Throw a frisbee on a Los Angeles beach and get slapped with a $1,000 fine

It seems like every day, more freedom is being stripped from us. In Los Angeles County, you can no longer throw a frisbees or football on the beach, nor dig a hole deeper than 18 inches. Violate one of these rules and you will be slapped with a $1,000 fine.

Today it was reported that Los Angeles County has decided to enforce a ban on "tossing, throwing, kicking or rolling any ball, tube or other...object other than a beach ball or beach volleyball" on all county beaches, unless you get a permit.

In passing the 37-page ordinance on Tuesday, officials sought to outline responsibilities for law enforcement and other public agencies while also providing clarification on beach-goer activities that could potentially disrupt or even injure the public.

I am at a loss for words. This is complete absurdity. What happened to America?

Why Warren Buffett doesn't pay less in taxes than his secretary

Last night, for the seemingly millionth time, President Obama said that Warren Buffett's secretary paid more in taxes last year than Buffett, himself. Obama is comparing apples and oranges, and it's not a fair comparison. I was going to write my own comparison, but I found one that explains it perfectly:

Buffett is comparing two different taxes. One is a tax on income, one is a tax on investments. They are two different taxes on two different things. Warren Buffett has already been taxed on that money. Here’s an oversimplification to explain what I mean.

You earn $100 in salary.

TAX #1: Uncle Sam takes $35, leaving you with $65.

You then invest that $65, and that investment earns 10% or $6.50.

TAX #2: Of that new $6.50, Uncle Sam takes another $1.

Now, add up the earnings: the original $100 + $6.50 = $106.50.

And, add up the taxes: $35 + $1 = $36.

On $106.50 in earnings, you were taxed $36, or 33.8%,– about double the rate Warren Buffet claims he’s paying.  This gets more complicated with margin, outside investment, and a million other variables, but this how it works in general.  (Dividends are worse: you get taxed on initial income, the company gets taxed on their profits, then when they give you a slice, it gets taxed again.)

So, how does Buffett justify his low tax numbers? He acts as if TAX #1 never occurred. Then he tells you that the rate of TAX #2 is too low. It’s a completely disingenuous shell game.

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There are also other variables involved, like how Buffett's secretary likely paid a much lower tax rate for her income bracket after deductions and other factors.

I was shocked to see Obama try to use this example to his advantage last night. The article I quoted was written over 3 months ago. This is an old argument that's been disproven over and over again, and yet he still gets away with it because most people simply haven't looked up the facts for themselves.

"Can Irvine be duplicated elsewhere in the future?" An interview with Donald Bren.

The City of Irvine is one of the best examples of a successful, master planned community in the United States. Recently its owner, Donald Bren, was interviewed about land planning and development. The following answer was one I found interesting.

Can Irvine be duplicated elsewhere in the future?

Donald Bren: The government regulatory and environmental restrictions have become so overwhelming for large-scale projects that they are not feasible going forward… There is little opportunity to problem solve and get on with the business of new development. Government regulatory and environmental restrictions at the local, regional, state and federal level are just overwhelming, not to mention the numerous legal challenges that follow.

The entire interview is pretty interesting. You can watch it here.

Border patrol agent gets 2 years jail for lifting handcuffs of uncooperative drug smuggler, smuggler set free

What's wrong with our government and our judicial system? I'll tell you.

There's something wrong when an underage drug smuggler is set free because his civil "rights" were violated when a border patrol agent supposedly lifted the handcuffs of the uncooperative smuggler, forcing him to the ground. And instead of the smuggler going to jail, the border patrol agent is sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Texas border patrol agent Jesus Diaz has 6 children, one of which he has never held since they were born after his sentencing. Governor Rick Perry has done nothing to help.

Our government and judicial system are siding with the "rights" of illegal aliens over the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our borders. That is what's wrong.

Absolutely disgusting.

Three out of the past five Camden mayors have been sent to prison for corruption...

 CAMDEN, TWO NJ TOWNS ABOUT TO GO BROKE

Stacy ProebstleAn analysis by Moody's examines the nine towns with the worst credit ratings, and three are from New Jersey. Camden, Harrison and Salem are on the brink of going broke.

Coming in at No. 9 on the list is Camden. The city has been beset with money issues for quite a while, highlighted by a mass layoff of its police officers and firefighters earlier this year. 

