Posts archived in Not AMG

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Libya

I am thoroughly disgusted by the immediate politicization of a US Ambassador’s death.

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Romney Taxes Belief

Harry Reid heard it from someone that maybe Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years. Romney won’t release his tax returns, so this can’t be confirmed or disproven.

Because the news is so bad at analyzing things like this, let me do it instead.

The incredibly likely scenario is that Romney had losses on his investments following the 2008 financial crash. These losses carry over from year to year, and can cancel out later income. Therefore, Romney probably paid no taxes in 2009, and maybe in 2008 too. Because of those zeroes, we will never see him release any returns past 2010. He can’t really release 2007 without 2008 or 2009.

This likelihood is further affirmed by Romney’s decision to forgo other options. He could, for instance, simply tell us how many millions he paid in taxes in each of the last five years. He doesn’t have to say the income it was based on, so all we would know was an impressively large number of taxes paid. But you can’t do that if you paid close to zero, which he likely did in those years.

For the record, this isn’t illegal or even immoral in my mind. Someone who loses money on investments shouldn’t pay taxes on losses, in aggregate. The problem with the American tax system is that it lets Romney pay far too little even when he earns millions and millions in profits. If he paid more in taxes when he won on his bets, no one would begrudge him avoiding taxes when his bets didn’t pay off.

And I doubt he paid no taxes for ten years. The only way that could make sense is if he had lots and lots of losses over many years. Maybe that’s possible, and Mitt doesn’t want us to know. However, it is unlikely Mitt could lose money in the positive stock markets of the early 2000′s.

But Harry Reid doesn’t care. He isn’t up for election until 2016, so he gets to play the rabid attack dog. He ain’t stupid.

Oh, and there is an outside chance Mitt took the IRS up on their Swiss bank account amnesty program in 2009, but that is unlikely. Yet if it were true, we will never ever see tax documents from Romney. Ever. Imagine the ads you could make with that info?

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Troy Davis

This isn’t about AMG, but I wanted to throw this topic out there.

Troy Davis was executed in Georgia for what many believe was a crime he didn’t commit.

But I find the news reports somewhat misleading.

The constant refrain is that “7 of 9″ witnesses recanted. Well, that isn’t exactly true- seven changed their stories somewhat, but many were far from recantations on key facts.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court did grant Troy Davis his chance to prove the need for a new trial. They ordered a Federal Judge hear the case and decide whether the evidence required another criminal trial, which generated a nearly 200 page decision going over every little detail. It was very thorough. The Judge shoots down all of the issues raised by Davis.

Very importantly, Troy Davis did not call most of the “7 of 9″ recanters as witnesses, despite them being available. One was even outside the courtroom in the lobby, but was not called in to testify.

Why not? The implication is that Troy Davis’ attorneys believed the recantations (which, to repeat, were often less than a full reversal) would not stand up to questioning from the prosecutor.

Given that hearing, it should have been obvious the Supreme Court would let the execution go forward. It is not unheard of for them to put an execution on hold briefly while they read a new court filing, but in cases like this where the Defendant has really had his case reargued already, they are not going to stop it. The media, however, didn’t bother to tell anyone this during it’s 24-hour coverage.

I’m not a fan of the death penalty because I think, eventually, innocent people will be convicted who otherwise might have been released later. But I think Troy Davis was not one of those men.

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This website is a winner!

This blog has won the highly sought after “Maine Website of the Year Award.”

I’d like to thank everyone who makes this site possible, including godaddy.com, Naran, Scott Fish, Tom C, Jon McKane, Michelle Anderson, John Frary, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Roger Ek, Gerald from DirigoBlue, Mark T. Cenci, Naran, Tom C, and Naran.

I’d like to thank the academy, also known as Chuck McKay of the Sardine Report.

I’d also like to thank everyone that leaves comments.

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The Weiner Transcripts

Ok, so the transcript between Congressman Weiner and one of his Facebook friends is pretty funny.

Some real cheesy stuff. One great part is when the woman teasingly accuses Weiner of being a “Facebook slut” and he responds with one word:

“Guilty.”

