Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Sarah Palin has become your crazy, goofy uncle. You know, the world's self-proclaimed expert who sits around complaining about everything.
"That's not how you eat spaghetti. You cut the strands first. Here, give me your plate, let me show you."
"You watch this show? How can you tell what's even going on? I could write a better TV show than this.
"You'd think a second baseman who makes $5 million a year could catch a ground ball. I could have caught that."
"I could fix the economy. I'll tell you where bin Laden is. What's a Harry Potter? Here's how you end the War in Afghanistan -- two weeks, snap, it's over."
That's Sarah Palin.
She really doesn't know much of anything, and we all are pretty well aware of that, even her acolytes, who largely like what she "represents." There's no actual expertise that anyone can point to. No one has ever seriously thought that being ceremonial mayor of a 9,000-person hamlet was evidence of world leadership. Quitting as governor halfway through removed any chance of experience.
She's never been outside the U.S., except for one speech in Hong Kong and a photo op in Haiti. She told Glenn Beck that her favorite Founding Father was "All of them." She struggled to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with. She couldn't name a newspaper or magazine she read. Being able to see Russia from Alaska was the answer a clueless third-grader would give. She cowardly runs from serious interviews. She doesn't even have expertise in her sole area of self-professed "expertise" -- oil, never having actually worked in the oil industry, but serving on a state board, briefly.
She's your crazy, goofy uncle -- who your crotchety grandpa John McCain asked to be his traveling companion, shocking the relatives.
When you have no game, all you can do is nag at everyone to make yourself seen. It's like the legal mantra -- "If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the facts are against you, argue the law. And if the law and facts are against you, pound on the table and yell." Sarah Palin has just been pounding on the table and yelling.
And now she's so far out of her depth that all she's left with is whining about the first lady of the United States trying to stop child obesity. This is the equivalent of complaining that Anne Hathaway saved a baby panda.
"Instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities," she groused, "just leave us alone, get off our back."
Surely it's just an oversight that Ms. Palin, the former half-term governor, forgot to blast some other politician's wife, Laura Bush, four years earlier for promoting literacy. Or complaining about Hootie Owl telling kids to "Give a hoot, don't pollute."
This isn't just ridiculous, it's ridiculous and ignorant. It doesn't just ignore the serious reality that one-third of American children are overweight or obese which risks damaging diseases, like diabetes - but it presumes that the First Lady has actual governing powers, and that her issue (like ALL issues by America's First Ladies, ever) is legally binding.
It's further evidence that our national crazy, goofy uncle Ms. Palin is limited to whining. Stamp the name "Obama" on it, and she'll complain. And since she's far out of her depth with the president, she's left with snarking on his wife. Mind you, Ms. Palin is the same hypocrite who whines whenever her own family is addressed (despite herself using them as circus props) -- now she's saying that another public figure's family member is fair game. It's a dangerous game for her to play, because that ice she's skating on is painfully thin.
But then, Sarah Palin is pretty much out of her depth on everything. She bizarrely complained about President Obama because North Korea attacked South Korea, getting our "North" ally wrong in the process, while even that other famed Obama complainer, Liz Cheney, acknowledged the blame belonged on the Bush administration. She's whined about bloggers, David Letterman, Newsweek covers, being asked what she reads, and on and on.
This is a person who even complained about lack of privacy while getting paid to have her life filmed for a reality TV show.
Even Republicans are finally wearying of it. And Republicans almost never criticize one another, it's Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment." But former governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ) told CNN, "She'd have to show me a lot more than I've seen thus far, as far as an understanding of the depth and the complexity of the issues that we face." Mike Huckabee, former Republican governor of Arkansas, told a radio audience, "I think she misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do," adding that the first lady is "stating the obvious." Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner rebuked Ms. Palin's criticism of the new tax bill.
Sarah Palin's book sales are plummeting. Her TV reality show ratings are plummeting. Her 15 minutes are plummeting. Without question, she'll still have a very loud voice at the table and be heard. But then so will your crazy, goofy uncle.
Being heard is not a problem -- being taken seriously, that's becoming a lost cause.
Honestly, how do you misunderstand "eat less and exercise"?
The author Gertrude Stein once described the emptiness of Oakland by saying, "There's no 'there' there." It's pretty much how Sarah Palin has shown herself.
At least we should be grateful that she pronounces most of her complaints on Twitter, since 140 characters seems to be the limit of her depth.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
..."This is the same woman who refers to her critics as “jerks.” Palin called CBS-affiliates “corrupt bastards” in the same week she called reporters “impotent and limp and gutless.” She called the McCain campaign’s Steve Schmidt a liar and in her book said he was “rotund.” She called journalist Joe McGinniss a “pervert” and implied he was a peeping tom."....
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Business.gov is the U.S. Government's official website for small businesses. Business.gov provides small business owners with information and resources they need to comply with laws and regulations, and to take advantage of government programs and services to help them start, expand and run their businesses.
Business.gov is the only government service to provide access to Federal, state and local government from a single website. Small business owners no longer need to visit multiple websites to find forms, contact info, guidance with laws and regulations, and help applying for government assistance programs.
New account: paul
Two Quick & Dirty Methods:
First configure john's account (account you wish to clone [copy multiple times]).
Desktop UI, Apps, Bookmarks+plugins, add default data, etc.
Avoid adding additional passwords and/or making major directory structure
changes. You can though I would test the following methods first as shown,
they have been tested and proven to work [for me] over many years,
systems and distros.
See also: http://ubuntuforums.org
1. Open a Terminal
# create new user: paul after you have configured account: john
sudo adduser paul
# copy john's account to paul
sudo cp -R /home/john* /home/paul
# set user:group, paul:paul
sudo chown -R paul:paul /home/paul
Src. Post: http://goo.gl/0TkgE
2. Open a Terminal
# create new user: paul after you have configured account: john
sudo adduser paul
# change directory to john
# copy john's account to paul
sudo tar cf - . | (cd ../paul;tar xf -)
# set user:group, paul:paul
sudo chown -R paul:paul /home/paul
Login to the new account: paul
Best regards :-)
Monday, December 20, 2010
As if the JS LOIC concept didn't have serious enough implications on its own, though, researchers from Attack & Defense Labs recently presented a much more effective DoS attack vector at Blackhat Abu Dhabi, which relies on Web Workers and Cross Origin Requests in HTML5. This attack, though it only works in HTML5 browsers, is supposedly capable of performing between 3,000 to 4,000 requests a minute under real world conditions, which is a significant improvement over the simple but functional img tag reload attack. In my tests, the HTML5 attack clocked in at ~1500-2000 requests/minute, with the img reload attack hovering around 600 requests/minute.
