Symptom May 20, 2013Posted by Sobek in News.
I just finished reading a talk that included the following quote, in which the writer notes
“the striking fact that even as traditional marriage has declined in the United States … the evidence has mounted for the institution’s importance to the well-being of children.”
I’d like to suggest that it’s not a coincidence that such evidence is mounting. During a college anatomy class many, many years ago, we were studying the roles of the different structures of the brain, and it was noted that we still don’t understand what some of these structures do. In part that’s because of how we come to understand the parts we do get – through traumatic accidents. If fifty people get damaged in a certain part of the brain, and then they all have trouble with their speech functions, then you might reasonably conclude that area of the brain deals with speech functions. Some parts of the brain don’t usually get damaged, unless the damage is so severe that the victim is killed, so it’s much harder to get data on what those parts do. Basically, we learn the most about some things when they stop working properly.
Just so with marriage. It’s an institution that, in the West, has functioned more or less the same for thousands of years. There have been so-called intellectuals throughout our history who have tried to tear it down, but either they were unsuccessful, or else they were too successful at also tearing down every other aspect of society, and it was hard to attribute the resulting bloodshed to any one thing.
Now we have a growing sense that marriage is obsolete (and, ironically, that it’s the MOST IMPORTANT CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE EVAH, but only for gays and lesbians), and we’re seeing the tragic results. It’s not just a coincidence – the attacks on the institution are producing the data that demonstrate the folly of those attacks.
The article I was reading is here, and it also has a lot of information about those aforementioned symptoms (divorce, abuse, cohabitation, “gay marriage,” etc.). Also, it’s a talk given by Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle and a former member of the Utah Supreme Court, so if you’ve ever wondered what an apostle looks and sounds like, here’s your chance.
It Didn’t Take a Nostradamus May 19, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
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Who could have foreseen this?
Corporate America’s response to the 40%, “Cadillac Tax” on employee benefits exceeding $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families is driving up the cost of healthcare for both workers and taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week that cuts its estimate of revenue from the tax 42 percent over the next decade, from $137 billion to about $80 billion.
Well, we did, over 3 years ago:
The Cadillac insurance plan tax levies a 40% tax on the amount of a premium over a threshold: for individual plans that threshold is $8500 and for family plans it’s $23,000. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that within a couple of years, compensation packages will adjust so that nobody is paying that tax. No more Cadillac insurance plans.
Turns out that others agree:
“I don’t think there’s any employer that’s going to pay the tax,” said Steve Wojcik, a vice president at the National Business Group on Health, a a Washington-based trade group that represents Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and other large employers. “I would be surprised if they [the IRS] even collect,” he said.
Yeah, it didn’t take a lot of foresight to see this coming. I also included this cool chart back in 2009:
One change: the tax doesn’t go into effect until 2018, so I’m going to revise my estimate of revenues down to $0 billion. The CBO should start seeing things my way by about 2016.
[H/T: ArthurK in the AoSHQ sidebar]
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Some software engineer wrote an article called “We’re living in an Ayn Rand economy” at Salon. It displays absolutely no understanding of Ayn Rand’s work, and it’s filled with silliness and misappropriations of various stats, but I’d like to focus on his primary point:
In the past 20 years, corporate profits have quadrupled while the corporate tax percent has dropped by half. The payroll tax, paid by workers, has doubled.
Because, of course, they’re greedy:
Perhaps Ayn Rand never anticipated the impact of unregulated greed on a productive middle class.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy suggests that average working people are “takers.” In reality, those in the best position to make money take all they can get, with no scruples about their working-class victims, because taking, in the minds of the rich, serves as a model for success. The strategy involves tax avoidance, in numerous forms.
Pretty standard liberal fare, but let’s dig in anyway:
Fecal News You Can Use May 18, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
Attention swimmers: More than half of the public pools tested in a new study contained bacterial evidence that someone may have pooped in the pool.
It turns out that “everything that guy just said is BS” – the study didn’t actually say that people pooped in the pool, it said that they don’t shower properly before entering the pool. That leaves them with a certain amount of, how you say in your country, residual errrr, you know, the ummmmm….aw screw it:
“Each person has an average of 0.14 grams of fecal material on their perianal surface that could rinse into the water,” the report notes.
I guess DinTX didn’t need to reroute that sewage pipe after all.
