Oh, you kids.

Because the laptop is in the midst of a 30-minute software upgrade to Mountain Lion;

Because you guys spent all day fighting, not that I object to those things, because it made cleaning Kate’s closet more interesting, what with the many, many breaks I was taking;

Because no one wants to hear about anything else I did today, which boiled down to biked/swam/cleaned/sorted/grocery shopped/software upgraded…

here are a few links.

I don’t know what’s more depressing about this story, that an IQ of 125 is enough to disqualify a person from service as a police officer in certain parts of New York state, or the fact it apparently took 16 years for the case to make its way through the courts. But hey, here you are: Court of appeals upholds job discrimination on the basis of intelligence. The plaintiff chose a career as a prison guard instead.

Well-known local personal-injury attorney, who is blind, suffers significant but not life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a cyclist in Central Park. P.S. He is blind, and was in a pedestrian walkway. So far the chatter online is about the police estimate that the cyclist was traveling at 35 mph at the time of the crash. Most seem to believe this is a wild exaggeration. I think they’re missing the point; serious urban cyclists travel at breathtaking speeds these days, and I saw them with my own eyes when we were in NYC a few years back. It may not have been 35, but it was way up there. I can’t imagine what would happen if, say, a blind person took a wrong step or two. (I guess we know now.)

Anyway, I’m sure the conversation will center on the fact that this is a PI lawyer who was hit, and ha ha ha, that cyclist better hope he has a good lawyer, too. I’d rather it be about the WTF speeds of travel in a crowded urban park.

Me, I’m still enjoying being off. Play nice today, if you can, eh?

Posted at 12:46 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |
 

80 responses to “Oh, you kids.”

  1. David C. said on August 16, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I’ve been up to 31 mph down a long, but not terribly steep, hill. I’m 53 and more of a tourer than a racer, so it’s not too much of a stretch to think that a younger rider could hit 35. But even at only 20-25 mph a hit like that would do a lot of damage.

  2. Deborah said on August 16, 2012 at 7:57 am

    yesterday was a day of travel for me so I couldn’t comment, even though I read most of them. I wouldn’t have added anything to what was already said anyway. Boy was it lively.

    I’m in Santa Fe, enjoying the company, the weather and the food. Indulged too much last night. Will try to be better today.

  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Basset, what is Bisto? Not that I couldn’t Google it, but I’m thinking I’ll learn more from a description of what it is and how it’s used in shepherd’s pie.

    On the other general topic, I saw a CBO report that, in simple terms showed that when the top marginal tax rate was twice what it is now, the top ten percent of taxpayers paid a smaller percentage of the total income tax than they do now (don’t recall percentages). That’s the point you’ll hear actual conservatives making if you talk to them: it’s not about paying to support gov’mint or their fair share or “the poor are leeches,” it’s that smart taxation generates more revenue *for governance* than dumb taxation, and results in better outcomes for the economy in general. France is about to re-run this experiment, and we should have some interesting data in fairly soon, but not soon enough to tell us anything for this election. But there’s a western democracy where they spend on a per capita basis something like 25% more than we do on national social programs, and their top ten percent of earners pay a smaller percentage of the total tax bill than US’s top 10%, and the new government is planning on pushing through a 75% rate beyond $250,000 just because it feels good. And when it ends up generating even less revenue in sum, there won’t be an admission it was bad policy, they’ll just condemn those who took their capital into Luxemburg or Switzerland or . . . the US.

    Danny, with all the fellow feeling and appreciation for your gifts in the world: drop the asides on people’s personal habits or personal anythings. Names, choice of evening beverage, whatever. You’re living down to too many people’s assumptions about evangelicals in general and conservative politically people in particular, and it doesn’t help make any sort of case anyhow. That’s my pastoral counsel, along with my oft-stated wish we could avoid violent profanity a bit more. Yes, yes, I know: poverty is violence, oppression in word as well as deed is violence, the exploitation of the worker by the holders of capital drained from the unjust so-called “excess value” is the worst form of violence in the world . . . but all of that didn’t leave Karl using the f-bomb and sphincter allusions in every other sentence.

    Marching band picture day — and my wisdom-toothless son with giant cheeks. This will mark the first time as a parent I’ll actually encourage my son to hide his face behind the plumed helmet in front of him.

  4. beb said on August 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Deborah, yesterday wasn’t “lively” it was mean and nasty, and I think Pilot Joe and Danny got far more than they deserved.

    Aren’t bikes supposed to be on the streets? Because they’re wheeled vehicles? And going 35 on a crowded walkway? That’s faster than the cars that race down the street in front of our house go.

    I am confused why an article about a man who’s too smart to be a cop opens with a large picture of a guy on a treadmill? I’m also reminded of an episode of “Family Freud” I saw recently where the question was “What’s your IQ?” The number one answer was 120. IQ, by definition is 100 so people think they’re smarter than they really are. I can see the argument that someone that smart might become bored with being a cop, except that I don’t see IQ and interest in a profession being linked in any way. I have to agree with Nancy that 16 years to get an appeals ruling on this case is a travesty.

    I was reading Slashdot before coming here and one of their news items was about Great Britians threat to invade the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest Julian Assange.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/08/15/2229233/uk-authorities-threaten-to-storm-ecuadorian-embassy-to-arrest-julian-assange
    Seriously, they are threatening to throw out centuries of tradition about the sanctity of foreign embassies to arrest a guy who’s only sin was to release embarrassing documents about the US government? What this tells us is what is important in government. Trashing the global economy – no biggie, polluting the Gulf of Mexico with crude oil – that’s just business. But letting the world know how petty and corrupt diplomats can be – that person must be crushed.

    And belated congrats to Mild Mannered Jeff for landing a full-time gig. Preach it, brother!

  5. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Judge Diana Moon Glampers must have been involved in that IQ job discrimination decision. Still, only the second stupidest judge in action yesterday. The PA moron that said disenfranchising a possible 9% of PA voters was not serious, what sort of IQ does that take?

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/15/13296590-court-clears-pennsylvania-voter-suppression-scheme?lite

    As far as the top marginal rate, why shouldn’t GOPers agree to return to the Raygun rate? Or half of Eisenhower’s? Either would whittle the deficit they suddenly became so concerned about when Obama was elected.

  6. Basset said on August 16, 2012 at 8:28 am

    JeffTMMO, Bisto is a British gravy mix, little granules of spices & enough potato starch to thicken everything up nicely. Wouldn’t want to be without it.

  7. alex said on August 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I may have mentioned my high school’s swing choir, Menstrual Magic, before. Here are a couple of alums who have started a new magazine. The cover shot is from the school where their former choir director landed after getting shitcanned for being perpetually on the rag.

