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January 05, 2010


Jack is Back!

"....as if changing the leader of the bureaucracy would fix the flaws inherent in the bureaucracy."

If that is so, then why have leaders like Cabinet Secretaries at all? What's the point of having a head of department if they can't achieve anything since the rank and file and the spirit of big government is infallible? This is how people like media columnists, academics, editorial boards, political class who have never managed or run anything think. Its worse than I thought.


A lot of people don't know it, but Hannibal almost didn't make it to Italy. He mistimed the crossing of the Alps and got snowed in. There wasn't any danger of attack by the Romans in those conditions, but he was concerned that his army would desert and head back to Spain. So he set up camp just beyond a narrow mountain pass, and put the latrines and the elephants in the rear. They were stuck there for months, thousands of men and dozens of elephants relieving themselves in the same small place. By spring, they had accumulated the largest pile of crap that the world would ever see, until the coming of David Brooks.

True story.


If that is so, then why have leaders like Cabinet Secretaries at all?

We have to spend the money somewhere. Apparently.

Jim Miller

FWIW, there was a similar rallying behind Washington state's senior senator, Patty "not-a-rocket-scientist" Murray after she blundered by talking about bin Laden providing day care facilities.

Believe it or not, most journalists in Washington state seemed to think that it was unfair of her 2004 opponent, George Nethercutt, to run ads that quoted that day care line, in context, even though she had said it at a public meeting. (It's my impression that her aides have mostly kept her away from public meetings ever since.)

Did people also rally around Janet Reno after the Waco disaster? That's how I remember it, but I could be wrong.

These three have some obvious things in common: They are women, they are Democrats, they are pro-abortion, and they are incompetent at policy, but reasonably good at politics.

(I'll put these thoughts, with some extras, in a post later.)


Did people also rally around Janet Reno after the Waco disaster? That's how I remember it, but I could be wrong.

That's how I remember it, too.


I remember the Waco disaster just kind of ending, and nobody really talking about it at all. I could be wrong.

as if changing the leader of the bureaucracy would fix the flaws inherent in the bureaucracy.

Yet today Brooks makes the argument that the Educated Class and Obama should just be left alone to run this bureaucracy because they want to do a good job.


8x12 glossies?

Terry Gain

Someone who's afraid or too stupid to name the enemy and the conflict is, on that account alone, incompetent. Notwithstanding the elegant crease in his pants, David Brooks is a joke.

BB Key

Jim Miller,

Can I put WH Social Secretary Desiree Rogers into that group ?

I would call claiming executive privledge an extreme case of rallying around.


if I were a David Broderish sort, David Brooksish sort (and I guess I do tend that way sometimes), my point in writing asuch a column would not be to support the current Homeland Securtiy secretary, but avoid havint to appoint another Homeland Security secretary who would have to go through very public confirmation hearings. Such hearings could prove to be a nightmarish "12/25" Commission experience, under the circumstances, and would distract from the appropriate message -- which is "can we just pass this health care thingy so that we can move on to something anyone actually cares about, like jobs".

I do admit that I don't see what replacing the Homeland Security Secretary would accomplish. I kind of wish that whole department would go away...


Seriously, the Broders and Brooks of the world really do believe we have spent too much time on terrorism, and don't want a story floating around that keeps that issue in the forefront.


Will Collier dismantles Brooks

    Will Collier dismantles Brooks

That was one tasty smackdown Jane


Yeah, Appalled. I think our President is right there with them.


Electoral politics continues to provide excellent examples of "failing upward". I'd say the two Janets (Reno and Napolitano) and Patty Murray are prime examples. What makes them singular is their sex and their sexual orientation [in two cases, anyway -- I have no idea about Murray) cause the Left to instinctively rally 'round them if they're attacked, even for good reason.

Additionally, all three appear to me to be eminently 'biddable' and they beaver away at earning brownie points from those they're beholden to.

In the case of Napolitano and Murray, I suspect Janet isn't all that bright and I know that Patty isn't, but if you can keep them away from unscripted moments they remain electable.


David Brooks, like Peggy Noonan, is incoherent.


Jane, I was amused to see Collier's idea of making Brooks demonstrate comprehension of Bernoulli's Principle before allowing him any pretense at being educated. I had the same idea just a minute (if you'll pardon the expression) before reading that post, that it would be fun to hand Brooks a blank sheet of paper on live tv and ask for a derivation of the quadratic formula or a proof of Pythagoras' Theorem. (Ace commenters would like to ask Brooks what 3/5 + 1/17 is, which is probably still aiming too high.)

