Joke of the Day

A sailor meets a pirate in a bar, and take turns boasting of their adventures on the high seas. The sailor notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, hook, and an eyepatch.

The sailor asks “So, how did ye end up with the peg-leg?”

The pirate replies “We were in a storm at sea, and I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as me men were pulling me out a shark bit me leg off.”

“Wow!” said the sailor. “What about your hook”?

“Well…”, replied the pirate, “While me men and I were plundering in the middle east, I was caught stealing from a merchant and the punishment for theft in the middle east is the loss of the hand that steals”

“Incredible!” remarked the sailor. “How did ye get the eyepatch”?

“A sea gull dropping fell into me eye.”, replied the pirate.

“You lost your eye to a sea gull dropping?” the sailor asked incredulously.

“Well…”, said the pirate, “..it was me first day with the hook.”

Harry Reid’s Unicorns: Fact Checking A Whopper

From Paul Roderick Gregory, Contributor, Forbes.com:

Tax policy should be serious business carried out by serious politicians using real facts and figures. This is why we have the Library of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office, among other expert institutions.

How can we take Congress seriously when the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, makes patently inaccurate, outrageous and bizarre claims on an important tax-policy issue without any heads being turned? I guess this is what we have come to expect of Congress. No wonder citizens with favorable opinions of Congress are as rare as unicorns, to borrow a phrase.

Harry Reid’s statement on December 6 on his proposed 1.9 percent surtax on million-dollar incomes has kicked up some dust. Here is his statement:

“Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They’re impossible to find, and they don’t exist… Only a tiny fraction of people making more than a million dollars, probably less than 1 percent, are small business owners. And only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction are traditional job creators…Most of these businesses are hedge fund managers or wealthy lawyers. They don’t do much hiring and they don’t need tax breaks.”

Taking their cue, National Public Radio launched a search for one millionaire job creator. They triumphantly announced:

“NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.”

Were it not for Google, I would have accepted Harry Reid’s unicorn story and NPR’s confirmation. Unlike Harry Reid’s office, I went to the IRS’s Table 1.4 “Sources of income, adjustments, and tax size of adjusted gross income, 2009” to check things out. (I summarize my sources in a separate blog posting). Here is what I found:

There are 236,883 tax filers with incomes of a million dollars or more. By Harry Reid’s count, only one percent, or 2,361 of them, are business owners, and a tiny fraction of them create jobs. I do not know what Harry means when he says “a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction.” If we let 5 percent represent Harry’s “tiny fraction,” we are left with 118 businesses owners who earn a million or more and create jobs. Yes, they are only slightly less rare than unicorns, if Harry is to be believed.

This leaves 236,765 million-dollar-plus tax payers, most of whom are “hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers” who “don’t create jobs and don’t need tax breaks.”

My Google search for Harry Reid’s quarter million hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers came up empty handed. I could identify at most sixteen thousand “wealthy lawyers and hedge fund managers,” not Harry Reid’s quarter million.

Well, Harry Reid’s numbers leave much to be desired, but maybe he is right that millionaire business owners do not create jobs.

What does the IRS have to say about this? Millionaire tax filers earn a total taxable income of $623 billion, on which they pay the highest average rate (30 percent) of any tax bracket. (Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely). A 1.9 percent tax surcharge on million-dollar-earners would yield $11 billion, assuming those shifty millionaires take no evasive action to avoid the tax.

Millionaire tax filers earn $221 billion – almost a quarter of a trillion — from business and professions, partnerships, and S-corporations. This is puzzling: If Harry Reid’s figure is correct (2,361 millionaire businesses), then the average millionaire-owned business earns almost a hundred million dollars, and all, except 118 of them, do this without hiring anyone. These super heroes do their own typing, selling, drafting. public relations, building, and manufacturing. They do not need employees. Remarkable!

To summarize:
Millionaire tax filers earn almost a quarter trillion dollars from their businesses. They must hire hundreds of thousands of employees to do so.

There are a trivial number of millionaire hedge-fund managers and wealthy lawyers (who, according to Harry, do not hire anyone and don’t need tax breaks). The millionaire tax surcharge is not aimed at them, but at the tens of thousands of millionaire business owners.

A 1.9 percent surcharge on millionaires would raise at most eleven billion dollars. By today’s standards, this is chump change, within the federal budget’s rounding error.
The millionaire’s tax is not about balancing the budget. It is about gaining political advantage through the use of envy and greed (two of the seven deadly sins).