  8. Heather said on August 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I’m surprised that there aren’t more crashes on the lake shore bike/walking trail here in Chicago–people in racing gear fly down it at high speeds every day, and it can get pretty hairy on the weekends. Bikes are supposed to be in the middle and pedestrians on the outside, but there’s very little signage, and so you get people walking the wrong way, groups taking up the entire path, people stopping in the middle, etc.

    The bummer–besides the gentleman being hurt, of course–is that anti-cyclists types will seize this one incident as proof that cyclists are irresponsible. Some are, of course, but I see way more instances of irresponsible and dangerous driving every single day, which is much, much more hazardous to everyone’s safety.

  9. alex said on August 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I’ve known people who were seriously injured on the bike paths on the lakefront. I remember some close calls there myself, but the thing that sticks out in my memory was a hostile encounter with a bicyclist at the intersection of Sheridan and Foster. I was rollerblading and some deranged asshole on a bike deliberately hit me head-on and sent me flying. Fortunately I wasn’t injured too badly.

  10. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Downton tease:

    http://www.vulture.com/2012/08/lets-dive-deep-into-the-downton-abbey-trailer.html?mid=agenda–20120815

    And according to Laffer 0tax rate will maximize government income. This is obviously blithering idiocy from a simple math point of view. And if everybody with RMoney wealth hits the .82% mark the Ryan budget would effect for Willard, Grover Norquist will drown the federal government in the bathtub. This is the fundamental question. Should we have a US Federal Government at all. So-called conservatives bleat about the Founding Fathers, but in practice act as if they believe the FFs FUBARed the entire thing. Jeff, can you identify any authentically “conservative politically people in particular” in American politics? I’ll be damned if I can. The problem with W’s tax cuts wasn’t the cuts alone, it was coupling the cuts with the idiotic and illegal invasions and occupations, both of which enriched the people whose top marginal rates he cut. Cutting taxes while exploding spending, really fracking stupid.

    That biker was parbly a messenger on a fixie with no freewheel, a ridiculous bike setup that just begs for stuff like this to happen. I’ve been tempted when large pedestrian groups block bike paths at the tops of hills, but they always have little kids at the perimeter of the herd. Bike messengers aren’t irresponsible, they are non compos mentis.

  11. Dorothy said on August 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Jeff … next time I’m in Cincinnati and I’m shopping at Jungle Jim’s, I’ll look for some bisto. One for me and one for you.

    Yes, yesterday was very nasty and it bothered me more than I thought it should. Probably because I think of so many of you as friends. I’m sure glad my in-person friends don’t ever talk to me like that. If they did it would be the last day I’d consider them a friend. Yeesh. Let’s try to keep it civil, folks, between now and election day. Consider it character building to refrain from your basest instincts!

  12. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Newly discovered Emily Dickinson manuscript unearthed during lot clearing for Amherst Wal-Mart.

    A Winged Anomie

    I.
    WHAT fortitude the soul contains
    that it can so endure
    that reeking wingnut effluent
    that torrent of manure.

    II.
    I DIED for mortgage based derivatives
    but was scarce adjusted in the tomb
    when one who died for executive compensation was lain
    in an adjoining room
    he questioned softly
    “How’d you get burnt?”
    “Derivatives” I replied.
    “Sucker. I made a load off you. And my coffin’s roomier.” He sighed.
    And so as two cons met a night
    we rotted in our rooms
    while our nieces and our nephews
    disbursed our haul on ‘shrooms.

    III.
    If YOU were coming in the fall
    I’d shoot myself in summer
    Or wedge my skull in the cider press
    You’re such a fucking bummer

    If I had to see you in a year
    I’d candle both my balls.
    I’d rather wash my eyes with sand:
    I’d rather blow Lou Rawls.

  13. Dorothy said on August 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Just saw this article on bicycle accident statistics in the Post-Gazette. I knew about the two recent deaths of cyclists because we have been going to Pittsburgh about every other weekend since mid-April. This article is eye-opening: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/crash-data-show-bikes-not-always-to-blame-649189/

  14. brian stouder said on August 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Pros – back in the day, I was a big big big fan of Jack Kemp; I thought he was the real deal, and I confess it bothers me greatly when they try and paste the “Jack Kemp” label onto Eddie Munster’s soulful forehead (I was gratified to hear a longtime Kemp aide, who also worked with Ryan, reject any direct comparison of the thinking and philosophy of Kemp and Ryan).

    Aside from that, as I recall it, the Laffer curve posits that if you have a 0% taxrate, you get no revenue (obviously); and if you have a 100% tax rate, you ultimately get no revenue, because you’ve killed everything….so that there must be a curve, wherein there is an optimal taxation rate; and if you are above that optimal rate, then a tax cut could increase revenues! What a great theory, right?

    I used to believe it, too!

    And now? Now I think Lawrence O’Donnell’s theory is probably correct. I think that Mitt won’t release his taxes, because if he does his campaign will simply end. If he releases them before the convention, he won’t even get the nomination. I think he committed felonies and illegally hid money in his off-shore accounts, and then he made things right when the IRS, just a few years ago, offered an amnesty to people who had illegally understated their incomes and hid their money in off-shore accounts, if they came forward and corrected their income taxes.

    And I think we would (in this case, rightly) never, ever, ever hear the end of it, if then-Senator Obama had dug in his heels and said all the things Mitt has said about his secret taxes (and if Michelle kept getting snappy with daytime TV interviewers on that subject, the way Mrs Mitt does).

    By way of saying, the flaw in the Laffer curve is that the truly wealthy aren’t anywhere ON that curve; there are no rules – only challenges for their accountants and tax lawyers to find new ways around.

    edit – Cooze’s Dickinson dirge says it all, and much more succinctly!

  15. Bitter Scribe said on August 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I predict that when it comes to taunting cops, “good thing your IQ isn’t too high” will replace doughnut jokes.

  16. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Nicely done, cooze. I think part of what set off yesterday’s imbroglio was the typical faux outrage about something insignificant and typically sill that Biden said when the GOPers are spouting garbage like “food stamp president” (the real one is W, in fact, you can look it up), “gutting welfare reform” (the President was putting a state waiver system into effect that GOP governors devised and requested), “anglo-saxon” (no explanation needed from the WASnon-P candidate), lies about Medicare from the guys that intend to trash it, ads that shamelessly edit Obama’s statements into something that doesn’t resemble what he actually says by a mile. I mean, the straining at gnats and swallowing camels required to by the GOP schtick is enough to piss any reasonable human being off mightily. How about the RMoney homunculus surrogate Sununu saying “I wish the President would learn to be American”? Rank hypocrisy has a way of annoying the crap out of people.

    What we’re having for dinner:

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/01/cocina-de-tom-pork-ribs-red-chile-sauce

    With collards. Already started. This is obviously one for extended simmering in the La Creuset.

