Month: September 2017 (page 1 of 2)

December 14, 2017
Current Affairs Discussion
Drug Prices

Leader: Sunil Saksena
Drug Pricing–Tentative Discussion Outline for Dec 14, 2017

1.What is the evidence that drug prices in the US are too high?
2.Why are they high and how are prices set ?  ( a brief case study to be presented by Charles Goodyear)
3.Pharmaceutical companies justify their prices as necessary to fund their high R and D expenses.—-the case for and against this argument.
4.what can be done to lower prices?  What do other countries do? What can the US do?
5. What is an appropriate price for a drug? Is value based pricing appropriate and who decides?

The Problem Document that drug prices are higher in the US than anywhere else
Why are they higher and how are prices set ? Compare US with foreign countries
Pharmaceutical Cos justify high prices needed to support high R&D expenditure- the case for and against
What can be done to lower them? What do other countries do? In the US it seems a combination of modifying patent law, FDA approval process,some regulatory changes, allowing certain imports, and allowing Govt negotiated Medicare drug prices, could hel lower prices.
What is an “appropriate “ price for a drug? A value based approach. Who decides?

The High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United States
Origins and Prospects for Reform

IQ2US: Health care costs in the U.S. are some 18 percent of GNP, nearly double what other rich countries spend. We read of drug therapies that cost $100,000 a year or more, and of drug price increases that are 6 times the rate of inflation, on average, and often much more when mergers reduce competition in the industry. Is this a major driver of excessive health care costs? Or is it a by-product of the huge costs of getting new drugs approved? Has big pharma delivered drugs that reduce the need for costly surgeries, which extend life and improve its quality? Or do they deserve the blame that has been leveled against them?

An article about how and why some drugs are less expensive paying cash vs through insurance:

November 16, 2017
Current Affairs Discussion
Corporate Tax Reform Policy

Leader: Harvey Mogenson


Discussion outline:

Part I – Brief example/ discussion of the current corporate tax system as a basis to compare the Tax Reform Proposals.  This would include the concepts of a) tax rules applicable to a US corporation vs a foreign corporation/subsidiary; b) what does “effective tax rate” mean; c) the historical trend away from corporations to pass-throughs.  (We only need this last item if we want to touch upon why there are proposals for special business rates for individuals.)
Part II – Discuss the proposals for a lower corporate tax rate and the major “offsets”.  (We could even compare the “offsets” with the current list of tax expenditures to see where the offsets came from.)
Part III – Discuss the proposals for a “territorial system” applicable to dividends from foreign subsidiaries.  This would focus on “deferral” vs “exemption” and probably some discussion of global competition.


Tax Cuts and Jobs Act H.R. 1 Section-by-Section Summary

Corporate Income Tax Rates around the World, 2017

Labor Bears Much of the Cost of the Corporate Tax

An Overview of Pass-through Businesses in the United States

International Comparision of Effective Corporate Tax Rates

Policy Perspectives
Ernst & Young LLP’s rapid response to the House Ways and Means Committee’s tax reform
draft bill, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”

A Turnabout on Corporate Taxes

Republican Plan: Tax People, Not Companies

Historical background and European VAT taxes.

Senate Tax Reform Bill

DMA Christmas Party – December 13, 2017

Happy Wanderers — Walkway Over the Hudson River – 21 September, 2017

Happy Wanderers — Walkway Over the Hudson River – 21 September, 2017

This will be the first Wandering of our fall semester.

The Walkway, now a New York State Park, was opened by the New Haven Railroad in 1889 as a rail bridge from Poughkeepsie to Highland, NY, where it connected New England with other rail lines to the West and South. In 1974 a fire made the bridge unusable; and, until it was reconfigured in 2009 as the world’s longest pedestrian walkway, it went unused.


As you can see from the pictures, the views are spectacular.

We will carpool from the DCA to the Walkway parking area in Poughkeepsie, on Tuesday, September 19, departing at 8:45 a.m. Please gather in the back parking area, near the Greenhouse. We will set up the car pooling there, and the remaining cars will be parked there.

Driving directions will be provided for each car. For GPS users, the address of the parking area for the Walkway is 61 Parker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY, 12601.

We expect that the driving time to the Parking Area in Poughkeepsie will be about an hour and a half. Our walk itself, including pit stops and a pause for a libation should take about two to three hours.

We then plan to go to lunch at the nearby Culinary Institute, at one of the dining places on its campus that does not require reservations. After lunch, we shall go directly home, and expect to be back at the DCA at about 4:30.

