Saturday, August 27, 2011

All Hands Man Battle Station!

To all of my friends and family in the path of Hurricane Irene (aka unwanted visitor that ruins a perfectly good weekend) I hope you have made to higher ground by now and have gathered any supply's that you need.
Please take care of yourselves and those that are close to you.
Be Safe!

Be Smart! 

And hold on tight it could be some kind of a wild ride. The Internet and Twitter is the safest place for that hurricane party.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It Gets Better

    Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Now if it was only that simple. But It does get better. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Live from the Epicenter

Deep beneath the Virginia countryside in a top secret Cold War era bunker that hasn't been used for decades met a group of Republican and Democratic Congressmen. When asked to evacuate because of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake they all emerged with horrified looks on there faces and declaring they didn't feel a thing. When asked about the meeting a few members announced they had made great headway in the deficit reduction cuts for the future budgets. The greatest of these decisions had just been made seconds before being asked to evacuate. When asked what is was the a senior member asking to remain anonymous said "we decide to have Subway cater the future meetings, we had been debating this for 3 weeks."  :-)

I hope all of my friends and family in Virginia area are doing okay. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Like Warren Buffet

Why isn't Mr. Buffet running for President? It seems like he's the only one that has a comprehension of what lower classes are actually going through. I hear the elected officials on both sides go on about how tax cuts will create jobs, but they only are increasing the National debt that terrifies all of us. No one likes taxes if you say you do you are lying through your teeth. But we all expect a certain level of services from our government; you know education for the kids, public safety and clean streets (which aren't very clean or in good shape). Local Governments have learned to make do with less and put critical public works projects on hold because of money. No agency or company wants to lay works off in these times when many municipalities are seeing unemployment rates hovering close to 1o percent nationwide. Things have been cut to the bone and there is going to come a time when no other choice will existed but to raise taxes if it's not income the it will be property or the sales tax. So why is it so bad to ask those that are not feeling crunch so bad to pay a bit more than the rest of us? One of the richest and smartest business men in the land doesn't think that it too much to ask. I have more faith in this man than any of the bastards the US Congress.
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

Omaha, OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Fresh Salsa

I had an abundant harvest of grape tomatoes and we never would have used them up before they went bad. So I decide to give making some homemade salsa a try.

Robbie's Spicy Salsa

1 pint of Grape or Cherry tomatoes
1 can of dice tomatoes
1-2 Jalapeno peppers
1 Pablano pepper
1/2 Sweet onion (Like Vidalia or Texas Sweet)
1 Garlic clove
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
Juice from 1 lime
Pinch of sugar to taste
Salt to taste
Olive Oil

Clean and dry all of the fresh ingredients. Quarter and de-seed all of the tomatoes, divide the Grape tomatoes in half. Place one half (I only did half but feel free to try all) on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then coat the Pablano pepper with olive oil and add to the baking sheet. Place these under the broiler for about 10-15 minutes. Half way through turn the pepper with tongs. When finished allow these to cool. Drain the juice from the canned tomatoes. Then you will move the tomatoes to a blender or food processor and add half of the canned tomatoes. Pulse these until you get the desired texture. Then move to a medium bowl.
***You may want to wear rubber gloves for the next steps.***
Using the edge of a knife peel the outer shiny skin off of the Pablano pepper, once it's removed dice the meat and to the bowl. Slice the Jalapeno pepper in half, using a paring knife carefully remove the white vein and seeds. If you want to be really HOT add the seeds. Next juliene each half and then mince, add those to the bowl.
Roll the lime on the counter applying gentle pressure, then cut in half and squeeze each into the bowl. Mince the remaining canned tomatoes, the half of onion, the garlic clove and the cilantro, add to the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. With a clean spoon taste and season to taste with the sugar and salt.

Place in a glass seal-able container and refrigerate, it should keep for about a week.

If you do try this recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Heatwave, A Tropical Heatwave

It's going to be another scorcher here in Atlanta. I've had enough of the summer, much prefer the fall or spring but they have been pretty short lived lately. I hope that everyone tries to stay cool and don't forget about your pets. Make sure they have plenty of water. If you one of those people that like to take you pup with you everywhere you go, Please leave them at home

Here's some eye candy to help take your mind off of the heat.

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