i redid the tax chart below
to make more sense. i just showed how much taxes are due, instead of assuming
a certain withholding and then going from there. this way makes it easier
to see who gets what. i'm not sure how the calculator works with regards
to social security and medicare deductions.
haven't been doing a good
job of updating on here the last few months. i think part of that is that
i do a lot of writing elsewhere so maybe i should just cut and paste some
of that onto here, or vise versa.
a recent post from the
contractor forum i frequent (where we also talk about politics/religion
"if i can just get this
one mistruth out of the collective consciousness of the right wing i could
die a happy man. about half you guys throw around the stat that is in the
article: "We generally knew that 47 percent of our population pays no income
taxes whatsoever." i've seen some people say "half the country pays no
taxes" which is an even worse misrepresentation.
anyway, the actual stat
is slightly different, but it's an important difference - 47% of the population
pays no FEDERAL income tax. they still plays into ss, medicare, sales tax,
and state taxes. while federal income taxes are a big chunk of what gets
taken, the stat that gets thrown around is so misleading because it easily
gives the impression that half the country is freeloading when that's not
even close to the truth. "We have 50 percent of people who are getting
something for nothing." i'll let you guess what organization spewed that
it's also a figure that
was taken just after the recession and was at 38% prior to the recession.
also, when you consider the demographics (http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet..._2009_5YR_G00_)
- 27.4% of the population is 0-19 years old. 12.6% is 65+ years old.
so, 40% of the country
is marginally employable by age. yeah, i worked when i was 16 (during the
summer) and my grandma is 75 and she still works (though maybe not like
she used to). but when you look at the actual numbers and what the stat
actually represents you see it's a gross misrepresentation of reality."
the debt ceiling stuff
is getting to the tipping point. hopefully people will finally come to
the realization that we need a third party to mix things up. to "cost al
gore the election" as some say of nader or to "split the conservative vote"
as some said of perot (twice). incidentally, perot got 18.9% of the vote
after dropping out and then coming back in and he was talking primarily
about the debt problem when it was under $5 trillion. we'll be at 14.3
trillion as of 8/2. obama comes off as real smart and balanced and reasonable
in his speeches (like the one last night), the major problem being that
he's still playing political games and i think he's lost a good deal of
trust. he voted against the debt ceiling increase under bush and recently
called it an immature mistake. does he really expect the tea party congressmen
(who were elected primarily to shrink the footprint of govt.) to be more
mature than he was on the same issue, and to go against their mandate?
a big part of the problem
is the bipolar, childish nature of the polity - "we want less govt., but
don't cut my programs." but a bigger problem is that the people who are
supposed to know what they are doing have royally screwed the country at
every turn. even best intentions are often the cause of problems. then
there's the media that plays the soundbyte game and gives little to no
context or analysis. so, yeah, the whole system is to blame and right now
it's coming to a head on this issue. hopefully a viable third party can
get into the debate and win some national seats to mix things up. right
now it looks like that would come from the right because of where we are.
i wish a real leftist party existed and had a shot. a party that could
extol the virtues of streamlined, effective government programs. a party
that stood for real, grassroots stimulus. a party that stood for a tax
structure that makes sense and works; isn't overly complex, doesn't have
a million deductions, doesn't
bottom line: the system
continues to be broken and the status quo of voting for the lesser of two
evils, growing idiotic government, and increasing corporate tyranny has
progressively gotten us more and more screwed. now, if we could get a viable
third option, grow useful government and prune wasteful government, and
reign in corporate power, we'd be cooking with fire again.
now's the time to buy newscorp
stock if you were ever interested in such a thing. if you followed my advice
on bp and goldman sachs you would have made a healthy profit on those.
apple continues to astound, i'm staying away even though they're looking
into hulu now.
tomorrow we plan on building
the rest of the pergola (we painted all the wood this weekend and got it
started), picking up a couple seamless gutters (i gave them the specs and
they extrude them on site) for the two garages in the yard, and hiring
a day laborer to help finish off the digging that needs to be done for
the patio project to progress. turns out that my mistake with the layout
line along with bad eyes, means that we still have a few inches of dirt
to take out in some big spots. ugh. i think we've been digging nonstop
for a couple weeks and we still have more to do.
getting the gutters home
could be an adventure. they're almost 21 feet long which is way longer
than my truck and i don't have a roof rack or anything. good news is that
they should be fairly rigid and it's only a couple miles away from home.
i'll take side streets and hope it goes well.
was doing some tax research.
it's always been quite a mystery to me. i went on turbo tax's tax estimator
and ran some different scenarios. i looked at the different scenarios with
and without kids and at different income levels. this is not at all scientific
since there are a shitload of other deductions to take, but it was a fun
experiment. based on this simplistic test it appears as though the govt.
gives the biggest refunds to those the poor, especially those with kids.
of course that makes sense since they need the money the most, but i never
knew just how much one would get (not get back, but actually profit) as
a result of being poor and having kids. (edit: redid this to make a little
||federal taxes due
||kids (16 or under)
google has the webpage
spelled out with peas today. it's mendel's birthday so i guess that makes
sense, but it could also be a sly commentary on the debt ceiling issue
about which obama said "we need to eat our peas."
i have the day off, hope
to get something done.
yesterday sean and i worked
on making a little walled in area for the garden shed. dug out a trench
for some pt lumber, put gravel underneath, and next to it. then laid down
to layers of brick. i'm definitely not a bricklayer, but it's fun and it
was good practice.
