The Financial Times has an interesting article in its weekend edition about the explosion in internet pornography. Here is what it has to say: "When pornography met the internet, the result was as instantly addictive as crack cocaine – in the US alone 70 percent of young men log on in search of porn every month. But what does the rise of accessible virtual sex mean for flesh-and-blood relationships?"
The article quotes Dr. Marios Pierides, a psychiatrist who treats patients with addictions as saying: "One of my colleagues calls internet porn the crack cocaine of the internet. It would not be unreasonable to call it an epidemic. In the past 12 months I’ve seen an explosion in the number of people referred to me with issues about it. It has tripled. This is causing real problems."
To read the entire article, link here (registration required).
Here is what Ron Walenta suggested as a means of preventing "property tax creep":
In 2000, I proposed that all residential taxable values should be frozen and that the purchase price would establish the taxable value, for as long as the buyer lived there. But how is that fair to someone who just paid more for the house next door? A willing buyer and a willing seller set the price. The only increase would be due to capital improvements which required a building permit.
Elected officials decried this solution. "We would have to raise tax rates to get needed revenue!" Exactly. As taxpayers, we would be able to invoke the roll back provisions of the tax code. The hidden tax of appraisal creep would stop.
No longer could an elected official claim that, "I didn’t vote to increase your taxes, that increase is due to the increase in the value of your house. Don’t you feel lucky?" No.
But honesty in taxation does not seem to be an attractive solution to our "representatives".
Candidates for Governor took advantage of an opportunity this weekend at a teacher’s convention to blast Perry on education issues, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Bell and Strayhorn oppose vouchers and are supporting teacher raises. But they haven’t given a price tag, according to one Perry spokesman.
Dr. Eric PiankaHave you ever heard of Dr. Eric Pianka? No? Well you might want to learn a bit more about him. Why? Because he reportedly wants you to die. Specifically he wants you to die of Ebola virus. You might also be interested to know that he is the Denton Cooley Centennial Professor of Zoology at the University of Texas at Arlington. You might be surprised that when he reportedly offered these views at a meeting of the Texas Academy of Science he got a standing ovation. Or at least this is what is reported in a copyright story in the Citizen Scientist web site authored by Forrest Mims who is also a member of the Texas Academy of Science (he heads its environmental section) and was present at the dinner.
The recently passed House Immigration Reform Bill fell far short of what is necessary to secure the borders and curb illegal immigration into the United States, says one U.S. Congressman
Speaking in Richardson over the weekend to a room full of members of the Young Conservatives of Texas, a conservative student activist group in Texas, Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) called for an end to birthright citizenship, emphasized the importance of assimilation, and even criticized the White House for its “lack of will” in confronting illegal immigration. Rep. King is currently in his 2nd term in the U.S. House and works closely with Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo on immigration issues.
Rep. King said that he thought the President knew “in his head” what was right on immigration reform, but was sympathetic to the plight of people fleeing poor conditions in Mexico. He also attributed much of the White House position on immigration to Karl Rove.
“He’s not meeting his constitutional obligation to defend our borders,” said King of the President. “If we don’t enforce out borders, we can’t call them borders. If we don’t have borders, we can’t be a nation.”
In his speech, King outlined an alternative immigration reform plan. The plan included closing off the “job’s magnet” by sanctioning employers, the Illegal Deduction Immigration Act (IDEA), the building of an additional 1300 miles of fence, and the elimination of birthright citizenship.
According to King, sanctioning employers would discourage illegal immigration since companies wouldn’t be able to hire non-citizen workers. Additionally, IDEA – which
would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that wages paid to unauthorized aliens may not be deducted from gross income, and for other purposes –would also discourage companies from using illegal immigrant labor.
When asked by the DallasBlog how he felt about provisions for building 700 miles of fence in the House Immigration Reform Bill, King said that it wasn’t enough. “Seven hundred is a great start, but we need to keep extending the fence until there’s no where else to run around,” said King.
On the subject of birthright citizenship, King said that ending it was necessary because birthright citizenship encourages “chain migration”.
King also said that it was myth that the U.S. economy could not get along without the labor of illegal immigrants. According to King, there are 51 million Americans not working between the ages of 16 and 69. While many of the 51 million are retired, independently wealthy, or involved in black market economic activity, if even several million of them entered the workforce, the work currently done by illegals could be replaced by American citizens.
“There are not jobs Americans won’t do, not if you pay them enough for it,” said King.
One subject that particularly struck a nerve with the conservative audience was assimilation. King cited Israel as example of a country where immigrants from all over the world have been successfully assimilated.
“Assimilation is the key to the American dream. When you reject assimilation, you are rejecting America itself,” said King.
“You can’t access the American dream if you don’t know the English language.”
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today clarified his stance on business and income taxes.
Gov. Rick Perry with Lt. Gov. David DewhurstAs reported in today's Houston Chronicle, Dewhurst said, "In a perfect world, I think I'd rather see a tax that's based upon income. Earn money, pay something. You don't earn money, don't pay anything."
This afternoon Dewhurst issued the following statement on businesses taxes:
"As the Sharp Tax Commission unveils its new comprehensive business tax plan, I want to thank the members for their hard work. I have always opposed a business or personal income tax, and during last year's Session recommended reforming the state franchise tax by dramatically lowering the rate, closing business loopholes and creating a level playing field. The Senate will consider any tax reform the House sends us, because we all want to solve the lawsuit and lower local school property taxes, plus, I believe, improve our public schools. Again, we will lower local school property taxes and solve the lawsuit, but we must also improve our children's education by putting more money in the classroom, providing incentives and increasing performance, accountability and financial transparency."
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Dalai Lama said the "West's big problem is that people have become too self-absorbed. " "In the West," he said, "you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences--yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don't bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours...I don't think people have become more selfish, but their lives have become easier and that has spoilt them. They have less resilience, they expect more, they constantly compare themselves to others and they have too much choice--which brings no real freedom."