Dave (in MA)

"The system worked"... I think it shows great foresight on their part to incorporate observant Dutch tourists and luck into The System when it came to preventing an Underpants Caused Disaster in this case.


If DC rallies around someone, that person should be removed from power immediately. DC is inept and corrupt to the core.

Jack is Back!

I think the rallying being attempted by the likes of Brooks and Broder has nothing to do with "saving Pvt. Incompetano" but rather in "saving Pvt. Soetero Obamarama".

He picked her. If she goes it is just another indication of his naivete and incompetence. Of course, she could resign and save Obama thru what DC calls "grace and class".


it would be fun to hand Brooks a blank sheet of paper on live tv and ask for a derivation of the quadratic formula or a proof of Pythagoras' Theorem.


Just don't ask me.

I was wondering if people were thinking that the media was rallying around Napolitano because she is a lesbian (if she is a lesbian).


The system is working for our enemies that killed Americans:

Iraq frees leader of group behind Britons' kidnap

Obama sucks! Can't wait for his speech.


No excuses for Obama here, but new administrations after the party has been out of power for a while often lead to some real clunker appointments that sounded good on paper Cf. Paul O'Neill.. Of course, you have to quickly get rid of these people if you want to get anything useful done and the administration is instead circling the wagons. Although I guess there are Constitutional issues with getting rid of Biden...

Rob Crawford

I was wondering if people were thinking that the media was rallying around Napolitano because she is a lesbian (if she is a lesbian).

No; they're rallying around her because she's one of their own -- Democrat and self-declared "elite".

Rob Crawford

it would be fun to hand Brooks a blank sheet of paper on live tv and ask for a derivation of the quadratic formula or a proof of Pythagoras' Theorem.

Admittedly, I don't think I could prove Pythagoras' Theorem -- because I'm HORRID at proofs.


WEll that doesn't make her worth rallying around but it is better than doing it because she's a lesbian - at least in my book.


David Broder is a liberal. David Brooks is a liberal.

Now answer this: What do liberals always do?

Rob Crawford

Oh -- and in any case, Brook's column should be sufficient to disqualify him as a pundit on any matter regarding the United States. We weren't founded on the principle of a political class, or a ruling elite, or anything but the idea that you should run your own life. That Brooks so utterly misses that fact is unsurprising (he's not American by birth; don't know if he's naturalized), but sufficient.

We're not Canada, Brooksie. We don't want to be Canada. If you want to opine about Canada, well, don't let the border crossing hit you on the way out.


Sarah Palin sticks a fork in Obama:

Sarah Palin: It’s War, not a Crime Spree

Jim Miller

They would rally around Napolitano even more if they thought she was a lesbian.

I know that because I still recall the way our "mainstream" journalists suppressed, almost entirely, the story of Senator Mikulski's fling with an Australian lesbian.

You might think that was a personal matter, but you would be wrong. Mikulski broke some rules to give some money to the woman, who caused so much grief that about half of Mikulski's staff quit because of her.

(For the record, I do not know whether Napolitano or Reno are lesbians. And I don't care since neither is my type. Murray definitely is not a lesbian.)


Does Napolitano have access to the files of all of the D.C. politicians and media?



Look on the horizon!!A tsunami nears.


Since I can tell you're all dying to see some proofs....

There's one that's credited to President Garfield.

We weren't founded on the principle of a political class, or a ruling elite, or anything but the idea that you should run your own life.

Your lack of interest in enslaving me leads me to have no interest in humiliating you with high school math on tv. David Brooks, on the other hand, is a cancer.


I know you guys are dying to watch
President Obama discuss airport security:

Watch Live

Jack is Back!

Anyone seen this news item:

President Obama has appointed Amanda Simpson, who used to be a man, to a top government security post.

Simpson who was born Mitchell Simpson, is a former test pilot T-39 and A-3 Sky Warrior planes for Hughes Aircraft in its developmental phase.

For 30 years, Simpson worked in the aerospace and defense, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz. The former guy has degrees in physics, engineering and business administration.

