October 29, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That is Yet Again - For The 4th Time in 3 Weeks - Turning Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.

PG&E


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Public Safety Power Shutoffs


Yep, PG&E is once again put millions of people in Northern California and Central California at its mercy by shutting off electricity yet once again in another of it's so call "Public Safety Power Shutoff", or PSPS.  Reason? Get this:

PG&E stated the current electricity shutoff - to some 600,000 utility customers - is an "effort to stop the Kincaid fire" that is burning in Sonoma County.

Can someone please explain to me how shutting off electricity to people in Central California - hundreds of miles away from Sonoma County - and other location in Northern California nowhere near the Kincaid fire - is going to extinguish the Kincaid Fire????  Anyone???

You can read my prior post on this topic by clicking on "PG&E" or "Utility Issues" in the Blog Topics List.

But these power shutoffs aren't for public safety, in spite of the attempt at providing the event with a catchy name.  The electricity shutoffs are nothing more than an effort by PG&E to protect itself and its shareholders from liability and losses in the event PG&E utility equipment starts a fire.

Oh, and these mass power shutoffs were supposed to be a 'measure of last resort'?  Bull crap to that.  The current electricity shutoff beginning today - for some 600,000 PG&E customers, nearly 2,000,000 people - is the 4th time in just 3 weeks that PG&E has shut off power to millions of people.  I'd call that a more of an immediate go-to tactic than a tactic of last resort, wouldn't you?  Thankfully I'm not included in this current electricity shutoff.

400,000 PG&E Customers Have Been Without Power Since Saturday, October 26.  That's 1.2  MILLION Or More People.  Today Is Tuesday, October 29. As Of This Afternoon, PG&E Has No Idea When These 1.2 Million Or More People Will Have Their Electricity Restored. 

No Idea Whatsoever. None.

That's Flat Out Wrong. And It Should Be Criminally Wrong.

And to add insult to injury, some PG&E customers that have been without electricity since Saturday - and it's now Tuesday - won't even have their power restored before this current "Public Safety Power Shutoff to Protect PG&E's Arse and the Company's Shareholders " begins today.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, as of 2 PM today (Tuesday, October 29), some 400,000 PG&E customers, both homes and businesses, including the ENTIRE COUNTY of Mendocino, have been without electricity since Saturday and PG&E has given them no idea of when electricity will return.  According to reports, Plumas and Alpine counties are both without nearly any electricity for customers.

Oh, and get this - 99% of PG&E customers in Marin County (population 2017 was about 260,000 residents) were without electricity in the outage beginning last Saturday.  Those that had their electricity restored yesterday were told it would be cut off again today, but not until 11 PM so the customers could "prepare" for another electricity shutdown.

And what did good Ol' PG&E do?  The company started shutting off electricity in Marin County at 8 AM this morning.  A full 15 hours early that the company's publicly announced electricity shutoff time.

But wait, that's not all!  The weather forecast for Northern and Central California for tonight and tomorrow night (Tuesday October 29 and Wednesday October 30) is for cold overnight temperatures.  Nighttime temperatures are forecasted to be in the upper 20s to mid 30s in the North Bay valleys, mid 30s to low 40s in the  East Bay valleys, low 30s to around 40 in the South Bay valleys, and upper 20s to around 40 in the Salinas Valley.

Which means people and and businesses will need to turn on heat to heat their homes and buildings.  But no electricity = no heat.  So PG&E customers without electricity will not only be in the dark, they'll be freezing, too.

That's all simply so cruel it is criminal.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist


As a society, we cannot continue to live like this, at the absolute mercy of PG&E.  How our energy regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Judge overseeing PG&E's bankruptcy allow the company to operate like this is beyond me.  Heck, if PG&E had its way, we'd be without electricity for a full 3 months or more from the start of August until the end of October, with a side note from PG&E "sorry for the inconvenience".  But hey, that just might be next in our new Dystopian Third World State, the New California.

As I've stated before, I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  A utility company that is a 6-time convicted felon and is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the 2nd time.

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

(Post last edited to add content at 3:50 PM on October 29, 2019.)

