Taxes

28 September 2020

A recent New York Times article exposes that Donald Trump paid no income taxes for 10 of 15 years . To some, that sounds like neglecting a duty to the public and the nation that makes so much possible for us. To just as many, that sounds like an ad for the next big tax preparation service they need to hire. Read the article, and you’ll see it’s a complicated shell game of write-offs, profits, losses, and fees shuffled around from year to year, even to past years as tax laws changed.

Will this change anyone’s view of anything? No.

Do I benefit from public spending? Absolutely.

Do I pay for it in taxes? Of course.

Do I like the way some tax dollars are spent? No, so maybe I should want to reduce it, but really we need to fix the way it’s spent.

Do I take deductions I can find? Yes, I pay a tax professional to tell me what to deduct and how I can save money. Why is this not simpler? Why is it so hard to know what we really owe? Why is there an entire industry built around avoiding our responsibility to pay taxes? Tax laws are changed and complicated to sweeten the deal for some lawmaker who’s signing, or in some cases, the complication or loopholes are often unintended consequences that were supposed to help someone else in need.

I’ll not sing anthems or salute a flag, but I’ll pay taxes and vote for people who spend the money to provide more stability for people.

As the shells continue to shuffle the margins will tighten, so I really hope we get him out of office before his debts come due and he’s selling off our futures.


RSS for News

26 June 2020

We can find ourselves thinking, "Where did we used to get our news before Twitter and Facebook?" I know where I got news: Google Reader, but Google shut it down, and eventually gave us a taste of aggregated news in Google Assistant on our phones, but it never really allows us to consciously control it.

Social media’s a bit of a mess and mostly getting worse, so you might want an alternative. Google Reader was based on RSS and Atom news feeds from all your favorite websites, and those still exist.

I still read my carefully curated news feeds using Feedly as a successor to Google Reader. I have hundreds of different news feeds aggregated into this one place (kind of like Facebook and Twitter), but it’s a much more controlled stream of news about which I care. Anyone can create an account at Feedly and get started by searching for a handful of sites you’d like to read regularly. Over time, you can extend and finely tune your feed of news.

If Feedly isn’t quite your style, you can find other news readers, and allow yourself to stay informed without necessarily needing to scroll through all the noise of Facebook and Twitter.


Imagine No Religion

19 February 2008

There's a Billboard War going on in some spots around the United States. One particular site is in Chambersburg, PA -- that's a relatively short drive. I'd love to go see these billboards in person.

How do you demonstrate support for this message once you're there?


What If Dawkins is Wrong

18 September 2007

Via Digg, I stumbled upon a video of Richard Dawkins answering a simple question.

I'm apparently to understand that he's demonstrating all these other odd beliefs which we don't believe and could equally be subject to those hells for disbelief, and Christianity provides just one more example. Unfortunately, his style of delivery feels more like an attack, so his subtle point could easily be missed -- I agree with the guy, but I missed it at first. I was terribly disappointed.


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