I’ve always thought that Humpback whales were cool to watch, and something worth saving for the grandkids. I thought this 8 minute piece was a pretty cool bit of video…
With luck, the e-book version of Zook Country will go up next weekend. I probably shouldn’t bring it up until it does, but I’ve been running around coordinating things for the last few weeks, and etc, so I’m getting pretty excited. I’ll reprise the blurb & etc. once I’ve got the final book in electronic hand.
Oh, it will be by Bill Swears – so the voters have spoken…
I’m a gun owning machete wielding landowner (Haven’t found a better cure for devil’s club on a steep slope than a big knife). I live on a ridge line in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska. I believe that the TSA should be constrained, the Patriot Act should be eliminated or critically rewritten by people who value their rights more than their safety, or even my safety. I think that every hospital and medical clinic in the US should be able to fearlessly take in every American patient that comes through the doors without worrying about who is going to pay, because they know that the bill will be paid. Medical care costs have grown beyond the resources of the middle class, and yet the country only exists as a country because of the efforts of that middle class. We build the chips and datasets, cars and trucks, and the economic environment that allows the rich to become rich. We do have the right to expect healthy lives, considering how much we participate in empowering this land, for how little of the pool of money, and there is more than enough money in the medical care system to ensure that all of us can. Just the money wasted on insurance overhead and caregiver financial administration would more than care for a sturdy health care system for the currently uninsured.
You might say that I’m an independent voter. I believe that the banks, not President Bush, took down Wall Street and created the mortgage crisis for a clean and continuing profit (take over a mortgage, foreclose when the owner is one or three payments behind, take the mortgage insurance, sell the house for it’s full market value, never repay the insurance payout. What’s not to love about that?). The national debt was created to fund a war half-way around the world that we won, but whose outcome was never going to create any greater good in the U.S. Why? Weapons of mass destruction? Not bloody likely.
Saddam Hussein and his minions were never a legitimate threat to the U.S. I’d like to know what the real reason was, but I’m betting I’d disapprove. Western cultures have been trying to remake the Middle East for more than two thousand years and it always ends poorly. Maybe the U.S. really shouldn’t go 11,000 miles away and exercise American dominance games. I’m not sure who it’s helping. I know it isn’t me, and I know it isn’t my country’s economy.
Republicans jumped on a bandwagon to pressure the president to approve a proposed oil pipeline through 1700 miles of the interior, and have gone all crazy when he did’t do that within a 60 day notional deadline the Republicans created from whole cloth. Ignore the fact that major construction that has a significant possibility of causing substantial environmental damage to the areas through which it passes. Reducing or mitigating environmental damage isn’t on the Republican radar this year. But the legal requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement, and the near impossibility of producing one of those that will stand up in a district court under those sort of time constraints would be on the Republican radar if they actually wanted the pipeline to succeed.
The Republican big-brain trust thinks that they’ve got a win no matter what. If Obama approves the pipeline, but the approval falls apart in court, then Obama is wrong. If Obama refuses the stupid Republican deadline, then he doesn’t believe in progress, or finding jobs for Americans.
I hope that Obama will commit that unthinkable third act, getting it right the first time, so that we don’t have to do it over.
I know a surprisingly large group of people who’ve put their lives into public service, but never took the time to make themselves millionaires. I have no problem with somebody who has made themselves a millionaire, but much rather vote for a public servant who considers supporting the nation to be more important than making millions of dollars.
One of my state’s recent senators made himself a multimillionaire during his first term in the Senate, many years ago. I don’t consider that laudable in any way.
My uncle forwarded me an e-mail claiming that the Obama health care reform legislation will secretly bring about a 3.8% tax on sale of all houses, starting next year, in 2013. The thing that this misses is that the 3.8% tax only applies to home sales profits that are in excess of $250,000 or 500,000 in the case of married filers. I’ve never made $250,000 profit on reselling a house, but I suppose you might have. Still, the base price of the house plus $250,000 is not taxable under this law, nor are expenses that would directly impact the profit line. Here is a link to an explanation that seems fairly complete.
