how to pay for a tax cut, scenic highway autumn wallpaper, nectar and light

Counter intuitive and has nothing to do with Lindsay Lohan so don’t expect to hear much about the inverse relationship between wages and tax cuts – Americans’ Incomes Sank After Bush Tax Cuts

That latest indictment of the reckless Bush tax giveaway to the rich comes from tax expert David Cay Johnston. Just days after the Census Bureau reported a jump in poverty during even before the start of the December 2007 Bush recession, Johnston reported, “Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels.”

After asking, “So how did the tax cuts work out?” Johnston paints a grim picture of economic failure:

Even if we limit the analysis by starting in 2003, when the dividend and capital gains tax cuts began, through the peak year of 2007, the result is still less income than at the 2000 level. Total income was down $951 billion during those four years.

Average incomes fell. Average taxpayer income was down $3,512, or 5.7 percent, in 2008 compared with 2000, President Bush’s own benchmark year for his promises of prosperity through tax cuts.

Had incomes stayed at 2000 levels, the average taxpayer would have earned almost $21,000 more over those eight years. That’s almost $50 per week.

And to be sure, the Bush tax cuts which have already drained the Treasury of $2.3 trillion were a major contributor to the record U.S. income gap…

A handy chart at the link makes it easier to see the middle-class paid for their share of the tax cuts with a cut in wages. There were/are also the delayed costs of a crumbling infrastructure, the interests on the national debt and the further erosion of our educational system – the cornerstone to having a middle-class.

scenic highway autumn wallpaper

Red Light Regulates Nectar Secretion(pdf file)

Flowering plants produce nectar to attract insect pollinators. Some plant species, such as the Lima bean, also secrete nectar from so-called extrafloral nectaries to attract ants which in turn fend off herbivores. Scientists in the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, have discovered that the production of extrafloral nectar is light dependent. Using a special photoreceptor, the phytochrome, scientists have shown that the plants are able not only to distinguish between day and night, but also to adapt their nectar secretion to current light conditions. The phytochrome probably influences the
regulation of a special enzyme that binds the plant hormone jasmonic acid (JA) to the amino acid isoleucine (Ile). The emerging JA-Ile molecule affects the secretion of extrafloral nectar in such a way that the plant’s defense against herbivores is most effective whenever herbivory is most likely – or, more precisely, during the day.

Since plants don’t have brains the plants are using something other than what we think of as conscience thought to figure out the difference between light and dark, and light conditions which are in between. That would seem to be a kind of thinking going on at the gene level or by proteins produced by genes. Programming would probably be a better adjective than thinking, but even so at some point in their evolution plants had to figure out how devise a survival strategy or program so their genes would be passed on.

dinner for two

Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats (video)

Allison Moorer – Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground (video)


buffalo chips and the good old days

Woman and Daughter Gathering Buffalo Chips American prairie 1800s

Corbis doesn’t give an exact date for this photo. America would not have had a camera, much less someone who knew how to use it until after 1839. That would have been after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the beginning of the westward expansion of the original eastern states. It also would have been before Buffalo were hunted to near extinction. As railroads were built which spanned the mid-west, hunters would simply pick off buffalo from the train, not bothering to pick up the meat or make use of the skins. American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation

Buffalo were the lords of the prairie. To European settlers traveling across America’s Great Plains in the early 1800s, the prairie wind was a constant companion: a gentle whisper echoing across the vast sea of grass that carpeted the center of the North American continent. Sometimes, however, the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance, though no storm clouds could be seen. Then the ground would begin to tremble, and suddenly the astonished newcomers would be surrounded by a thundering herd of hulking animals that stretched further than the eye could see. The majestic welcoming committee made it clear that the settlers had, at last, arrived in the buffalo nation — a land where tens of million of American Bison held sway. The Spanish and French would have hunted them for food years before than, only not to the extent that would devastate the Buffalo population and their migrations.

The NATURE program American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation tells the sad story of how the buffalo nation was destroyed nearly a century ago by greed and uncontrolled hunting — and how a few visionaries are working today to rebuild the once-great bison herds. It offers a remarkable portrait of America’s last significant wild bison herd, made up of a few thousand animals living within Montana’s Yellowstone National Park. And it highlights the efforts of Native American leaders dedicated to bringing back the animal that once gave life to their tribes. “Buffalo have to be there for our culture to exist,” says Fred DuBray, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe who appears in American Buffalo. “As we bring our herds back to health, we will also bring our people back to health.”

The good ol days that never were.  Raese Wants To Go Back To ‘Capitalism The Way It Should Be’ — Before Child Labor Laws

Millionaire businessman John Raese is running on a hard-right “pro-business, anti-regulation and anti-tax platform” as the GOP nominee for a Senate seat from West Virginia. Despite having been rejected by the state’s voters three times — including once for the same Senate seat just four years ago — Raese is hoping to capitalize on the right’s current anti-government hysteria.

A self-described “flamboyant businessman,” Raese enjoys the finer things, owning over 15 cars, boats and motorcycles, and a home in Florida where his family lives full-time. But Raese is humble too, acknowledging that he didn’t earn all of that: “I made my money the old-fashioned way. I Inherited it,” he joked in a recent interview. “I think that’s a great thing to do,” he added.

[   ]…Of course, while rolling back a century of labor, environmental, and civil rights regulations might make it easier for Raese, it would be absolutely disastrous for every working American. “Capitalism the way it should be,” as Raese dubbed it, included regular use of child labor, widespread repression of organized labor, virtually zero regulations on workplace safety or fairness — including racial and gender discrimination– and unchecked environmental degradation. “At the beginning of the century, workers in the United States faced remarkably high health and safety risks on the job,” a Center for Disease Control history stated, noting the “large decreases in work-related deaths from the high rates and numbers of deaths among workers during the early 20th century.”

Politicians are not the only ones who live in a bubble. Raese makes the inadvertent admission that he has never done an honest days work in his life, yet has the prescription for recreating America the paradise of years gone by.