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Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 09:58 am itz Sunday... now what?
Yup, still alive. ;-)

As we all move through the speed of life, I have found that my online activities have been evolving more subtly than I imagined. I visit a small plethora of sites for hard news and information, another set of URLs for opinion across the blogosphere, and a couple of select locales for music and general entertainment.

I simply have to get on the stick and blog over here a bit more often. Too many pals over here to not keep up with and all.


October Surprise Time: So the 2010 World Series will consist of the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. Interesting. For my money, I hope that the guys from the Lone Star State take it all the way to the end and bring home the top prize. If I had the cash and time, I'd actually go down to Arlington to watch it personally. In the meantime, one would think that the local citizenry is probably going crazy in baseball fever, especially in light of the Dallas Cowboy's current standings in the NFL.


ONCE MORE INTO THE BREECH: NaNoWriMo is coming at us fast, and I will once again make a good faith effort to get the job done. The project I am going to be working on this year will be that of a story of girl and her timeship. The intent is to release the whole thing in its entirety on the web as I do it, and then bundle it all up in book form before year's end for those who still like to read material out of paper and such. The secondary purpose is just to get my name out there so that more people become more familiar with my name. A bit of marketing for the bigger literary work ahead. Stay tuned...


The BIG Question: While I told myself there was no longer to be any political discussions to be held on this Live Journal, I was still kind of curious to find out about the overall philosophy of my online friends about the rate of taxation.

Surely THAT can't be a topic that is too hot to handle?

Okay, let's wade into those waters for a moment. What statement seems more "fair" to YOU?

a) Everyone should pay taxes to support the baseline level of services we all use on a regular, irregular, or emergency basis. A flat tax rate (everyone pays the same percentage, regardless of income) that ensures all citizens have "skin in the game," and that they will likely be more engaged in the spending habits of their government.

b) Not everyone can directly afford to pay taxes to support the baseline level of services we all use on a regular, irregular, or emergency basis. A progressive tax rate (the more you make, the more you pay) ensures that those of means helps those who can't readily contribute due to economic hardship.

I am sure that there are a multitude of variations to those choices, so feel free to articulate them in the comments section. As you can probably guess, I am a supporter of position "a" if for nothing else that I believe that the more you tax an activity, the more you discourage it.

Of course, your mileage may vary.


STAYIN' ALIVE: I survived a spin out on I-44 one mile south of the Elgin exit earlier this month (10-10-10). Thanks to a bit of late night hydro-planing, the rear passenger tire rose up just enough to start a scary spin that made the mini-van an out-of-control billiard ball in search of a wall to bump against. The concrete divide segregating east and westbound traffic served nicely. The vehicle was totaled out, but everyone walked away without injury.


Taint H3 News: Speaking of 10-10-10, the Taint Trailin' on the Tens Hash worked out GREAT. We had an awesome attendance, with hashers showing up from as far away as Tulsa, Dallas, and points in between. When the clock struck 10:10, we all drank mimosas en mass to celebrate the once in a lifetime moment. We had a pair of great hash virgins who truly enjoyed themselves. The local hashers were very valuable in helping run the whole shebang, and the gimme bags were to die for. Not surprisingly, ALL of the beer was consumed before the end of the event. I could not have asked for a better outcome. Good times indeed.


SAVING TREES: I *know* I would happily use a Kindle if given or purchased. I am just wondering about the wisdom of buying e-books over getting the real thing. Sure, it is easier to carry one's library around, and it takes up far less real estate at home, but I am curious about the digital rights component. Can I port the data to other devices at will (laptop, smart phone, iPad, etc.) or am I stuck with just the device that I happen to download the material to? Furthermore, is there an expiration period when the purchased e-book is rendered unreadable?

The price of a Kindle edition for most books are uniformly about the same, so I don't mind the standard rate fee predictability as it is often less expensive than the paper version. However, not all titles are available for Kindle.

Lastly, I have to ask if it is smarter to just buy an iPad, Android-based tablet, or other type of hardware that does a bit more than just read e-books and magazines. If anyone wants to weigh in on this, I welcome the feedback.


If you're on Facebook, and you want to add me for the ride, I am easily found as Bryan Wicks. When I do the Twitter thing, itzWicks works there as well.


