Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tulare Roundhouse

From: "Mike Harvey" deputydog@dslextreme.com

My name is Mike Harvey, I am an Ex Humbug and current Noble Grand Recorder for Doctor Samuel Gregg George Chapter 1855 of E Clampus Vitus. On October 10th, 2009 around 9:00 am we are dedicating a monument to the Tulare Roundhouse. The event will take place at Halfys bar. This is not the exact location of the roundhouse but close enough. If anyone is interested in attending it is open to the public. If anyone has a picture of the roundhouse I would appreciate it if they could email it to me at dsgg1855@dslextreme.com I need a good picture for a handout at the event. Information will be posted in about a week at dsgg1855.com keep checking for details.

Mike Harvey
XNGH, NGR, CEO
DSGG1855 ECV

Employment records

From: tdjramirez@fuse.net

Do you have employment records from 1915-1920?

—Teresa A. Ramirez

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BBC Documentary

From: "Vicki Beck" rvjt1980@yahoo.com

The B.B.C. did a Movie/Documentary sometime in 2002-2003. Parts were filmed in California. It was on the Central and Union Pacific Rail roads joining. I am trying to find it. Can you help me?

—R. Beck

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Railroad Accidents

From: "Karen Mazzeo" karen.mazzeo@yahoo.com

Did the railroads ever keep accident reports on individuals they accidently ran over back in the early 1900's specifically the year of 1902? My great-grandfather was run over by a freight train in Yuma back then. I was wondering if these accidents were ever documented.

–Karen Mazzeo

Monday, August 10, 2009

Victorian Women's Costumes

From: "Lance" westernarizona@frontiernet.net

I remember looking at a then new photo exhibit on this website back in late 2005 of a museum or private collection of women's Victorian dresses and apparel, etc. during the Transcontinental RR era. (and or 1850-1920 etc.)

However, I can not find that page nor did I bookmark it. Do you remember that or what site (linked from the cprr.org) I may have looking at?

—Lance

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Union Pacific film railroad spike

From: "Jack Chipperfield" jc224@sussex.ac.uk

... I have recently come into posession of what seems to be a novelty railroad spike for the film Union Pacific. I have searched high and low on the internet and cannot seem to find anything about it other than on your website, The one I have is slightly different to the one you feature by way of the fact it is inscribed with

The David Rose Paramount Convention 1939
The other engravings match the ones your pictures show. I fully expect it not to be a collectible item at all but i woulld be curious to find out how it arrived hear in England. iIf you could give me any guidance or point me in the direction of someone that could i would be most greatful,

—Jack Chipperfield

Saturday, August 01, 2009

OT: Solution to Health Care Reform

The following message sent to the Clinton Transition Team on December 15, 1992 is still valid, and politicians are still misdiagnosing the problem leading them to advocate changes that will make matters much worse and more expensive. Economics Professor and Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman wrote in 1992 regarding the following proposal for a Medical Savings Account with linked variable deductible major medical insurance that “Your health insurance reform, except for details, is identical with one that I have long favored. ... I agree with you completely in what you regard as the fatal flaw.” This solution to health care reform provides universal coverage for 100% of medical expenses (unlimited), with cost consciousness because patients (not government or insurance companies) are put in charge!

Re: Health Insurance Reform / Medical Savings Plan

Dear President Elect Clinton:

Health Care costs are out of control for one reason only: Health Insurance was erroneously formulated from its inception, containing a fatal flaw:

Flaw: “Health Insurance” makes medical cost appear to be free to patients, physicians, and hospitals because it is not insurance. Workable insurance must provide a pre-specified payoff that is triggered by events not under the control of the insured, not the ability to spend without limit at no personal cost.

Patients need to be cost conscious. My 8 year old daughter, Becky, is ready to buy toys without limit if her parents are buying, but is unbelievably frugal and prudent with her own savings—yet this elementary lesson was lost on the health insurance industry and the error was perpetuated in the design of Medicare and Medicaid.

During a decade and a half of directing Computed Tomography facilities at a University Medical Center, not a single one of the hundreds of physicians I trained contradicted my claim that if each patient were to be offered a free color television in place of the insurance paid CT scan they were about to undergo (economically equivalent), we would do far fewer CT scans—a true measure of the huge resource misallocation caused by flawed health insurance. Value is always subjective, so only a patient spending his or her own money can decide whether a health care expenditure is “necessary”. Current reform proposals such as “managed competition” won’t work because they perpetuate the “health insurance” flaw that causes cost to rise uncontrollably, and because they eliminate the crucial information and direction that detailed price fluctuation conveys to producers and providers. The disastrous ineffectiveness of central planning, overall funding caps, and price controls is the key lesson that should be taken from the eastern bloc having lost the “cold war.”

To minimize these perverse effects of health insurance, while creating a huge pool of capital for investment in the economy, I suggest the following evolutionary approach to limiting health insurance to catastrophic major medical coverage, utilizing the best features of self-insurance, IRA’s, cash value life insurance, variable annuities, credit/debit cards, electronic funds transfer, and asset management accounts:

Solution: Every American should have a tax-deferred freely investable MEDICAL SAVINGS ACCOUNT into which is directly deposited the monthly equivalent of at least the amount of health insurance premiums, or more if an individual chooses. The fundamental idea is that the amount of the deductible of a linked health insurance policy varies and is equal to the current medical savings account balance, with changing monthly insurance premiums automatically paid from the account. This self-insurance approach with linked major medical backup maximizes cost consciousness while providing 100% coverage.

Medical costs are paid electronically by using a medical savings account debit card. Account overdrafts for medical costs are automatically paid by the linked private health insurance policy but since most payments are not account overdrafts, most insurance administrative costs are avoided. Buildup in the value of the medical savings account thus results in an accelerating decline in health insurance premiums. As account balances become larger, self-insurance increases, cost consciousness increases, health insurance premiums dramatically decrease, investment earnings cover the costs of medical care, and monthly contributions can decrease [as Einstein commented, compound interest is mankind’s greatest invention].

Account balances must be perceived as being personal money. Amounts accumulated in excess of the expected total cost of future health care during the individual’s remaining lifetime may be withdrawn, and any balance remaining at death goes to the designated beneficiary. Family members would be free to combine or transfer funds between accounts, and dependents could be freely added to accounts. Insurance policies should have no exclusions for prior conditions, and be universally available with community ratings except for temporary premium increases only to offset individual insurance reimbursements exceeding DRG norms while providing actuarial discounts for preventive care and safety measures such as air bags and smoke detectors, and surcharges for voluntary risk taking such as smoking, motorcycling, and skydiving. Various arrangements by insurance companies, fee for service health care providers, HMO’s, care quality auditing firms, information services, mutual funds, and banks, etc. in various combinations would be innovated to serve this new market.

Result: Millions of Americans spending their own money for health care will impose market discipline, currently absent, and will receive better care with dramatically reduced health care expenditures due to elimination of care judged by patients to be unnecessary, avoidance of cost shifting, and elimination of most current administrative costs. Health insurance also becomes portable, eliminating “job lock”, and account balances help fund medical care when not working while account overdrafts due to unpaid premiums by the unemployed could become tax loans as in the Clinton student loan proposal. A huge investment pool accumulates for investment in the economy and funding of retirement, and a savings model is established that can be developed to provide a funding mechanism for other social insurance needs.


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