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2007 April 16 — Why Now?
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The Shootings in Virginia

We are not going to know what happened for days or weeks. A single murder causes widespread shock in a small town, and something of this magnitude, will really amplify that effect.

Don’t make any assumptions about anything until we really know what happened. Eyewitness reports are not reliable – they are generally what people think happened. The brain has a nasty habit of blocking things people don’t want to remember and adding things to make a “better” story. You have to sift through and gather facts from multiple witnesses to get an approximation of the truth.

Evidence testing takes time. There isn’t a crime lab in the country that has all of the equipment that is displayed on television shows. No jurisdiction could afford it or the people needed to operate it.

Politicians will feel required to pass laws almost immediately. This always leads to bad laws. [Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act in a state of shock.]

People feel helpless and want to do something – I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do until we understand what happened, and, even then, there may be nothing we can do except show empathy for those who lost their loved ones.

April 16, 2007   11 Comments

Speaking of Rabid Mobs

Karen has Questions and More QUESTIONS… at Peripetia, but unfortunately Blogger doesn’t know me at the moment, so here’s the comment I was trying to make on sexism and racism:

It may be a defensive mechanism to explain personal deficiencies, real or imagined. It’s easy to blame “others” for your problems, a lot easier than taking a realistic look at yourself.

There are a lot of possible reasons why: you didn’t get the job or promotion; you aren’t making a lot of money; you didn’t get the date you wanted. Some of them may be the result of discrimination, but it could just be you.

These people just need to start their own version of the NAACP – the NAAFMJ. Let’s face it, there is a lot of membership potential for a National Association for the Advancement of Foul-Mouthed Jerks, and they already have media access.

[The article, Examining the alpha male at work, available via CNN, also sheds some light on the problem. I would note that many of the worst are “alpha males” in their own minds, not in reality. The phrase, “with all due respect,” covers the situation where none is due.]

April 16, 2007   8 Comments

A Good Idea

Neil the Ethical Werewolf at Ezra Klein came across the Edwards Tax Plan, which makes a lot of sense, is very easy to implement, would save the government and individuals money, and obviously can never be allowed. Edwards calls the plan Form 1.

Basically the IRS as all of the information needed to complete a Form 1040 for millions of people. It gets copies of W-2s, 1099s, etc., which is all most people use to fill out their tax return. Edwards wants the IRS to fill it out and send the completed form to people for them to review. If they agree the form is correct, they sign it and return it. The IRS form would be generated by a computer, and be both human and machine readable.

It wouldn’t help me, as not all of my clients are required to fill out a 1099, and my expenses vary a lot, but for millions of wage earners it makes a lot of sense.

The problem is that it will cut into profits of tax preparers, the “tax refund loan” business, and other hangers on in the income tax business.

Aside: People might be more aware of this proposal if two ladies hadn’t been chased out of their jobs by a rabid mob.

April 16, 2007   4 Comments

Stuff Happens

From my hosting company:

There appears to be a major routing issue on one of the backbone networks (Global Crossing) that services our location. It is affecting many people trying to reach our network.

Although this is not a problem located on or related to our network, we will monitor it carefully and post more information if we obtain it.

Fortunately, such outages tend to be very short, and very rare.

April 16, 2007   2 Comments