Monthly Archives: March 2012

Other Blog’s Comment Makes Me Angry

Sometimes I read other blogs and see comments that make me yell at the computer screen. Silly, I know.

My mother and grandfather decided to take away my grandmother’s driver’s license when she nearly hit me* over a mile away from our house** as she ran a red pedestrian crossing traffic light. It’s a hard decision to make because you are taking away ease of mobility from someone who often has always been able to go anywhere they want. Nevertheless, these decisions must be made. This is why the following comment from “Leave the Driving to Google” disturbed me so much:

The person who posted this comment is 100% aware that their father is not a safe driver. Apparently, they care so little about their father, about other people who are on or near the roads, and about acting morally that they just let him continue driving. And worse, he has already totaled a car. It’s not as if this is just beginning!

I do not advocate unnecessary removal of licenses from people just for being elderly. Yes, it drives me a little crazy when I get stuck behind an elderly driver who leaves their blinker on for 10 miles on the freeway, who drives 45mph in a 65mph zone or who never keeps a constant speed, but some of these drivers are still relatively safe drivers (although perhaps not if you judge safety based on effect on others’ blood pressure).

When someone’s age is affecting their health, though, and that health affects their driving, there’s a problem. The reason my grandmother nearly hit me? She was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The father of the person responsible for that comment has dementia, neuropathy in his feet***, diabetes, and he drives too fast when he needs to use the bathroom. That all points to someone who shouldn’t be driving (except the diabetes, that could go either way).

It makes me angry that people don’t take enough responsibility for their family to make sure family members like this aren’t driving. And given that he’s going to church, don’t you think there’s someone that might be available to give him rides?

* Thankfully I was a vigilant kid making sure no cars were going to hit me and also that it wasn’t someone else crossing that day.

** We lived with my grandparents.

***About neuropathy here, or Google it.

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Why the “Buffet Rule” is an ironic choice.

In President Obama’s most recent weekly address, he talks about taxes. Specifically, he talks about taxes for wealthy individuals. While I might not necessarily think we need to go crazy raising tax rates, it may be a good idea to raise taxes on our highest bracket modestly.

President Obama talks about the “Buffet Rule,” and mentions that Warren Buffet “is paying a lower rate than his secretary.”

What he doesn’t mention is that this is because of the differences in their sources of incomes. Buffet’s salary is $100,000 plus additional compensation. His total compensation (salary plus additional) was estimated to be $175,000 in 2007 and 2008.* His other income came from dividends and capital gains.

To compare what Buffet paid as a total tax rate (lumping in salary plus dividends and capital gains or income tax plus taxes on dividends and capital gains) isn’t really fair. There’s a reason that taxes are lower for capital gains and dividends – it’s to encourage investment. I won’t go into capital gains taxes and dividend taxes here simply because I don’t think I could explain them without being a bit verbose. See Wikipedia articles here and here for explanations.

So why is it ironic to call this tax rule the “Buffet Rule”? Because Warren Buffet falls in the portion of the population making under $250,000 a year when we judge by his actual salary. It would be far more sensible to name the rule after a billionaire or multimillionaire making over $1 million a year in salary alone, or not name it after anyone.

I also happen to think that naming the rule after a man who is notorious for his belief that wealthy people should pay much higher taxes. Did you know you can make voluntary contributions to our government? You can contribute to paying down our debt or contribute to the government’s income. They don’t have to mandate you paying more taxes for you to contribute higher amounts!

*Wikipedia.

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What I’ve Been Reading: March 31

The Friendly Atheist on Glenn Beck and the Reason Rally. Did you know that Glenn Beck used to sound pretty decent and reasonable on his radio show? But he slowly went crazy… Why do I know this, you ask? I worked at a family business and they played a variety of different talk radio shows during the day.

Maybe we should just be more like Japan and use cash all the time. Then we would deal with fewer cases of identity theft and data breaches via credit card use.

The Chicago Sun-Times had an article about a man who killed his wife then committed suicide. Normally I read about murder-suicides and think it’s awful. But this one was a devoted husband who ended his wife’s life 5 years into the course of her Alzheimer’s, and I can’t blame him at all. My heart goes out to the family. This hits close to home.