According to the Arizona Daily Star which ran a profile on Simpson in 2002, she spent $70,00 for six surgeries to make her more a woman including the removal of her Adam's apple, breast added and genital surgery.

Simpson, will be a senior technical adviser in the Bureau of Industry and Security, evaluating "dual-use" technology sold abroad to insure it isn't used by America's enemies for military purposes.

"If my appointment, and the visibility of working in the federal government, helps change a few people's minds out there and helps people secure a few jobs that they may not have been previously able to get, then I'm thrilled," Johnson told media.

The appointment has ignited a whirlwind of controversy from conservative Christian groups while winning kudos from the gay/lesbian and transgender communities.

What are the odds she/he is Napolitano's partner? Both from Arizona. She/he like Napolitano very knowledgeable about "systems that work". And they both have no Adams apple!

Sir Toby Belch

"Beats me." Really? Her outer beauty is
eclipsed only by her inner beauty. She is
the Left's Sarah Palin, and will be defended
by most chivalrous men. It's a hormonal
issue since time immemorial.


Is Brooks really Canadian, like Frum, that's too bad, because because I wouldn't want that to tarnish the likes of Mark Steyn, David Warren, Kate Schaidle, among others, who are
solid sorts, we could trade them for Richard
Cohen and David Broder at a reasonable rate


I've been blogging on the complete farce Homeland Security and our national security has become for a while.It is getting scary out there.

Here you have Anwar Al-Awlaki connected directly to two of the 9/11 bombers, the London subway bombers, the Ft. Hood terrorist, the underpants bomber and a hero to the entire terrorist world, and these idiots are barely paying attention. This guy should be on America's Most Wanted and a the top of a CIA hit list, except they don't do that sort of thing anymore. Bin Laden's got nothing on him.

The head of MI in Afghanistan has called the intelligence services worthless and those 6 Yemenis released from Guantanamo are back with their AQ buddies. And all the while Holder and his Fuehrer continue to dismantle any coherence in American national security.

We have the wheels coming off and all they can do is create a little bit more hell on earth as grandma gets strip searched and prodded by TSA thugs.

Today, Michael Yon was handcuffed by TSA agents because he refused to tell them his income. We are well into an Alice in Wonderland nightmare of repression with these incompetent thugs at just such a time as we may get hit again. The Taliban are hitting singles and doubles every day and our leadership is striking out.


Hey, after Michael Yon greeting back to the US in Seattle, you can bet that Janet Napolitano can make your travel a living hell.

Take Joan Rivers ... Please.


The T-39 and A-3 strike me as less than manly aircraft to have been a test pilot on, especially when looking at Ms/Mr Simpson's age and that of the aircraft he was test piloting.


obviously, the defend Napolitano meme was directed from a corner office at the White House and Journo-list.

A bunch of trained seals, all.


I think that's right, matt, and for the reasons Appalled proposed. Losing her and then having to find a seemingly-credible Dem replacement, and *then* having to suffer through confirmation hearings would be quite painful for the Fuhrer.

(Great Sarah link, Ann. Does she always seem to hit all the right notes or what?)


--....Senator Mikulski's fling with an Australian lesbian.--

Presumably a blind Australian lesbian, because, man, woman, child or dog, Mikulsky is about the homeliest creature on God's green earth.

JM Hanes

Jim Miller:

"These three have some obvious things in common: They are women, they are Democrats, they are pro-abortion, and they are incompetent at policy, but reasonably good at politics."

There are plenty of women who fit that description. It also seems to me that the point is really that they are not good at politics; they just somehow elicit protective sympathies in many quarters where they get a pass every time.

The usual suspects cut Democrats more slack across the board, so I don't think that explains this particular phenom. Offhand, GWB's inexplicable nomination of Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court seems to fall into the same category as Napolitano's promotion to DHS.

I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with their earnestness and a certain (if sometimes clumsy) inoffensiveness.

Does Kaus' puzzlement suggest that the apologists are largely people who have met Napolitano in person? Men seem to rally round Jamie Gorelick too, even though I can't think of a position she has held where she didn't have patent conflicts of interest. Even Maureen Dowd retracted her claws this week. Her New Year's Eve interview almost looks like reporting, but by the time she finishes up, she's talking about Napolitano's "brown eyes twinkling."


