Here they are, global, national and local:
*** "House Democrats, convinced that President Bush blundered by vetoing an expansion of a children's health care program, plan to approve a very similar bill this week even as the administration offered new concessions Tuesday," reports the Associated Press. "The Democrats' revised bill would reduce the number of adults and higher-income families potentially eligible for the health insurance subsidies, presumably making it easier for Republicans to back it while saving face. But on the key issue of spending, Democrats say they will not budge from the original $35 billion pricetag." (emphasis added)
Umm...how do you reduce the number of adults and the number of higher-income families and still need the same amount of increase???? Anti-logic!
*** House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., announced today some proposed changes in tax law. Among them:
- a repeal of the alternative minimum tax starting Jan. 1, 2008 - Good!
- a 4% surtax on incomes above $150,000 for a single earner or incomes above $200,000 for a married couple - bad, because it contributes to the philosophy that the 'rich,' defined by income rather than assets, should pay more.
- an increase in the value of the child tax credit for those earning too little to owe federal income taxes - questionable, because I don't understand why people who don't owe federal income taxes in the first place need more of a federal tax break.
- extension of the research-and-development tax credit, tax breaks for teachers buying schools supplies and a deduction for state and local sales taxes - Good!
Rangel doesn't expect this to come to a vote this year, so we can watch and see how his plan works out in terms of specific legislation. As they say, the devil is in the details.
*** California wildfires are thought to be the work of an arsonist...SICK!
*** China has surged ahead of Germany for the first time to become the world's top exporter. They vaulted past the US at the beginning of this year. Machinery, equipment and cars now make up 46% of their total exports, while textiles are fading from the picture.
But in a related story, Palm Bay, Fla., may ban the purchase of products made in China. Residents would still be free to purchase whatever goods they want, but the city itself would face restrictions. Mayor John Mazziotti cites the questionable quality and safety of the goods, China's rights abuses, its record of pollution and the fact that American manufacturing jobs have been lost to China as reasons for proposing the ban.
*** Toledo's Westgate Mall is adding The Fresh Market ... woo hoo! Westgate owner Liz Holland said Fresh Market signed a lease last week. According to Holland, surveys of residents in the Westgate area showed the first preference was a gourmet grocer. Their stores feature a meat department with a butcher on duty, a European-style delicatessen, a bakery, a produce department, and fresh seafood flown into stores six times per week.
*** Toledo's ABLE plans to transform a downtown landmark that's been mostly vacant since the 1970s into a Center for Equal Justice. They want to raise $5 million over the next year to turn the former Western Union building their new headquarters for the work they do in 32 Ohio counties. Legal Aid of Western Ohio will join in the fundraising efforts.
They're offering naming rights for certain levels of donations and plan to raise half the amount from the legal community and the other half from the general public. And, so far, they've not asked for any tax dollars - how refreshing!
*** On a personal note, I had a pleasant conversation with my former colleague and current president of the Board of County Commissioners, Tina Skeldon Wozniak. She reminded me of a comment she made last year, predicting that I'd end up in radio at some point in the future. Yes, Tina, turns out you were right. And we both had a good laugh over how many times I've said that to her...