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services (including Fire Insurance Matters), Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.


October 27, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That Has Yet Again Turned Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.

PG&E


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Public Safety Power Shutoffs


Yep, PG&E has once again put millions of people at its mercy by shutting off electricity yet once again in another of it's so call "Public Safety Power Shutoff", or PSPS.   You can read my prior post on this topic (from October 22, 2019) here.

But these power shutoffs aren't for public safety, in spite of the attempt at providing the event with a catchy name.  The electricity shutoffs are nothing more than an effort by PG&E to protect itself and its shareholders from liability and losses in the event PG&E utility equipment starts a fire.

Oh, and these mass power shutoffs were supposed to be a 'measure of last resort'?  Bull crap to that.  The current shutoff is the 3rd time in only 2.5 weeks that PG&E has shut off power to millions of people.  I'd call that a more of an immediate go-to tactic than a tactic of last resort, wouldn't you?

Yesterday, Saturday October 26, 2019, PG&E purposely shut off electricity to over 1,000,000 customers throughout Northern and Central California, affecting over 3 million people.  (Thankfully is not included in this electricity shutoff.)   And that 3 million people estimate is focused on the people in residences without power, assuming 3 people per residence.  How many more many millions of people have been impacted by businesses and other entities without power?  Billions of dollars lost once again in the greater economy, billions of dollars spent by local municipalities and government entities, not to mention untold dollars lost to residents and small business owners.

PG&E said the "might" be able to start restoring power on Monday, after the winds die down.  And by the way, these winds are seasonally high winds we have each and every year in parts of California.  Nothing new about this phenomenon. 


What are PG&E utility customers supposed to do?  Go back to Little House on the Prairie days with oil lanterns, outhouses, and horse and carriage transportation?

Oh, and as far as the Kincaid wildfire raging up north in Sonoma County, which has so far required some 200,000 people to evacuate?  Looks like it may have been caused by PG&E equipment, from a 'small metal clip' that malfunctioned on a live electrical transmission line.  A transmission line that was not de-powered by PG&E, even though all of the surrounding PG&E customers were without power.

Yep, a small metal clip.  That's a better story than the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 being started by Catherine O'Leary's cow that kicked over a lantern while being milked.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist



I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  A utility company that is a 6-time convicted felon and is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the 2nd time.

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 22, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That Has Turned Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.

PG&E


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Public Safety Power Shutoffs


As in purposely shutting off electricity for days to nearly 800,000 customers, affecting some 2.5 million people. Billions of dollars lost in the greater economy, billions of dollars spent by local municipalities and government entities, not to mention untold dollars lost to residents and small business owners.   Heck, my local water district recently spent $900,000 plus to purchase generators to pump water during these PG&E shutoffs.

This will be a long post, but it's worth a read to learn about the convicted felon and for-profit utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company, or PG&E.
Never did I think I would live to see the day when 2/3 of the state of California is held hostage and at the mercy of a six-time convicted felon.

And who is the six-time convicted felon, you might ask?

None other than PG&E, or Pacific Gas and Electric Co.  A for-profit company and the largest utility supplier of electricity and natural gas in California, with customers throughout Northern and Central California.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist

Just what does PG&E stand for?  Glad you asked.

P  Pyromaniac.   Can't or otherwise refuses to maintain vegetation clearance around its utility equipment, even after being convicted of a felony after the 2010 San Bruno Fire (one of the company's 6 felony convictions) for failing to maintain vegetation clearance around its utility equipment.  The San Bruno Fire, in which a 30-inch highly pressurized PG&E natural gas distribution line exploded, burned down an entire residential neighborhood and killed 8 people.  Oh, and one of the reasons the fire was so bad is that PG&E didn't know where the shutoff valve was for the gas distribution line after the explosion.

And as for current vegetation clearance?  Well, it's 2019 and PG&E still isn't fulfilling its vegetation clearance requirements.  In a report released earlier this autumn by the US Bankruptcy Court in which PG&E is in its 2nd bankruptcy reorganization, I learned that PG&E had only completed 31% of vegetation/tree trimming around it's power lines that it was required to have completed by the end of this year.  Yep, only 31% of the yearly vegetation clearance completed and the year is 3/4, or 75%,  over.