So anyway, what if passengers were required to be frisked by women, sniffed by bomb-sniffing dogs, or -- better yet -- dip their hands in pig blood or step on Korans? I'm sure others could come up with similarly good tests, but wouldn't that approach pretty much identify potential terrorists to careful watchers?


I'm sorry, I apologize. (I'm drunk of course), but I overlooked David Brooks!

Is there a 10 step program I have to go to for overlooking David Brooks?

I did used to catch him every once in a while on McNeil/Lehrer when he replaced David Gergen as the voice of Conservatism on that taxpayer funded TV show, so does that count for lenience, or am I simply absolutely screwed in every way imaginable for having overlooked David Brooks?

I'LL happily not overlook the dumb sunuvabitch in future if it'll keep me out of jail.


Simpson, will be...evaluating "dual-use" technology

Can't argue with that.

This, on the other hand:
The T-39 and A-3 strike me as less than manly aircraft to have been a test pilot on

sounds a bit like
"oh, sure, he was Offensive Lineman of the Year - Division II. So, basically, pussy."


Dorgan says he will not seek re-election in 2010


McNeil/Lehrer - That makes me think of the phrase "the talking thumb"! I think Narciso said that was the "name" of one of the guys on M/L. Too funny...the talking thumb!


This is what we have to look forward to.

Meet Dave, the 'airbrushed' poster boy: Tories launch £500,000 pre-election campaign

David Cameron, the Tory leader, running against the reviled Gordon Brown, still needs to have a slogan that says "I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS."

Unless it's repealed before taking effect, this supports the view that, once we have national health care, it will never be eliminated. Republicans will just run on managing the system better than Dems. Not cutting it, just managing it better.


...and another narciso quip - David Gergen is audio sominex! Too true...too true.


She has a "good skill set," volunteers ex-Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.

Anyone have the details on what that skill set consists of?


usually a small saw with a drilling attachment PD

Danube of Thought

Great news about Dorgan. Guess he needed more time with his family.


Good news for those worried about the American spirit.

Ford sales are up, while GM's and Chrysler's are down.

Honda and Nissan are up, too.

Rick Ballard

Dorgan's a big sissy. A real man would have ridden the tsunami right over the precipice with the rest of the Democrats. I'd say that Bennet, Lincoln or Wyden will probably be next to decline a ride on the Democrat Suicide Express.




There is a new Stephen Hunter book out called I,Sniper and it is getting rave reviews.

Bob Lee Swagger is back. :)


Pretty clever of those Iranians to deny entry to Kerry.

They know that this rebuff will make Obama even more desperate to achieve Meaningful Dialogue and that he'll become even more pathetic in his efforts to reach out to them.


Good for Ford. I wonder what percentage of people in the market for a new car have a healthy revulsion for the companies that took bailout money and will adjust their purchase accordingly.

Rick Ballard


Friends still won't let friends drive Govmo. The 16% decline in existing home sales was even more interesting than the fact that auto sales have dropped back to numbers not seen since the '70's. Additionally, the 9.8% decline in witholding tax payments for December actually masks the severity of the decline in the income of the self-employed. Based upon HI portion of SECA (which covers 100% of all income), entrepreneurs were down 52% in December and 43% for the entire Q4.

That's what is going to make the MA race very interesting. There's no unemployment available for entrepreneurs and I just can't imagine them being pleased with the Democrat Economy Killers.


The real problem is a decade into this war, or 'overseas contigency operation' is that very few people with either the determination or the expertise to carry it out. seem to rise to the top. I noticed that when I googled the principals in that December 22rd meeting, Napolitano,(Roman please) Gompert, her deputy, A European Affairs expert out of Rand,?? Leiter, a prosecutor in charge of the NCTC. Pannetta was chosen precisely because he had contempt
for operations, Blair, well there's a reason he was on Rumsfeld's bad list,Jones,
does anybody know what he's supposed to be in charge of

Barry Dauphin

Janet was rightly derided for the "system worked" comment and for being a dingbat on TV. She does not inspire confidence in the public, so we can let all the journos ride on planes that she inspects and get someone competent for the rest of us.

Brooks cast his lot with Obama long ago. He can now only double down every time the Administration does something stupid. By the time his tingling stops, the fan will be covered with sh*t.


Hopefully they're taking your advice and scoping out the bumper stickers before deciding who to lay off, Rick.