In addition to these DoS worries, I have also been uncomfortable for awhile now about the increasing use of and reliance upon URL shorteners for sharing links. While we can somewhat trust larger names in the field such as bit.ly, it seems that the marketplace for these services is becoming increasingly populated with more and more obscure shorteners. This is quite worrying, as people it encourages people to trust all the shortened links they happen to come across, even ones they've never seen before, and acquire a false sense of security in the knowledge that it will take them to the destination advertised by the text. However, as most relatively savvy people should know, this is certainly not always the case. A malicious shortener could essentially take you anywhere it pleased, and the user would be none the wiser.
D0z Me Please
With these issues in mind, I began wondering: what would happen if I mashed them all together? Enter d0z.me: a proof-of-concept URL shortener that, while getting users to their destinations, also covertly attacks an arbitrary server.
The concept is quite simple, really. Attackers go to d0z.me and enter a link they think could be popular/want to share, but also enter the address of a server that they would like to attack as well. Then, they share this text with as many people as possible, in as many places as possible. Extensive use of social media sites is probably a must achieve the best results.
Clearly, this attack is dependent on getting a significant number of users to view a given link in a short amount of time, and, hopefully, keeping them on the page as long as possible. There are two main scenarios for garnering such traffic: one, tricking users into viewing the link and staying on it through whatever means necessary, and two, a concerted effort by a large number of users who willingly join the DDoS by following the link.
Scenario number one requires that the malicious attacker first come up with some content that he/she thinks will/could become popular; finding said content, of course, is not always an easy task. One possible vector is through the use of online games. Such games tend to keep users on the site for extended periods of time, lengthening the time of DoS. If one could find/make a game popular enough, and spread it through this link, then a significant amount of traffic could be achieved. Another possibility is a variation on what we have come to know as the free iPad scam. Tell users that if they open a link and stay on the page long enough, they will win a free iPad. This could be surprisingly effective, given how successful such offers have been in the past. A third possible way to exploit this technique could be a malicious rick roll of sorts: promise one thing, deliver another ridiculous/hilarious other thing, and hope that people find it funny and spread it quickly to as many people as possible.
Scenario two seems more similar to what we are currently seeing behind the Wikileaks-related attacks. If leaders convince enough of their followers simply to "open this link to win", it is conceivable that a very large number of people would chose to do so. However, this particular method (URL shortened link) is much more troublesome than current methods as, in such a scenario, there would be little way for authorities to determine whether or not a participant was intentionally or inadvertently involved in the attack. It is possible that some participants may have simply been curious or tricked into clicking the link, providing plausible deniability for any would-be attacker.
Both of these attacks, of course, can be mixed together in a hybrid style attack, which is the most likely form that it would take in a real DDoS. It is not completely clear to me what results a possible attack could achieve, but it seems likely that, given a dedicated userbase, one could use this method with a decent level of effectiveness. In addition, it would give intentional attackers a shield of plausible deniability to hide behind in case their IP address was singled out as an attacker in the DoS.
My implementation of this attack is, at best, a hack job, but was merely meant to illustrate how easy it is to actually implement, how simple it is to launch a DDoS simply by getting people to follow a link, and how seriously our reliance on URL shorteners can affect security. This implementation utilizes two DoS methods: first, of course, is the same method as the JS LOIC (refreshing images repeatedly), and second is the HTML5 vector that was previously discussed. The linked page is embedded via a simple iframe.
I haven't spent much time trying to solve these, but if someone knows a fix, I'd appreciate your help. I have also done a little messing around with different ways of keeping the user on the page, but atm have not had much success without resorting to extremely annoying and only minimally effective techniques. I am releasing the code under the GPLv3, and, as always, welcome any advice that people have. As it's been a couple years since I've done much web application work, please be gentle.
Mitigating these types of attacks is not exactly straightforward. As with all DoS attacks, there's only so much one can do to prevent them. If an attacker simply has more bandwidth than you have, as they would if they got enough people to click these links, then it's pretty much game over regardless until you can get the attacks blocked at the ISP level. As these attacks do not rely on spoofed packets, and appear, at least at a passing glance, to be legitimate traffic, filtering it is also somewhat difficult.
The HTML5 CORS attack, according to A&RL's research, can be blocked if your server doesn't allow cross origin requests by making a rule in your WAF that blocks all requests with Origin in the headers. However, given enough people doing this attack, it could become overwhelmed regardless.
You can find more about mitigating DoS attacks on Google.
From an end-user's perspective, all you need to do to avoid joining a DDoS is to be careful about following suspicious URL redirector links, and use something like NoScript.
A few final notes:
Firstly, this site is NOT meant to be an attack site, or to help support either side in the whole Wikileaks debacle. I don't want any part in the current cyber skirmishes. It is merely a demonstration of some things that I found interesting and wanted to work on.
Secondly, I am not responsible for how this site or this code is used. You should only be testing this on sites you own and control, and if you aren't, chances are that you are breaking the law. You, the user, are responsible for knowing the relevant laws in your area, and acting accordingly.
Thirdly, to the researchers who first reported on the HTML5 DDoS vector, thanks. Quite interesting research. I owe you a beverage of your choosing sometime .
Finally, yes, to all you a-holes out there, I know, it would be ironic/funny to dos a site that is demonstrating a dos attack. Please don't. I know you can, and that it would be trivial to do, as this server isn't exactly hardened. Let's just save each other the time and hassle and say that you win, theoretical attacker. Congratulations.
Performing DDoS attacks with HTML5 Cross Origin Requests & WebWorkershttp://goo.gl/KAjwJ
This post is about a DDoS technique I spoke about at BlackHat Abu Dhabi that uses two HTML5 features - WebWorkers and Cross Origin Requests. It is a very simple yet effective technique - start a WebWorker that would fire multiple Cross Origin Requests at the target. This is possible since Cross Origin Requests that use the GET method can be sent to any website, the restriction is only on reading the response which is anyway not of interest in this case. Sending a cross domain GET request is nothing new, you can even do that by embedding a remote URL in the IMG or the SCRIPT tag but the interesting part here is performance. My tests on Safari and Chrome showed that both the browsers were able to send more than 10,000 Cross Origin Requests in one minute.
