Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Odds and Ends

Today is April 14th, which is a day of no particular note except that it's the anniversary of the date in 1865 when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while watching the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington ... leading to the classic, blackly humorous comment, "So, Mrs Lincoln, other than that, how'd you like the play?"

Tomorrow is a more portentious day - it will be April 15th - the day on which we Americans dig deep into our pockets to render unto Caesar that which is his. I sometimes wish I could be Caesar and get rendered to, except for that whole ides of March thing. But I digress. Tomorrow in this space, we will talk about the subject of taxes - an important topic and one guaranteed to make Republicans froth at the mouth. Today, we'll just talk about odds and ends in the news, because I'm not feeling particularly original.

Deal with it.

In Pakistan, hysterical religious vigilantes inspired by the nation's draconian blasphemy laws have murdered a man who had been accused of insulting Mohammed, but had been investigated and exonerated by the courts. There is, of course, no compulsion in religion. Except in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other such garden spots of brotherhood and tolerance...

Speaking of garden spots, North Korea has once again arrested an American citizen on a charge of "committing a crime against North Korea." Here in America, we balance our budget by borrowing from China and ruthlessly slashing programs that do not directly benefit the well-to-do. In North Korea, they raise funds by arresting foreigners on trumped-up charges and ransoming them back to their home countries.

China - the same forward-looking nation that has made it illegal to reincarnate without state permission - has now banned stories dealing with "fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking") from Chinese television. After all, life is so good in the present (unless you are Ai Weiwei), why would you want to fantasize about living in the past?

From the Department of What Were They Thinking? comes the story of a billboard advertising the TV series The Walking Dead ... on the side of a funeral parlor. What more can I say?

And finally, hold on to your wallets: Congress will be voting today on the fiscal year 2011 budget agreement (a.k.a. The Great Republican Budget Blackmail Deal of 2011), giving tea party-backed ultraconservative demagogues another opportunity to hold the nation hostage. When last I looked, the word compromise wasn't defined as my way or the highway, but that seems to be the new GOP scorched-earth approach. Fiscal year 2012 ought to be interesting ... once it gets here in 2014.

That's all. Come back tomorrow and we'll try to talk rationally about taxes. I can't promise it will be fun, but it's a discussion we need to have.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - Although tomorrow is the traditional tax payment date, don't forget that this year's deadline to pay your federal income tax is Monday, April 18th ... it seems that tomorrow is Emancipation Day in Washington DC, which the IRS treats as a federal holiday for tax filing purposes. You get an extra three days to file and pay. Use them wisely.



KathyA said...

Oh! We have to file YEARLY??

#Not meant to be a factually based question. :)

Mike said...

I didn't know about Emancipation Day. I don't think the news has big dealed it yet either.

Bilbo said...

Kathy - I think we have the new buzz-phrase, don't we?

Mike - It's only celebrated in DC as far as I know, but evidently the IRS observes DC holidays, too. It commemorates the signing of the emancipation proclamation by President Lincoln in 1862.

allenwoodhaven said...

Do those in D.C. celebrate Emancipation Day with lots of shopping and gift giving? If not, just wait until Hallmark sets their sights on it!

Taxes - the money that other people should pay for the government services that we use.

"Not intended to be a factually based statement" is going to be one of the quotes of the year!