She was dispatched to the Sunday shows to say "the system worked"...as evidenced by Gibbs saying the same the next day before the blowback hit. It's hard for me to blame the inanity on her, knowing it came from the "educated class" within the WH.


Additionally, the 9.8% decline in witholding tax payments for December actually masks the severity of the decline in the income of the self-employed.

On the subject of witholding, any thoughts on whether we should stage a revolt by maxing out our number of allowances to minimize how much of our taxes the government gets throughout the year and paying the balance only on April 15?

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

Unless it's repealed before taking effect, this supports the view that, once we have national health care, it will never be eliminated. Republicans will just run on managing the system better than Dems. Not cutting it, just managing it better.

Just so. The spoils system uber alles, as the SEIU licks its chops.


Yes, I think PeterUK cautioned us about that.


" The spoils system"

"John Hirst, chief of the UK’s Met Office (national weather service), and his crew has done such a fantastic job of convincing Brits that they are, in fact, actually feeling the heat of global warming right now, and not really burning books to keep warm, that he’s received a 25 percent pay increase. He now makes even more than Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And it doesn’t stop there. Seven other directors received pay rises of between 3 per cent and 33 per cent.


The chief of the British National Weather (who doesn't have a clue what the weather will be) Makes more than the Prime Minister. Is this an insane world or what?


In Brooks' mind we are supposed to ape his opinions to show we belong to the "educated class"?

I think it was Rick who said this country is being ruined by credentialed morons. AMEN!

LUN is a nice snarky followup to Brooks' column. I especially like the comment about being able to survive graduate school while retaining common sense.

Rick Ballard


There are penalties involved for under witholding. Given the size of the planned deficit, I don't believe it would be an effective measure.

IMO - there's no way out for the Dems. I understand the fact that they will pour millions upon millions into driving ACORN schlubs out to round up votes but it won't overcome the anger about the state of the economy. Blacks are watching Congress fill banksters pockets while black unemployment reaches depression levels. Entrepreneurs (which includes shoe shine boys) aren't likely to forget a 50% income haircut. I went through about 100 IBEW locals hiring halls the other day - things would have to pick up by an extraordinary amount just to get to pathetic. There is no reason for the Dem base to get off its butt and I doubt that it will.

The only way that the Dems hold a House majority is if the Tea Party actually runs candidates and splits the opposition. I hope that some sort of declaration of principles is promoted fairly soon by the Tea Party so that candidates can be measured by their willingness to adhere.

Unchanneled anger will result in a Bull Moose or Ross Perot fiasco and I really wouldn't care to see that this year or in '12.


"The System Worked - Episode 2" LUN


In Brooks' mind we are supposed to ape his opinions to show we belong to the "educated class"?

This is a classic Electrolux door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales technique.

"Wow, you're obviously a very intelligent woman, unlike some of your neighbors."

Nothing you say after that will be argued with.

Another good one...

"Gee, you keep your house so clean! Unlike your neighbors, whom I've met today."

How would I know this? Don't ask.

Rob Crawford

The usual suspects cut Democrats more slack across the board, so I don't think that explains this particular phenom. Offhand, GWB's inexplicable nomination of Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court seems to fall into the same category as Napolitano's promotion to DHS.

Except that the base bucked hard enough to unseat Myers.

Danube of Thought

I don't understand how the A-3 was supposedly less than manly. It was a carrier-based attack aircraft that for a time was the only carrier plane we had that could carry nuclear weapons. I never knew an A-3 pilot I would not consider manly.

But anybody who was a test pilot for it would be mighty old, I would think. I was a joyrider in one off USS Midway in about 1963, and they certainly weren'new then. So, comes the inevitable resort to Google...


There are penalties involved for under witholding.

For the self-employed only, or also for non-self-employed? I am both, but for the latter part, my employer allows me to select up to nine witholding allowances. I am assuming that I would not be able to select a number of allowances that would subject me to a penalty, or is that being naive?


or is that being naive?



DOT, you've mentioned you were a Navy pilot, that suggests you were on Navy Station, during the war, but you also mentioned you had been in the Mekong with regards to Kerry.

Now Presidents have often appointed cronies to the court, with not particularly good results Wilson, McReynolds, Johnson, with Fortas, for Chief Justice, Souter as a proxy of Rudman. However, with Myers one does have to take into consideration, this was due to the efforts of the Gang of 14, filibuster busting coalition. Sotomayor, seems sadly to fall into that category but
the term is young, unfortunately

Danube of Thought

I wasn't a pilot, Narciso. I was a surface line officer.

