Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do Space Aliens Want Kucinich to Be President?

That may very well be the case if you believe Shirley McLaine. In her new book, Sage-ing While Age-ing, Shirley relates a tale of Dennis Kucinich's close encounter with an other-worldly spacecraft.

"Kucinich had a very close sighting over my home in Graham, Washington when I lived there," she writes, "Dennis found his encounter extremely moving. The smell of roses drew him out to the balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft silent, observing him. It hovered, soundless, for ten minutes or so."

Imagine. I would find that extremely moving as well. But the aliens have avoided me so far.

But what would lead us to speculate that the little green men would want Kucinich to grab the Democratic nomination and boldly go where no Kucinich has gone before? Good question.

Shirley tells us that, "He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind."

OK, now were getting somewhere! We finally know why he is so opposed to having weapons in space. He got his marching orders from the aliens on that lovely rose-scented evening.

But here's what I can't quite figure out. If the aliens are set on having an inside man in the White House, why didn't they visit Hillary or Obama? I'll be sure to ask them when they visit me to download instructions. I'll get back to you.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tax Cuts, Income Tax, and Who Pays Their Fair Share

As the presidential debates and monologues intensify, tax cuts, income tax, and who pays their fair share is once again a popular topic. Which side of the fence are you on?

On the liberal side, the mantra is that the richest income earners should pony up more income tax because they can afford it. On the conservative side the mantra is that singling out high income earners is a punishment for hard work and innovation.

Let's look at the cold facts.

The following figures and statistics come from Stephen Moore via the Glenn Beck radio show last week. Mr. Moore is a highly regarded economist whose writing can be found in the Wall Street Journal.
  • The top 1% of wage earners contribute 39% of the total income tax paid in the U.S.
  • The top 5% of wage earners contribute 59.9% of the total income tax paid in the U.S.
  • The bottom 50% of wage earners contribute only 3% of the total income tax paid in the U.S.
So it seems that who contributes their fair share is spelled out in black and white already. The top 6% already bear the brunt of funding the government coffers. Of the bottom 50%, shouldn't 3% compared to 59.9% be considered fair? Well, it is, unless unless Marxist philosophy is the guideline.

But this isn't about that.

This is about the implications of putting more of a burden on the top 5% of wage earners. The fact of the matter is that 2 out of 3 that fall into this category are small business owners. Small business owners create more jobs than any other sector. Well, except for maybe Walmart? And the government?

The realistic implication of taxing them further is that they will lose the incentive for expanding the market, pushing technology, and creating jobs.

The moral implication of taxing them further is punitive, not "fair". They took the risk, they worked the long hours to get the business off the ground. So why deny them the reward?

Without subscribing to any particular political agenda, this is a common sense issue. Why do people emigrate to the U.S. and work eighteen hours a day building up their business to claim their share of the American pie?

And please, show me one senator out there who raves about taxing high wage earners who doesn't seek out every tax deduction at the end of the year and declines the lucrative insurance programs and retirements that we can't get.

Please, show me just one.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What is Nancy Pelosi Thinking? Turkey Bashing?

What on earth is going through Nancy Pelosi's head? She is threatening to open debate and pass a resolution in the House of Representatives over the question of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire.

Which happened at the beginning of the last century. By the Ottoman Empire. Not Turkey. But the end result of the resolution is to chastise Turkey, our allies.

She has inferred that the reason she plans on going forward with the issue is because President Bush hasn't called her to solicit her opinion What?

Imagine that. One would think she would make such a move either from a moral conviction or for political reasons. But no, she sounds like it's because her feelings are hurt. Poor Nancy.

This is not exactly the right time for a snit. For one thing, Turkey has its own immediate concerns. They are massing troops and equipment on the border to repel attacks from the Kurds.

Additionally, angering the Turks will most likely have the effect of diminishing the assistance they now give us. We stand to lose fuel sources and supplies for our troops serving in Iraq. At best we will be forced to go, hat in hand, to offer the Turks some sort of compensation (read bribe) to support our troops.

It's no secret that Polosi's ire at administration is deep and wide. But to sink to the level of endangering the troops and trying to shame our Turkish allies on the world stage is indefensible.

Monday, October 8, 2007

La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon – A Death March

Unbelievable. If you are a marathoner, this is the last place you wanted to be yesterday, October 7, 2007. Unless, of course, you were on the sidelines. The toxic combination of the heat and the humidity in the Windy City overwhelmed a number of runners.

In fact, one runner didn't complete the 26.2... due to death. The diagnosis was mitral valve prolapse. Was heat a factor? That's not for me to determine. An additional three hundred marathoners had to be treated for heat related conditions. The temperature soared to 88 degrees and the humidity bathed the runners so heavily that there was no relief from sweat evaporation.

The last time I saw marathon conditions even close to this was a few years ago at the L.A. Marathon. A beautiful course, and I enjoyed it because I did my fair share of walking. I don't need to be a hero. This is a lesson I have learned well, having run six ultramarathons.

Still, my hat is off to all who completed the Chicago Marathon yesterday. Also to the race director and his staff. Although the race is today being criticized for the water tables being understocked, I would not be too quick to judge.

Race directors for these major marathons rely on past data to project needs and prepare accordingly. If one race day's weather is uncharacteristically “off”, logistics can preclude playing catch-up.