G  Greedy.  And Gouging, as in Price Gouging.  PG&E, a utility company with an unmaintained, antiquated utility system in spite of billions of dollars paid by utility customers over the past decades for equipment improvements and maintenance.  Where has all of this money gone to?  Well, to shareholder profits, and to tony events like the recent luxurious dinner at the ultra expensive Silver Oak winery in Sonoma County, during  which a dozen or so PG&E natural gas executives entertained 60 or so of their largest natural gas customers.  And did so (1) on the 2-year anniversary of the devastating  Tubbs, Nuns, and Pocket Fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake fires that destroyed 5,300 homes, burned 110,000 acres, and killed 44 people; and (2) as PG&E was announcing planned power (electricity) shutoffs for nearly 800,000 of its electricity customers, including yours truly, informing customers they should plan to be without electricity for up to 5 days.

Oh, as far as ratepayer price gouging?  Well, PG&E has some of the highest utility rates in the nation, and they are only going up.  Natural gas rates went up last month.  Electricity rates are going up this month, adding an estimate $9 plus dollars to every residential electric bill.

And to add insult to injury, what did I get in the mail during the recent power shutoff?  Well of course, my PG&E bill.

I can only guess what is coming next.  (1)  An electric rate increase to make up for the lack of revenue PG&E has had during its unnecessary, self-imposed power (electricity) shutoffs.  (2)  How much you want to bet PG&E is going to develop some proprietary 'models' that somehow predict a possibility for an earthquake, and that they start shutting off natural gas to wide areas, same as they due to electricity now?

Yep, more ways to keep utility customers on their knees, at the mercy of PG&E.

E  Extortionist.  PG&E customers in Northern and Central California are now at the mercy of PG&E, for shutoff of all electricity due to supposed weather conditions that may spark wildfires.  Never did I think I would see the headline story in the San Francisco Chronicle in which the PG&E CEO stated that these Planned Power Shutoffs would continue in Northern and Central California for 10 more years.  In other words, a new, Third World style, ways of life for PG&E utility customers.  Here's the mind numbing headline:



During the recent shutoffs that began October 9, PG&E started alerting the public that power (electricity) shutoffs would begin as soon as 12:01 AM Wednesday, October 9, and that customers should be prepared to be without electricity for at least 5 days.  Reason given?  Extreme weather conditions forecasted (heat and wind), and PG&E couldn't risk a wild fire starting, or vegetation that it had not cleared falling into its utility equipment and possibly sparking a fire.  Pleasant Hill, where I live and also maintain my home office (my husband Jim has a home office, too), was included in the electricity shutoff map.  

And as for these extreme weather conditions?  Well, on the day my electricity was shutoff by PG&E, my backyard weather station recorded a maximum wind gust of 8.1 degrees, and a high temperature of 79.3 degrees.  Hardly extreme weather conditions.

So on Tuesday, October 8, I was forced to shut my home office to prepare for the shutoff.  Baked sourdough sandwich loaf bread, sourdough Italian focaccia bread, mixed up sourdough pizza dough for skillet pizzas, bought groceries and ice, made reusable containers full of ice, dialed my chest freezer down, dialed the gas water heater to its hottest setting, made sure we had batteries, emergency equipment, food and an emergency supply of water, gas in the vehicles, and the rechargeable USB charger charged up.  Oh, and the 30 year old corded phone to plug into our home land line, which we have kept, one reason for emergency communication purposes.

And updating my email, voicemail, and website about the office closure for an unknown length of time.  And, during the week immediately before the October 15, 2019 tax due date for extended 2018 tax returns that I was in the process of completing for clients.

We were without electricity during the shutoff for 2 days.  Power was shutoff at my home and in a large part of south Pleasant Hill on Wednesday, October 9 through Thursday, October 10. 

Electricity was also shutoff to my neighbor fire station, Fire Station #2.  Had to run off of a diesel generator.  Fire Station #2 is on Geary Road, at Dorothy Road in Pleasant Hill.  No power to the fire station and adjacent south Pleasant Hill, but walk across Geary Road into Walnut Creek (Geary Road is a border between PH and WC), and everyone had electricity.