Wikipedia: "The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was a strategic bomber built for the United States Navy and among the longest serving carrier-based jet aircraft. It entered service in the mid-1950s and was retired in 1991. For many years after its introduction, it was also the heaviest aircraft ever flown from an aircraft carrier, earning it the unofficial nickname 'The Whale.'"

Danube of Thought

Thanks Ann. I'll see if I can get if for the Kindle.


Can someone tell me how Brooksie came to be designated as a "conservative?" Is it just because he looks and sounds like the liberal vision of what an "intellectual conservative" ought to? Has he ever expressed any conservative principles? Did he ever have any to sell out?
Peggy Noonan sounds like Ronald Reagan compared to him.

Rick Ballard


An employer cannot know all the circumstances regarding an employees income. It's the employee's responsibility to determine correct withholding and there are legitimate reasons to claim a high number of deductions. Ownership of income property is the most obvious example - interest expenses and depreciation could shelter all wage income in many instances.

I'd love to see a gesture of rebellion proposed which would have an impact. I've been wondering if peaceable assembly at all state capitols as well as the US capitol on April 15th might work.


Rick, perhaps we could all peaceably point to Harry Reid's statement about paying taxes being voluntary. I don't suppose the IRS would believe us if we said that we thought "voluntary" means "optional," though.


Well he's written for National Review and the Standard, and the Journal, but not their editorial section, he seems to offer the thinnest of gruel, in his columns, Tom seems to torture us with the puerile offerings, kind of like a flu shot, but it hasdiminishing
returns. Paul Gigot was the last really articulate conservative in the token slot at McNeil Lehrer. I haven't seen in ages though
ever since I started watching Special Report


narciso, you can see Gigot on FOX News, on Saturdays, Journal Editorial Report, 11PM ET.

Melinda Romanoff


Rick has it right. YOU are responsible for hitting your quarterlies properly. Choose, with your tax preparer (if it's the mirror, good luck!), whther or not you will go at a percentage of last year +/- 5%, or as-you-earn-it. Meaning you calculate your annual tax exposure every quarter, and send that quarter's share of the year to date's tax.

Fun, isn't it?


that was a part of my thought process DoT. Both aircraft were well into middle age when our new overlord was test piloting them.

And I do admit bias pro fighter/attack aircraft and pilots. A-3's were necessary but not all that glamorous. More the very high odds, one way trip kind of braveness.

And why in hell would they need test pilots for the T-39 except perhaps at China Lake for the weird stuff?

Melinda Romanoff


Brooksie took over the chair at the NewsHour from Paul Gigot, now the Editor-in-Chief of the editorial page of the WSJ. Robert Bartlett's seat and my education into the Conservative world from my sheltered roost in academia.


The great Dorothy Rabinowitz weighs in.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703436504574639930433024734.html>Napolitano is herself a man-caused disaster


I should have been clearer, I mean McNeil/
Lehrer, not Gigot. They used to be on PBS, but that was just one spot of intellectual diversity too far, so they moved to Fox. Now between Moyers, the Democracy Now telecast, well it's the TV side of NPR, whereas MSNBC is Air America TV.

Melinda Romanoff


It Was the Robert MacNeil/Jim Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. MacNeil, a Canadian (like Kathy Shaidle(Five Feet of Fury) and Kate McMillan (small dead animals)) retired, and the show became The NewsHour.

Hit knows Kate McMillan, BTW, as do I. I'm negotiating some work with her.


Fun, isn't it?

Well, I haven't been penalized yet, so I must be doing it okay so far. I was just thinking it'd be good to, en masse, keep as much as possible from the gov't, as long as possible, as a legal means of sending a message.

Melinda Romanoff

I can't comment other than describing your legal options.

Hands are tied.

G'night all.

Rob Crawford

Just found my childhood home in Google Street View. Remarkable because it's in a relatively rural area.

Lots of changes. Lots of things just like I remember them. Can't understand why they got rid of the outhouse, though.


Heh--when I saw my childhood residences the streets seemed quieter, cleaner and everything seemed much smaller than I remembered them.