In other words, it’s a long term capital gains tax, and doesn’t have any impact at all on somebody like me, whose house is only worth $300,000 and has only appreciated by 50% since I bought it. Even if it had doubled in cost, and I had to pay tax on the profits in excess of $250,000, then I’d be paying 3.8% of $50,000 minus my expenses in owning the home and depreciated value over the last ten years. If I wanted to ignore total expenses on the home over the last ten years, and pretend there was no depreciation, and paid the full amount of the tax, it would come out to $1750.00 on my house if sold at $400K, which is about $100k more than it is worth.
Yes, I am willing to see my taxes go up some in order to bring about universal health care. I honestly believe that if we don’t bite the bullet and make health care available to all citizens now, the costs will continue to skyrocket until the 44 million of us with no health care insurance, and the 38 million of us with inadequate health care insurance, which brings us to almost a third of all US citizens who are financially unable to weather the storm of a major medical emergency, will be joined by basically everybody who isn’t actively employed by a major corporation, the government, or a land-grant university. This info below is ©2000.
Numbers continue to get worse. In 2011, the uninsured went up to 49.9 Million.
Universal health care isn’t pie in the sky, it exists in many first world countries, and has been tested thoroughly in the last 50 years. Switzerland may have the best plan, and it’s privately funded by each person. But that required, and requires, complex regulatory control and cost controls.
The Swiss method is impossible in the U.S. because it would be implacably fought, regardless of proven success, by both sides of our very skinny political spectrum. Liberals would hate it because it isn’t friendly to the uneducated or the addicted spend-thrift, conservatives would hate it because it should somehow magically self regulate, and still cover everybody. Well, conservatives generally seem to feel that it just won’t be available to everybody, and that it shouldn’t be. From a certain conservative perspective, if you can’t afford a health care plan and you get sick, you should accept your mortal fate, and get the dying over with.
I have friends now who are paying $1800.00 per month for their family of four to have health insurance, since the wife has a minor, non-life threatening, preexisting condition. I know a good, multiply published, writer who is only alive today because she had major surgery on charity, about a month ago. We aren’t taking care of the poorest 30% of us, and we’re putting that group into the reality that if they do get sick, they lose their homes, jobs, and generally whatever health insurance they do have. Americans die in the tens of thousands every year because they can’t afford health care, and can’t find somebody charitable enough to front the bill.
An average waitress in the U.S. makes $20,380 per year. She can’t afford to have a family or a health care plan. She almost certainly works two or more jobs, or her boss would be forced to pay her a benefits package, and restaurants just can’t do that for most of their people.
What I’m saying is that regardless of political convictions, millions of Americans cannot get health care packages because Obamacare was castrated before it began, and that most of those millions, if they do suffer catastrophic illness, will die. 26,000 people in that category die early every year, and the vast majority of them are productive, employed citizens until they have the bad taste to contract a major illness. We could do something, we can afford it, but a lot of Americans have been hoodwinked into believing that it would be the end of America if we actually fixed the clearly broken and getting worse health care system. Obamacare is a start, which the Republicans flatly refused to make. But Obamacare will never actually accomplish the goal if it isn’t improved. Dropping Obamacare is going back to square one for 16.8% of us. Fixing Obamacare, even if it requires a complete overhaul, is the best way to go. Don’t back down.
We sometimes read that the best lies contain as much truth as possible. That’s true enough, I guess. This article may be an outstanding example of that. Harry Reid most likely was engaging in some thoughtless hyperbole – both sides of the political divide seem content with that, and both have enough ardent believers who’ll accept their lines uncritically to make this sort of hyperbole well worthwhile. I’ve been caught up in it a time or two.
Still, this article tries to disenfranchise Warren Buffet from the Billionaire’s Club. “Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely.” Which causes me to wonder. Should I trust Paul Roderick Gregory‘s math, which seems reasonable on the surface, but is in pursuit of a narrative, or Warren Buffet, who was talking about a very specific situation. I mean, if Gregory is such an economic guru, couldn’t he have discovered what Buffet’s “tax breaks” were, and figured out how many of them applied to other millionaires (and billionaires)?
If liberals would pass the kind of reactionary laws their less thoughtful constituents want, then reactionary Republicans wouldn’t have to take the heat for passing stupid laws without considering the results first. Damn libs, anyway.
Tough on immigration. But how do you get those foreign factories in without letting in the foreigners? It’s a real dilemma.