What utility company willfully shuts off
electricity to a Fire Station?
As in shuts off electricity to a Fire Station on purpose?
 

Oh, and before and during the shutoff, PG&E's communication came in the form of pre-recorded messages sent to phones, and similar text messages.  The messages instructed the receiver to go the the PG&E website for more information.  A website was continuously down before and during the power shutoffs.  PG&E's excuse for the website outage?  They upped their website servers to handle just double the visits they normally receive.  They didn't think they would receive 7 to 8 times for visitors to their website.

No kidding.  Some 2.5 million people without electricity, and PG&E only thinks their website visits will double.  Even though these 2.5 million people were told to go to the same website for information about the power shutoff.

Oh, and municipal governments and first responders had the same problem.  They were also told to go to the PG&E website for information.  So the power outage situation was generally as much of an unknown for these entities as it was for everyone else such as me.  Amazing, huh?

If PG&E can't even run a website, how can the company possibly run a mega gas and electric utility company?

At this point, Jim and I have no choice but to install a whole house generator run off natural gas.  We can't keep a home and 2 home based businesses running with days long electricity shutoffs by for-profit PG&E.  Whole house generator on the purchase list for next spring.  A couple other home maintenance and repair issues to fix first.

I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 20, 2019

Life Insurance Litigation: Are You Looking For a Life Insurance Expert Witness? Meet Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Life Insurance Litigation.
Life Insurance Arbitration.
Elder Financial Abuse
Life Insurance Expert Witness.


Are you looking for a Life Insurance Expert Witness to address Life Insurance Litigation or Arbitration Matters, or related Elder Financial Abuse Matters?

Mary Rae Fouts, EA has 31 years of experience addressing insurance concerns for clients throughout the United States.  She provides Life Insurance Consulting Services, in addition to Expert Witness Services for Life Insurance Litigation and Arbitration Matters, including Elder Financial Abuse Matters.

Mary has provided Expert Witness Services in federal courts, state courts, and arbitration venues throughout the United States.  She welcomes your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to Mary@FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Concerned About Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 17, 2019

Sid the Dog: My Home Office Buddy!

Sid the Dog.


My goofy Husky-Malamute Mix Faithful Canine Companion.  Best Canine Buddy to Chow Chow-Pomeranian Mix Lexi.

Sid recently turned 8 years old, a wonderful canine age, for sure.  Here he is recently, snoozing next to me in my Home Office before our long morning walk.



Good Boy, Sid!  Thank you for your Unconditional Love and Loyal Canine Companionship.

Unconditional Love is as close as your nearest Animal Shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 12, 2019

I am Currently Assisting Tax Clients Only Until October 17, 2019. 2018 Individual Income Tax Returns on Extension Are Due Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

2018 Individual Income Tax Returns on Extension.

Assisting Current Tax Clients Only Through Wednesday, October 16.

(Updated October 14, 2019 1:00 PM)

If you filed extensions for your 2018 Individual Income Taxes, the returns must be filed no later than Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

FEDERAL TAXES:  As of Saturday morning, October 12, the IRS had not yet extended the October 15 tax deadline for taxpayers affected by PG&E's power shut off in California that began at 12:01 AM on Wednesday, October 9, and is expected to last 7 days or more in some areas.  If the IRS does grant an extended extension filing for California taxpayers affected by the power outage (2.5 million people were impacted, including yours truly), it will be posted on the IRS website:  www.irs.gov.

CALIFORNIA STATE TAXES:  The California Franchise Tax Board IS PROVIDING RELIEF FOR THE OCTOBER 15 TAX DUE DATE for California Taxpayers impacted by the recent Public Safety Outage.   Information about this program is on the FTB website here.

My home and home office were significantly impacted by PG&E's self-imposed power (electricity) outage that began on Wednesday, October 9 at 12:01 AM.  Due to the lack of electricity in my home and home office, my office was forced to close for several days.  Given the tax work I was unable to complete during this forced closure, and the resultant backlog of Client tax work, I will be assisting current tax clients only from today, Saturday October 12 through the end of the day on Wednesday, October 16.  Phone calls, emails, and texts regarding insurance, annuity, expert witness services, and other issues received during this time will be addressed beginning Thursday, October 17.    

