Tag Archives: taxes

Paul Ryan is Coming for Your Health Care

Paul Ryan, the wunderkind of the right wing, finally saw fit to release his proposed “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act.  Let me sum it up for you:

  1. If you relied on the individual market or Medicaid for health coverage you will get less. According to Paul Ryan you will like it because the free market will warm your insides with the fiery glow of Ayn Rand’s ridiculous ideology.
  2. If you relied on Planned Parenthood for any health services you are screwed because Paul Ryan hates Planned Parenthood. This is red meat thrown to a conservative base that might have a hard time supporting the bill, but can now hide behind the fact that it defunds Planned Parenthood.  Imagine the member of Congress going back to angry constituents, “I realize you are getting less health care, paying more, and even being denied coverage but we defunded evil Planned Parenthood.”  Look for this to be Ted Cruz’s defense when the human blobfish eventually goes along with passage.
  3. If you are wealthy you like this bill. Why?  You will pay less in taxes.  It is the right wing salve for the soul.  Got an HAS?  You will get to sock away more money under this plan.  The problem with this part of the plan is that poor people are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to fund an HAS for future health obligations.
  4. The bill keeps the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act that deal with keeping your children on your insurance until age 26 among others, but I suspect that these provisions will be weakened or removed entirely as the bill works its way through committee and reconciliation assuming it gets that far in the process.

Republicans do not understand how people actually live.  Asshats like Jason Chaffetz subscribe to the old Ronald Reagan “Cadillac driving welfare queen” when saying bullshit like this:

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.

This is the first shot in a war that Paul Ryan intends to fight over the government providing any sort of assistance to anyone other than the rich and corporations.  Remember, Paul Ryan only has eyes for…

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Friday Linkage 8/15/2014

Moving to a new job is interesting. I have not had a job change in six years, so it kind of feels like a milestone but it is odd at the same time. Who knows what next week will bring?

On to the links…

Sales of Shark Fin in China Drop by up to 70%–I hope that international pressure and the realization that the soup really tastes like warm snot is starting to make people reconsider this outdated practice. Again, it could be just some spin from China’s PR machine.

China Will Install More Solar This Year Than The U.S. Ever Has—Is solar taking off? Well, here is one little stat to make you think about the volume of deployed solar. Remember, solar PV destroys demand.

Stacked Solar Cells could make Solar Power Cheaper than Natural Gas—Even cheaper solar power would be sweet. It’s already cost competitive, but if it were cheaper that makes the adoption curve go crazy.

Wind Farm Powering A Million Homes Nears Approval Deep In Coal Country—Considering that Wyoming is coal country this is a big deal.   3,000 megawatts of power would put this single wind farm on par with all but a few states total wind generation capacity. Damn.

Carbon Dioxide ‘Sponge’ could Ease Transition to Cleaner Energy—Here is the thing that climate deniers and opponents of the new EPA regulations forget, their vaunted market will come up with cost effective solutions because the demand is present.

When Did Republicans Start Hating the Environment?—When did Republicans start hating everything? Seriously, what does the party stand for as opposed to what it stands against? It’s a party devoid of big ideas.

20 Big Profitable US Companies Paid No Taxes—As you read this list, remember that Republicans want corporations to pay even lower taxes. The thing that kills me is that if corporations are people why don’t they pay taxes like people?

Absurd Creature of the Week: This Goofy Fish Poops Out White-Sand Beaches—A parrotfish is an amazing thing to watch when you are snorkeling. You can watch little puffs of white sand come out from their rear ends. Cool and gross at the same time.

Judge Refuses To Throw Out Challenge To Utah’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Law—This is important and should be followed by anyone with an interest in activism and free speech. If “ag gag” laws are allowed to stand there will be a chilling effect on speech and it will encourage industry to promote even more restrictions on our rights.

America Now Has Over 3,000 Craft Breweries—and That’s Not Necessarily Great for Beer Drinkers—The beer aisle is crazy now. How many IPAs and amber ales and bocks and sour ales and whatever else can a beer drinker choose from effectively? As I read more and more articles I believe a shakeout in the industry is coming.

