Friday, June 24, 2005

Marijuana hypocrisy

I didn’t see this article when it first ran, but it was referenced in this editorial today. Now I’m as much for legalization of recreational use of marijuana as anyone. But the fact remains that it’s stupid to endanger easy access to medical marijuana for people who actually need it so that it can be slightly more convenient for stoners to pick up their weed. And honestly if you’re any kind of decent stoner, it ain’t that fucking hard to buy pot in Northern California. This is something that really pissed me off when the dispensaries first opened and everybody on the block (and you know who you are) was hanging out at the “clinic.”

Now, none of that excuses this bullshit: "We're empathetic to the sick," Pena said after a news conference held at the U.S. attorney's office to announce the indictment. "But we can't disregard the federal law."

Empathetic to the sick. You fucking liar. You fucking scumbag. Watch out, NoCal: the Feds hate you. All of them hate you. You are antithetical to everything they stand for and they are going to come down on you like Lucifer’s fucking hammer.

It's simply outrageous that all of this energy and persecution is directed towards something that grows in the ground, requires no refining, processing, or other type of extraction process to utilize its active ingredients, and is less harmful than many legal substances. But this puts the lie to so many conservatives who prattle on about government interference in people's lives and freedom and personal liberties (and a tip of the hat to those who are consistent, few though they may be). If they can't mind their own business over something like this, then they're just as interested in being all up in your business over other matters too.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Number of "taxpayers" not paying taxes increases

Check this out: The percentage of taxpayers with no income tax liability is at an all-time high. It's worth noting that just a quick glance at the stats shows that this has gone up from about 1/4 of the population in 2000, before Bush took office, to almost a third, an increase of 7.2 percentage points or almost 29% growth. I want to look into the numbers a bit more. Somewhere in there it should indicate who makes up that additional 29%. My guess is it's a bit of the very bottom, i.e. the lowest income workers, and a hefty helping of the top. But I'll try and see...

Some interesting things that jump out initially though...

  • From 1950 to 1970, this figure steadily declined, at least apparently: The data points there are at five-year intervals, so conceivably there was variation within those intervals, including the possibility of an increase in the rate. But overall the trend was down.
  • There is a significant uptick from 1970 to 1975, with basically restoration again in 1980. This tracks pretty well with the Republican administration in office at the beginning of the '70s and Democratic administration in office at the end (there was a Democratic Congress throughout).
  • There was a pretty significant increase from 1990 to 1995, about 17%, which is interesting considering the various tax reforms enacted during that period, including George H.W. Bush's 1990 tax increase and the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993.
  • There was a noticable, but not significant, increase in the late '90s. How this jibes with the increasing income of earners during the late '90s job and investment boom is a quite interesting question.
  • Since 2000, there's been a steady increase, not surprising considering the Bush Administration's emphasis on tax cutting.

As I said at the start, what's interesting about these figures is determining where the newly tax-shorn come from. Of course, there are other significant sources of income out there besides plain ol' income, which wouldn't necessarily be covered by these figures. But for most people below the top economic strata, other means of earning income, including capital gains on stocks and stock options, still come out on your final income tax statement, so it's still salient.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Oh my God...

In the annals of the Custom service, this has to go down as one of the most absurd episodes ever.

I mean, I wouldn't let this motherfucker in the country on general principles ("Are you fucking crazy? With that 'haircut'?"), but with a bloody chainsaw?! Didn't that tip anybody off? Are we supplying Customs agents with fucking crack or something? "Sure, get the hell in here, psycho, so I can get back to hittin' that there dang ol' pipe... give me a bit more steel wool..."

Holy fucking Toledo... I guess he's not a Ay-rab, so there's obviously no