So which stories have gotten your attention here at the end of the week?
DELAWARE GRAPEVINE's Celia Cohen notes Senator Carper's office has been churning out "press release after press release, all related to Carper's military service." Cohen postulates that this may be payback for Independent Party candidate Alex Pires' persistent attacks on Senator Carper's military record. Cohen: "It was like Pires wanted to swift-boat Carper, and Carper came back with a swift boat."
The Dogfish Head Brewery is becoming quite a magnet: Robert Plant, the frontman for the legendary British band Led Zeppelin, and his son Logan toured the Milton brewery and posed for photos. Dogfish Head's Mariah Calagione apparently didn't quite realize who, exactly, was coming. Just visitors from the Beavertown Brewery in the U.K., she was told.
Powerball mania: Missouri Lottery officials have verified one of two tickets that matched all six numbers to split a record $588 million Powerball jackpot. But that particular ticket holder - as of this Friday morning - remained unidentified, along with another winner in Arizona.
(I confess I've never purchased a lottery ticket of any kind. Not even once. I wouldn't even know how. I have no interest chasing a prize exponentially more elusive than the chances of getting zapped by lightning. Plus, I suspect being a winner would actually be quite stressful, closer to a living hell!)
Fiscal cliff negotiations: It seems we go from optimistic to pessimistic over news cycles. Late Thursday, the mood was pessimistic, as House Speaker John Boehner repudiated the four Trillion dollar "cliff" plan from the Obama Administration.
A Page-One NEW YORK TIMES analysis suggests most Americans face a LOWER tax burden than in the Reagan 1980's:
"But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes -- federal, state, and local -- than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The NEW YORK TIMES, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households, with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.
Households earning more than $200,000 benefited from the largest percentage declines in total taxation as a share of income. Middle-income households benefited, too. More than 85 percent of households with earnings above $25,000 paid less in total taxes than comparable households in 1980.
Lower-income households, however, saved little or nothing. Many pay no federal income taxes, but they do pay a range of other levies, like federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes and local property taxes. Only about half of taxpaying households with incomes below $25,000 paid less in 2010..."
Palestinians have won U.N. recognition as a non-member "state", the same status as the Vatican. 138 countries supported the bid from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Only the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, and several Pacific island nations supported Israel in voting nay. 41 countries abstained.
(Some would say appropriately... the delegation from The Sudan - as in Darfur genocide - introduced the Palestinian resolution.)
Now things get interesting: A U.S. law cuts funding to any U.N. entity that accepts Palestine as a member.
The paradox: Mahmoud Abbas found himself marginalized - almost an asterisk - to the Gaza--Israel conflict, which elevated Hamas in many Arab (and Palestinian eyes). Can he now use this "victory" to propel himself back to relevance?
President Obama and ex-Governor Romney have had their luncheon meeting. They dined on white turkey chili and a Southwestern grilled-chicken salad. From a White House statement: "They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future..."
The tabloids and cyber media are full of pictures and stories about the New York police officer photographed giving new socks & boots to a homeless man. (This NYPD cop didn't realize it at the time, but an Arizona tourist snapped a picture, which got posted on the police website. It went viral.)
Posted at 8:08am on November 30, 2012 by Allan Loudell
It is scary, disturbing, and simultaneously enlightening to hear the Republicans' call for Social Security to be part of the fiscal-cliff negotiations. Social Security is a separate fund, is fully solvent, and has nothing to do with the debt faced by the United States. Yet, the GOP would happily put your 95-year-old grandma on the sidewalk if it meant cutting taxes for a bunch of millionaires in return.
It illuminates the nightmare this country would have faced if Romney and Ryan had been elected. In the end, we were too smart for them.
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 1:14pm
The problem is, Social Security recipients often receive more than they and their employers paid in. And we let people come to this country and collect who did not pay in. Since we now use drugs and machines to keep the elderly alive for years beyond what we expected back in the 1940's, the funds have not kept up. In addition, the projections for SS always assumed a higher birth rate. As we continue to abort hundreds of thousands of babies each year, the next generation of payers is not going to be there.
We must remember one key point. When we begin to collect, we will not collect the cash we paid in. Our children's generation will be making the contributions for what we receive. They will collect what their children pay in. If there are not enough new workers, they will be out of luck.
We ignore the SS mess at our peril.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 1:48pm
Fixing Social Security is easy. The Social Security Tax is Regressive, unlike our payroll ta, which is Progressive. So anyone making more than $110,000/yr gross, doesn't pay any Social Secuirty tax after they pass the $110,000 mark. So millionaires and billionaires, people like Rush or Oprah, pay their Social Security tax, once in the first week of January and the rest of the year's earnings they pay no tax for Social Security.
All that needs be done to make Social Security solvent well into the 22nd century is raise that ceiling to say $250,000, or just take the ceiling off completely and never again have an issue with Social Security. Of course that will never happen, because the wealthy aren't in favor of that and the folks in Congress are wealthy, so they won't vote for that, but that is all that need be done to fix Social Security.
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 2:10pm
As mentioned, the Social Security trust fund is already solvent (for at least 30 more years), so there's nothing "to fix." The only problem would be if this is somehow cut by the Republicans, and the money used to pay for tax cuts for multi-millionaires. Interesting how it's actually the Republicans which are trying to redistribute wealth, by taking from elderly poor people and giving their money to people who are already rich.
P.S. The population is growing quickly, so abortion is not only a woman's personal choice but a way from keeping population growth from exceeding our resources.
Sat, Dec 1, 2012 12:45am
As someone who's looked at the numbers, Social Security will have to be fixed. There are ways of doing it that guarantee payments continue far into the future. Mike mentions one above. Another is to push two more years before retiring.
But Social Security is going to be hit hard because of a giant bubble of retires finally reflecting all those babies born after WWII.... It will need more cash in, and less cash out to remain solvent.
Sat, Dec 1, 2012 1:19am
Teatime: Unfortunately Social Security theoretically is supposed to be a separate fund, but isn't. There's no cash in the kitty - just IOU's. Politicians have raided the fund and used it as collateral for more borrowing to support their spending addictions.
At this point, they're printing worthless money for just about everything.
Sun, Dec 2, 2012 5:40pm
Worthless money buys Christmas presents as good as any other.....
Sun, Dec 2, 2012 10:06pm
At least for now.
Mon, Dec 3, 2012 12:51am
BBC reports that Cambridge University has created stem cells from blood cells. Essentially your own blood is drawn from your body, converted to stem cells, then put back into your body.
Stem cells can heal heart, lungs, brain, stomach, skin, muscle, bone, or every tissue. They are the holy grail of health.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 3, 2012 8:03am
Kavips: Thanks for the BBC link. That was an interesting article and offers some real hope. As using a person's own blood to make the stem cells also seems to end the issue of the body rejecting the stem cells from other sources as also happens with organ donations, it also would end the issue of getting Stem Cells from aborted feteuses.
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