Why would Harry Reid tell such whoppers, which are so easily disproved?
Ryan Streeter has hit the nail on the head. He writes that even bearded Occupy Wall Street misfits understand the difference between “earned” and “unearned” success. Those who earn success by creating value honestly are the true heroes in our economy. They should be lauded rather than targeted. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are heroes. Bernie Madoff and, now it seems, John Corzine are not, and everyone, irrespective of their political leanings, understands this.

Reid, in his clumsy way, is trying to portray Republicans as the party of dishonest millionaires, who have not earned their wealth, have not created jobs, detract rather than create value, and refuse to pay their fair share. Such class warfare will be the anchor of the Democrat election playbook.

High Tea at the O.K. Corral

John Boehner & his leadership group of faux conservatives sure did put up a powerful big fight! Right.

Some honest people have been looking into this cave of Boehner & his buds over the tax extension fight between the House & Senate.

As usual, the Devil (and I mean Devil) is in the details.

It was surely a win for the lefties, but I think also for the progressive right. I think it was a nice little reminder that the Tea Party holds no sway in that there town.

A Hollywood Director couldn’t have choreographed that show any better. Maybe it was just show. It’s almost as if this whole scenario was scripted. Let’s recap.

The House, led by John Boehner [the good guy (white hat)] passes a yearlong extension of the Social Security tax cut & extension of unemployment benefits. The right hails them as heroes! The Senate, led by [Dirty] Harry Reid [the bad guy (black hat)] passes a lousy 2-month extension, insists they will not negotiate and leave town a few days before the Christmas break.

Boehner boldly says he will stick to his guns & says no deal to the Senate. They must come back & deal with him. Conservatives roundly applaud him. Hooray for the good guy!

In step the squishy Senate moderates, led by Mitch McConnell. They insist a deal must get done. He says the House should take the deal & fight it out in March with the banditos in the Senate. Boehner will not capitulate. Figuring Big John Boehner will hold out, members of the House begin to leave town for Christmas.

My theory is, when he (Boehner) & his cohorts thought it was safe, they pulled the old switcharoo.

The Speaker agreed to pass the two-month extension on Friday morning by unanimous consent, a fast-track procedural maneuver that guarantees passage unless lawmakers book plane tickets and fly back to Washington in time to object. Game-set-match. I guess the white of Boehner’s hat was just the wrapping paper. Peel that away & it’s as black as Dirty Harry’s.

“Given the late hour of notification, there’s no way I can make it,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kansas).
“I’m disappointed. That’s not the process by which I thought we would consider things like this,” he said, adding, “This is the kind of stuff that people hate about Washington.”

It gets worse. In Washington, it always does.

Seems the $33 billion, lousy two-month package is set to be paid for with fees charged by mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over 10 years.

“The policy is horrific,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), “increasing the costs of mortgages hurts homeowners of all incomes,” adding “it’s hard to figure out how the senators could have done worse–all for two months.”

In other words, Republicans have “caved” by agreeing to increase mortgage fees for 10 years in order to fund a mere two months worth of tiny tax cuts. Instead of taxes being raised January 1, they go up March 1 instead, while the higher mortgage fees endure for a decade. Brilliant. And to score this great political achievement, the House speaker is willing to use Pelosi and Reid-style procedural tricks to exclude the toughest opposition from the vote. Awesome!

This is the kind of inside-the-beltway crap we are all so tired of. How many times do we have to suffer disappointment to get angry enough to actually throw the bums out?

Except for a few select members, mostly freshmen, they all must go!

Attribution: Joel McDurmon

Joke of the Day

A man is driving down a deserted stretch of highway when he notices a sign out of the corner of his eye…

It reads:

SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION… 10 MILES

He thinks this is a FIGMENT OF HIS IMAGINATION, and drives on….
Soon, he sees another sign, which reads:

SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION… 5 MILES

Suddenly, he begins to realize that these signs are FOR REAL, and drives
past a third sign, saying:

SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION… NEXT RIGHT

His CURIOSITY gets the best of him, and he pulls into the drive…

On the far side of the parking lot is a stone building, with a small sign
next to the door, reading:

SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS

He climbs the steps, and rings the bell…

The door is answered by a Nun, in a long black habit, who asks, “What may
we do for you, my Son?”

