April 26, 2007

Conspiracy theory of the Day

Consider this:

The ridiculous Clinton investigations performed by Ken Starr et. al. were a sneaky trick to provide justification for allowing the independent prosecutor law to lapse. This is why there hasn't been a Ken Starr to investigate the Bush Administration, or in the Abramoff case.

They did this so that when they regained the White House, they could pull anything they wanted without fear of jail.

It worked until they lost Congress!

April 20, 2007

I'd like to think this came because of my post

Congress to start discussions on strengthening background checks for gun buyers.

While not bringing back the longer period to get the check done, it is an improvement.

April 19, 2007

Is this the dumbest article ever?

John Castell in Slate writes an article as a follow up to the Virginia Tech tragedy about "The Gun Law That Would Make a Real Difference" even as he admits that, in this case, it would make no difference in this instance. He does not mention the change that might have prevented the VT tragedy.

In 1998, the Brady Bill (which mandates the background check) was revised. Previously, any purchaser at a gun shop had to wait five days to purchase a gun as a thorough background check was performed. However, the 5 day waiting period expired in 1998 and was replaced by the current instant check system called NICS. This instant check failed to pick up Cho Seung-Hui's involuntary stay at a mental hospital, which should have disqualified him from buying a gun.

The "Gun Show Loophole" is also an inconsistency in current law, but it is not the problem that allowed Cho Seung-Hui to purchase two guns.

April 14, 2007

Weirdness for today

I'm not sure what's funnier:
The performance by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (the predecessor of one of my favorite bands!)
Buddy Hackett, Shari Lewis (sans Lambchop) and Bill Bixby (not green that day) trying to figure it out
Or, the fact that Chuck Barris seemed drunk the whole time?

April 13, 2007

RIP, We hardly knew ya

Dine Out For Life

Open Table is sponsering Dining Out For Life on April 26. Participating restaurants will donate a significant portion (25% up to 50%!) of their bills on that night to AIDS related charity. Many are in Berkeley, Oakland, and SF.

I think I'll be going to a nice dinner that night!

Some restaurants I can vouch for:
AsiaSF--your tranny show headquarters!
Liason Bistro--nice-ish French food in Berkeley
Destino--went here for Dine About Town, good Peruvian
Speisekammer--German food in Alameda. Yummy, and huge beers on tap!

Go, get a nice dinner, and cure AIDS! What more could one want?

April 11, 2007

Flat Tax

A very key point is buried in David Lazarus' article about the flat tax proposal in the Chronicle today. He pretty much says the big disadvantages of the flat tax proposal made by Alvin Rabushka of the Hoover Institute. He points out how the flat tax would eliminate progressive taxation, but he buries the alternative by Ron Wyden and Rahm Emanuel that would keep the progressive nature of the tax code while ending the deductions and loopholes.

The flat-tax proponents have scored a linguistic coup, as they have equated tax simplification with the flat tax. A flat tax isn't inherently simpler (well, very much slightly simpler than the Wyden/Emanuel plan which would take a 10 year old with a basic calculator). But, it is a windfall for the rich.

If the proponents truly cared about the tax simplification, they wouldn't tie it to a flat tax, which is unpopular and unpassable. This makes the flat tax advocates a net negative for tax simplification. If people didn't conflate the idea of simplification (would be good, and popular) with a flat tax (bad, and unpopular) they would be more likely to support it. If the flat tax advocates truly cared about simplification, they'd back the Wyden/Emanuel plan. But, most of them have as a primary goal a tax windfall for the upper income folk.

The other big problem with the plan as proposed by Rabushka (I'm not sure about the Wyden/Ehmanuel plan) is that it exempts capital gains and dividends. The result of this would be corporations creating a special class of stock for executives who would be paid minimum wage and reap millions tax free through special dividends.

There are ways to simplify the tax code, but a flat tax is not necessary.

April 10, 2007

Bay Bridge is closing...again!

This time it's for keeps! Last year for Labor Day, they only closed the lower deck as they were demolishing the section of the upper deck that is now part of they bypass.

This year, the whole bridge is closed for Labor Day. Caltrans really is going to put the labor in Labor Day!

I just hope it opens by Tuesday morning for the commute! I wonder if people on Treasure Island are going to be isolated the whole weekend?

April 09, 2007

Proposal for the Gav

Gavin, to improve your life, a small suggestion:

Restrict yourself to dating girls who live within the City and County of San Francisco. Dating women out of your jurisdiction only leads to problems.

Of course this wouldn't eliminate his biggest woman problem but isn't that why he went to rehab???

Best of luck, Mayor Newsom!