Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Year: 2012 (page 2 of 2)

Tax Receipts By Source 1934 – 2011

I saw the below image on Facebook.  It was posted by a group called the Other 98%.  I wanted to see, before I shared it, if it was true.  So, I went looking for the data.  I found a spreadsheet on The White House U.S. Office of Management and Budget. I didn’t find any data to support the picture, but I did find something else just as interesting.

$0.22 for every dollar paid by the American Worker.

Sad Tax Data

In 1934, the tax receipts totaled (not including Social Security)  $784 million dollars – 53.57% was Individual Income Taxes and 46.43% was Corporate Income Tax.  In 2011, the tax receipts totaled (not including Social Security) $1,272,558 million – 85.77% was made up from Individual Income Tax and only 14.23% came from Corporations.

I don’t believe they’re paying their fair share, do you?

 

A Week Of Sanity

I have decided that it is time to start spreading the sanity in our political debates.  It is time we all become educated in the economy to learn why we shouldn’t fall for more of tax breaks for the “job creators”.

I’m starting with Robert Reich.  Mr. Reich has served three presidents: Ford, Carter and Clinton.  The man knows his stuff.  Click on the video link on the right or click here to see him debunk 6 economic myths.

Scott Walker’s Job Problem

According to a new Scott Walker Ad, he has created 33,000 jobs.  Boy, wouldn’t that be nice?  The fact is – he hasn’t.  Wisconsin still leads the US in job losses.  In fact, according to the BLS report, the state of Wisconsin is the ONLY state to show job losses over the past year.

Now, Politifact (a group with whom I normally agree) has rated a statement of Tom Barrett’s regarding the blame for the job losses as half true.  Barrett’s statement:

“Governor Walker has caused Wisconsin to lose more jobs than any other state in the country.”

PolitiFact says that, while Barrett’s numbers are correct – we have lost more jobs than any other state in the country – “there is no proof that the measures caused the job losses”.

That’s where I have a problem.  You see, 17,800 of the jobs lost were government jobs.  Walker’s policies and budget shredding caused the loss of more than half the jobs that were lost over the past year.  How can you say he isn’t to blame?

And, a political point I would like to add:  You can’t take the credit, if you’re going to sideswipe the blame.  In other words, while the rest of the country has seen an economic improvement, our state has not.  I don’t blame Walker for the economic downturn.  That would be like blaming President Obama for the economic downturn that happened before he came on board.  It is foolish.  However; while 49 states have seen their job numbers go up, our state has seen job losses – in the year that Walker has been in charge.  Sorry, dude, you have to shoulder the blame.

Scott Walker has spent more time making his rich backers happy. He’s been kissing the Koch brothers’ collective rears and he hasn’t been supporting the people of the great state of Wisconsin.  He took away collective bargaining rights for public employees and he has caused job losses of government employees.  We lost 6,100 private sector jobs.

Scott Walker and his policies are bad for Wisconsin.  Slashing budgets during a recession just makes the recession worst.  On June 5, we need to vote the boy out and put in a man who can get the job done.

Youth Unemployment

This is an actual quote from Mitt Romney from Mitt Romney.com:

“I think this is a time when young people are questioning the support they gave to President Obama three and a half years ago. He promised bringing the country together; that sure hasn’t happened. He promised a future with good jobs and good opportunity; that hasn’t happened. And the pathway that he pursued is one which has not worked. Young people recognize that and I think that’s why they’re going to increasingly look for a different approach.” –Mitt Romney

Below the quote, there are links to the “facts” that support his data.  Two links to the same Time Magazine article written by Josh Sanburn (which I haven’t read) from February of this year,  there’s a couple of links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and some more links to articles .

Here’s the thing:  Mitt Romney is hoping that you won’t research any farther than that.  He’s hoping that he can convince you that President Obama hasn’t done enough and he’s handing you little tidbits that support his claim.

So, I did the research myself.  Below is a chart.  This is the annual unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) from 1948 until 2011. I’ve broken the data down by age: 16 – 24 and over 25.  The third line is the combined annual unemployment rate.  I obtained the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.  (Side note: If you love data, like I love data, you could spend hours on this site running queries!)