Maybe its not that simple, there are few things to consider here. When you send the first request to a particular page and the response does not contain the 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header with a suitable value then the browser refuses to send more requests to the same URL. This however can be easily bypassed by making every request unique by adding a dummy query-string parameter with changing values. The number of requests/minute is also a variable. The browser sends a certain number of requests and when it receives the responses for those it sends in the next set of requests and so on. So as the server slows down the browser's requests/minute rating would also slow down. The figure 10,000 requests/minute was clocked against a server located in the internal network, against a target in the Internet it would realistically be between 3000-4000 requests/minute. If the attacker is planning to target an internal server by getting the employees of that company to visit this malicious URL then the 10,000 requests/minute rating would apply.
I am not going to release any PoC as this might probably be a bad time to do that but it shouldn't be very difficult to put together something for testing once you understand how it works. It should be relatively easy to block this attack at the WAF since all Cross Origin Requests contain the 'Origin' header, that way you can differentiate between legitimate and malicious requests.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
A lot of accepted 'facts' about our Founding Fathers are not only wrong, they are outright lies and distortions of the truth.
When big national debates erupt in America, maybe over the California recall, or the Ten Commandments controversy in Alabama, the Founding Fathers usually get dragged into it, and they're usually misquoted and misused by liberals."
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Social media tools that mimic Twitter and Facebook promise to bring team collaboration to corporate users. Getting users and applications connected in a secure, reliable stream can mean the difference between leading and being left behind in an increasingly social world. eWEEK Labs Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant looks at what’s behind the emerging specifications that are bringing people, applications and actions together in social media platforms.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Religion News Service
Christians and atheists are fighting again -- this time over who can raise more money for charity.
The Christian and atheist communities on the online forum Reddit are in a battle to raise the most money for their causes. In the spirit of Christmas (or in atheists' case, human generosity), community members are even donating money to each other's groups.
The Reddit.com social networking site allows users to rate the popularity of various websites, as well as join like-minded communities, including groups like reddit.com/r/christianity and reddit.com/r/Atheism.
Nearly $45,000 has been raised as of Thursday (Dec. 16) through the communities' fundraising pages at FirstGiving.com. Now Reddit's Muslim community has entered the competition, with some donations coming from members of Reddit's Christianity and Atheism groups.
It all started Dec. 8 when Margaret Crymes, a 26-year-old member of Reddit's Christian group from Fullerton, Calif., suggested to the community that it raise money for the Christian relief group World Vision.
"If every member of r/Christianity donates just $4.45, we can build a health clinic in an impoverished area that desperately needs one," she wrote.
Within hours, a member of Reddit's Atheism page posted a response: "If r/Christianity builds a hospital in the Third world, we are going to build 10! Let the X-mas Wars and the overall battle for goodness in the world begin!"
On Dec. 9, a member of the atheist group set up a fundraising page for the group Doctors Without Borders on the charitable donation site FirstGiving.com. Crymes, after encouraging members of the Christian group to donate to the atheists' campaign, created her own FirstGiving page to support World Vision, which in turn gained support from Reddit's
Three days later, an inspired member of Reddit's Islam group created a FirstGiving page to raise money for the charitable group Islamic Relief.
As of Dec. 16, the 105,587 members of the atheist group had raised $32,802 of their $42,000 goal. The Christian group, with 9,017 followers, had raised $11,443 toward its $12,000 goal. The Muslim group, with 2,224 followers, had raised $360 of its $5,000 goal.
"At first I was worried this would turn into a big war ... but this is a friendly thing," Crymes said. "If it means that two communities that historically have animosity towards each other can tone it down for a while, that's great."
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Since 2003, over 100,000 gamers worldwide have banded together through Child’s Play, a community based charity grown and nurtured from the game culture and industry. Over 7 million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.
This year, we have continued expanding across the country and the globe. With over 70 partner hospitals and more arriving every year, you can be sure to find one from the map above that needs your help! You can choose to purchase requested items from their online retailer wish lists, or make a cash donation that helps out Child’s Play partners everywhere. Any items purchased through Amazon will be shipped directly to your hospital of choice, so please be sure to select their shipping address rather than your own.
When gamers give back, it makes a difference!
"Why Richard Dawkins is a fundamentalist, and why most atheists reject far too little"..
When Palin repeats Netanyahu’s mantra “Jerusalem is not a settlement,” she does so with a naiveté that the Israeli Prime Minister cannot permit himself. As Israeli critics have pointed out for decades, and as even American Jewish pundits are now willing to say, “Jerusalem,” for Netanyahu and his supporters, seems to be an infinitely flexible term. As a recent Forward editorial put it:...
Monday, December 13, 2010
Let's do a bit of math here," Zakaria said. "There are 1.57 billion Muslims worldwide. Take 10 percent of those Muslims and you get 157 million. That's how many Muslim terrorists Glenn Beck is suggesting there are in the world, 157 million."....
Zoraya Judd says there is nothing she would rather do than pole dance. She's one of the best in the world at it and someday, she says, there might even be a place for her talents in the Olympics.....
"It's the fabulous shamelessness, the awful and yet admirable brilliance of the thing. Whether Palin will ever run for office or not, Sarah Palin's Alaska sets a new standard for political ads."
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
A half hour special about the sometimes depressing, always absurd existence of cubicle dwellers Darren and Craig. Featured segments include: how to handle a hot co-worker's party evite; viral videos paralyze productivity and threaten to take over the world; knowing when it's time to murder a MySpace account; rumors of downsizing lead to a LinkedIn stampede; and frivolous status updates require an interoffice Twitter intervention.
Top Five (Less Sensational But More Dangerous) Things to Remember About Pat Robertson | Politics | Religion Dispatches
"This story has two morals: The first is that Fox News and Robertson’s “news” deserve about the same degree of respect from journalists. Second, critics have raised questions about the legality of financial transactions related to Robertson’s business empire"....