Fermenting Beer Time Lapse Shows one Beautiful Breathing Sludge Monster— These open fermentation tanks are crazy mad scientist stuff:

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What a Republican Really Means

The infrastructure in the United States is crumbling.  In fact, it has been crumbling for the better part of my adult life and nothing every really seems to get done to fix the problem.  Why?  Primarily because it is very expensive, even though the repair would create jobs and the improved infrastructure would yield economic benefits, and Republicans have a new found aversion to government spending, as long as the spending is not for weapons which they love.

In Iowa there was a moment when it looked the legislature and governor might coalesce around a solution.  The gas tax, which primarily funds the road construction account, has not been raised since 1989.  Now Governor Terry Branstad (R-Clueless) has said that alternatives need to be considered because he will not support an increase to the gas tax.

The normal talking points that do not make sense are included about the public not supporting an increase in the gas tax—sure, in isolation no one supports a tax increase but given that something needs to be done which tax will be the least disliked?—and other tropes like the price of gasoline being too high, yada, yada, yada.

What Governor Braindead really meant to say is that he is considering running for office again—the horror!—and he is too chicken shit to support raising any taxes—even if it pays for needed infrastructure work—because he wants to spend another four years collecting a check for being the governor and a pension check at the same time.

Nothing like double dipping on the government tit while telling everyone how personal responsibility is the pathway to salvation.  Or the baby Jesus.  I get really confused when I hear this guy talk.

I realize it’s a translation issue, but now you know what this particular Republican really means when he says that Iowa needs to consider alternatives to raising the gas tax.

Friday Linkage 2/1/2013

It’s February.  Wow.  Hard to believe and then…not so hard considering I have spent the past two weeks watching the sports section of anything I read turned into a non-stop parade of useless articles about the impending Super Bowl.  The Super Bowl signifies one thing to me—pitchers and catchers are about to report.  Say what you will about baseball, but it is that first taste of the warm weather to come when spring training starts in Arizona and Florida.

On to the links…

Coastal Snobbery, ‘The Masses,’ And Respecting The Lowest Common Denominator—Thank god someone actually put pen to paper and wrote about this perception.  It’s as if everyone who lives in an enclave on the east or west coast feels that everyone living more than an hour’s drive from salt water is some sort of backwards rube.  Granted, Buckwild is doing nothing to help that perception.

In Energy Taxes, Tools to Help Tackle Climate Change—Taxes have become the new “thing that shall remain nameless” in any discussion about public policy unless the focus is on tax cuts.  It is too bad because targeted taxes on energy could really change behavior and raise a lot of money to fund the fight against climate change.  Wonder what Grover Norquist thinks?

New ERCOT Report Shows Texas Wind And Solar Are Highly Competitive With Natural Gas—The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is not known as a bastion of trippy hippie thinking, so when it comes out with an assessment that wind and solar are competitive…no wait, highly competitive with natural gas people need to pay attention.

Fake Protesters Offered $20 To Stand At Anti-Wind Energy Rally—Like the incident in 2012 where pro-coal groups paid people $50 to attend hearings, the fossil fuel complex and its cronies cannot drum up actual grassroots support.  So, they pay people.

How Volkswagen Turns Tennessee Sunshine Into Passats—I find the picture of all those solar photovoltaic panels amazing.  I also find it a bit disheartening because there are so many places we could be deploying solar photovoltaic panels that are not open fields—e.g. the roofs of big box stores, warehouses, schools, etc.  At least it is something.

A Solar Powered Shed for India’s Food—Food waste is a huge problem all across the world—developed and developing—but in the developing world the main problems are keeping food from spoiling before it can reach consumers.  Refrigeration and distribution headaches are two of the primary concerns.  Here is a simple solution to take care of the refrigeration component.

How Electricity, Water And Food Could Be Produced In Desert Areas With Minimal Ecological Footprint—There is something to these combined facilities that really speaks to me.  When I was a kid I used to love reading stories about the ideas for moon bases or terraforming.  I do not know how viable this project would be in the “real world” but it is fun to think about for a few moments.

