Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Short Takes

In Paris, President Obama urged world leaders to follow the U.S. in dealing with climate change

Karma: Smog covers a large portion of Southeast Asia as the climate summit begins.

Suspect in the Planned Parenthood shooting appeared via video in a Colorado court to be arraigned.

Officer in Chicago shooting makes bail.

Chinese renminbi approved as a main world currency.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Short Takes

The Navy sent a ship within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial reefs in the South China Sea.

The Justice Department is investigating the body-slamming incident in South Carolina.

Ben Carson passes Donald Trump in a new national poll.

Walgreen’s bids to buy Rite-Aid.

American Airlines will go “no-frills” on certain routes.

GM to recall 1.4 million cars to repair intake manifold oil leaks (like the one my Pontiac had).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Short Takes

They may be close to a deal on a two-year spending plan in Congress.

The death toll in the earthquake in Afghanistan and Pakistan tops 200.

The Obama administration wants to limit standardized testing.

House Freedom Nutsery: The farther-rights are attacking the far-right for supporting Paul Ryan.

WHO says bacon causes cancer.  Life is now meaningless.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Short Takes

Iran convicted Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, but they didn’t say of what.

Suicide bombers were behind the bombing in Turkey last week.

Russian warplanes are carrying out more airstrikes in Syria.

Confederate flag-wavers indicted for disrupting a black birthday party.

Dell Computers buys EMC for $65 billion.

The Nobel Prize for Economics went to Angus Deaton of Princeton.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Short Takes

Congress passes stop-gap spending measure.

Russia launches airstrikes against Syria, targeting rebels.

Oklahoma governor halts execution of convicted killer.

Hackers tried to break into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail at least five times.

Kim Davis had a private meeting with the Pope.

The Tigers lost to the Rangers 6-2.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It’s Brilliant Because It’s His

I’m not an expert in tax policy, but the ideas for tax reform that Donald Trump came up with — reduce the number of brackets, cut taxes for corporations, give the rich more tax cuts, and tell the middle class they’re getting one too — sounds a whole lot like every other tax reform plan put out by your average Republican presidential candidate since the 1950’s.

But since it’s got Donald Trump’s label on it, it’s yoooge and brilliant and blows everyone else away.  That’s the difference.

Short Takes

Obama and Putin trade views on ISIS and Syria at the U.N.

Senate backs spending bill that avoids shutdown.

Dry Hole: Shell pulls out of Arctic oil drilling for now.

The F.B.I. says violent crime dropped slightly in 2014.

Tropical Update:  TD Eleven is curving north; Keep an eye out, Carolinas.

The Tigers beat the Rangers 7-4.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Short Takes

VW admits to diesel emissions fraud.

E.U. ministers approve migrant plan.

Democrats defeat GOP abortion bill in the Senate.

The sage grouse doesn’t get protected status.

U.S. stops screening passengers from Liberia.

Tropical Update: TS Ida is still stuck in neutral.

R.I.P. Yogi Berra, 90, ballplayer and force of wit.

The Tigers beat the White Sox 2-1 in extra innings.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Short Takes

Fed holds off raising interest rates.

At least 11 people were killed in the 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Chile.

President Obama greeted the three men who thwarted the train attack in Europe.

Verizon now works in Cuba.

Doritos unveiled rainbow-colored chips.

Tropical Update: TD Nine heads west.

The Tigers had the night off.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Short Takes

Strong earthquake hits off the coast of Chile.

Hungarian police clash with migrants at the Serbian border.

Oklahoma execution called off with just hours to spare.

GM and feds reach settlement on faulty ignition switches.

Will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates?

Tropical Update: TD Nine forms in the North Atlantic.

The Tigers beat the Twins 7-4.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pontifus Taximus

I am by nature wary of religious leaders, but I have to say that I admire Pope Francis on this one.

ROME — On the eve of a trip to the United States, Pope Francis has called himself a “son of immigrants” and confirmed the point by issuing a blunt warning to any religious orders in Europe that spurn his recent call to open their doors to refugees because they want to make money off their properties instead.

Go ahead, the pope said, but be ready to pay taxes just like everybody else.

“Some religious orders say ‘No, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests, and support ourselves that way, or make money,’” the pontiff said.

“Well, if that is what you want to do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”

I have long held that religious institutions should pay taxes no matter what — and yes, that includes the Quakers — but I’d settle for making those that make money off their property for non-religious uses pay up.  As John Oliver pointed out rather convincingly, religious exemption from taxes is a huge racket.

I wonder if the Pope is as good as his word when it comes to the Catholic Church and their massive holdings, but we’ll have to hold that one in the Light.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Copycat Economics

Jeb! is out with a brand new tax policy that is pretty much the same as his brother’s.

Bush’s plan, unveiled in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, would replicate his brother’s program in extremis. Like Dubya, Jeb would reduce income taxes at the bottom of the earning scale. Dubya reduced the estate tax; Jeb would eliminate it entirely. Dubya cut the top tax rate to 35 percent, while Jeb would lower it all the way to 28 percent. Unlike his brother, he would also slash corporate tax rates, from 28 percent to 20 percent.

George W. put a number on the size of his tax cut. He proposed a tax cut of $1.6 trillion over a decade, which Congress ultimately reduced to $1.35 trillion, though subsequent tax cuts pushed the size higher. It is impossible to precisely measure the impact of the Bush tax cuts on either the budget or the economy, since nobody can know what would have happened under identical conditions if the tax cuts had never been enacted.

But the results certainly were not good. Economist William Gale, using mainstream forecasting assumptions, estimated that the Bush tax cuts slightly reduced economic growth, as the (small) negative effects of higher long-term deficits outweighed the (even smaller) positive incentive effects of lower rates. The biggest impact of the Bush tax cuts was not its meager, indirect effects on growth, but its large, direct effects on income and the federal budget: Revenue cratered, and taxpayers — disproportionately those with higher incomes — had way more money.

Because it worked so well the last time, right?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Short Takes

The stock markets tanked again yesterday.

President Obama proposes expanding the U.S. arctic icebreaker fleet.

A manhunt is underway near Chicago for three suspects who killed a police officer.

Support grows in the House and Senate for the Iran nuclear deal.

Tropical Update: TS Fred is fizzling out.

The Tigers beat the Royals 6-5.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Short Takes

Yet again.

U.S. stock markets rallied after six down sessions.

Two American service members were killed in Afghanistan by an “insider” attack from an Afghan soldier.

The Mormons will stay with the Boy Scouts after all.

Tropical Update: Tropical Storm Erika is drawing a bead on the Leewards, the Bahamas, and could be a Cat 1 hurricane by this weekend.

The Tigers beat the Angels 5-0 as Justin Verlander gets this close to a no-hitter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Short Takes

Another wild day on Wall Street and around the world.

Oil prices keep falling.

Armed student surrenders after hostage situation at W. Virginia high school.

The last-known Ebola patient in Sierra Leone was released from hospital.

Trash piles up in Lebanon.

Tropical Update:  Tropical Storm Erika looks like it might be headed this way.

The Tigers lost to the Angels 8-7.