    By the way, Sununu was born in Havana of foreign national parents. Not sure what makes him American besides inherent ugliness and natural jingoism.

  17. Connie said on August 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Jeff, thanks for your shepherds pie. The meat and gravy part is pretty much what we called gravy train as kids and served on top of mashed potatoes. The few restaurant shepherds pies I’ve had the meat is more pot roasty with tangy gravy. I’d like to duplicate those. But if I actually make pot roast it gets eaten up!

    Anyone want some tomatoes?

  18. brian stouder said on August 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I’d take some!

  19. Joe K said on August 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I was just trying to point out the fact,that if the Republicans say food stamp president for example, the left seems to wet their pants, but if ol Joe Bidden tells people the republicans are going to put you people back in chains, he gets a pass, that’s all. Alax, after reading your last post yesterday, I just shake my head, if you think you can hurt my feelings with those type of words, you just make yourself look foolish and non of us wants that, I did say a short prayer to my God when I was running on this beautiful morning to try and soften your heart a bit. Now for something completely different, any one around the Fort Wayne area, The Auburn airport is having a open house on the 25th this month, I will have my c-310 and 421 on display,cost is free come out and say hi, and I’ll show you my office.
    Pilot Joe

  20. James said on August 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Joe:

    No one said Biden gets a pass. It was a stupid thing to say, and everyone, including the veep, knows it. Saying someone says something they never asserted is called a strawman argument, and it’s not valid. It’s a distraction.

    What people are saying is that far worse things are being said by the right. If you’d care to address the numerous examples cited yesterday (like… Food stamp president), that would contribute positively to the conversation. Once more: what do you think of those comments?

  21. Jolene said on August 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Also, to amplify James’s comment, extemporaneous remarks made on the stump don’t carry the same weight as well-rehearsed, oft-repeated remarks such as “food-stamp president.” Even worse are blatant lies such as the false claims about Obama gutting welfare-to-work requirements. Every news organization and fact-checking organization that has looked at that ad has said it is false, yet the GOP is continuing to run it and Romney is continuing to make that argument in his public appearances.

    For many years, “welfare” has been GOP code designed to attract downscale white voters at the expense of blacks. When Romney stops using that sort of rhetoric, I’ll take his complaints about remarks like Biden’s more seriously.

  22. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I love it when these assclowns whine. Especially after forty years of fratboy ratfucking. You want ratfucking, you got it. Democrats aren’t some sensitive outcast kid anymore. We’re not just going to cut that tangle of glop off Mitt Romney’s greasy scalp, we’re going to shave his traitor nuts and ship him to one of his tax havens.
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/08/15/all-hail-the-dickwhisperer/

  23. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Jolene: Ryan was on television claiming Obama is a “doormat” for China. This from the congressman who voted against punishing China for currency manipulation. It makes me wonder just how much of Romney’s ass China is holding It’s the old attack, whine, attack, whine, thing. They remind me of watching Tom Snyder’s interview with Charles Manson, only Charles managed to come off as slightly more sympathetic, and made a little more sense:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5IrRe2F7qY
    Seriously. Let’s have a debate between that weeny truck driver and the guy who killed Bin Laden. They don’t even know their proposed budget timetables.

  24. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    There is no equivalency there Joe. The Republican party has been built around racist thinking and policy since Lee Atwater redefined it for Nixon in ’68, and calling a black President a “food stamp president” when his predecessor actually presided over more food stamp enrollments, is outright, virulent racist appeal, similar to the Oldtimer Raygun’s bogus stories about welfare queens. Racism is absolutely the lowest form of human degeneracy, and politicians that speak it in code have no business in government office. Biden may have chosen his words foolishly, but he was clearly talking about controlling the robber baron banks that brought catastrophe to the US economy. But shouting stuff out of context through a megaphone is a very familiar GOP tactic. Like “You didn’t build that.” Surely, anybody that is still breathing has the brains to have understood exactly what the President was saying.

    As I pointed out yesterday, Biden’s point would have been made more effectively by a feudal lords and serfs metaphor, or workers in thrall to the company store. Meanwhile, when right wingers that want gubmint hands off their Medicare (and Romney and Ayn Ryan are lying overtime at the tops of their lungs on that subject), complain about spending on social welfare, I’m reminded of the appalling fact that America spends $2.2million per minute on the military. As my military godson would say, “That is FUBAR.”

  25. alex said on August 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Joe, that was certainly not one of my finer moments and I’m sorry for letting loose the way I did and making it personal. The fact that you responded so thoughtfully says a lot about your character. You’re a good man and I harbor no ill will toward you.

  26. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    http://americanmanufacturing.org/blog/update-congressman-ryans-tough-talk-china

  27. Joe K said on August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Alex,
    Accepted.
    Pilot Joe

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Now there’s a debate that’s only going to happen off the presidential stage, but has to somewhere: even if you stipulate (on Lord knows what basis) that our security as a nation and the smooth functioning of the global economy absolutely requires the expenditure of $2.2 million per minute, HOW that money — or 30% less — is spent has to be completely re-visioned. What we spend it on, how we plan & project our expenditures on systems & personnel, and where those assets are deployed.

    Ron Paul does it simply and clearly, with a meat cleaver but with no real consideration of the “and then what?” factor that I’ve ever found; Obama is standing pat on “no more and maybe some pull back, with a few cuts in plans for increased fleet numbers, total personnel, and a weapon system or two” while Romney is calling for “at least this much if not more, doing mostly what we’ve been doing where it’s been done, with all cuts coming elsewhere like from the National Park Service!” I can’t endorse any of those three approaches to defense spending.

  29. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Very cool photographic artwork:

    http://grist.org/list/these-artists-print-photographs-onto-living-grass/

    I started a new book last night called The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller, an NPR contributor on outdoors topics and author of previous travel/adventure books along the lines of McPhee or Matthiesson. The setting is a post-killer-flu-apocalypse world with almost no people. The protagonist lives at an airport in Colorado, Rockies foothills and has a psychopath partner. They’ve devised a plan to protect themselves from roving survivors, that involves the hero flying reconaissance in a Cessna 182 with his trusty dog for copilot. The style is a bit strange, with disjointed sentences, but I quickly found it engaging. I know a lot of y’all are airplane afficianados, not just Joe, and the descriptions of flying are lyrical and at times detailed. They feel authentic to me, but I wouldn’t know. The nature descriptions are brilliant, on a par with the two guys I mentioned above. Extremely enjoyable 100 pp. in. Finished Before I Go to Sleep, and am still feeling a frisson from it. Terrific psychological thriller. Chilling.

    The Dog Stars:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Dog-Stars-Peter-Heller/dp/0307959945/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345131645&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dog+stars

    Rev. Jeff, the loudest voice currently in the Pentagon spending discussion is probably the most obtuse and biased, the great chickenhawk, “Buck” McKeon, who still lives on a yacht in the Tidal Basin paid for by a defense contracting company. How is that guy not in jail?

