NYT: Senate Democrats (To Call Tax Bluff?)


Tax the Rich.  End the War.  Live Love.
Tax the Rich. End the War. Live Love. (Photo credit: Lisa Norwood)


US Federal Income Tax Rate for Top Income Brac...
US Federal Income Tax Rate for Top Income Bracket 1929 – 2011 (Photo credit: Cory M. Grenier)


http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/us/politics/senate-democrats-propose-letting-all-tax-cuts-expire.xml Democrats plan to let all tax cuts expire and force Republicans to vote up or down on middle class tax cuts. Scary yet article details support coming from liberal think tanks.It reminds me of Clinton’s welfare reform and deficit cutting.


Seemingly outrageous yet beneficial in the long run. (Yes, I know folks can fight over competing data but at least most everyone had opportunity to move forward in Clinton years. More importantly people believed it.)




NYT: Who’s on America’s Side? — Dowd Nails It

Hollywood On Trial
Hollywood On Trial (Photo credit: wgbhmorningstories)

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/opinion/dowd-whos-on-americas-side.xml NYT Columnist Maureen Dowd describes how the Republican efforts to smear Obama as UnAmerican are failing. Worse, many Americansseem to finally realize it’s the Republicans protecting corporate interests at all costs that threatens the Republic. Of course it’s not all, which presents the danger.

Read her piece along with NYT article on Chinese‘s elites flailing attempts to introduce reform at http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/world/asia/as-china-talks-of-change-fear-rises-on-risks.xml.There the elites lack any real connection to the people so discussions rendered moot. However, many recognize the dangers arising from this lack of contact as shown by both the original Chinese Revolution and (certainly) the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

red-color news soldier
red-color news soldier (Photo credit: the|G|™)
Albert Einstein The important thing is not to ...
Albert Einstein The important thing is not to stop questioning (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

The challenge lies in convincing folks it’s not only their right but their duty to dissent on issues of principle.

Time as True Currency

Clock in Kings Cross railway station
Clock in Kings Cross railway station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a love hate relationship with time. I can waste it, lose myself in it, and fear it. Rarely, however, do I revel in it. In my younger days, I impatiently speeded time up so I could obtain things (a car to drive, a college acceptance to take me out of an oppressive small town, or a degree to let me graduate). As I grew older I desperately expanded my time so I could acquire more things (recognition at work, political victories, or trivia masquerading as knowledge).

Trivial things
Trivial things (Photo credit: mariag.)

Too soon I regretted lost time as I either failed to obtain, or (more often) failed to keep, those things I sought (loved ones passed, relationships failed, and ambitions crumbled).

Document Time Passing (p. 166-167) - Result
Document Time Passing (p. 166-167) – Result (Photo credit: atibens)

Far more eloquent voices than mine have addressed these problems. Time quotes. Perhaps my favorite comes from Shakespeare when he speaks to the seven stages of man, with its wondrous opening “All the worlds a stage, And all the man and women merely players: They have their exits and entrances. These observers, whether cynical or optimistic, all boil life down to one premise, life is too damn short so try to [fill in blank — enjoy it, fulfill a spiritual quest, or be a millionaire before thirty].

Given all the philosophers have analyzed time how come so few “get it?” Einstein wisely noted “the only reason time exists is so everything doesn’t happen at once.” Einstein Quotes – Quotes by Albert Einstein. Unfortunately as a “proverbial person of the earth”  (aka not the brainiest of souls) I find even brilliantly insightful abstractions hard to grasp.  Mostly I can’t apply abstractions for I find reacting easier than planning. When this proclivity leads me to help someone it’s great. When it drags me to a temper tantrum it’s awful. But nothing is black and white.

The first set of Strachan and Co currency toke...
The first set of Strachan and Co currency tokens–recognised as South Africa’s first indigenous currency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ultimately – or at least for tonight – I see time as the currency making the world go round. Before we learn better we need youth’s impatience to motivate us. Currently I see the acquisition stage, outside of people to love (both platonic and romantic), as highly overrated. (Odd since given my numerous collections friends and relatives keep threatening to put me on A&E Hoarders)In contrast I view the regret stage as vital to learning life’s lessons. (Yes, you can spend – and god knows I have spent –  too much time wallowing the sea of regret.) But the pain, much like grabbing a mule’s attention for training purposes, drives the lesson home.

