Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My top ten quotes from President Obama's Second Inaugural Address:

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness… Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.
We do not believe that freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm.
The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, do not sap our initiative. They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. We are also heirs to those who won the peace, and not just the war. Who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends. And we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.
We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. 
We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
The oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction.
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Today the President was pitch perfect. Thankfully, he hasn't changed his tune.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Unfit to serve. 67 votes against disaster aid for New Jersey. US Hall of Shame:

State Representative Party
Alabama Mo Brooks R
Arizona Tom Cotton R
Arizona Trent Franks R
Arizona Paul Gosar R
Arizona Matt Salmon R
Arizona David Schweikert R
Caifornia Ed Royce R
California Tom McClintock R
Colorado Doug Lamborn R
Florida Ron DeSantis R
Florida Ted Yoho R
Georgia Paul Broun R
Georgia Doug Collins R
Georgia Tom Graves R
Georgia Tom Price R
Georgia Rob Woodall R
Illinois Randy Hultgren R
Indiana Todd Rokita R
Indiana Marlin Stutzman R
Kansas Tim Huelskamp R
Kansas Lynn Jenkins R
Kansas Mike Pompeo R
Kansas Kevin Yoder R
Kentucky Andy Barr R
Kentucky Thomas Massie R
Louisiana John Fleming R
Maryland Andrew Harris R
Missouri Justin Amash R
Missouri Dan Benishek R
Missouri Kerry Bentivolio R
Missouri Sam Graves R
Missouri Steven Palazzo R
Montana Steve Daines R
New Mexico Steve Pearce R
North Carolina Virginia Foxx R
North Carolina George Holding R
North Carolina Richard Hudson R
North Carolina Mark Meadows R
Ohio Steve Chabot R
Ohio Jim Jordan R
Ohio Brad Wenstrup R
Oklahoma Jim Bridenstine R
Oklahoma Markwayne Mullin R
Pennsylvania Scott Perry R
Pennsylvania Keith Rothfus R
South Carolina Jeff Duncan R
South Carolina Trey Gowdy R
South Carolina Mick Mulvaney R
South Carolina Joe Wilson R
Tennessee Marsha Blackburn R
Tennessee Scott DesJarlais R
Tennessee Jimmy Duncan R
Tennessee Stephen Fincher R
Tennessee Phil Roe R
Texas Mike Conaway R
Texas Bill Flores R
Texas Louie Gohmert R
Texas Kenny Marchant R
Texas Randy Neugebauer R
Texas Mac Thornberry R
Texas Randy Weber R
Texas Roger Williams R
Virginia Bob Goodlatte R
Wisconsin Sean Duffy R
Wisconsin Tom Petri R
Wisconsin Paul Ryan R
Wisconsin Jim Sensenbrenner R

