Friday, August 18, 2006

Andrew Young is NOT Racist

I can tell that Andrew Young is not racist, in spite of his comments.

How can I tell?

Because the Daily Cause has not published a criticism of his hate speech, as they do in the case of REAL hate speech. And the Cause always speaks the truth, and all the truth is spoken by the Cause.

Strange that getting annoyed by one guy is a war crime, but calling entire ethnic groups names is okay.

(Nod to anonyman)

Bribes and Taxes

A commenter on my earlier post where I said this was my second bribe solicitation ever asked what my "first" bribe solicitation was.

It was like this. An electrician working on our room addition told me it would cost me $125 for him to do the work. "Or," he went on, using a calculator, "You can pay me in cash, and only pay $100, 'cause then I won't have to pay any taxes."

I had to know, so I asked. "You're a Democrat, right?"

"Sure!" he said. "Union all the way."

Well, of course you are, buddy. Liberals believe that taxes, and for that matter all rules, are for other people. The system is only there to control bad people, or dirty immoral rich people. We can ignore bad things done by good people, like our boyfriend.

Anyway, I told him: "My wife is an attorney, an auditor for the IRS. You have to realize that if you really want to make me that offer, you are going to get investigated. So let's just pretend you didn't say it."

His eyes bugged out, and he just sat down and pretended to work. I could hear him cursing under his breath.

After about an hour, he shouted up the stairs. "Finished!"

I realized my wife had the checkbook. I would have to pay him....IN CASH!

So, I counted out $125 in twenties and a five. Started to hand it to him.

He laughed, a little too aggressively for my taste.

I pulled back the cash, and said, "I'll need your social security number before I can give you this."

Eyes bug out. But he stopped laughing.

Me: "I'm just messing with you, man. Now go out there and vote for higher taxes."

He was muttering again as he went to his brand new extended cab Ford truck with the dualies in back.

It really does surprise me how many people who consider themselves liberals, and who are quite wealthy (this electrician was making $75/hour) also can justify a special exemption for themselves from those very rules. The rules COULDN'T have been intended to apply to them. They WORK for their money.

My wife and I together paid more than $80,000 in taxes last year, federal and state, and another $10,000 local. Can we afford it? We can't afford NOT to. Men with guns will come to our house and take our property. If we resist in any way, they will beat us, and quite possibly kill us. So we pay.

Do "we" pay enough? Consider the context for the Bush tax cuts.* These IRS data, from 2000, show that the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 35 percent of Federal personal income taxes, while the top 10 percent pay about 65 percent of these taxes. The top quarter of taxpayers account for about 83 percent of these tax payments. The top half pay 96 percent of Federal personal income taxes, while the bottom half of tax filers account for about 4 percent of the total.









Percentiles Ranked By AGI (2000)
Adjusted Gross Income Threshold on Percentiles
Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid
Top 1 %
$269,496
34.75
Top 5 %
$114,729
53.84
Top 10 %
$83,220
65.04
Top 25 %
$50,607
82.69
Top 50 %
$25,491
95.79
Bottom 50 %
< $25,491
4.21



The criticism of tax cuts seems to be this: People get upset when someone who is paying most of the taxes says "I shouldn't have to pay so much in taxes, because I'm paying more than my share!" Hard to say what the share is, maybe progressivity is okay. But should the top half of the income distribution really pay 95% of the taxes? And, if so, how can you criticize a tax cut that benefits "only" the rich? Of course it only benefits the rich, because only the rich pay taxes.

The truth is that liberals think, "I shouldn't have to pay so much in taxes, because I'm morally superior!" When they cheat on taxes, or ignore rules that should only apply to the little people, it's okay. Because they LOVE the little people. Even if they don't really know many of them personally.

*It is a fair question to ask about the Bush DEFICITS. Cutting taxes and then starting a war and encouraging an absolute orgy of pork barrel spending is hardly conservative. But I'm just talking about the taxes, already.

Better and Betterer

I may just stop blogging about any topic....

....OTHER than Hinky Lube. It is my best source of material.

You may recall my earliest experience.

And, more recently, the bribe solicitation.

WELL. I got the part, the cover for the turn signal. Put it on. But now the signal bulb didn't light. Coudn't get it to work, and it looked burnt (the filament was gone, between the two contacts in the bulb).

So, I drive to Hoppy Lube, just to see what will happen.

Different guy doing the inspections. Gives every indication of energy and competence.

I give him the paper for the reinspection. He checks the cover, nods, and says, "That will work!"

Go in to pay. Cashier says, "$.85"

I point out that the previous guys (the bribery solictors) had not charged me for the inspection, which costs $20, or for the certificate sticker, which is $8.50.

She says, "Oh, they must have." I point out that receipt, in her hand, shows they did not. She waves her hand and says (I am not making this up): "Oh, a lot of times they just take that payment in cash! I'm sure you paid it."

Um. They don't put in the cash register, or on the receipt, and you KNOW that they do this? WTF?

So, she charges me the $8.50 for the receipt, plus $.85 for some NC tax thing that I had never seen on a receipt before.

I go back out to the inspection guy. I ask if I can buy a light bulb. "Why do you need it?"

"The turn signal doesn't work."

He puffs up. "I didn't have to check that. The reinspection was only on the cover. Doesn't matter if the turn signals work; it can still pass inspection."

Now, that is a pretty narrow, letter of the law interpretation, but maybe he was worried I was one of those undercover NC-DOT guys. "Sir, I understand, I just want to get the bulb here rather than drive across town to an auto parts store without a turn signal."

We get the bulb, he shows me a neat trick to open the cover on the frame to get better access to the screw that holds on the cover, and I replace the bulb. He charges me $7.50 for the bulb, and went inside and rang it up on the cash register, giving me a receipt with the correct amount and part number. A fine, upstanding fellow. We had a good talk.

