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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beavers hates pork; likes per diem .... a lot.

Recently, the TNReport.com ran a story, Local Senators' Lodging, Incidental Allowances Reach $21K, discussing the daily per diem allowances claimed by Tennessee State Senators who live within 50 miles (an hour drive) of the capitol. The per diem allowances are meant to cover the legislators lodging, meals, and other incidental expenses while away from home conducting the people's business. All of them are "entitled" to it. The question is why do lawmakers living within 50 miles of Legislative Plaza insist on claiming hotel reimbursements when they are at home most nights and not using a hotel ?? That's not "away from home." Are they just claiming it because they can ??

My State Senator, the incumbent Mae Beavers, was one of nine highlighted in the story showing her total per diem claimed last fiscal year to be $14,060. Since she lives in Wilson County, she's roughly only 25 miles from the legislature. Please note these numbers do not include monies received for mileage reimbursement. I decided to dig a little deeper into Beavers' reimbursements. When doing so, I found that she claimed the following (including mileage reimbursement) in 2009 and 2010 :
Beavers' total allowances reimbursed to her by Tennessee taxpayers for 2009-2010 totals $30,422. What I find so interesting about Beavers' reimbursements is that she has a record of preaching against excessive spending, pork, taking Federal stimulus money to plug holes in the state budget, and using the state's rainy day fund to also plug holes in the budget. In fact, her June 21, 2010 e-mail newsletter stated :
"After passing a conservative budget out of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate leaders were constrained by members of the State House in what spending they could cut to balance the budget. After negotiations with House leaders, numerous pork projects were included in the budget, in addition to raiding Tennessee’s "Rainy Day" savings account by hundreds of millions of dollars."
"I applaud the Senate for attempting to pass a conservative budget during these hard economic times," said Senator Beavers. "However, due to certain House members’ wish lists when it came to pork projects that are not affordable during these times, in addition to spending hundreds of millions of dollars from our rainy day fund, I had to vote against this budget. It’s a shame that House members would prefer to spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow rather than operate within our means. My family operates in a pay-as-you go fashion…and the state of Tennessee needs to do the same."
Her opposition to excessive spending is fine by me. I have no problem with her on that. However, let me ask you a question. Does your boss pay you a per diem every day when you live close enough to work to drive home and sleep in your own bed each night ?? Does he or she pay for your meals each day when you commute back and forth from home ?? Does he or she pay you for mileage each day back and forth to work ?? Probably not. Right ?? However, if you are out of town on a business trip, you are reimbursed for your expenses. I have no problem paying a per diem to state legislators who live at opposite ends of the state and have to live in a hotel, apartment, etc. during the week while in legislative session. I have no problem with paying the ones who live close, such as Beavers, mileage when they are out in their district conducting legislative business or per diem while out of town on legislative business.

However, in my opinion, it is hypocritical and unethical for a "Conservative" state legislator, like Beavers, to claim per diem for lodging when she returns home each night. If that's not wasteful government spending, I don't know what is. I expect better from someone who calls themselves a Conservative. It's basically lying. When she claims per diem for lodging, she is basically saying that she spent the night away from home and had to pay for a hotel, etc. If she's in her own home, she didn't. She's not telling the truth. Now, let's say that she did stay in a hotel on nights the legislature was in session and claimed the per diem. Is that really a good use of taxpayer money when she only had about a 25 mile commute home ?? I think not. It's wasteful spending.

One last question - what would happen to you if, in your job, you claimed per diem for lodging one night but were actually at home and your boss found out ?? He or she would probably fire you, right ?? So why does Beavers get to do it ?? She's doing the same thing. On November 2nd, voters in Tennessee's 17th Senate District need to "Say Nay to Mae."
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama bans historic rifles

I received this video from the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) the other day. Obama recently banned 1 million American made historic M-1 Garand rifles and carbines via executive order. We know he has an anti-2nd Amendment record. Could this the method he will use to institute future gun bans ??

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Team Tennessee athlete set U.S. record in Madison

In addition to winning four medals in the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games, Vicki Geist, of Team Tennessee, set a record in the 400-meter run. She lives just outside Knoxville and attended The Games for the very first time this year. It was partly due to the fact that her son her told her that she wasn't "athletic." So, she set out to prove him wrong. Hopefully, he has enjoyed "eating crow."

