Thursday, January 14, 2010
Scott and his crew stayed at the hut before their ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in January 1912. The sanctuary measures 50 feet (15 meters) long and 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide and was built to house up to 33 men.
"Had we lived," Scott wrote in March 1912 in a message found with his body, "I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.”
Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley says she doesn't know why a member of her entourage knocked a reporter to the ground, as she was too busy attending a fundraiser put on by health care industry lobbyists
“A day after it was released, here’s a roundup of how the mainstream media are covering the HHS study showing that America’s $100 billion plus investment in Head Start is a failure: [...crickets...] Nada. Zilch. Rien du tout, mes amis.”
Brown raised a million dollars a day every day this week
Dems fear disaster as Coakley’s internal poll shows lead down to two
U.S. military mobilizes thousands for Haiti relief...
Rescuers race against time...
Growing desperation grips capital...
FAA halts air traffic to Haiti, no room for planes...
Survivors Face Diarrhea, Malaria Outbreaks Amid Lack of Clean Water...
Dozens of UN personnel killed; Greatest loss of life in UN history...
Earthquake in pictures...
Why certain countries are the way they are is always interesting and given the calamity in Haiti there is a lot of chatter about it.
Why is Haiti so poor?
[Haiti should not be compared to the West, but] it needs to be compare it to other black Caribbean nations, such as Jamaica or Barbados. It's much worse and in terms of social indicators it is also worse than many places in Africa. Why? Here a few hypotheses (NB: I don't endorse all of them):
1. Haiti cut its colonial ties too early, rebelling against the French in the early 19th century and achieving complete independence. Guadaloupe and Martinique are still riding the gravy train and French aid is a huge chunk of their gdps.
2. Haiti was a French colony in the first place and French colonies do less well.
3. Sugar cane gave Haiti some early characteristics of "the resource curse," dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
4. Haiti was doing OK until the Duvaliers destroyed civil society, thus putting the country on a path toward destruction. It is a more or less random one-time event which wrecked the place.
5. Hegel was correct that the "voodoo religion," with its intransitive power relations among the gods, was prone to producing political intransitivity as well. (Isn't that a startling insight for a guy who didn't travel the broader world much?)
6. For reasons peculiar to the history of the slave trade, Haitian slaves came from many different parts of Africa and thus Haitian internal culture has long had lower levels of cohesion and cooperation. (The former point about the mix is true, but the cultural point is speculation.)
7. Haiti has higher than average levels of polygamy (but is this cause or effect?)
8. In the early to mid twentieth century, Haiti was poorly situated to attract Chinese and other immigrants, unlike say Jamaica or Trinidad. It is interesting that many of the wealthiest families in Haiti are Lebanese, such as the Naders.
It's not only that this yacht has been designed by an Egyptian naval architecture house, it's that it reminds me of the Egyptian ships of old, rolling up and down the Nile. Except that this 197-foot vessel runs on hydrogen.
Its hydrogen diesel-electric engine can, in theory, give it a range of 13,000 nautical miles at 10 knots—which is mind blowing for a yacht with these features. The axe bow gives it lower resistance. And its general design makes it look like it can kick any other yacht ass
Bwlch yr Oernant, pass of the cold stream. The hills were "melting into a faintly misted sky".
The image is by Howard Maunders of Beautiful Britain. The words are those of Ellis Peters, describing Brother Cadfael's journey to Wales in Monk's Hood.
It was pleasant to be riding here alone in a fine winter morning on cushioned turf, between hills that took him back to his youth. . .
1st president in 110 years to miss the annual Army-Navy Football Game.
1st president to not attend any Christmas religious observance.
1st president to stay on vacation after a terrorist attack.
Add to that the first President not to stay in Washington for Christmas for the last 20 years. Past Presidents did not leave Washington for Christmas vacation until after Christmas. This was done so that their staff (Secret Service, Air Force One Crew, Limousine transport, Presidential advancing logistics etc.) could be with their families for Christmas.
Tax Court and the Taxpayer. (We do much much better than these national numbers. I would say we lose maybe 2 out 10, or exactly reversed.)
Taxpayers Win 14% of Tax Cases
Blog of the Legal Times, Fighting the IRS:
Your chances of winning a fight with the IRS are about as great as your chances when fighting City Hall. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, in her recently-released annual report to Congress, listed the 10 tax issues most litigated in the federal courts. Of the 923 cases involving those issues, taxpayers prevailed in whole, or in part, in 132, or roughly 14%. Taxpayers who were represented by counsel did somewhat better when the numbers were broken down—they won 20%, or 54 of 265 cases; pro se taxpayers prevailed in 12%, or 78 of 658 cases. ...
The 10 most litigated tax issues, in order of greatest number of cases, are:
- Collection Due Process hearings (§§ 6320, 6330)
- Summons enforcement (§§ 7602(a), 7604(a), 7609(a))
- Trade or business expenses (§ 162(a) and related Code sections)
- Gross income (§ 61 and related Code sections)
- Accuracy-related penalty (§ 6662)
- Frivolous Issues Penalty (§ 6673 and related appellate-level sanctions)
- Civil Actions to Enforce Federal Tax Liens or to Subject Property to Payment of Tax (§ 7403)
- Failure to file penalty (§ 6651(a)(1)) and estimated tax penalty (§ 6654)
- Family status issues (§§ 2, 24, 32, and 151)
- Relief from joint and several liability for spouses (§ 6015).
Poll: Majority Would Vote Against Obama Re-Election. “The National Journal polled 1200 adults nationwide to determine whether they would vote for Barack Obama’s re-election based on his first-year performance. In a stunner, 50% said they’d vote for ’someone else,’ while only 23% said they would definitely vote for Obama.”
MASSACHUSETTS: You’re wondering why the cops, who should know Martha Coakley best, are all endorsing Scott Brown.”
Thyme growing. Researchers have found that six essential oils -from thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot -- can suppress the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, in a manner similar to resveratrol, the chemical linked with the health benefits of red wine