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  • Civilization is all about messing with mother nature, otherwise try living under a tree, or avoiding surgery when you get appendicitis. The concern with messing with DNA is that we're at the very early beginning of understanding DNA, while some people think that we're further along than we really are. Science just finished mapping where most genes are and hasn't even deduced the structure of all those genes. There are huge areas of DNA which have been labeled "junk DNA" because no one knows what it does. Sometimes a change in DNA improves one thing while it worsens another. But, assuming another 30-40 years of research (and that I was alive, and planning children - lol) my vote would be for better health, which usually goes with being more athletic.
  • Thanks, drjehr. Agree. For certain, generations that follow will know of our Black President Obama for among other feats, the health care insurance for millions, recognition of and equality for LGBTs, raising the standard of living through wage increase and/or equal pay. Then there's the demise of Osama bin Laden, and important to me and many others, his Nobel Peace Prize, which will be recognized for why it was given - brains not brawn (sounds trite). Here we have a man with full humility and clean of pettiness. Prez Obama brought the world to our doorstep. On the other hand, we have the noodle brained led by rancher Bundy in Nevada, one dumber than the other, playing gunslingers. No surprise the organized hacks pushing for a gunfight in the OK corral is funded by Kochs. But the champion of the Western Ranchers - the boys in the light colored hats riding the range for love of the land, the people, the cattle - there's more of us than them - is heralded here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/16/1292565/-An-Idahoan-shows-Bundy-what-a-real-Western-rancher-is?detail=facebook
  • Doing personal tax returns myself is a matter of principle to me. Even using a software program it takes an absurd amount of time and paper (if filing a printed return). The tax laws are a very important way for the people and their government to communicate about what is important and what is fair in our society. Unfortunately this communication tool is structured now to minimize communication, to obscure the irrationality of actions of elected officials. The "evil half" of the 1% seem to be running the country now and the "evil half' of the Supreme Court is helping them do it. Energy incentives to promote clean, carbon-free energy development are still overwelmed by incentives to produce more oil and gas than Saudi Arabia and Russia - even at the cost of global warming and endangered water supplies. Moreover, the tax code "textbook" displays no history. In 1932, under Republican Herbert Hoover, the top marginal tax rate was boosted to 63% on annual income over $15.8 million (in 2010 dollars). In 1939, Democrat Franklin Roosevelt got the top marginal tax rate up to 79% but only on annual income over $77.8 million (2010 dollars). Once we were really in WW II the rate had to go up and was applied to incomes over $2.6 million (2010 dollars). In 1965, under "Great Society" Democrat Lyndon Johnson, the top marginal tax rate was brought down from 91% to 70% applying to income over $1.3 million (2010 dollars). Reagan was president when the top rate was brought down in 1982 to 50% but it applied to incomes over $185,000 (in 2010 dollars). By 1988 the top marginal income tax rate was brought down to $28% on all income over $54,000 (in 2010 dollars). Who did Reagan work for? George H. W. Bush started correcting that absurdity getting the top marginal rate a bit higher to 31% but only on incomes above $86,500 (2010 dollars). The senior Bush probably also signed the legislation that raised the top marginal tax rate to the 39.6% level that continued throughout the terms of Bill Clinton. This rate was applied to that part of income over about $375,000 (2010 dollars). The marginal tax rate supporting Obamacare and the War in Afghanistan and injured veterans is 35% still applicable to incomes over about $375,000. If the "upper middle class" aspires to be like Warren Buffett, or like the Koch brothers, they have acheived it in terms of the marginal income tax rate. Now, I think I'll explore the history of the capital gains tax - the tax break for the really rich who spend their profits on frivolities (probably imported from Europe, possibly involving conflict diamonds) rather than reinvesting them in job creating businesses here or in the third world.
  • The second response should have been written "non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male person" or it could have been written "a person who is not white, hetero-sexual and male." As written it must be straight man who is not white. Since the Late Shows are after prime time, I should think the FCC could buckle to a little more pressure toward "freer" speech. A four-letter vocabulary is not the goal but ascerbic political and social commentary is an important part of the American democratic tradition. Colbert might goad Fallon and Kimmel into reading the newspapers, and talking about it in a humorously serious way.