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts


October 10, 2019

Trupanion Pet Insurance Update: Good Luck Cancelling this Worthless Pet Insurance

Blog Post Flashback:  I originally posted this entry in April 2016, about Trupanion Pet Insurance and its jaw grinding hassel when you attempt to cancel your pet's Trupanion Insurance.

This Trupanion entry has been one of the most visited entries on my blog.  Unfortunately, from complaints that pop up on current internet searches, Trupanions' abusive denial of claims and cancellation request hassels continue to this day.  Here's what I had to say in April 2016 about my mind numbing experience with Trupanion.  Feel free to comment if you have Trupanion experiences and complaints you'd like to share.

~ Originally posted April 23, 2016 ~

Trupanion Pet Insurance Complaints.

Trupanion Pet Insurance:  Only Hassels When You Try To Cancel Your Policy.


I recently posted about my extremely negative experience with Trupanion Pet Insurance.  Namely, that Trupanion trumps up bogus reasons to deny valid claims, based on my experiences and those of many other current and former policyholders.  I advised readers not to waste their money on this worthless pet insurance.

Trupanion won't pay valid claims, but they will gladly take your premium money each month.


But wait, there's more!

I initiated cancellation of my Trupanion Pet Insurance on April 12 with a phone call to their 24 hour customer service number.  The customer service person I spoke with stated she did not have authority to cancel the policy.  I checked my policy, which stated coverage could be cancelled by written notification via email, fax, or postal mail.  Over the course of the next 8 days, I submitted 4 separate requests in writing (3 via email and 1 via fax).

Trupanion is very good at silence
when it comes 
to responding to
cancellation requests.


Or should I say, failing to respond.
And Trupanion's response?  You know, Trupanion, the pet insurance company who responds via email within a couple hours of filing a claim to tell you they have denied the claim?


Silence.  As in silence like crickets chirping.

My 4th and final request stated that I would (1) dispute any future premium charges with American Express, and (2) file a complaint with the California Department of Insurance the following week if I did not receive immediate notice of cancellation and unearned premium refunded.  I finally got a response on April 21, a phone call from Trupanion's customer service department telling me they needed to verify all of my information before processing the cancellation.

Yep, that's right.  Yet another hassle from good ol' Trupanion Pet Insurance.

Well, the company picked the wrong person to mess with.  I promptly informed the caller that the company had all of my information, I did not need to verify it in order to cancel the policy, and that they were once again failing to honor the terms of their policy.  I told her to provide confirmation of cancellation that day, or I would file a complaint the following day with the California Department of Insurance.

And then I hung up the phone.  About 2 hours later I received an email from Trupanion confirming cancellation of the policy.  Now let's see how long it takes for my unearned premium to be refunded.

How many other policyholders have gotten bamboozled by Trupanion?

What bothers me is that while I knew what to do with Trupanion's mess - As of January 2016, I've worked in the insurance industry for 28 years, including working as an Expert Witness for arbitration and litigation insurance disputes - I realize that Trupanion's typical policyholder is not an insurance expert.  How many Trupanion policyholders ... good people trying to do the best for their companion pets ... get the same denied claims that I received, and get the same run around attempting to cancel a policy?  How many people simply continue to pay monthly premiums thinking they have a value medical insurance policy for their pet, when the coverage has been proven to be worthless ... annual premium increases, denial of valid claims, money down the train into Trupanion's pockets ... for so many people?

Insurance consumers deserve much better than what Trupanion provides.  Perhaps a future Insurance Department Market Conduct Examination will help provide more publicity about Trupanion's deceptive pet insurance practices.

In the meantime, don't waste your money on Trupanion's worthless pet insurance coverage.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 7, 2019

Sourdough Baking: A Peak at Recent Sourdough Baking From my Kitchen.

Sourdough.