  30. Bruce Fields said on August 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    “I saw a CBO report that, in simple terms showed that when the top marginal tax rate was twice what it is now, the top ten percent of taxpayers paid a smaller percentage of the total income tax than they do now (don’t recall percentages).”

    Care to provide a citation for that fact, plus some argument as to why we should care? (If you’re claiming that’s evidence increasing the top tax rate would cause the top 10% to make less income, and therefore decrease total revenue: that’s extremely weak evidence, and the “therefore” needs an argument too while we’re at it.)

    See http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/taxing-job-creators/ for evidence to the contrary.

    Yes, I agree, if we could increase total revenue with increased with lower top tax rates, OK, then maybe we should. I’m opposed to that because my impression is that the evidence doesn’t actually point that way.

  31. Danny said on August 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Alex, you lied about not editing your post at the end of yesterday’s thread.

  32. brian stouder said on August 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Hah! “Danny”‘s real name is (apparently) Representative Joe Wilson!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgce06Yw2ro

  33. nancy said on August 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I would really, really, REALLY like this to end. Danny, don’t make me stop this car.

  34. Connie said on August 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I am also reading “Dog Stars” and find it’s style very chunky. Not much of a story line yet either. We’ll see, it comes highly recommended and I have long been a fan of post apocalyptic fiction, all the way back to “Fail Safe.”

    I think the accusations of news media not addressing the FRC shooting are incorrect. I say the breaking news banner on MSNBC, whoops NBCNEWS.com. I have also seen statements of dismay and support from numerous LGBT and atheist organizations.

    And according to TPM: The man accused of shooting a security guard at the Family Research Council’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. yesterday had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches on him along with a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol. 15!

  35. Joe K said on August 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/08/13/politifacts-lie-of-the-year-becomes-democrats-central-talking-point/
    Danny, buddy, read #25 and #27
    Mom is getting pissed.
    Pilot Joe

  36. LAMary said on August 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Danny, just give it a rest.

    I’m having a really lovely morning. It’s very hard for new grad nurses to find jobs these days. I posted a new grad RN position for 24 hours and had over 250 applicants. I just got to call the 15 new grads we’re hiring and it was like being Ed McMahon delivering Publishers Clearing House checks. Do that 15 times and not feel great, eh?

  37. Linda said on August 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Joe K.–
    Yes, everybody on the left gives Biden a pass, and is tough on righties. And the right is tough on Biden, but tells everybody that Congressman Wilson has first-amendment rights when he calls the president a liar. That just mean’s that it’s a day that ends in the letter y.

    Here’s the thing: We are used to bales of outrage when Obama supposedly says that business owners have created nothing (which he didn’t), and every bit of faux outrage and hurt feelings (did you know that Fox commentators complained that THE U.S. OLYMPIANS WEREN’T WEARING ENOUGH RED WHITE AND BLUE OUTFITS???? The horror!). But now nobody automatically cringes and hits the apology button anymore. Everybody’s give a damn is busted. Everybody is hitting hard, and hitting back, and it’s taken everybody by surprise. And that’s a good thing.

  38. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Luckovich RMoney cartoon:

    http://comics.washingtonpost.com/11_editorialcartoons_mike-luckovich.html

    Bruce, that’s the mirror image of the outrageously stupid argument that increasing the minimum wage, in fact indexing it to inflation, would trash jobs. As if Mickey D is employing people from the goodness of its rodent heart. Raise the minimum wage, and raise the payroll tax windbreak to $200thou, economy fixed more revenue no body pays more taxes because way more taxpayers. And of course, anyone can graph the Laff(t)er curve and see that o tax does not equal increased revenue. The curve must return to 0. That’s math even I understand.

    That’s very funny brian. Except that ahole is my congressman, which is very depressing. Dumbass kills trees right and left to fill my mailbox with shit I wouldn’t read under the influence of a Mosberg 20/26 ga. over under.

  39. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Linda@37. Somebody should have taken your approach to heart in 2008 when the unconscionable swift boat liars and Shrub NatGuard defenders were polluting the airwaves with rank ordure. The fact that GOPers perfected that sort of meretricious campaigning makes it hard to find anything but humor in the liar RMoney’s whining these days.

  40. John (not McCain) said on August 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    “Ryan was on television claiming Obama is a “doormat” for China.”

    Really? Guess who the real doormat for China is, and who’s laughing all the way to the bank:

    ‘I’m sick to my stomach’: anger grows in Illinois at Bain’s latest outsourcing plan

    The Sensata plant in Freeport is profitable and competitive, but its majority owner, Bain Capital, has decided to ship jobs to China – and forced workers to train their overseas replacements.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/aug/10/illinois-workers-bain-outsourcing

    I eagerly await the denunciation of Mitt Romney from the usual suspects for profiting from foreigners taking Americans’ jobs.

  41. Dorothy said on August 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Mary my daughter got to do something like that at work recently and she called to tell me about it – I could feel the glow coming off her even 500+ miles away! It wasn’t on the same scale as offering a job to 15 nurses. But they had an intern who had two weeks left on her position there, and due to the Olympics (no one could take vacation time during that 2 week span) and then the subsequent use of vacation days right after the Olympics, they were in need of some fill-in work at the paper. So my daughter asked for, and got approval, to extend the intern’s tenure by two weeks. She was delighted at the affirmative response from the intern. I wish I could do that once in awhile.

  42. beb said on August 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve been thinking about Jeff (TMMO)’s comment that back when people paid higher marginal rates for large incomes they actually paid less taxes. How can this be? A couple thoughts came to me. One, is that along with high marginal rates people were allowed more in the way of tax deductions for charitable contributions. These charitable contributions would fund things like libraries or orchestras that would otherwise have to beg for governmental hand-outs. So while governments were receiving less income they were also facing reduced demand for services, balancing things out.

    The other thought is that back in the 70s, say, marginal rate for large incomes were high but the amount of income going to the top 10% was a lot less than it is today. So if you cut the rate in half but income for the top ten percent triples then they will be paying more in taxes. Not because the lower marginal rate, but because they have been sucking up all the money, leaving nothing for the middle and lower classes.

    The devils in the details as they say.

    When John Sununu says that the president doesn’t know how to be an American, what does he mean by that? The president was born in America, was mostly raised in America, went to American school of higher learning, married an American and lives in the great city of Chicago. How much more American than that can you be? Likewise the claim that Pres. Obama is the Food Stamp President? The president has not made food stamps an issue of his administration. And if usage of food stamps has gone up, it may be that the recession we’re in has to do with that. Unless, of course, food stamps = black, so this becomes a way of calling him a n—.

