I don’t understand how I had missed this:
I don’t understand how I had missed this:
LGM is proud to announce the 2009 nominees for First Annual Mikey Kaus Award For Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence in Contrarianism:
This year’s lifetime achievement awards:
Further nominations are what comments are for…
*I’ll admit that this probably crosses the arbitrary line where “contrarianism” just becomes straightforward “whoring for your powerful friends.” But I’m leaving it in because anything-for-a-buck and sucking up to powerful interests are generally integral to Slate-style contrarianism…
I, for one, am delighted by the decision to trade a bag of moldy Fritos for Milton Bradley. I appreciate that Bradley rather goes beyond the typical “difficult player” tag, but damn, he can hit. Maybe they think that having Griffey in the clubhouse will help keep him in check?
Yesterday, I received a text on my US cell that read:
usually it’s the Michele Bachmanns and Glenn Becks of the world who afford me with soft, juicy targets, but the bloody BBC?
And watch in stunned silence as Liliane Landor, the BBC World Service acting head of Africa region, tries to cover her ass: “The programme was a dignified exchange between people who have differing beliefs”.
This isn’t even on the road approaching the suburbs of dignified.
Indeed, it’s still true. And it’s true that even if the votes he casts are much more inevitable than those of Lieberman, Nelson merits a substantial amount of contempt.
I am, most likely, the only person on earth currently taking a break from the serious work of reading and writing about comics by reading a novel whose cover declares that it “only [could] have been devised by a literary team fielding the Marquis de Sade, Arthur Edward Waite, Sir James Frazer, Gurdjieff, Madame Blavatsky, C.G.Jung, Aleister Crowley, Franz Kafka.” But because academics are not allowed to take vacations, the World reminds them of what they should be doing at all times—the idea being that if you can make words, you must be making words that count.
I thought that this Higher Nagging would absent itself from my current project, but clearly I was wrong. There I was yesterday, next to a stack of unread comics, and because I had the temerity to be reading a thick late-modernist novel, the World retaliated:
“I found myself in France a little more than six weeks after I enlisted. I had no aptitude with the rifle. I could not even bayonet an effigy of Kaiser Bill convincingly. But I was considered ‘sharp’ and they also discovered that I could run quite fast. So I was selected as company runner, which meant I was also a kind of servant, I forget the word …”
“That is it.” (123)
Which is precisely what I was thinking (albeit with a bit more bluster) as I hurled the book across the room. But as the trolls will quickly remind me, I live a privileged life that allows me to do whatever I want whenever I want to, because guilt has never motivated anyone to do anything that made them miserable.
The current estate tax mess is a story of almost mind-numbing greed and legislative incompetence. A quick summary: In 2001 Congress greatly decreased the (already tiny) number of estates subject to taxation, by gradually raising the exemption to its current level of $3.5 million per individual ($7 million per married couple), while lowering the tax rate on the non-exempt portion of estates from 55% to 45%. This by far the most progressive tax in American law, as it currently affects less than 1% of taxpayers while raising, even at the current radically reduced rates, tens of billions per year.
Because of various procedural manuevers, the law was scheduled to sunset in 2010, and then spring back to legal life in 2011, at the 2001 rates (individual exemption of $1 million/$2 million for married couples; 55% rate). This meant that if nothing was done there would be no estate tax in 2010. For the No Billionaire Left Behind wing of the GOP, this created a long lusted-after opportunity to eliminate the tax altogether (at a modest estimated cost of $1.3 trillion over the first decade after elimination, i.e. the price of one extra medium-sized Middle East war, which explains why the Neocon wing has been quietly opposing repeal. Or, if you prefer, the cost of one health care reform bill).
Still, nobody outside one of Grover Norquist’s more elaborate onanistic fantasies really believed the tax would be allowed to lapse altogether. A couple of weeks ago the House voted to make the 2009 rates permanent, with every single Republican present voting no (along with 26 Democrats).
Well today the Senate refused to go along, meaning that as of now there will be no estate tax next year. (One ironic consequence of this is that instead of subjecting a tiny handful of families to estate taxes, the disappearance of the tax will impose capital gains taxes on more than 60,000 heirs who would otherwise avoid them, thus proving that our leaders remain willing to tax the sort of rich if the only alternative is taxing the ultra-rich).
Blanche Lincoln and Jon Kyl are working on a compromise proposal that will raise the estate tax exemptions to $5 million individual/$10 million married couple with a 35% rate beyond that, but it now looks like any such measure will have to be applied retroactively to 2010 estates — a move which seems likely to trigger quite a few lawsuits. So at least trusts and estates lawyers (not to mention their richest clients) will be happy.