Entries from blogs tagged with “Citizen Journalism Academy”
Another Memorial Day is upon us. We are busy throwing mud at each other about the size, scope and operation of our government. Meanwhile, despite Mr. Obama’s declaration of withdrawal, our troops continue to fight and die In Afghanistan. The price continues although no longer mentioned in our press. Below are casualty reports for the past week.
The Department of Defense announced today (Sunday) the death of four soldiers ``who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 14, in Sanjaray, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey C. Baker, 29, of Hesperia, Calif., assigned to
``766th Ordnance Company, 63rd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Spc. Mitchell K. Daehling, 24, of Dalton, Mass., Spc. William J. Gilbert, 24, of Hacienda Heights, Calif., and Pfc. Cody J. Towse, 21, of Elk Ridge, Utah,
All were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
The Department of Defense announced today (Tuesday)the death of two soldiers
``who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 16, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Fort Juan Muna, Guam.
Killed were: Sgt. Eugene M Aguon, 23, of Mangilao, Guam, and Spc. Dwayne W. Flores, 22, of Sinajana, Guam.
I’m a thug. This revelation came to me two years ago as I was attending a KNEA convention in Topeka. There I was seated between a grandmotherly woman in a denim romper wearing wooden necklace and an auto tech teacher from what I like to called “western Kansas” (which translates to “anywhere west of Wanamaker”).
So there I sat in a Topeka convention hall rolling the word “thug” around in my head. The imagery of mafiosos in Dick Tracy hats and tommy guns just didn’t seem to fit with the teachers sitting around me. Neither did the incendiary descriptions of teachers only out for their own self-interests. My goodness just a couple of rows away sat my former piano teacher and I KNEW any self-interested man would have fled the awful sounds I could produce for another career.
But a thug is what I have become. If I am a thug it is the educational system that has made me into a thug and for this I’m grateful because it means I have become an advocate for my students, myself, my family, my peers, my profession and my community.
I have come to see my career as a series of journeys. The first phase of the journey as a 21-year-old straight out of teachers college looking for a classroom of her own. Any basement classroom would do; even if it meant no centralized heat or air and sharing the space with a few creatures of the four-legged variety.
My journey started with the enthusiasm of establishing a career, staying at school until 10pm to “just wrap things up” and volunteering to be on parent, scholarship and district committees. My husband and I had just married and my time for students was limitless. In the teachers’ lounge I scoffed at the negativity of some of my peers while hero worshipping others who seems to have boundless energy and drive.
The journey changed so subtly that I barely recognized that I had arrived in a different place. Even today I can’t really say when exactly I changed or whether it was the job that changed or whether it was just a change in my awareness. Somewhere between baby number one, the changing of school administrations, earning my masters degree and baby number two my bright optimistic attitude dulled. The grousing in the teacher’s lounge didn’t seem so far away from reality.
Rather than believe some of my peers were just lazy or didn’t care, I started wondering what THEY had been like their first five years of teaching.
- When had they lost the love of teaching and learning from students? When had they lost their joy for teaching? Was I going to lose MY joy in teaching? Would the constant demand to do more with less wear me down as well? How could I combat a downward spiral of expecting the worst and receiving the expected and more?
At this point in my teaching journey I had known the support of a true instructional leader, an advocate for students and teachers. I was experiencing the loss of that support to an lackluster leader, a rubber stamp and a bully. For almost a decade I had dealt with a school environment that locked teachers out of the building, offered a $50 budget to classroom teachers and chastised them for not doing more with less each year. I could handle a decade of the challenges, but an uncertain future without a leader who valued my contribution was too much. While I loved who I taught and who I taught with, I was seriously contemplating becoming a clock-in, clock-out teacher.
When I expressed my plans to a peer, she chastised me for giving up too easily on myself, my students and teaching. This started the current phase of my journey. I figured out that year my contributions to the classroom were valuable and that value was recognized elsewhere. When I was offered the journalism position at Lawrence Free State H.S., I was ecstatic.
