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Strok
January 19th, 2018 @ 8:13PM


LOCATION:California, USA
MEMBER SINCE:April 1st, 2005
LAST ONLINE:January 19th, 2018 @ 8:13PM
Comments:86 View Last 10 Comments

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    Comments :

    << PERVIOUS 10NEXT 10 >>
    IN RESPONSE TO: TV

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, he played Henry VIII on The Tudors.
    Posted: December 11th, 2017 @ 11:46PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: 30 miles a day?

    I cycled cross country and it was easy to keep up with the calory load. Really, getting enough to eat is a non-issue (and when I was in some places I`d drop $20 at McDonalds on a burger, chicken salad, milk shake, large soda, maybe some ice cream and do fine.) I didn`t look uber fit at the end either so I don`t think that that is necessarily a game breaker either. Exercising ten hours/day constantly is completely doable, at least at the cycling level so I imagine it would be fine walking as well.

    That said 30 miles in a day walking when you`re also working and sleeping seems like a hell of a stretch just in terms of running out of time. At 4 miles/hour that`s 7.5 hours and, really, you`re not going to walk non-stop for almost 8 hours without resting. And keeping up that 8 hour pace after 25 miles would be pretty impressive as well. It seems like there would be zero family time, he`d have to skimp on sleep, etc.

    I guess you could always organize a decent length hike and invite him along and see how he does?

    Posted: June 12th, 2014 @ 6:40PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Dying December Random Link Thread

    Btw apparently facebook stores all of your comments and posts internally. A European law requires facebook to give its users copies of everything that they have stored about that user if they request it and it`s essentially everything that they`ve ever done, deleted or not.

    Check out http://infosthetics.com/archives/2011/12/all_the_information_facebook_knows_about_you.html

    Posted: December 13th, 2011 @ 12:02AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Dying December Random Link Thread

    It`s absolutely ridiculous that the banks that were too big to fail in 2008 are now even larger. The revolving door between investment banks/hedge funds and regulatory agencies in the government has lead to massive deregulation and an almost complete failure of regulators to pursue those that have broken the still existing banking laws.

    Both Republicans and Democrats are complicit and corrupt in this failure of government.

    Split up the banks, most of them would be bankrupt if not for massive fed support since 2008.
    Block regulators from taking industry positions for ten years after regulating them.
    Prosecute the bankers that broke the law.

    The sad thing is that if either Obama or any republican candidate (except perhaps Ron Paul/Gary Johnson) win then it looks like it`ll be business as usual, if not even more giveaways to the financial sector.

    Check out this GQ profile of Gary Johnson

    Dude climbed Mt Everest six weeks after fracturing his leg.

    Posted: November 17th, 2011 @ 4:35AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Occupy Oakland: police shoots a guy for recording video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buovLQ9qyWQ&feature=colike

    UC Berkeley calls in the cops to beat peaceful student protesters.

    Posted: November 10th, 2011 @ 1:09AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Occupy Oakland: police shoots a guy for recording video

    The round in question was probably a `beanbag` round fired from a shotgun which contains a bunch of lead shot.

    I have yet to see any evidence of molotov cocktails being thrown, could you link to it? It`s be interesting to watch for sure.

    Posted: November 8th, 2011 @ 11:06PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: The Economic Disappointment of Generation O

    The main driver behind the bubble was that the banks figured out a way to sell on the risk and made their profit on fees. The more mortgages they wrote the more fees they got and then when they sold those mortgages on they got the money to make new mortgages.

    In essence they took a mortgage, made it into a MBS (mortgage backed security), sold that to an investment bank who cut the MBS into lots of little slices and packaged it into CDOs (collateralized debt obligation) which hid the risk.

    They then paid the ratings agencies to give AAA ratings to these CDO`s. The ratings agencies couldn`t do a good job evaluating the rick because it`s not economical to investigate if 0.1% of the loans for 1000 different houses are sound so they essentially believed the models which were wrong (imho so obviously wrong that this can hardly be thought of as an innocent error.)

    They then took out (CDS) credit default swaps (insurance that pays off if the CDO fails) on the CDOs and sold off the CDOs to Real Estate Investment Trusts, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, etc. who believed the AAA ratings.

    To keep the bubble growing the mortgage originators had to keep finding more and more people to fuel the bubble so they dropped lending standards and then started committing outright fraud by forging house assessments, faking documents, etc.