Fairness is back after a 34 year nap

Tax Code May Be the Most Progressive Since 1979

WASHINGTON — With 2013 bringing tax increases on the incomes of a small sliver of the richest Americans, the country’s top earners now face a heavier tax burden than at any time since Jimmy Carter was president.
The last-minute deal struck by the departing 112th Congress raised taxes on a handful of the highest-earning Americans, with about 99.3 percent of households experiencing no change in their income taxes. But the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average family in the top 1 percent will pay a federal tax rate of more than 36 percent this year, up from 28 percent in 2008. That is the highest rate since 1979, at least.
By some measures, the tax code might now be the most progressive in a generation, tax economists said, while noting that every American is paying a lower burden currently than they did then. In fact, the total federal tax rate is still vastly lower for the very rich than it was at any point in the 1940s through 1970s. It has risen from historical lows, but is still closer to those lows than where it was in the postwar decades.
“We made the system more progressive by raising rates at the top and leaving them for everyone else,” said Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center, a research group based in Washington. “The offsetting issue is that the rich have gotten a lot richer.”
Indeed, over the last three decades the bulk of pretax income gains have gone to the wealthy — and the higher up on the income scale, the bigger the gains, with billionaires outpacing millionaires who outpaced the merely rich. Economists doubted that the tax increases would do much to reverse that trend.
With the recovery failing to improve incomes for millions of average Americans and the country running trillion-dollar deficits, President Obama made “tax fairness” a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. In the heated negotiations with House Speaker John A. Boehner, that translated into the White House’s insistence on tax increases for the top 2 percent of households and a continuation of tax breaks and cuts for a vast number of taxpayers.
Republicans resisted increasing tax rates and aimed for lower revenue targets, arguing that spending was the budget’s primary problem and that no American should see his or her taxes go up too much in such a sluggish economy. But ultimately they relented, and Congress cut a last-minute deal.
“A central promise of my campaign for president was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working middle-class Americans,” Mr. Obama said after Congress reached an agreement.
That deal includes a host of tax increases on the rich. It raises the tax rate to 39.6 percent from 35 percent on income above $400,000 for individuals, and $450,000 for couples. The rate on dividends and capital gains for those same taxpayers was bumped up 5 percentage points, to 20 percent. Congress also reinstated limits on the amount households with more than $300,000 in income can deduct. On top of that, two new surcharges — a 3.8 percent tax on investment income and a 0.9 percent tax on regular income — hit those same wealthy households.
As a result of the taxes added in both the deal and the 2010 health care law, which came into effect this year, taxpayers with $1 million in income and up will pay on average $168,000 more in taxes. Millionaires’ share of the overall federal tax burden will climb to 23 percent from 20 percent.
The result is a tax code that squeezes hundreds of billions of dollars more from the very well off — about $600 billion more over 10 years — while leaving the tax burden on everyone else mostly as it was. And the changes come after 30 years of both Republican and Democratic administrations doing the converse: zeroing out federal income taxes for many poor working families while also reducing the tax burden for households on the higher end of the income scale.
“Back at the end of the Carter and beginning of the Reagan administrations, we had a pretty severe income-tax burden for people at a low level of income. It was actually kind of appalling,” said Alan D. Viard, a tax expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-of-center research group in Washington. “Policy makers in both parties realized that was bad policy and started whittling away at it” by expanding credits and tinkering with tax rates.
“I’d still rather be really rich, even if I’m getting taxed much more than a low-income person” would be, Mr. Williams of the Tax Policy Center added.

Keep an eye on this brave little girl. Most inspirational story of 2012.

Girl Shot by Pakistani Taliban Is Discharged From Hospital

LONDON — Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head three months ago by the Taliban for advocating the education of girls, has been discharged from a British hospital. Doctors said she had made “excellent progress” and would be staying with her family nearby before returning for further surgery to rebuild her skull in about four weeks.
“Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers,” said Dr. Dave Rosser, the medical director.
The release was a promising turn for the teenage activist. Her shooting brought global condemnation of the Pakistani Taliban, whose fighters killed six female aid workers this week in the same region in northwestern Pakistan where Ms. Yousafzai was shot. Video released by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, showed Ms. Yousafzai walking slowly out of a ward, wearing a head scarf and accompanied by a nurse.

On Oct. 9, gunmen halted her school bus as it went through Mingora, the main town in the Swat Valley, singled her out and opened fire. A bullet grazed her brain, nearly killing her, and traveled through her head before lodging in her neck.
Six days later, after emergency treatment in Pakistan, she was airlifted to the hospital in Birmingham, which specializes in treating British soldiers wounded in action in Afghanistan.
Medical experts say Ms. Yousafzai has a good chance of making a full recovery because of her youth, but the long-term impact of her head injuries remains unclear.
In recent weeks, she has left the hospital regularly to spend time with her family. The Pakistani government is paying for her treatment.
Ms. Yousafzai rose to prominence in 2009 with a blog for the BBC’s Urdu-language service that described life in Swat under Taliban rule. Later, she was featured in a documentary by The New York Times.
Now her father, Ziauddin, a school headmaster, has accepted a three-year position as education attaché at the Pakistani Consulate in Birmingham, making it unlikely that the family will return to Pakistan anytime soon. In any event, it may be too dangerous, because the Taliban have vowed to attack her again.