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
is a network stress testing application, written in C# and developed by "praetox". It attempts a denial-of-service attack on the target site by flooding the server with TCP packets, UDP packets, or HTTP requests with the intention of disrupting the service of a particular host. The program was exploited during Project Chanology to attack Scientology websites, and is currently being used by Operation Avenge Assange (Organized by Operation Payback) to attack the websites of companies and organizations that have opposed WikiLeaks.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
It took the former governor of Alaska a few shots.
” She carries her own weight, whether it’s hunting or fishing or politics. Anything Sarah Palin does, she does with all four feet, let me tell you that. ” — Chuck Heath
She did an excellent job channeling elmer fudd.
[ palin-fudd-twang voice ]: I’m a wed-hot sportsman after wild game. Heh-heh-heh-heh..[ pulls rifle trigger ] Well, what do you know? No more buwwets.
Caribou-Bugs: No more buwwets? Oh, yeah? Well, there’s other sport besides huntin’, ya know!
December 7, 2010
Q: Has the Obama administration allowed corporations to "opt out" of the new health care law?
A: No. The government has granted more than 200 waivers, but these merely give companies a temporary delay before being required to improve the coverage of cheap, bare-bones plans they currently offer.
Is the federal govt giving out "opt out" waivers for health care mandates to either individuals or corporations? I saw a post on [Facebook] that stated the above and someone said 111 waivers have been given out.
This is the post I saw:
How come a lot of Obama’s buddies are quiet about the impact of Obamacare? Because he gave them a waiver to opt out. If Obamacare is so great for the economy and the workers, why is the White House approving opt-out waivers?
We’ve received several questions about whether businesses have been able to opt out of the new health care law. The companies haven’t been granted permission to ignore the entire law, as the Facebook post quoted by our reader might suggest — but many have been given one-year waivers to delay compliance with a key insurance mandate that was put into place this fall. The White House says it instituted the waiver process to enable those companies to continue to provide limited-benefits plans — cheap, bare-bones policies called mini-med plans — until the law is fully implemented in 2014.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in an Oct. 7 press briefing:
Gibbs: We want to ensure that in the time that it takes to implement the law and to give people better options, that they don’t find themselves at the mercy of an insurance company jacking up their rates.
Mini-med plans are used by both small and large employers, such as McDonald’s and other restaurant companies, for low-income and part-time employees. These health plans have very limited benefits for very low monthly premiums — employees pay about $20 to $30 per month, according to Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade association.
A mini-med plan’s basic benefits might include a prescription drug discount card and coverage for doctor’s visits. These plans can also include surgical and hospitalization benefits, but they usually include dollar limits on coverage, which can be as low as under $100 per day or more than $250,000 for the year, according to an Aug. 13 Kaiser Health News article. A McDonald’s executive said at a Dec. 1 Senate hearing that the annual caps in its mini-med plans range from $2,000 to $10,000.
The new health care law aims to eliminate low annual coverage caps like those over time, and this is where the waiver issue has come in. The law says that annual coverage limits can’t be set lower than $750,000 for new policy years starting between Sept. 23, 2010 and Sept. 23, 2011. That cap will be raised each year until 2014, when the law will require companies to have no annual spending limits on most benefits in health care plans.
Government agencies estimate that nearly 1.7 million people are on plans that have been affected by the new regulation — plans with annual limits of less than $750,000 this year.
But, as of Dec. 3, the federal government had approved a total of 222 one-year waivers that allow the insurance plans at companies like McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Ruby Tuesday, and unions, to ignore the requirement on annual limits. Far from being "Obama’s buddies," as the Internet post claimed, the restaurant industry, through the National Restaurant Association, opposed the legislation.
Companies seeking these waivers claimed the limit regulation would force significant hikes — in some cases, even a 100 percent increase — in premiums, according to an Oct. 6 New York Times article. AHIP’s Zirkelbach told us the regulation could cause seasonal, part-time or temporary workers that are typically covered by limited-benefits plans to lose all of their coverage.
The companies that have been approved for the waivers must reapply for them next year. Waivers are available until 2014.
But mini-med plans are controversial. While they do provide some benefits, critics say they provide only the illusion of insurance coverage. Workers who have an accident or an illness can quickly exceed daily or annual coverage limits and find themselves facing hefty medical bills. At the Dec. 1 Senate hearing on the subject, titled "Are Mini Med Policies Really Health Insurance?," Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said consumers aren’t aware that the plans won’t cover the cost of a major illness. "They don’t have the kind of comprehensive health insurance that protects you from financial ruin if you get sick. … These policies give people a false sense of security; they let them think they have health insurance when they really don’t," he said.
Rockefeller has vowed to subject these plans to “close scrutiny" if companies request exemptions from the health care law’s requirements.
And the annual limit provision isn’t the only aspect of the law that companies with mini-med plans have protested. Beginning next year, insurers also will be required to spend 80 percent to 85 percent of premiums on medical care, and no more than 15 percent to 20 percent on administrative costs. This ratio is called a medical loss ratio, or MLR. Businesses with mini-med plans said those policies couldn’t possibly meet the MLR requirements. McDonald’s said its insurance company would not be able to offer the mini-med plans if it were forced to follow the law, according to a Sept. 30 Wall Street Journal article. The Journal reported that McDonald’s sent a memo to federal officials saying: "Having to drop our current mini-med offering would represent a huge disruption to our 29,500 participants" and that doing so "would leave many without an affordable, comparably designed alternative until 2014." (McDonald’s later said it was not planning on dropping coverage. And a company executive also said the company’s plans had an 86 percent MLR recently.)
But the initial complaints prompted the Department of Health and Human Services to issue special MLR rules as well, saying that mini-med plans would be able to double their medical costs in calculating their MLRs in 2011. Companies will also have to send quarterly reports to HHS to help the agency determine what to do in coming years.
What Happens in 2014?
HHS may have expanded the lives of these mini-med plans, but they’re not expected to be around beyond 2014, when the law is fully implemented. Steve Larsen, deputy director of HHS’ Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, acknowledged that "these plans are going to disappear," in a Nov. 25 article in Inside CMS, a health policy publication.
Instead, workers who have these limited plans now will be able to buy their own coverage through state-based exchanges. And low- and mid-income individuals (earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level) can receive premium credits and subsidies to help them do that. Plus, in 2014, the law expands eligibility for Medicaid so that those under the age of 65 earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level — that’s $14,400 in 2010 for an individual — will qualify for coverage.
