Thursday, January 15, 2004 - Science panel urges universal U.S. health insurance by 2010 - Science panel urges universal U.S. health insurance by 2010
One path to universality:

• Requiring individuals to obtain coverage and providing tax credits to help them pay for it.

I wonder how the enforcement mechanism would work on this one? Cops pulling you over and checking your health insurance card in addition to your driver's license and auto insurance card?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Avoiding bureaucracy by Shopping Around

Don't like privacy invading regulations -- go elsewhere.

Here's a heart-warming story from the Big City.

Recent graduate. First "real" job. Finds job on Monster, sends CV, gets interview, gets second interview, gets job. Small firm. Deals directly with owners. Hired based on CV and interview alone. No references, no transcript, no blood test, no urine test, no credit check, no criminal records check. Shows up for first day of work. Fills out W4 form (this is not Heaven.). No mention of I9 form. No ID check.

Print This Story and Give it to Your Daughters

Two Arrested in Woman's Fall From Balcony

KAANAPALI, Hawaii Jan. 14 — Two California men were arrested in the death of an 18-year-old New Jersey cheerleader whose naked body tumbled from the ninth floor balcony of a Maui hotel.

This is what happens to you if you run with a bad crowd. So watch it!

Jonah Goldberg on Doing Something About ...

In an interesting column about Bush's La Migra proposal (He's not upset about it) Jonah Goldberg of NRO has an aside about The Homosexual Question:

To me, it's actually a bit like the gay-marriage issue. Conservatives very often talk about homosexuality as if it were a problem coming down the pike rather than something that's been here for decades or centuries. If you start from the premise that, for the foreseeable future, gays aren't going anywhere -- that they are going to continue to do their thing, live their lives, form their relationships, go to their jobs, make their political demands your policy options -- legal or cultural -- become extremely limited. You may oppose gay marriage -- as I do -- but you still need to answer the question of what should be done about gays. Because saying nothing will only result in your having nothing to do with the answer. Same goes for saying they should just keep to themselves or disappear from the radar screen. You have to talk about things inside the realm of the possible.

I wonder why? As a member of a number of very small and very deviate social groups (see list to left in the frame of this Blog), I am not disturbed that there is no government policy to deal with those groups and, hence, with me. I'm damned glad. I would hate to be dealt with.

Government agencies do attempt to deal with me in only two aspects of my life -- as a motorist and as an international traveller*. I wish they would neglect me a bit more there, I do not enjoy the experience.

It must take a truly bizarre and twisted soul to actively seek out interaction of some kind with a coercive bureaucracy. There are many worse things than neglect.

*Spelling fans - That's my preferred British spelling.

Should you answer when Cops ask?

Here is a canned answer you can give when questioned by cops or anyone in (government) authority:

"Sorry, I'd like to help but if I answer you I could later be found liable for obstruction of justice whereas if I say nothing, I avoid all possible liability for obstruction of justice. I, therefore, choose to say nothing."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Monday, January 12, 2004

TRAC: IRS - New Findings on Tax Collection and IRS Criminal Enforcement

Good news from the invaluable Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse. TRAC: IRS - New Findings on Tax Collection and IRS Criminal Enforcement says:

Criminal enforcement of the nation's tax laws by the IRS has plummeted to an all time low, according to an analysis of very timely Justice Department data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

Tax prosecutions brought as a result of IRS investigations currently are running at about half of what they were only ten years ago. (See graph.) This sharp decline has continued at the same time that the nation has been swept by a flood of reports about corporate crime studded with such names as Enron, Arthur Anderson, WorldCom, Adelphi Communications and Health South.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse is the invaluable service which obtains actual Federal investigatory and litigation databases (sans target names) and makes them available to the public.

Not much action on the tax enforcement front.

Last Wounded (US) Veteran Of World War I Dies

Last Wounded Veteran Of World War I, Alfred Pugh, 108
Alfred Pugh, the last known combat wounded U.S. veteran of World War I, died Wednesday. He was 108.

Pugh, who often told visitors the key to a long life is “keep breathing,”joined the Army in 1917 and fought in France during World War I with the 77th Infantry Division. In 1918, he was wounded during the Meusse-Argonne offensive, one of the war’s bloodiest battles.

He spoke French and was used overseas as an interpreter until the battle in the Argonne forest, when he inhaled mustard gas that left him unconscious and with chronic laryngitis.

I guess that even weapons of mass destruction are not 100% effective! I wonder if he smoked as well?

Spelling on the Net

So when I was preparing my previous post on an anti-Catholic sculpture, I encountered the eternal spelling conflict. I spell a bishop's hat 'mitre' while Prof Volokh and Blogger's spell checker prefer 'miter'.

So I fire up the spell checker called Google. I Google mitre and get about 767,000 hits. I Google miter and get about 415,000 hits. I Google "bishop's mitre" and get about 1,560 hits. I Google "bishop's miter" and get about 741 hits.

The American Heritage dictionary (which I use for my modern dictionary) has the usual weasel words about mitre "Chiefly British -- Variant of miter." But then its entomology entry says:

Middle English mitre, from Old French, from Medieval Latin, from Latin mitra, headdress of the Jewish high priest, from Greek.]

This suggests that mitre is closer to the word origin.

The online Catholic Encyclopedia prefers mitre.

The OED likes mitre as well.

So I guess it's mitre for me.