It’s unfortunate that the government and anti-trust sentiment crippled our once-sprawling rail system. These days it’s unlikely that we could make a cross-country rail system work for passenger traffic. California’s going to try, though. If anything will work, it’s going to be high-speed rail.

Just read a NY Times article about a religious real estate company – that is, they only deal with religious properties (churches, mosques, temples, etc.). It’s a bit of a slow-news-day article – I got to the end and wondered what the point was. It was still interesting to read, especially about how the market for these properties has been affected and the attempts of some groups to discriminate against others even when trying to sell a property. (The pair that owns the company is cool, it’s the clients that try to discriminate).

I don’t find the various methods of communication confusing, but I definitely realize people have preferences. I’m a text or e-mail kind of person.

SAVE THE BEES! If only we actually knew how to do this.

Candy and money in Canada! Woo! (Just for the record, real white chocolate has cocoa butter in it so I’d say it qualifies as real chocolate.)*

I’m so glad I decided to follow No Ruff Days. When I’m stressed or sad or whatever, a photo of an adorable dog goes a long way toward cheering me up. This pup wants all the tennis balls!

In case you needed a little more American politics in your life, feel free to read about the Republican men who just won’t let go. And all the money people are spending throwing away to try to win elections. Random thought: the picture of Romney makes me think of a nice cartoon rat.

Okay… Now Santorum looks even more like a cartoon rat than Romney. In fact, Romney looked like a friendly cartoon rat. Santorum looks like the kind of cartoon rat that the other characters all run away from. Oh sorry, should I be focusing on article content? Santorum, either suck it up and deal or just drop out already. If he’s being quoted correctly at the end of the article, it doesn’t even sound like he’s got the right attitude to hold presidential or vice presidential office.

Etch-a-Sketch!

Ooooh! I can read a lot of books at one time. And unlike a lot of people in the comments, I don’t have to keep them separated from one another or read very different genres. :D I think the most I’ve ever been actively switching between was 6 or 7.

New app called Girls Around Me is a creepy wake-up call for women who are not careful about their online privacy. It’s also just plain creepy.

*If that seemed completely irrelevant, watch the video in the blog post.

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What I’ve Been Reading March 30

Justin L. Barrett appears to have written an interesting book about children being born with a predisposition to believe in a higher power. The author of the article has chosen to use this as an opportunity to criticize Dawkins for not using the scientific method to determine the root of belief in children. Barrett, on the other hand, sounds like a very reasonable guy (the kind of believer that I wouldn’t be hard-pressed to get along with).

The Wild Hunt posted about the laws in FL, AZ, and Texas that allow students to offer “inspirational” messages at public schools that can consist of prayer. Well, the post is about a little more than that. It’s well-written.

I’m not sure how I ended up with two Daily Beast links in one day, but this one is about the Duggars. I don’t know how anyone can think overpopulation is a lie, for starters. And then there’s the whole issue that I think it’s terribly irresponsible to be open to more pregnancies when women’s bodies didn’t evolve to have so many children (19 plus a 20th failed pregnancy) and you have 19 children to take care of. Obviously the Duggars are free to make these decisions, and that’s fine, but I don’t have to think they’re making the right ones. Especially not when they place themselves in the public sphere.

Fifty Shades of Grey seems to be a hot topic among writers. I read another article about it not too long ago. It’s a little surprising how much people are reading into it all. It doesn’t make me want to read it, though.

Okay, I kind of get it when people are upset that, say, 1 in every 100 grains of organic wild rice is actually a bug. But I don’t understand getting upset about eating a product derived from insects intentionally. Unless you’re hardcore vegan for non-health reasons, then I don’t understand why you’re getting something at Starbucks.*

I liked the Afternoon Inquisition over at Skepchick yesterday.

I still love The Oatmeal. I think this comic is even better than the last one.

*Though it does make sense that it would bother a vegan that there are insect-derived components in the food.

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