Meanwhile, companies like McDonald’s will be subject to more requirements. Businesses that provide insurance and have more than 50 employees will have to pay a fine under the new law of $3,000 for each full-time worker who receives a tax credit to buy insurance through the exchanges. Also, companies will be required to give vouchers for exchange plans to lower-income workers who spend over 8 percent but under 9.8 percent of their income on premiums.
But until 2014, the Obama administration is granting leeway to companies that offer less-than-comprehensive coverage for their employees. Zirkelbach, with America’s Health Insurance Plans, said that the establishment of the waiver process "shows that these regulations have the potential to be very disruptive." If the new mandates go into effect without a certain transition period, he added, "you’re going to create a shock to the system."
– Lara Seligman and Lori Robertson
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Limited Benefit Plans, High Deductible Plans and Health Savings Plans: Contemplating Options When Comprehensive Health Insurance Isn’t Available to You." Jan 2010.
HR and Employment Law White Papers. "Can’t Afford Insurance? Try a Mini-Med Plan." HR.BLR.com. 9 May 2007, accessed 30 Nov 2010.
"Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs." Press release. The White House Office of the Press Secretary. 7 Oct 2010.
Appleby, Julie. "Health Insurance Debate: Is A Little Coverage Better Than None At All?" Kaiser Health News. 13 Aug 2010.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "The Affordable Care Act: Eliminating Limits on Your Benefits." 23 Sept 2010.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Approved Applications for Waiver of the Annual Limits Requirements of the PHS Act Section 2711 as of December 3, 2010." 3 Dec 2010.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Insurance Standards Bulletin Series: Information." 3 Sept 2010.
Abelson, Reed. "Waivers Aim at Talk of Dropping Health Coverage." The New York Times. 6 Oct 2010.
Abelson, Reed. "Tackling Mini-Med Policies." Blog post. The New York Times. 23 Nov 2010.
"New Affordable Care Act rules give consumers better value for insurance premiums." Press release. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 22 Nov 2010.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Regulations and Guidance."
Adamy, Janet. "McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan." The Wall Street Journal. 20 Sept 2010.
"Response to WSJ Health Care Article." Press release. McDonald’s.
Adamy, Janet. "Senators Attack McDonald’s Health Plan." The Wall Street Journal. 1 Dec 2010.
"MLR Rule Stops Short Of Waiver For Mini-Meds, Hews Closely To Draft." Inside CMS. 25 Nov 2010.
Focus on Health Reform. "Explaining Health Reform: Benefits and Cost-Sharing for Adult Medicaid Beneficiaries." The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Aug 2010.
Focus on Health Reform. "Summary of New Health Reform Law." The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 26 Mar 2010.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Free University in Internet
* Bill Cooper - Mystery Babylon Series - The Godmakers
* Bill Cooper - http://goo.gl/PFtgd
* Does the God of Christianity exist, and what difference does it make
A Debate http://goo.gl/50kTZ
Religion, Philosophy - "Life of Buddha" - A religion without a God
The Fifth Estate : Conspiracy Theories
The God Makers: The Mormon Conspiracy
Jesus Christ & Joseph Smith - Christianity versus Mormonism
Mormon Religion and Their Many Lies
Does God Exist ?
" What is the number of Islamic terrorists? 1 percent? I think it's closer to ten percent but the rest of the PC world will tell you, 'oh no, it's miniscule.' Well, OK, let's take you at your one percent. Look at the havoc one percent of Muslims causing in the rest of the world. You don't think one percent, half a percent of people here in the United States of radicals, of people who want to violently overthrow the government of the United States, is a problem? " -- Glenn Beck 12-06-2010
" Christian terrorists a plenty for eons and can you say rapists too? "
“ Not something many admit to or bring up often...I agree.
Most modern specifically American religions have collectively been responsible for mass rape, murder, enslavement, witch burning, domestic bombings/violence...recent history. Army of God, Hutaree, Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph are domestic Christian based terrorist/groups. The KKK with strong Christian roots [Christian Identity - Aryan American Bloodline Religion] have conducted acts of terrorism, murder, rape, etc. against USA African Americans, Jews, Catholics and other social or ethnic minorities. Search: Christianity and violence
Granted only representing 1  % +/- of the Christian faith, none the less, per Beck this should be just as alarming as his Muslim babble. Beck suffers from Fuzzy-Logic, fatalistic views and fear of own shadow.
note: post not intended to offend. ”
Glenn Beck 2003
Beck's figure of ten percent is hardly new. In fact, Beck used the same statistic in his 2003 book, "The Real America." In it, Beck says that he has concluded, after "reading and prayer," that, while ninety percent of Islam is peaceful, "ten percent wants to see us dead." The remaining ten percent, he writes, is "composed of extreme radicals who have taken Islam through a time tunnel and twisted it into something ugly and barbaric."
“ Some women want perfume and diamonds. Bloods, guts and bullets, that’s for me, ” -- Sue Akins
" ..If Republicans want to embrace Palin as a cultural icon whose anti-intellectualism fulfills a base political need, then have at it. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy. " -- Joe Scarborough, Nov. 30, 2010 - tells GOP to man up and attack Sarah Palin
" Now I am scared I am going to wake up with a decapitated moose head in my bed. " -- Margaret Cho, Nov. 29, 2010, Pistol Whipped
" The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil. " -- Sarah Palin, in a message posted on Facebook about Obama's health care plan, Aug. 7, 2009
" Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast. " -- an angry McCain aide describing Palin's $150,000 shopping spree
" A whack job. " -- a top McCain adviser describing Palin, one-upping the McCain adviser who called her a "diva"
" 'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!' " -- a Tweet sent by Sarah Palin in response to being ridiculed for inventing the word "refudiate," proudly mistaking her illiteracy for literary genius, July 18, 2010
" When you think about it, Alaska is also near the North Pole, so she must also be friends with Santa. " -- Jon Stewart, on claims that Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience
" We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. ... We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. " -- Sarah Palin, speaking at a fundraiser in Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 16, 2008
" She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation? " -- Alaska State Senate President Lyda Green, who is a Republican
" [McCain] knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with... He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that. " -- Matthew Dowd, former chief strategist for President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign
" It's like a really bad Disney movie. The hockey mom, you know, 'oh, I'm just a hockey mom'... and she's facing down President Putin... It's totally absurd... it's a really terrifying possibility... I need to know if she really thinks that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes. " -- actor Matt Damon
" We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn't that ironic? " -- Sarah Palin, admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada's single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
"As head of the CS Department at the University of Northern Iowa, Eugene Wallingford often receives e-mail and phone calls from eager entrepreneurs with The Next Great Idea. They want to change the world, and they want Prof. Wallingford to help them. They just need a programmer. 'Many idea people,' observes Wallingford, 'tend to think most or all of the value [of a product] inheres to having the idea. Programmers are a commodity, pulled off the shelf to clean up the details. It's just a small matter of programming, right?' Wrong. 'Writing the program is the ingredient the idea people are missing,' he adds. 'They are doing the right thing to seek it out. I wonder what it would be like if more people could implement their own ideas.'"