After pulling myself out of (and being pulled out of) the doldrums, I recognized the value of this new direction in my journey. Never again would I allow my professional career to be dictated by circumstances outside my control. If I didn’t think classroom teachers were being supported, I volunteered for a grant committee. If the principal was retiring, by god I would volunteer to be on the interview committee for the next principal. If I felt teachers needed an advocate, I volunteered to be a building representative. If I felt the state was making a mistake by cutting career and tech education funding for journalism, I would join forces with fellow journalism teachers to push back on a done deal.
On this journey I have had friends and family members question why teachers complain so much. After all we get three months off in the summer and only have to be in the classroom seven hours a day. My response is I spend all but two weeks of my summer traveling with students, attending conferences, taking classes, or teaching. As for seven hour days, I know few teachers who can do the work that needs to be done in seven hours. Their families live with a parent whose attention is often split between grading papers, preparing for classes and paying attention to the needs of their own children.
Oh, but I’m “one of the good ones” I have been told. That statement says more about the ignorance of the person uttering it than about the teaching profession. It reminds me of a situation where my brother-in-law was making jokes about lazy Mexicans until he realized he was pounding nails on a hot tin roof with a Mexican-American. He gave the same lame remark... “oh, but you are one of the good ones.” Back peddling at that point does NOT make up for insulting my profession, those who have mentored me, those who have supported me and those who give everything they can give to students everyday.
I have heard even peers question how hard it is to actually be a FILL IN THE BLANK teacher. When I hear this I conjure images of other teaching positions... I shudder at the energy level and multi-tasking abilities it takes to be a kindergarten teacher... I cringe at managing 40+ stinking students in and out of a locker room... I mentally shut down at the idea of dealing with the hormonal experiment that is middle school teaching... and I defend my peers because until I have walked in their shoes I cannot understand their journey.
So in the end when I hear my teachers union called a bunch of thugs, I am proud because when if you take away a teachers voice what you will get is a clock-in, clock-out employee. If we are thugs, we are “the good ones” fighting for our students, our families and our communities.
In my somewhat limited world whatever solution is proffered to address a problem must be judged by how well it actually resolves the problem.
In the recent cases of gun violence against groups, the weapons used were legal, the individuals using them were to a greater or lesser extent mentally ill and the use of large magazines aggravated the severity of the crime.
The proposed legislative solutions at the national level address the large magazine issue (although IMHO in a way that does not solve it). It also may address the set of weapons used but probably not because there is no really adequate distinction between those weapons and weapons used historically and broadly for hunting or personal defense. Now we could and probably will discuss outlawing the “Bushmaster” rifle but I will bet that within a year a “Tree master” rife with almost indistinguishable features will be available that will still leave us with the problem. Semi-automatic rifles are a pretty homogenous set as to operation. IMHO the only way to achieve a culture where not one child will be lost to gun violence is to totally outlaw guns and to make a very, very determined effort to capture all the illegal ones out there somewhere. If one bothers to notice this latter grouping drives the majority of our gun violence. Nothing so far seriously proposed does that.
I note little focus on mental health issues. I recognize this is a difficult issue to address but a failure to do so will almost certainly lead to further repetitions of the mass murders we have experienced in the recent past. Now, I am not certain there is anything we can do to totally negate the problem but a more rigorous tie between state mental health systems and the federal gun registry would be a good start. To do that correctly federal help is IMHO needed. Now, encompassed within that is a determination of what DSM codes should lead to an inability to acquire a firearm. I suspect that effort would in and of itself open a debate as large as the one on gun control as an end in itself.
I will avoid the issue of whether our cultural has a predisposition to violence that feeds this problem. If there is one there is nothing so far seriously proposed that addresses that issue.
Now doing nothing as opposed to doing something is not what I propose. But – big but – we need to be honest about the limitation of the proposed solutions. It would be a real disservice if our ultimate effort primarily harasses innocent people desiring to acquire a firearm they are legally entitled to own while accomplishing nothing toward limiting gun violence.
The World Bank isn't known historically as an environmentally friendly institution in terms of the sorts of development projects it has funded. So when the World Bank gets concerned about the possible affects of global warming perhaps even the skeptics ought to pay attention.
