Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a very popular tourist attraction and one of my favorite things to do at the market is to visit and even make a contribution to the Pike Place Bubble Gum Wall. That will all change when the wall is scrubbed clean next week. Officials admit the gum will probably return, but they feel the accumulation is too much and must be removed.
The gum wall is cleaned “every other month” with a steamer, but this will be the first time all the gum is removed
The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) has hired a contractor, Cascadian Building Maintenance, “because it’s going to be a very large job.”
The gum will be removed with an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer.”
The machine will melt the gum with 280-degree steam; it will fall to the ground, and a two- to three-man crew will collect the gum in five-gallon buckets.
“This is probably the weirdest job we’ve done,” Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance
The PDA estimates 1 million pieces of gum are adhered to the walls of Post Alley, and the buildup is in some places 6 inches thick. The cleaning job is expected to cost $4,000.
Crawford said the gum needs to be cleaned off the walls to preserve the historic buildings in the Market district. “It was never part of the charter or the history of the Market to have the walls covered with gum,” she said. “Gum is made of chemicals, sugar, additives. Things that aren’t good for us. I can’t imagine it’s good for brick.”
The job will likely take three or four days.
“We’re not saying it can’t come back,” Crawford said. “We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.”
They have an aggressive recycling policy, which goes in an order of importance: prevention, reuse, recycling, recycling alternatives, and as a last resort, disposal in landfill.
Amazingly, just 1% of Sweden’s trash ends up in landfillsMuch of the left over waste is taken care of by using “recycling alternatives”, such as the Waste-to-Energy program, which is explained in the video, “Importing garbage for energy is good business for Sweden” http://vimeo.com/103801887
Waste is sorted, then remaining waste is incinerated and converted into electricity
3 tons of garbage contains as much energy as 1 ton of oil
Sweden is so good at recycling its trash in fact, that it now has plans to import 800,000 tons of garbage from other countries in Europe in order to create heat for its citizens through its Waste-to-Energy program.
Each spring, the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National draws millions of TV viewers. The unique tournament usually provides challenging competition and athletic drama. The Masters is even more special for those lucky enough to be able to attend the event in person and has been sold out for years. (See more info on this below) Here are some interesting facts about Augusta National that they may not tell you on TV.
Info below shortened and taken from an online article, link included at the bottom of this list.
Green Jacket- The Green Jacket came about for a very simple reason. In the tournament’s early years Augusta National members were encouraged to wear the jacket so patrons would know who to ask questions. Secondarily, when a member hosts guests in the clubhouse, the green jacket designates who gets the bill.
Cheap badges- A badge that allows you to see four competitive rounds will cost you $200—$50 per round. In 1934, a badge was $2.20 ($2.00 + .20 cents tax)
Junior Admittance– Children of all ages must have a ticket to enter the grounds. On Tournament days only, a child between 8 and 16 years of age, accompanied by the patron of record (the person whose name is on the Patron List) may obtain a complementary ticket for that day. As a reminder this is limited to one child per day for the patron of record only. Patron Info
Of course, the stories are legend about how long it takes to get a Masters pass—years. Families will them down to generation after generation. Each year the badge has a unique design and artwork. Here is a link which has images of all past Masters Tournament Badges.
Careful with commentary– More than 40 years ago, during one tense moment, CBS commentator Jack Whitaker used the term “mob” to describe the scene around a green. The Masters leadership let his bosses know that he wouldn’t be invited back, and he wasn’t. Of course, there were Gary McCord’s famous lines about “bikini waxes” and “body bags.” It’s been 17 years. He hasn’t been back, either. McCord doesn’t care
Polite fans- They are not fans. They are not a crowd or even a gallery. They are patrons. You’ll hear it often during the CBS broadcast. Also, while on the grounds, patrons are told not to run. Walking only.
Icing the Azaleas- the site founder Bobby Jones selected was a nursery, so the flora is amazing, to say the least. If an early spring comes, grounds crew will put ice under the azaleas to slow down their blossoming. They want everything in full color come Masters week. (Note: They cannot control rain, however. Yet.)
1980 prices for food and beer: It used to be pimento cheese sandwiches, but now there’s bbq, chicken and others—each for about $3. A beer costs under $3.
Small field of golfers, large maintenance crew- It’s the smallest major field—only 99 competitors compared to the 156 in the other three majors. Following the second round, the low 44 scores, plus ties and any golfer within 10 strokes of the lead advance to play the on the weekend. (making the cut) That means for Saturday and Sunday the field will be anywhere from 44 to 55. Get there early enough you will find more than 60 people working on the course, mowing, raking, edging, etc.
Augusta National bad for golf?- Of note, there are many who think this does the golf industry a disservice by showing a course so luxurious, verdant and immaculate. It’s a standard that any other course cannot meet, much less your local municipal. (Augusta has almost unlimited resources for maintenance and the course is closed half the year.) Article on the topic: HERE
Limited playing time- Augusta National closes in late spring and doesn’t open again until fall. Part of this stems from its origins in the mid-1930s. Jones wanted it to be a “national” club, meaning members live all over the country to play. For business executives from the Northeast, the winter was the best time to play. During that no-play period during the summer, Augusta National undertakes projects to improve the course….. “This club changes something in this course every year, and they never tell you about it.”
Cheap golf- It’s one of the best-kept numbers in sports—the initiation fee to Augusta National. With barons like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, among others, as members it goes without saying that money isn’t the object. And it isn’t. To join is reportedly under $100,000, which might be one-tenth of other high profile clubs in the country. And if you were lucky enough to play the course with a member, you can probably afford it. Guest fees are said to be about $40.
Fine wine Augusta National is presumed to have one of the best private wine cellars in the world, buying the best French, Italian, American and Australian wines on futures. Those glasses of wine that tasted so good during dinner came from bottles that run $1,000 apiece, and more.
The Masters: 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Augusta National on TV: `
More info and links
Waiting lists for badges: Beginning in 2012, Augusta National Golf Club announced it would begin making a small number of tournament tickets available for purchase through a random drawing following online registration, directly from Augusta National. Each year, a small number of tickets are returned to ANGC following the deaths of longtime ticket holders, or other reasons. Previously, those tickets were simply removed from circulation. But since 2012, fans can register online to take part in a random drawing for those tickets. To do so, golfers much register on the tickets page on Masters.com; registrants receive notification when the ticket application process is opened each year, shortly following each Masters tournament. The number of available tournament tickets is not listed, but rest assured the number is very small and your odds are very, very long. Link for Masters Ticket Info.
Prior to those announcements, tickets to tournament days (rounds one through four) had not been available from the Masters Tournament directly to the general public since 1972. That year, Augusta National Golf Club opened a waiting list, but due to demand the waiting list itself had to be closed in 1978. (Practice-round tickets have been available) Twenty-two years later, in the year 2000, a new waiting list was opened. But it is now also closed.
Augusta National Golf Club- located in Augusta, Georgia, is a famous golf club. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts on the site of a former indigo plantation, the course was designed by Jones and Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934, it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in men’s professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course. It was the number one ranked course in Golf Digest’s 2009 list of America’s 100 greatest courses and was the number ten ranked course on Golfweek Magazine’s 2011 list of best classic courses in the United States, in terms of course architecture.
The golf club’s exclusive membership policies have drawn criticism, particularly its refusal to admit black members until 1990, a former policy requiring all caddies to be black and its refusal to allow women to join. In August 2012, it admitted its first two female members – Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. The golf club has defended the membership policies, stressing that it is a private organization. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_National_Golf_Club
Patron behavior rules-
No running anywhere on the grounds.
No sitting on the grass near the greens.
No bare feet (even when sitting down).
No chairs with arms. No folding chairs. No flags. No signs. No banners. No coolers. No strollers. No radios.
No standing in officially designated sitting areas. No sitting in the standing areas. No cameras. No rigid chairs. No hats worn backward. No metal golf spikes. No outsize hats. No carts. And absolutely no lying down anywhere . No fanny packs larger than 10 inches wide, 10 inches high or 12 inches deep (in their natural state).
No selling a Masters badge within 2,700 feet of an Augusta National gate.
No walking through a driving gate.
No outside food.
Things you will not see at Augusta National:
No Crowding- There is no crowding at the Masters because the club limits the number of entrance badges sold to keep the attending masses manageable. A four-day badge will go for as much as $5,600 on the secondary market, which means there is also no complaining. Badges are included in many wills.
No membership applications- The club has no membership application process; if someone asks to join, the unified retort is, No chance.
No Yelling- At the Country Club of No, because the atmosphere is reserved and austere, no one shouts “You da man!” after a golfer’s shot, another pleasant outcome.
No weeds- there are no weeds at the Masters, to the naked eye, on the more than 350 acres that play host to the tournament.
No litter- There is no litter because at least one maintenance employee is assigned to each quarter-acre, and should someone attempt to carelessly discard a food wrapper, an employee dashes over and snatches it before it hits the ground. It is then deposited in a garbage receptacle
No large wildlife- There are squirrels and birds. But a high protective fence around the entire tract keeps out larger animals, spurned as unwanted interlopers. A few years ago, when a deer ran across the eighth green, spectators gasped and pointed, and the local newspaper ran a picture of the animal. People who have been coming to the Masters since the 1950s said they had never seen a deer on the course.
Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975)] is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years. See some of his impressive achievements below. (Most taken from Wikipedia, see links at bottom of post)
He was a child prodigy, introduced to golf before the age of two, by his athletic father Earl, a single-figure handicap amateur golfer
At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course
Before turning seven, Tiger won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California.
He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times
Tiger first defeated his dad at the age of 11 years, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on
First broke 70 on a regulation golf course at age 12
At the age of 15, Woods became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur champion (a record which stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010)
In 1993, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event’s only three-time winner
In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee
Graduated from Western High School, in Anaheim, CA in 1994 at age 18, and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” among the graduating class.
College Career- Golfing at Stanford University
He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship, winning his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September
He was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford’s Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports)
Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters Tournament, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut.
At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles and won the NCAA individual golf championship
Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, and immediately signed deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time
Woods turned professional in 1996, and by April 1997 he had already won his first major, the Masters, becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever winner.
The 1997 Masters in a record-breaking performance, winning the tournament by 12 strokes
He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997.
In the 2000 U.S. Open, he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called “the greatest performance in golf history,” in which Woods won the tournament by a 15-stroke margin .
Through the 2000’s, Woods was the dominant force in golf.
Fall from the top- From December 2009 to early April 2010, Woods took leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage after he admitted infidelity. His many extra-marital indiscretions were revealed by several different women, through many worldwide media sources. This was followed by a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.
Back on top- Ended a career-long win less streak of 107 weeks when he captured the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again.
Tiger’s Golf Records:
He has been world number one for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any other golfer.
He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times
Leader of money list in ten different seasons.
Has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18) and 79 PGA Tour events, second all time behind Sam Snead, who had 82 wins.
He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer.
He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, . Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times.
Is the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour
Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999.
China has launched a lunar rover, only the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union. The rover, named Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) is solar-powered, has 6 wheels and four cameras. It also has mechanical arms that can dig soil samples up to 30 meters deep. It can travel up to 200 meters per hour and weighs 120 kg.
Yatu’s mission is to explore the moon’s surface and look for natural resources. The rover was able to send photos of itself back to Earth. A rover “selfie.” Link
Mars One first mission planned for 2018: Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Unmanned missions will prepare a habitable living environment. Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2023 or 2024. Our first unmanned spacecraft will land on Mars in 2018. Mars One website: http://www.mars-one.com/en/
Can I apply to become an astronaut?-It is currently not possible to apply. The closing date of this first online astronaut application round was 31 August 2013. Mars One will start new selection programs regularly, so you will have the possibility to apply for subsequent astronaut selection programs.
Mars One will conduct a global search to find the best candidates for the first human mission to Mars. The combined skill set of each astronaut team member must cover a very wide range of disciplines. The astronauts must be intelligent, creative, psychologically stable and physically healthy. On this page, Mars One offers a brief introduction to the basics of our astronaut selection process.
Five Key Characteristics of an Astronaut:
Ability to Trust
Creativity / Resourcefulness
Age requirements , physical and medical requirements, country of origin and language (English will be official language) area all part of the selection process.
If you have ambitions of being one of the first people on Mars, listen up: A Dutch company says it is moving along with its plan to send four lucky Earthlings to colonize the Red Planet. The catch: They won’t ever come back.
The Mars One foundation announced Tuesday that it has secured lead suppliers for an unmanned mission launching in 2018, which involves a robotic lander and a communications satellite. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to study building the lander, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will develop a concept study for the satellite, Mars One said.
This first mission will demonstrate technology that would be involved in a permanent human settlement on Mars. If all goes well — and that’s still very much an “if” — the first pioneers could land on Mars in 2025.
Enthusiasm has been growing since the project’s first big announcement in April.
More than 200,000 people have signed up to be prospective astronauts, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp said in Washington on Tuesday.
Apparently, they’re OK with living out the rest of their lives on Mars.
The technology for a return flight doesn’t exist
There’s no Kennedy Space Center launch pad over there
Having a one-way trip greatly reduces costs, the company has said.
I posted about this already, a few posts back. However, it came up in the media again and it is worth revisiting. A fascinating concept. The numbers are there, major college football coaches punt too much and take a very conservative approach, even though they might coach a wide-open offensive game. Job security seems to big too much of a deterrent for coaches to use all 4 downs, and instead stay with the “status quo” and use “3 downs and punt.”
Some gutsy coaches will take advantage of this strange mindset and reap the rewards in the form of first downs, scoring and ultimately in wins. It is just a matter of time. Who would have thought the game would turn into such a passing frenzy with points adding up so fast that even the powerhouse programs who dominated college football for decades had to abandon their consistent but reliable ground game in order to keep up? We may see a similar morph and coaches will reluctantly abandon their old ways of giving the ball back to the opponent one down too early. Maybe I will put together a resume and just apply as the “punting coach” or at least have a consulting firm persuading coaches to use all four downs they are allowed under the rules of football.
Professional athletes must pay taxes in many of the cities and states in which they play road games, which can create a tax preparation nightmare. Article – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
…nonresident athlete taxes — seldom collected 20 years ago — are now significant sources of revenue for municipalities and states and can cause serious headaches for entertainers, athletes and accountants at tax time.
Any employee who travels with the team, which includes coaches, broadcasters, equipment managers and scouts, is subject to the same tax requirements.
Of the 24 states that house professional sports teams, 20 collect income tax on their home and visiting teams. And nearly a dozen cities, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Cincinnati, impose “jock taxes” and fees on teams and players to address budget shortfalls and to help pay for arenas and stadiums built with the taxpayers’ wallet.
Athletes, entertainers and support staff receive dozens of W-2s in the mail each year, and the stack of tax returns for dozens of states is as thick as a phone book.
The Great Gatsby is one of those stories everyone can relate to in some way. These economic and cultural times offer up even more correlations and connections than in past decades.
“The Great Gatsby,” is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald and now a movie (again) that highlights the inequality and class distinctions in America during the Roaring 20s.
The Great Gatsby Curve was introduced in a speech last year (Jan 2012) by Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. It illustrates the connection between concentration of wealth in one generation and the ability of those in the next generation to move up the economic ladder compared to their parents. Krueger’s speech
The curve shows that children from poor families are less likely to improve their economic status as adults in countries where income inequality was higher – meaning wealth was concentrated in fewer hands – around the time those children were growing up.
So why does this matter for the United States? The U.S. has had a sharp rise in inequality since the 1980s. In fact, on the eve of the Great Recession, income inequality in the U.S. was as sharp as it had been at any period since the time of “The Great Gatsby.”
It is hard to look at these figures and not be concerned that rising inequality is jeopardizing our tradition of equality of opportunity. The fortunes of one’s parents seem to matter increasingly in American society. Whitehouse.gov Article
In the last 20 years, our lives have changed drastically with the explosive growth of technology and the use of the internet. Amazingly, the internet has only been in use for the past 20 years. What will things be line in another 20 years? Or, even in the next 5 years?
“Physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1989 at CERN, the European nuclear research and particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN didn’t try to keep the technology to itself. The Web became publicly accessible on Aug. 6, 1991, and “[o]n 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web (‘W3’, or simply ‘the web’) technology available on a royalty-free basis,” the organization wrote today. “By making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library of code, the web was allowed to flourish.” Snapshots of the original website were preserved, but not the site itself at its original URL, until now. “Although the NeXT machine—the original web server—is still at CERN, sadly the world’s first website is no longer online at its original address,” CERN wrote. CERN is now fixing that oversight, with the first site back online at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. Previously, that URL simply redirected to http://info.cern.ch. “
Starting this year,there is a new qualifying process for the Kentucky Derby.
In the past, qualifying was based on a horse’s earnings in any and all Graded stakes races run prior to the Derby. Those graded earnings could be acquired in April or the previous October – it didn’t matter. As long as a horse finished in the top three or four in a graded stakes race, they were one step closer to running in the Derby.
Starting with the 2013 Derby, Churchill Downs will determine the twenty horses* in the starting gate by using a point system in 36 races. Gone are the days were any and all graded stakes races provided an opportunity for a horse to make his way towards the Derby; now a horse must accumulate points (finish in the top four) in pre-selected and official “Kentucky Derby Prep Races”.
*The starting gate at the Kentucky Derby is limited to twenty horses (with a possibility of four “alternate entries” or “AEs”).
The risk of Icelanders accidentally sleeping with a relative is apparently high enough to justify a smartphone app to help prevent it.
Iceland isn’t a big country. Most Icelanders are descended from the Norse and Celtic settlers that first began arriving on the island some time in the 700s and 800s, with few additions to the gene pool.
Roughly two-thirds of its 320,000 population live in and around the capital, Reykjavík, so the chances that you’re at least not-too-distantly-related to most of the strangers you walk past in the street are high. Or, indeed, someone you might meet in a bar and go home with.
Part of the problem, beyond the small population, is that Icelandic naming conventions don’t reflect someone’s descendants.
Android app seeks to save any incredibly awkward revelations in the future. It uses an online genealogical database that contains records of more than 720,000 Icelanders going back 1,200 years.
When two people who both have the app meet — they both get their smartphones out and “bömp”(bump) them together. If they share a grandparent, the app will bring up an alert that it is most definitely not cool to go any further than a handshake with that person. The feature is called “Sifjaspellsspillir”, or “Incest Spoiler”. Link: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/18/iceland-incest-app
The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced that the redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on October 8, 2013. This note, which incorporates new security features such as a blue, 3-D security ribbon, will be easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. Full press release: http://www.newmoney.gov/stakeholder/journalist/release_04242013.htm
The Redesigned $100 Note
The new $100 note is the latest denomination of U.S. currency to be redesigned. Over a decade of research and development went into its new security features. Read more: http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/default.aspx
New Security Features
The advanced security features offer a simple and subtle way to verify that a new $100 note is real.
3-D Security Ribbon- Look for a blue ribbon on the front of the note. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move.
Bell in the Inkwell- Look for an image of a color-shifting bell, inside a copper-colored inkwell, on the front of the new $100 note.
Additional Design and Security Features
Portrait Watermark- Hold the note to light and look for a faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the blank space to the right of the portrait. The image is visible from either side of the note.
Also: security thread, a color-shifting “100” on bill, raised printing, and more.
Boston showed the world how to overcome a tragedy, by joining together and refusing to be victims. There is a lot of pain, but the people of Boston showed why they and their city are so special and they made us all proud!
Neil Diamond surprised baseball fans at Boston’s Fenway Park on Saturday, taking the field during a Red Sox game to lead the crowd in a sing-along of his classic hit, “Sweet Caroline.”
The 1969 song has been an eighth-inning ritual for some time now, played at every Fenway game since 2002.
Diamond reportedly flew in to the city just to attend the game.
“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Albert Einstein
It’s April 15! What does that mean? It means that this is the final day Americans have to file their taxes for 2012. Here are 10 interesting facts to know about tax day while you file those last-minute income returns. Source: http://newsone.com/2384605/tax-day-2013/?omcamp=EMC-CVNL
What have taxes ever done for me? Public education probably helped you learn to read. And when you anything on the Internet, you’re using technology invented with tax dollars. Taxes bring other benefits too, too numerous to mention, including the greatest one of all:
You’re alive. You haven’t died of smallpox or any of the other diseases which are restrained by tax-funded public health programs. You haven’t been crushed inside a collapsing building, mangled by a grain solo, or met any of the other grisly deaths prevented by tax-funded safety programs.
You didn’t burn to death in a home that was never inspected for fire hazards, trapped helplessly as the flames rose and knowing there were no firefighters available to answer your call. You and your significant other weren’t shot down like Batman’s parents on the streets of an under-policed and lawless metropolis.
Taxes provide us with many important services, often far more cheaply and efficiently than the private sector. It wouldn’t be painful to pay taxes in a well-managed economy where everyone prospered. The thriving America of the 1950s and 1960s had top tax rates as high as 91 percent, and those taxes helped create the prosperity that’s so sorely lacking today.
The payroll tax “holiday” wasn’t the best way to give middle-class and lower-income Americans a much-deserved break, but at least it helped. Now that it’s gone they’re struggling even more, and a new (and better-designed) tax break for working Americans isn’t even “on the table” in budget talks. But the Bush tax cuts are still in place for income of up to $400,000. So are the tax breaks that let some of the ultra-wealthy pay little or no taxes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/the-upside-of-taxes_b_3082295.html
Where do your taxes go? For the third consecutive year, the Obama administration is offering taxpayers an online tool to “understand how and where” their federal tax dollars are being spent. The gadget, called “Your 2012 Federal Taxpayer Receipt,” allows users to enter how much they paid in Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes in 2012, then calculates a personalized breakdown of what money went where. http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/15/where-do-your-tax-dollars-go-the-wh-has-an-app-for-that/
Congressional Budget Office statement on taxes: Over the past 40 years, federal revenues have ranged from nearly 21 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2000 to just over 15 percent in fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, averaging roughly 18 percent of GDP over that span. Under current law, revenues will rise significantly from their recent low relative to GDP over the next few years as the economy recovers from the recession and the tax reductions originally enacted in 2001, 2003, and 2009 expire. CBO analyzes the budgetary and economic effects of various features of the current tax code and proposals for changes in the tax code. http://www.cbo.gov/topics/taxes
CBO on Economic Policy: Economic Effects of Policies Contributing to Fiscal Tightening in 2013- Significant tax increases and spending cuts (took effect in January 2013), sharply reducing the federal budget deficit and causing, by CBO’s estimates, a decline in economic output and an increase in unemployment. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43694
On a rainy Sunday in Augusta, Georgia, Australian Adam Scott, 32, captured his first green jacket by winning Augusta National’s Masters Tournament. Argentinian Angel Cabrera,43, who was the 2009 champ, was trying to earn his second green jacket and came close with a clutch birdie putt on the 18th, forcing a playoff with Scott, who had finished a group ahead. They tied on the first playoff hole, # 18, when each scored a birdie, then went to the 10th, where both had similar drives and approach shots. When Cabrerra’s birdie putt came painfully close, Scott made an amazing putt to take the title. No Masters sudden-death playoff has gone past 2 playoff holes since the current system was adopted in 1976. (Replacing the 10-hole playoff) Cabrerra had been there before, winning his title in a 3-way playoff with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell. Overall, this was the 17th playoff at Augusta. (See link below)
Winning the Masters is huge. Champions get a life time exemption to The Masters, a 5 year exemption on the PGA Tour and a 5 year exemption to the other 3 majors. They get their name on the Masters trophy, access to the Masters Champions Locker Room, over $1.3 million in prize money, and they are awarded the coveted green jacket. (although after one year, they must give the jacket back) Champions also get to host the following year’s Champions Dinner. HERE
Who gets invited?- The Masters invites the smallest field of the majors, generally under 100 players.
World’s top 50 prior to the event
Former Masters champions
Current champions and top finishers of the major amateur championships. (Major tournament champions earn 5 year exemptions)
Most of the previous year’s PGA Tour winners
Official Masters Qualification for Invitation list: HERE
“Insanity,” as Albert Einstein is said to have once remarked, “is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”
The results of Europe’s experiment in fiscal shock therapy are in: austerity has failed, and failed miserably. The Eurozone club of 17 countries is now plagued by mass unemployment –- 26 percent and rising in Spain and Greece –- and a prolonged drought in demand. Recession-hit Italy is in the grips of a political crisis; neo-Nazis have been elected to parliament in depression-hit Greece.
Why then is the United States Congress committed to repeating Europe’s economic mistakes?
IOC drops wrestling from Summer 2020 Olympics (ESPN):The executive board of the International Olympic Committee reviewed the 26 sports on its summer program in order to remove one of them so it could add one later this year. It decided to cut wrestling and keep modern pentathlon — a sport that combines fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting — and was considered to be the most likely to be dropped. Article HERE
In recent years, the I.O.C. has expressed concern about the growing size of the Summer Games and has wanted to cap the number of athletes at about 10,500. It has also said that it wants to attract younger viewers to the international television audience.
Mark Adams, a spokesman for the I.O.C., told reporters, “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.” Article HERE
Iranians upset by the decision: Iran has racked up dozens of Olympic medals in wrestling, more than in any other sport. “Do we destroy our historical sites which are symbols of humanity? No. Then, why should we destroy wrestling?” Iranian gold medalist Ali Reza Dabir told the Associated Press. Article HERE
Stench of IOC corruption-Reports from Lausanne said that the wrestling federation didn’t push as hard as the modern pentathlon people, that these are games won or lost not on the playing field, but standing alongside a bar, a glass of fine Bordeaux in hand. Reports also cited the importance of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., son of the former IOC president, on the side of modern pentathlon.HERE
Impact on NCAA Wrestling-What kind of impact does NCAA wrestling face as a result of the IOC’s decision? HERE
USA-led group tries to save Olympic wrestling (ESPN): USA Wrestling has announced that a group led by former world champion Bill Scherr, along with World and Olympic champions Bruce Baumgartner, John Smith, Rulon Gardner and Dan Gable, will work to fight the IOC’s decision earlier this week to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympics. Article HERE
Google Zeitgeist 2012- Year in Review- What did the world search for?
The Zeitgeist- (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought which typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time. For example, the Zeitgeist of modernism typified and influenced architecture, art, and fashion during much of the 20th century.
Google’s revealed its annual list of the year’s top searches, with the death of Whitney Houston gleaning more requests than even the Gangnam Style juggernaut and site powering over 1.2 trillion searches. One Direction topped the most searched image category, while events like Hurricane Sandy and the Olympics made an impact both in the primary top ten and the people we searched for. The top searched-for gadgets saw a conspicuous absence of the iPhone 5, likely due to its launch in the second half of the year. The new iPad (well, iPad 3) claiming first place, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S III. We’ve included Google‘s obligatory uplifting video after the break, if you’ve already started to forget what happened this year.
Top 10 Global Searches
Michael Clarke Duncan
These were the top 10 news stories, according to the Associated Press: Click HERE
Daxing airport (On the outskirts of Beijing) will cover more than 90 square kilometers and boast nine runaways by 2030, with an annual capacity of 80 million passengers. At that size, it would surpass both Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport and London Heathrow airport to become the busiest aviation hub in the world. Daxing’s price tag? $12.66 billion.
Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/11/02/china-airport-boom-will-there-be-a-bust/#ixzz2B6tZpHtJ
In its ongoing effort to create the perfect map of the world at ground level, Google took a trek into the Grand Canyon this week. Although this is part of its Google Maps Street View project, there are of course no streets in the national park.
“Debt as a share of the US economy reached a maximum during Harry Truman‘s first presidential term. Public debt as a percentage of GDP fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1973 under President Richard Nixon. The debt burden has consistently increased since then, except during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.” (From above link)
The deficit is the amount we spend more that we take in annually. In other words, how much more debt we add on each year, which is added on to the overall debt. The debt is the total amount owed.
If we look at yearly deficits, we can at least see which way the economy is headed, and this is usually for a variety of reasons.
http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html Look at this link and notice the deficits for each year, represented by red dollar signs on the right side of the chart. Looking at Ronald Reagan, (1980-1988) see a trend of rapidly growing deficit amounts, and the same general trend under George H.W. Bush.(1989-1992) See Bill Clinton’s years, (1992-2000) and see the shrinking deficits. Now for the alarming years of 2000-2008 under George W. Bush, the deficits are alarming. President Obama’s first 3 years, although still showing large deficits, are at least trending in the right direction. Are Republicans the economic saviors they claim to be?
One more, just to make a point:
I haven’t heard any new ideas or anything interesting coming out of the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa. The speakers are unanimous in their negativity aimed at President Obama, but have offered very little substance. The party seems to be confused and leaderless. They all agree that President Obama is awful and has ruined the economy… They keep focusing on the Obama’s remarks, taken out of context.
Almost all of the speakers are obsessed with the debt, something they cared very little about until 2008, when under 8 years of George W. Bush’s leadership the economy was spinning out control. The Bush tax cuts and two unfunded wars created the debt monster. President Obama inherited that mess, but don’t tell conservative that, they will let you know that we should focus on the future. I think a little peek at history is probably a good thing. What is the Republican plan to reduce the deficit and the debt? They have the Debt Clock up at the convention, what are they going to do to slow it down? Cut taxes? Increase military spending? Give us some ideas. “Obama bad, Republican Good” isn’t going to do it.
Here is chart, courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office:
Republicans seem to be afraid to get behind their candidate, Mitt Romney. They are promoting Republicans, and they are proud to talk about Paul Ryan, but they cautiously tiptoe when mentioning Romney.
I would have never guessed that there was so much sex going on in Olympic Village. 150,000 condoms? Wow! Where is the focus? Call me old school, but as a coach, if my athletes were sub-par, I would look for any decent excuse and promiscuous activity with the Latvians would be at the top of my list!
A photographer used a smart phone app to predict the trajectory of the moon and timed this photograph perfectly. The Olympic Rings have been hung off London’s Tower Bridge to celebrate London Olympiad 2012. http://tinyurl.com/c6bawkm
US athletes are going to have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes by wining medals. It breaks down like this.
A gold medal, which is worth $650, according to CNN, could cost athletes about $236 in taxes
a bronze metal, which is worth $5, could only cost an athlete $2 in taxes.
The big taxes kick in as a result of the U.S. Olympic Organizing Committee awarding London champions $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bringing home a bronze. (Reuters) At a 35 percent income tax rate, bronze medalists will owe the IRS a total of $3,500, silver medalists will owe $5,250 and gold medalists will be liable for $8,750, according to Americans for Tax Reform. Of course, many high-profile athletes will also come home to lucrative sponsorships offers, also all taxable.
Although at first glance the mission seems a lot like the others, it is bigger and more complex than ever. Are Americans even aware that this spacecraft is hurtling toward Mars and about to land and explore our neighboring planet? Or does the public need new territory as opposed to advancing science and studying a place we have already visited? Do Americans feel threatened by the new competition from Europe and China? Is it a blow to national pride that we rely solely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to shuttle humans and much of the supplies to the International Space Station and back? I remember the Viking missions of the 1970s, then the Pathfinder in 1996 and the Odyssey in 2001. (although I did have to look up the years of those missions) The Soviet Union was actually the first to send a ship to the planet, which crashed in 1960 and Japan and the European Union have also done some exploring, and now the Chinese are also giving it a go.
Curiosity is bigger and better, but is it exciting for the average American? One big problem facing NASA is where else do we go and explore? The immense distances just in our own solar system are mind boggling and tough to even comprehend. We have many amazing minds working on these missions and we continue to learn and improve technology.
Hubble Space Telescope- In my opinion,the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the best things we have done is space and Ultra Deep Field is some good proof of how important it has been to broaden our horizons. The image was the deepest image ever taken by humans, was taken in a dark portion of the sky, and looked back some 13 billion years.
The image was taken from an area equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky. Still, over 10,000 galaxies were identified. This could well be one of the biggest human achievements in history.
For the first 90 days of the mission, controllers will work together as if each day were 24 hours and 40 minutes long — the approximate length of a Martian day.
Curiosity rover is big as a car, and contains a nuclear reactor for power. Its landing mechanism, the “sky crane,” represents a new way of delivering a payload onto the Martian surface. For the first time, this rover possesses a laser with which to vaporize rock and conduct experiments. Link: Click Here
A colleague shared her experience with her daughter and the health care situation. It was via email and articulate and touching. I told her that what she explained in that email sums it all up concerning pre-existing conditions, loss of health care, inadequate health coverage, etc…. I told her they should invite her to congress and share her experience. There a millions of stories just as dramatic, many of them tragic. How do those who are so against a new plan but yet with no plan of their own, able to be OK with the current situation? Aren’t the obligated to help those who they represent from misery and suffering? Is it that they believe in economic “tough love” much like Hoover? The sad thing is, those who should feel shame, just feel greed, envy and hatred instead. Why isn’t taking care of our people the top priority of our government? In the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, we spent and are still spending billions.
If I had no health care plan, our son wouldn’t be talking. He needed expensive tests at Children’s Hospital and we were able to suppress his seizures, which allowed him to learn how to communicate. I always think of unemployed or any other example of uninsured or under-insured kids, families or individuals and it breaks my heart. I really hope we are able to keep stepping forward on this and not step back.
The crazy thing is that a national plan would be way LESS expensive, saving us millions at a time when almost all of those against “Obamacare” are complaining about spending and reducing the debt. (I won’t bring up the fact that many these same people didn’t care about the debt at all when times were good) We have social medicine right now. When those without insurance require medical attention, they go to emergency rooms, filling up the rooms, and that cost is absorbed in many ways by the public. What a terrible situation.
I also think all kids should get free lunch at school, but that’s another story…….
Rodney King ended up playing a part in American culture, politics, violence and peace, he never intended to play. He was a reluctant figure in civil rights, a victim, a peace-maker and an occasional criminal. Quite a mix. He appreciated life, yet died at the relatively young age of 47 years.
Many of us who followed the story focused on the verdict and the violence the broke out after it was announced. The public was also concerned about who was at fault in the violent arrest, which was caught on film and played in the media over and over as we all became jurors in the case. However, what many don’t realize, or may have forgotten, is the severity of the injuries suffered by King, or the emotional and mental anguish he dealt with following the riots which took the lives of 53 people.
Below: NPR with an interesting piece on Rodney King-
Interesting twist with the number 12, and I’ll Have Another draws number 11!
The following is taken from the link below:
History could be made Saturday when Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another attempts to become only the 12th Triple Crown winner in racing history. Curiously, he also is the 12th horse to attempt to win all three Triple Crown races since Affirmed last turned the trick in 1978. Will the 12th time be the charm? Too bad I’ll Have Another drew post 11. Post 12 would have been more fitting, don’t you think?
Approaching this race we must remember that the Triple Crown is very, very difficult to win. That’s not a scoop, but sometimes we get caught up in the emotion of moment and forget that some tremendous horses have failed to win the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Another amazing finish puts I’ll Have Another in position to win the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978!
He has won all four races he has run this year. And all have been with an unheralded jockey aboard: 25-year-old Mario Gutierrez, who has steadfastly refused to siphon accolades from the horse he adores.“It’s not about me; it’s about the horse,” Gutierrez said. “I’m so happy for him because he’s just a great horse. He has a tremendous kick in the end. And he’s more smart than I am. The horse deserves the credit.”
Keep everyone busy talking about Cain, who was never really very serious or he wouldn’t have run that crazy TV ad, then nobody picks on Gingrich as he surges, just before the primary season! Click on the picture above to see a similar tactic.
Portions below from Theweek.com September, 9, 2011
“Republicans are steadfastly opposed to raising taxes,” said Adam Serwer in WashingtonPost.com. “Except when they aren’t.” President Obama wants Congress to extend the payroll tax holiday, which he pushed through last year. It put more money in average Americans’ pockets and may stimulate the economy a bit. It is temporary and reduces Social Security deductions from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. Works out to about $1,000 annually for most working families. Republicans say they are opposed to extending the payroll tax cut for another year, even though last year they aggressively defended the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy. Even more puzzling is that Republicans introduced and passed a temporary payroll tax cut to stimulate the economy during the recession in 2001 and again in 2008, when George W. Bush was president.
“The GOP was happy to cut the payroll tax to boost economic growth.” Jonathan Chait in TheNewRepublic.com
“I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live,” Obama told a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. “Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes.”
James Fallows, TheNewRepublic.com:
“I had thought that Republican absolutism about taxes, while harmful to the country and out of sync with even the party’s own Reaganesque past, at least had the zealot’s virtue of consistency. Now we see that it can be set aside when it applies to poorer people, and when setting it aside would put maximum drag on the economy as a whole. So this means that its real guiding principle is… ??? You tell me.” James Fallows