He responds, “I saw your signs, along the highway, and was interested in
possibly doing business…”

“Very well, my Son. Please follow me.” He is led, through many winding
passages, and is soon quite disoriented.

The Nun stops at a closed door and tells the man, “Please knock, on this
door.”

He does so and another Nun in a long habit, holding a tin cup, answers
the door…

This nun instructs, “Please place $100, in the cup; then go
through the large wooden door, at the end of the hallway.”

He puts $100 in the cup, eagerly trots down the hall, and slips through
the door, pulling it shut behind him.

The door locks, and he finds himself back in the parking lot facing
another sign:

GO IN PEACE.
YOU HAVE JUST BEEN SCREWED BY THE SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS.
SERVES YOU RIGHT, YOU SINNER!

Attribution: Bev

Commie Coffee Klatch

From Newsmax:

President Barack Obama has drawn criticism for inviting an all-star list of liberal and progressive media people — including three MSNBC hosts — but no conservative voices for a chat over coffee at the White House.

Tim Graham, director of media at the Media Research Center, observed: “In the Bush years, it was considered a major scandal for [Fox News chief] Roger Ailes to send a note to the White House, but MSNBC stars meet with Obama, and it’s just another day of ‘hope and change.’”

Chris Tapper of ABC News reported the Dec. 19 meeting in the Roosevelt Room: “The group chatted with

Jake Tapper occasionally practices Journalism.


the president about economic messaging, his agenda for 2012, the various campaign arguments against different GOP candidates, the desire among some Democrats for him to highlight his foreign policy accomplishments, fighting corporate influence and the ‘crappiness’ of the Senate filibuster, as one attendee put it.”

Those in attendance included Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes of MSNBC, Frank Bruni of The New York Times, Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent of The Washington Post, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, Faiz Shakir of ThinkProgress, and Joy-Ann Reid of The Reid Report.

The Inside Cable News blog also found fault with the liberal coffee klatch: “All I’ll say is that if that many of [Fox News Channel’s] hosts and contributors had shown up at the same time for a Bush chat, it would be all over the Web and probably the media as well,” wrote the blog’s author. It makes me uncomfortable for MSNBC to let that many of its people have open access to the president. It may be innocuous but at the very least it looks bad/smells fishy. I want more distance between D.C. and the people who cover it.”

My Editorial Comment: I thought this article was interesting enough to reprint it, but I certainly wasn’t shocked or disappointed by the news. Who would be, if you follow this stuff at all. We all know these reporters are just Obama stenographers. Real reporting died a long time ago. I’d say the time of death was when good old Walter Cronkite came out against the Vietnam War. They haven’t looked back since. The fact that the Inside Cable News blog seems surprised or is uncomfortable is more shocking to me. I’m more surprised that MSDNC hasn’t just set up a studio in the Oval Office. I bet Chris Matthews is some kind of upset for being left out, eh!

Thanks!

This is time of year we all get a little sentimental as we reflect on the accomplishments & failures of the year gone by. We’ve all done some good things (I hope) and also some things we wish we could have a do-over. I know I have, but we can’t turn back the clock.

I hope my good decisions have outweighed my poor ones. Sometimes, I wonder. I guess I’ll leave that to God.

All in all, I’ve been blessed.

I wanted to thank everyone who has been reading and responding to my little blog these last few months.

Where else but in America can one just wake up one day & decide to do something like this. To be able to express myself & say virtually anything I like without fear of retribution. What a great country!

We are truly blessed to have been born here. If you’ve travelled outside the U.S., I’m sure you would agree. Lucky us.
With all our problems, we’re still the greatest country on earth. Small wonder people want to sneak in. I know I would.

If you’re out and about today, put a buck in the Red Kettle, say Merry Christmas; thank a veteran for their service. Spread some joy. Smile at folks and watch them smile back. Do what you can in your own corner of the world to make it better.

The upcoming year will be very interesting, so if you pray, please do so for our country.

I’m signing off for a day or so.

God Bless!

The Liar-in-Chief

The following is the official transcript of the President’s remarks on the Social Security tax cut extension agreement. The one where Republicans caved again. Yeah, that one.