Officials Back Deep Cuts in Atlantic Cod Harvest to Save Industry—The collapse of the cod fisheries in the Atlantic has to stand as one of the great environmental catastrophes of the Twentieth Century.  As other species of wildlife have returned to some level of abundance, the cod has been a stubborn fish.

Bacon, and How it Came to Be—Maybe it’s where I come from—eastern Iowa—but butchers never really went away.  In town I can easily think of a half dozen meat markets where a real, honest to goodness butcher is behind the counter.  Nonetheless, it is good to see a focus returning to the people who actually prepare the foods we cook.  Even if this did seem a little bit like elitist foodie tourism.

Alex Bogusky talks about Boulder, SmartWool, bikes and being American—  When I was in b-school, Alex Bogusky was one of the few ad people that I actually found interesting to read about or listen to.  This opinion continues with this piece.  BTW, I love the “random” conversations that the Denver Post has in this feature.  It’s great.

Friday Linkage 11/18/2011

Strange week.  Not very busy, but it seemed to disappear in a hurry anyway.  Spending time in City Planning Commission meetings trying to figure out the intricacies of zoning will make time both seem to last forever and fly right by.  Weird.  On to the links…

The U.S. Cultivates as Much Lawn as Wheat—Scarcity is a hard concept to wrap your head around when you consider just how much time, money, and land is dedicated to the growing of turfgrass.  NASA, yes the space people, of all sources produced a great graphic an estimate of the amount of land dedicated to turfgrass:

The estimate was over 30 million acres dedicated to lawns.  Compare that to the following agricultural cultivation numbers in 2011:

Corn 91.9 million acres

Soybeans 75.0 million acres

Wheat 54.4 million acres

So, the U.S. does not actually plant more lawn than wheat in terms of acreage.  Still, 30 million acres is crazy.

Over Half of All U.S. Tax Subsidies Go to 4 Industries—If you want to know why the U.S. tax code is so complex, here is the simple reason.  Companies like the confusion because it allows for them to craft very specific loopholes to avoid paying taxes.  The system is so broken that it is doomed.

The Cost to Move Water—I have read Marc Reisner’s classic Cadillac Desert and seen the huge infrastructure projects in the American west dedicated to moving water, but the tally of this folly is still hard to imagine.  This article about the power costs just boggles the mind.  So, by conserving water in southern California we would be killing two birds with one stone.  Just saying.

Thanks Walmart for Your Stuff Falling Apart—As if I did not know that the $8 toaster that I bought from Walmart was a piece of junk.  I get what the author is trying to say.  The demands that Walmart puts on ever lower prices demands that compromises be made at some level.  Considering how efficient the corporation has become at logistics and everything else, the cost cutting is going to come from suppliers.

Honk Kong’s Appetitie for Shark Fin Soup—Apparently, the success of getting this barbaric menu item banned in the U.S. does not translate into success in China.  Damn.  It is heartening to see activists trying to do something about the issue, but it is disheartening to imagine just how difficult the road ahead may be.  At least in some places there is victory.

10 Tips for Sustainable Sushi—We all know to avoid Bluefin tuna.  No brainer.  Think Progress has come up with an easy list of things to keep in mind the next time you order a few California rolls.

Premium Food on School Lunch Menu—I applaud the effort to improve school lunches and provide the best possible food.  My wish is that we stop calling the best food premium food.  In reality, the other stuff is sub-standard.  It’s a different benchmark, but it is important to remember that the stuff coming from industrial factories is food-like.  It’s just not food.

A House with No Furnace in Minnesota—I keep my house a brisk maximum of 64 degrees in the winter in Iowa and that drops to 58 degrees at night, but not having a furnace in Minnesota seems insane.  Granted, the house has been remodeled with that in mind.  I just cannot imagine after spending fifteen years of my life shivering through Minnesota winters that it is possible.

Where Dreams go to Die—I went to college for a long time, graduate school in the liberal arts will do that to you, and I do not remember one single person wanting to become a consultant.  What does that even mean?  I went to business school and 21 months of being immersed in that culture did not clear things up.  He who has the best parties gets the best recruits.  Lame.