Friday, September 30, 2011

MR. ME license plate in Delaware

The tough question is - Is this person a They Might Be Giants fan, or a non-credentialed Medical Examiner?

"He ended up really, really, really sad"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Begonias at Winterthur

These beautiful begonias were in full bloom at Winterthur.

All from that little planting in the ground.

Free software to run your pennsylvania election - Power to the people!

Power to the people is a popular theme in elections, but how do you get it there when the election process and rules can be complicated and difficult.

David Lynn's answer was to create and freely distribute the Pennsylvania Political Campaign Management Database to make it easier for people to run for office in Pennsylvania.  He hopes his completely free software (he doesn't even ask for your name) will encourage younger people to enter the political process as candidates.

Software and the willing efforts of programmers like David Lynn can be a way to hack the political system and make it easier for regular people to negotiate the often labyrinthine election statutes and get elected.  More power to him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Three discussions of marginal tax rates, only some get it right.

Firstly a link commenting on a egregious common mistake that the media makes often makes about tax rates.  The following statement from USA Today is clearly wrong:
"That raise actually might not be as good as it looks. The extra money is nice, but it could very well bump you into the next tax bracket, possibly leaving you with less money than you had before the raise."
This commenter shows that within our tax system you always make more money when you get a raise, you just might have a higher marginal tax rate on the extra salary, but you never make less net income.  USA Today fixed it.

An even more complete discussion of marginal tax rates can be found here

All that being said when you add in the rest of the tax code with earned income tax credits, welfare and deductions the net income vs. starting income can be very different at low incomes.  This author seems to think that it provides a disincentive to work, whereas I see it as society's way of providing an income above the poverty line for families until they begin making more than that.  The lowest net income seems to hover around $35 to $40 thousand a year. 

Friday, September 02, 2011

Autographed hot dog buns at Tony Packo's Cafe in Toldeo

Tony Packo's Cafe in Toledo is world famous for it's "Hungarian hot dogs", which are really just hot dogs with a delicious sauce on them.  They also have a tradition of having famous people autograph hot dog buns.  The buns used to be real, but now are air-brushed plastic replicas, though the autographs are authentic.  On our way back from Michigan we stumbled onto one store off of I280 in Toledo and I took some pictures.  Here is the first autographed roll:

That first roll is autographed by Rock Astley, you just got rick-"roll"ed!

Tony Packo's Cafe has a long time association with the television show M*A*S*H*, because it has been mentioned on the show several times.  Thus the first two buns are from Alan Alda (Hawkeye) and Gary Burgoff (Radar) from the show.

The rest of the buns represent a glance through the selections - there were hundreds - and my apparant love for 80's music and television shows.

Above are musicians from the 80's

Above are actors and comedians from the 80's.

One astronaut.

This is probably the only place in the world where Barbara Bush's and Michael Dukakis's buns are right next to each other,.