Moody's notes that "more than half of Camden's real estate is tax-exempt, hampering already weak tax collections." The city has had a speculative grade credit rating since 1998. And it doesn't help that three out of the past five Camden mayors have been sent to prison for corruption, the most recent in 2001.

Camden isn't the sole Jersey city on the list. It is joined by Salem and Harrison, coming in at Nos. 6 and 4, respectively. Both towns have stumbled financially in part because of bad investments.

Scott Rothbort, Professor of Finance at Seton Hall University, says its not hard to figure out why Camden is on the list. "That town has not done much in terms of attracting industry or business in the last decade or more."

If there's one problem, Rothbort says, its that New Jersey is made up of too many small towns. "There are too many individual political units within the state and I think that is something that will probably come back to haunt New Jersey."

Rothbort says a good way for towns to get out of the red would be to merge. "A lot of these smal towns should seriously consider about merging, a lot of them have tried to share services but I think you have to go beyond that."

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On the rise and fall of superpowers

Much has been written about how complicated the downfall of Rome was, but the recipe was actually pretty simple, and has since been replicated countless times: A great civilization arises. The state encroaches on freedom and demands more power. People take less responsibility for themselves and want more handouts from the government. Taxes go up to pay for the handouts. The size of government explodes and economic growth slows. The government seeks to divert the public's attention from what is really going on to "bread and circuses." Collapse, economic or otherwise, ensues.

- Glenn Beck in Broke

Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition

Gotta love The Onion.

Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition

AUGUST 4, 2011 | ISSUE 47•31

WASHINGTON—After months of heated negotiations and failed attempts to achieve any kind of consensus, President Obama turned 50 years old Thursday, drawing strong criticism from Republicans in Congress. "With the host of problems this country is currently facing, the fact that our president is devoting time to the human process of aging is an affront to Americans everywhere," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who advocated a provision to keep Obama 49 at least through the fall of 2013. "To move forward unilaterally and simply begin the next year of his life without bipartisan support—is that any way to lead a country?" According to White House officials, Obama attempted to work with Republicans right up until the Aug. 4 deadline, but was ultimately left with no choice except to turn a year older.

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What happens when the government runs things like Amtrak

Attorney Lee Doren tells a story of the mismanagement and operation of the Amtrak train he tried to take (where, among other things, the train he and other passengers board actually didn't have an engine). The segment ends around 4:05 when he changes topics.

He explains how a frustrated woman on the train exclaimed, "If a government entity were in charge of this, this would never happen. It's all because it's a corporation." Unfortunately what this woman clearly doesn't realize is that the government DOES run - own and operate - Amtrak. Lee tried to set her straight, but she was convinced Amtrak was privately owned and operated and not run by the government.

Lee went on to say, "This is what we have to deal with, and these people vote."

But it's true. If a non-government entity ran Amtrak, do you think any of the people responsible for the misoperation of the train he was on would still have jobs? It's doubtful. Private corporations run operations much smoother because the performance of their employees can be directly tied to whether they keep or lose their job. But when the government funds and runs things? Well, there's less of a threat anyone involved is going to lose their jobs because when the government is funding your operation, you don't have to worry about pesky little things like actually having customers.

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Rick Warren tweets about taxes, gets in hot water

I'm quite impressed Rick Warren tweeted about taxes. Unfortunately, he deleted the tweet shortly after posting, but not before his tweet was recorded and rebroadcast by many. Since he is the pastor of one of the largest churches in America, I can understand why he deleted it, since the model for pastors is to not publically share a political opinion. But part of me is also glad he took a stand.

I recently bought a bumper sticker that says "No representation without taxation." It's a bummer that those who pay no taxes are so willing to raise taxes on those of us who do.

The reality is that about half of Americans don't pay taxes. (Here's an article from last year that explains how and why.) Rick happens to be one of those who does pay, and probably gets hit hard from his income from book sales and speaking events (he no longer takes a salary from the church and, in fact, paid back what he had earned in the early years). Rick Warren is one of the most charitable men around; just imagine what he could do if he was able to keep even just a fraction more of the money he earned. He would put it to good use all around the world! Instead, too much of it gets sucked up by our behemoth of a government who really has no concept of economics and where money is best spent. Our money is best spent in the hands of those who work hard to earn it in large quantities; in the hands of people like Rick Warren.

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