YouTubery Video Highlights: Playground Love - Air | 1000 Cigarettes - MSTRKRFT | Duke's Travels - Genesis


The itzWicks WayBack Machine: February 17, 2008

"Perhaps it is because Danielle Heaney and Nick Cameron don't look in the least alike that they pass so easily for a pair of young lovers no different from any other.

She is a petite, delicate, blue-eyed blonde, while he is a strapping young man with auburn hair and soft brown eyes which never stray for long from her face. They hold hands, they kiss, they stroke each other's arms, they listen attentively to each other. They are totally besotted.

What makes this scene so disturbing, however, is the fact that Danielle and Nick are half brother and sister."

YIKES! So much to process here. The libertarian in me says that the government needs to BUTT OUT and STAY OUT. The latent social conservative in me however says that some limits have to be set, no matter how painful and emotional they may be. Well, at least Mother's Day will be simplified.

Your mileage may vary.

Feel free to read more here.


Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. Some running/jogging later in the morning. A visit to my girls late this afternoon, and perhaps a whole lot of writing and reading until bedtime. That is my day as I envision it, subject to change. Here's hoping that the rest of your weekend is drama free and pleasurable. Never forget to live like you mean it! ;-)
About this Entry
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Date:October 24th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
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Nice to see you on here, dear!

Quick reactions (as I *should* be sewing!)...
YIKES on the accident; glad you're ok.
On the Kindle, I've wondered about those rights too, but as far as I'm concerned, well, I just prefer the feel of a book in my hands. Some things I'm old-fashioned about.
And here's a surprise for you; I agree with you completely on the taxation thing. One governmental service I don't use that I don't mind paying for is schools; education is just too damned important. But as a single, small business entrepreneur, I feel mostly that the government is out to help everybody *but* me and that I pay all the penalties and receive none of the benefits.
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Date:October 24th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)

Make it sew!

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Thanks for the return welcome! :)

I agree with you that holding a book is always best, but I *love* to read, and could easily fill a knapsack with books, if given a chance. Kindle can hold up to 3500 books, and even with my busy brain, I don't think I could chew up that much reading material that fast in a weekend.

The whole taxation question also gets to the heart of a philosophical discussion I'll likely hold elsewhere about the role of government, the size and scope of the safety net (if we are to have one), and how much are we willing to pony up for it.

I know life happens, but I would so much like to play catch up with you one of these days. Hope all is improving up north. ;-)
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Date:October 24th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Make it sew!

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I'd love to catch up, too, one of these days.

I have my ups and downs, of course, during this time of transition and recovery but I'm having more up days than down ones to that's heading in the right direction.
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Date:October 24th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
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1st off, glad everyone walked away from that crash.

2nd, as far as taxes go, neither option proposed. I'd much rather the Fair Tax method. My primary reason is so that all of those people who work "under the table" would also pay taxes. That's one thing that's always bugged me. I'm not talking about paying the kid down the block to mow your lawn, but the drug dealers and that ilk. They don't pay taxes on their income, and when they get caught, WE gotta pay for them to live in jail. At least with the Fair Tax they'd have at least put money into the system at some point...

Lastly, I have a Kindle and I LOVE it. The books are portable between devices. Greg is now reading a book on his iPad that I purchased on the Kindle. I've read a book he purchased on my iPod touch. There's an app for the Android that I could use as well. And you can also read it on various computers. The book is tied to the account, not the device. From the way I understand it, as long as you pay for the book, it's yours. You can remove it from your Kindle and re-download it without paying anything additional.

There are a lot of free books for the Kindle. If you are going to release your nanowrimo work to the internet, it might not be a bad idea to go to the Amazon.com website and electronically publish it through there. I'll be sure to download it to my Kindle! :)
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Date:October 24th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
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A fair tax method screws the people who have been paying their taxes under the old system. It would hurt the retired because they saved under a system where income was taxed and are consuming under a system where consumption is taxed. At the same time, the fair tax would be a boon to those who could not spend fast enough to make a dent in their savings. In other words, it would work out very well for the very rich.

As for the people who work under the table, they pay sales tax. If they are getting so little that no one notices that they are working under the table, sales tax may be a significant portion of what they are making. This applies to your lawn mowing kid.

