Saturday, July 17, 2010

The IRS's vast new ObamaCare powers. I know Nina. She is right.

What, you're not already on a first-name basis with your local IRS agent?

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, who operates inside the IRS, highlighted the agency's new mission in her annual report to Congress last week. Look out below. She notes that the IRS is already "greatly taxed"—pun intended?—"by the additional role it is playing in delivering social benefits and programs to the American public," like tax credits for first-time homebuyers or purchasing electric cars. Yet with ObamaCare, the agency is now responsible for "the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history." And without "sufficient funding" it won't be able to discharge these new duties.


That wouldn't be tragic, given that those new duties include audits to determine who has the insurance "as required by law" and collecting penalties from Americans who don't. Companies that don't sponsor health plans will also be punished. This crackdown will "involve nearly every division and function of the IRS," Ms. Olson reports.

Well, well. Republicans argued during the health debate that the IRS would have to hire hundreds of new agents and staff to enforce ObamaCare. They were brushed off by Democrats and the press corps as if they believed the President was born on the moon. The IRS says it hasn't figured out how much extra money and manpower it will need but admits that both numbers are greater than zero.

Be afraid for the 1st amendment

U.S. Authorities Shut Down Web Host With 73,000 Blogs citing 'a history of abuse'...

Pesky truths

(Some Tax Law Professor)
Sorry, libs, but Bush's tax cuts did not cause the deficit

Exploding the myth that Bush tax cuts caused the deficit

One of the biggest errors I see in many economic analyses can be summed up in one word - static. That is, a resulting quantity is assumed not to change when a related variable is. For instance, Ronald Reagan significantly cut taxes across the board to the point that Democrats were predicting fiscal Armageddon for the federal government. But do you know what happened? Revenues into the treasury didn't decrease at all, even though the tax rates plummeted. Similarly, when Bush cut taxes, again across the board early in the decade, revenues to the federal government did not go down! The tax on capital gains went down but the revenue from the tax did not. Similarly, despite liberals crying that too many tax cuts went to the wealthy, the fact is that the top 1% now pay more federal taxes than the bottom 95%:

Yet liberals continue to count the Bush tax cuts as some type of 'cost' and attribute the deficit to that cost, which is imaginary.

The biggest/fastest race continues.

A few years back, I drove a Bugatti Veyron to its top speed of 253mph and said it would never be possible for me to go faster than that in a road car.

Bugatti Veyron - Good things come in small packages

Bugatti Veyron 16.4: Now it's good for 258mph

Apart from anything else, there would be no point. There are only a few places on Earth where the Veyron's top speed could be physically achieved, let alone legally, and while the internal combustion engine and the aerodynamics of supercars might evolve further, the infrastructure in which they move generally doesn't. In truth, the whole fastest-car-in-the-world exercise became rather academic at about 150mph.

Pah. How history returns to mock my naivety like my own faint reflection in an unlikely carbon-fibre mirror. Apparently some Americans made a car that went faster, so now Bugatti has mysteriously found another 200 horsepower in its W16 - bet they were there all along - and produced a sort of "sport" Veyron. Clearly the old one was made to shop, not to go, but now it's good for 258mph, apparently.

Because it is the weekend.

Because Drinking Wine From A Glass Is Way Classier Than Drinking From A Bottle

Because Drinking Wine From A Glass Is Way Classier Than Drinking From A BottleI don't drink wine but if I did, I would totally buy this wine glass. It fits an entire bottle of wine—all 750ml of that bitter grape juice—in its 9-inch tall, super sized goblet.

Maybe now that the private sector is in the game we will get going.


Virgin Galactic's tourism spaceship, making its first flight with crew

Here's Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two cruising over the Mojave Desert last Thursday. The VSS Enterprise spacecraft didn't travel into suborbital space but stayed affixed to its mothership. Virgin's planned price for a few minutes of suborbital views? $200,000.

Political Cartoon by Eric Allie

Always liked Hulu.


Hulu Plus on PS3 Review: Everything We Hoped It Would Be...But Free

Hulu Plus got a lot of attention in its iPad/iPhone incarnations. But it's also the smoothest, most polished media experience I've ever had on my PS3. And to some extent, it really is the Holy Grail: Hulu on TV.

Do As I Say Not As I Do...From Paris

He tells us to give up hamburgers. He eats hamburgers. He tells us to vacation in the gulf. He vacations in Maine.
He tells us to be mindful of our 'carbon footprint'. His dog was flown to Maine on a separate jet.
(His dog has it's own plane?)