Here’s the thing:  Romney is trying to make you think that somehow our youth have it so much worse than the rest of us and President Obama is responsible for it.  However; the truth is that the unemployment rate for 16 – 24 year olds has always been higher than the unemployment rate for the rest of the population.

 

Annual Unemployment 1948 - 2011

To My Gay Brothers and Sisters: God Loves YOU!

I realize that not all of you are Christian, but hear me out anyway.  I was praying the other day on my way into work.  (I do that.)  And, the following thoughts occurred to me.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  God loves me.  God made me who I am.

For a good portion of my life, I have struggled in my relationship with God and being gay.  Right-wing “Christians” will point to all sorts of passages in the Bible as proof that God hates gays.  Just last week, a right-wing co-worker proclaimed that if I am secure in being gay, it must be because Satan has been answering my prayers.  Satan – not God.

And, they wonder why we hate them.

Actually, I don’t hate my co-worker, I pity her.  And, her comment led to a very interesting discussion with my pastor (yes, I attend church – although, I admit that I miss some Sundays).  And, that conversation led to something I believe that God revealed to me while I was praying.  Ready?  Because I’m serious:

God loves us – every single one of us – and He wants us to be happy. On top of that, He wants us to have a relationship with Him and His Son. And – anyone who interferes with our relationship with God is not working for God and they are not taking orders from God – they are doing Satan’s work.

Think about that. I’ll wait. Read it again, if you must.  I’ll even repeat it – if someone interferes with your relationship with God, they are doing Satan’s work.

See, Satan wants our souls.  He has a deal with God.  He can tempt us and if we give in to him, he gets our soul.  BUT, we have to freely give Satan our soul.  I’ve never done that – have you?  Well, if you have, you can get it back, by asking for forgiveness from God.  But, that’s another topic.

See, Rev Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church – you know, the “God Hates Fags” guy – He’s working for Satan.  NOM – the National Organization of Marriage people – Satanists.  American Family Associations – HUGE SATAN FOLLOWERS.  And, all these groups have something in common – they are very sad and we should pray for them.  They don’t realize that they are working for Satan.  They have been so overtaken by believing in themselves, by their destructive self-righteousness, that they have scales on their eyes.  These people are the modern day Sadducees and Pharisees – you know, those people who were so against Jesus in the Bible and tried to trick Him. They had an answer for everything.  And, they were wrong.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that all who believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).

Don’t forget that.

I’m not saying that we aren’t sinners.  We are.  Everyone is a sinner.  But, we’re not sinners solely because we’re gay.  Should we try to live a righteous life?  Well, I can’t speak for you, but I try to do so.  Do I succeed?  Not always.

And, now a quote from Spencer Tracy: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”  If you have a relationship with God, don’t hide it.  Live it, breathe it and pass it on.  If you don’t, don’t hide from Him.  He loves you and He wants a relationship with you.  Don’t run from Him.  And, don’t let the bastards get you down.  Don’t let the right-wing terrorists separate you from the love of God.  Living in His light is better than living in their darkness.

God Bless!

U.S. Constitution and the Individual Mandate…

Oh, come on, the Republicans are getting a bit ridiculous!

I’m reading this story on Huffington Post about the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the Individual Mandate in the Health care law.  The article supports the notion that there are a lot of things the government mandates that everyone must do.  The example used is Medicare.  If you work, you pay into Medicare – you have no choice.

But, here’s what really got to me:  Mark Hayes – “former chief health counsel for the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee” states:

“Congress used more clearly defined constitutional powers when it created Medicare. “The power to tax and the power to spend…” “‘Here, with the individual mandate, it’s a different question – regulating interstate commerce. This is a novel question from a legal standpoint.'”

How is that novel?  Article I Section 8 Clause 3 states:

“To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

Novel question? Um, I don’t think so. The word Novel, when used as an adjective and not as a noun means:

  1. new and not resembling something formerly known or used
  2. original or striking especially in conception or style

Um, if the Commerce Clause has existed in the Constitution since the beginning, how is Congress being able to use it now a “Novel” question?