We can't go home again, as Thomas Wolfe wrote....at various points I have revisited the homes of my youth....neighborhoods changed, the big ballpark we played in revealed as something less glamorous...the houses smaller...development...but I wouldn't trade it for the moon and the stars...

I do remember a bocce court just outside Philly where, as aspiring suburban JD's, we used to play with the made men in the Italian section of Upper Darby. It was still there a few years back. same aluminum siding and row houses....The big houses in Overbrook and Merion were still there, and wonderful in their own ways....


It's the employee's responsibility to determine correct withholding

Milton Friedman said, later in life, that his support of withholding, back when it was first proposed, was his biggest (or maybe his only) regret. If people actually had to write a check to the government, he said, they would be more aware of it and less passive about accepting the high taxes that go along with big government.

But yes, you have to withhold enough so that what you owe on April 15th is less than some percentage of your taxes due--I can't remember if it's 10% or 20%. I always under-withhold as much as I can without risking penalties. Why make an interest free loan to the government if you don't have to?

The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.
The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation.

Let me lend David Brooks a clue .. Bernie Madoff .. not a single member of the "Tea Party" movement gave money to Bernie Madoff to invest. Now tell me who are the gullible ones ? Obviously "educated" doesn't mean "smart".


Here's how the withholding rules work:

Near the end of your 1040, you come to two numbers "total tax owed" and "total tax paid".

-- According to the rules, you were supposed to have paid 25% of the amount owed by April 15th, 50% by Jun 15th, 75% by Sep 15th and 90% by Jan 15th of the following year.

-- Take the amount paid via withholding, and divide it up by four, and assume that much was paid on each of the 4 dates. (This is a small loophole which allows you to have withheld a disproportionate amount of your tax liability late in the year and not be penalized for the timing, but you still have to get it in by the end of the year.)

-- Add in any actual quarterly payments on their actual dates.

-- Any shortage from the 25%, 50%, 75%, 90% levels, you pay daily simple interest. The last time I actually calculated the rates was about 1993, and it was about 8%, which was a fair market rate then. No idea whether it still is...

So, anyway, if you choose to make your tax payment on April 15th this will involve taking a loan out from the government, and paying them interest. Since treasury rates are quite low, the government will make a profit on the spread between your interest payment and what they pay on treasuries. It might make perfect sense for you to take out this loan from the government -- as opposed to taking out a 26% cash advance on your credit card to pay your estimated taxes on time, for example. But don't think that the government is suffering from you doing this...

(The interesting scenario is on that I faced. The first year that I was self-employed, I was unemployed until May 1, and I got my first check on June 11. I was supposed to have paid 25% of my tax liability on April 15th -- even though I had not earned any income yet and did not even have a contract at that point. You don't really owe the interest in this case, and there are a bunch of forms that you can fill out and get out of paying it, but in my case the interest in question was $121 and my accountant explained that I'd end up paying them about $200 to fill out the paperwork.)


Yay, a new post by the BBC's Climate hack Richard Black---">http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/01/arctic_conditions_arctic_caus"> "The Arctic roots of 'Upside Down' weather. So to Richard Black, if it's cold in winter, that means Earth's weather is somehow upside down. But there's more.

Its "a winter spell with weather that's unusually - well - wintry.." Richard tells us in the first sentence, so he has figured out its cold. But then he throws in a couple graphs from some American Climate study, plus pictures of Russians in thong underware playing ice soccer on a frozen pond, and pretty soon you're supposed to come to the conclusion that Richard and his AGW scientology buddies expected and predicted all this from way, way back. They just somehow forgot to tell us.

The funnier part though, is the comments section which surprisingly is open today. It's fun, not because you get to read how many e-mails ripped him a new one, but because you get to actually see how many e-mails he has censored for trying to rip him a new one. There's 250 plus comments, but already in the first 50 he's blocked or banned 7 or 8 for "Breaking House Rules" or some other such infraction.

And if you were keeping score, the new animals added today to the Science/Environment main page are Killer Whales, a giant Tuna, and Rhino's.

My prediction for tomorrow's edition---Reptiles; with a chance of aquatic mammals in the morning, and quadrupeds at night.

Dave (in MA)

So this liberal (cough) "progressive" friend of mine puts up an odious "Tom Tomorrow" 'toon on his Facebook page. (sort of a Teddy Rall type but who can actually draw) I just couldn't resist slapping together a rebuttal to post back at him.

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