Mule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking to my personal experience I can affirm forgiveness relieves the pain.  William Blake wisely wrote “it is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”  However, far better to surrender pride than lose all contact with someone whom you once loved. Maybe it won’t work out but then you have stopped renting them space in your head (uncollected rent I might add). Again time helps – when you have it to give – because it dulls the painful edges. Still, as noted above, we never own time so careful with gambling on it.

Learn To Forgive
Learn To Forgive (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

Much later I will post on the hardest thing of all, forgiving myself. However, in the interim it’s back to pictures and design.

Who Do You Plan Your City’s Future Around?

Found a provocative article today on an attempt in San Francisco to introduce  new smaller housing limits. Essentially it will allow developers to build living spaces no bigger than 150 feet. SF Public Press printed it at http://sfpublicpress.org/news/2012-07/developers-seek-to-legalize-tiny-apartments-in-san-francisco-citing-soaring-rents  Fortunately, unlike the Comicle, SF Public Press presented an in-depth article on the pro’s and con’s.

Graduate School Blues
Graduate School Blues (Photo credit: ChiILLeica)

Essentially the ideal candidate is twenty-something techie who works all the time and merely needs a place to sleep until the IPO hits. Why most of us know the IPO fantasy is simply a fantasy, it’s not the only industry catering to disposable employees. In the legal industry, I knew any number of young college graduates in the 1990s who slaved for two to three years to earn overtime money for graduate school. Sadly when they graduated law school they found the money was much better but the hours were worse sans the overtime. The same went for future MBAs. Then with the tech boom they migrated to Silicon Valley.

These small spaces with their cute IKEA furniture would stack on top of each of other in high rises. In theory the increased housing stock would drive down rents because of course these highly educated and well paid employees would flock to live near each other. It would be a step up from the tech hostels profiled last week in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/technology/at-hacker-hostels-living-on-the-cheap-and-dreaming-of-digital-glory.html?pagewanted=all) This is of course assumes these middle and upper class youth would surrender shared space allowing for all their tech toys, parties every twenty-something enjoys, and the amenities associated with living in San Francisco.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum on the Lower E...
Lower East Side Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Opponents fear overcrowding as people flock (read share) the smaller housing to save on rent. In other words the more likely tenant candidates would be low income workers and their families. I recall visiting the exhibits associated with the New York Tenement Museum (http://www.tenement.org/) These large buildings stacked tenants like cordwood, had shared sewage (big ditch), and housed any number of work sites (piece labor). Obviously it’s a leap to say these would automatically turn into these types of establishments. On the other hand, look at the McMansions in the burbs now overrun with tweaking squatters after the foreclosure crisis forced out the original owners (http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=21179977)

Mcmansion north
Mcmansion north (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly this small (should be bigger than 150 feet) house would benefit many in the community. We need alternatives to homelessness. Similarly we don’t need to litter our suburbs with opulent, albeit shoddily constructed, monuments to consumer excess. Many of us headed toward retirement might choose a smaller living space, if only for the opportunity to stay in San Francisco. As the opponents astutely pointed not enough time was given the underlying decisions associated with this change.

However, the real problem is marketing fantasies keeps driving our  housing policies. During the boom period many bought the hype they needed and deserved an overly large home in the burbs. With many others the gentrification costs drove them to the outlying areas. Now it seems San Francisco wants to market its future around tech companies who (like many other start-ups) specialize in burning through employees for short periods of time. We need to ensure everyone has a seat at the table to discuss the future.

This does not mean we drive out the tech or bio companies. We need them. But we also needs the service employees, teachers, cops, and fireman. Perhaps most of we need to remember all of us will age.

Folks inching toward or past the half-century mark have lived through any number of recessions starting with Reagan and moving forward. Those slightly older can name more.  We need to remember things move in cycles. Thus the one thing we can’t do is tear up our social safety nets which carry us through the inevitable down cycles. Nor can we forget the ultimate survivors in nature are species welcoming diversification.