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Max at the Dog Park


Originally uploaded by Smash Monster

Max at the dog park. “Yah, I can take him.”

Update on Veterans Running for Office

Read Boston Herald coverage on Iraq vets running for office.

Particularly interesting is the fact that the number of politicians who have served their country in the military has dropped from about 80% in the 70s to 30% these days. And of course if you did serve and happen to be a Democrat, the Republicans will find some way to disparage your service. To be fair, those Republicans who didn’t serve were just being good Samaritans and leaving spots for the disadvantaged.

Mother Jones also has some interesting discussion on this topic.

Wyden’s Tax Proposal

Good coverage in Blue Oregon. I particularly like this tidbit:

Right now, a teacher and truck driver making a combined $60,000 pay a 25% tax rate on their last dollar of income (that’s not their overall rate, but the marginal rate; if they get a $1,000 raise, they pay $250.) But if Paris Hilton or Bill Frist buys and sells some Halliburton stock for a $100,000 profit, they only pay 15%. And those are not unfair examples. According to a New York Times article last year, capital gains and dividends make up, on average, 3 to 4% of the income of people who make less than $100,000 … but 24.7% of the income of those who make between $500,000 and $1 million, 37.6% of the income of those making between $1 and $10 million, and 61.4% of the income of those making over $10 million. As a result of favorable tax treatment for these forms of income, as Pulitzer prizewinning tax reporter David Cay Johnston has noted, the richest 400 Americans pay a lower Federal tax rate than the merely rich, people making, say, $300,000 a year.

Men Are from Apes, Women from Bonobos?

Great quote about human beings by Emory University primatologist Frans de Waal:

“Being both more systematically brutal than chimps and more empathic than bonobos, we are by far the most bipolar ape. Our societies are never completely peaceful, never completely competitive, never ruled by sheer selfishness, and never perfectly moral.”

He’s just published a new book on the topic called “Our Inner Ape” (grin)

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later in the Sunshine State

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The Brady organization is campaigning against a new Florida law that relaxes the standards for using “deadly force” when you feel threatened.

Old law – if you could retreat to safety, you should try that first.

New law – you don’t need to retreat, you can stand your ground and use deadly force if you feel threatened.

They seem to be using the “Shoot First Law” campaign to worry Florida lawmakers about an impact on tourism by focusing on such Florida-lubbers as the Brits, who seem characteristically non-plussed by the hoopla.

I’m not sure the Brady folks are interpreting the law accurately – will have to research it more.

I’m no gun nut, but I do think law-abiding Americans have a right to own guns. I do believe standardized safety standards should exist – much as they do for drivers’ licenses to keep irresponsible, bad drivers off the road. Seems reasonable to me – but these hot-button topics tend to render folks incapable of reason on both sides of the argument.

Out of Sight – Out of Mind – Dumping of the Homeless

Not as shocking as it should be in today’s America that other counties and cities have been allegedly dropping off their homeless in Downtown LA – let them deal with it.

Maybe LA should hire some buses and drive them to the White House and drop them off there – might have to rethink the memes regarding our “booming economy”.

As states, counties, and cities struggle with slashed budgets, what better way to save money on those pesky homeless people – drop them off in another town! The fact that law enforcement appears to be participating in this disgusting practice really shows how conservative compassion leads to the disintegration of civilized society.

Even animal control takes in their own stray dogs and cats. Hey! I just came up with another cost-cutting, face-saving strategy for the embattled director of animal services.