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In 2002 Americans spent around 5.8 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code with an estimated compliance cost of over $194 billion (that's "B").
That doesn't include the cost of tax planning or any state tax compliance costs. It's just the cost of filling out tax and information returns of all types (business, personal, payroll, non-profit, etc) for the federales.
That's a 20.4-cent tax-compliance surcharge for every dollar the income tax system collects.
I know, I know, the segment didn't air. I have no fargin' idea (thanks Lileks) of what is going on. I can't believe that ABC would send a camera crew and waste 6 or 7 hours of time with this and just dump it but the media is fickle. At this point your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the segment will air and maybe it won't.
UPDATE: Don't set your Tivo yet, the producer just called and the segment is now scheduled to air on Tuesday May 10.
My Better Half (and her car) will be featured on ABC World News Tonight (scheduled for Monday 05-09) in a segment that looks at congestion problems and how toll roads are helping to resolve some of those problems (it was interesting to get the lunches made, kids fed and off to the bus stop while the camera guys were milling about the casa).
A lot of people emailed about the time.
6:30 PM PDT on ABC in LA (channel 7). However, the time may be different on your local ABC affiliate. This is the ABC network's national news segment called World News Tonight. It is normally anchored by Peter Jennings and normally follows the local Six O'Clock News in most markets.
Bob Poole, America’s foremost expert on transportation issues and Reason Foundation’s founder will also appear. Bob’s work was instrumental in the creation of the 91 Express Lanes in California. More on Bob’s work here.
It’ll be fun to see Lisa stepping outside of her normal role as an Education Wonkette.
The butler had the night off last night so I had to manually shut down the moisture evaporators.
The kids and the dogs were out like trout and my main computer had put itself to sleep. Mrs TWC was all curled up with her hug-pillow and even Christiansen's cat was dead to the world. It was the Napping House*, except that TWC was in the throes of a rare but stubborn bout of insomnia that even another glass of wine couldn't cure.
I'm patient so I gave it ten minutes, shrugged, slipped my feet into the Danger Mouse slippers, then shuffled off downstairs to the computer for a little reparte.
Instead of a dead black computer screen I was shocked to see THIS.
So tell, me, what do you think your computer is up to at night?
*If memory serves I think that in a long ago past life Don & Audrey Wood used to put Reason Magazine together each month.
On a warm day in 1939, someone in St Paul offered us a glance at the life of three barefoot girls. Later they'd be mom's and aunts, but my cousins and I could never know those little girls plunked on the stoop wiggling their toes in the cool grass. My mother is in the middle with Buff. That's my Aunt Jeanne shushing everyone up. At three or four years old, Aunt Betty didn't know she was destined to learn the accordion, a talent that fascinated me as a child.
Then there's the family resemblance, I never realized that the House Blond favors my mother until this picture. There's something a bit unnerving yet profoundly moving about seeing your child’s face in your mother’s. That something may well be deeply rooted in the biology of family or it may just be important because we value it for it's own sake.
I don't have much else to say except, may this day be just what you imagined it might be.
Cinco de Mayo isn't even an American holiday but it may as well be since it's celebrated in the US on a much grander scale than in its native land. In the great southwest, Cinco de Mayo often gets a better turn out than St Paddy’s Day and can get pretty wild if it happens to fall on a Friday or Saturday.
Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day but actually celebrates the triumph of the Mexican Army, led by Texas-born General Zaragosa over the Frogs at Puebla in 1862.
Big surprise you say? That was a different kettle of Frogs in those days. In fact, the French were formidable opponents who hadn’t lost a battle in fifty years. Zaragosa’s outgunned and outmanned troops routed the Foreign Legion and the French Army like Audie Murphy taking on half the German army with a .50 caliber machine gun. Folk legend has it that Zaragosa’s tequila consumption played a role in this victory (works for me).
Unfortunately, that little whoopin' got the attention of Napoleon who then sent 30,000 troops to secure Mexico and installed Hapsburg Prince Maximilian as head of state.
Once the US Civil War ended the United States allowed early discharge of Union soldiers if they agreed to join with the Mexican Army to fight the French. Things were so much simpler then...(tell ya what boys, them Mexicans is havin' some prollems with the got dang French. We're gonna cut you loose a little early.......).
The good news is that the American Legion of Honor marched alongside the Mexican Army in the victory parade in Mexico City and Maximilian was executed. The bad news is that Col Diaz, who fought so decisively at Puebla, ultimately would become Mexico’s dictator.
And that, my friends, is what all the fuss is about.
As many of you know, LIPS THAT TOUCH WHITE (wine) SHALL NEVER TOUCH MINE. This seems to be a big relief to everyone I know. That goes for pink wine too. But, I've had some emails asking about summery chilled wines to which I have offered some paltry and largely unexciting advice that mostly consists of: Drink Red Wine.
Anyway, I ran across something that might interest those who enjoy something other than red on those balmy late spring nights (perish the thought).
Gentle Readers, Robin Garr has provided a forum where you will find a veritable smorgasbord of pink wines. Reviews, suggestions, tasting notes and a chance to be a wine critic and review your favorites and not-so-favorites as well.
And now, excuse me while I cross myself and hunt down that wooden stake.
This sand storm actually billowed into Marine Corps Air Station Al Asad in Iraq on April 26. Yes, this ain't no scoop because TWC tends to be skeptical. The first few arriving emails purporting to contain real photos of a real sand storm in Iraq got shuttled over and round filed in the Photoshop Fakery can. (click to enlarge photo)
The hands-down best of the bunch I received, or at least the easiest to view* is the Powerpoint presentation from the Kosmik Kid (requires Power Point or you can download Power Point Viewer for free here). A number of stand-alone photos from the Powerpoint presentation are here.
The photos were snapped by Lt Col Bob........ and I'm not sure who put the presentation together but I imagine it was Bob. Bob also took the orange shrouded photo (above) from inside the storm.
Apparently it looks much worse than it actually was as nobody was injured and there wasn't any significant damage. The whole thing originated near the Syria/Jordan border and spawned tornados as it moved northeast, reaching Al Asad at about 6:45 in the evening.
Five additional photographs of the sandstorm are viewable on the BBC web site.
tip of the glass to Light Colonel Bob, Silflay Hraka, The Kosmik Kid, Will in Az, Jim in Abq, The drunk Smithers sisters in Twin Falls, Jeff M, that surly chick in Texas, Brian P (I think) and a couple of others I forgot.
551 kb DL
*the formatting of forwarded emails tends to disintegrate and then most arrive with formerly embedded photos strung out as attachments (or vanished altogether except for the little red x up in the corner). This often makes viewing multiple photos a relatively tedious process, especially if there was a particular order you were supposed to view the pictures in. Okay, so it's not Chinese water torture but the clicking still aggravates the tendonitis.