Texas with a WTF Moment

Watched the news last night and a video story came up of Texas’ Governor Perry saying their state should secede from the United States. Really?

Sure, talking about secession isn’t a new thing. There was talk in California about becoming its own country when the state had a larger GDP than many independent nations. But, all it was just talk. It never came out of the mouths of the states’ leadership.

But, let’s just run with it. What would it mean for Texas to become its own country?

They will no longer be subject to the laws and regulations of the United States.
They can set their own rules and policies for immigration.
They can create their own constitution to fit their ideals.

That sounds pretty sweet, but what would Texas lose by becoming its own country?

They will no longer have the protection of the United States military.
Texans living abroad (outside Texas) will have to apply for a working visa or be deported.
They will have to decide on the type of political system to use–Total Capitalism, Democracy, Dictatorship?
Their leader will be Governor Perry.

Cons seem to outweigh the Pros there.


CA Bill 178 – A lesson in not seeing the big picture

I was reading the backlog of news the other day and I stumbled on a surprisingly short-sighted bill which is equivalent to the Warriors signing Maggette in a panic move after Baron skipped town.

CA Bill 178 is authored by Assembly Members Nancy Skinner (D) and Charles Calderon (D). The bill adds this paragraph into the Revenue and Taxation Code:

(5) Any retailer entering into an agreement with a resident of this state under which the resident, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refers potential customers of tangible personal property, whether by a link or an Internet Web site or otherwise, to the retailer, if the cumulative gross receipts or sales price from sales by the retailer to customers in this state who are referred pursuant to these agreements is in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) during the preceding four calendar quarterly periods. This paragraph shall not apply if the retailer can demonstrate that the resident with whom the retailer has an agreement did not engage in referrals in the state on behalf of the retailer that would satisfy the requirements of the commerce clause of the United States Constitution during the four quarterly periods in question.

After a quick skim, it looks like the state wants to apply sales tax to transactions made between online retailers and the local populace on the condition that the retailer has made more than $10,000 in sales in California in the past year. These retailers currently do not charge sales taxes in California because they do not have a physical presence in the state. That sounds reasonable, right? They do business here, we tax them. It’s the American way.

But, if you were to read the bill more carefully, you would see a major blunder on the part of Assembly members Skinner and Calderon. There is a loophole in the text which allows retailers to sell to California tax-free and those that get burned again are the residents of California.
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Fraught with Peril at Work

Life is fraught with peril, and we get another example of it today. On the way to work, I notice a helicopter circling the area. Hrm… that’s new. As I get closer to work, one of the bigger streets is sealed off by police. Several smaller streets in the area are also closed. Hrm… something’s a foot. As I pass the nearby Walgreens, I see several police cars in the Walgreens parking. I turn to look at the other side, and crap, is that a SWAT car???

I start realizing something big is up, and it sure isn’t a traffic accident. The cause of the police action is a stand-off between the police department and a robbery suspect. Read more about the stand-off at the Oakland Tribune. But the underlying cause of it is Oakland. Oakland Oakland Oakland. Oak-Town is grummy and shadowy. With the exception of the Golden State Warriors, Oakland offers nothing. I’m just glad I leave this slum before the night settles.