    I understand that Vice president Biden is gaffe-prone but I don’t actual see a gaffe in his comments. He was talking about how Wall Street and their political enablers (sadly, Dems as well as R’s) keep calling for more deregulation, as if the last round of deregulation didn’t cause the economy to melt-down. Biden was working up to what I thought was a powerful metaphor. Wall Street wants to be unchained but if we do that we’ll be the ones chained — to another bail-out. To me that sounded more like a marxist slogan than any racist kind of thing. And for the R’s to anything to the contrary is just BS.

  43. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    John (not McCain): I’m old enough to remember the Chinese handing Bush his balls to him in the form of a captured dismantled spy plane. And I don’t recall him doing anything but pissing down his leg.
    But he stood on a pile of rubble with a megaphone, and that made him all manly, to the Republicans, anyway.

  44. Linda said on August 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Beb:

    Here’s the thing w/ charitable contributions by the wealthy for stuff we would be paying taxes for, etc. One is that the wealthy in fact give a smaller amount of their income to nonprofits than less wealthy, and they tend to give to nonprofits–universities, hospitals, the arts–that support their own lifestyle choices. In this way, they are deciding which segment of the public weal they can contribute to–the art institute, for instance, rather than Head Start. Why should a particular group of taxpayers make that decision, when in fact I am rather limited in my ability to pick and choose what public thing I wish to support?

  45. Linda said on August 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Re: the “gaffe”: Can you imagine how Fox would be pooping itself over Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech? Are we just not used to strong talk. Oh, get the ammonia bottle!

  46. Jolene said on August 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Here is a short, easy-to-read overview/comment on the House-passed budget formulated by Paul Ryan. As the article points out, it was known that this budget would not be passed by the Democratic Senate, and Romney and Ryan are now busy trying to figure out which of their previously stated positions they now support. Still, the article is interesting for what it reveals about Ryan’s goals and priorities and what choosing him says about Romney.

    I have heard a couple of times people saying on TV that, in surveys and focus groups, the researchers are finding that, when asked about their support for various of Ryan’s ideas, the respondents don;t believe they are real proposals. That is, they don’t think it’s plausible that a real legislator or candidate would propose such extreme ideas. After reading this article, I can see why they get these reactions.

  47. LAMary said on August 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I know someone who works where I work. Her husband has considerable inherited wealth. They donate money to the private Christian school their kids go to, the sports teams at the school, (the teams their kids are on,) and building bigger sports facilities for all of the above. The school is a non profit so I think all this stuff is deductible. Remarkably, both the kids got sports scholarships when they went to college, both at the same college, affiliated with the same denomination as the high school the kids went to. I think the college got new artificial turf recently and no one had to take out a second mortgage for it.
    When I shared with her the story you cited about the artifical turf I mentioned the 200k figure. Her response wasn’t about how dumb it was to mortgage houses to buy it. It was, “what sort of crummy artifical turf can you get for 200k? Ours cost 500k.” Even with some coaxing she completely missed the point of the story. Her final comment was, “one of the parents should have had his company donate money for the turf and get a tax deduction.”

  48. Connie said on August 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    LAMary, my lovely niece just completed her midwifery degree(?) certification (?) on top of her nursing degree and will go anywhere for work. Just saying.

  49. LAMary said on August 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Connie, I just hired all the new grad RNs I’m going to hire for at least 5 months. Nancy has my email address. Your niece can email me, just a note asking for new grad info, and I’ll email her back when I have any news about the place where I work and about other hospitals in this group. She can also send me her resume and I will share it with a few other people.

  50. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    beb: Sununu was born in Havana. His dad was palestinian, his mom, Salvadoran. What he’s saying is a rehash of the infamous bullshit purveyed by D’nesh Souza about the influence on the President of the Kenyan anti-colonial socialist-leaning dad, the President barely ever met. It’s birther bullcrap and the sort of lying crap from the GOPers that makes a reasonable person wonder where the hell they get off whining about some ridiculous comment from Biden. Reminds me of Ralphie going off on Scut Farkus, and the GOPers are all wah, wah, wah.

    Connie, I found Heller’s brand of stream of consciousness–diverting in mid-sentence–somewhat inelegant at first but once I got used to it I find it easy to fall in with. The fishing descriptions are gorgeous. The bit about the old books Hig used to buy as gifts for his wife–Otter. I love otter.–are gut-wrenching. I find it very easy to identify with Big Hig. I’m enjoying it a lot.

    I have a new phone and phone service. What a pain setting the phone and account up. I intended to continue using my iPhone, but the bastards in duo with AT&T made it virtually impossible to change out the SIM card. My new phone is an Android phone, brand is apparently Chinese (Huawei u8800). Of course, my iPhone was undoubtedly made in China too.

  51. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Amazing physical feat by Rajon Rondo:

    http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/extras/celtics_blog/2012/08/video_rajon_ron_3.html

  52. garmoore2 said on August 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Prospero@24

    No disagreement with the theme of your comment, but Lee Atwater was 17 in 1968. His influence on GOP campaign strategy came in the 1980s. The GOP’s “Southern Strategy” predated Atwater by 20 years.

  53. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Republicans sure love em some lyin’ ass bitches:
    http://wonkette.com/481296/americas-sweetheart-paul-ryan-will-lie-pathologically-to-your-face-stimulus-edition

    This won’t affect the hardon they’ve got for this exopthalmic dog-haired liar. They like the notion of theft, really.
    It’s a demonstration of that revered trait of peasant cunning.

  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Sorry, non-responsive between son’s oral surgeon appointment (good news: he heals like Wolverine) and freshman orientation at the high school and band pictures. My recollection of the data in question is from taxpolicycenter.org, but I could be wrong about that. My main personal more than political point is that I know taxes will have to go up, but how far? I think the top one percent can get up over 50% without economic harm, and the top ten percent can be bumped, but even if they get put at 40%, the next quartile of us (top fifty percent minus eleven at the top already addressed) will have to pay another 5% or so to make it work.

    So defense cuts and a new national health care policy are necessary to keep me from paying 10% net more of my gross income in taxes by 2020. How to get there? That’s the meat and potatoes of the debate, not whether or not the workers of the world have nothing to lose but their chains.

    Garmoore, thank you — that’s why I keep pointing past Reagan & Atwater to remind people that the damage Dick Nixon did to the GOP is still unrepaired. Fascinating to hear Frank Langella talk about all the research he did to prepare to portray Nixon, interviewing those who knew him up close and personal. Nixon Agonistes, indeed. (Hat tip, Garry Wills.)

  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Here’s a hub for some data driven links. I don’t pretend to be certain about what approach is ideal; my thoughts are still a work in progress.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivity_in_United_States_income_tax

  56. brian stouder said on August 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Here in Indiana, the candidates for governor are in a bidding war to see who can promise the most tax CUTS!

