Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Last Call

To the moon, Alice!

As he says, Newt Gingrich thinks grandiose thoughts. Today’s pitch to Florida’s Space Coast: a lunar base within the next eight years.

“By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” he said. According to Newt, the base would be used for “science, tourism, and manufacturing” and create a “robust industry” modeled on the airline business in the 20th century.

From there, Gingrich suggested moving towards a Mars mission by the end of the next decade. He proposed setting aside 10% of NASA’s budget in prize money for private research into interplanetary exploration.

“I accept the charge that I am grandiose,” he said. “Because Americans are instinctively grandiose.”

This is actually a pretty awesome idea...until you see the budget cuts in non awesome moon base parts of our spending Newt will need in order to do this.  And considering how much Newt plans to lower revenues by cutting taxes on the rich with his flat tax shell game, the odds of being able to afford a moon base on NASA's budget is about as likely as I would be needing a pap smear in the next month.

I mean, we could totally have USA MOON BASE GO! if we didn't want to fund, you know, Social Security and Medicare.  Which I think is his point.

Taxing America's Patience, Part 6

So which recent Presidential candidates paid the highest and lowest effective tax rate in the last 25 years or so?  You might be surprised. Brad Plumer at Ezra's House O' Charts:

Late on Monday, Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns, showing that he paid 13.9 percent of his income in federal taxes. (His rate is relatively low because most of his money comes from investment income, which is taxed at a lower rate than wages.) But how does Romney stack up to previous presidential candidates? Here’s a chart for comparison:

John Kerry married into the Heinz fortune and as you can see, low capital gains rates means it's good to be ridiculously rich, because you stay that way.  Romney certainly benefited from his family's fortune too.  On the other hand, Republicans scoff at President Obama "never having a real job" but he paid a pretty penny in federal taxes in 2006.

Not included on the chart:  Newt Gingrich, who actually put down a hefty 32% effective tax rate back to Uncle Sam on his $3.2 million last year.    The difference:  Newt's certainly a one percenter, but he's not a .01 percenter like Romney and Kerry.

Still, is it any wonder why all the current Republicans are running on lowering or eliminating the capital gains tax?

Nuked Gingrich, Part 16

I wonder what Herman Cain would make of Newt Gingrich's statement that African-Americans don't understand entrepreneurship back in 1993 when he was running his Contract With America shell game?

But before Gingrich could deliver his grand new theory of American civilization to the public in a 1993 speech, his deeply divisive racial stereotypes would need to be removed.
For poor minorities, entrepreneurship in small business is the key to future wealth,” Gingrich wrote by hand in a first draft. “This is understood thoroughly by most of the Asians, partially by Latinos, and to a tragically small degree by much of the American black community.” [...]
By the time a member of Gingrich’s staff typed up the notes and prepared the speech for delivery at the National Review Institute, the racial stereotypes were gone.

Racist stereotyping assholes never change, people just forget what they say.

Life Quality VS Quantity

A study has gotten a lot of attention recently, explaining that doctors are more likely to put off chemotherapy or other risky procedures, and enjoy their remaining days as much as possible.

As a culture, we are obsessed with living forever.  That the people who know the most are willing to put those treatments aside shouldn't be taken lightly.  There is no data as to whether they recommend this for their patients, or  if it's just an accepted medical standard that they do everything possible.

I have a long history with cancer, medical treatments, and the quality vs. quantity argument.  It's a personal decision, but I think it should be presented more often as an actual option.  Most people are determined to fight to the bitter last breath, as should be their right if they choose.  However, most people don't consider letting nature run its course and enjoying those last few months or years instead of suffering in a hospital bed.  As with any medical choice, we should be able to choose our own destiny.  Maybe this study will remind patients there is another option, and for some it will be the right one.

What A Dick

Seriously, when are they going to put Andy Dick away?  He was in the news this week for assaulting a man over a picture, and sobbing in a bar on a strange woman's arm and hitching a ride home.  He needs help, but we also need protection from him.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Two Kentucky men who say they were sexually assaulted by comedian Andy Dick at a West Virginia nightclub two years ago have filed a lawsuit against the comedian.

The 26-year-old from Ashland and the 35-year-old from Catlettsburg are also involved in a pending criminal case against Dick, their attorney said Tuesday. Dick's trial on two counts of felony first-degree sexual abuse is set for May 1 in Cabell County Circuit Court in Huntington.

Dick pleaded not guilty last summer to charges he grabbed a bouncer's crotch, and groped and kissed a patron while performing a series of shows in Huntington at a comedy club. The alleged acts occurred Jan. 23, 2010, at the Rum Runners nightclub.

I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but when you hear the same thing a million times you start to see a pattern.  Get help, already!

And THAT Is How You Handle A Burglar

RALEIGH -- A burglary suspect wound up in the hospital with a broken ankle, cuts, bruises and a badly swollen eye after the victim bashed him in the face with a bedpost, authorities reported.

Lucio Medina Miranda, 40, of 2834 Avent Ferry Road, remained in custody at the Wake County jail Monday on charges of first-degree burglary, larceny after breaking and entering and felony possession of stolen goods, according to records filed at the Wake County Magistrate's Office. His bail is set at $108,000.

Federal immigration officials also have placed a retainer on him because they think he may be in this country illegally, a jail spokesman reported.

When her kids were threatened, the victim beat him into submission and held him until the cops arrived. I'm not a fan of vigilante justice, but when someone intrudes into a home, they get what they get. As we fight back more and more, the war on crime will become more personal. But that is also when we get to shine and declare loudly that we've had enough.

Take a good look. That's what hero looks like.

The State Of This Union

President Obama's State of the Union address was basically his 2012 "If I'm re-elected, here's what I'll do in 2013 if I have enough Democrats in Congress" speech.  The odds of getting any of the things he mentioned in the speech passed in 2012: removing tax breaks for outsourcing jobs, comprehensive immigration reform, a trade "enforcement unit" to check on China, fixing No Child Left Behind and increasing college student aid, fixing the banks and streamlining the executive branch all have about as much chance of passing this Republican House as I do spontaneously sprouting wings.

Everything you needed to know was delivered by Speaker John Boehner before the speech bashing it, and by Indiana GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels immediately after.  Boehner all but accused the President's message of being "un-American", while expecting him to offer Republicans the olive branch of giving him everything Orange Julius wants.  Daniels' GOP response to the President called him "an extremist" whose "constant efforts to divide us" gives rise to his "troubling contention" that "Americans can't cut it anymore."

Republicans in 2012 have no intention of working with the President, but working him over instead.  At this point, anything that isn't 100% GOP red meat dogma is "extremist".  Daniels showed the GOP hand with promises of massive budget cuts and more hostage situations in order to "save the safety net."  It's going to be a long, ugly year in Washington, and the only course that's going to improve anything in 2013 is getting the GOP out of power.


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