Vicki was one of my Team Tennessee teammates. It was a pleasure to get to know her and her family while in Madison. I knew she had done very well, but I did not know she had set the 400 meter record. Congratulations to her. She earned it. You can read the entire story on KnoxNews.com titled "Organ Transplant Recipient Sets Record as She Realizes Dream" here.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where is the ACLU ??

Most Americans have not heard about the following story. I recently received this video of students from Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley, MA on a public school field trip to a mosque. The field trip was taken under the guise of it being "educational." It turned into more than the chaperone's had bargained for.


My purpose here is neither to condemn nor promote Islam. Furthermore, it is not about the controversial connections that members of this mosque are alleged to have. I am simply pointing out a double standard. I am wondering where the ACLU and the national news media are in regards to this story. We have seen the ACLU cry "foul" time after time when it comes to any reference to Christianity in the public square. So, why have they not raised an objection to public school students being taken on a field trip to a mosque and some participating in Muslim prayers ?? Why has the news media not reported it ?? If the students had been taken on a field trip to a synagogue, church, or temple both the news media and the ACLU would have had a fit. The news media would have run numerous reports and commentary after commentary for days. They would have cried foul about "right-wing religious nuts indoctrinating children." The ACLU would have been filing lawsuits on top of lawsuits alleging that the field trip violated the constitution in regards to "separation of church and state."

You know I'm right. It would be the mother of all brouhahas. My point is that if there is going to be a ban on religious references under "separation of church and state," then it needs to be applied across the board to all faiths, NOT just Christians and Jews. Fair is fair.
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Are you listening Mr. Obama and Congress ??

Please watch this video and pass it around to your friends, family, and colleagues. It very plainly describes the situation that small businesses are currently in. I have heard the exact same story from several small businesspeople that I know, too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another milestone

I make no secret of it - I'm a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I have been since I was a young boy. I enjoyed watching Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, "Mean Joe" Greene, and other members of the Steelers Dynasty of the '70s win four Super Bowls. In 1982, I watched the Steelers play the New England Patriots in a pre-season game at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN during the World's Fair. The Steelers won 24-20, and I still have the ticket stub. Unfortunately, Bradshaw and many of the star players did not play. I had never seen the Steelers play a regular season game .... until this past Sunday.

The Steelers played the Tennessee Titans, the NFL team I dislike the most, in Nashville. I usually refer to them as the Tennessee Thugs because so many of their players have been arrested over the past several years. Plus, their owner, Bud Adams, has been known to give opposing teams' fans the "finger" (read earlier post here). So, when the Steelers ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, built a 19-3 4th quarter lead, and won 19-11, I was pretty dadgum happy. However, as we were sitting in the stands in the 4th quarter, my wife reminded me that this was more than just a football game - it was another milestone in my comeback from the brink of death. That got me to thinking as I sat there watching the clock wind down bringing the one Steelers victory I wanted the most this year ever closer to reality.
Three and a half years ago, I was literally fighting for my life. The last thing on my mind was football. Then, "the call" came and we headed to the hospital for my transplant and a "second chance." As I thought about how it was SOOOOOO HOT at LP Field Sunday, I could not remember ever drinking that much water and sweating that much over the course of three hours. Going to the game Sunday would not have been possible before my transplant. Besides the fact that I didn't have the energy nor strength, I would not have been able to breathe in that heat. Plus, I would not have been able to drink the water needed to rehydrate. If I had even tried to drink enough it would have built up in my lungs as fluid because my sick heart would not have been able to pump it out to my body where it was needed. It was the dark reality of the life I was not living in, but only existing in.

I have been blessed and able to enjoy so many "extra" things since the transplant. In addition to my first regular season Steelers game on Sunday, I've watched them win two more Super Bowls including their greatest one, Super Bowl XL, where they had to win all their playoff games on the road. While attending the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh, we were able to tour Heinz Field. I've watched my Detroit Red Wings win another Stanley Cup. I've visited and toured Daytona International Speedway for the first time ever. It's a place that's brought me much pain as well as one of the happiest days of my life (Dale Earnhardt's victory in the 1998 Daytona 500). I've harvested my first ever wild turkey (spring 2009) and 8 more whitetailed deer. I've seen my oldest nephew baptized. I could go on, but you get the idea. I've enjoyed all these "extra" things, many for the first time, because a man I had never met made the decision to be an organ donor. "Thank you" doesn't hardly seem like enough, but I'll say it anyway ..... again ..... thanks Kent.
There's approximately 108,000 Americans currently awaiting a life-saving transplant and about 19 of them will die today waiting for their "second chance." You can help. Visit the Donate Life America website today to learn more about organ and tissue donation. Then, click on "Commit to Donation" to learn how to become a donor in your state. Then, tell your family that you want to be a donor. You could make a difference in someone's life by giving them the opportunity to enjoy some "extra" experiences just as Kent did me. He was a hero. You can be one, too.