Now if you read Freakanomics, the authors write about how the guy slinging drugs is making less than he would slinging burgers. But let us suppose that your illegal activity is lucrative:

[section]61 of the Internal Revenue Code [IRC] broadly defines the term gross income to include all income from whatever source derived except as otherwise provided. This definition of gross income is basically taken from the language used in the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The provision for except as otherwise provided relates to exclusions from gross income. Thus, the tax law contains an all-inclusive definition of gross income whereby a particular item can be excluded from gross income only if the IRC provides specifically for such. As a result, gross income includes embezzled funds, gains from illegal activities, and gambling winnings, among numerous other items.

Decisions rendered by the Supreme Court clearly reflect that all sources of gross income, except those particular kinds specifically excluded by Congress, are indeed taxable. Therefore, the lawful and unlawful gross income of a taxpayer is subject to income taxation. In James v. United States (1961), the embezzled money involved represented unlawful income which was held to be taxable. This case, then, concerned a public policy issue.

Here is the source of the excerpt above.

Remember that Al Capone was not charged so much for his bootlegging violations during prohibition but with tax evasion.
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Date:October 24th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
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Option B. When 2% of the population controls more than half the wealth in the nation, there is an imbalance that needs to be rectified. In other words, taxation needs to go back to pre Regan levels to where people earning high rates of income need to be hit with the 60-90% taxes they once were.

Strangely enough, at that time, there was also plenty of money for SSI, and similar such programs, not to mention all the people being put to work because there was also plenty of money to keep the infrastructure in good repair.

These rich folks were still rich, but they weren't turning the nation into a plutocracy.

As for the young couple, they should be left alone as long as their is no genetic hazard to any offspring. I know that, for untold generations, people have been frightened by taboos generated by followers of mythological beings. But the only base, rational, criteria here should be genetic hazard.

The free thinker and rational anarchist in me says that the only limits which should be set should come from the individual when it comes to personal matters.

Societies exist to make matters between large masses of people equitable.
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Date:October 24th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
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Jersey barriers can do a good job sometimes. (But you might not have totaled it if there had been a grass median.) I'm about assuming you were all seat-belted, etc. Good job.

As a poor person (moneywise), I appreciate things like the progressive method of co-pay at the VA. I'd be dead now (literally) without it.

If I wanted to come out with a Kindle edition of my book (already available in paperback), I would have to get a whole new ISBN, at $125 a pop. (Yeah, I know I could have bought ten for 350, but I didn't think there would be any additional books soon.) And the big thing you can't do on a Kindle is have large illustrations with captions. Any of the American Heritage or Time-Life books would come out lousy on a Kindle. (Maybe they would work on an iPad.) But the big thing I don't like is the proprietarity of the hardware. Any anarchist or other person outside of the dominant paradigm can find a way to make a book out of paper and ink; there are no licenses on that.
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Date:October 24th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
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Under the flat tax rate, those making more are still paying more. Under the progressive tax rate, those making more are paying a higher percentage for a certain portion of their income. Most people do not seem to appreciate the difference.

I want to see the hedge fund loophole that allows hedge fund managers to be taxed at the capital gains rate (15%) to be closed, and I would like to see more tax brackets on the high end. I would also like to see AMT be fixed permanently instead of kicking the can down the road for accounting purposes.
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Date:October 24th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
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Flat tax of no more than 10% of income.

I wonder how we could enforce requiring the government to go debt free and work on a balanced budget? Is that even possible with the bloated tick we've got up on Capitol Hill?
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Date:October 24th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
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I have no problem with being asked for money, and will sometimes offer it. I have a huge problem with being ordered, at gunpoint, to fork over money. That is stealing, and while others may not mind, I will always object to stealing. The amount doesn't matter, nor does the rate, nor does the rationale for stealing it from me, nor do the circumstances of the intended recipients of what is stolen.

As for Danielle and Nick, if they are adults it is no one else's business what consensual activities they may engage in. If I'm squicked by it, so what? They're doing no harm, and should be let alone.
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Date:October 25th, 2010 08:02 am (UTC)
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I would love a Kindle, too. The main difference for me is that I can't read a book on a backlit screen (like my laptop) but I had no problem reading at all on the Kindle.

I don't think it would replace all of my book buying (I buy too many used) but I do think it would replace the doorstop sizes books of Stephen King that I frequently pay $25 for the hardback for... those books I want to read the instant they come out. Then I'd buy the paperback for my permanent library, if the book warranted.