Check out the World Bank's climate change site here: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/climate-change-report-warns-dramatically-warmer-world-century
In another blog I criticized one of the favored approaches to reduce carbon emissions in the US. So as to not get the inevitable “What is your solution” here is one. In 1996 when climate change became a visible issue there were about 2.9 billion of us world wide. Today there are just shy of 7 billion of us. Each of us generates carbon emissions. Doubling the numbers of us all other things equal doubles the carbon emissions. Do we need seven billion people? Not only do we generate carbon we are consuming ever greater amounts of the planets resources.
.There are a number of estimates of how much a person generates in carbon emissions but using recent government originated data for the US the average person generates 5 metric tons of carbon emission per year. For each of us with a life expectancy of 60 years that is about 300 tons per lifetime. A decline in our population of just 10% would reduce carbon emissions by something close to 30 million tons a year. That is a massive reduction in carbon (and a pressure relief on our global resources). For reference the entire coal fired infrastructure of the US generates 1.9 billion tons of carbon emissions per year
Not only do we not look to population reduction as an element of climate change mitigation, we subsidize having children. Our tax deductions and credits favor having children. The costs of rearing them have been increasingly transferred to the society at large rather than remaining with the parent (health care, education and the like). Perhaps as a first step we could at least be tax neutral about children and let market forces drive choice about the number in a given family.
Now there are other nations on our planet that have taken step to actively limit population growth. Of course that is a significant intrusion by the stare in things that are generally considered personal. I would submit that many of the proposed solutions to mitigate climate change are also very intrusive on personal choice. Why is limiting children not just considered one more such approach?
Returning our population to a level consistent with the point where climate change was identified as a problem (1960s) we could reduce our carbon emissions by an amount equal to half the emissions from our coal fired plants. Combining such an initiative with a responsible program to replace coal and we could essentially eradicate the contribution of coal to climate change without massive impact on our economy.
Why is population reduction off the table if the climate change problem is so dire that some of us want to imprison our elected officials for inaction? Are we serious or are the only solutions proffered those that redistribute income to favored parts of the electorate and disproportionally punish coal burning states (why are so many red) for burning coal?
.Could it be that we (the citizens) are not rejecting the call of our scientists but find serious fault with the solutions they put forth
Let us examine the proposed carbon tax. It is sold based on the premise that it would yield charges more in keeping with the true costs of the carbon we use and that such pricing would lead to better choices. Really? Just exactly how do we in Kansa not use coal for our utilities in the immediate future? We have no free market in which to choose.
At a reasonable rate increase it will take upwards of a generation to replace our coal plants with renewable energy supported by something like gas turbines to fill in when there is no wind. We will not have a robust power distribution system for at least a decade so until then we can not even buy from most other places. From where does the alternative come?
The reality is that we will pay through the nose for a carbon tax while those in Washington state using hydroelectric power will not. If this is a national problem it would seem that a national investment in replacing high carbon generators is more appropriate then a market solution where there is no market.
Now to further discredit this approach we have those that want to turn the carbon tax into a massive financial redistribution process. So instead of a national effort we have a process that penalizes those using coal and then further redistributes the incomes of the middle class in the coal burning regions.
Why would those burning coal want to sign up for this approach? Where is the shared sacrifice? Why are we not approaching this challenge as a nation instead of using punitive methods to “punish” the evil coal users?
Just maybe it is not the message transmitted by our scientists but the highly inequitable proposed solution that is causing people to hesitate in jumping into the deep end of this pool.
Recently, the city revealed some of the planning for the new sports complex proposed for West Lawrence. We are assured this is a good deal. I have no reason to doubt the intentions of our lawgivers but I have a nagging concern.
I have not seen any form of prioritized long range plan for major infrastructure investments by local governments. I have heard the city is working to produce such an effort but in its absence just exactly what are we deferring or worse what will require major funding in addition to this effort.
I am aware of a possible shortfall in our public safety infrastructure. There are unfulfilled needs for our mental health services. Our overall existing infrastructure is in need of repair and replacement. We have committed to a number of shared investments such as the restoration of the farmland property. There could be more – much more!