I’m just wondering.

The Voice – A Cat for Cee Lo

I don’t usually watch reality TV.  I do my best to stay away from American Idol, The X Factor, all those lousy bachelor shows and the granddaddy of them all – Survivor.  I believe that reality TV has done it’s best to ruin and dumb down the minds of most Americans.  However; while we were up at Kim’s last month, we watched some of this season’s episodes of  The Voice.  I have to admit, I can see the allure.  Blake Shelton is a beautiful site to behold – and he has his country charm and sense of humor up front and center.  The concept that talented people are judged solely for their actual talent and not the way they look does put an interesting spin on the selection process.

And, Cheryl loves the show, so – sad to say – I’ll have to find room for it on our DVR.

Moving on.  While we were watching the show, we noticed that Cee Lo will do his talking to the camera while holding a very beautiful, fluffy white cat.  I asked Kim about it and she said she didn’t understand why he was holding this cat, but she thought it was his.  This morning, I’m flipping through this week’s Entertainment Weekly and there is CeeLo and his cat.  Except, it is not his cat.  It is a rental.  Apparently, you can rent cats (and, I am assuming, other animals).

Seriously?

Dude, you wanted a cat to make you look evil – I’ll get back to that in a moment – and you didn’t want the responsibility of actually owning one?  Personally, I think the producers should’ve gone to an animal shelter and found a cat to rescue rather than rent one.  And, if that couldn’t work out (let’s face it, rescue animals make the best pets, but not necessarily the best actors – Benji is the exception), at least donate some money to a local shelter to make up for the fact that you’re RENTING a cat.  Is it me?  I just find that creepy.

Getting back to a fluffy, white cat making you look evil – seriously?  Because if that is the case, Cee Lo, I’ll see your white fluffy cat and raise you a tailless, black fluffy cat and throw in two more while cats and another black one.  If owning a cat makes you evil, then I’m as evil as you can get.

Rick Santorum is a Horse’s Ass

Here is his quote:

President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard everyday and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor that (tries) to indoctrinate them.

Don’t we all want our children to go to college? Haven’t we learned that the majority of people who are unemployed are those with less than a college education? Our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and they’re not coming back.

And, there’s a quote I want you to read:

“The unemployment rate among (the) non-college-educated is well into the double digits in America. It’s 4 percent or 5 percent for people who have college degrees.”

Who said that? Rick Santorum – the horse’s ass of the Republican Party. Surprised? I’m not. He can’t even keep his own quotes straight. In case you’re wondering, here are the breakdowns of the unemployment rates for January, 2012 by education:

Education Level Unemployment Rate
Less than High School 13.1%
High School/No College 8.4%
Some College / Associate Degree 7.2%
Bachelor’s and Higher 7.2%

How can you think anyone that wanting all of America to be college educated is a bad thing?

The Oscars

Here it is, the morning after the Oscars and I’m wondering if anyone was surprised. 2011 was one of those rare years in which I hadn’t seen any movie nominated for any award.

In fact, I didn’t even walk into a movie theatre last year. I’m not alone. Movie attendance was down all across the country. Amazingly, the biggest money maker last year – Harry Potter – No Best Actor nod, no Best Actress nod and, in a field of 9 pictures, not even a nomination for Best Picture.

And, speaking of Best Picture, nominating 9 pictures seems a bit much, don’t you think? In a year of critically acclaimed dramas, did anyone actually believe that Bridesmaids had a chance?

Last night, for me at least, was not a night of surprises – save one. I drove Cheryl nuts by telling her the winner on all but three awards.   I don’t know why I don’t enter those contests.  Only of my misses surprised me and that was Meryl Streep finally winning again after 30 years and 15 nominations. I thought this would be Viola Davis’s year.  However; I am thrilled that Meryl Streep won!  I love her in every movie.

Finally, thank-you Mr. Billy Crystal! It had been a long time, but certainly well worth the wait. He brings a class and style no one else can.

 

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