December 01, 2010 3:45 PM
"I Just Need a Programmer"http://goo.gl/2C1TJ
They just need a programmer.
Most of these projects never find CS students to work on them. There are lots of reasons. Students are busy with classes and life. Most CS students have jobs they like. Those jobs pay hard cash, if not a lot of it, which is more attractive to most students than the promise of uncertain wealth in the future. The idea does not excite other people as much as the entrepreneur, who created the idea and is on fire with its possibilities.
A few of the idea people who don't make connections with a CS student or other programmer contact me a second and third time, hoping to hear good news. The younger entrepreneurs can become disheartened. They seem to expect everyone to be as excited by their ideas as they are. (The optimism of youth!) I always hope they find someone to help them turn their ideas into reality. Doing that is exciting. It also can teach them a lot.
Of course, it never occurs to them that they themselves could learn how to program.
A while back, I tweeted something about receiving these calls. Andrei Savu responded with a pithy summary of the phenomenon I was seeing:
@wallingf it's sad that they see software developers as commodities. product = execution != original ideaAs I wrote about at greater length in a recent entry, the value of a product comes from the combination of having an idea and executing the idea. Doing the former or having the ability to do the latter aren't worth much by themselves. You have to put the two together.
Many "idea people" tend to think most or all of the value inheres to having the idea. Programmers are a commodity, pulled off the shelf to clean up the details. It's just a small matter of programming, right?
On the other side, some programmers tend to think that most or all of the value inheres to executing the idea. But you can't execute what you don't have. That's what makes it possible for me and my buddy to sit around over General Tsao's chicken and commiserate about lost wealth. It's not really lost; we were never in its neighborhood. We were missing a vital ingredient. And there is no time machine or other mechanism for turning back the clock.
I still wish that some of the idea people had learned how to program, or were willing to learn, so that they could implement their ideas. Then they, too, could know the superhuman strength of watching ideas become tangible. Learning to program used to be an inevitable consequence of using computers. Sadly, that's no longer true. The inevitable consequence of using computers these days seems to be interacting with people we may or may not know well and watching videos.
Oh, and imagining that you have discovered The Next Great Thing, which will topple Google or Facebook. Occasionally, I have an urge to tell the entrepreneurs who call me that their ideas almost certainly won't change the world. But I don't, for at least two reasons. First, they didn't call to ask my opinion. Second, every once in a while a Microsoft or Google or Facebook comes along and does change the world. How am I to know which idea is that one in a gazillion that will? If my buddy and I could go back to 2000 and tell our younger and better-looking selves about Facebook, would those guys be foresightful enough to sit down and write it? I suspect not.
How can we know which idea is that one that will change the world? Write the program, work hard to turn it into what people need and want, and cross our fingers. Writing the program is the ingredient the idea people are missing. They are doing the right thing to seek it out. I wonder what it would be like if more people could implement their own ideas.
Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: General, Software Development
Facebook Wannabes Not Happy With $65 Millionhttp://goo.gl/p1D4
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss speciously claimed to have helped invent Facebook, winning tens of millions of dollars from the social network. Now they ludicrously want more, and the real inventor of Facebook probably has himself to blame.
"The chapter is not closed on this matter," one of the Olympic rowers told the BBC before an Oxford boat race. His brother added, "It's our duty to stand for principles."
Oh please. The Winklevoss twins are tremendously lucky to have already extracted from Facebook $20 million, plus stock their lawyers valued at $45 million, all in a 2008 legal settlement to make them finally shut up and go away and stop being ridiculous.
But they apparently refuse to do so. They are no doubt emboldened by ex-Valleywag Nicholas Carlson's recent publication of a bombshell IM transcript in which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admits to duping the pair, back when he was at Harvard working on his own social network. Zuckerberg's IM to a friend, as quoted in Business Insider, was fairly unambiguous:
Check this site out: www.harvardconnection.com and then go to harvardconnection.com/HarvardConnection was the social networking site Zuckerberg told the Winklevoss twins he would code for them back at Harvard. In reality, he was coding up Facebook, as the twins were later enraged to discover. Ever since, the pair has been claiming they came up with the key ideas for Facebook, even though the site they asked Zuckerberg to code was focused on dating — and Facebook, quite crucially, eschewed overt romantic networking.
datehome.php. Someone is already trying to make a dating site. But they made a mistake haha. They asked me to make it for them. So I'm like delaying it so it won't be ready until after the facebook thing comes out.
Their claim failed to persuade administrators at Harvard to pursue conduct charges against Zuckerberg. It failed to dissuade Facebook's investors. And it's not gained much traction in the court of public opinion. But thanks to the newly published instant message, as well as Aaron Sorkin's forthcoming movie about Facebook's origins, that could change.
And so the Winklevoss twins — their cash almost entirely claimed as contingency fees by their ex lawyers — want more than the $20 million plus stock they've already received as a reward for having had a social networking brain fart at approximately the same time everyone else was having a social networking brain fart, in 2004, two years after the launch of Friendster and just as MySpace was blooming. They totally thought of the idea of a social network in a college! And if you can't get north of $65 million for having thoughts like that, do you even want to live in America any more?
Sunday, December 05, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO – Dozens of websites have been secretly harvesting lists of places that their users previously visited online, everything from news articles to bank sites to pornography, a team of computer scientists found.
