Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.
No one wants to pay taxes, but if you listen to the conservative rhetoric, you’d think that we’re being taxed at the highest rate ever. But it’s not so.
3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.
I agree with everything Roger Ebert has to say about 3-D films. I love technology and its use in films is good if it can advance a story and bring a meaningful new experience. I think in the right hands, like James Cameron with Avatar it can be beautiful, but with others it is just another noisy visual special effect.
It’s always fun to see an actor of one of your favorite shows do something different. Here, it’s Zachary Levi from NBC’s spy dramedy Chuck singing a duet with former American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee.
Chuck is finishing its third season, but I only started watching it in January on Blu-Rays. The show is the perfect blend of action, comedy, and romance. 50 episodes later, I’m finally caught up with only four shows remaining this season. Chuck is borderline for renewal, but I’m hopeful for a 4th season.
Mark McKinnon is prepared to be more explicit about the long-term stakes. An early member of George W. Bush’s inner circle in Austin, he knows Texas political talent when he sees it. “JuliÃ¡n Castro has a very good chance of becoming the first Hispanic president of the United States,” he says flatly.