There’s No Helping These People May 18, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
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What the heck, San Francisco?
A popular San Francisco restaurant called Bacon Bacon must shut its doors Friday after failed negotiations with neighbors who complained about the smell of bacon.
Had they put their restaurant next to me, that sentence would have ended “…neighbors who reveled in the aroma of bacon.”
As for SF? Surely Dante reserved a circle for those who reject bacon.
Gail Collins vs. a Wet Frisbee May 18, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
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I’m not sure whether it’s a metaphor or simile, but Gail Collins of the NYT is sure struggling with whatever it is:
Before Congress is finished with the Internal Revenue Service, there’s a serious danger some of us are going to wind up feeling sorry for the auditors.And, honestly, that is not the way we were planning on spending the spring. Especially since it appears that there are people making decisions at the I.R.S. who have the intelligence of a wet Frisbee. [emphasis mine]
“Intelligence of a wet Frisbee?” So dry Frisbees are smarter than wet Frisbees? Frisbees get smarter when they dry off?
She goes on to try to gin up sympathy for the IRS: they have so many cases, the law is so difficult to implement, organizations are trying to game the system… Talk about studiously avoiding the issue and trivializing the systemic abuse that’s been uncovered.
If Ms. Collins witnessed a hit and run accident, she’d be worried about how it affected the driver’s gas mileage.
Ignorance or Evasion? Either Way They’ve Gotta Go May 17, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
I thought Oliver North was pretty evasive with this “I don’t recall”s back in 1990, but Eric Holder (“I don’t know”) and Steve Miller (“I don’t remember”) make him look pretty forthcoming. Here’s a compilation of Holder’s “I don’t know”s from a couple of days ago:
Back in late 2006 I wrote a quick little post on Chavez and his plans for Venezuela:
Emboldened by a resounding re-election, President Hugo Chavez pledged to shake up Venezuela with a more radical version of socialism and forge a wider front against the United States in Latin America.
What can we expect from this “radical version of socialism?” More nationalization, perhaps? Chavez tells us not to worry:
The president insists he is a democrat and will continue to respect private property — though he has boosted state control over the oil industry and has said he might nationalize utilities.
The only thing I’ll nationalize will be the oil industr…wait, the only two things I’ll nationalize will be the oil industry and the util…hold on, the only three things I’ll nationalize will be the oil industry, the utilities, and a paper mi…darn it! the only four things I’ll nationalize will be the oil industry, the utilities, a paper mill, and a valve fact…crap! the only five things I’ll nationalize will be…
Fast forward to 6 1/2 years later, where after Chavez’s intervening rampage of nationalizing industries, we can see the fruits of his “radical version of socialism.”
First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper.
Blaming political opponents for the shortfall, as it does for other shortages, the government says it will import 50m rolls to boost supplies.
Say what you will about the evils of capitalism, but at least it delivers on toilet paper.
Old News for IB Wimmens, I’m Sure May 16, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
I don’t want the IB wimmens to think we’re gettin’ all braggy, but:
Men who are physically strong are more likely to take a right wing political stance, while weaker men are inclined to support the welfare state, according to a new study. Researchers discovered political motivations may have evolutionary links to physical strength. Men´s upper-body strength predicts their political opinions on economic redistribution, according to the research.
USA Today Seems a Little Conflicted May 16, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
Compare and contrast USA Today’s headline with the text:
The first couple of lines from the article say:
The number of Americas applying for unemployment benefits for the first time rose sharply in the week ended May 11 after hitting a five-year low the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
First-time claims jumped 32,000 to 360,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths volatility, rose 1,250 to 339,250.
Seems like someone wrote the headline before they got the data.
Favorite (Non Obama Scandal) Headline of the Day May 15, 2013Posted by skinbad in Ballistics, Ducks, Nature Shit, News, Travel.
Hey, I’m no expert. I would guess impact with giant, fast-moving, chopping blades would have to be somewhere in the mix.
Doctors Opine on Obamacare with Their Feet May 14, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
This is a few weeks old (4/23/2013) and is probably familiar to those of you who follow Fox, but I hadn’t seen it so I’ll inflict it on you regardless. Apparently a talk on Obamacare was poorly received at a medical convention, with few doctors showing up and most of those walking out during the presentation.
I’m so excited about Obamacare.