The information is valuable for con artists to learn more about their targets and send them personalized attacks. It also allows e-commerce companies to adjust ads or prices — for instance, if the site knows you've just come from a competitor that is offering a lower price.Although passwords.......
continued here: http://goo.gl/iEFmB
I remember extremely well a mountain hiking/camping trip ( emphasis on 'trip' ) and UFO experience, back in the late 80's-early-90's. Group of us climbed to the highest point we could and set camp, on that clear, cool night you could, so to speak, see ocean to ocean. A little before sun set we were starting to see and hear things very clearly...about that time, the radio went fuzzy..then....WOOSHhhhh..from behind...a shadow briefly covered the ground, followed by a big gust of wind nearly knocking us over the cliff, tree's and brush bending to the ground. A few minutes later.....WOOSHhhhh......this time a slight light trail shot forward, repeating a few more times.
..insert appropriate WTFfFfF enlightened chit-chat here...
Little later just after sun set, we were staring out over the valley gorge...noticed the tree's were folding over and a darkish blob was moving fast toward us, then a semi-loud crackle...WoooSHhhhhhh...high-pitch boom. Then an extremely close up underbelly view of what was later to be known as the B-2 Spirit. A few more passed over head and that night we became treehuggers..waiting..and semi-ready..but unfortunately no more UFO's :-(
So kids, trip safe, don't be ashamed to hug a tree, pack extra undies and camp near and/or between military flight test sites when possible..the experience is WOW!
Now, remember that we are currently talking about a group of 165 hypothetical immortal civilizations produced by the 200 billion currently visible stars in our little galaxy. We must remember that there have probably been stars before these and after these, that may have produced more civilizations than this. But lets say that these two hundred billion stars are the only ones we have to work with in our galaxy. We have 165 immortal civilizations, more than likely with hundreds of thousands if not millions or billions of years of advanced technological experience under their belts. Keep in mind that our own civilization has had less than 30 or 40,000 days worth of experience with "advanced technology."
So where are these guys? This is known as Fermi’s Paradox. As Fermi pointed out, even a civilization as technologically primitive as our own, given the resources and desire to do so, could conceivably colonize the entire Milky Way Galaxy in about 50 million years, assuming technology didn’t advance during that time making the process faster. The universe is thought to be around 15 billion years old. That’s enough time for somebody to make such a snail-paced journey 300 times. Certainly, if there are more than a few civilizations like our own out there, at least one of them would be here now. And as we have seen, it is not unlikely there are a couple of hundred of them out there who are ahead of us by millenia piled on millenia. Where are they? Most SETI astronomers have an answer like this: “We know they're not here, but it would be foolish for us not to gamble on them being out there somewhere when the odds seem to be so good that they are, and with such an incalculable payoff if we do make Contact.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big supporter of SETI’s efforts. I agree completely with the main thrust of their answer, because I may be wrong about UFOs. Maybe Fermi’s paradox really is a paradox, but I don’t think we can rush to that conclusion.
UFOs are real. That much is certain. Objects of a currently unexplainable nature have been seen in the sky for thousands of years. They have been recorded in pre-modern times by priests, military commanders, possibly even by pre-historic artists in caves around the world. In modern times they have been repeatedly photographed, tracked on radar, sighted, chased, and even fired upon. Planes and pilots have been lost in pursuing them (see military quotes page). They are, as General Nathan F. Twining put it, “something real and not visionary or fictitious.”
The only question is what these things in the sky are. Certainly there are hoaxes. Certainly a majority of sightings are misidentified natural or man-made phenomena. But hoaxes do not shoot down pursuing aircraft. Natural and man-made phenomena do not (as far as we know) hover over nuclear missile bases in the United States and the Soviet Union and turn missiles on and off. The best hypothesis we have at this moment is the extra-terrestrial hypothesis. Those guys from the equation… I think they’re here. This needs to be taken seriously. The SETI guys are right in their answer to the Fermi Paradox, but I am too, and for the same reason.
Try Ubuntu 10.10 Server in Amazon EC2, entirely on our dime!
You read that right, Canonical will pay for you to experience the ease of Ubuntu Server on Amazon EC2 for an hour (well, approximately 55 minutes). We will take care of the registration, and setup and even give you some pre-configured applications to choose from (such as Wordpress and MoinMoin). We are that keen for you to see it for yourself.
What do you need to do?
As part of the login process you will be asked to set up login and security credentials. But don’t worry, it’s really quick and easy.Try Ubuntu 10.10
Linaro at work: porting, testing, and Android
Linaro uses the same cadence as Ubuntu and we’re able to collaborate on the selection, integration and debugging of key components like the kernel, toolchain, X.org (still ), and hundreds of small-but-important libraries and tools in between. Team Linaro was @UDS and it was very cool to see the extent to which their sessions drew attendance from the wider Ubuntu community – I think there’s a growing interest in efficient computing across the Ubuntu landscape.
The Linaro team is pleased to announce the release of Linaro 10.11.
10.11 is the first public release that brings together the huge amount
of engineering effort that has occurred within Linaro over the past 6
months. In addition to officially supporting the TI OMAP3 (Beagle
Board and Beagle Board XM) and ARM Versatile Express platforms, the
images have been tested and verified on a total of 7 different platforms
including TI OMAP4 Panda Board, IGEPv2, Freescale iMX51 and ST-E U8500.
The advances that have happened in this cycle are numerous but include a
completely rebuilt archive using GCC 4.4.4 and the latest ARM optimised
tool chain, the Linux kernel version 2.6.35, support for
cross-compiling, a new hardware pack way of building images, 3D
acceleration improvements, u-boot enhancements and initial device tree
support, a new QA tracking structure, the list goes on.
Android in the houseThe road ahead looks even more interesting. For the next cycle, the Linaro team is going to build an Android environment on the same kernel and toolchain that we collaborate on with Ubuntu. For folks building devices, picking a board that’s part of the Linaro process means you’ll be able to get either an Ubuntu-style or Android-style core environment up and running at Day 1, which should reduce time to market for everyone.
If the Linaro team pulls this off, it will mean that Linaro provides an intersection point for the majority of the consumer electronics x86 and ARM ecosystem, regardless of the end OS. I’m sure over time we’ll find more groups that are interested in joining the process, and I see no reason why they couldn’t be accommodated in this cadence-driven model.