    Gee, I wonder what effect that will have on our quality of life (not to mention our trips across bridges, or the water that comes out of our faucets)?

    http://www.nwitimes.com/business/columnists/morton-marcus/eye-on-the-pie-laughable-proposals-put-forth-by-candidates/article_3a0b8ac2-44fd-593a-9dd5-10af6b96dcc7.html

    an excerpt:

    “Mike Pence can’t compete with that rib-tickler,” Sore Throat sighs. “Pathetically, the best he can do is suggest cutting the individual income tax by 10 percent. That takes something like $500 million in taxes away from the state. Cutting revenues when the Daniels administration has already enforced a rigorous diet on state agencies is a blast. Which set of poor people will they attack next with this tax move?”

    “I fail to see the humor,” I say.

    We have stopped walking because Sore Throat is suffering from a coughing spasm. When he recovers, he laughs, “And what does Gregg do? He out-GOPs the GOP candidate by offering to get rid of the corporate income tax. That’s another $500 million or $600 million in services for the people of Indiana that just gets trashed.

  57. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Jeff, do you put any credence in the “job creator” model after the shrubministration buried American employment? This is central to trickle-down, that would seem to me to be so discredited anybody would be embarrassed to bring this shit up, as I am re Atwater. On the other hand, Atwater was an architect of the racist soul-selling that produced the modern GOP. If organizations have qualityzing souls in the form of principles, when you sign on with the modern GOP, you are signing on with DeKlerk style racism.

    RMoney has announced he’s paid at least 13.5 % the last 10 years. I’ve paid more than 20%. Lot less revenue on my average $120,000, but it does not seem even close to fair. That cash would have been much bigger in my IRA than the drop in Willard’s bucket. RMoney’s made a huge deal about giving his daddy’s money to charity. If somebody thinks LDS is a charity after they bought the Cali referendum, we’ve got a bridge to the mainland I could sell you.

    Garmoore, I’m wrong. I have just read so much on Atwater’s keen observations on the vile transformation to racism as raison d’etre of the GOP, I always figure he’s responsible. From a 1981 interview, here’s Atwater:
    LEE ATWATER: As to the whole Southern strategy that [Nixon political strategist] Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    QUESTIONER: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    ATWATER: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

    Does Joe or Danny want to offer an observation about how that isn’t the essence of GOP politics? It’s been all racism all the time for decades and then…Horeurs…a chocolate president.

  58. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Prospero: I think with the current crop of pugs, we’re back to’54.
    1854, if you think about it. The nullification crap is picking up steam again.
    Nicotine ripened felon breeder Jan Brewer is their poster skag.

  59. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Sorry garmoore. You are absolutely correct. And it’s the same racist aholes one way or another. Lowest circle in hell, racism. It is the unmitigated heart and soul of the modern GOP.

    George Corley Wallace was famous for saying he would never be “out-niggered” again. GOPErs just decided to go all nucular on the subject. And they were really convincing, because they were authentic racists. That is the GOP. Racist central. And if y’all don’t like the connection, Joe, don’t buy their revolting crap.

  60. Prospero said on August 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    cooze, Goober Brewski is a harmless drunk LEE ATWATER: As to the whole Southern strategy that [Nixon political strategist] Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    QUESTIONER: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    ATWATER: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.” ?

  61. Deborah said on August 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Are people really going to be happy living in this country after the government is drowned in the bathtub. Just imagine how many street people will be hanging out on every street corner, even in small towns. How many of our parents will be in dire straights financially. How many people will be sick without insurance. How many kids will be getting inferior educations and have no hope for bettering themselves. Infrastructure falling apart, bridges, highways, sewers. Sicknesses related to food borne illnesses. No national parks. Etc, etc, etc. Do people really want to live this way?

  62. Danny said on August 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Listen, if Obama loses the election, I can guarantee you that it will have absolutely nothing to do with racism and everything to do with his record. All that “Hope and Change” and “Transparency” talk has proven to be just feats of rhetorical fancy, sadly. The guy’s had majorities in both houses his first two years and had the senate his last two and yet what does he have to show for it: record high unemployment, a continuation of many of the failed Bush policies like TARP that bailed out the fat cats, an extremely divisive tenor where he and his surrogates (e.g. Biden and Emmanuel) have played the race card and the sexual-orientation card like expert fiddlers for political gain and then what about all of that stuff you all gave such a care about four years ago (i.e Afghanistan, Guantanamo, etc.)?

    So while a few of you are still fantastically tilting at last century’s windmills of division, I can assure you that if he loses the election to the likes of Romney, it will be because his electorate defected or abdicated.. and perhaps for good reason(s).

  63. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTdmj-JhJJc

  64. brian stouder said on August 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    if Obama loses the election, I can guarantee you that it will have absolutely nothing to do with racism…

    “..absolutely nothing to do with racism”??

    If you said “very little” then I’d agree with you, but your “absolutely nothing” standard is certainly wrong.

    You could complicate the issue and try and say the wind is in Romney’s face, since he’s a Mormon and his running-mate is a Catholic; said to be the first major presidential ticket to be missing a Protestant.

    I’d still disagree with you, but you’d have at least SOME ground upon which to stand

    And, Danny, just for the fun of having a discussion – do YOU subscribe to the mangled/Fox-ified version of President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” remark (ie – if you’ve developed a successful business, “you didn’t do that”)?

    Because if an entrepreneur deserves absolutely 100% credit when the business she built succeeds, then how does she also get to blame a “failed presidency” when her business fails?

    Or indeed, if you agree (with me, for example) that it is never that simple, and that the “you didn’t build that” remark was about the way American society and American government works together for the advancement and betterment of all (see – transcontinental railroad; homestead act; interstate highway system; rural electrification; internet development), then you might agree that when the Romney ticket goes down in flames, it will be largely because of that campaign’s willful dishonesty with the American people.

  65. Suzanne said on August 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Deborah @ #61. Amen. Unfortunately, so many Americans are incredibly short sighted and don’t seem to understand that if you cut funding to the local fire dept, your house might burn down. Don’t want to pay for the street lights? Crime goes up in the dark.

    There are no easy solutions in all this. Gov’t isn’t bad; corporations aren’t bad. Bloated gov’t and bloated corporations cause bad things to happen. I fear too many on either side want to cure the gout by killing the patient.

  66. Jolene said on August 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    All good questions, Deborah, but this one caught my attention especially: How many of our parents will be in dire straits financially?

    Most people likely think of Medicaid, if they think of it at all, as a program that provides healthcare for the poor, which it does. But it also pays for nursing home care. In fact, I heard this week that 50% of Medicaid expenditures are for nursing home care. Ryan’s budget imposes a huge cut on Medicaid financing, which will mean that many middle-class families will be faced with stark choices about obtaining care for elderly parents.