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MPBN is a good value.

Fact: State funding of MPBN is 1/3rd of 1/10th of 1% of Maine’s budget.

Fact: The MPBN radio network has more listeners than any station in Maine.

I’m biased. I grew up watching MPBN. One of my favorites when I was young was “Square One.” I especially enjoyed the repeating series at the end of each episode called, “Mathnet,” a Dragnet parody.

I don’t watch PBS as much now but I often listen to public radio. I do not yet have kids but if I do, I want MPBN to be there for them as it was for me.

Call me elitist, but I do not want my children to have to sit through ad after ad designed specifically to sell my child sugary cereal, the latest trendy, fashionable toy straight out of the most recent Hollywood blockbuster, or some must-have Christmas present.

I want them to watch Sesame Street, commercial free. But critics of MPBN take the view that if it can’t be supported through private ad sales like other broadcasters it doesn’t deserve to exist. All good things sell ads, apparently.

They completely miss the point. MPBN is great because it isn’t a platform for advertisements. It is a platform for education, learning, news, and culture. All private stations exist solely for one reason: to sell ads. Ultimately, they do not care about anything else.

MPBN, on the other hand, is us. It isn’t run by an out of state corporation. It isn’t run by a media mogul. It isn’t run by Disney. It is run by the people of the State of Maine. Therefore, it ultimately cares about us, the viewers, more than any other form of broadcasting.

I am not trashing private companies like Disney. They make some great entertainment. But they also brought us Britney Spears and multitudes of other oversexed young starlets who, perhaps, are not the best role models. Controversy and short skirts move sales.

MPBN would never do that. It brings us Ken Burns, Nova, and Maine Things Considered. It is by us, for us. It is not pushing whatever psychological button it can find (sex, violence, and the desire of all children beyond a certain age to simply be more like an adult) to entice your child into wanting the latest, newest, hottest widget.

Many say that MPBN has a biased political viewpoint. I disagree. Let us not forget that most of these same people would say that all major media outlets other than Fox News and a few chosen brethren are biased. They would likely add the Courts, people who teach at our schools and colleges, and most scientific leaders to their long, long list of things exhibiting a “liberal slant.” Not too long ago these were all institutions that made America great. Now, in folk mythology at least, they are a blight.

I see a pattern in their list. What do the Courts, academia, public school teachers, and MPBN all have in common? They are all institutions that, in their ideal form, are not meant to be bought and sold. They are designed for purposes beyond the simple earning of money.

But in the new mythology money is the ultimate decider of good. If public schools cannot compete for tuition they must be lacking. If scientists cannot find private grants their research must not be important. And if a public broadcasting network cannot whore itself out to the people who market to your children, it must be killed.

Public broadcasting does great good. People say that it is no longer necessary now that anyone can get hundreds of channels sent to their homes to match every desired flavor of entertainment.

I see the opposite. What I find remarkable about those hundreds of radio and television outlets is how similar they all are to each other. The same loud, argumentative morning talk hosts. The same newscast teasers: “Your life is in utter peril. To find out why, please stick around through this word from our sponsor.” The same shows about bubbly teenagers with upbeat movies, must-have soundtracks, and fashion lines at Wal-Mart; and then the same sad slow deterioration of a child star sucked into a slow motion public spiral of scandal and addiction. The same tendencies for sensationalism and melodrama over reflection and analysis.

Our hundreds of stations are far too similar to each other because they all exist for one identical, all-consuming purpose: sales.

MPBN is different. It is the only thing we have that is different. It is needed and should be supported.

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Newt Boils Himself

This has nothing to do with AMG, but I like it anyways.

At this link you can watch Newt Gingrich try and explain his exactly opposite statements about Obama’s Libya decisions; in one interview Newt said he would call in airstrikes and in a later interview, after Obama called in airstrikes, Newt says he wouldn’t have used force.

Newt tries to justify this flippity-flop by saying he actually said we shouldn’t use force BEFORE he said we should, before he said we shouldn’t. So he flip flopped TWICE, which means he was right all along, somehow….