HOLY SHIT…Breaking News: Clinton Hostage Situation!!!

A man took an unknown number of people hostage at a New Hampshire campaign office for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, police said Friday.The man claimed to have a bomb strapped to him when he walked into the office in Rochester, WHDH-TV reported.

Police said they believe two hostages were being held and that the man had released an adult and a child.

Officials with the campaign confirmed that there were two workers taken hostage in the office on 28 North Main St.. A woman and her baby told workers at a neighboring business that she was released by the hostage-taker.”A young woman with a 6-month or 8-month-old infant came rushing into the store just in tears, and she said, ‘You need to call 911. A man has just walked into the Clinton office, opened his coat and showed us a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape,'” witness Lettie Tzizik said.

There are several police officers positioned across the street from the office, crouched down behind cruisers with guns drawn, according to a reported at the scene.

“I walked out and I immediately started running, and I saw that the road was blocked off. They told me run and keep going,” said Cassandra Hamilton, who works in an office adjacent to the building.

MyDD has more…Holy Shit!

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More on Tax Code Simplification

I don’t normally like a lot of Nicholas Beaudrot’s writings, but his post on Ezra Klein’s blog about the REAL issue with tax code simplification is amazingly insightful. :

Frustration with the complicated nature of the tax code is a reason to simplify the tax code, not to enact some crazy regressive tax scheme that would have the side effect of creating a massive informal market in untaxed goods. You could have an income tax that computed your tax liability based on a seventh degree polynomial that you could fill out on a post card, so long as the only input is “How much money did you make last year?”. Instead, our tax code asks you how much you made from working, which is treated differently from money earned from interest and dividends, which is treated differently from capital gains. And then we start asking how much you gave to charity, how much you spent on health care, how many kids you have, whether any of them are in college or require child care, whether you bought a hybrid car, etc. ad nauseum.

Mike Huckabee: further advancing the stereotype that people from the South can’t count

I like Mike Huckabee. He’s a nice guy. Not president worthy whatsoever though. Example number 1: The “Fair Tax”. Everyone should read Dan Bartlett’s famous Wall Street Journal article which explains why the (Un)Fair Tax is complete bullshit:

This is only the beginning of the deceptions in the FairTax. Under the Linder-Chambliss bill, the federal government would have to pay taxes to itself on all of its purchases of goods and services. Thus if the Defense Department buys a tank that now costs $1 million, the manufacturer would have to add the FairTax and send it to the Treasury Department. The tank would then cost the federal government $300,000 more than it does today, but its tax collection will also be $300,000 higher.

 

This legerdemain is done solely to make revenues under the FairTax seem larger than they really are, so that its supporters can claim that it is revenue-neutral. But for the government to afford to purchase the same goods and services, it would have to raise spending by the amount of the tax it pays to itself. The FairTax rate, however, is not high enough to finance the higher spending it imposes. Therefore the proposal only works if federal purchases are cut by 30%, close to $300 billion–the increased cost imposed by the FairTax.

Similarly, state and local governments would have to pay the FairTax on most of their purchases. This means that it is partly financed by higher state and local taxes. It’s also worth remembering that state sales taxes now average 6%, which means that the total tax rate will be 36% on retail sales.

State sales taxes have long exempted all but a few services because of the enormous difficulty in taxing intangibles. But the FairTax would apply to 100% of services, including medical care, thus increasing their cost by 30%. No state comes close to taxing services so broadly.

A 2000 estimate by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation found the tax-inclusive rate would have to be 36% and the tax-exclusive rate would be 57%. In 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department calculated that a tax-exclusive rate of 34% would be needed just to replace the income tax, leaving the payroll tax in place. But if evasion were high then the rate might have to rise to 49%. If the FairTax were only able to cover the limited sales tax base of a typical state, then a rate of 64% would be required (89% with high evasion).

I think the article pretty much speaks for itself. I seriously suggest you read the whole thing. When the Wall Street Journal editorial page is calling a regressive tax which would, allegedly, get rid of the IRS bullshit you know the idea is bunk.

This is why I’m not a Republican

This is just sad. Though I have to say that I’m not surprised.

Joe Klein writes:

In the next segment–the debate between Romney and Mike Huckabee over Huckabee’s college scholarships for the deserving children of illegal immigrants–I noticed something really distressing: When Huckabee said, “After all, these are children of God,” the dials plummeted. And that happened time and again through the evening: Any time any candidate proposed doing anything nice for anyone poor, the dials plummeted (30s). These Republicans were hard.

It amazes me that some people can be so blinded by their bigotry that they’d get upset when someone refers to immigrants as children of God. What kind of Christian Conservatives do these Republicans believe they are? Do they believe that God only likes some people and not others? And more directly, if you’re a republican and you allegedly believe in personal responsibility, hard work, self reliance,etc then why would you oppose anybody…let alone children who had no role in their parents decision to come to the United States… getting access to a quality education?

And this isn’t a “oh we just oppose illegal immigration,etc,etc” stance. I was a strong opponent of leinet immigration policies throughout high school, and I still believe in a strongly regulated border system with an emphasis on security, but being anti illegal immigration on policies that would prevent people from coming over and being anti illegal immigrant on policies that want to screw them over after they’re here are two seperate issues.

But there was worse to come: When John McCain started talking about torture–specifically, about waterboarding–the dials plummeted again. Lower even than for the illegal Children of God. Down to the low 20s, which, given the natural averaging of a focus group, is about as low as you can go. Afterwards, Luntz asked the group why they seemed to be in favor of torture. “I don’t have any problem pouring water on the face of a man who killed 3000 Americans on 9/11,” said John Shevlin, a retired federal law enforcement officer. The group applauded, appallingly.

I love these caricture “Team America” republicans who shame even REAL republicans. If you want to believe in limited government, thats fine. We can respectfully disagree, but if you’re political beliefs are based in fear rhetoric, base emotional appeals, and an absolute lack of warrants then you’re an embarrassment to the political process. I hate this when democrats do it and I certainly hate it when republicans do it. YOUR FEELINGS ARE NOT WARRANTS.

So who won? Romney walked in with 8 members of the group leaning his way and left with 14. The group thought he looked and sounded like a leader. Fred Thompson went from 3 supporters to 7–and I noticed a clever trick he used: he started almost every answer with a joke and the dials would go up and stay up as he meandered through his nondescript answers.

See this is what pisses me off. That there are so many people, particularly republicans, who vote on “presence”. Oh Romney “looked strong” even though everything that came out of his mouth was pure shit. And it’s not even that I disagreed with him, his answers, or lack thereof, literally failed to pass the test of logic. Even if you hold conservative beliefs, which many of my friends do, Romney’s wavering, flip flopping, and lack of authenticity are shameful.

Fuck Matt Steele ؟

Matt has an interesting post about the need for a widely used notation that shows when people are being sarcastic:

Introducing the irony mark. You use it, get this, to indicate when you’re being ironic. Examples include:

*  Agile programming is nothing but writing code and complaining؟
* Hillary Clinton should stop running for President and make me a sandwich؟

I’ve been saying this for along time. Being the sarcastic bastard that I am, it gets annoying when someone takes things out of context. The only possible drawback is that if this starts being widely used then I lose the anonymity that comes with people guessing if im serious or not.