Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Audits

Obama Administration to Increase IRS Audits This Year

CNN Money, Tax Audits: Uncle Sam Wants You!:

Worried about a tax audit? Maybe you should be. More Americans than ever may be subject to unwanted attention from the IRS this season as the government pumps billions of dollars into tax collection.

More than 1.4 million Americans were audited last year, the most in a decade. Even more audits are expected as the Obama administration plans to spend $8.2 billion in tax enforcement initiatives in 2011, a nearly 10% increase over last year.

More on Wind Farms


Wind Turbines Create Their Own Clouds

It's hard to believe they noticed this one in England, but apparently wind turbine farms have the ability to create their own fog. The phenomenon has been observed by Mike Page, a retiree flying on board his Cessna 150

My Favorite Redskin

Darrell Green Runs 4.43 40-Yard Dash on 50th Birthday

Measuring casualties

We'll use a standard measure of combat losses, the number of troops in a combat division (12-20,000 troops) who are killed each day the division is in combat. Since late 2001, there have been .12 American combat deaths per division day in Afghanistan. British losses have been a little higher, but that's still far less (over 70 percent less) than the rate suffered in the Falklands.

During the Vietnam war, the average division lost 3.2 troops a day, which was similar to the losses suffered in Korea (1950-53). In Iraq, the losses have been .44 deaths per division per day. By comparison, during World War II the daily losses per American averaged (during 400-500 combat days) about twenty soldiers per day. On the Russian front, German and Russian divisions lost several times that, and often over a hundred a day for weeks on end.

A great book

HAYEK’S THE ROAD TO SERFDOM continues to rack up stellar sales. Well, if ever there were a time. . . .

Wind Power is not the answer. It would take all of Wales to generate 1/6th of England’s Energy Needs

Straight talk

In his February 2010 Straight Talk , Roger Helmer MEP reports on patriotic Southampton taxi drivers; the response of Danish trade unions to the Greek crisis; IPCC climate-change hysteria, now proved to be just that, hysterical; and stopping wind turbines - a boondoggle that will deface Britain.

In Helmer's December 2008 Newsletter he reported that "Professor David MacKay of Cambridge University is a strong supporter of wind farms - but claims in a new book that they will require 'at least five times more land than estimated'. To supply even a sixth of UK generating capacity would require 'an area the size of Wales'".

My observation - only an academic intellectual could support wind power while understanding that it would require all of the land in Wales to supply one-sixth of Britain's power needs. And even then you won't get any power when the wind's not blowing.

John Stossel is one of my favorite out of the box thinkers

Government’s Evil Education MonopolyJohn Stossel

America offers choice, and therefore competition, in nearly every other sector of the economy. We see wonderful results.  One area where there remains little choice and competition is in public schools. The results are predictable. Since 1980, government spending on education, adjusted for inflation, has nearly doubled. Test scores have been flat for decades. Kids in other countries clean our clocks on international tests. The government monopoly is not working. They never do.

In this week’s syndicated column, I write about the two biggest factors that tend to predict a country’s educational success: autonomy to experiment and parental choice.

Parents care about their kids and want them to learn and succeed — even poor parents. Thousands line up hoping to get their kids into one of the few hundred lottery-assigned slots at Harlem Success Academy, a highly ranked charter school in New York City. Kids and parents cry when they lose.

Yet the establishment is against choice. The union demonstrated outside Harlem Success the first day of school. And President Obama killed Washington, D.C.'s voucher program.

This is typical of elitists, who believe that parents, especially poor ones, can't make good choices about their kids' education.

Is that so? Ask James Tooley about that. Tooley is a professor of education policy who spends most of every year in some of the poorest parts of Africa, India and China. For 10 years, he's studied how poor kids do in "free" government schools and — hold on — private schools.

That's right. In the worst slums, private for-profit schools educate kids better than the government's schools do

Read more:

How to survive an earthquake. From Jane


The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones.

     They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

     Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the "triangle of life".

     The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact.      The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the "triangles" you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.

This is very good news.

OIL: “Exxon Mobil (XOM) announced today that in 2009 the company’s proven reserves increased by 133% of the amount of oil produced. . . . Amazingly, Exxon, who has been accused in the past of being too conservative in terms of exploration and development, has been finding more oil than it produces for each of the last 16 years, to the dismay of peak oil proponents.”

Connecting the dots

Blue States Reverting To Red. “While off-year and down-ballot elections are inherently different than presidential contests, the rapid reversal in Democratic fortunes in the very places where Obama’s success brought so much attention suggests that predictions of a lasting realignment were premature. And it’s raising the question of whether the president’s 2008 win was the result of a unique set of circumstances that will be difficult for him to replicate again and perhaps downright impossible for other Democrats on the ballot to reprise.”

TEA PARTY HISTORY: PROTESTING IN DENVER, A YEAR AGO. This was the second Tea Party protest, before they were even called Tea Party protests.

Yesterday in DC. (And no Mr. President the Stimulus did not save us, over 2/3 of it has not even been spent.)


Stimulus funds going to slashed programs?


Economists Predict Cutbacks, Tax Increases That 'Aren't Even Imaginable'...

MEGAN MCARDLE: “I’m watching Obama claim that it is ‘largely thanks to the Recovery Act’ that the recession didn’t become a depression. I supported the stimulus, and still do. But this claim is ludicrous.”

Writers Helping Writers... Or Not


Extraordinary Letters From Cheever, Bradbury, Salinger And Vonnegut

If looks could kill

These folks look like they could use a Caribbean getaway vacation, don't they?

Signs of things to come

But these folks could care less about polls and what America thinks

I've been thinkin' ... again

Science can be focused ... and it can be erratic

It appears to me that science and the products of scientific study can be so narrow. For example, we can determine the cause of a death of an Egyptian boy king thousands of years ago.

Or, science can be erratic. For example, there is so much strong debate and misinformation and confusion about global warming and climate change, that I have given up trying to keep up with the science. Maybe thousands of years from now, we'll have settled the climate change debate.

Wow! CNN viewers must be major fans of curling and biathlon.

CNN Has Lowest Viewer Night in 4 Years; Lowest Demo Night in Nearly 9 Years

CNN hit new low viewership totals during prime time Friday night (8-11pm) in both Total Viewers and A25-54 viewers.

Up against NBC's Olympic Opening Ceremony coverage, CNN averaged just 85,000 A25-54 viewers during Campbell Brown (8p), Larry King (9p) and Anderson Cooper (10p). An average that low has not been seen since May, 23, 2001. And the Total Viewer average of 382,000 was the lowest since Dec. 23, 2005.

And while all the cable news channels saw reduced viewing levels due to the massive audience that flocked to NBC -- only CNN saw its audience cut in half from Thursday night in both younger viewers and Total Viewers.