Wednesday, April 16, 2014

388 year old bansai tree survived the Hiroshima blast, and now thrives in the USA.


On the morning of August 6, 1945, all the Yamaki family members were inside their home. The bomb exploded about three kilometers (less than two miles) from the family compound. The blast blew out all the glass windows in the home, and each member of the family was cut from the flying glass fragments. Miraculously, none of them suffered any permanent injury.
 
The great old Japanese white pine and a large number of other bonsai were sitting on benches in the garden. Amazingly, none of these bonsai were harmed by the blast either, as the nursery was protected by a tall wall. The bonsai originally came from Miyajima Island which is just south of Hiroshima. Japanese white pine bonsai from Miyajima are considered very valuable because they are so rare.

In 1976 as part of Japan’s Bicentennial gift to the American people, bonsai master Masaru Yamaki donated this tree to the United States National Arboretum.

More here.

86 million Full-Time Private-Sector Workers Sustain 148 million Benefit Takers


  "That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work — in the private sector — and did it week after week after week.  At first glance, 86,429,000 might seem like a healthy population of full-time private-sector workers. But then you need to look at what they are up against.
Including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who "received benefits from one or more government programs" in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.
The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1."
Which is why the America that the Framers envisioned can be no more, and why economic collapse is a distinct possibility.   The election of Obama and his gang of Cloward - Piven ideologues is likely to go down in history as the absolute worst electoral decision of all time, as they are aggressively implementing their plan to bring the country to it's knees, and now they have another three years to do it.  Further, if a conservative justice on the Supreme Court dies or retires, and Obama gets another progressive appointed, there will be no more constitution to protect us.   
What a mess.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Aurora Australis


Freckles, they are good.


My escapist picture of the day


Some interesting statistics


1.  Inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues hit a record $1,320,793,000,000 in the first half of fiscal 2014, but the federal government still ran a $413,264,000,000 deficit during that time, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement for March.
2.  In its quest to find and audit tax dodgers, the IRS is said to use online activity trackers to sift through the mass amounts of data available on the Internet, according to Marketplace. This data is then added to the information the agency already has on people, such as Social Security numbers, health records, banking statements, and property."  It seems they may be using predictive analytics," University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication Professor Joseph Turow told Marketplace. "That takes a huge amount of data and puts it together in a big pot to see if they can predict which individuals don't pay their taxes."

"There is no legitimate reason for the IRS to know who donates to Campaign for Liberty," Megan Stiles, the communications director at Campaign for Liberty, told the Washington Examiner in an email on Tuesday. "We believe the First Amendment is on our side as evidenced by cases such as NAACP v. Alabama and International Union UAW v. National Right to Work. Many 501(c)(4) organizations protect the privacy of their donors in the very same way as Campaign for Liberty. For some reason the IRS has now chosen to single out Campaign for Liberty for special attention. We plan to fight this all the way."
4.  And finally, a final comment:

Happy tax day!


Including tasers, snipers, stun grenades and snarling dogs.   God knows I'm paying my share, and also the share of the 47% who pay nothing.


Who Pays Income Taxes and How Much?

Tax Year 2009 
Percentiles Ranked by AGI
AGI Threshold on Percentiles
Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid
Top 1%
$343,927
36.73
Top 5%
$154,643
58.66
Top 10%
$112,124
70.47
Top 25%
$66,193
87.30
Top 50%
$32,396
97.75
Bottom 50%
<$32,396
2.25
Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service