Additionally our school district could be facing a need for major resources in addition to the evolving capital plan if our governor is successful in pushing school funding down to the local level. Our city and county may be forced into significant resource expenditures to replace social services no longer provided by leaner state expenditures.
It would seem to me that the real responsibility of the city leadership is not to “sell” the benefits of the sports complex but to assure the citizenry that they have considered all reasonable future needs and have determined this is the best project to fund near term.
More importantly, assurances should be provided that we are not creating a major future obligation that will drive property taxes (already among the highest in the state) to levels causing real pain for our homeowners.
Just because there is an existing funding stream does not in any way support this project avoiding priority consideration. That money can be redirected by the electorate to any number of needs.
The magnitude of the proposed investment and the lack of visibility into what resources our local governments may need for the complete project and for future public needs suggest that as a minimum this project be submitted to the public accompanied by an initial effort at a long range investment plan. April 2013 seems a good point to address such a major investment commitment in a collaborative manner.
The wind picks up leaves
swirls them around
teens commit pranks
while adults act like clowns
You make chicken chili
heat up spiced cider
put beer in the fridge
stock up on candy
Carve pumpkins to
look like a fright
bring in the cat
turn on the porch light
Get in your car
Dirt roads wind you around
Take you far out of town
Where haystacks seem bleak
Until scarecrows peek
from around them!
Witches on horned owls
screech high overhead
Demons pop up from
under the hood
Clouds cover the moon
You hear a loud thud
You have a flat tire
in three feet of mud
You arrive back at home
It's time to disrobe
You sneeze once or twice
You've caught a damn cold!
Have one last beer
with your favorite candy
Pull on warm socks
Put your feet up.
Oops, turn out the light
Blow out the candle
Put out the cat
Spirits creep in, see you're asleep
Let themselves out with
hardly a peep.
Your snoring is loud
you're all tuckered out
Your dog jumps into bed
howling in fright!
Realization sinks in
it's gonna ba a long frekin night
On Halloween night in your neighborhood
(10-28-2007 - Ronda Miller)
Friends of mine seem surprised, and certainly questioning, when they learn I'm pro life. The questions my stance, which is a life style choice not a political siding, garner include the standard ones. I'm asked why I feel it's okay to tell someone else what they have to do with their body - my response is that I'm not telling anyone what they should do with their own body, just what they shouldn't do to a body too small and defenseless to stand up for itself.
Hasn't that been the American way since the beginning of the American dream? Don't Americans put themselves into harms way and travel across the sea to protect those who don't have the physical abilities to defend themselves against cutting swords or toxic poisons another entity uses on them?
It's easy for me to answer the 'when life begins' question. My response is that as a human development major I was taught that life begins with the zygote. I believe that.
I appreciate people come from different belief systems, lifestyle choices, opinions, cultures and religions.
In a perfect world the smallest form of human life would be cherished, protected, coddled, nourished. Once that perfect world of respect for the most fragile of human life begins, then our climate of a world at war begins to change.
Our focus shifts and we begin to look inward towards the smallest movement, the slightest sound of a beating heart.
I don't want or expect the reverse of our present culture where women for the most part retain secondary rights in respect to equal pay, sexual bias, and exploitation. They don't need to be put on a pedestal.
But our culture would be vastly improved if our focus was placed on the family - the smallest of life's form was cherished to the ultimate end of giving it the optimal in physical, emotional and educational care. Women wouldn't be subjected to the fear of rape or incest because they would be cherished as the sacred houses where honored life begins.
In a perfect world no one would need to defend their reasons NOT to kill an unprotected life.
I know we don't live in a perfect world, but let us begin doing what we can. It starts at home - it begins within.
In a recent thread on taxes a post established a choice between the following:
Tax and spend assigned to the Democrats
Borrow and spend assigned to Republicans
The question was which was preferred. That is a false dilemma. We can match spending and taxes. Now where debt is concerned we need to be thoughtful.
Debt accrued to finance on going activities will lead to an ever increasing debt. Greece comes to mind where continuing social spending was financed with debt until it became difficult to borrow further. This is not a good use of debt.
