November 2008

Lovely Thanksgiving weekend as always. No drama, lots of laughs, great food and company.

Still, as a “TV fan” of General Barry McCaffrey, and seeing this story rocket around the blogosphere (thanks to the fine reporting at the NY Times), I sure am reminded of why I say, “Beware The Man.”

Depressing stuff. Even President Eisenhower wasn’t prescient enough to figure the media would be complicit in the crap that President Eisenhower warned us about.

I mean, ever hear a politician on either side of the aisle talk seriously about cutting the military budget? Fear sells. And fear sells weapons.

Perhaps we ought to centralize the media a bit more. Christ. Some things just aren’t that hard to see.


Carnage in Detroit?


Apparently this is a real story.

I can’t find any details about how it actually happened, so, in the spirit of the blogosphere and mainstream media, it would be irresponsible of me not to speculate.

My guess is that she broke her jaw on her transexual lover’s giant stainless steel dildo in a fit of ecstatic rage. Right there at the peak of joy, stainless-steel boy-girl told Ann he/she voted for Obama, and poor Ann was so enraged and turned on at the same time she tried to take too much of the metal dick, thrusting with great vigor, in a single gobble.

More likely, she just had too much to drink and was too emotionally traumatized by a centrist President to avoid tripping over the sidewalk crack.

Please, Annie, give us a press conference! Let the truth be known!

The taxpayers.

I’ve been arguing with my rightie pals about this for a few weeks–they’re no fan of these bailouts by ideological bent–and every time I say, why not just write the taxpayers a check, they all agree in principle. Which I find kind of remarkable.

Now, maybe this makes me some sort of Republican, or my Republican friends weirdly progressive, but the consensus is something worth pondering, if you ask me.

Please allow Heywood J to expand on the idea.

Also, I continue to press the point that until the tax code and accounting rules are simplified in a manner that Joe T. Plumber can understand Bill Gates’, or Citigroup’s tax nut, this cycle will never end. We’re collecting money here, not solving the mysteries of the universe, and the goddamn money collection system need not be a Bible-length-or-longer, but more boring and indecipherable compendium of the arcane.

To wit, my modest tax proposal, which I like to call a progressive flat tax:

0% tax rate on everyone, yours, mine, Bill Gates, and Joe Plumber’s income up to a livable wage, say, $36,000. Second tier starts at $36,001, and let’s just say we tax that at 20%. The numbers here are completely debatable and flexible, it is the concept that I’m trying to propose. So a person earning $100K would pay 20% on $64K, or $12,800, an effective 12.8% tax rate. Not bad.

And here’s the great part. Above that second tier, the top tax rate is established ($300,000? Top 1%?), when enacted, at our best guess of “revenue neutral” to the prior year (as best I can tell right now about 35-40%). Which dovetails nicely with one more proposal: Any alterations of the chosen rates go to the top tax bracket first. Why? Because it is the people in that tax rate who establish policy. Therefore they are rewarded for finding popular, electorally significant ways to figure out how to cut the government budget. Additional bonus for 0% rate: “We,” the people, can, in the context of many government programs, effectively say, “Get a job. It’s on us.”

No deductions. Your first $36K (or whichever number we determine a decent place to feed, clothe, and house your family) is free, income tax wise.

Same principle for capital gains and corporate tax rates. For capital gains, let’s offer a 0% rate to, say, the first $12,000 of capital gains per year. Peanuts. This encourages even folks with little disposable income to save/invest, which is good for all of us.

Bottom line is to keep it simple and understandable, for anyone with basic math and reading skills.

(Ed: If anyone with a high school education could calculate Bill Gates’ and GM’s tax nut, we could argue the rates on the merits, honestly and intelligently. Until then, the problems we face now remain.)

Update: Almost forgot the post that got me to put this up.

Update 2: This is obviously an oversimplification, and assumes a health care overhaul, unless we want to increase the income on which the 0% tax rate is applied, among many other macroeconomic considerations.

But the concept stands for debate.”

I think it would piss everyone “in power” off, The Man, about equally, and it would be wildly popular amongst us average Joe’s.

A good compromise pisses everyone off relatively equally. Just sayin’.

Update: And let me just suggest that a simplified tax code and subsequently simplified set of accounting rules makes your Enron’s and Citigroup’s problems, which we’re paying tax dollars for, a lot less likely to occur.


Man. Can we let President-elect Obama get inaugurated first?

The voices of all of us are good to have in the sphere of public life, and FSM bless the political blogosphere. But I’ve never met anyone who makes all people happy, all the time.

My admittedly somewhat uninformed read is that even Jesus couldn’t pull that off. I’m pretty sure the case can be made by his crucifixion.

But I’m no Bible scholar.

Should be a great game. I’m a bit of a Sooner fan from way back, so I’m sure I’ll find myself leaning their way. Plus I like upsets, even small ones.

If OU can get to Harrel, OU wins. But every time I watch Tech, they figure out a way to exploit the other team’s weakness, and not only that, the opponent’s global plan. Leach is a helluva coach.

No predictions on this one. I think it will come down to a play or three.

Update: OU, FL, TX, and TTech are clearly the best four teams in the country.

Have you lost a lot of money in the market this year? Bet the house, wife, and kids on the FL-AL SEC Championship game if the line is less than 10. FL is going to beat the living crap out of AL, unless my expert football opinion is horribly out of whack.

(Which is rarely the case when I’ve watched enough of both teams. I have.)

One other thing: Penn State could beat any of them on a given Saturday. JoePa has been screwed too many times.

Update 2: Uh, OU, one would have to conclude, is a bit better than TX Tech. At least after one half. And we’re going to see how much better FL is than AL when the time comes. Book it.

Update 3: Emergency caveat. If I was a real expert, I would have had this game as an OU blowout. So take my financial advice for what it is worth, me not being a professional financial advisor of any kind. Take AL.

And your chances.

Not long ago, I wanted the election to be over.

Now I want the new era to begin.

I sure do like competent people, no matter what they’re competent at. It seems to me Obama does, too.

May we rise again.

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