The weather is expected to be sunny, so bring a hat and some sun-block.

For questions, please call Joe Spain – 203-655-1264 or

Group picture of the Wandering:

Hiking in New Canaan
Friday, September 15, 2017
10:00 am  

We will be hiking two properties in New Canaan on Septembr 15. Both are easily accessible and are a short drive from Darien. Both are rated C+ on the level of difficulty scale used to grade hikes (for a fuller description of this rating click on the Hiking tab   on the DMA website). This means that the terrain is relatively flat, but the trails may occasionally be strewn with rocks and roots. So one  has to exercise some care in traversing these trails, but other than that, they are relatively easy and should appeal even to the novice hiker.

The first property we will be hiking is the Hicks Kelley Audubon property owned by the New Canaan Land Trust. This T-shaped property is approximately 40 acres with just under two miles of interesting trails.

Following this hike we will take a short drive to the second property,the 80 acre Waveney Park, which is owned by the Town of New Canaan. Here the trail loop is about 1.5 miles and serenely beautiful.




After completing both trails we will head downtown for lunch at Restaurant  Chef Luis (129 Elm St., New Canaan)

We meet at 10 am on Friday, Septemeber 15 at the Hicks Kelley property, the entrance to which is adjacent to mailbox of house no. 161 on  Cedar Lane.

Driving instructions: Off the north-bound Merritt Parkway take exit 38. At bottom of the exit ramp make a right turn and after 0.3 miles( that is, at the second light) turn right onto Carter Road. Proceed 1.3 miles on Carter, then make a right turn on to Dabney Road ( this turn is at 409 Carter Rd).  Bear left at the fork and Dabney becomes Cedar Lane . Park along the road near 161 Cedar. It shouldnt take more than 5-6 minutes once you get off the Merritt.

Direction from Hicks Kelley to Waveney Park (which is off Exit 37) will be handed out on site.

These two hikes are relatively easy and have have been selected to encourage maximum particpation and to provide a warm up to the more challenging hikes to come. In addition to our regulars, we are hoping to entice some newcomers to give hiking a try.

Contact: Sunil Saksena, 203-561-8601,

Golf Outing: Sterling Farms, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10 a.m.

The last outing this year is at Sterling Farms Golf Course in Stamford, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10 a.m.

To sign up, email Peter Carnes

Provide your handicap to facilitate pairings.

Fee is $46. Includes cart.

Confirmation and coordination will be via email during the week prior to play.

For directions to Sterling Farms, go here.

Book Discussion: Jan 10, 2018
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles

A New York Times bestseller “The same gorgeous, layered richness that marked Towles’ debut, Rules of Civility, shapes [A Gentleman in Moscow]” – Entertainment Weekly   “Elegant… as lavishly filigreed as a Fabergé egg” – O, the Oprah Magazine   He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.   From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel  In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose. “And the intrigue! … [A Gentleman in Moscow] is laced with sparkling threads (they will tie up) and tokens (they will matter): special keys, secret compartments, gold coins, vials of coveted liquid, old-fashioned pistols, duels and scars, hidden assignations (discreet and smoky), stolen passports, a ruby necklace, mysterious letters on elegant hotel stationery… a luscious stage set, backdrop for a downright Casablanca-like drama.” – The San Francisco Chronicle From the Hardcover edition

Here is a video tour of the Hotel Metropol (courtesy of Charles Salmans)

An interview with the author by the WSJ:

Amor Towles’ website has some interesting discussion:

Latvian Stew: Mentioned on page 97
The author points to this recipe (there are others).


(Svinina v Kislo-Sladkom Souse)

SERVES 6 — 8

As the apricots and prunes cook, some of them will fall apart and thicken the sauce. Serve this stew accompanied by boiled potatoes, buttered and garnished with chopped parsley, if you like.

3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder,
trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and
sliced crosswise
4 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup dried apricots
1 lb. white boiling onions, peeled,
each cut into 6 wedges
1 cup pitted prunes

1. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tbsp. of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat releases its juices and is no longer pink all over, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and 5 cups of water, then add apricots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Another recipe that looks good from Epicurious:

On page 133 The Count quickly notes that a number, 1,173 is not prime by using the Divisibility by 3 Theorem.  That is if the sum of the digits of a number are divisible by 3 (or 9) then the number is divisible by three (or 9), hence, not prime.   The book’s example: 1+1+7+3 =12 is divisible by 3 so, according to the theorem, 1,173 is divisible by 3.