My remarks of the Liar-in-Chief are indicated by ‘EC’

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 22, 2011
Remarks by the President on the Payroll Tax Cut
South Court Auditorium
1:00 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Please have a seat. Good afternoon to all of you. Merry Christmas. Happy holidays.
We’ve been doing everything we can over the last few weeks to make sure that 160 million working Americans aren’t hit with a holiday tax increase on January 1st. We’ve also been doing everything we can to make sure that millions of people who are out there looking for work in a very tough environment don’t start losing their unemployment insurance on January 1st.

EC: Lie Number ONE. You haven’t been doing everything to help. You’ve been doing everything you can to disrupt & delay the extension of the Social Security & unemployment insurance. You did exactly what you and Harry Reid intended; beat the Republicans yet again. And put a smiley face on it.

Now, on Saturday, we reached a bipartisan compromise that would do just that — make sure that people aren’t seeing a tax cut the first of the year; make sure that they still have unemployment insurance the first of the year. Nearly every Democrat in the Senate voted for that compromise. Nearly every Republican in the Senate voted for that compromise. Democrats and even some Republicans in the House voted for that compromise. I am ready to sign that compromise into law the second it lands on my desk.

EC: Once again, as it always does, the word compromise means, democrats hold the line & republicans cave, agreeing with the dems. RINO’s rule!

So far, the only reason it hasn’t landed on my desk — the only reason — is because a faction of House Republicans have refused to support this compromise.

EC: He is exactly correct, as long as we remember what the definition of compromise is. See above.

Now, if you’re a family making about $50,000 a year, this is a tax cut that amounts to about $1,000 a year. That’s about 40 bucks out of every paycheck. It may be that there’s some folks in the House who refuse to vote for this compromise because they don’t think that 40 bucks is a lot of money. But anyone who knows what it’s like to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week, or the end of the month, $40 can make all the difference in the world.

EC: Another boldfaced lie and I’m sure he knows it. It is $40.00 if one gets paid every 2 weeks. It is actually about $20.00 per week. The Senate & presidential plan is for a 2-month extension. 20 X 4 weeks (2 months) = $160.00. The House Republicans voted & passed a full one-year extension. 20 X 52 = $1040.00. Those are the facts.

And that’s why we thought we’d bring your voices into this debate. So many of these debates in Washington end up being portrayed as which party is winning, which party is losing. But what we have to remind ourselves of is this is about people. This is about the American people and whether they win. It’s not about a contest between politicians.

EC: LIE! It is about a contest between politicians. Time now to drag the tried & true “Regular Folks”. Let’s see whom we can exploit today?

So on Tuesday, we asked folks to tell us what would it be like to lose $40 out of your paycheck every week. And I have to tell you that the response has been overwhelming. We haven’t seen anything like this before. Over 30,000 people have written in so far — as many as 2,000 every hour. We’re still hearing from folks — and I want to encourage everybody who’s been paying attention to this to keep sending your stories to WhiteHouse.gov and share them on Twitter and share them on Facebook.

EC: More lies. Let me reiterate; it’s not $40.00 per week, it’s 20. Let’s not quibble though. It’s only numbers. So what if he just purposely doubles the number. Next: 30,000 people have written in. But I thought it was as many as 2,000 per hour? Let’s do the math. The WhiteHouse.Gov hotline has been open for about 48 hours. At 2,000 per hour, that’s 96,000. Yes, I know he said as many as 2,000. He said it to make it sound greater than it is. Believe it! 2,000 per hour sounds like a lot, if you don’t do the math.

The responses we’ve gotten so far have come from Americans of all ages and Americans of all backgrounds, from every corner of the country. Some of the folks who responded are on stage with me here today, and they should remind every single member of Congress what’s at stake in this debate. Let me just give you a few samples.

EC: WOW! How did they get the people there so soon? It’s almost as if it were planned ahead of time. Who paid for their trips to be on the stage with the President? Let the exploitation begin.

Joseph from New Jersey talked about how he would have to sacrifice the occasional pizza night with his daughters. He said — and I’m quoting — “My 16-year-old twins will be out of the house soon. I’ll miss this.”

EC: Well Joseph, if money is that tight, why not save that 20 bucks a week & just spend some extra quality time with your girls. Take a walk, play a game. By the way, I thought Michelle Obama didn’t want us eating pizza? I think a head of lettuce is less than 20 bucks.

Richard from Rhode Island wrote to tell us that having an extra $40 in his check buys enough heating oil to keep his family warm for three nights. In his words — I’m quoting — “If someone doesn’t think that 12 gallons of heating oil is important,
I invite them to spend three nights in an unheated home. Or you can believe me when I say that it makes a difference.”