Victorian England: a nation of coffee drinkers

Victorian Britons were a population of coffee drinkers, paying few taxes, who didn't divorce

Portrait of Queen Victoria by the German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter was comissioned in 1843: Queen Victoria: 'the secret picture'

This portrait of Queen Victoria by the German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter was comissioned in 1843

And while taxes were an amazingly light burden, with income tax, originally levied to fund the Napoleonic wars only reintroduced in 1841, money was also tight. There was just £16.8 million of bank notes in circulation in 1840, the year of the first postage stamp. This was the equivalent of less than £1 for every one in England and Wales. Though there also plenty of gold coins in circulation.

Last year, there were £45.5 billion worth of banknotes, the equivalent of £758 for every person.

Marriage too has changed dramatically, with double the proportion of people marrying in the 1840s compared with now


Apple Becomes Enemy of State

Non-union Apple's profits make them a prime target.

Fat Kids are the mother’s fault.

OMEGA IMBALANCE produces overweight offspring?

Omega-6 and omega-3, both polyunsaturated fatty acids, are each critical to good health.

But too much of the first and not enough of the second can lead to overweight offspring, the scientists showed in experiments with mice designed to mirror recent shifts in human diet.

Over the last four decades, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in a typical Western diet has shifted from a healthy five-to-one to 15-to-one in much of Europe, and up to 40-to-one in the United States.

In the breast milk of American women, the average ratio has gone from six-to-one to 18-to-one.

Earlier studies have established a link between such imbalances and heart disease.

But “this is the first time that we have shown a trans-generational increase in obesity” linked to omega intake, said Gerard Ailhaud, a biochemist at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis and main architect of the study.

“Omega six is like a fat-producing bomb,” he told AFP by phone.

Paris’ Earthquake

Now making the rounds in local twitter circles, a photo of the devastation caused by this morning's earthquake.

The best article I have come across on why Obama will fight Iran.

Nuking Westphalia: Obama’s Deep Convictions Point to War With Iran

“President Obama is probably hoping that luck or fate will spare him the horrible fate of presiding over the death of his dearest ideals and of being the American president who destroyed the credibility of the international system and let the nuclear genie loose in the most dangerous part of the world.”

Jewel Tones...From Paris

Christina Hendricks (photo from LA Times magazine) has beautifully illustrated color trends to watch--jewel tones garnet, sapphire, and emerald.

I sense (or hope) the same

JONAH GOLDBERG: “I’m beginning to wonder if the political moment is much, much, more significant than most of us realize. The rules may have changed in ways no one would have predicted two years ago. And perhaps 10 years from now we’ll look back on this moment and it will all seem so obvious.”

Zelinsky: Seven Lessons for the U.S. From the Greek Fiscal Crisis

The Greek experience is not inevitable, but it is instructive. There are seven lessons the United States should take from the Greek fiscal crisis:

  1. Fiscal problems can imperil nations without warning.
  2. Fiscal problems can be contagious.
  3. Taxes are indeed the price of civilization.
  4. The demographic crunch is here.
  5. A VAT is not a magic bullet.
  6. Political leadership (or its absence) matters.
  7. Manageable problems, when ignored, become intractable.

Does your dog get its own jet? Have you spent 5 weeks on a golf course?

GETAWAY: First Dog Bo flew in on separate jet...

Obama continues busy Maine holiday...

First Family's chef elevated to post as 'senior policy adviser'...

Slams Republicans for obstructing economic progress...

7th Obama vacation

President has spent 200+ hours on golf course...

Standing up to the Terrorist.

Americans Stand Up Against Radical Islam in New York

Not one major network sent a satellite truck or camera crew to this event. Without bloggers this newsworthy event would have remained unknown to the public and history

On Sunday, June 6th, a multi-ethnic, multi-racial coalition of Americans opposed to Islamic violence and intolerance rallied at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.


9/11 families were joined by immigrants from India, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Africa, Iran and Europe to show opposition to the construction of a mega-mosque at Ground Zero. Others flew in from overseas to speak or just to share their particular ethnic communities experiences at the hands of Muslims.


These are parents and spouses of firefighters killed on 9/11. The rally took place just a minutes walk from Ladder 10 Firehouse, where their loved ones were stationed for duty that terrible day. Ladder 10 lost seven firefighters.

Poka Dots...From Paris

One of my favorite fashion newsletters (Net-a-Porter) had a recent tease "Master The Art Of French Dressing." They featured photos of Brigitte Bardot (not this photo, but very similar). I selected this one for you, because it incorporated items I'd actually wear. The ballet flats, the spagetti strap top, and poka dot pants. Yes. Paris would wear poka dot pants. If I were guessing, I'd say this photo was taken in the early 60's.
What's the newsflash? Old classic looks never go out of style.

Great Photo

A row of Moais are seen during a total solar eclipse on Easter Island

A row of Moai - 3,000-year-old large stone statues - are seen during a total solar eclipse on Easter Island

The scientific secrets to a happy marriage or why Paris just had her 29th Anniversary.

Scientists have suggested numerous reasons for why marriages last or fail

From whether you smiled in childhood photographs to your job title, an author has trawled decades of scientific research to identify the factors said to predict a marriage’s success.

One recent study suggests that people who smile in photographs when they are young are less likely to get divorced than those who frowned in childhood snaps.

The research, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that only 10 per cent of people questioned who smiled in early photos had gone through a divorce in later life compared to 31 per cent of those who wore straight faces.

Another study claims that dancers and choreographers face a 43 per cent chance of getting divorced compared to 19 per cent among mathematicians.

The chances are 38 per cent for massage therapists and only 8 per cent for dentists, the Journal of Polce and Criminal Psychology reported.

15 signs that you’ll get divorced:

1. If you're a woman who got married before the age of eighteen, your marriage faces a 48 per cent likelihood of divorce within ten years.

2. If you're a woman who wants a child much more strongly than your spouse does, your marriage is more than twice as likely to end in divorce as the marriages of couples who agree on how much they do or don't want a child.

3. If you have two sons, you face a 36.9 per cent likelihood of divorce, but if you have two daughters, the likelihood rises to 43.1 per cent.

4. If you're a man with high basal testosterone, you're 43 per cent more likely to get divorced than men with low testosterone levels.

5. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you are 22.7 per cent more likely to divorce before that child turns eight years old than parents of a child without ADHD.

6. If you are currently married but have cohabited with a lover other than your current spouse, you are slightly more than twice as likely to divorce than someone who has never cohabited.

7. If you didn't smile for photographs early in life, your marriage is more likely to end in divorce than if you smiled intensely in early photographs.

8. If your child has died after the twentieth week of pregnancy, during labour, or soon after labour, you are 40 per cent more likely to divorce than if you had not lost a child.

9. If you're a woman who has recently been diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis, your marriage is six times more likely to end in divorce than if your husband had been diagnosed with those diseases instead.

10. If you're a Caucasian woman and you're separated from your spouse, there's a 98 per cent chance that you'll be divorced within six years of that separation. If you're a Hispanic woman, the likelihood is 80 perc ent. If you're an African-American woman, the likelihood is 72 per cent.

11. If you're a dancer or choreographer, you face a 43.05 per cent likelihood of divorce, compared with mathematicians, who face a 19.15 per cent likelihood, and animal trainers, who face a 22.5 per cent likelihood.

12. If you're a farmer, you face only a 7.63 per cent likelihood of divorce, joined by other low-risk occupations such as nuclear engineers, who face a 7.29 per cent likelihood, and optometrists, who face a mere 4.01 per cent likelihood.

13. If either you or your spouse have suffered a brain injury, your marriage faces a 17 per cent chance of ending in divorce.

14. If you're an African-American woman, your first marriage has a 47 per cent likelihood of ending in divorce within ten years; for Hispanic women, the likelihood is 34 per cent; for Caucasian women, it's 32 per cent; for Asian women, it's 20 per cent.

15. If you're a woman serving actively in the military, your marriage is 250 per cent more likely to end in divorce than that of a man serving actively in the military.

John Wayne vs Oprah. There was a time when emotions were held in: what was important was getting the job done. Think John Wayne. We got the job done and became wealthy. Enter Oprah and the focus on how you feel, not what you do.

Sentimentality is poisoning our society

Raoul Moat's victim mentality was typical of the misplaced sentimentality that is poisoning society, argues Theodore Dalrymple.

What is alarming is that substantial numbers of people take this self-serving sentimental nonsense seriously, at least if the thousands of postings on the Raoul Moat Facebook tribute page, which was deleted on Thursday, were anything to go by. The logic seems to be as follows: Mr Moat called himself a victim; victims are heroes; therefore Mr Moat was a hero.

Sentimentalists try to make up for a lack of feeling by emotional exhibitionism. Men who feel little for women or children often have their names tattooed on their arms; the tattoo says, in effect, "Look what I am prepared to do for you." This is all too often a prelude to abandonment; the man is prepared to have himself tattooed, but not prepared for the slow grind of lasting support, which requires genuine feeling.

This is the “new” view of O. He can’t speak. If only he could articulate better all would be well. (I think the problem is what he is doing is finally being understood.)

Obama needs to find his voice

President Barack Obama speaks in the White House after meeting with the BP Oil Spill Commission co-chairs

Barack Obama's inability to articulate his plans has generated the sense of a presidency on the verge of failure, writes Alex Spillius

Superconducting is getting closer


Big mystery holding back practical superconductors may have been solved

Superconductors carry electric current with no energy loss. They could revolutionize our electrical grid, but they only work at impractically low temperatures. We just figured out a key reason why – and possibly got a lot closer to room-temperature superconductors.

The People are stirring.

Supporters Rally for Prof Fired for Beliefs

Over 3,000 people launch massive effort to show support for University of Illinois professor they say was fired for expressing Catholic beliefs

For those who care to think

America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution.

Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.

Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. . . . Today, few speak well of the ruling class. Not only has it burgeoned in size and pretense, but it also has undertaken wars it has not won, presided over a declining economy and mushrooming debt, made life more expensive, raised taxes, and talked down to the American people. Americans’ conviction that the ruling class is as hostile as it is incompetent has solidified. The polls tell us that only about a fifth of Americans trust the government to do the right thing. The rest expect that it will do more harm than good and are no longer afraid to say so. . . . Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. . . . In this clash, the ruling class holds most of the cards: because it has established itself as the fount of authority, its primacy is based on habits of deference. Breaking them, establishing other founts of authority, other ways of doing things, would involve far more than electoral politics.

Wonder what changed?

The Fall of Oprah

Oprah's down in the basement, looking for her lost viewers.
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" hit an all-time ratings low for the week of June 28, averaging a 2.9 -- the first time in the show's 24-year history it fell below the 3.0 mark.
"Oprah" averaged 3.8 million viewers -- good enough for eighth among all syndicated shows but almost 2 million viewers less than daytime's reigning champ, "Judge Judy," which has now beaten "Oprah" 14 out of the past 16 weeks.
"Oprah" was also down 15 percent from the previous week and was off 9 percent from the same week last year.

Can’t wait to see the photos. Surely someone would have snap a pic or two.

Dem Rep Says Tea Partiers Wore Sheets

Dem Rep Says Tea Partiers Wore Sheets



Follow the Money. It was true in Watergate. When you won’t say who is paying there is a reason they are hiding.

Behind the mosque at Ground Zero

Stephen Schwartz scrupulously reviews the available evidence regarding the ladies and gentleman behind the planned $100 million mega-mosque at Ground Zero. They are fronted by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Kuwait-born cleric of Egyptian background. What does Schwartz turn up?

Let's see. Here we have a support network linked to the Malaysian Jew hater Mahathir. Here we have the Perdana-supported Gaza raiders. Here we have some notable servants of the Iranian clerical dictatorship, and an Egyptian property developer associated with the pro-Hamas chief of the Arab League.

And here we have the wife of Feisal Abdul Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan, one of the most assiduous promoters of the lower Manhattan mega-mosque. She is the niece of Dr. Farooq Khan, formerly a leader of the Westbury Mosque on Long Island, which is a center for Islamic radicals and links on its website to the paramilitary Islamic Circle of North America, the front on American soil for the Pakistani jihadist Jamaat e-Islami.

Schwartz concludes with a simple proposition. If Rauf's planned mega-mosque is entirely above board, he should fully disclose its backing and finances. Until Rauf shows his cards, I think it's fair to infer that the mega-mosque is intended to add insufferable insult to grievous injury.

Believe in GW if you believe cities are cooler than forests.

Meteorologist disputes: Weather stations placed in warmer urban areas...

Different Rules for them than you

Muslim Mother Who Strangled Daughter Won't Be Jailed, Canadian Judge Rules...

The People who brought us the Housing Crises bring you your future.

Fed Wins More Power in Overhaul...
Shelby: Repeal It...
Economy may not recover 'for five or six years'...


And the reaction?

SUMMER SOUR: Consumer Sentiment Sinks To Lowest Level in 11 Months...

Dow drops 261 points...

Obama: 'My policies got us out of this mess'...