Now using debt to pay for one time occurrences of finite duration and high cost with lasting consequence is acceptable. Wars fit this category. We have routinely paid for our wars with debt as wars are expensive, finite and multigenerational (future generations benefit). If that is not so we should not be in the war.
Since all our wars have been legally voted we will have to presume the majority agreed with this premise whatever the reader’s personal opinion of any given war might be.
Too many false issues on here!!
Writers throughout the state of Kansas converged in Salina this past weekend for the yearly Kansas Authors Club convention and presentation of awards.
The convention was hosted by District Four under the leadership of President William Karnowski.
Key note speaker was Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. Goldberg is state of Kansas Poet Laureate.
Winners for the state poetry contest (open to the general public and members), are as follows:
Haiku: Judge Irma Hudson First - Box Turtle- Yvonne Green, D1 Second - Snow Drifts from the Sky - Barbara Brady, D1 Third - Moonlit Cottonwoods , Roy Beckemeyer, D5 First honorable mention- Flurry of Feathers - Diane Palka, D2 Second honorable mention - Coolness in the Fall -Annabelle Corrick Beach, D1
Theme: Judge Timothy Pettet First - Brushing Away my Fears - Judy Hatteberg, D5 Second, Such Power, Yvonne Green, D1 Third - It Takes Two To Tango, Jane Bandy, D7 First honorable, Hope, Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second honorable, Encouraging Words, Barbara Brady, D1 Tied for second honorable mention, As a River Runs, Laura Patterson,
Lyrics: Judge Barry Barnes First - Shipwrecked Love - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second - Saturday Night Dreams - Audrey Collins, D6 Third - Editor's Lament, Annabelle Corrick Beach, D1 First Honorable Mention - Courtin' Country - Kay Towle, D6 Second honorable mention, Tall-grass Spring, Theodore Farmer, D5 Classic Forms : Judge Timothy Pettet First - Roy Beckemeyer - Winter's Weft, D5 Second - Prairie Fire Pantoum - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Third - Half Joy Wing, Kristine Polansky, D4 First honorable - Molds - Dennis Etzel Second Honorable He Drinks Again - Pat Bonine, D1
Poets Choice: Judge Timothy Pettet TORNADO WARNINGS - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second Place, Wedding Picture, Diane Wahto, D5 Third place - May Morning - Diane Wahto, D5 First Honorable Mention - Sharing a Drink - Sarah Langley Second honorable mention - Grease - Dennis Etzel
Free Verse: Judge Paul Goldman First - East off Highway 77, Dusk - Kevin Rabas, D2 Second - Somewhere in the Water - Duane Johnson, D1 Third - City People - Judy Hatteberg, D5 First honorable mention - The Yellow Cat Naps - Roy Beckemeyer, D5 Second honorable - Curry's " Prelude to Tragedy": John Brown - Marilyn Page
Narrative: Judge Carolyn Hall First - Sweat For Sale - Diane Palka, D2 Second - Second Year Blues - Ronda Miller, D2 Third - Where the High Plains Meet Heaven - Ronda Miller, D2 First honorable mention - If Not for Tears - Ronda Miller, D2 Second honorable mention - That Time Again - Jean Jackson, D2
Whimsy: Judge Carolyn Hall First - For Women Only - Audrey Collins, D6 Second - DFTT - Kristine Polansky, D4 Third - The Handyman - Paulette Mattingly, D5 First honorable mention - Evaporating Issues - Annabelle Corrick Beach, D1 Second honorable mention - The Awful Truth - Yvonne Green, D1
Additional information about the club and how to become a Kansas Authors Ckub member may be found on-line. Kansasauthorsclub.com. (D stands for one of the seven districts that the club is divided in throughout the state)
What is a half truth? The word truth means an absolute meaning fact or certainty. If what you say/write is not accurate it is not the truth.
Exactly what is not truthful in Representative Jenkins comment that “Right now we have people who are happy to collect unemployment and not work. We have a problem with people working the system.”
I might point out one could also write that right now we have people who are doing their level best to find a job and end receipt of unemployment.
The word “people” is a plural noun. It does not mean all. It does mean more than one. She did not say all people. Her statement is factual – the truth. My statement is also true. Neither is a misrepresentation – another word some on here use when the truth hurts.