EC: Math time again. He gets an extra 12 gallons of heating oil every 2 weeks under the dems plan. That’s 6 extra gallons a week. The House plan would then equal 312 gallons, or 78 additional heated nights. Again, I ask; how did he get to Washington from Rhode Island & who paid for the trip?

Pete from Wisconsin told us about driving more than 200 miles each week to keep his father-in-law company in a nursing home — $40 out of his paycheck would mean he’d only be able to make three trips instead of four.

EC: What, more math? So Pete gets 200 miles from 20 bucks each week from the generous democrats. 200 miles X 8 weeks (2 months) = 1600 miles. Under the House republican plan, Pete would garner 10,400 additional miles. I was touched by Pete’s story so out of curiosity, I checked the distance between Madison, Wisc. & Washington DC. The distance, round trip is over 1600 miles. Pete just used up his 2-month gas allotment. Too bad for the father-in-law.

We heard from a teacher named Claire from here in D.C. who goes to the thrift store every week and uses her own money to buy pencils and books for her fourth grade class. Once in a while she splurges on science or art supplies. Losing $40, she says, would mean she couldn’t do that anymore.

EC: I’m almost certain that teachers in the DC school district don’t pay Social Security taxes. They have their own retirement plan separate for Social Security. A lot of school districts do that. So either Claire is a liar or is dumb as Sheila Jackson Lee.

For others, $40 means dinner out with a child who’s home for Christmas, a new pair of shoes, a tank of gas, a charitable donation. These are the things at stake for millions of Americans. They matter to people. A lot.

And keep in mind that those are just the individual stories. That doesn’t account for the overall impact that a failure to extend the payroll tax cut and a failure to extend unemployment insurance would have on the economy as a whole. We’ve seen the economy do better over the last couple of months, but there’s still a lot of sources of uncertainty out there — what’s going on in Europe, what’s going on around the world. And so this is insurance to make sure that our recovery continues.

EC: I think it’s Bush’s fault.

So it’s time for the House to listen to the voices who are up here, the voices all across the country, and reconsider. What’s happening right now is exactly why people just get so frustrated with Washington. This is it; this is exactly why people get so frustrated with Washington. This isn’t a typical Democratic-versus-Republican issue. This is an issue where an overwhelming number of people in both parties agree. How can we not get that done? I mean, has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can’t do it? (Applause.) It doesn’t make any sense.

So, enough is enough. The people standing with me today can’t afford any more games. They can’t afford to lose $1,000 because of some ridiculous Washington standoff. The House needs to pass a short-term version of this compromise, and then we should negotiate an agreement as quickly as possible to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the rest of 2012. It’s the right thing to do for the economy, and it’s, most importantly, the right thing to do for American families all across the country.

EC: I guess the people standing on the stage can afford to lose $840.00. That’s the difference between the democrat & republican plan.

This is not just my view. Just a few hours ago, this is exactly what the Republican Leader of the Senate said we should do. Democrats agree with the Republican Leader of the Senate. We should go ahead and get this done. This should not be hard. We all agree it should happen. I believe it’s going to happen sooner or later. Why not make it sooner, rather than later? Let’s give the American people — the people who sent us here — the kind of leadership they deserve.
Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)

Trip to the Doctor

There’s nothing worse than a Doctor’s Receptionist who insists on full diclosier of your ailment in a room full of other patients.

A 75-year-old man walked into his doctors office. He entered the crowded waiting room and approached the reception desk.

The Receptionist said, “Yes sir, what are you seeing the Doctor for today?”

“There’s something wrong with my penis”, he replied.

The receptionist became irritated and said, “You shouldn’t come into a crowded waiting room and say things like that.”

“Why not, you asked me what was wrong and I told you,” he said.

The Receptionist replied; “Now you’ve caused some embarrassment in this room full of people.”

“You should have said something like, there is problem with my ear or something and discussed the condition further with the Doctor in private.”

The man replied, “You shouldn’t ask people questions in a roomful of strangers if the answer could embarrass anyone.”

The man walked out, waited several minutes, and then re-entered.

The Receptionist smiled smugly and asked, “Yes?”

“There’s something wrong with my ear,” he stated.

The Receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice.
“And what is wrong with your ear, Sir?”

“I can’t pee out of it,” he replied.

The waiting room erupted in laughter.

Attribution: Bev