  67. Deborah said on August 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Jolene thanks for correcting my spelling of “straits”. And of course illuminating the point.

    Edit: Danny, Obama has had an uphill battle, after the Bush fiascos of wars and finances and then the iintransigent Republican party of “no”. He has done an amazing job in spite of all that. You right-wingers need to quit being so negative, and get over it. You gys have nothing to stand on except to demonize Obama. That’s your platform. Pretty weak.

  68. Jolene said on August 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Just saw this interesting piece re the struggle that Julia Child went through to get her first book published. In fact, the piece refers to a book that details the long gestation of the book through letters that she exchanged w/ an American friend who was helping her develop the book and find a publisher. Do click the link. Even if you’re not interested in cooking or in Julia, you’ll enjoy the photo at the bottom of this article.

  69. coozledad said on August 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Deborah: The republicans here trade exclusively in propositional fallacy. They’re the cyclops episode from Ulysses made into quivering, rancid flesh.

  70. alex said on August 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    What has Obama accomplished? A view from outside the Republican echo chamber.

    If Romney beats Obama, racism will have been a motivating factor for at least some voters who want somebody, anybody else and will settle for a faux conservative empty suit who’s a Mormon to boot when ordinarily they’d consider him an apostate deserving of jeers and spittle.

  71. baldheadeddork said on August 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    @ beb (42): “I’ve been thinking about Jeff (TMMO)’s comment that back when people paid higher marginal rates for large incomes they actually paid less taxes. How can this be?”

    There are a couple of things at work. The first thing is timing. What time and rate are they measuring today against? It’s easy to forget that the top marginal rate has been below 40% for a quarter century. (It’s currently 35% now for earned income.) Are they comparing the rates today against 1992? Twenty years sounds like a long time but the rates then were only slightly higher than they are today. Anti-tax conservatives (but I’m being redundant) are always talking about when the top rates were 90 percent, but that was fifty years ago. The majority of people alive today did not work for even one day of their careers when the top rate was even at 50%.

    So unless they’re comparing against the early 60’s, they’re measuring against a time when the tax rates were not that much higher than they are today. (If they are there are huge problems with adjusting for effective inflation in that bracket and the way income for the top 1% has changed and taxed.) I can’t say definitively until Jeff or Joe put up a link, but there is a good chance that the higher rate is a pretty low hurdle to clear.

    The second part they leave out is the massive shift in wealth towards the top one percent. The share of all income earned by the top 1% has doubled in the last thirty years and their share of all income has risen to 20%. Their share of the country’s wealth has grown even more rapidly. Today the top 1% own a third of all financial investments and nearly 30% of non-financial assets (cars, jewelry, property, etc.)

    Put those together and you get a clear picture of how the tax liability has shifted away from the wealthiest. They might be paying 15% or even 25% more in taxes now than twenty-five years ago, but their income has nearly doubled.

    The effective tax rate on the wealthiest Americans is lower than it’s been in nearly 70 years. Everything else is smoke, mirrors and a whole lot of ratfucking. Like…

    *************

    @JTTMO (54): “My main personal more than political point is that I know taxes will have to go up, but how far? I think the top one percent can get up over 50% without economic harm, and the top ten percent can be bumped, but even if they get put at 40%, the next quartile of us (top fifty percent minus eleven at the top already addressed) will have to pay another 5% or so to make it work.

    So defense cuts and a new national health care policy are necessary to keep me from paying 10% net more of my gross income in taxes by 2020. How to get there? That’s the meat and potatoes of the debate, not whether or not the workers of the world have nothing to lose but their chains.”

    Did you notice, in your Wiki link to progressive taxation, the median effective rate for the top 400 earners in the US? These are people who average a third of a billion dollars a year in income, and their average marginal federal tax rate was less than 17%.

    The top earned income tax bracket is 35% and it applies to everything over $380,000. So, you might (and should) wonder, how the holy hell can you earn nearly a thousand times that yet have the same effective tax rate as a dentist making $150,000?

    The answer is capital gains. On average, the highest 400 earners make over 80% of their income in capital gains. As long as their investment managers have two brain cells to rub together all of that income will be classified as a long-term capital gain, which means the top income tax rate is just 15.7%, less than half the top rate for earned income.

    Thanks to the huge difference in the capital gains rate, the top 1% has a lower effective tax rate on their median $1.8 million annual income than someone who just breaks into the top 10% and earns 80% less. And the top 400 pays an effective rate just barely higher (16.6 vs. 15.7%) than the median earner in the 60-80% bracket.

    We only have a progressive tax system in the US for the bottom 80%. Once you get above that it’s thrown into reverse – the more you make the lower your tax rate becomes. Capital gains are the reason why. We’ve decided to take this class of unearned income that is overwhelmingly collected in the top 20% and tax it at less than half the rate of earned income.

    This whole fight over protecting job creators from a 39.6% earned income rate is a rouse fed to the ignorant by propagandists and people who have an extremely vested interest, through reporters and who won’t get off their lazy ass to cover this story correctly. (David Kay Johnson being an almost singular exception to the rule.) Raise the top earned income rate to 40% or even 50%. It won’t make a huge difference because aside from nouveau riche rap stars and pro athletes, the 1% that takes in one out of every five dollars earned in this country make their $$$ on capital gains.

    That sounds bombastic, but it’s not. In the last three decades there has been a stampede among the top 10% and higher to shift their income from earnings to capital gains, either through guaranteed stock options or structured investment vehicles like Mitt Romney’s holdings in Bain Capital. Stock options were as rare as unicorns in 1980, today no CEO of a public company with a functioning brain stem would take more than 10-20% of their package in salary. Get a paycheck big enough to cover your living expenses and take the rest in stock options that will quadruple your earnings (or more) for the year when they’re redeemed – but they’ll be taxed at less than half the rate. Shit, if you’re a hedge fund manager you don’t even have to wait a year for your options to mature. We’ve decided this snowflake occupation deserves to have all of their same-year income taxed at less than 14%! And yes, those would be the same hedge fund managers who broke the effing world four years ago.

    This is the whole ball game. Capital gains is why there has been such a massive transfer of wealth to the top 10% and the top 1% in the last three decades. It’s why inflation-adjusted incomes for the top 20% have increased sharply over that period while the bottom 80% has struggled to keep what they had. The search for new investment vehicles for the wealthiest has also led directly to the creation of investment vehicles that caused massive, nearly fatal damage to the global economy – not once but four different times just between 1998 and 2008.

    Got to run. Anyone has a good defense for our capital gains policy – please post ’em.