I remember when I posted that almost half of US households pay no federal income tax. At first I was a liar until I published data from the IRS. Then I was misleading because someone pointed out that almost half of those not paying taxes do at some point return to the tax roles. Absolutely, but that does not make my point a lie or a misrepresentation.
Using the word lie or misrepresentation as a weapon to discredit others from legitimate and accurate reporting is a tried and true way to distort reality and win arguments but it contributes nothing to responsible dialogue and hardens the sorely needed debate about the future of our country.
Previous: IPS 6/24/2012
It is amazing I have the nerve to show my face around here, but I saw something worth a post, so it is below.
If you've seen it, and can identify it, you're welcome to do so in the comments. Otherwise I'll do so in a day or so. I was headed back from an auction this weekend and this subject caught my eye.
Coming out of the conventions I cannot help but note that the level of discord is acerbic and escalating. The word liar is bandied about freely - frequently focused on opinion and beliefs. Intent is questioned and painted as base. Plans are challenged with high emotional content. Most exchanges are a few sentences long (or less). Horrendous problems are reduced to short sound bites.
In our own little LJW world, ad hominem attack is the coin of the realm. Both sides are absolutely certain as to the righteousness of their opinions. Contrary opinions are belittled and reduced to ridicule. A poster may be cosigned to psychiatric services for expressing anger at what in his/her opinion is a gross misrepresentation.
Now, I spend much time buried in our nation’s history with emphasis on our civil war. I have recently been reading James McPherson’s book “Battle Cry of Freedom“. I would commend it to our free wheeling debaters on here with focus on the political and civic environment from 1850 to 1860. In my reading a similar environment to the one today existed (different topic). That one led to a civil war and 600,000 casualties.
I cannot help but wonder where we are headed with our current debates. Having thoroughly debased the opposition is compromise any longer a possibility? Are we really so sure that our opinions are transcendent and our opponent’s ideas are so worthless? Shades of my kindergarten playground!
One of the basic tenants of Mr. Obama’s campaign was a more equitable distribution of income. The process to be used to achieve this goal was not presented in detail at that time. After almost four years I would contend we can see the outlines of his approach.
The Democrats created in Mr. Obama’s first year in office a 1 trillion a year imbalance in our annual federal national budget which continues into the foreseeable future. Many Democrats call for continued spending at that level of GDP or perhaps a further expansion to 25% of GDP. It is my contention that the only way we can pay for that is to soak the upper half of the middle class because they are the group paying the taxes now. No rationale increase on the wealthy would cover an increase so large.
It is also my contention that for the most part there is no such thing as a “Bush Tax Cut” .The current tax rates on the people who pay most of our federal taxes (upper middle class) are in excess of what they were paying pre the Reagan tax cuts. While presumably ending those cuts would also increases taxes on the rest of us, in fact the expansion of deductions since Reagan means the near 50% paying little or no federal income tax now will see no increase. Letting the “Bush Tax Cuts” expire will tax the upper middle class at a rate unique in our history (except wars), exempt about half the tax payers from federal taxes and barely nick the rich.
I further argue that the ACA is an exemplar for all future broad based entitlements (Social Security and Medicare) where they will be heavily means tested. The ACA will be and most other federal programs are already. Note that part of the rational for the $ 600 billion in cuts to Medicare is a change in the means te4sting formula. This enhanced means testing on broad based national programs will devastate the upper half of the middle class, expand entitlements significantly to the lower half and essentially hold harmless the rich.
In short through tax and entitlement policy the Obama administration is relentlessly moving toward redistributing income from the upper half of the middle class to the lower half of the middle class while avoiding most impact on their rich donor set? In fact his administration may well smother any ambition to make more than about $50K as the government in one form or another will take most of it in excess to that level. Only the already really rich (>.1M) will still have incentive to achieve.
We on this list have on several occasions had discussions as to whether the Democrats ever had the votes in the 111th Congress to pass a tax increase.
