Have a great Christmas Eve!
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Taken with my iPhone
My Xmas List to Santi Clo:
1. Nikon D3 w/Nikon 200-400 4.0 VR
2. Intel Mac Book Pro
3. Canon 16-35L II Lens
That's a lot no? If I don't get it from santi clo, I understand. Times are tough. But it's free to ask him.
have a great weekend infidels.
On a more serious note, Robert at 26th Parallel referenced this article in the Herald about this tax the Dems want to pass on Cigars that would make the price of cigars too expensive and which would put an entire business, retailers, farmers, workers out of business which in turn would render the tax pointless. This frosts my ass so much. Don't these wankers know anything other than the power to tax, tax, tax and why do they hate freedom of choice? They're "pro choice" on abortion but not "pro choice" when it comes to allowing businesses and individuals to exercise their God given right to smoke cigars if they so choose or to fart in public. If they don't like it, go elsewhere. Leave me the hell alone. Read this and you will puke with rage (if you're a true lover of freedom) .... I don't like to use this blog for political speech, but when it comes to my cigars, those is fighting words. This tax would raise the price of any box of cigars by $ 60.00. Puh-lease ....
$3 a stick in federal tax. Unreal. Remember the luxury tax that flopped many years ago? And it is important to note that they had passed a sick tax like this in California which flopped. It put retailers out of business and folks bought cigars out of state and the State did not get the revenues they wanted. These wankers never learn. A bunch of goodie two-shoe pissants that feel obliged to paternalism because we are somehow too stupid to make our own decisions. So I'll smoke as I please and if they and perhaps a future dem President and dem congress pass this tax in the future, start stocking up on your sticks cause it will be effectively banned and sold on the black market. These folks should get smart and tax methane cause they got plenty of it in Washington especially on capital hill.
By BETH REINHARD
A cigar-store Indian and a pungent aroma greet customers at Miami's Sosa Cigars, next to the famed Versailles restaurant.
Boxes of cigars labeled Partagás, Cohiba and Padrón rise from floor to ceiling. A table for dominoes invites smokers with time to spare. Buy a humidor, bottle of wine or guayabera to complete the look of old Havana.
''Take a picture,'' quipped U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, one of three Miami Republicans who oppose legislation expanding a popular children's health-insurance program, partly because it relies on higher cigar taxes. ``They're not going to be around much longer.''
Under a plan to pump $35 billion into the so-called SCHIP program, federal taxes on cigars would soar from 5 cents to an average of $3 per cigar, an increase of about 6,000 percent. Cigarette taxes would rise 61 cents, to $1 per pack.
''Why are they picking on us?'' demanded Sergio Pereira, who owns the Don Sergio Ramar Cigars factory in Miami. ``Cuba is rum, sugar and cigars.''
In a flame-fanning tirade on Spanish-language radio last week, Díaz-Balart called the tax hike an ''attack on the Cuban-American community.'' He added: ``It would hurt an industry specifically in Miami-Dade, in South Florida, an industry that is almost entirely Hispanic: those who make cigars by hand, which is a cultural tradition. That industry will not survive.''
But put aside the Chicken-Little warnings, the appeals to ethnic pride and the romantic image of the family-run storefront. Consider that the program would extend health benefits to 10 million children on the strapping back of a deadly industry.
''Raising the price may cause some individuals to stop smoking, which would be a good thing,'' said Bill Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. ``We have a product that is designed to addict and kill, and we have to take steps to protect the public health.''
Corr is affiliated with a nonprofit that tracks tobacco industry contributions and found that members of Congress who opposed the SCHIP expansion have received ''four, five, six times as much'' money than those who supported it. Díaz-Balart, and U.S. Reps. Lincoln Díaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, have received tens of thousands of dollars from tobacco over the past decade.
''They chose cigar makers over kids and politics over children,'' said Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston. ``I think they made a grievous mistake.''
The national Democratic Party and left-leaning special interest groups have seized on SCHIP as a club to browbeat the Miami Republicans and other potentially vulnerable members of Congress. Radio ads in their districts warned them to ''to choose our kids.'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be in South Florida next week to recruit potential challengers, including former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez.
The three Republican lawmakers have said repeatedly that they support the insurance program, but that the legislation doesn't go far enough to prioritize the poorest children, depends heavily on tax revenues from new smokers and enables 2 million children to replace their private health benefits with government subsidies.
They voted no this week, contributing to the failure of Democratic leaders to muster enough votes to override President Bush's veto.***
And now back to regular programming.
Very Hot Spicy Thai Chili Causes Street Closures in London
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 21 minutes ago
Super spicy chili sauce being cooked at a London Thai restaurant sparked road closures and evacuations after passers-by complained that the smell was burning their throats, police said Wednesday.
London Fire Brigade's chemical response team was called after reports that a strong smell was wafting from the restaurant in the heart of London's Soho district Monday afternoon, a Metropolitan police spokesman said, speaking anonymously in line with force policy.
Authorities sealed off several premises and closed roads. The Times of London described shoppers coughing and spluttering as firefighters wearing special breathing masks sought the source of the smell.
The paper said firefighters smashed down the door of the Thai Cottage restaurant and seized extra-hot bird's eye chilies which had been left dry-frying. It said they were being prepared as part of a batch of Nam Prik Pao, a spicy Thai dip.
"The smoke didn't go up into the sky because of the rain and the heavy air," The Times quoted Thai Cottage owner Sue Wasboonma as saying. "It's the hottest thing we make."
The police spokesman said no arrests were made in the case.
"As far as I'm aware it's not a criminal offense to cook very strong chili," he said.