litch: (Default)
Great gods I want to strangle george bush.

I'm doing my taxes and in the deduction there is a line (#35 on the 1040) for something called "Domestic Production Activities Deduction" which allows one to deduct 6% of the revenue for "domestic production activities". But what dear reader are "domestic production activities"? It includes construction of real property, engineering/architecture associated with such construction, income from production of a film, electricity, natural gas, or potable water, or income from "qualifying production property". What are those? tangible personal property, sound recordings, or computer software.

So, I derive revenue from the production of computer software, I should qualify right?

No, according to the instructions for form 8903 "Customer and Technical support is generally not included".

Which in my case means I just got screwed out of a $2272 deduction.
litch: (Default)
Teddy Roosevelt - The New Nationalism
Woodrow Wilson - The New Freedom
Franklin Roosevelt - The New Deal
John Kennedy - The New Frontier
Barack Obama - The New Foundation
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Great post on what is probably going on. Calling it a "glitch" is just inane, They have been getting & responding to complaints since August, from complainers that should be respected since at least February, and everything came to a head over easter weekend.

This is enemy action, an exploit of Amazon's system by an group of rabid fundies.

It's a skirmish in the culture war, and a really poor one strategically.

The fundies found a way to insinuate some poison into one of their enemies lines of supply. If they'd kept it low-key it might have done some long term damage but they got greedy and went for the showy big deal and now their enemy has gotten suspicious of that supplier and are going to demand testing and better security. All the other suppliers are going to have to follow suit and harden their operations.

Edit: as much as I like my enemy action theory, this post has some awfully compelling evidence. From what I can make out from this blog it was some guy who picked overly broad meta-data terms to block searches on.

THe lingering question is "Why has this been going on since August/February?" The suggested answer is that this is a common error that gets corrected, then made again, corrected, etc.
Pretty clear that no one in amazon management listens to the indians they offshore their customer service out to.


Apr. 12th, 2009 05:32 pm
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Twitter just doesn't interest me all that much. Short form comments are so inherently limiting that the only advantage of it over blogging is that it skims some of the lightweights and the lack of threading just kills it. However, watching the brewing shitstorm around amazonfail is kind of amusing. I really will enjoy seeing amazon grovel and scrape over this, someone fucked up but good.

Explnataion of what Amazonfail is and some scope on how inane the clowns in seattle (how wierd for that to not refer to microsoft) are from Jezebel.
litch: (Default)

The link above is to an uncut video of a woman who took her kid to a gun range, shot him in the back of the head then killed herself. Audio tapes she left behind make it very clear she was way coocooforcocoapuffs (as if the video could leave you any doubt).
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I'm confused.

I just watched a made for TV movie on SciFi that didn't suck. In fact I might go so far as to say it was pretty good.

It's a viking/horror movie. Remember 13th warrior? kinda like that, but not as good (but better than you'd expect from a made for SciFi movie). I loved the costume and set dressing, it was close enough to authentic that I was impressed. The acting was a mixed bag, some of it was surprisingly good, some was so bad that their dad had to be helping bankroll the production.

If you got a couple hours to kill I recommend you catch this flick.
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Reading a storry on cnn I saw an advertisement that looked a bit odd. It looked like a some sort of latin music thing but there was a belly dancer and it was for an Arab-american fesitval. Clicked on it because it worked and it's a pretty typical series of cultural festivals but the thing that caught my eye was the big CIA shield.

Now, if you think about it, it makes all kind of sense. It's just weird to see the CIA advertise. The first time I saw one was on a mythbuster's commercial, which also makes sense.


Apr. 9th, 2009 08:32 pm
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I'm not a great fan of Bones. The people in it are just too pretty, I find that really bugs me about tv shows (particularly Fox shows). But there is also a kind of twee nerdworship that bugs me, like the SciFi show eureka they treat geniuses as too precious and wierd. They have a definite loving bent to it which ultimately means I will watch it, but it just really chafes my tuchas.

Most recent episode (4x019) really took it too far. The entire collier institute thing was just revolting, and I know the fans are going to love it. The only reason I liked it enough to comment on it was that Billy Gibbons makes everything better.
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Mrs. Poplawski told police her son, after being kicked out of Marine Corps boot camp for assaulting his drill sergeant during basic training, had been "stockpiling guns and ammunition, buying and selling the weapons online, because he believed that as a result of the economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society."

