It’s a cool winter day but the wires are filled with hot news items worthy of a thought or two.
So the Italian captain tripped and fell into the lifeboat by accident. That was some lucky fall for him. Then when asked to return to the boat to aid in the ongoing rescue attempts he found one excuse after the other as to why he couldn’t quite manage that. He even commented once with the coast guard commander that it was dark and the ship was listing badly–hello! The Commander was in a helicopter above him. All one can say is that he showed the same resolve as the Italian army in North Africa during WWII fighting the British. I mean did Mussolini realize they were shooting real bullets at them. If you can’t do the job, don’t take the job.
It is interesting that they are having serious discussions about how to adjust our time calculations. Maybe you saw one of those back page articles about the tinkering with the leap seconds in the near future. Our time these days is calculated by atomic clocks. We started doing this several decades ago as it proved my accurate than the revolutions around the Sun by the Earth. Just as we have the leap years to adjust for that extra one-quarter of a day every four years for the journey around our Sun, even the modern clocks needs adjustment on occasion. They add a second every now and again but they have two standards for measurement at the moment and are meeting to reconcile the methods. Paris and London vied for the central median which is critical in determining a uniform time for a very long time and London finally won out with Greenwich Mean Time and as the location for 0 degree longitude. You need a reference point to set the clocks and that became and still is the location the whole world uses.
Speaking of measurements–I only recently learned that they have changed again the method for determining standard distances. Making correct measurements have been critical since recorded time. The Bible is filled with references to rods and cubits for all manner of buildings and distances. Likewise other ancient writings refer to measurements. These were important for regulating honest transactions in trade. You might remember the old myth about the yard being the distance between the King’s nose and his fingertips. We got quite a bit more precise over the years and used special rods made from precious metals as the standard for yards and meters here in the US and around the world. Now they measure a meter with the speed of light. A meter now is determined by how far light travels within a zillion, or whatever it is, seconds. I have no idea how that make that measurement but I suppose it is even more precise. It was felt this was more accurate because any solid object will deteriorate over time by natural decay and thus change but light is a universal constant that will not vary.
Just think how you could control the effect of the news on the general population even if you didn’t get to write the basic news story or news script. If you only got to control the story that would be published or broadcast, the headline and the choice of using or not using adverbs and adjectives. I mean think about those headlines alone which is all that many folks even read or hear. Then those adjectives–they always carry an impact on the hard news. I mean when it is described as an environmentally sensitive” area it sends a message. Who determined it was sensitive? What is sensitive about it? Sensitive to whom? Then there are phrases like those “special” provision or break” in the tax code. What makes it special? The Code is the Code. All the provisions are equal. Everyone has to comply with all the provisions whatever they are. I doubt you will read anywhere in the Code a paragraph that starts off “Special Provision”. It is special only as viewed through the eyes of some particular group. Don’t mind any discussion of the Code at all, would love that in fact. Why is it a special provision for capital gains to be taxed at 15% but not a special provision for someone to get a personal exemption of $3500.00? I mean that exemption level seems pretty special to me. Just drop the rhetoric and say plainly what is own your mind is all I ask of the news media and separate commentary for alleged news reporting. Express any opinion you want but don’t conflate news with opinion.
The allegation by BO this week that Romney’s 15% effective tax rate is lower than a teacher (always a teacher, fireman or policeman) who makes $50,000.00 is a flat-out lie and BO knows that. I don’t mind arguments about disagreements on policy but I hate lies and bumper sticker populist rhetoric to win votes. A teacher making $50,000.00 a year would first off be a newbie almost everywhere. The average would be much higher than that in most states and certainly in California or New York. But we’ll play along with that number. First, that teacher pays no tax on first $16,000.00 so now we are down to about $34,000.00. Next she gets a personal exemption of at least $3500.00 and now down to call it $31,000.00. Then she would get at least the standard deduction or at least $5500.00 so we are now down to call it $26,000.00. Her tax would be no more than about $3000.00. This is using numbers a couple of years out of date and the exemption and deduction levels are higher now and the actual tax would be less than that in reality. So we are talking a tax rate of around 12% at most. If she was a single mom she wouldn’t owe hardly anything because of the earned tax credit. We can debate tax policy and rates all we want and that is fair game but politicos shouldn’t be allowed to lie about the facts.
“A world of facts lies outside and beyond the world of words. ” Thomas Huxley, British biologist. www.olcranky.wordpress.lcom