Why CEOs Are So Giddy

“We’re bringing back jobs, we’re bringing down your taxes, we’re getting rid of your regulations. I think it’s gonna be some really very exciting times ahead.”

Donald Trump to a gathering of CEOs from large corporations

One of those at that meeting in February with the new president was Jaime Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase. He is also the current chairman of the Business Roundtable, “…an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote a thriving economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans through sound public policy.”

Mr. Dimon certainly advocates less regulation. Under his leadership, JPMorgan Chase has paid $23 billion in penalties for various transgressions. (Here’s a list through 2013.) As a result, Mr. Dimon’s last annual bonus was a paltry $5 million. (The rationale for the bonus was his effectiveness in negotiating down all these settlements.) This, plus base salary of $1.5 million and $11.1 million in stock awards and $621,060 “miscellaneous” compensation, for a total of $18,221,060, is hardly enough for bragging rights at the CEO club.

Here’s hoping that JPMorgan Chase and its CEO will thrive as America is Made Great Again.

For more about JPMorgan Chase, read Matt Taibbi’s expose on their vendetta against an employee who tried to do the honest thing.

ACA and HCA and Cheesecake Factory Medicine

(In what other first-world country do people regularly come together to raise money to help pay a friend or neighbor’s medical bills?)

Put aside for a moment all the headlines about repealing Obamacare and replacing it with Paul Ryan’s handiwork. (You knew he was serious because he presented his PowerPoint overview wearing rolled-up shirtsleeves with not one, but two U.S. flags behind him.) The U.S. spends more, way more, per capita on health care than any other country. The U.S. ranks near the bottom in life expectancy, infant mortality and obesity.

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Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, and a professor in the department of health policy and management at Harvard School of Public Health and in the department of surgery at Harvard Medical School, compared our health care processes and results to the processes and outcomes at the Cheesecake Factory chain of restaurants.

At the Cheesecake Factory, for preparation of Hibachi Steak:

“…the instructions were precise about the ingredients and the objectives (the steak slices were to be a quarter of an inch thick, the presentation just so), but not about how to get there. The cook has to decide how much to salt and baste, how to sequence the onions and mushrooms and meat so they’re done at the same time, how to swivel from grill to countertop and back, sprinkling a pinch of salt here, flipping a burger there, sending word to the fry cook for the asparagus tempura, all the while keeping an eye on the steak. In producing complicated food, there might be recipes, but there was also a substantial amount of what’s called “tacit knowledge”—knowledge that has not been reduced to instructions.”

At the hospital where the author is a surgeon, he gives the example of knee-replacement surgery:

“…there was now, for instance, a limit as to which prostheses they could use. Each of our nine knee-replacement surgeons had his preferred type and brand. Knee surgeons are as particular about their implants as professional tennis players are about their racquets. But the hardware is easily the biggest cost of the operation—the average retail price is around eight thousand dollars, and some cost twice that, with no solid evidence of real differences in results.”

Read Dr. Gawande’s report, published by the New Yorker, here. Definitely will stimulate your thinking.

Chuck Berry Miscellany

Brian Wilson put new lyrics to Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” for the Beach Boys’ monster hit, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” Berry sued and got songwriting credit… and royalties.

Chuck Berry put new lyrics to “Wabash Cannonball,” for his hit, “Promised Land.” No copyright disputes, as the old folk song was in the public domain.

Longtime pianist sideman and collaborator Johnnie Johnson sued Chuck Berry in 2000 claiming co-composing credit for dozens of songs. The suit went nowhere because too much time had passed since the songs were written.

Chuck Berry: The Autobiography is slightly less self-serving than many, and is no great literary feat. But it’s an interesting read and gives some insight to a complicated personality.

Chuck Berry toured regularly without a band. The promoter was responsible for hiring musicians to accompany him. Berry figured it was not a problem because everyone knew his songs. When Berry turned sixty, Keith Richards decided an appropriate birthday gift would be a decent backup band. The movie “Hail! Hail! Rock n Roll” chronicles this and the head butting between Berry and Richards.

A Meander Through the Neighborhood

The South Waterfront in Portland is a neighborhood in transition. Formerly a heavy industrial area – the attendant pollution has supposedly been cleaned – it now features high-rise condominiums and newly-constructed apartment buildings. Although a couple restaurants have come and gone, in the last few weeks three, count ‘em, three new pizza shops have opened. There is also a gourmet ice cream shop and a place selling four-dollar donuts.

A free-pizza grand opening had people lined up all day
Grilled cheese and hand-dipped corn dogs!








Health care for our four-legged friends
We take good care of our dogs






Haven’t yet figured out what to do about dog urine








The neighborhood’s first auto dealer is getting ready to open and sell their electric cars


Zidell is building its last barge. They have concluded developing their waterfront property is more lucrative than building vessels. Food carts are now adjacent to their barge construction.

Zidell’s Emery Apartments – in the shadow of the Ross Island Bridge
Zidell’s last barge
Food carts moving in on barge construction


The neighborhood’s first homesteader

Lenten Travel and Dining Tip

Breitbach’s 2009

Breitbach’s Country Dining claims to be Iowa’s oldest dining establishment, in business since 1852. (Breitbach’s, unlike Breitbart, won’t give you indigestion.) As you travel the Great River Road, you’ll find Breitbach’s in Iowa, high above the Mississippi River, about halfway between Guttenberg and Dubuque.

Breitbach’s until 2007

Jacob Breitbach, who worked for the founding owner, purchased the business in 1862. It has been owned and operated by the family since then. The building itself is relatively new. The original structure burned in 2007. The restaurant has hosted luminaries such as Jesse James, George (Norm from “Cheers”) Wendt, Madonna and Brooke Shields.

Why report on this now? They are featuring a Friday-night seafood buffet during Lent. If you have a desire for deep-fried fresh catfish, here’s your place. They also promise their soup du jour will be meatless until Easter.