If my research is accurate from July 7, 2009 to August 25, 2009, and September 25, 2009 to February 4, 2010, the US Senate had only 40 (39 at one point) Republican Party Members. To establish a filibuster 41 votes are required. During that period the Republicans by themselves apparently could not muster a filibuster to block a Democratic Party attempt to raise taxes.
During the same period The US House had over 250 Democratic Party members - more than enough to pass a tax increase if so inclined.
It would seem that there was at least a four month window of opportunity during the 111th Congress to pass a tax increase (any version favored by Democrats) if the party leadership could have held their respective caucus to the task. Does anybody know what happened?
I remember back in the old war movies where that line was frequently used just before a character sacrificed himself for the survival of the group. You do not hear it much today.
Elsewhere on here I have posted a series of opinions as to just how we are all sharing in supporting the future of our nation. The wealthiest among us have an effective tax rate lower than that levied on the middle class. Almost half of us draw or anticipate drawing federal benefits but pay no federal income tax. The investment of public funds for personal aggrandizement is rampant and growing. The clamor in this space and the national media is focused on more- much more - for me or for my friends. The collusion between elected officials and the overwhelming numbers of “rent” seekers is flaunted – whether it be the enacting of selected tax breaks, the provision of unsustainable public pensions or other costly largess (like maybe a new recreation center).
We seem to have lost focus. However we may perceive the need for some public service somebody has to pay for it. There are few volunteers. Can we really expect that those who our involuntarily anointed to pay will not reciprocate by finding their own way to avoid paying? After all, is that not what is happening. To quote Mrs. Helmsley “only the little people pay taxes”. It has become everyman for himself and somebody else can take the consequences.
I wonder just how long this can continue before we are once again confronted with a scene where somebody must “take one for the gipper”. Will there be a volunteer? I am beginning to think not.
Oprah earned $222,000,000 last year. She likely paid a lower percentage in taxes than you or I did. Do you hate her for being intelligent enough to become wealthy and give mega money to the charities of her choice (many of them are outside the United States) rather than the government?
Do you despise Romney or Brad Pitt for being wealthy and giving their money to the charities of their choice?
Do you feel people lose their common sense during the months prior to Presidential elections in political debate?
Whoa Toto, there they go again. We all know that certain posters on here argue for an ending to the so called “Bush Tax Cuts”. They make it sound as if only the rich would be impacted. They are lying! Many of you already pay more tax today then you would have pre the “Bush Tax Cuts”! They would increase that further!
A quick look at the income tax rate tables (IRS source) and one finds that today the upper half of the middle class has an income tax rate of 25 % (or greater) for income greater than $69K. In 1965 (pre-Reagan) the 25% rate started at inflation adjusted $85 K. Looks to me as if today the middle class is already paying more in taxes than they were pre the “Bush Tax” cut.
How could any intelligent person call the current tax system a tax cut when the middle class is already paying more than they were at one of the high points in our taxation history?
Now in 1965 the 36% marginal tax rate began at in inflation adjusted income of $170K while today the 35% bracket starts at an income level of $379K. This is clearly the reverse of the way we have come to tax the middle class. The rich (greater than $250K or so) have made out like bandits – they and they alone received a big tax cut.
The Republicans have tax proposals that would seemingly reduce taxes for all but (absent real detail) appear to raise taxes on the middle by reducing deductions used primarily by the middle. The President proposes a modest tax increase on the rich (nowhere near 1965 levels) while his surrogates propose substantial tax increases on the middle to address a budget imbalance that the President refuses to address through cuts or meaningful tax increases on the rich.
The guy in the green coat and the fire and brimstone machine has gotten loose again. Neither party proposes to help the middle income taxpayer but both work to focus the middle on marginal issues to protect the elites. Isn’t that what it is all about – protecting the elites.
Don’t let that man in a green suit confuse you. Unfortunately, I think Toto retired. If you don’t want a substantial federal tax increase you better pull back the curtain yourself!
If you are up, one of the most important space exploration events is happening now through early Monday morning (August 6), the landing of Curiosity. Media coverage is pretty spotty. Fortunately there is NASA TV for us night owls. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
CNN is covering this at least on line but they are getting their feed from NASA, so go right to the source.
Update! Curiosity has landed..first photos.