Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for June, 2010

It’s Hard to be Green

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 29, 2010

According to a news report, a study has shown a high degree of contamination in reusable shopping bags. Yes, using that “green” cloth bag at Safeway may be endangering your health. E. Coli and other bad stuff were found on over fifty percent of bags tested in the study.

One answer to the problem is wash the bags after each use but that consumes water and puts soap residue into the environment. Another solution is to line the cloth bag with a plastic bag. Still not “green” but you will be seen carrying a cloth bag. This is Seattle and social conscience appearances still support the cause. You know, like the Seattle City Council banning the city from doing business with those bigots in Arizona except for the money making red light cameras supplied by an Arizona company.

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

Another Tax Trap

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 29, 2010

My wife and I attended a presentation on estate planning and recent changes in the law. It covered wills, trusts, probate, taxes and other topics all designed to keep the government’s hands off ones money for as long as possible.

Most people know you should have a will. Some also know the need for financial and health powers of attorney. But few understand the perils, even for modest estates, that await the beneficiaries if the deceased did not consider the tax rules regarding IRA’s, death taxes and probate.

Lawyers get rich writing wills, establishing trusts and in some states (not Washington) collecting large fees from probate They earn their money preparing the documents to protect estates from paying too much and paying too soon. They love changes in the law because that usually means updating all those documents.

After listening to the talk, I wondered why we have to hire attorneys to protect our own money? Why can’t the IRS and state tax departments be authorized to calculate the most favorable treatment possible and apply it to one’s estate? Better yet, having taxed the money numerous times along the way (income tax, sales tax, property tax etc.), just let folks leave their estate to whoever they choose tax free and keep the government out of it?

Posted in Other | Leave a Comment »

Obama-McCrystal Legacy

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 29, 2010

The hoopla over the Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McCrystal has just about run its course. After the disparaging remarks about Obama and members of his administration from members of McCrystal’s staff and by implication, the General himself, were published, Obama had no choice but to fire him. The President had to uphold the principle of civilian control of the military especially considering his less than warm relations with all thing military. Had Obama let the General stay, he would have been seen as a weak Commander-in-Chief. This was not a Truman fires Macarthur; no speech before a joint session of Congress, no ticker tape parade for McCrystal.

Fortunately for Obama, the nation had General David Petraeus to fall back on allowing a change in command with minimal disruption to the Afghanistan war effort. Once denigrated by Democrats, Petraeus is now the great hope, a hero, a true patriot, because he saluted smartly and said, “Yes sir.” when asked to take on another high risk assignment.

McCrystal was not well served by his staff that let a young reporter from a left-wing magazine embed without guidelines for the reporter or staff personnel. On the other hand, the General tolerated an atmosphere of disrespect for senior officials.

While the story will soon blow over, there is one tidbit from the Rolling Stone article with longer legs. Longer legs if for no other reason than Rush Limbaugh is using it on his 600 plus station talk show; the perfect moniker for Vice President Joe Biden – Joe Bite Me.

Cross posted on Sound Politics

Posted in Military | Leave a Comment »

NCAA Flags USC

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 11, 2010

The NCAA lowered the boom on the University of Southern California football, men’s basketball and women’s tennis programs for serious rules violations. Now if they could just gag the USC band, the job would be complete.

Posted in Other | Leave a Comment »

 
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