He thought Obama was going to take his guns away so he killed three cops after he got into yet another an argument with his mother and she called them to come kick him out of her basement.


Apr. 2nd, 2009 11:47 am
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One of the things that doesn't get mentioned much on the stories about finance, particularly credit markets, that is essential for understanding what the fuck is going on are what are called reserves.

You should know from high school economics & repeated christmas viewings of "It's a Wonderful Life" a bank/savings & loan/thrift works by taking in deposits of people's savings in exchange for a few pennies worth of interest and loaning the cash out again to other people for a dime or so in interest. With enough volume that all works fine and dandy unless a bunch of people suddenly decide to withdraw their savings in a "run on the bank".

In order to prevent these kinds of crises from happening by chance every time a new xbox or some other common call for cash occurs banks have to keep reserves of cash around. Once upon a time banks got to decide for themselves how much reserve they needed to keep but since reserves of cash don't bring in any money (and cost them interest) they persistently low-balled it and we eventually got the great depression.

So the government came in and told people how to run things. They set up an insurance scheme to cover really big runs, but they also mandated that banks had to keep certain levels of money on reserve backed up by regular audits which if you failed they would shut you down, auction off your stuff and send you to jail for bank fraud.

The thing is there is only a finite amount of savings at any one time. So your bank takes in the savings, makes out the loans up to the limit of the reserves and then it hits a wall. It's got these people working for it who's job is to make loans, but they can't do their job without breaching the reserve and sending somebody to jail. So what they do is try to clear up their balance books by selling a loan they made in the past to someone else. They then have more money to loan to people and keep those expensive loan arrangers working. The trade in those pre-made loans is what people mean by "credit markets" and when they talk about the credit markets "seizing" it means nobody wants to buy your bank's old loans.

The thing that most people have a hard time understanding is that insurance companies are essentially funky "banks". The premiums you pay are like bank deposits, and the payouts they make if an accident occurs are like you withdrawing the money. In the mean time the insurance company takes the money it has sitting around and uses it to make more money (often by buying old loans from banks). And just like banks can suffer runs, insurance companies can get in the same sort of jams. A freak icestorm that results in a bunch of car crashes in a town, hail storm tears up a bunch of roofs, hurricane wipes out the gulf coast. You wind up with a lot of payouts but the insurance company doesn't have enough cash on hand and you wind up with a bankrupt insurance company and a bunch of screwed over people.

So the government tells them what to do as well. They mandate reserves insurance companies have to keep on hand just like they do banks. And there is also a secondary insurance market (reinsurance) like there is a secondary credit market.

Naturally, considering the greedy grasping nature of the cocksuckers in expensive suits that tend to populate the ranks of banks and insurance companies, there are lots of attempts to game the system.

One of the central players in many of such games of late was AIG. Check out this article on some of the chicanery they have already been proved in court to have engaged in.


Apr. 1st, 2009 11:01 pm
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Took the dogs to the park this afternoon.

It was beautiful and I needed some physical exercise to reconnect with myself. Been somewhat dissociative lately; not really feeling anything, there but not there, feeling like I was floating a foot back, above, & to the right of my head. It's a stress/coping mechanism, if my emotions are untenable then just step back and let the body go through the motions of life , leave the emotions there, climb up a rope and pull the rope up after me. Only emotion I recall over the last day or two is a few seconds of terror as I was going to bed last night (last week I had some doozy nightmares) and some mild irritation at the dogs for being twitchy (to which I vastly over-reacted, like took a swing at Saladin over-reacted).

The appropriate response to being dissociative is to focus on physical stimuli, physical exercise and exertion that overcomes your artificed separation. So I took the dogs and a pitchfork and headed for the park. There are a couple of pile of mulch there that have needed spreading for the last couple weeks. We wandered the park (seemed to be a day for large breasted beautiful blonds) and the dogs swam a bit. I got my pitchfork and started tossing mulch. got part way through and took a brake for more walks and dog swimming and then went back to the pile. I pushed myself until my ears were ringing and my eyes were spotting. Then lay down on a bench for a bit to catch my breath and tried to notice the world around me.

