Did two quick podcasts in one day. The first one is a dialogue with 3 leading political analysts. Matt, Ryan and Kurt (not their real names) were kind enough to share their views on the battle of Right vs. Left. The second one is a rant about the debate over the filibuster. The filibuster is really important and we should be appalled that the Right Wing Wackos want to be able to approve judicial nominees with a slim majority while trampling on the rules of the Senate.
Gotta tip the hat to ol’ PZ again. This quote is great:
When there is an elephant in your living room, there are pressing, interesting, and productive hypotheses one might make, but “there is no elephant” is not among them. Nor is the fact that some people are arguing about whether it is Indian or African evidence of its nonexistence.
That the earth is old, that evolution occurred and is occurring, that we are all descended from common ancestors, and that dinosaurs existed are all simple, indisputable facts, no matter how uncomfortable they seem to make some people. It doesn’t help us understand reality to argue for nonsense.
See this article on pharyngula.org for more.
This installment is a rant about so-called judicial activism and our favorite hypocrite, Tom DeLay. It’s actually kind of a short one! I wrote about judicial activism a while ago on my blog as well, if you prefer the written word.
Here is a sort of screwed up sound seeing tour. Herein I discuss my astronomy, my observatory and give a little tour of the joint. It is kind of “screwed up” because I didn’t give a very good sound seeing tour due to visitors, dead batteries and other distractions. It’s long and kind of boring but might be interesting especially if you are interested in learning a little more about what amateur astronomers do.
This podcast is commentary on drugs, both legal and illegal, and the fucked up failure known as the war on drugs.
Our brain dead members of the House voted to eliminate the estate tax. This is dumb. Really dumb. First of all, the estate tax effects a very, very, very slim minority of people. Second of all, the farmers and small business owners that the Republicans claim this is helping can easily be helped by raising the threshold a bit. Right now it is at $1.5M. Make it $5M and it covers all of those poster child cases. Hell, make it $10M.
The people most “hurt” by the estate tax are the ultra wealthy, i.e. those people with generational wealth who inherited their fortune and want every child and grandchild and descendent to be wealthy until the end of time. First of all, I personally think generational wealth is bad for America. The rich love to talk about a meritocracy. If they truly believe that they should be for an ungodly high estate tax rate, because people that inherit money did not earn it. There is no “merit” there. Second, if you inherit millions or billions of dollars, it is a no brainer that you can make it into even more millions and billions. In terms of equal opportunity in this country, no question people that inherit ungodly fortunes have a huge advantage.
Make no question about it — the estate tax still leaves plenty of room for rich cry babies to remain rich cry babies. If you are worth a shit load of money when you die, your children will still have a shit load of money. What we are saying with the estate tax is that your wealth was not created in a vacuum and you have a responsibility to share some portion of your wealth with the country that made it possible after you are dead and don’t need it anymore.
As a side note, people that leave huge fortunes to their children are idiots anyway. I can’t think of a more efficient way to turn people into white trash than give them millions of dollars for no reason. As Warren Buffet says, you should leave your kids enough money that they feel they can do anything but not so much they can do nothing.
The estate tax is fair, it effects very few people, it helps support the very society that makes extreme wealth possible, it is consistent with a philosophy of a meritocracy, it can be tweaked to protect farmers and small business owners, and we absolutely need it.
Why the hell are Republicans so stupid that even in times of war and soaring debt they still want to eliminate taxes? These people are fiscally irresponsible.
Here is the next in my series of podcasts. This is a rather rambling one about podcasting, Democracy Now! and related topics. It’s actually a short one! Enjoy…