Saturday, January 04, 2014

Bike Tax Unreasonable For Wrong Reason, And Hello

Hello! You may know me from such places as Wonkette, where I usually lurk because they don’t allow comments, or the bar, where I get progressively drunker and yell at sawdust. Or you don’t know or care who I am. That’s not nice. But I respect your opinion to fuck off.

I’ve “known” The actor212 for a number of years -- off and on -- from the Internet. Apparently snark blogs are also good for getting men writers together.

For my inaugural post here at Simply Left Behind, I’d like to discuss Reason. Not the capacity for making sense of things, applying logic, or for establishing and verifying faces, as Wikipedia defines it, but rather the libertarian website for reasonable people. In particular, this post by Scott Shackford about a Chicago councilwoman proposing a $25 annual tax on cyclists. 
“When you tax something, you get less of it.”
We’re off to a great start. Especially when the examples provided are cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline -- all of which we have plenty of and are enjoyed by millions. I am pretty upset each are so heavily taxed because how can I afford to fill up my car with an environmentally damaging substance to travel to purchase things that damage your body in all the good ways? And what, Scott, would these revenues be used for?
“The revenue can be used for good things, proponents say, like government programs to help children, the environment, and improve citizens’ health.”
But, as Scott rightly explains, if you tax these things, people will spend less money on them, resulting in lost revenues. Which is part of the Nanny State’s diabolical plan to slightly improve California’s air slightly, get smokers to quit smoking, and help families with young children. Nice Prius, you infant. Now cough up some bike taxes. Apparently, even though people are spending less money on smokes, the tax revenue may save the state some loot -- $93M in FY 2011/12.

Scott describes how the Nanny States now hates the environmentally and health conscious cyclists because of budget shortfalls. Granted, it may be foolish to provide more subsidies to automobile drivers than mass transit users but Lance Armstrong only has one taxable ball.

The best part about all of Scott’s post is that he never mentions a good reason why this tax is a bad idea. No, it is not the Nanny State wanting to check your diaper, but because it would only raise as much money as it would take to implement. Forbes, what say you?
“... a bike registration fee would raise some $10 million for the city of Chicago is a pipe dream. Almost every cent would be used simply to administer the program”

Interesting reasoning there.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Just remember: Before we invaded Iraq, there was no Al Qaeda

2) When my friends ask me why I’m not alarmed by the NSA scandals, it’s mostly because of stuff like this that I realize it’s a lost cause.

3) It hasn’t been Snowmageddon, but it’s been pretty impressive.

4) Of course, Kerry pretty much has to say this, doesn’t he?

5) Tim Tebow for governor? You heard it hear first.

6) So how dangerous is it to text and drive? This dangerous.

7) Get high without the high? But seriously, why would you bother?

8) Breaking news: Dogs suffer from OCD.

9) Guess we’ll have ol’ Toronto mayor Rob Ford to kick around for a while longer.

10) You think this is maybe why he ruled in favor of the ACA?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Occupy Gracie Mansion

Bill De Blasio was sworn in as New York’s mayor yesterday.

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bill de Blasio assumed office as New York’s 109th mayor yesterday, sworn in by former President Bill Clinton at a ceremony attended by thousands who heard him vow to dedicate his government to improving life for the least fortunate.

The first Democrat to run New York in 20 years pledged to move swiftly on an agenda that calls for affordable housing and community health centers. He renewed a proposal to tax the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten classes and after- school programs, a levy that would require state approval in an election year.

“We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love,” de Blasio, 52, said in his 18-minute address delivered on the steps of City Hall in lower Manhattan. “And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA.”

Egalitarian themes from de Blasio, who officially took the oath of office hours earlier at midnight before hundreds of supporters outside his Brooklyn home, have already captured national attention. President Barack Obama invited him and other newly elected mayors to a White House meeting last month to focus on job creation and economic fairness, and he emerged from the 90-minute session as the main spokesman for the group. Democrats will run the 12 biggest U.S. cities this year.

If the Occupy movement can take any heart from the protests of the past three years, it is this: New Yorkers saw their protests, and realized the movement was right: something is desperately wrong with the economic model of the United States. The largest city in the country is now a lab experiment on how to fix that.

And in fixing, we hope that other problems like healthcare and crime will similarly be lessened. Altho how crime in the city can get much lower is anybody’s guess. One thing we can be sure of: black men and women will be able to walk the streets in far less fear of being Stopped and Frisked.

There will be critics, both local and national, watching his every move and ready to pounce on even the slightest veer from course or aberrative data point to prove he’s a failure. In this, I hope he takes a page from President Obama’s playbook and stays the course. It’s easy to criticize, far harder to govern.

We here at Simply Left Behind wish him well.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Ten Most Important Stories of 2013

Some of these will not hit the radar as big stories of the year. For instance, I completely ignore the Edward Snowden saga as basically a footnote to history: he uncovered nothing, merely put it in the shop window, and you’ll notice it’s had all the lift of a lead balloon.

No, these are stories that will affect the news in 2014 and well beyond:

1) Pope Francis – what can you say about a man who upends an entire monolithic bureaucracy as big as the Catholic Church, while inviting dialogue from Islamic tyrants? He’s made the Vatican relevant again, from Twitter to the long-disgruntled American Catholic church.

2) Eight banks hold 90% of the US GDP.

3) A robot who is not a robot. Or is it a human who is not a human? Either way, the Turing Test is in trouble.

4) The same sex marriage battle will open the doors to many unexpected loosenings of other restrictions of the law. I expect marijuana will be legalized by the end of the decade.

5) Africa. The cold war between China and the US will heat up in the coming years. The internal conflicts in Africa are merely the opening salvos.

6) Bill de Blasio. Arguably, the first real liberal since John Lindsay to serve in “the second toughest job in America”. He campaigned on a progressive platform, and his appointments thus far point to maintaining that stance. His biggest obstacle? He has to push reforms through the state legislature, not exactly a hotbed of progressivism. He has Andrew Cuomo’s ear, however, but keep in mind, Cuomo is looking at a 2016 Presidential run.

7) Turkey. The bridge between the Muslim Middle East and the EU got swing-y this year. Keep an eye on this.

8) Likewise, the Ukraine. It’s not a coincidence, I think, that the loosely connected Russian Federation is seeing an uptick in violence ahead of the Olympics in February.

9) Worldwide satellite broadband? It could happen.

10) Cloned or printed, growing organs for transplant is in our immediate future.