Sunday, November 14, 2010

10 Things I Learned This Past Week

----- The phrase "Be here now" apparently became popular after it was used as the title of a 1971 book by Ram Dass.

----- "Scratch the average Republican today, and he'll say 'tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.' We've demonized taxes.... We've created almost the idea that they're a metaphysical evil.... It's rank demagoguery. If [Republicans] were all put into a room on penalty of death to come up with how much [from the federal budget] they would cut, they couldn't come up with $50 billion, when the problem is $1.3 trillion. So to stand before the public and rub raw this antitax sentiment, the Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, should be ashamed of themselves." - Reagan budget czar David Stockman ("60 Minutes" interview)

----- The relay of the Olympic flame doesn't date back to the ancient Greeks but to the Nazis. It was a media ploy expressly invented for the 1936 games that attempted to link Hitler's Berlin with ancient Athens.

----- The highest tax bracket for individuals in the US is currently 35%. The highest tax bracket in Austria, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Japan, and The Netherlands is 50% or more. Swedes pay the most - nearly 60%.

----- The number of pet cats in the US increased 18% in the past 10 years. There are now 86 million pet kitties in American households. Some 56% live in a home with at least one other cat. Many of those cats are on Prozac.

----- Although the idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy goes back to ancient times, the phrase itself seems to have been coined by Robert K. Merton in his 1968 book, Social Theory and Social Structure.

----- "In both his 1994 and 1998 runs [for governor of Florida], Jeb [Bush] made it clear: not only was he not apologizing for his background, he was proud of where he was financially, and certain that it was the result of his own pluck and work ethic. 'I've worked real hard for what I've achieved and I'm quite proud of it,' he told the St. Petersburg Times in 1993.... The attitude was much the same as he had expressed on CNN's Larry King Live in 1992: 'I think, overall, it's a disadvantage,' he said of being the president's son when it came to his business opportunities. 'Because you're restricted in what you can do.' This thinking cannot be described as anything other than delusional." - S. V. Dáte, author of Jeb: America's Next Bush (2007)

----- Henry Dunant founded the Red Cross in the 1860s and won the first Nobel Peace Prize as a result. He spent the last 20 years of his life in a small room in a remote Swiss hospital/nursing home, mostly forgotten, and died a pauper there in 1910.

----- "Two years after the crisis on Wall Street, it has been announced that bonuses this year will be $144 billion, the highest in history. That's who's going to get this tax cut on the top, you know, 2 percent of the population. They don't need a tax cut. They don't deserve it. And, therefore, what we have to do is focus on Main Street, and that means getting our house in order fiscally, not tax cuts that we can't afford.... The point is, we're now in real-world governance. And you don't get 100 times at bat. The Republicans have been at bat for 30 years, and they've whiffed on everything." - Reagan budget czar David Stockman ("This Week With Christiane Amanpour" interview)

----- One of the common side effects of prednisone is insomnia.


  1. CATS are on Prozac?? WHY? (Perhaps their owners are too frazzled to own 'em, eh? Or perhaps people are too susceptible to marketing...)

    I always thought David Stockman was more honest than I'd expect out of a Republican. I've been researching our tax structure from back in the 1920's and at one point, the highest tax bracket paid 90%! So, given that the top percentage paid prior to the Botched tax cuts was only 39.6%, and it's currently just 35%, I just don't get what all the bellyaching is about. I'll bet that many anti-taxites don't even know what the percentages being discussed actually are.

    Anyone who is actually working, and making a decent enough wage to have to pay taxes can't be hurting be hurting so much merely from taxes, alone. But that's been the Repo mantra, that "in these hard times, we don't need to tax those who are hurting. Hello? The ones who are hurting aren't paying taxes on lost income... unemployment taxes are nearly non-existent.

    That's a shame about Henry Dunant. And I heard an assessment recently by political pundits that declared Jeb Botch's political career to be stunted, specifically because of his name.

  2. Hmm, I realize, belatedly, that I should've been more specific on the top tax bracket... back in 1944, with, you know, a WAR going on, the top tier, making $200k or more, paid 94%! Now THAT was how to do it! Can you imagine the squeals from the Faux Noosies if THAT were once more implented??

  3. Jeb Bush's comment brings to mind the expression attributed to republican John Raese, the losing candidate in the recent West Virginia senate race: "I earned my money the old-fashioned way. I inherited it."

  4. That's sad about the founder of the Red Cross.

    If you are complaining about taxes, you're lucky. It means you have a lot more money than the people who look forward to tax season.

    Jeb Bush just shows that the Bushes are not among the brightest of people.