Thursday, January 19, 2012

I don't think you understand the meaning of "fairly"

This is a hilarious passage from an AP story:

One in eight people earning at least $1 million annually was audited by the Internal Revenue Service last year, making them far likelier to be examined than those making below $200,000, according to IRS data released Thursday.

Just 1 in 100 individuals earning less than $200,000 had their income tax returns examined, the IRS said.

The 12 percent of millionaire earners audited in 2011 was appreciably higher than the 8 percent who were audited in 2010. IRS officials said the high ratio was part of an effort to demonstrate that tax laws are applied fairly.

Of course, what it actually demonstrates is that tax laws are applied unfairly, extremely and ludicrously unfairly. The only fair application would be for no individual to be any more likely to be audited than any other, regardless of income or any other factor.

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Truth in advertising

Jay Nordlinger tells it as Cuba trip promoters would tell it if they were honest:

"A friend sends me this notice: The University of Michigan Alumni Association is preparing a trip to the Castros’ Cuba! Take advantage of the segregated beaches, restaurants, and hotels! (“Tourism apartheid,” some call it.) Enjoy a place where a single party rules! Where the media have only one point of view! Where dissenters are jailed and tortured! Where American aid workers are held hostage! And don’t forget the underage prostitution!

Oh, you’ll love your trip. Totalitarian Cuba is in some ways even better than Ann Arbor, which after all has a Republican party. Go Blue!"

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sons of Anarchy 11/15/11 Spoiler

Lemonhead just can't seem to keep from getting himself blown up, can he?


Saturday, November 05, 2011

What he said (neo segregation)

Jay Nordlinger at NRO echoes a thought I often have:

The other day, I was reading about “the first Latino fundraiser for Obama’s candidacy.” The president was talking to “about 120 mostly Latino contributors.” And I thought, “Even our fundraisers are segregated now? Must everything in American life be divided up by ethnicity and race?”

I have an idea: How about separate drinking fountains and toilet facilities? Has anyone ever thought of that?

E pluribus unum — a great principle. We ought to think about adopting it and living it someday . . .

While on the subject, his Impromptus column is one of my favorite reads, hitting issues most pundits ignore.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DirecTV NBA League Pass and the lockout

DirecTV sent this out via e-mail tonight:

Your NBA LEAGUE PASS™ subscription is set to automatically renew for the 2011-12 NBA Season. Due to the NBA's ongoing labor negotiations with the players' union, DIRECTV is offering all subscribers a no-risk policy. There will be absolutely no charge for your NBA LEAGUE PASS subscription until it is confirmed that the 2011-12 NBA Season will begin.

• A balance of $0.00 will show for the NBA LEAGUE PASS™ portion of your bill.
• Once an agreement is reached, your subscription will renew for six easy payments of $31.99 each, unless any games are cancelled from the season schedule.
• If games are cancelled, your bill and payment schedule will be adjusted accordingly.

For more information on NBA LEAGUE PASS™ during the work stoppage, please visit

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Carbon emissions are more dangerous than I thought!

Thanks to James Taranto for the pointer to this beautiful piece from the Guardian:

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists
Rising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report

It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets," the authors write.

It's science! Little green men are green in more ways than one.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mid August overflow

A few things I've run across that are too long to fit on Twitter, which has all but killed my blogging:

James Taranto: “Times have changed. In the 1930s, government was small. Expanding it massively in order to solve problems might or might not have been a good idea, but there's no denying it was innovative. Today government is sclerotic. Those who believe more government is the solution to America's problems are at best unthinking reactionaries. The Tea Partiers, having clearly identified this problem, are today's true progressives (to employ the term in its literal rather than ideological sense).”

I have long made variations on this same theme, especially with regard to Social Security.


More Taranto: “Obama's failure is the failure of the liberal elite, and that is why their ressentiment has reached such intensity. Their ideas, such as they are, are being put to a real-world test and found severely wanting. As a result, their authority is collapsing. And if there is one thing they know deep in their bones, it is that they are entitled to that authority. They lash out, desperately and pathetically, because they have nothing to offer but fear and anger.”

Watching leftists try to explain away the failure of their policy ideas has served as a bit of dark comedy, but it hardly takes away the sting of having to live under said policies.


