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Wednesday, November 27, 2002

There will be a delicious little bit of irony when the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse is lit this year next Thursday the 5th - the annual ceremony kicks off what is called the "
Pageant of Peace." I wonder if we'll be bombing villages by then.

This is the last blog for a while. I'm outter until next week.

posted by Jimmy 6:21 AM
Tuesday, November 26, 2002

got some suggestions on how to improve the income tax. She should read this Cato paper on the benefits of consumption-based taxation.

The fundamental problem with our income tax is not that it is too complicated. That is simply a symptom of the root problem - it is an income tax. Taxing people on income is messy for a number of reasons. First, it disincentivizes income, creating quirky accounting. Second, it makes many of our personal transactions the government's business, creating privacy concerns. Third, it is based on hard-to-define and inconsistent measures of income - which is explained in the link above.

So, these fundamental problems lay the groundwork for the perception of capricious application. Add in lobbyists and special income groups and tax-code social engineering and you get a recipe for a tax code that grows like a tumor.

That's the problem with Jane's plan - she wants to reduce the size of the tumor. In the humble Gittern plan, I would excise it.

If you stick with the premise that there will always be taxation and there will always be handouts, you can still come up with a plan that is better than Jane's:


1. Abolish the income tax.
2. Institute a national sales tax.
3. Take all of the government programs that give money to people and combine them into one.

It's not as crazy as it seems. It would quickly cut the government in half. And the combination of increased efficiency and economic growth could end up making more money for the Feds.

As for this one government program that gives handouts, I would call it "The Dole" and throw everything in there. Social Security, Welfare, Medicaid, the whole fat mess. And then we just set a floor for people's income. Whether you work or not, you get $X. Sure, that's a disincentive to work for the people below $X, but it would not likely be more people on the dole than we have now. And, it would get the govt out of everyone's business and personal finances.

There would also be a nice feedback circle - if 51% of the population were on The Dole, they would just vote for the party (read Democrats) who would be fighting for $X+1, right? Classic De Toqueville stuff, right? Maybe, but every $1 the dole is increased, prices are increased on everything they buy, which will hit them harder than the non-dole folks.
posted by Jimmy 12:47 PM

Man, remember the days when the Coast Guard was full of brave heroes? They concentrated on search and rescue - think
The Perfect Storm. Well, now they're just another branch of the DHS. And if you're a kooky fisherman from Gloucester who is crazy enough to go out fishing in a nor'easter, don't bother to call for help. They'll be busy.

So I did a little looking at USCG history to see if this downward trend from hero to jackbooter was a long-term trend. As it turns out, it's not. I was pissy when they started reallocating S&R funds to the drug war. I am concerned that rescue missions will be totally off the to do list now with the terror war.

But in this article, I discovered that the USCG has always been a sissy little bitch, rolling over and changing their focus to get more cash from Washington.

In colonial times, they were used to enforce US tariffs - ironically very shortly after the Boston Tea Party. They protected slave ships (and others) from pirates until 1794, when they were mandated to intercept slave ships. During the "first prohibition" (oooh I sound libertarian there), they fought the "Rum War" (it was actually called that). They have functioned as INS's bitch in immigration and the DEA's bitch since the Miami Vice era. And now, by personally fellating Tom Ridge, they get another $750 million in their budget.

Kudos, bitches.

posted by Jimmy 7:59 AM

Why do rock stars hate DC? I dunno. Is it that we can't party?

Tina Plottel (
in a vintage City Paper article) addresses the common complaint that DC doesn't rock:

Complaint: D.C. sucks.

Statement of Fact: There are times, indeed, when one is inclined to utter the above statement. It's a slap in the face to us when the closest Shellac can get is Baltimore. What does that city have that we don't? Charm, that's what. It's no lie that bands like to play anywhere but here. I think it'd help if we got this everything-here-is-so-lame-chip off our shoulder. Home is what you make it, people. Now let's see some smiles.

So, there you have it. A little pep talk. In summary, DC blows, but you can still smile about it.
posted by Jimmy 7:04 AM

Searching on "DC Sucks" instead of my regular self-google, I came across an entertaining page for those who hate the DC United. Now, suffice it to say, I hate the DC United, but not for the same reasons as this chap. I hate them because I find futbol to terribly boring. And also because their occupance of RFK is yet another flimsy reason cited by pro-new-publicly-funded-stadium types.

But I do enjoy the vitriolic spew from this fella. An excerpt:

WELCOME brethren! This is the Anti-DC United Hate Page, your complete guide to hatred of the vile whores we call DC. What is the use of a page such as this? Good question. The best we can think of is this: No matter where you go, no matter what you do, people tell you to be good. To do the right thing. To love your brother. To love your enemy. However your life experience instructs you to do differently, does it not? As a fan of soccer, you feel the bile start to burn your stomach, the viens start to pop out of your forehead, your hands tighten into fists at the mear MENTION of the words DC United. Who are they.. who are THEY to say we are to LOVE the scum... the filth of DC?!? They are our enemies, and we as MetroStars fans are to act appropriately. So, next time you hear a goodie-goodie tell you to love your enemy, you tell them NEY WENCH! I DOTH NOT LISTEN TO YOUR RUBBISH! And then focus your entire being on hating the Scum. Therefore this page is your tool, your inspiration. If you feel the hatred rising after seeing DC win and you don't a John Harkes Bandai action figure to burn, come here and HELP SPREAD THE HATE!

Some suggestions about what to do about DC sucking:

Kick a DC fan in the ass
Get dressed as the DC United eagle and rub up against hot women
Offer a young child a piece of cake compliments of DC United, then smash it in his face

posted by Jimmy 6:57 AM
Monday, November 25, 2002

Casey's penned
another insightful rant on the DC public school system, focusing on what Superintendant and Chief Blowhard (Paul Vance) lists as "accomplishments." Among them are things that regular, functioning school systems take for granted, like actually starting the school year on the day you have planned to start the school year.

But the best part is his section on Vance's tooting that SAT scores are up:

Vance did get around to discussing what he called improvements in the public school system. For example, he told us SAT scores are up in 2002. That achievement is also noted in a press release posted on the system's Web site, which lists the city's average score as 799 out of a possible 1,600. The national average is 1,020, so the D.C. schools' accomplishment is nothing to write home about. What was the increase Vance referred to several times? According to the schools' Web site, as well as "A Five Year Statistical Glance at D.C. Public Schools, School Years 1996-97 Through 2000-01," published by the school system, the city's average in 2001 was 798. That is an improvement of one point! At that rate, the District will crack the national average in 2223.

He also notes that 799 is solidly down from two years ago, when Vance started.
posted by Jimmy 6:44 AM

How curmudgeonly? I've been added to the blogroll at Rodger Schultz'
Curmudgeonly & Skeptical, which you should peruse daily. Rodger proves that the words "conservative" and "funny" are not mutually exclusive.

Check out his latest Clinton joke.
posted by Jimmy 6:36 AM