    CDO`s and CDS`s are pretty much unregulated. You can watch what happened to Brooksly Born, who tried to regulate them and was shot down by a bunch of investment bankers, on this Frontline program:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/

    This isn`t to say that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were innocent, they weren`t. But they weren`t the driver of the bubble either. The sub-prime loans that they made had a way lower default rate than those the investment banks held, I`ve read that is was about 15% when the banks were hitting 50%.

    I think that the bank bailout might have been necessary. Not then breaking up those banks that had screwed up badly enough to need bailing out and were too big to fail` was a terrible error. Not prosecuting those involved in outright fraud was criminal. Not firing those in government who had created the conditions for the bubble under both Republicans and Democrats (Geitner, Summers, erc.) was utterly incompetent.

    Lol, rant over.

    Posted: October 21st, 2011 @ 11:31AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: The Economic Disappointment of Generation O

    There`s a pretty good interview with William Black, who prosecuted the Savings and Loan fraudsters as to why there`s been no similar prosecutions for housing bubble fraud.

    http://www.financialsense.com/financial-sense-newshour/guest-expert/2011/09/14/william-k-black-phd/why-nobody-went-to-jail-during-the-credit-crisis

    Posted: October 20th, 2011 @ 11:54AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: I got my Cannondale Quick 4!

    What`s causing your punctures? Debris on the road? Snake bites from under-inflated tires?

    I got really pissed off at getting flats and a friend recommended Armadillo tires (by Specialized iirc). They`re made with kevlar and really hard to puncture, I haven`t had a punctures through these tires since I put them on six years ago.

    It`s a bitch to get the rims on, I actually tore up one inner tube trying to do it myself.

    Note that I would avoid specialized inner tubes, I bought about eight of those and every single one seemed to leak air slowly. That was about ten years ago though so I guess they might be better now.

    Posted: September 11th, 2011 @ 9:43AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: American Business

    Charkoth,

    The figure I have been quoted as arguing is the 30% taxes of his secretary which makes 60,000.
    When you attempted to debunk the about 30% for his secretary you did not include her payroll taxes and you calculated her taxes as a percentage of her gross income not her taxable income. Both of these errors substantially reduced the percent of taxes that she pays compared to Buffet. There`s no way to tell what she actually paid without looking at her tax return, we can only look at whether it is theoretically possible for someone who earned that much to pay 30%...

    The "average" for the "office" figure that came later likely includes people who on PAYROLL are making well into 6 figures and thus are in the highest tax bracket.
    Actually at about $100,000 (inflation adjusted so it changes every year) you stop paying most payroll taxes so your tax rate can actually go down. So, for example, someone earning $100,000 actually pays a slightly higher tax rate (29.6%)than someone earning $150,000 (29.55%) using the calculators at http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm (they have a fica one there too) and doing some math. (Note those are tax percentages of gross payroll, not of taxable income which we don`t know because this is a hypothetical so the figures aren`t directly comparable to Buffet`s.)

    My effective tax rate using his EXPLAINED method would be 3612/37390= +6.2% =15.8%
    Actually, I think this is wrong. It`s hard to be certain because I`m reverse engineering for payroll taxes that you haven`t stated but...

    1) You left out medicare tax so you are off by at least 1.45%
    2) Payroll taxes are based on your gross salary. You cannot take a percent of your gross salary (6.2%) and add it on a percentage basis to a percent of your taxable income because your taxable income is likely to be much smaller.

    Taken together these strongly suggest that your Buffet method tax rate is in the neighborhood 19%. If you post your salary and payroll taxes I can do the math for you.

    half of what his secretary paid as a percentage while only making 5K less than her that year.
    This is true, but it doesn`t debunk how much tax his secretary actually paid. You had substantial deductions that there is no reason to believe that she had.

    That is why we should never raise the capital gains tax rate to 35% like he is suggesting. For one it really discourages people like you and me who are in a lower tax bracket to invest.
    Not exactly. If you raise the capital gains tax rate then you get to lower the income tax rate. This means that people like you and me have more money and thus are more likely to be able to invest. It is much easier for regular people to become wealthy.

    For example, two people earn $50,000 each, one works, the other lives off investments after winning the lottery. The worker pays around $12,000/year in tax for doing something productive, the lottery winner pays around $7,500 in tax for playing on his playstation all day. Furthermore if the second person actually goes to work he immediately sees his tax rate skyrocket (because he starts paying payroll taxes).

    I think that having a tax system that penalises people doing productive work in favor of those who aren`t is foolish.

    Look at the figures....the Rich are paying more and more of the total pie in taxes every year.
    The rich also have a greater share of the total pie than they used to.

    For example, from http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/faculty/hodgson/Courses/so11/stratification/income&wealth.htm

    Scroll down to the second chart and we see that in between 1983 and 2004 the percent of total wealth controlled by the top 20% has risen from 81.3% to 84.7% whilst the wealth of all other quintiles has dropped.

    If the rich have most of the money it`s inevitable that you`ll end up taxing the rich. You can`t tax people with no money.

    BTW WTH is California SDI? Strategic Defense Initiative? Did Arnold start up Star Wars again?
    It pre-dates Arnold, it is State Disability Insurance. Typical of California, they tax the hell out of you and still can`t balance the budget.

    Posted: September 25th, 2008 @ 9:26PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: American Business

    As Charkoth was kind enough to post his tax info for 2007, I`ll do the same:

    Adjusted Gross Income: 98,803
    Taxable Income: 88,858
    Income Tax: 17,466
    Social Security Tax: 5,849
    Medicare Tax: 1,368
    Federal taxes paid: 24,683 (24.98%/27.78%)

    State tax:
    CA SDI: 500
    CA Income Tax: 6,574
    State tax paid: 7,074 (7.16%/7.96%)

    Effective tax rate (gross income): 32.14%
    Effective tax rate (taxable income): 35.74%

    Perhaps the disparity in the tax rates that we actually pay colors our opinion of Buffet`s point?

    Btw, here`s the quote from Buffet:
    (You can watch him interviewed by Brokaw here, and read the transcript too: http://www.cnbc.com/id/21553857)
    Buffet: Mine came to-- 17.7 percent. That-- that was the-- that was line 61 I think-- or, no, line 43-- is the percent of taxable income, plus payroll taxes, 17.7 percent. The average for the office was 32.9 percent.

    He includes payroll taxes and bases the percent on taxable income, not on gross income.

    According to the Buffet method you were federally taxed at approximately 17.31% (I had to guestimate payroll taxes as you didn`t include them on your tax breakout.)

    Given that using the Buffet method I come in at 27.78% (more than ten points higher than you) it is at least plausible that some people might be paying 32.9% (5 points higher than me) but it seems unlikely to be widespread. However it is also plausible (probable?) that Buffet may be employing weasel words if he`s actually comparing his federal taxes to his employees` federal+state taxes combined. However even if that is true and you subtract the state and local taxes then his employees` tax rate would still be a third higher than Buffet`s.

    It`s clear that my tax rate is 140% of Buffet`s tax rate (when using the same methodology) so I do not believe that you have debunked his point successfully. It would certainly be interesting to see the tax returns in question.

    Posted: September 25th, 2008 @ 5:22AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: American Business

    Your initial statement was that Buffet`s secretary could not have paid 30% in tax. That is clearly and obviously wrong as I have proved. She could have done so (note I`m not claiming that she did, just that it is possible for her to have done so.)

    The values of the numbers that you have used haven`t changed however you`ve just omitted some from the argument as convenient to try to uphold your clearly false claim. And the ones that you have omitted have varied from post to post, in a desperate attempt to keep the total under 30%.

    Now you bring up whether Buffet could really have paid 17.7%. I never argued this one way or the other, without viewing his taxes I don`t know if this is accurate or not. It`s immaterial to the point you got wrong.

    I also never addressed Buffet paying hundreds of times more than his secretary because that was not the point that I was arguing. If you admit your demonstrated factual error then we can move on to discussing these other matters. Otherwise I`ll just have to assume these other points are smokescreens you`re throwing up to obscure the argument.

    Posted: September 20th, 2008 @ 1:51AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: American Business

    Charkoth...
    First:
    =$10086.25
    =16.81% of $60000.00
    So we can prove here that one of Obama`s senior advisers is a lying sack of crap.

    Then:
    Nebraska`s State and Local taxes combine is 9.8%. Add that to her 16.8% and she is still at 26.6%.

    Then:
    16.8%+6.2%+1.45%= 24.45 to the Feds which is still quite a ways off

    So, even adding up your own tortured, ever changing, numbers we get over 30%.

    16.81+9.8+6.2+1.45=34.26% (just under the tax percent that I was paying when I hit $61k, although my actual salary is higher so mine might be distorted upwards a little.)

    If we charitably pretend that one of the last two estimates you gave is correct then you were still further from the truth in your first statement than Buffet was. 26.6 would mean Buffet was 3.4% off, but you initially claimed 16.81 which makes you 9.79% off.

    Your story is all over the place, you admit numbers only to skip them later when they threaten your argument, by any accounting you`re less reliable than Buffet who you describe as a lying sack of crap for being more accurate than you.

    So, sure, carry on this charade but you`re just bringing into question your own honesty by doing so.

    Posted: September 19th, 2008 @ 3:22PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: American Business

    Charkoth...

    We`re talking taxes. Not including social security and medicare is ridiculous. You have to pay them now whether or not you get them back at some hypothetical time in the future. Do you get to choose if you pay them? Nope. If you die do you get to bequeathe that money? Nope. Is there a guarantee that you`re going to get back what you put in? Nope. They`re taxes, the government gets the money. That`s why they`re counted under percent of income that goes to federal taxes.

    If I take out my pay stub I see the line where it says `taxable wages` and `less taxes`. It includes social security and medicare in the taxes portion. My old pay stub just listed them as `Social Security Tax` and `Medicare Tax`. They`re a tax.

    Note that the wikipedia Buffet quote specifically states `federal taxes` not `federal income taxes` however I did a quick search and other web sites seem to suggest that Buffet actually said 30% taxes (not specifying federal.)

    In that context Buffet`s claim of 30% is clearly close enough to not be worth arguing about. I already showed that I was paying *more* than that, for example, just by looking at my paycheck. If I wanted I could doubtless come up with more taxes that I pay (sales, gasoline, property, vehicle, etc.) that raise my effective tax rate even higher. Even without those Buffet was much closer to being right than you were.

    You lost this one. Just concede gracefully.

    Posted: September 18th, 2008 @ 8:05PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: American Business

    Charkoth, I`m pretty sure that you`re wrong on the tax thing. I broke out my paycheck report for when I hit $61k taxable and my year to date taxes for that paycheck were 21k. That`s roughly ~34% of taxable income (401k, medical contributions etc not included but we don`t know if his secretary has those) but includes state taxes. Stripping out state taxes drops it to ~28%.

    Perhaps you need to figure in social security tax, medicare tax and sdi/uc tax in your calculations? Taken together these add more than 50% of your income tax to your tax bill at the $60k level.

    ON another note, I`m not sure where the fundamentals are strong? Federal budget (massive deficits), Federal debt (massive defecits), State budgets (most in shambles), trade defecit (slightly improved but still awful), unemployment (multi year high), inflation (multi year high), foreclosures (multi year high). Pretty much the only `good` number is GDP but a lot of people think that the inflation they used to calculate that was way understated.

    Posted: September 18th, 2008 @ 3:46PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Election 2008

    Strok the people of Wasila VOTED for the complex....and it was supposed to also generate a lot of additional revenue to help pay for it. The revenue never materialized in the amount that was hoped but it was something the community wanted
    Who`d a thunk that a town of under 10,000 people couldn`t generate enough revenue to keep a multi-million dollar sports complex profitable? Palin convinced the townspeople to vote for this boondoggle, which seems to be to be straight out of The Wire school of moving up the political ladder (build something big that people will recognise you for) rather than out of, say, the school of good governance. So, yes, you are right that the people voted for it and should shoulder the responsibility. However Palin lead the effort and she should also take responsibility. Was there a larger project that she took on whilst she was mayor that was a success?

    Don`t you think that she bears any of the responsibility for this failure?

    The Bridge to nowhere issue she campaigned for before she had all the facts. You DO know the vast majority of Alaskans STILL favor building that bridge right? She spent 10 million dollars building roads to where the bridge was supposed to be built yes, but she is looking at other alternatives to ferry people across for less than the 400+ million the bridge would cost. The Government put the money for the bridge into the Alaskan budget which isn`t something she can really refuse. She has used Alaskan funds wisely while she has governed IMO.
    If she campaigns for something stupid before she has all of the facts then that is an indictment of her all in itself. I do give her a little credit for backing down when the entire country was pillorying the bridge.

    As to the majority of Alaskans being in favor of the bridge... Come to my town and offer to give the folks there $400 million, I wonder how many would turn it down? It`s easy to be in favor of something that benefits you when you don`t have to pay for it.

    Do any of you people know ANYTHING about Alaska? Do you realize what the energy expenses of the average Alaskan is compared to others in the lower 48? Do you know Gas is MORE expensive in Alaska? This is why Alaskans get subsidies to live there because it isn`t friking California, they have summers that make Californian winters look like a heat wave. The roads in Alaska suck. Outside of the major cities good luck finding stores or anything you take for granted elsewhere. People seem to think Alaska is just another state but the people and circumstances there are vastly different than in the states.
    The US government subsidises (i.e. throws our tax dollars) at the people of Alaska with freaking trebuchets. They get far more money per capita than any other state in the Union. To a certain extent it makes sense to make sure that we have enough people there to have a clear claim to sovereignty. Beyond that, though, why should we pay people to live there if it isn`t otherwise economical?

    If anything Alaska should be justifying the huge investment that`s been made in it by paying money back to the Federal Government in the last couple of years of insane mineral and oil prices. (By, for example, taking ownership of projects that have been soaking up Federal money.) Instead they just get more and more money from the rest of the country and give the extra revenues back to their own citizens.

    Why should we subsidise people making un-economical choices about where to live? In what way is this financially conservative?

    Posted: September 10th, 2008 @ 10:40PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Election 2008

    Charkoth
    Strok Palin was Mayor of town that has nearly double it`s population in 10 years. If you actually check the facts yes she took loans to pay for a sports complex but the residents of the town voted for a tax to pay for it. They are in debt now but the tax will eventually pay it off. Are you trying to say a business loan is bad?
    Loans are not necessarily bad, sometimes they are necessary for investment purposes. However I`m having trouble seeing how it`s the role of government to indebt a small town to build a sports complex? If there`s a business case to be made for building that sports complex then let business build it and take responsibility for paying it off. If there`s not a business case for building it then responsible government shouldn`t be championing it. Part of the trade off of living in a small town is that your town wont have the amenities of a large town.

    As far as the Bridge to Nowhere she supported it while campaigning for Governor but after researching the facts after becoming governor decided that it was a waste of money.
    She campaigned for it until it became too politically hot, then she took the money and spent it on other things - including building a road up to where the bridge would have started, if it had been built.

    She also campaigned relentlessly for pork when she was mayor of Wasilla, diverting tens of millions of tax payer dollars to her small town.

    For those curious about her "Windfall profits tax" on oil companies get your facts straight.

    Also notice the $1200.00 rebate was given to ALL Alaskans, not just the "poor".

    I guess I don`t understand where you are coming from. We can all agree that corruption is bad. However since when is it fiscally conservative to tax businesses and mail that money directly out to people? Why does it matter if every Alaskan, not just the poor, gets the money? Is it the roll of conservative government to throw money out of helicopters to people?

    Posted: September 10th, 2008 @ 4:59PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Election 2008

    When Palin was Mayor of Wasilla she increased its debt from $0 to $19,000,000 for a town of about 6000 people.

    She campaigned for massive amounts of pork from D.C. including the bridge to nowhere.

    As Alaska`s governor she increased taxes on oil companies and then mailed that money out to state residents. Sounds very much like Obama`s `liberal` windfall tax proposal on oil companies.

    So when did she become a fiscal conservative?

    Posted: September 8th, 2008 @ 11:04AM
    IN RESPONSE TO: Election 2008

    Whoever wins is going to raise taxes. They`ve both said that they want to increase the size of the army. McCain wants to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq (and Georgia?), Obama wants to fight in Afghanistan and Pakistan and kinda tail off in Iraq.

    There`s no way that either of them can do that and balance the budget and cut taxes. If they cut taxes then they`re just going to increase the debt which means even steeper tax increases down the road.

    Posted: September 5th, 2008 @ 12:01PM
    IN RESPONSE TO: McCain picks (cute) running mate

    Strok, yes I do where those rights can be conferred. Not like you can give an embryo free speech rights etc.

    Charkoth, so do you believe that failed pregnancies should be investigated by the police? If the pregnancy failed deliberately, should the mother be charged with murder? If it failed through negligence should they be charged with manslaughter?

    Posted: September 4th, 2008 @ 10:01AM



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