  72. brian stouder said on August 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Jolene, the link you posted about Julia Child was a delightful palate cleanser. The photos are marvelous, and the article itself makes me want to buy the book. In fact, I think I shall indeed put it on my Christmas list, right along with Ms Lippman’s new one.

    Thanks!

  73. Deborah said on August 16, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Will somebody please, please tell me how it is patriotic to pay a 13% tax rate and have off shore accounts? When you say that a huge percent of taxes should go to the military and then you don’t even contribute your fair share to that. Please explain this to me? I. Do. Not. Get. It. Pastor Jeff? Joe? Danny? Please explain this to me. Seriously.

  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Baldheaded — the answer to your general question is that most on the right don’t think, and I think correctly, that you can construct a tax policy that gets all we need just to balance the books now from the wealthy, so plumping for jacking their rates will always end up jacking my own, and I don’t think going from 30% to 40% on my five figure household income is something I can support. Yours and Deborah’s argument boils down to “either we can find ways to get that top 1 to 10% to pay for all of the increase we need to balance the books, or if they don’t, then we just say rich people are the problem and we will speak ill of them even as we raise taxes on the rest (i.e., me).”

    And yes, in global terms, $80K per annum household income is rich, but I’m talking about US tax policy. Deborah, the justice of how to tax earned versus unearned income is a vexed question. It seems simple to say unearned income should be taxed at confiscatory rates, and you’d have John Adams on your side (I recall he favored an inheritance tax of essentially 100%), but the math doesn’t seem to work out as beneficial — is that just a polemical stance about “job creators”? Like most rhetorical shorthand, it doesn’t hold up in detail, but . . .

    I think I know that Obama meant “you didn’t build the roads and schools that facilitated your business’ success” and Romney meant “corporate dividends go to actual retired people and employ working people, they aren’d just a logo,” so all this “how can you defend him” stuff is just wearying.

    Here’s the shot to take at me — I should be fine with seeing my net tax percentage of our household income go from 27% to pushing 40%, because that’s how you support a modern, technological, socially diverse national culture. Go ahead, make the case, and I’m listening. My wife and I give 10% to our churches respectively, and save, so we live on 50% of our gross family income, and the idea that my/her salary is likely to stay the same the next couple years here in Ohio is a vivid one. So should I just be more sporting about seeing my legally mandated contribution to the IRS go up, and our personal assets shrink a bit more, even as Roger Ebert’s film reviews continue?

  75. DellaDash said on August 17, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Doubt that the ‘Deliverance’ (racist) factor in the upcoming election will outweigh the ‘Homie’ (black and latino) vote.

    I’ve only heard about ‘Food Stamp President’ here…and am thinking it’s because food stamps are now provided for a year instead of 6 months to those who are eligible. Stimulus fallout?

    Someone mentioned that Carville doesn’t think Obama can get elected for a second term. That’s disturbing! He’s one of the few pundits I’ll pay attention to…that wiley insider coyote. He also never fails to amuse. However, my gut still insists that, no matter how many attack ads the bloated GOP war chest can afford; and even though the realities of health care reform won’t begin to be really felt until after the election; there are enough boots-on-the-ground grass-root beneficiaries of Obama’s policies to sway the vote toward the hand that feeds them.

    Whatever goes down, Obama has earned his (as Jon Stewart calls it) ‘I killed Osama Bin Laden’ swagger.

    Shout out to Rana – when you get fierce, you usually render me commentless – what more is there to say when you’ve already nailed it?

  76. Danny said on August 17, 2012 at 12:27 am

    And, Danny, just for the fun of having a discussion – do YOU subscribe to the mangled/Fox-ified version of President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” remark (ie – if you’ve developed a successful business, “you didn’t do that”)?

    Brian, no I don’t agree with that version. And although a lot of political hay is being made of the comment, I figure it is a gaffe, at worst and he wished he had that one back.

    And I agree with those here who have said Obama has had a tough row to hoe. No doubt about it. But perception on the economy is going to be in play and many do not think he has done the right things with the stimulus money. Shovel ready? Yes there has been a lot of shoveling of political manure (both sides). And although I think I would like him personally, I do think he has been very divisive. I had higher hopes for him and am disappointed.

    Oh lookie here, Nice. Real nice, NBC. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-toure-to-panel-romney-engaging-in-the-niggerization-of-obama/

    My belief is that we could be at the dawning of a truly post-racial America, but it is twits like the guy in the link who are very invested in keeping the race card in play. A a few here too!

  77. Danny said on August 17, 2012 at 12:34 am

    You know, one other thing occurredd to me. yesterday, a few were batting about the dog-whistle-y-ness of Biden’s comments versus the “Foodstamp President.”

    1. Biden’s comment was not a dog-whistle. In fact, it was so blatant and racially charged, that everyone knew what that moron was saying. Subtle as a brick to the head and every bit as evil.

    2. However, my understanding of the genesis of the “foodstamp” comment is that is was an empathetic reference to the fact that the economy has been so bad for so long that many are falling off of the unemployment roles and having to go to welfare.

  78. baldheadeddork said on August 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

    @JTTMO: “the answer to your general question is that most on the right don’t think, and I think correctly, that you can construct a tax policy that gets all we need just to balance the books now from the wealthy, so plumping for jacking their rates will always end up jacking my own, and I don’t think going from 30% to 40% on my five figure household income is something I can support. Yours and Deborah’s argument boils down to “either we can find ways to get that top 1 to 10% to pay for all of the increase we need to balance the books, or if they don’t, then we just say rich people are the problem and we will speak ill of them even as we raise taxes on the rest (i.e., me).””

    One, don’t turn what I write into a strawman. If you can’t copy and paste to work off a quote, have someone write it out for you.

    Two, can you form thoughts or do you just spit out talking points?

    No one – and I mean N-O O-N-E, has said we’ll balance the budget by raising rates on the wealthy. And I goddamn never said anything like you assigned to me at the end of that statement.

    Since you missed it so thoroughly, my primary point was fairness. Explain to me why a hedge fund manager should pay less than half the taxes owed by an athlete, entertainer or lottery winner? What is the unique economic benefit of capital gains that it is in all of our interests to give its recipients a 60% discount on their taxes? Stop spewing this caricature of how you imagine people think and answer that question.

    Then we’ll talk about the deficit.

  79. LAMary said on August 17, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Danny, the election of Barack Obama made racism acceptable to a lot of people. When Obama had no record, Mitch McConnell said the number one priority of the Republican party was to deny him a second term. The head of the Riverside County Republican party here in SoCal sent out those nice watermelon patch emails.
    I naively thought this country was over that sort of thing. I remember the riots in Newark and Passiac and Paterson NJ and Los Angeles. I thought as a country we had finally moved forward. The blatant racism of the last four years shows me we haven’t.

  80. Bitter Scribe said on August 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    This just in: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri steps on his johnson, will probably get elected anyway.