, Lexi.  You will never be abused or neglected again, Sweetheart.  Good dog!  

Mary Rae Fouts

August 18, 2016

Solar City and Tesla: Definition of Disaster

What can Elon Musk possible be thinking?

I posted earlier this month about the need for realistic company expectations at Tesla Motors.  I also questioned the wisdom of the pending purchase of Solar City by Tesla.

Well, this story only keeps getting better.

Media outlets announced today that Solar City is laying off an undisclosed number of workers and restructuring operations.  And get this:  even with all of the financial support the solar industry receives from big fat tax subsidies, Solar City has never .... NEVER .... made a profit.   Even though SolarCity revenues grew 80% in the last quarter, the company  still had net losses of $55 million.

Yikes.  Can you imagine what the losses would be without the tax subsidies?  What happens when the tax subsidies are decreased or entirely go away?  According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, wind and solar developers received approximately $24 billion in federal tax subsidies between 2008 and 2014.  And this figure does not count tax subsidies consumers receive for installing solar panels.

And her we have Tesla Motors, a company that has never made a profit.  Trying to buy SolarCity, another company that has never made a profit.  For $2.6 billion.

A wise financial decision?  NOT.

Well, the companies do have one thing in common, they are pros at being unprofitable.  Maybe Tesla and SolarCity are a match made in heaven.  Or would it be hell?

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Mary Rae Fouts