Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Everson Neverson

Have been busy, occupied, off the streets and (arguably) out of trouble these past 2 weeks, what with the Thanksgiving excursion, and composing my Final Exam. The next 2 months promise to be similarly engaging, but some of the projects and ventures to which I have obligated myself will likely be exciting and enjoyable (and physically exhausting, no doubt).

This blog's posting of 20 April 2007 contains the following paragraph:

"In other IRS news, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson will soon step down to become CEO of the American Red DoubleCross. Commissioner Everson brought about some much-needed reforms to the IRS, and can be expected to do some much-deserved toochaskicking at the American Red Cross. I wish him the best of luck, because he will need it."

Well, Everson never made it to the six-month mark. He took command of the Red Cross on 29 May 2007, and "resigned" yesterday after the Red Cross board learned that he had "engaged in a personal relationship with a subordinate employee." In the interim, he brought aboard his acting successor at the IRS, Kevin Brown, as COO of the ARC.

I had high expectation for Mark Everson. But, like so many, his personal weaknesses got the better of him. I feel bad for Mr. Everson, but he has only himself to blame for this misadventure.

Without getting too deeply into the morality issues here, it is noted that the workplace, particularly a large organization, is a social system as well as whatever else it may be. Social relationships play a role in the function of the organization, and misdirected social relationships can spawn much ill will, which can impede the better functions of the organization. It cannot be said that office romances are solely the personal affairs of the romancing parties, for such relationships wreak broad consequences.

The foregoing comments are nothing novel or unusual, and would not have been posted, except that in light of the mention of Everson in the 20 April posting, I now need to own up to my bad investment of sorts (though, quite fortunately, I lost no money in the deal). But maybe I shouldn't have been too optimistic regarding the smooth and orderly operation of an organization such as the American Red DoubleCross.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spitzer's Antithesis


As almost every patriotic American in the blogosphere knows by now, New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer has backed down from his moronic proposal to give New York State driver's licenses to illegal aliens. At least for now (don't be surprised if the limousine liberal tries to resurrect it again). On this event itself, I have little more to say than that which has already been propounded by the various pundits.

I do, however, call attention to a judicial opinion by Justice Thomas F. Liotti of the Westbury Village Justice Court, to wit, People v. Juana Ventura, 2007 NY Slip Op. 51949(U), 2007 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 6932, N.Y.L.J., 13 November 2007, p. 19, col. 3 (Vill. Just. Ct., Westbury, Nassau Co., 11 October 2007). Though decided a little over a month ago, it only appeared in the New York Law Journal yesterday. The defendant is an absentee landlord accused of renting illegal apartments. Many if not all of the tenants are, in all likelihood, illegal aliens. Justice Liotti granted bail, but set some interesting conditions on the bail, including reporting the matter to Homeland Security and the IRS.

As background information, please note that:

(A) The guys and gals who wear the black robes in New York's various Village Justice Courts are not required to be attorneys, and usually have some sort of other day job in addition to their VJC duties; and

(B) Justice Liotti IS an attorney with a thriving criminal defense practice; who comes from a politically-active family; and who is no stranger to the political process.

People v. Juana Ventura is a detailed read, but worthwhile, and positions Tom Liotti as the antithesis of Eliot Spitzer in his immigration policy.

I know not what Tom Liotti's particular political aspirations may be, but would not be the least bit surprised to see him set his sights on the chair now nominally occupied by Eliot Spitzer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The New Pigeon Police

Much has been going on, so I have been kept busy, off the streets and out of trouble (mostly). I didn't sleep too well last night, primarily because our local volunteer fire department responded to a call from the house next door at about 2:00 AM. Nothing major; the firefighters were gone in less than an hour, and the neighbors got out safely on their own accord, and are back at home after the fire. I have no further details yet (and they really don't seem to be that important). But the sirens and the bright lights woke me up and kept me up. I don't like losing whatever precious little sleep I am able to achieve, but at least I know that our firefighters show up when they are needed. I can live with that!

In the Big Apple, Councilman Simcha Felder has announced legislation proscribing the feeding of pigeons, under penalty of $1,000 fines for violations. The bill (which, as of this writing, has not yet shown up on the NYC City Council website) would create the position of pigeon czar to deal with all pigeon problems.

Having kept pigeons as pets during my preteen years, I have developed some opinions and attitudes regarding the birds. First and foremost, there are just too damn many of them in New York City (and, for that matter, in the covered parking lot where I teach). Secondly, as pointed out by Don Jenner, we have ourselves to blame for bringing pigeons to America. They are descended from the Rock Doves of the Old World, but we brought them here. Think of them as illegal aliens!

I agree that we do need to do something about the pigeons. About 3 or 4 years ago, my wife and I went to a wedding in Brooklyn. The valet parking people parked our minivan right under the El tracks, and when they returned the car there were several very large blobs of pigeon poop on the windshield. Turning on the wipers would have smeared the poop all over, and rendered the entire windshield opaque. And so, as the valet people (I wouldn't bet that they all had green cards) were honking their horns behind our van to try to get me to drive it away, I climbed upon the front of the van, with a spritzer of Windex and lots of paper towels, and cleaned off my windshield. A very significant part of me regrets (A) not wiping the poop in the face of the valet parking captain, who was standing there 20 feet away watching me wipe the poop from my windshield; and/or (B) not mailing a sample of the poop to the mother & father of the bride (we were guests on the groom's side).

Pigeons are edible (and, if slaughtered according to the Torah dictates, kosher). They can be used to alleviate much of the hunger problem in the New York metropolitan area, except that the animal rights sob sisters would all be up in arms.

And speaking of the animal rights sob sisters, their big thing of late has been the feral cats at Idlewyld (I refuse to call it JFK) Airport.

Why not just bus the feral cats from Idlewyld in to Manhattan, and dispense with Councilman Felder's additional layer of bureaucracy?

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