Archive for July 3, 2012

The Hot New Republican Thing: Swiss Bank Accounts

Eight years ago if you ate Brie cheese you were French and you hated Freedom Fries. Four years ago if you didn’t have at least one flag pin on your lapel you hated America.  Now the hottest thing going amongst those same flag-waving Republicans is Swiss bank accounts.

 

July 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM Leave a comment

Colorado Springs Begging for Our Tax Dollars — Tea Party No-New-Taxes Policy a Failure in Light of Waldo Canyon Fire

I’ve written extensively over the years about how Colorado Springs — a Tea Party haven — has slashed its budget (turning off street lights, deputizing cabbies as “police officers,” letting the grass in parks die, etc.) because of its obsessive adherence to the Tea Party way of governance, i.e., no new taxes.

I hate to kick the second largest city in the state when it’s down, but now they’re begging for help from the federal government (meaning they want our tax dollars) because of the Waldo Canyon fire and frankly, that ticks me off.  You get what you pay for folks, now live with it.  Or at the very least, learn from this please.

(Image via AP / John Wark)

Wildfire Tests Police Force in Colorado Anti-Tax Movement’s Home

As Colorado Springs battles a rash of burglaries after a wildfire that still licks at its boundaries, it does so with fewer police and firefighters.

The city where the Waldo Canyon fire destroyed 346 homes and forced more than 34,000 residents to evacuate turned off one-third of its streetlights two years ago, halted park maintenance and cut services to close a $28 million budget gap after sales-tax revenue plummeted and voters rejected a property-tax increase.

The municipality, at 416,000 the state’s second-largest, auctioned both its police helicopters and shrank public-safety ranks through attrition by about 8 percent; it has 50 fewer police and 39 fewer firefighters than five years ago. More than 180 National Guard troops have been mobilized to secure the city after the state’s most destructive fire. At least 32 evacuated homes were burglarized and dozens of evacuees’ cars were broken into, said Police Chief Pete Carey.

“It has impacted the response,” said Karin White, a 54- year-old accountant, who returned home June 28 to a looted and vandalized house, with a treasured, century-old family heirloom smashed.

“They did above and beyond what they could do with the resources they had,” she said. “If there were more officers, there could have been more manpower in the evacuated areas.”

[...]

Colorado Springs, which depends on sales tax for about half of its revenue, was hit harder than most. The city — the birthplace 20 years ago of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which later passed statewide and has been pushed around the country to restrict government spending — became a high-profile example of cost-cutting. The law restricts government spending to the previous year’s revenue, adjusted only for population growth and inflation.

[...]

The city, home of the evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family, is known for being conservative and libertarian. It “was the Tea Party before the Tea Party was cool,” Dunn said.

Six of the nine candidates in last year’s nonpartisan mayoral election, including the victor, Mayor Steve Bach, signed the no-tax pledge pushed by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Richard Skorman, one candidate who didn’t, was flooded with angry e-mails after saying in a debate why he opposed such a pledge. What, he asked, if the city got hit by a major wildfire?

And here we are.

The city has been aggressive in applying for federal grants, too, which have funded wildfire mitigation efforts, said Bret Waters, emergency management director.

Dunn notes that the city, where there is strong anti- federal government sentiment, is now turning to the U.S. for assistance. Before visiting Colorado on June 29, President Barack Obama declared the state a disaster area, which frees aid for communities affected by the wildfires.

“Ironically, Colorado Springs is going to rely heavily on federal funds for rebuilding,” Dunn said. “But it won’t cover everything.”

More…

It isn’t “ironic.”  It’s totally predictable.

July 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM 3 comments

GE Had a -45% Tax Rate in 2008 – 2010

I’m pretty sure my husband and I pay taxes at the rate of 28%, but I could be wrong.  What I know for sure is our tax rate definitely isn’t -57.6% (like Pepco (the company that is taking forever to restore power to the Washington, D.C. area after Friday’s storm)) or -45.3% like General Electric.

This is outrageous:

Who’s Not Paying Corporate taxes?

While the federal tax code calls for a 35 percent tax rate on corporations, many companies find ways to reduce their tax burden. In a study of corporate taxes of 280 companies, 30 of those paid less than zero in taxes in a three-year period from 2008 through 2010.

Source: “Corporate Taxpayers & Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-10,” a joint project of Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The Washington Post.

The next time you hear a politician rant about how “corporations pay higher taxes in the United States than anywhere else in the world,” remember the loopholes they’ve been granted by the folks they buy off in Washington.  The law may say one thing, but underneath that law are all kinds of write-off and tricks corporations can use to pay — unbelievably — negative taxes, which means, I presume, we send them a refund.

Talk about outrage overload.

See a larger version of this chart and get more info here.

July 3, 2012 at 2:58 PM Leave a comment

BREAKING: BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcake!

Oh.  My.  God.  This BBQ pulled pork cupcake looks and sounds deeelicious.  I’m going to have to see if I can re-create it.  Wow.  Just wow.

 

Image via SeriousEats.com)

You’d be forgiven if your first thought when hearing mention of Georgetown’s Bourbon Steak is… well… steak. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. It’s about a bar snack at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak in the Georgetown Four Seasons: the BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcake ($9), executive chef Adam Sobel’s pet project.

Sobel competed in the 2011 Cochon 555 competition, an event in which five chefs are provided with their own heritage breed pig and tasked with creating 10 different dishes using the entire hog, and one of his entries was this Pork Cupcake. A long time fan of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuit (who isn’t?), Sobel created his own version with cheddar and scallion, despite the original recipe being a closely guarded secret, shaped it into a cupcake, and stuffed it with smoked pork shoulder.

More…

July 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM 2 comments

RIP Andy Griffith

35 years ago Andy Griffith warned us about the Patriot Act but we didn’t listen:

(Via.)

 

 

July 3, 2012 at 11:51 AM 3 comments

What is a Higgs Boson?

Have you been wondering what a “Higgs boson” is?  Higgs boson has been in the news lately because scientists think they’ve found it…whatever it is.  At last, here’s an explanation we lay people can actually understand.

(Image via news.liv.ac.uk)

Scientists at Cern, the Geneva-based European laboratory for particle physics, are revealing their latest findings in their search for the Higgs boson. Here, science correspondent Ian Sample – author of Massive: The Hunt for the God Particle – explains what a Higgs boson is, how Cern physicists are looking for it, and why it matters if they find it.

VIDEO HERE

July 3, 2012 at 11:11 AM Leave a comment

Romney’s Dishonest, Fatcat Friends

Ah ha.  Very interesting.  The Mittster is friends with Robert Diamond, the CEO of Barclays, the British bank that was caught last week literally trying to manipulate global — yes, global — interest rates.

(Image via @thirdWayMattB on Twitter)

A disgraced London banker has rescinded an offer to co-host a high-dollar fundraiser for Mitt Romney, sparing the GOP hopeful the difficulty of appearing at a lavish event with a man embroiled in scandal.

Romney’s plan to hold a fundraiser in London this summer with Barclays CEO Robert Diamond was reported June 28 by the London Telegraph. The cost of the dinner seemed to shock the British paper, which noted that “the price of invitations dwarfs the amounts paid for such fund-raisers in British politics.”

On Tuesday, Diamond resigned from Barclays after his bank was fined more than $450 million by British and U.S. authorities for attempting to manipulate the Libor rate (London interbank offered rate), a key global metric used to set everything from credit card to mortgage interest rates.

More…

This is really an amazing story.  The greed and arrogance were stratospheric.  Then again, Mitt’s kinda like that.  I can see why they were buds.

 

July 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM 1 comment

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