It really was a beautiful day, 70's & kind of breezy. The water in the creek is still high from the rain and it is shockingly cold. It was after 6:30 by then and I'd pretty much finished the pile I was working on, dogs were worn out and more the ready to head for el hacienda. Driving back I was stunned at how lush and beautiful all the bluebonnets on the medians along 360 are, they are absolutely vivid.
litch: (Default)
Remember this great article by Matt Taibbi I posted about recently.

Check out this response of his to an AIGFP exec's rationale for getting his bonuses.


Mar. 27th, 2009 11:52 pm
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Man, now I am pissed that fox made me waste the time watching the first 5 episodes of dollhouse, the last two particularly the last one have really rocked.

Of course I love tv shows about people tripping.
litch: (Default)
So there is some squawking going on about a new research/drug production facility being built in aggieland.

aTm is building a $75M drug production facility that is supposed to go live in 2012. It's supposed to be a state of the art small batch (1-5 million doses) fast turnover to new products facility.

The squawking is about where the money is coming from, Gov Goodhair moved $50M from a fund that is supposed to induce companies to move to texas to a different fund which is supposed to fund new partnerships between tech companies and texas universities. Then he made the grant from that fund without running it by the board that is supposed to greenlight dispersement.

I have a hard time objecting too much to this; the state is funding new construction in a crap economy, texas is getting a centrally located cutting edge flexable drug production facility, ChemEng grads at aTm are getting practical experience in building the new hot thing in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Following oversight procedure would have been better but getting the cash out the door in this economy offsets that for me.

Most of the objection seems to be a) aTm got the money rather than t.u. or one of the other systems here b) Perry seems to be angling for a building to put his name on. The first one doesn't bug me too much, aTm has a history of getting screwed when it comes to money from the state and their ChemEng people are better than anyone else in the state and some of the best in the country. The second is just what happens in politics (& universities) in Texas.
litch: (Default)
Firewire chats: Obama youtube videos

Shruburbs: Tentcities for homeless people
litch: (Default)
Composting is harder than it looks.

It's really easy in theory, make a pile of vegitation, let it rot, fold it occasionally.

The problem I have is finding a workable rhythm, I find I need to have at least three piles cooking & a fourth building at any one time to keep my interest up and even then I tend turn them too frequently to get them hot enough. It's not easy to get a steady stream of the right material for that much compost, one of the most common leaf options are live oak leaves and they don't compost worth a damn. And in central texas you have to water your piles or they'll dry out.
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This is real proof virginia is turning blue, they have started to require new developments be more connected. They make it harder to create that anathema of new urbanists; pod neighborhoods. These are neighborhoods which only have single entrances that everyone who lives there has to filter through and thereby mandate car oriented devolpment.
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People on chat were mentioning a report of a patron with a concealed weapon who shot and killed a guy trying to rob a fast food place in florida (I think it was this story but I never saw any explicit links).

I expressed that I thought that was a bad idea. I just don't think it's worth killing someone over a the pocket change you can pull from a burger king till.

For that I got called a faggot, fool and "the kind of spineless asshat that would just look down and keep stuffing his face with fries in that situation". *eyeroll* gotta love internet conversations

I've become pretty skeptical about the wisdom of more widespread handgun possession and potential use. While all these guys giving me grief (and of course it is usually guys) were getting hardons from their vigilante fantasies I wondered about the family of the guy who's life was sucking so much that armed robbery of a fast food place was the best option.

It can be argued that he (and by extension his family) got what he deserved for robbing a place with a gun, but especially in this economy a little compassion doesn't cost us much. But the bigger issue is escalating to a gunfight in a crowded public place is a really bad idea. Particularly when you consider the alternative is the guy getting away with a handful of cash belonging to a megacorporation that's covered by insurance.

There are some very few, limited circumstances when I think it is appropriate to use deadly force, this sure as hell wasn't one.


Mar. 25th, 2009 05:59 pm
litch: (Default)
Got a bunch of hail
Read more... )
Big stuff (that's a quarter)

The sound the hail made when it hit the street/walk and shattered was waycool.
litch: (Default)
There is a storm front headed for austin from the northwest. Lot of hail, lightning, and cloudbusts. There's a storm out over mason (~100 miles west of here) over 40k feet tall that they are pulling hooks off of that's headed due east 40-50mph.

Just starting to hear thunder in the distance.

An halfhour or two from now things might get exciting.


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May 2009

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