Ready? Grab a seat and let's enjoy a nice hot cup of Sunday Morning Coffee. My opinion (and a little gossip) about politics and religion...the two things you love to talk about. My name is Michael P. Libbie and if you would like to leave a comment here, feel free. We can also connect on my personal Twitter Stream @MichaelLibbie and my personal Facebook Page is right here. OK then...let's go!
Just What We Don't Need
Last week the media, law enforcement, politicians spewed lots and lots of misinformation about the Boston bombings. In part it is the result of feeding the 24/7 News Machine that requires talking heads to...talk...even if what they say is dead wrong. What this has done is fuel conspiracy theory junkies who take the quotes and then the clarifications add their "fear potion" and bingo! We've got the government being responsible for Boston. It is sick and twisted. Here is a good piece on the subject from David Horsey, political commentator and cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times.
S*it Christians Say to Jews
My son sent this to me last week. It's not only funny but...true. As a Jew it's amazing what we're told and some of the questions we're asked. Have a look:
Allison Pearlman does a nice job...no?
Internet Sales Tax
Here's the deal: If you are a large corporation and have Internet sales there is no sales tax unless you buy in a state where that company has a location. However, if you are selling the same items from your retail store on Main Street you must charge the tax. Last week the US Senate moved closer to fixing the problem but, as predicted, passage in the US House is problematic. You see, House Republicans see this effort as a "tax increase". Actually, it is the House GOP looking out after Big Box Retailers. This is not a tax increase. But, it does give states a way to enforce current tax law. Seems simple to me.
The Reality of Sequester
Last week Congress got their butt in gear, listened to the rich and reversed course on furloughs for air traffic controllers. "Rich" might be a bit broad let's say "business traveler". You see nothing can stand in the way of commerce. However, when it comes to education, public safety, feeding the poor...fa-get-about it. You are on your own. Congress is saying, if you're a hungry child, just book a flight to LA. You'll get there on time and be able to eat a pack peanuts. Disgusting.
Last week we had The Second Coming! First Google builds a data farm here and then BOOM, Facebook announces they will build a "data farm" near Des Moines. Everybody is giddy. Gov. Branstad (R-IA) is giddy. Always giddy Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) is very happy. Altoona Mayor, JM "Skip" Conkling is giddy. Hell, the whole damn state is in the throws of an orgasm. And, the going rate for a state-wide shiver is $18 million. (Plus 20 years of no local property tax.) Be advised, that $18 million bought us more than just a momentary tingle. We also get 31 jobs that will pay $48,000 a year!!! If you do the math Iowa just bought 31 jobs for a little over 12 years. Meanwhile in Sioux City, Iowa the school district laid off 29 teachers and a school counselor. And, lost federal funding of $286,000 also requires the district to shed 12 teaching positions aimed at helping students in poverty, an elementary teacher and five folks who work with special education students. There is a message here: If you are already a huge successful company, come to Iowa where we'll throw money at you. If you are a special needs kid...screw you. Or, get a job at an Egyptian fertilizer plant because you're not educated enough to work for our lover....Facebook.
In business we always need to look at the return on investment. The good old ROI. Clearly our friends over at WHO-TV13 in Des Moines were not buying that story when they went after Debi Durham the chief "salesperson" of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Ms. Durham, according to this report, spent $73,000 in one year on...travel. Some of the charges, according to the report, were for first-class airline tickets. One of which came to $12,000. But it was the trip to Europe to attend Agritechnica that caused eyebrows to raise. She missed the event. Of course "the spin" from economic development is, "But look at the ROI!" They say “Seven projects were identified, that collectively could result in the creation of 400 jobs and $60 million in capital investment." Key words: "could result". But, understanding that it takes money to make money I wonder what else it cost Iowa working families for the..."could result". What goodies did Iowa have to give in the form of tax abatement or credits. I dunno...you?
Please Go Home...
The Iowa Legislature is scheduled to go home this next week. Home, where they will spend weeks telling anybody who will listen how hard they worked to accomplish so little. But, that depends on who is telling the story. Last week five brave Republicans in the House put forward an amendment to punish four members of the Iowa Supreme Court for their 2009 ruling on same-sex marriage. Dwayne Alons (R-Hull), Tom Shaw (R-Laurens), Larry Sheets (R-Moulton), Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville) and Greg Heartsill (R-Melcher-Dallas) thought it would be a good idea to to lower the salaries of any justice that voted to uphold equal rights. Please go home...please.
Less Than Sixty-Minutes
In less than sixty minutes a bunch of stuff happened at the Polk County Democratic Central Committee last week:
- Sam Reno learned he is one of 99 county chairs for the Brad Anderson for Iowa Secretary of State campaign;
- Robert Krause, former democratic candidate for US Senate, announced he is running for governor in 2014;
- Gabriel De la Cerda gave a great stump speech about why a "common person" should be elected to congress;
- My friend Scott Ourth (D-Ackworth)
filled in for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) and I am so proud of
- It seems there is some movement to oust Christine Hensley from the Des Moines City Council.
Miss a minute and you miss a bunch.
I opened the Des Moines Register this past week and there on the Opinion Page was a photo of my brother. Seems he's got an issue with rules that license funeral home directors. The Register has been doing a series of stories on this issue and their suggestion to duel register a person seems like a good idea.
This past Shabbat I returned to Adas Israel the Jewish congregation of Mason City. The board had discussed closing the shul and I'd not been there, other than to bury a friend Gilbert "Skip" Fleming back in February, for several months. We talked about the responsibility the small congregation has to community. Following a meeting or two the board reversed their decision and expanded their programming to include a Sabbath Midrash (learning session) which takes place each month and is open to people of all faiths. It was great to spend Shabbos with friends.
Have a wonderful Sunday and if you are celebrating: Happy Lag B' Omer - Michael