Fourteen years ago, former NBA basketball player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf set off a firestorm of controversy by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. He refused to stand for the national anthem because “the flag represents tyranny and oppression” and he added that standing for the anthem was a form of nationalistic worship forbidden by his religion. He was suspended by the NBA, but served only a one game suspension. He worked out a compromise in which he would stand, but he could close his eyes and look downward. He was booed and jeered by fans in a March 1996 game against Chicago. The former No. 3 overall pick never quite recovered from this:
Abdul-Rauf was traded to Sacramento in the offseason and played for the Kings for two seasons. He then played in Turkey in 1998-99 before returning for his final NBA season with Vancouver in 2000-01. The anthem stance seemingly taken a toll as his numbers declined each of his final three years in the league, and he never quite lived up to the expectations of being a No. 3 pick.
He now plays in Japan.
Enough signatures having been gathered for The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, Californians will have the chance to vote on legalizing marijuana next November. The measure, known popularly as the “Tax Cannabis Act,” would decriminalize the plant and its psychoactive uses statewide, leaving it to the state’s counties and cities to tax and regulate . . . or continue to prohibit. (If passed it would also severely test the two weakest Amendments to the United States’ Constitution, the Ninth and Tenth.)
Though this could be a major step forward against the barbaric war on drug use, may I express some sadness at the measure’s title, and the way some folks argue for it? “Legalize it so we can tax it!” What a depressing mantra. This binding of freedom to eternal victimhood by the state irks me. It’s the giving of a base reason to do a noble thing.
Of course, nobility of thought is the last thing on most people’s minds. [Keep reading…]
According to Forbes.com, I should be angry that General Electric pays less taxes than I do:
As you work on your taxes this month, here’s something to raise your hackles: Some of the world’s biggest, most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do–that is, if they pay taxes at all.
The most egregious example is General Electric. Last year the conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.
Avoiding taxes is nothing new for General Electric. In 2008 its effective tax rate was 5.3%; in 2007 it was 15%. The marginal U.S. corporate rate is 35%.
Actually I am less than pleased with GE, but that’s because they possess hefty military contracts that allow our brave freedom fighters to slaughter poor brown people overseas, or whoever else refuses to submit to the empire. They are, in Lew Rockwell’s words, true merchants of death, one of the worst examples of corporatism in the American economy.