I think I'll go back to Higgy Lube tomorrow. I can't live without those jerks anyway, and besides all my friends are here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Allen's "I have a macaca" speech

I questioned the possibility that Allen knowing used an overtly racist slur.

Received several emails questioning my genaelogy, and one who thought my parents were not married at the time of my birth.

But, one of the comments I have to credit, and will reproduce here in full:

Watch the video! Sen. Allen's comments were unbelievable. Reminded me of being a "Jungle Bunny" in third grade.

In any case, I made up some funny t-shirts and other stuff to celebrate the end of Allen's campaign. Thought you might want to check it out.

I'm donating 30% of the profit to Allen's competitor, Democratic candidate Jim Webb.

http://www.cafepress.com/macacashop


I am always a fan of entrepreneurship. And if the donations make you happy also, go for it. Mr. Macaca, you are a real American. As Patton would have put it, "Every REAL American loves an idiot. And if the rest of us can make money off the fact that our politicians are idiots...Well, you will know what to do."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Lube strikes again

The coolest things happen to me down at the Hinky Lube.

I wrote about this at some length before.

But....today.

Well, let me tell you.

I go into the Hobby Lube, to get my son's car (1995 Mustang) inspected. My son being a teenager, didn't notice that his inspection had expired in MAY (that's the one nearly three months ago, not the one 9.5 months from now in the future).

So, since I would be the one paying the higher insurance bill if he gets a ticket for an exspired inspection, I took it down to Horny Lube at 4 in the afternoon, when they are not busy.

After five minutes, the guy motions for me to come out. He points out that the tag light is out, and that the cover on the driver's side front turn signal is smashed, exposing the bulb to the elements.

I point out that Honky Lube has passed this twice before, the last two years in fact. (It's true, the light has been broken for three years).

He points out that he didn't inspect it those other times, and that the law is clear about broken light covers. He can show me the standards, if I want, or if I have any questions.

This seems like a win for him. I'm sure he is right about the law, and in fact when I look at the cover I can see that the bulb is starting to corrode and there is a lot of junk up in there. Not safe, and if it is not fixed soon I can see that I am going to have to replace the whole unit.

I apologize for being a jerk, he agrees that I was a jerk but that it is not a big deal, and I go back into the waiting room. Jackie Dickinson, dominatrix model madame, is on Oxygen, and I don't want to miss too much. (UPDATE: I got this wrong. Her name is Janice, not Jackie. I was just too excited to notice).

30 seconds later, just as Jackie is ripping some poor girl a new one for not having enough energy for the camera, another guy comes in.

"Can you come out, sir? We want to show you something."

DAMN! I am going to miss Jackie, and they must have found something else wrong.

The new guy gestures to the other guy, and to the Mustang. "Now, just like he told you: we canNOT pass this car with that broken light cover. It's the law."

I nod. We already worked this out. The guy is right. I'm not sure why I had to miss Jackie for this.

But then, the guy blurts out, almost angrily: "But we can pass it if you give us fifteen dollars."

I am undone. I burst out laughing. $15? They will openly break the law, and endanger their own jobs, for $15? Split that two ways, and you can barely buy lunch at Mickey D's. What the hell?

I just go back inside. I can't watch TV anymore, though; I'm too stunned. This is like Mexico City, where fines are negotiable and the law is simply a starting point for the negotiations. (neither Harpy Lube worker was Latino, for the record. One blonde kid and one dark-haired frat boy type).

They finish the car, and only charge $8.50 (I had them replace the tag light). No charge for the inspection. Makes no sense.

Questions:
1. If $15 is the value of the infraction, why not just wave it through to begin with? It's not worth endangering your job for that.
2. There is not really a safety problem here. THe turn signal worked fine. But what if there had been? Would our boys have just charged a higher "fee"? Would they fake an emissions test?
3. This is only the second time I have ever had someone solicit a bribe, openly or otherwise. Am I naive? Does this happen more often than I think? 'Cause I don't think it happens very often.

George Allen's Own Version of "I have a scream"

Wow.

George Allen stepped in a big pile of macaca, it appears.

Daily Kos' Jeffrey Feldman lays it out, with a lot more analysis than any sane person would want to read, much less write.

And read the comments on that post. Amazing.

The Democrats DESERVE whatever nutjob they are going to select. I'm sure they will apply the same "analysis" to the speech of their own candidates, not just poor George A.

This is just an assassination. You can't seriously believe that Allen intentionally used a word he knew to be racist. You can say he should know that macaca is a racist word, before he uses it, but the theory that it is coded signal to white supremacists is such a paranoid fantasy that Oliver Stone would laugh out loud.

But...c'mon. Mit Romney uses the phrase "tar baby" and gets pounded for that? The important thing is that tar is sticky, not that it is black. My man Saunders has the correct view of that little affair.

I agree George Allen made a dumb mistake. And I also understand that if I were the dark-skinned fellow who got called the name, I might not be so placid about this. But for all the white boys to jump on Allen in a holier-than-thou fury is just....well, it's just about all the Democratic party has come to represent. Instead of policy initiatives, they give us speech police. Daily Cause needs to work a bit more on what the Republicans do, rather than what they say.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Props to Reykr: Small World

Reykr, at LiveJournal, had this song in the ol' head:

Ach, du lieber Lieberman,
Lieberman, Lieberman,
ach du lieber Lieberman,
alles ist hin!

Hut ist weg, Stock ist weg,
Geld ist weg, alles weg,
ach du lieber Lieberman,
alles ist hin!



Reykr Googled it up, and found my version.

Reykr extends it nicely.
ATSRTWT