P.S. One last thing that I thought about while sitting there hot and drenched in sweat on Sunday. I thought about our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As hot as we were during the game, that was only a little taste of what they have dealt with. Can you imagine 130 degrees, wearing a military uniform, carrying God knows how many pounds of gear, having very little water, and all while getting shot at. I was in shorts and a ventilated jersey with all the water I wanted available. I'm a wuss. We don't know what HOT really is. Thank a Veteran next time you see one. I sure will.
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Hand Transplants

Back in March, I posted a story about a wounded Veteran who had received a hand transplant. Recently, the WSJ.com ran a story, Health Blog Q & A : Talking Hand Transplants with a Surgeon, that discusses this relatively new procedure along with the associated rejection issues and who's a good candidate for such a surgery. It's a very interesting read that has the potential to bring hope to many Americans.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

More flip-flopping in Wilson Co. (TN)

Last Monday night, the Mt. Juliet City Commission voted down a resolution by Mt. Juliet Mayor Linda Elam to do away with the city's controversial red light cameras. The interesting thing is that when the city originally entered into the outrageous contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), Elam was all for it. Now, after supposedly receiving numerous complaints from citizens and while running for State Representative for Tennessee's 57th District, she's suddenly against the cameras. It makes you wonder whether she's now truly against the red light cameras due to citizen complaints, or is she just against them in order to win votes in November ?? It appears there's more "flip-flopping" going on in Wilson Co.(TN)

Personally, I believe Mayor Elam should have done her homework before offering this resolution. According to an article on MtJulietNews.comAttempt to put brakes on red light cameras fails; Commission votes to keep red light enforcement, it would cost the city $375,000 to end the contract early as she proposed. In the midst of a recession and tight budgets for most government entities, why would an elected official consider a resolution that if passed amounts to flushing $375,000 down the toilet ?? Better yet, why did the city even consider the cameras in the first place and agree to a contract which gave ATS two-thirds of all the revenue the cameras generated ?? It raises serious questions about whether she's the best person to be the next State Representative for the 57th District in the Tennessee Legislature.

Since the city is stuck with the sorry cameras, the best solution at this time is to let the contract run its course. Then, the city's leaders should put more cops on the street, not cameras.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sacrifice ??

In this video, the Obama's preach that "all of us are going to have to sacrifice" in order to get the economy and this country going again.

They're preaching "sacrifice" while taking not one, not two, not three ..... but SIX vacations on our dime this year. In fact, Mrs. Obama recently took a vacation in Spain and took dozens of friends and family members with her. Guess who paid for this "reunion ??" Yep, you guessed it - you and me. Mr. and Mrs. America, how many vacations have you had during this recession ?? Hopefully, you've had at least one, but I'll bet you paid for it and not somebody else. Many Americans can't even afford one. Makes me wonder what the Obamas plan on sacrificing. They are so out of touch that I'm guessing nothing.

So, how's that sacrificing and "Hope and Change" working out for ya ??
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hog vs. Grizzly = a draw

A friend of mine passed this along a few days ago. These pictures are of a LARGE Grizzly Bear that was hit and killed by a Harley in Montana. Note the size of the bear and it's massive claws. It's hard to believe a bear this size was killed by a motorcycle. The Harley was totaled and the rider spent three days in the hospital.
NOTE TO SELF - Don't go bear hunting with a Harley. They only last one hunt. Firearms much more effective.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Wrong deer ... wrong day.

We're all heard stories about how a momma bear will fight or attack to protect her cubs. Other animals will do it, too, In fact, many of us have actually witnessed such events. However, how many of us would expect a relatively docile, peaceful animal such as a deer to do such a thing ?? I didn't until I saw this amazing video (WARNING - contains one very brief instance of mild profanity). It's shocking and incredible. You'll probably think of deer in a whole new way after seeing it.

The morale of the story - leave those cute, cuddly deer fawns alone. Momma may be watching you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque vs. Koran Burning - Who's right ??

Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of free speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Unless you've been stuck in a cave or wondering in the outback of Australia for the last several weeks, you've heard about the controversy surrounding the building of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque (hereafter The Mosque). The developers want to build it a few blocks away from where the World Trade Center towers stood prior to the attacks of 9/11. Now, a few churches across the country have announced plans to burn the Koran tomorrow on the 9th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as a way of protesting Islam. The question is - who's right ?? The Mosque builders or the Koran burners. My two cents on it follows.

The folks building The Mosque, plus Mr. Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others have said that the building of The Mosque is constitutionally protected by "freedom of religion." For once, Mr. Obama is correct. It is protected. However, "free speech" is also protected, but there are laws against shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater and causing mass chaos when there is no fire. Plus, there are laws against threatening a public official. So, "free speech"  does not grant you the right to say whatever you want whenever you like. So, does "freedom of religion" protect building a mosque near the site of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history which will serve as a constant reminder to the victims' families of that horrible day ?? I'm not sure it does. Many Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam, partly due to the 9/11 attack. However, most Muslims say they sincerely want to assimilate into American society. If so, then why not respect the wishes, pain, and emotions of the 9/11 victims' families and build The Mosque out away from Ground Zero ?? The refusal to move it seems insensitive and tacky at the least. Some have argued that it's a slap in the face to the still mourning families.

Mr. Obama and many of the others who support the building of The Mosque are deploring the plans of a few church pastors around the country to burn the Koran on 9/11 to protest Islam. Furthermore, Obama and some U.S. military leaders have argued that the burnings will serve as an Al Qaeda recruitment tool and lead to additional attacks on the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't buy that. The ones who hate us don't need anymore motivation to attack our military. They've proven their hatred for us. That's the reason 9/11 happened in the first place !! My question is if the Muslims in New York have a right to build The Mosque due to "freedom of religion," don't these pastors have a right to burn the Koran under "freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion," also ?? Or, does Obama and others just get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution we follow ?? It's a logical question seeing as how Obama's M.O. thus far has been to pick and choose.

All that being said, you can make the argument that both The Mosque builders and the Koran burners are constitutionally within their rights. Sometimes, though, we need to use some discretion in exercising our rights and in these two instances that has not happened. Why ?? Because neither side is accomplishing anything positive by pridefully proceeding down their chosen "rightful" path. Personally, even though they both may be constitutionally within their rights, I believe that both The Mosque builders and the Koran burners are in the wrong. Why ?? First, the folks building The Mosque know how sensitive the 9/11 victims' families are to this issue. Out of respect for them, the location should be moved. It would be the right thing to do and would show a desire for peace. Second, the reason I think the Koran burners are wrong is because one of the pastors has stated that Islam is a "false religion." If that's what they believe, then wouldn't it be a better use of time to use this opportunity to reach out to the Muslims in their community and minister to them ?? Instead of using their time to burn the Koran and antagonize Muslims, use it to do something positive, such as showing Jesus' love to them. I'm by no means a pastor, but I think that's what Jesus would do.

Lastly, I think if both sides would let go of their pride, use a little common sense, and make an attempt to get along, some common ground can be reached. It would enable everyone to live together peaceably like reasonable adults who have some sense. It that too much to ask ??
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tractor Supply Co. is now anti-gun

I occasionally shop at Tractor Supply Co. (TSC)  in Old Hickory, TN on Lebanon Rd. I was there today to pick up a couple of salt licks for my deer as well as some wire connectors. As I reached the front door, I noticed a couple of new signs - the infamous "NO GUNS" signs. So, even though I wasn't carrying at the time because I had been to a doctor's appointment, I turned around and left.

The Lefty anti-gunners believe so-called "gun free zones" are "safe zones." The problem with that thinking is the only people safe in "gun free zones" are criminals, because they know they can wreck havoc there without any worry of someone standing up to them. Of course, the bad guys will have weapons with them. Criminals don't obey the law or signs telling them they can't do something. That's why they're called criminals. Ask the families of the victims from the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech how safe "gun free zones" are.

I called the TSC in Old Hickory this afternoon and asked to speak to the manager. Her name was Melanie. She was very polite, as was I. I asked about the new signs and why they had been put up. She said there had been a couple of "incidents" at the store. I asked if these "incidents" had involved permit holders. She said she thought one of them had, but she was not sure and could not give me any specific details per company policy. She said management had decided to post to protect employee safety. I told her they were actually endangering employee safety by posting because they were putting out a welcome mat for criminals. She also told me that management had instructed all stores to purchase the signs. Based upon that, it is very likely that ALL TSC locations will be posted in the future, if not already. I can only verify that the one in Old Hickory is for now.

I hate that TSC has had these incidents. However, due to a few "incidents," they are denying ALL their customers with carry permits the right and freedom to protect themselves while on the premises. I told the manager that I hoped TSC changed it's mind, but until they do, I will be shopping elsewhere. I encourage you to do the same.

P.S. I have a list of other anti-gun establishments where carry is prohibited on my website www.TheSecondChanceSheepdog.com on my Guns page.
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Good birdies !!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Facebook Helps Save Another Life

Back about two weeks ago, I posted a story  about a man whose life was saved because he posted his need for a transplant on his Facebook page. Amazingly, I've ran across another such story !!!

PittsburghLive.com carries a story, Facebook Friend Request Leads to Transplant, of how Sarah Taylor, the recipient, and Sara Steelman, living donor, met through Taylor's sister who worked in Steelman's office when Steelman was a State Representative in the Indiana legislature. The three ladies were also in the same community theater.

Taylor's health problems originated from an aneurysm and dissected aorta back in 1999. These led to multiple health problems and a slow, downhill progression in her physical condition. Ultimately, it resulted in kidney failure and the need for a transplant. Taylor was blessed in the fact that Steelman, the former State Representative, is one of the few true "public servants" left.
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Heart Recipient Golfer Back Getting Birdies

Erik Compton, PGA golfer, is able to continue golfing thanks to an organ donor. Compton received his second heart transplant two years ago after receiving his first at the age of 12 because his heart was enlarged. He needed another after a massive 2007 heart attack that nearly killed him. His donor, Isaac Klosterman, passed away at the age of 26 in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident.

The article, Erik Compton's Gifts : Talent, And A Donor's Heart, containing the story appeared on NPR.org and also delves into a somewhat controversial issue - presumed consent. In the U.S., a person or their family MUST give permission for their organs to be transplanted. However, in other countries, there is "presumed consent" which means that you are automatically an organ donor unless you "opt out." Some people believe presumed consent would result in fewer people dying waiting on an organ because it would increase the size of the donor pool. That may be true. However, as a member of the transplant community, I'm not sure I like the idea of Uncle Sam getting involved and telling everyone they are automatically a donor. That would defeat the whole idea of the donation being a gift. Plus, forcing someone to be a donor takes away a piece of their freedom, and that doesn't work for me either.

P.S. Just want to say a big Thank You to my friend Heather for passing this story along.
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Expiration of Bush Tax Cuts = Longer Recession

Tax cuts passed by a Republican controlled Congress during the Bush Administration expire January 1, 2011. Currently, no plans for renewing them have been announced by the Obama Administration, and the Democratic controlled Congress is balking at Republican requests to extend them. Obama campaigned on the promise of no tax increases for Americans making less than $250,000 per year. Unfortunately for him, if the Bush tax cuts are not extended, it will result in the largest tax increase in American history and will affect nearly ALL American taxpayers.

I received the information below explaining what the expiration of the Bush tax cuts includes from a friend of mine several days ago. My wife, the CPA, verified it as true.The"expiration" will hit us in three waves.

THE FIRST WAVE:

Expiration on January 1, 2011 of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief which included several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. Personal income tax rates will rise as the top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed), and the lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. The rates in between will rise as follows :
  • The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%.
  • The 25% bracket rises to 28%.
  • The 28% bracket rises to 31%.
  • The 33% bracket rises to 36%.
  • The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%.
Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The "marriage penalty" (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income, and the standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. In addition, the child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child, and the dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The Death Tax returns after 2010. For this year only, there is no death tax, but for those dying on or after January 1, 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes, a business, a retirement account, could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones. Think of the farmers who don't make much money, but their land, which they purchased years ago with after-tax dollars, is now worth a lot of money. Their children will have to sell the farm, which may be their livelihood, just to pay the estate tax if they don't have the cash sitting around to pay the tax. Think about your own family's assets. Maybe your family owns real estate, or a business that doesn't make much money, but the building and equipment are worth $1 million. Upon their death, you can inherit the $1 million business tax free, but if they own a home, stock, cash worth $500K on top of the $1 million business, then you will owe the government $275,000 cash! That's 55% of the value of the assets over $1 million! Do you have that kind of cash sitting around waiting to pay the estate tax?

Lastly in this first wave, there will be higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011, and the dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. Starting in 2013, these rates will rise another 3.8 percent.

THE SECOND WAVE:

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011 and include:
  1. The "Medicine Cabinet Tax" - Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).
  2. The "Special Needs Kids Tax" - This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States , and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington , D.C. ( National Child Research Center ) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can not be used to pay for this type of special needs education.
  3. The HSA (Health Savings Account) Withdrawal Tax Hike - This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.
THE THIRD WAVE:

More Americans will be paying The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and there will be multiple Employer Tax Hikes. When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they'll be in for a nasty surprise-the AMT won't be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:
  • The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress' failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families-rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.
  • Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or "depreciate") equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can currently expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be "depreciated."
Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the "research and experimentation tax credit," but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching will be reduced as follows :
  1. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available.
  2. Tax credits for education will be limited.
  3. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses.
  4. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut.
  5. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed.
  6. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.
Furthermore, Charitable Contributions from IRAs will no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual "required minimum distribution." This ability will no longer be there.

source : atr.org - Six Months to Go Unitl the Largest Tax Hikes in History

My background is in accounting and business. During one of the worst recessions in the country's history, the failure to extend these tax cuts will be the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire in regards to the current economy. In my opinion, in order to encourage small business to expand, grow, and hire workers, Obama and Congress MUST at a minimum extend the cuts to the Capital Gains Tax and continue to allow businesses to expense 50% of their equipment purchases if they want the economy to recover. Otherwise, an undue hardship will be placed on small businesses and investors will be discouraged from investing and providing the capital they need to grow. Furthermore, I believe the failure of Obama and Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts will actually result in extending the current recession.

Obama made a promise during the 2008 campaign that no one making under $250,000 a year would "pay an extra dime in taxes." It's easy to see that not extending the Bush tax cuts will increase the income tax burden of nearly every single American making him out to be a liar. He's already mastered the "spend" in "tax and spend Democrat." Now, he's working on the "tax" part.

Therefore, the question you have to ask yourself is, "How's that Hope and Change working for ya now, America ??"
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Animal Rights Activists going wacko ..... again.

It's only 24 days until Tennessee's deer season opens. On September 25th, thousands of bow hunters all across our great state will hit the fields and forests in search of venison for the freezer. Many will be blessed with a nice trophy buck. Hopefully, I'll be one of them.

Recently, I ran across two articles by outdoor writer Larry Woody on TheLebanonDemocrat.com. One of the articles, Professor Claims Animals Have Right to Privacy, is about an absolutely "nutty professor" who claims that animals have a "right to privacy" and should therefore not be photographed or filmed. The problem with his argument, besides its absurdity, it that without photographing and videotaping of animals, for things such as documentaries, we would not be able to learn about many of the critters that God has placed on this earth and blessed us with.

The second article, PETA Takes Aim at New Hunting Show, tells about PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) criticism of American Idol contestant Kristy Lee Cook's new hunting show. Instead of being intimidated by PETA, Cook chooses to tout hunting's benefits including the thousands of jobs it supports which are vitally important in this dismal economy.

I really wish some of these "animal rights activists" would knock off the constant criticism of hunters and others and stop their extremist protest methods, such as terrifying kids at McDonalds for eating hamburgers, disrupting legal hunts, and walking around naked protesting the use of fur. Instead, they should do something constructive, such as helping with wildlife conservation projects. Hunters do so every year through both direct involvement in projects and indirectly through buying ammo and other hunting supplies which are taxed and the revenue used for funding such projects. Plus, our animal population control services help keep herds healthy by preventing overpopulation and thus preventing disease and starvation due to browse shortages. Hunters do far more for wildlife conservation and preservation than PETA's ever dreamed of. Just ask the whitetail deer and the wild turkey.

The next time you hear some animal rights activist talk about how those "mean, blood thirsty hunters hate animals" just tell them The Sheepdog said that it's not true. We love animals because THEY ... TASTE ... SO ... GOOD !!
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