Monday, October 5, 2015

Broad 3

We returned to the Broad Museum, this time sporting my new Canon 6D camera.  On a couple of the exterior shots I used the wide setting on my 17-40mm lens.

As you can see from the bottom picture, the Broad is virtually across the street from MOCA, allowing for a full day of cultural exploration.   The Walt Disney Music Hall is across the street  to the North.  It is barely visible on the right side of the picture below.

 You can see the Disney Hall more clearly in this interior picture.

 The interior is well lit and architecturally interesting.

The collection is strong and varied.

Reserve in advance to be admitted to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room.

The room envelopes you, allowing your imagination to expand exponentially.  In the first picture below you can see me on the right side of the picture.

One disquieting note.  Heading toward the guard station and lockers is a low railing about 8 inches high.  Coming from the guard station (looking for the restroom), with the sun in my eyes I tripped.  Be careful.  The railing is low and with all the visual stimulation you might face the same plight.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Speaker Boehner is not even gone, but the few remaining sane Republicans must already miss him.  Kevin McCarthy, if he has not spoken himself out of the Speakership, will be the least experienced Speaker in 125 years.

He also may be the worst speaker ever.  Grammar, syntax and coherence be damned, Clinton is "untrustable."  Kennedy's "Best and the brightest,' have given way to the petty and partisan.  Gone is the veneer of doing the nation's business.  The Benghazi investigation has gone on longer, and cost more, than the investigation of Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Watergate, or the Kennedy assassination.

Some may wonder why the tragic death of 4 diplomats is more important and complex, than the loss of most of our navy, criminal acts by a president and his advisors, the loss of 3000 American lives on our soil, or the death of a president.  The reason is now clear.  McCarthy and his ilk proudly place partisanship above duty to country.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Trump Tax Plan: All that Glitters is not Bold

 Trump's plan is a sham.   Using branded water does not make trickle down better.  Benefits flow disproportionally to the wealthiest.  The plan could cost as much as 10 trillion over the next decade, depending on the scope of, as yet unspecified, reduction of deductions.  If implemented, the plan would be funded through deficits, and reductions in spending.  Spoiler alert:  spending reductions reduce benefits to the lower and middle class.

The marquee feature is no tax below 50,000 for married couples, and below 25000 for singles.  Because of various credits and the standard deduction, many in this segment already pay little if any taxes.  Oddly, a single parent with two children making 35,000 will pay tax but a childless couple will not.   Whether the poor and lower middle class benefit will depend on what, if any, changes are made in the earned income tax credit.  At best, some will see a benefit of a few hundred dollars.

Another distraction is eliminating the carried interest exemption for hedge fund managers  The reduction is almost meaningless from a 23.8% marginal rate to Trump's new top ordinary income rate of 25%.  The few impacted will be mildly annoyed, but the treasury will see little benefit.

Which brings us to the heart of the plan,  three massive tax cuts for the wealthiest.  First, the maximum rate drops from 39.8% to 25%.  Stated simply someone making 10 million dollars a year saves nearly 1.5 million.  Cutting back deductions cannot cover the difference.

Second, the top corporate rate is reduced from 35% to 15%.  Taxing a small business grossing under a million at the same rate as Apple or Exxon is absurd.  A rational plan could provide a revenue neutral combination of rate cuts and elimination of deductions.  But parity cannot be achieved at 15%.

The final cut benefits only the 5,000 richest families in America.  Trump ends the estate tax which only applies to estates over 10 million for married couples and 5 million for singles.  This multi-billion dollar giveaway, ensures that the elite maintain a stranglehold on power and political influence.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Return of the Know Nothings

The party known for trickle down economics has blossomed with bottom up politics.   Prior to the 2010 census, masterfully targeted contributions carried the majority of state legislatures for the GOP. With the upper hand in redistricting, a Republican House was guaranteed.  In the last election, Democrats got the majority of the votes for Congress, but the GOP added seats to its existing majority.  In Senate elections, with Montana and Wyoming having as many Senators as California and New York, Republicans have a natural edge.

With this historic advantage, what have the Republicans gotten?   Join me in the chorus,  "Absolutely nothing."  Promises that could never survive a filibuster or presidential veto, whipped the base into a frenzy.  With pitch forks at their back legislators were forced to take all or nothing positions.  Predictably they got nothing.

Longstanding GOP goals were within their grasp if they did not mistake the art of compromise for gang graffiti.  To ensure failure, they have forced out  Boehner, who had the skill to maximize GOP leverage.  The GOP advantage will shrink in 2016, and may vanish after 2020.

The GOP presidential nominating process fueled by anti-immigrant hysteria and failed establishment promises, is a reembodiment of the  Know-Nothing Party.  Trump knows nothing about foreign policy, Carson knows nothing about foreign or domestic policy,  and Fiorina only knows how to lie.

Republicans have squandered their advantage, and are diligently forming a circular firing squad.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Eli Broad Museum Parts 1 and 2

The Broad Museum will be widely visited as part of one of Los Angeles' premier tourist destinations. When opened in September it will join MOCA, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of the Lady of our Angels, and the Music Center atop Bunker Hill.  Part 1 below is from the sneak preview.

Roslyn and I were able to get tickets for the sneak preview Sunday February 15th.

We returned on September 23rd to enjoy the collection.  My camera was chip less, so I relied on my phone.   Part 3 will feature pictures from our next visit with my new Canon 6D.

Of the many Lichtenstein's this was my clear favorite.

 I loved this fanciful room featuring a Japanese artist.

This is but a small sampling of the admirable collection.  The museum was well curated and had perfect lighting.

As you can see it is close theWalt Disney Music Hall.

Low Taxes Have Crushed the Middle Class

Although social, and wedge issues often grab the headlines, two fundamental differences separate the parties.  Republicans are more willing to go to war, while ensuring that they, and theirs, never see a battle field.  Republicans believe that lower taxes raise the tide that lifts all ships, ignoring the leaky dinghies of the lower and middle class.

The GOP favors wealth accumulation by the strong, unfettered by a puny, tax starved government.  Democrats believe that the purpose of government is to lift up the weak, secure in the knowledge that the strong will take care of themselves.

In the 1950's the top marginal tax rate was 90%, kicking in at about 2.5 million in today's dollars.  Although deductions significantly lowered the effective rate, it was much higher than today.  The term progressive tax rate is accurate.  Government programs provide proportionally more for the middle class and the poor than for the wealthy.  An increase in social security benefits is a godsend at the bottom, but a mere pittance at the top.

The real hatred for Obamacare is not imaginary death panels, or phantom government take over of medical care, it is the subsidization of insurance.  Obamacare redistributes wealth to the middle, and particularly, to the lower middle class.

Lower tax rates have gone hand in hand with a redistribution of wealth to the upper class.  Wealth begets power and influence which begets more wealth.  The system is rigged when a CEO of a public company makes 300 times more than the average employee.

Lower taxes and cotton candy are both filled with hot air, and do more harm than good.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Whale Watching in Newport Beach

Roslyn and I went whale watching.  After spending a week blogging about the party of pachyderms, it was a wonderful change of pace to see these majestic creatures.