January 24th, 2007

Boss Coffee

Hump day

I feel better about things in general after roughing out my Federal taxes last night. After a couple of years' protracted struggle with enormous tax payments due to one screwup or another, it's a real relief to be getting some money back, even if it's only a couple hundred bucks....and not having to come up with an extra $120 a month to throw at Uncle Sam will help the cash flow quite a bit, too. Here's hoping things work out at least that well with the state; with my luck I'll wind up owing the folks in St. Paul the money I get back from the Feds.

Work is. We had a bunch of rejects off the general ledger for mostly stupid reasons that I won't go into because they'd bore the crap out of you, frankly. Suffice it to say that I'm not filled with warm fuzzy thoughts for my brothers and sisters in Des Moines and San Francisco at the moment. Anyway, I'm hanging around the corporate intranet waiting for other people to do their thing so I can do mine. Bureaucracy in inaction. It's what makes us such an economic powerhouse.

Professor Death liveblogs the SOTU, with comments from other folks. Links to other liveblogs here. Comments on Jim Webb's response. Finally, some positive remarks from Arnold Kling at the Cato Institute on the President's health plan.

Cobb has some observations on immigration and blackfolks, and today's cartoon is also insightful but more snarky. Definitely worth reading is his review of Viva Pinata, which almost makes me want to buy the dumb thing.

The way of the world

From StrategyPage: Someone's finally doing something about the genocide in Darfur. Unsurprisingly, it's not the UN.

Somewhat related: Aon Insurance's map of worldwide political risk levels, with cool symbols laying out exactly how you stand to lose your property and/or life in various countries around the world. Unsurprisingly, just about everyplace in Africa and mainland Asia (east of Aden) sucks. The surprising exception: Botswana. The unsurprising exception: South Korea. (Colby Cosh)

A few thoughts on schools and foreign policy

I don't often drop by the Far Outliers blog, because Joel doesn't update very often, but invariably when I do I find something interesting. Tonight is no exception. In the first post, he references a review of Freedom Writers by a tenth-grade history teacher, who blasts Hollywood for its repeated portrayals of heroic/martyred teachers in poor inner-city schools. This is similar, Joel says, to the Hollywood glitterati's approach to foreign policy.

Also worth checking out is an examination of honorifics and pronouns in Letters from Iwo Jima, a post on misnamed "neocolonialism" as practiced by the UN and other NGOs, and an amusing account of life in 18th century France and England by an Indian traveler.