Here is an informal proof.

Suppose that you have a four-digit number N that is written abcd. and a+b+c+d is divisible by 3.  Then

so when you divide N by 3, you’ll get

333a+33b+3c+(a+b+c+d) /3.  But since a+b+c+d was divisible by 3, the 3 in the denominator cancels out and the remainder is an integer..  Hence N is divisible by 3 and not prime.

Book Discussion: December 13, 2017
Dereliction of Duty
by H.R. McMaster

From respected Lieutenant General and Trump Administration National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, an authoritative, highly critical analysis of the arrogance, deception, and controversial decisions at the highest level of government that led to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. “The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.” —H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion) Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. McMaster pinpoints the policies and decisions that got the United States into the morass and reveals who made these decisions and the motives behind them, disproving the published theories of other historians and excuses of the participants. A page-turning narrative, Dereliction Of Duty focuses on a fascinating cast of characters: President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, McGeorge Bundy and other top aides who deliberately deceived the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Congress and the American public. McMaster’s only book, Dereliction of Duty is an explosive and authoritative new look at the controversy concerning the United States involvement in Vietnam

Book Discussion: Nov 8, 2017
Midnight in Broad Daylight
A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

midnightMeticulously researched and beautifully written, the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II—an epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption—this is a riveting chronicle of U.S.–Japan relations and the Japanese experience in America.

After their father’s death, Harry, Frank, and Pierce Fukuhara—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved to Hiroshima, their mother’s ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry returned in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Harry was sent to an internment camp until a call came for Japanese translators and he dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, his brothers Frank and Pierce became soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army.

As the war raged on, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy—and to his younger brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face each other in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of their family.

Alternating between the American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylightcaptures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting as well as the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima—as never told before in English—and provides a fresh look at the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, it is an indelible portrait of a resilient family, a scathing examination of racism and xenophobia, an homage to the tremendous Japanese American contribution to the American war effort, and an invaluable addition to the historical record of this extraordinary time.

Side read: Hiroshima by John Hersey

October 25, 2017
Ed Myers, former CEO TWA
The Pope & Me

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ed Myers, former president and chief executive officer of Transworld Airlines Inc. (TWA), was described “… as a man who, above anything else, knows a thing or two about money and about running an airline” in an article published by The New York Times in 1985. Ed’s talk will focus on his years with TWA, from 1968 until his retirement in 1985. An event that left a significant impression on him was meeting Pope John Paul II when TWA provided air service to the Pope during his visit to the United States in 1979. The title of Ed’s talk is “The Pope and Me.” Ed began his career in 1953 with the hotel accounting firm of Harris, Kerr, Forster & Co. In 1968, he went to work for Eastern Airlines as assistant treasurer and in 1968 joined TWA in the same position, becoming senior vice president for finance in 1971. He then was named president and chief executive officer of the airline in 1975, retiring in 1985. From there, he went to Hilton International Hotels as president and chief executive officer until 1988. In addition to his business career, Ed served as a board member and trustee of a number of organizations, including the Air Transportation Association, National Public Radio, Rollins College and Bradley International Airport. He served on the Reagan Presidential Transportation Transition Team in 1981. In Darien, he served on the Library board and the Red Cross and was a member of the Literacy Volunteers. He is an avid golfer and is a member of the Union League Club and the Sky Club in New York City. He also enjoys playing bridge. During the Korean War, he was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery.

Arranged by Alex Garnett


Sadly, Ed passed away shortly after his talk.

Carl Edwin Meyer Jr. died peacefully on November 4th in Norwalk Hospital, with his wife Ruth by his side. He was 89-years-old and lived in New Canaan, CT.

Born in Flushing, NY on August 6, 1928, he was the son of the late Carl E. and Eunice Taylor Meyer.

He graduated from Amherst College in 1950 with a major in history. Following college, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a First Lieutenant, Field Artillery from 1950 to 1952.

He began his professional career at Harris, Kerr Foster & Co. in 1953 and attended New York University night school earning an MBA in 1957. He was a certified Public Accountant in the State of New York. In 1965 he joined Eastern Airlines as Assistant Treasurer. In 1968 he joined Trans World Airlines (TWA) as Assistant Treasurer and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance in 1971. In 1975 he was promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer of TWA and he skillfully guided the airlines for the next 10 years. Under his leadership, TWA was granted the honor to serve as the U.S. Carrier for Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage to America in 1979. From 1980 thru 1984, he set the example for the airline industry with the institution of a 50% airfare discount program for military service personnel traveling at their own expense while on leave or pass. This discount earned the airline the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the Department of the Army. In 1985 he became President and Chief Executive Officer of Hilton International serving until his retirement in 1988. Throughout his career he served on numerous corporate, government, and public boards. Notable among these were B.F. Goodrich, the Regan Presidential Transportation Transitional Team, the National and International Airline Transportation Association and National Public Radio of Washington D.C.