I love to cook and bake, particularly Sourdough items.  I bake all of our breads, buns, and rolls.  Sandwich Loaf Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Pizza Focaccia Bread, Sourdough Dinner/Sandwich Rolls, and Sourdough Pizza.  Oh, and don't forget other Sourdough goodies including Cinnamon Rolls, Carrot Cake, and Chocolate Cake.

My Sourdough Starter is made of King Arthur Flour Unbleached All Purpose Flour and Bottled Spring Water.  It ge's is rising power from natural wild yeast that is present in the air around us.  My Sourdough Starter's flavor changes a bit throughout the year, as the makeup of my local airborne wild yeast changes.

Here are a few items from recent Sourdough Bakes in my kitchen.  Happy cooking and baking, everyone!

Sourdough Pizza:  Red Sauce, Pepperoni, Red Bell Pepper, Pineapple, Mozzarella Cheese.

MultiGrain Sourdough Sandwich Loaf Bread.

Four Loves of Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Bread Just Out of The Oven.

Multigrain Sourdough Focaccia Bread with Pizza Seasonings.  Yum!


Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 4, 2019

Alberto Salazar: Doper and Drug Cheater Banned From Track and Field for 4 Years. Should be Banned for Life!

Alberto Salazar

Former Track and Field Great

Now a Doper and Drug Cheater


(Note:  Post updated to clarify Salazar was banned following a 6-year investigation and an arbitration hearing.  mrf 10/5/2019.)

Very little press has been given to the recent revelation of former track and field great Albert Salazar's ban from all Track and Field activities for 4 years.  Sponsored by Nike and a long time coach of world class track and marathon running athletes, Salazar was unceremoniously banned after a 6-year (6 years!!)  investigation into his activities, followed by an arbitration hearing.  The arbitration panel found that Salazar had:  had (1) trafficked in banned substances, (2) administered banned substances to his athletes, and (3) tampered with his athletes' drug testing samples.

Salazar has stated he will appeal the ruling.

These activities have likely gone on for decades.  In fact, emails from some 10 years ago show that Nike was aware Salazar was investigating procedures for masking banned substances in (urine and blood) drug testing samples.

And why the Doper and Drug Cheat Alberto Salazar was not banned for life is beyond me.  And Nike should be banned from sponsoring athletes, too.

Alberto Salazar
Something Tells Me He's Not Smiling Like This Today!

Which brings me back to my post from August 2016, in which I questioned if the Olympic Games were even relevant anymore.  Alberto Salazar's actions only bolster my point on this matter.  And yet again, Salazar reminds us that the ingrained cesspool culture of doping in professional athletics continues.

And that's downright pathetic.

~~ Originally posted August 23 2016 ~~


The Olympics


Are they 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.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 1, 2019

Equity-Indexed Annuities: Are You Certain of What You Purchased in the Past, or May Purchase Now?

This post was published in March 2016, but it's content remains very relevant today.

Annuity Contracts.Equity-Indexed Annuity Contracts.

Back when I started working in the insurance industry some 31 plus years ago, deferred Fixed Annuity Contracts were fairly simple insurance products.  But all that changed when the deferred annuity on steroids, Equity-Indexed Annuities, also known as Indexed Annuities, entered the insurance and financial services marketplaces.


Generally speaking, a deferred fixed annuity is a contract between an individual and an insurance company that promises to pay a minimum guaranteed payout stream at a future date.  Before the annuity payout commences, contract growth accumulates at a fixed rated during what is called the tax-deferred deferral period.  Indexed Annuities were designed to fall within fixed annuity regulations and salesperson licensing requirements (meaning a securities license is not required to sell Indexed Annuities, only an insurance license), with the caveat that the fixed rate returns were tired to stock market index returns, such as the S&P 500 index.

Indexed Annuities are often marketed with phrases such as participate in the stock market and you can’t lose your money.  But are those phrases true?  Index Annuities are very complex insurance products, including terms such as “participation rate”, “cap rate”, “annual reset”, and “high water mark” to name just a few.  This Equity-Indexed Annuity alert from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a good quick reference tool.  Insurance agents received commission payments for the sale of Indexed Annuities.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts