December 30, 2012 archive

Dec 30

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Our regular featured content-

These weekly features-

And these featured articles-

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Dec 30

Congressional Game of Chicken: On the Brink of a Stalemate

Up Date 16:33 EDT: Republican Senators have taken Social Security off the table as part of the negotiations for the “fiscal cliff.”

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

With the deadline for the expiration of Bush Tax cuts and austere spending cuts, the Senate negotiations have reached a stalemate. At the last minute, the Republicans demanded significant cuts to Social Security benefits. House Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who was described as  “shocked and disappointed” and this may well be the “poison pill” that ends the charade of “fiscal cliff” talks.

The development came after a long weekend of negotiations during which the two sides had been making progress.

The aide said Democrats had shown flexibility on the major sticking points involving taxes. They had not ruled out maintaining the tax on inherited estates at the current low rate, as Republicans prefer. And they had been open to a deal that would allow taxes to rise on many fewer wealthy households than President Obama had proposed. Republicans were seeking tax increases only on income higher than $400,000 or $500,000 a year, while Obama wanted to set the threshold at $250,000 a year.

But Obama was pressing for $30 billion in new spending to keep unemployment benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed, and he wanted to postpone roughly $100 billion in automatic spending cuts set to hit agency budgets next months. In exchange for those items, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted Sunday that Democrats put cuts to Social Security benefits on the table, noting that Obama had offered to do so as part of the big deficit-reduction package he had been negotiating with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio.)

Republicans declined to comment on the new offer, but noted that Obama endorsed the adjustment, known as chained CPI, again Sunday, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.

President Obama suggested that he was open to the highly unpopular proposal to cut increases to Social Security by linking it to the “chained CPI” in the context of a larger deal.

The other “monkey wrench” that McConnell threw into the mix was estate taxes which are scheduled to increase to the Clinton level of 55% on estates over one million dollars. The estate tax currently exempts the first $5 million of inheritance and taxes the remainder at 35 percent, which the Republicans want to keep. Pres. Obama wants to make it less generous, reducing the exemption to $3.5 million and taxing the remainder at a 45 percent rate. This tax only affects an extremely small number of people.

Under the Republican proposal, 3,800 people would pay the estate tax year, also near an average of $3.3 million. The GOP proposal would raise $182 billion for federal tax coffers over the next 10 years.

Under Obama’s proposal, 6,500 people would pay the estate tax next year, with an average payment estimated at about $3 million. The president’s proposal would raise $284 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years.

No action by Congress would send the estate tax back to what it was in the 1990s – with a $1 million exemption and 55 rate percent for the remaining share. That would affect more than 40 million Americans.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-SC) has reached out to Vice President Joe Biden to break the impasse.

 

Dec 30

Cartnoon

We end the old year (give or take a couple of days) with Connections #10 and start the new with Connections II #1 (Revolutions).

These are shorter than the Connections broadcasts and there are 20 in total.

Dec 30

On This Day In History December 30

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Today history was made in in Parson’s Kansas where the last roll of Kodachrome was processed at Dwayne’s Photo Shop, the only Kodak certified processor of Kodachrome film in the world as of 2010. The final roll of 36-frame Kodachrome to be manufactured was tracked by National Geographic; it was shot by photographer Steve McCurry.

For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas By A. G. Sulzberger

PARSONS, Kan. – An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.

That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.

One of the toughest decisions was how to deal with the dozens of requests from amateurs and professionals alike to provide the last roll to be processed.

In the end, it was determined that a roll belonging to Dwayne Steinle, the owner, would be last. It took three tries to find a camera that worked. And over the course of the week he fired off shots of his house, his family and downtown Parsons. The last frame is already planned for Thursday, a picture of all the employees standing in front of Dwayne’s wearing shirts with the epitaph: “The best slide and movie film in history is now officially retired. Kodachrome: 1935-2010.”

A Color-Saturated Sun Sets on Kodachrome

I have fond memories of my 35mm Yashika and Canon cameras.

Dec 30

Chasing Kitten Tail

Dec 30

What We Now Know

Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes tells some of what we should know for the coming year, including what is on the legislative agendas of lawmakers around the country

Sharing what they know are Richard Wolff, Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University; Susan Crawford, Professor at the Center on Intellectual Property and Information Law Program at Carodozo School of Law; Karl Smith, Assistant Professor of Economics and Government at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chrystia Freeland, Editor of Thomson Reuters Digital and author of “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.”

North Carolina Senate Set to Repeal Racial Justice Act

The North Carolina state senate voted to gut a law on Monday that allows death row inmates to argue that racial bias influenced their sentencing. Enacted in 2009, the Racial Justice Act requires judges in North Carolina to commute death row inmates’ sentences to life in prison if they find race played a “significant” role in the initial sentence.

State Republicans have long set their sights on undoing the law, the Wall Street Journal reports. The GOP-controlled North Carolina state house weakened the original law in June, changing its language to require that courts prove that prosecutors acted “with discriminatory purpose” when selecting juries and seeking the death penalty. But proving intent, as one attorney told the Raleigh News & Observer, is exceedingly difficult. And Colorlines‘ Jamillah King reports that the new language “represented a meaningful undermining of the point: The law had moved courts to a focus on racially disparate outcomes, rather than a racist intent.”

In 2012, Executions Hold Steady, But Death Penalty Imposed Less

Convicted killer Michael Hooper’s heart stopped beating in an Oklahoma death chamber from lethal injection on Aug. 14. The country’s next executions happened more than five weeks later on Sept. 20 when Ohio killed Donald Palmer, who’d murdered two strangers, and when Robert Harris was executed in Texas for killing five people.

The long gap between executions made 2012 one of the quietest years on death row, since executions peaked in 1999, according to a study by the Death Penalty Information Center.

In all, 43 death row inmates have been executed in 2012, the same number as in 2011. That’s down by 58 percent from 1999 when 98 condemned prisoners were executed.

“The public still wants it on the books, but they see life without parole as a real alternative,” said Richard Dieter, the Death Penalty Information Center’s executive director.

The public considers capital punishment too expensive and doesn’t think of it as a deterrent to crime, he said. “Capital punishment is being clustered and isolated in a few states.”

Minimum Wage Increase Hits 10 States, Boosting Pay For An Estimated One Million Workers

WASHINGTON — New Years Day will bring a small pay bump to some of the lowest-paid American workers, with 10 states set to hike their minimum wages for 2013.

Nearly a million low-wage workers will see their earnings rise because of the increases, most of which come courtesy of state cost-of-living adjustments that account for inflation. Washington State will once again have the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $9.19 per hour, after a raise of 15 cents for the new year. The other states raising their wage floors are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Dec 30

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Our regular featured content-

This weekly feature-

And this featured article-

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Dec 30

How Fail Art Thou?

 Photobucket

(the 800 lb. deflationary gorilla in the room)

Pretty fucking dumb.

One of the most dazzling things about humans is their ability to simultaneously understand and not understand things.  AT THE SAME TIME!  

Boy, are they stupid!

Here’s an ideal example, which no one will ever remember after the first single millisecond of perfect, cosmic-diamond-bullet-in-the-brain comprehension.

Infinite growth is impossible in a finite world.  That goes for population growth and debt.  And yet, we’ve cantilevered EVERYTHING on the impossible.

Thank you for your time.

Now, go back to fornicating furiously, borrowing at interest, and bailing out the crooks who are too big to bail, jail, or fail.  I’ll be with you shortly.