In retirement, he served on a number of local organizations, including as a trustee of the Darien Public Library, President of the Darien Red Cross, Board member of Literacy Volunteers, and as a volunteer at Greenwich Hospital.

His greatest passion in life was spending time with his family, his friends, and many pets at home in New Canaan, CT or Southold, NY. He was a warm, compassionate, and loving father and grandfather who was always available to listen and offer advice. Throughout life he loved golf and was an avid bridge player, a member of the Senior Men’s Club of New Canaan and the Congregational Church of New Canaan.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Ruth Leslie Oddy, two sons and their wives, Jeffrey S. and Lois Meyer of Darien, CT and William D. and Amy Meyer of White Heath, IL, two brothers, John D. Meyer of Dataw Island SC and James S. Meyer of East Haddam, CT, and four granddaughters, Caroline K. Meyer, Allison S. Meyer, Mallory M. Meyer and Kendall A.L. Meyer of Darien, CT.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the North Fork Animal Welfare League, PO Box 297, Southold, NY, 11971 and Strays & Others, PO Box 473, New Canaan, CT 06820 or any animal shelters of your personal choosing.

Services will be held at the Congregational Church of New Canaan, 23 Park Street on Saturday, November 25, 2017, at 11:00 A.M.



October 18, 2017
David Levinson, Ph.D.
President: Norwalk Community

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

David L. Levinson, Ph.D., president, Norwalk Community College (NCC), will talk about activities at the school since 2004, when he was named to his present position. During his presidency, NCC completed a successful capital campaign for a new Science, Health and Wellness Center, became an Achieving the Dream Leader College, and was selected by MDC, Inc. as one of 15 community colleges nationwide to receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a developmental education project. NCC is a recipient of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2010 Community Engagement Classification based on the college’s commitment to serving the community. Dr. Levinson serves as vice president for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities at the Board of Regents for Higher Education and is general editor of “Education and Sociology: An Encyclopedia” and is author of “Community Colleges: A Reference Handbook.” He is an elected commissioner on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and co-chairs the American Sociological Association’s Task Force on Community College Faculty. He also is on the board of directors of the Connecticut Campus Compact; Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce; Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk; Norwalk Children’s Foundation; U Thant Institute; and the Workplace, Inc., southwestern Connecticut’s Workforce Investment Board. A recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he taught at Bergen Community College; Merrimack College; Norwalk Community College; Teachers College, Columbia University; and Tufts University. Dr. Levinson holds a B.A. in sociology from the State University of New York at New Paltz and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Arranged by Erik Rambusch


October 11, 2017
Greg Palmer
Noroton Heights: Past, Present,
and Future

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Greg Palmer, co-owner of his family’s business called Palmer’s Market, will talk about “Noroton Heights: Past, Present and Future.” He is president of the Noroton Heights Shopping Center, where he and his brother Jim are spearheading the redevelopment of the center. Greg is a true philanthropist who gives freely and generously of his time and resources. Personally and through his business, he supports local organizations, schools, sports teams and fundraisers. Greg’s commitment to serve others is evident in the many organizations to which he has dedicated his time. He is a past board member of the Darien Chamber of Commerce and served as sidewalk sales chair. He received its Volunteer of the Year award in 2002. He also served on the board of the Community Fund of Darien as Business Committee chairman. Greg has been a part of the Allocations Committee and the CARE campaign and received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2009. He represented Darien on the Coastal Fairfield County Tourism board in the early ‘90s. He has been a First County

Bank Incorporator since 2008 and a member on the Spring Grove Cemetery board since 2009. He is a member of the Kiwanis and the Darien Old Timers Athletic Association, where he was president. He also is a member of the Country Club of Darien and the Campfire Club of America. Greg graduated from Darien High School in 1979. He graduated cum laude from Southern New Hampshire University in 1983 and was a member of the National Honor Society. He is a father of three, a dedicated family man and a lifelong Darien resident. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys fly fishing, boating, hiking, skiing, golf, and trap and skeet shooting.

Arranged by Tom Lom



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