The two best stories to start the day with


by David Safier

I enjoyed both of these stories in the NY Times different ways.

JP-CELEBRATE-articleLargeFirst, you gotta love the Seattle government officials and the police.

Washington state's same sex marriage ballot measure became law at midnight Thursday morning. The King County admin building opened its doors at 12:01am. County exec Dow Constantine decided not to wait until the usual morning opening time and found staff who were willing to volunteer to man (and woman) their desks.

“People have waited years for this,” he said. “They should not have to wait a minute longer to take advantage of their rights.”

By the end of the day, the office doubled its previous record of issued marriage licenses, a total of 481.

: I added a second pic from the gay marriage line in Washington. Not exactly the media portrait of gay men. Many happy returns to both couples, as well as the 479 others.

Then there's the police department that looked the other way as people celebrating the first moments of the legalization of marijuana (up to an ounce if you're over 21) lit up in front of the Space Needle. The law says you can't toke in public, but at least for now, here's the official policy on the police department's website.

“Does this mean you should flagrantly roll up a mega-spliff and light up in the middle of the street? No. If you’re smoking pot in public, officers will be giving helpful reminders to folks about the rules and regulations under I-502 (like not smoking pot in public).”

The second story isn't nearly as much fun. It's the facts that make it
such a breath of fresh air next to the usual tax-related obfuscation.

Screen Shot 2012-12-07 at 8.56.39 AMObama's tax-the-rich plans don't put much of a bite on people who make under $350,000, contrary to the outraged cries from Republicans. First, you have to make over $250,000 in adjusted income before you pay an extra penny. That means most couples have to earn more like $300,000 before deductions to qualify. And the average extra tax for people at the low end of the new tax rates is pretty minimal. An adjusted income of $250,000-$300,000 means an average $669 increase, about 0.2%. Not two percent. Point-two percent — 0.002. For the $300,000-$350,000 adjusted income earners, it goes up to 0.5%. Millionaires and billionaires will have to kick in a more sizable amount of extra money, but they're millionaires and billionaires. They can take it out of petty cash. Only their inflated egos will feel the pinch, not their wallets.