Jack Kelly: “Boiled to its essence, Progressivism is the belief that government knows best. More specifically, that government in the hands of such wise and public spirited people as Progressives imagine themselves to be knows better how to run businesses than do the men and women who own them; knows better what's good for ordinary people than the people do themselves….

The failure of their policies to improve the lives of most Americans didn't trouble Progressives much, because their focus changed. What was good for teacher unions became more important than what was good for students. What was good for public employee unions became more important than whether bureaucracies were serving the public well. To Progressive politicians, the votes of minorities became more important than their economic well being.”

I think this is exactly right: trying to argue specific policy ideas with them based on the results they produce is fruitless, because they do not care what the outcome of policies are. What is important to them is feeling like you are doing something good, and more importantly being able to convince interest groups that you mean them well. Feelings vs results is the “Mars and Venus” aspect of so much political discussion in this country, why neither side even understands the other.


Richard Miniter: "Obama is not the new FDR, but the new Gorbachev: a man forced to preside over the demise of a political system he desperately wants to save,"
Indeed, the line has been going around about how ironic it would be if Obama is the guy who finally discredits socialism (don’t hold your breath, that people still believe in it today shows that it is more religion than reasoned worldview).


Jay Nordlinger: “Question: If a state votes for lions of early-’70s liberalism, Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, over such forward thinkers as Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina — not to mention those challengers’ entrepreneurial credentials — doesn’t the state kind of deserve what it gets?”

Indeed it does, Jay.


The dishonesty of Chris Matthews knows no bounds. He correctly quoted a 1987 Reagan speech:

"Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default. ... This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations."

Without quoting the rest of the passage, making clear the meaning:

"For those who say more taxes will solve our deficit problem, they are wrong. Every time Congress increases taxes, the deficit does not decrease, spending increases. It's time for a clear and consistent policy to reduce the federal budget deficit. ... You don't need more taxes to balance the budget. Congress needs the discipline to stop spending more, and that can be done with the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. ... But I ... will not permit Congress to dismantle our national defense, to jeopardize arms reduction or to increase your taxes. I am determined that will not happen."

Until next time...

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Wait, who's in office now?

Hypocrisy busts are too easy, but this one is so devoid of principle I cannot resist (hat tip @jamestaranto):

* "This theory of presidential power argues, in essence, that when the President acts in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, he may make his own rules and cannot be bound by Congressional laws to the contrary. This is a theory of presidential dictatorship. These views are outrageous and inconsistent with basic principles of the Constitution as well as with two centuries of legal precedents. Yet they were the basic assumptions of key players in the Bush Administration in the days following 9/11."--Jack Balkin, Yale Law School, March 3, 2009

* " 'At the point at which the economy is melting down, who cares what the Supreme Court is going to say?' Professor Balkin said. 'It's the president's duty to save the Republic.' "--New York Times, July 25, 2011

He was against dictatorship before he was for it!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Longest MLB losing streaks

Thanks to SABR member Frank Vaccaro for this list (EndDate is the date of the win that broke the streak):

Rank Streak Team League Season StartDate EndDate
1 31 BKN na 1875 5/29-10/9
2 26 LOU aa 1889 5/22-6/23
3 24 CLE n 1899 8/26-9/18
4 23 PIT n 1890 8/12-9/4
23 PHI n 1961 7/29-8/20

6 22 PHI aa 1890 9/16-10/12
7 21 BAL a 1988 4/4-4/29
8 20 LOU n 1894 5/28-6/19
20 BOS a 1906 5/1-5/25
20 PHI a 1916 7/21-8/9

20 PHI a 1943 8/7-8/24
20 MON n 1969 5/13-6/8
13 19 BOS n 1906 5/17-6/9
19 CIN n 1914 9/5-9/23
19 DET a 1975 7/29-8/16 (Frank's wife's birthday!)

19 KC a 2005 7/28-8/20
17 18 CIN n 1876 7/11-8/25
18 LOU n 1894 8/15-9/6
18 STL n 1897 9/3-9/27
18 PHI a 1920 6/8-6/28

18 WAS a 1948 9/3-9/19
18 WAS a 1959 7/19-8/5
23 17 WAS n 1894 5/3-5/29
17 BOS a 1926 8/20-9/8
17 NY n 1962 5/21-6/8

17 ATL n 1977 4/23-5/12
17 SEA a 2011 7/6-7/27

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