we also watched the women's
soccer final. meant to write about them earlier, but forgot. it was a fun
run and i enjoyed watching their last few games. megan rapinoe is awesome
and my favorite. alex morgan had a great run as did abby waumbach. this
last game was a disappointment. they played like the better team, but just
couldn't hold off japan - giving up the lead twice with less than 10 minutes
left in the game. a depressing finish. i didn't think the substitution
of heath for rapinoe was a good one. lloyd didn't have her shot going all
day and rodriguez didn't get any playing time at all. coach is to blame
for some of this stuff for sure.
still a lot to be done
in the backyard before we bring in the pack. hope to get things graded
on the side of the house today, we'll see. after double checking the initial
grade on the side it turns out that my initial measurements were off as
the north line got closer to the garage. so we're going to have to remove
some more material from there. so, more digging.
our neighbor mowed our
lawn for us yesterday. he's a nice guy. makes me feel bad that he offered
to do that because it probably means we let it go too long.
going to sf to see "wait,
wait don't tell me" tonight. it's meryl's favorite npr show and i like
it too, so we donated a few months back when they were giving the tickets
last wednesday claire ended
up staying home, but luke came and we did a good job of getting a lot done.
we broke up the entire patio (i jackhammered for a few hours, he used the
mattock to pry up the broken pieces) and dumped most of the big pieces
on the front lawn tarps.
last weekend we made even
more headway on the patio project. sarah and eli came over on saturday
and we got all the tiny bits of concrete moved to the front of the house
and started filling up the pergola bed with dirt. they work really well.
sunday we continued moving
dirt with all of meryl's parents. we got pretty much all of it down about
8" from the final grade height. the grading is going to take a while because
there are so many different elevations and it wasn't really well pitched
before. ideally all the elevations would be where we want them and there
would be room for the whole patio to pitch toward the property line. instead
we have a bunch of different elevations with no discernible method to the
way it all pitches. for a first time patio project, this is a tough one.
i didn't have it all planned out very well so we moved more slowly than
i would have liked. if i ever do this again i'll try to have all the elevations
figured beforehand. i also would probably just pay someone with a bobcat
to do it for me because by the time i do this again i'll be rich and unable
to dig, swing a sledge/mattock, move concrete, and run a jackhammer for
30 hours in a week.
yesterday we removed all
the concrete, one dump truck load at a time. the dump truck and dump fees
were more than anticipated. we probably ended up saving money over a dumpster,
but we wasted a lot of labor time so, overall, it wasn't a very good plan
and i blame myself for that because i was more of a penny pincher on this
than meryl was. live and learn.
surprisingly, my back and
foot held up very well during this process. only minor soreness came as
a result of doing all that stuff so i'm happy about that.
next project is to build
a cabinet for meryl's dad and stepmom. it'll be my first built-in and,
while it's not ornate, it's not a simple box either.
oh, on my birthday meryl
helped me at the alumni house to get the slate patio done. only had to
jackhammer up one spot and used some old, salvaged slate on the rest of
the spots. having her there really helped move the project along. now all
i have to do is finish filling in the grout lines with topping compound.
that'll take a couple hours and i can do it during the week since it doesn't
make a lot of noise.
one cool thing about doing
the dump truck yesterday was getting to drive a f750. pretty big truck,
but fun once i got the hang of the different feel of the air brakes.
best friend john should
be moving to sac in a couple weeks. that's good news.
worked on breaking up the
patio yesterday. first we cut into the concrete with the skilsaw and a
diamond blade. i don't think that the scoring ended up helping much, but
it certainly didn't hurt. then i went at it with an 8lb sledge hammer while
meryl picked up the pieces and dumped them in the driveway. on occasion
we would have to take a mattock to loosen up the edge of the work area
and then get back to hammering and picking up. it went about as well as
expected considering it was 82 and we were in the sun the entire time.
we were both pretty sore afterwards and my hand hurts today from all the
banging. "that's what she said."
today meryl has work so
i've been cleaning up and getting little stuff done. tomorrow we're going
to work on the slate at the alumni house, hopefully it's not too hot.
wednesday luke and claire
are coming up to help us out. that'll be a big day. the plan is to rent
a jackhammer and break up the entire patio into a grid so that using the
sledgehammer will be a lot easier the following weekend. we'll also hopefully
get the front gate put up.
next weekend we'll have
sarah and eli on saturday (hope to get all the concrete broken up into
smaller pieces and moved to the driveway, or thereabouts). then we'll have
3 of meryl's 4 parents on sunday and i hope to get all the dirt dug up
(to a depth of 8-10" below the finished level) and put into the pergola
bed on that day.
had some red vines a couple
months ago and they were stale despite being recently purchased. wrote
a letter to american licorice company in union city and got the letter
below several weeks later. then a couple days after that i got a ups package
with 3 pounds of licorice. yay.
busy times as usual.
getting ready for the backyard
project. set the remaining posts after work yesterday.
caught up on movie reviews
this weekend should be
more outside work for the patio and then on monday i'll work on the patio
at the alumni house. hope to finish with that damn slate once and for all.
it'll be a good birthday present.
4th of july in oakland
is a two-three week event. before and after there are plenty of people
testing out their fireworks. it's just insane, and mildly obnoxious.