When Did You Choose To Be Straight?

This may be the best question you could ask those who think people choose their sexuality. (h/t Sully)

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Psycho Edition


Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, And We'll Make Them Pay!!

...Of course, we all know that our tax dollars fund our public schools, and most of us know that state and local revenue is the primary source of this funding (about 90 percent; on average, about half state and half local). Less commonly-known, however, is who pays these bills – who bears the largest share of the tax burden, relative to their income? At the federal level, taxation is largely progressive, which means that, on the whole, higher-income families pay a larger percentage of their earned income to the federal government than lower-income families. This is, very simply, due to the fact that higher income brackets are taxed at higher rates.

But when it comes to state and local taxes, the picture is different. The poorest families pay far more of their income than the richest (i.e., taxes are regressive). In other words, the money that funds public education is a burden disproportionately borne by poor and middle-income Americans. And the lower your income, the more of it you pay. Given this situation, combined with a fiscal crisis that threatens to linger for several years, the best solution – raising revenue through a more equitable system – may be the only one not on the table.

Let’s take a very quick and easy look at how much families at different income levels are taxed, and what it means for education. Every few years, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy releases a wonderful report that breaks down these “tax burdens” for every state (and overall). States (and localities) vary widely in their tax policies and rates, but most generate the same structure of burden.

The graph below (which I recreated using data from the report) shows the percentage of family income that is paid to the three major types of state/local taxes – income, property, and sales – by how much families earn....

Matthew Di Carlo


Wednesday Bonus Cartoon Bonus Fun: Do You Mind?! Edition

Wednesday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Confusion Prince Edition

Wednesday Cartoon Fun: Follow The Money Edition


I've Been Obsessing

One's genealogy is a fun thing to research.  I have been interested in it for a long time because I come from a marriage between a European Jew (my dad) and ancient Welsh royalty (my mom).  I found out about Wales yesterday.

I went on one of those family tree sites years ago and plugged in most of the family I could remember.  I have many living relatives, and remembering everyone was hard.  I felt it was worth all the work because I was always interested as a kid in seeing the family tree, but we didn't have any way to produce one, and I now could by simply entering the data.  It would also be cool for the Frustrated Son at some point.

I went back a few days ago to the site, Ancestry.com, and now they hook you up with people you have in common with other users.  It's easier.  And searching is more robust now--I guess more people have input more data so the database is just bigger than the last time I checked in.  There are pictures and stories and scans of newspaper clippings.

So, I have spent a few days immersed in the tree.  I have gone back 1200 years.  I am related to kings.  I think I am related to slave owners, too.  That's pretty fucked up.  I am also related to lots of dead Jews.

But it has been fascinating.  I found some names that surprised my mom, and she is now next to the phone when I need a question answered, or choices narrowed down.  I am even going to try to talk to mom's sister, my aunt, who is really old and crazy.  It will be fun, and probably informative.

That's why I haven't been posting.

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