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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Black Hats on Empty Heads

Seems that the Jewish community in Lakewood, NJ, was duped by a man named Ted Floyd, who stole the identity of deceased veteran Nathaniel James Levi. Floyd/Levi has pleaded guilty of identity theft. The whole thing is now a big scandal in Lakewood.

With that in mind, the following Letter to the Editor of Yated Ne'eman has come to my attention [Yated Ne'eman, 13 Nissan 5768 / 18 April 2008, page 8]. The letter writer, who, like so many, does not give his real name, signs it as "A Yeshivaman in Lakewood." For the uninitiated, Yated Ne'eman is a publication directed towards the more insular elements of the religious Jewish community, many of whom object to the garbage in the common English language tabloids (a position certainly not without merit).

Yated Ne'eman recently began posting photos of the authors of its columns -- the male authors, at least; there are many who fear that pictures of females will cause men to have impure thoughts, so there are no pictures of women in Yated Ne'eman (though a few years ago, I did see an advertisement that featured a photo of the Statute of Liberty).

The essence of "Yeshivaman's" letter is that Yated Ne'eman's use of the author's photographs has a salutary effect because "The photos of the writers who pen the opinion and haskafa [rough Hebrew translation: Approach to life, world view, etc.] columns underscore the background of the writers. When we see the noble Bnei Torah who the Yated entrusts with the holy mission of conveying the ideals and outlook the Torah requires of us, we are assured that the message is as authentic as the messengers themselves."

English translation: Like so many in the Lakewood community, this "Yeshivaman" will blindly accept the authenticity of anyone who sports a beard and a black hat.

Which is exactly why Ted Floyd was able to pull one over on them!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Bell, Sharpton & Obama

On account of the Passover religious holiday, I have been incommunicado for the past 2 days. Actually, our Passover was relatively quiet and uneventful for a change. The main event was that my wife's leftist moonbat cousin stayed with us for the seder, so we got into some interesting political discussions as we always do.

The thermometer went up a few degrees when I referred to the Junior Senator from Illinois who now aspires to the White House by his first, middle and last names, and then, upon Cousin Shira's vehement protestations that "he's not a Muslim" (I didn't say that he was), questioned her double standard with respect to the use of the proper noun "Rodham" in referring to the Junior Senator from New York, also a White House wannabe.

But we enjoy her company anyway, and there are no personal hard feelings.

Well, anyway, Passover has passed over, and, for the first time in over a week, I had a beer (in fact, I used the beer to make havdalah, the ceremony to mark the passing of the holiday (or, more often, the Sabbath) into the ordinary week). After I post this, I intend to have my first shot of whiskey (specifically, Jack Daniel's) since before Pesach. For the uninitiated, any form of wheat, oats, rye, barley or spelt which has been left to ferment or leaven is verboten on Passover, which puts beer and whiskey off limits. But don't feel too bad for us! We did quite well with wines, Carmel 777 Brandy and some Jelinek Slivovitz.

During the time of these last days of Passover, the big news item is the Sean Bell story, or rather, the Fat Al Sharpton story regarding the shooting of Sean Bell by some NYPD officers. I actually was on the side of Sean Bell's family -- at first! But as soon as it became clear that Fat Al would be welcomed with open arms by the family, I knew that the NYPDers merited my empathy.

My take on it:

A. Two of the three NYPDers who shot Sean Bell are b-l-a-c-k. This isn't a racial thing, it's a NYPD thing.

B. As Judge Cooperman made clear, the issue was strictly one of criminal liability under the New York criminal statutes. The civil trial will probably cost the NYPD some bucks (as, perhaps, it should).

C. Fat Al is up to his usual civil disturbance tactics. And others are doing his bidding for him by going further. Judge Cooperman's home is now under 24-hour surveillance, and the NYPD has already received a semi-credible threat that cops would be targeted by drive-by shooters. There may be some significant trouble yet!

D. If I were a White House wannabe other than Barack Hussein Obama, I would want there to be a full-blown race riot in New York City, so that I could connect the dots between Bell and Sharpton and Barack Hussein. Similarly, if I were an aspirant to the New York City Mayor's chair or the New York State Governorship, I would want to see Mike Bloomberg get his face smeared with poop from a New York City race riot.

Query: Has Fat Al Sharpton taken a retainer fee from any of the following:

1. John McCain?
2. Hillary Rodham Clinton?
3. Andrew Cuomo?
4. Thomas Suozzi?
5. Thomas Gulotta?
6. Christine Quinn?
7. Michael Balboni?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Nitwits at Times Square

Without going into the details, it suffices to say that many years ago, after one evening of profligate youthful indiscretion, I resolved to stay away from Times Square on New Year's Eve (unless I had a viable remunerative business motive such as selling trinkets or picking pockets). I continue to eschew such public revelry, whether at Times Square or other venues. Trust me, such situations do not abound with sound intelligent reasoning!

Over the years, the events at such gatherings have continued to validate my decision to stay away.

For example, the following article in the New York Law Journal:

"Eviction From Hotel Found Not Cause of New Year's Accident" by Daniel Wise, New York Law Journal, 22 April 2008, page 1.