More players, more diversity in servicesIt was also good to see folks from Montavista and Mentor at Linaro@UDS this year. Whether the Linaro kernel and toolchain plug into their own distros, or they start to offer their services around the Linaro/Ubuntu/Android BSP’s, the result is a healthier ecosystem with fewer snags and gotchas for device makers.
One group asked me explicitly if Linaro was a Canonical show, and I was glad to say it isn’t. Canonical can’t possibly do everything that embedded Linux needs done, but our competence in cadence and release management makes us good custodians of a public project, which is what we do with Ubuntu itself. Participation and collaboration are at the heart, and they benefit from being partnered with a commitment to delivery and deadlines. We can’t do everything in a single cycle, but we can provide a roadmap for things like kernel defragmentation, the device-tree work, enablement of an ever-increasing cross-section of the ARM ecosystem, and transitions between versions of GCC or Python or X or even Wayland. So Canonical makes a good anchor, but Linaro has room for lots of other service-providers. Having multiple companies participate in Linaro means that the products we’re all shipping get better, faster.
TestingThe Linaro team is also going to focus on repeatable, rigorous testing of the core platform in the next cycle. That harmonises nicely with our growing focus on quality in Ubuntu, and the need for better quality and testing in open source in general. I’m interested to see what tools and results the Linaro team can produce in the next six months. Open source *can* be bulletproof, but it can also degrade in quality if we don’t put the right processes in place upstream and downstream, so this is a very welcome initiative.
|Approve 48.0%, Disapprove 42.0%|
Saturday, December 04, 2010
NEW YORK — As debate rages on extending tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, politicians are making misleading statements about who might be hurt or helped.
Before the midterm elections, President Barack Obama insisted that lower income-tax rates should be permanently extended only to those he called the "middle class." People in the top two tax brackets would face higher rates. Now, with Republicans triumphant, the White House is trying to hash out a compromise so rates don't automatically revert to their higher, pre-2001 levels for everyone in the new year.
One possible deal: extending all the lower rates for a yet-undetermined period of time, perhaps two or three years.
Time is running out, as is patience. In a purely symbolic vote, House Democrats on Thursday passed a bill extending lower rates for everyone but those in the top brackets. House Republican leader John Boehner said the vote ran counter to efforts to forge a deal, dubbing it "chicken crap" political maneuvering.
Here are a few myths, half-truths and short-hand distortions that have marred the debate:
_ Under the Obama plan, taxes will increase for families making more than $250,000.
Wrong. Actually, a family could make a lot more and still not face higher taxes. Obama wants to raise the top two brackets from 33 percent to 36 percent and from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. The first of the two – 36 percent – is widely assumed to kick in at $250,000. Obama says that himself.
But that's not right. The higher rate would apply to families with $232,000 or more of taxable income, or what's left after personal exemptions and deductions have been subtracted from income. Deductions can be sizable, especially for wealthy people. Think state and local taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The result is that a family making $300,000 or even more could have taxable income of less than $232,000.
"A lot of people making more than $250,000 won't be paying higher taxes," says Clint Stretch, a managing principal of Deloitte Tax.
So where does the $250,000 come from? That's a number for "adjusted gross income," which is total income minus a few things like 401(k) contributions and alimony payments.
A family that had adjusted gross income of $250,000 and took two personal exemptions, plus a standard deduction instead of itemizing, would have taxable income of $232,000.
So $250,000 is distorting. It refers to adjusted gross income, not total income. And most people in that income range itemize their deductions.
The key number for families is taxable income of $232,000; for individuals, it's taxable income of $191,000. Only 2 percent of U.S. households would face the 36 percent tax rate, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
_ Tax hikes would prevent small businesses from hiring.
Well, maybe. But the numbers cited as proof are flimsy at best.
Critics say Obama's plan to raise taxes on the highest earners would hobble the businesses that generate most of the nation's new jobs. Yet fewer than 3 percent of small businesses produce enough income to face the higher rates, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Some Republicans note that this tiny slice accounts for half of total small-business income. So the damage to the economy would be more than you'd think, they say. But many of these businesses aren't what most people would consider small anyway.
The IRS doesn't have a category of tax filers called "small business." Analysts who study taxes use the next best thing, which isn't very good at all: business owners who use their personal 1040 to file taxes instead of a corporate return.
For example, some hedge funds and law firms pay their taxes through the personal returns of their individual partners. While these are lumped in as "small businesses" and would pay higher taxes, they are far different from the retail stores and small manufacturers that most people associate with the term and which would not pay higher taxes.
_ Keeping Bush's tax cuts for the top earners would swell U.S. debt by $700 billion, unconscionable in an age of budget-busting outlays.
Somewhat misleading. The lower tax receipts would accumulate over 10 years – not one year. On average, that means $70 billion less for the government each year, or about 1/30th of all federal receipts.
_ Bush tax cuts for millionaires average more than $100,000 a year and should be eliminated.
Misleading, again. The term millionaire can include people making tens of millions or even billions. Their tax breaks are much larger. An average doesn't capture the benefit for most millionaires. According to Deloitte Tax, a typical family making exactly $1 million pays about $50,000 less each year in federal income taxes than it would if the Obama plan were rejected and the tax cuts expired.
_ The rich would pay 36 percent or more of their income in taxes under Obama's plan.
Wrong. A rich family would pay 36 percent – and 39.6 percent – only on taxable income above $232,000. The family would continue to benefit from the other four brackets established earlier this decade – 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent and 28 percent – on taxable income below $232,000.
A family with taxable income of $350,000 would pay a higher rate on $118,000. The family would pay $42,480 in taxes on that amount, or $3,540 more than it pays now.
Of course, for the really rich, the two higher brackets would take a bigger bite. A family making $2 million would pay about $100,000 more in taxes under Obama's plan, according to the Tax Policy Center.
_ The tax debate is all about income tax rates.
Wrong. For all the attention given to higher taxes on earned income if current rates expire, the big hit to some families will come from taxes on capital gains and dividends. The government now takes 15 percent of both. If the Bush cuts aren't renewed, the tax on long-term gains would rise to 20 percent.
And the rate on dividends would shift to your income tax rate, or a maximum 39.6 percent. Under Obama's plan, the tax on dividends would rise to 20 percent for everyone.
If Congress doesn't act to stop taxes from reverting to their pre-2001 levels, new limits would be placed on deductions and exemptions, too. And a $1,000 child credit would be halved.