The relevant facts are recited in Judge Kahn's opinion (with citations omitted to facilitate reader ergonomics):

"Plaintiff Jeffrey Dagen ("Plaintiff") made reservations and paid for two rooms at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City for the nights of December 31, 2004 and January 1, 2005 for a total cost of approximately $4,000. Plaintiff and his four guests checked into the hotel and ordered food and alcoholic beverages from room service at several points during the evening of December 31st. Room service continued delivering the orders until shortly before midnight. Following a disturbance in or around Plaintiff’s rooms involving Plaintiff and his party, Plaintiff and his guests were told to leave the hotel and Plaintiff was escorted out of the hotel by police officers. Plaintiff then proceeded to his pickup truck, parked in a parking garage about six or seven blocks away. Plaintiff did not seek alternative lodging for
the night. Plaintiff did not stop to buy coffee, and never considered stopping in a coffee shop or similar establishment to rest. Plaintiff left New York City and drove toward Latham, New York on the Taconic Parkway because he misread the signs to the Thruway, despite having traveled to New York City several times per year over the previous few years, including through the Taconic Parkway at least one or two times per year in 2003 and 2004.

Plaintiff drove approximately ninety miles on the Taconic Parkway without incident or difficulty and without stopping for coffee or rest or to seek lodging. As he approached the exit ramp for the Town of Taghkanic, Plaintiff decided to exit the Parkway to get gas for his truck. After about 100 yards on the exit ramp, Plaintiff reached a slippery part of the road, lost control of the car and skidded off the exit ramp, ultimately hitting a tree. Plaintiff admitted that he was driving at 65 miles per hour immediately before he attempted to exit the Parkway, or 10 miles over the speed limit. The New York state trooper who responded to the scene found that the roadway conditions were wet and glistening and that Plaintiff was traveling at an unsafe speed for these road conditions.

Plaintiff seeks damages from Defendants for personal injuries sustained in the collision on the theory of negligence. Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment seeks to dismiss the negligence claim."

My take on it: This guy must really, really, be a nitwit par excellence if he was able to get himself expelled from the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel! Especially on New Year's Eve, when the general standard of decorum in the neighborhood deteriorates to a level just above lawlessness and anarchy!
The folks at the New York Times are not the only nitwits at Times Square!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Remember the Passover Story

So now, former President Jimmy Carter is calling Israel's restrictions upon the entry into Gaza of materiels that can be (and in fact are being) used to kill Israeli civilians an atrocity.

No doubt, other real Americans will point out One-Term Jimmy's hypocrisy in his failure to condemn (and indeed, his support of) even greater atrocities, such as thousands of rockets, launched on an almost daily basis, into the civilian town of Sderot. And, no doubt, other real American bloggers will speak out about his other acts of treason.

I only wish to point out two things here:

(1) Everyone seems to have forgotten Jimmy Carter's piss poor record with Muslim terrorists, specifically, the Iranian Hostage crisis. It took a Ronald Reagan to get the American hostages released, after Carter was unsuccessful for well over a year.

(2) As I write this, Carter is now in Cairo, cozying up to the Hamas terrorists. But where is Cairo? It is in Egypt! And what Jewish holiday is coming up in less than 48 hours? Remember that we have been commanded to remember how G-d saved us from our enslavement in Egypt! Hey, Jimmy! Remember what happened to the Pharoah!!!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Updates & Chag Sameach

Once again, a dearth of posts has resulted from me going through a busy period, exacerbated by the Passover preparations for the upcoming Pesach holiday (redundancy intentional; this posting can now be hit by a search of either term). A few updates are in order.

(A) Big Dipper update: During the past month since the Big Dipper Update # 8, the issue has only spread and intensified. NY AG Andrew Cuomo, who is certainly not oblivious to the prospects of making political hay, has issued two press releases during the past week [here and here] announcing various expansions of his probe into the matter. Expect to see some criminal indictments, and maybe, just maybe, some dollars returned to the New York State public treasury.

(B) The Wisniewski case posting from 9 July 2007 (the one where the kid's parents sued the school for expelling him for making death threats to a teacher): The U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari, which means that the suspension stands, and the kid (who is now an adult) does not get exonerated for the death threats. Aaron Wisniewski's only hope is for him to accept accountability for his actions. But with facilitative parents who do everything to externalize the blame which rightly rests upon his shoulders, he really doesn't have too much of a chance.

(C) The Passport Snooping post of 23 March 2008: As mentioned, State Department employees get away with doing things that IRS employees can't even daydream about doing. Along such lines, the removal of an IRS employee Shirley C. Albritton for snooping, which was upheld by the Merit System Protection Board, was affirmed by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

The hour draws late, and the holiday will soon be upon us, thus giving me and my wife approximately 2 days to finish our preparations. As usual, I look forward to it, but, as usual, it will take a lot out of me.

Wishing everyone a happy & kosher Passover!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Stupid Acts

Been busy with some interesting (and somewhat remunerative) adventures, which likely will continue to curtail my blogging posts.

I tell my students that when cases go to court, more often than not they are there because somebody did something stupid -- and that the stupid act was not necessarily done by the losing party (or even a party to the lawsuit).

With that in mind, the case of Bishop v. Commissioner (T.C. Summary Opinion 2008-33) from the United States Tax Court is noted. Here, the abused ex-wife was granted innocent spouse relief from joint and several liability for the taxes on the joint income tax return.

What caught my attention, though, was the following background regarding her ex-husband (denoted in the case as the "intervenor") who unsuccessfully opposed the motion, thus being saddled with the entire amount of the taxes:

"Intervenor has a college degree in accounting, and during the years at issue worked as an auditor for the Texas Workforce Commission. He now performs auditing services as a consultant on an hourly subcontract basis. He was previously a revenue agent who conducted income tax audits for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In 1994, intervenor was indicted for bribing a public official in 1992 and 1993. He pled guilty to the charges. On January 6, 1995, U.S. District Court Judge H.F. Garcia entered the judgment in the criminal case, which imposed a special assessment of $50 on each of two counts and a fine of $1,000 on each count and sentenced intervenor to 28 months of imprisonment in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. He was released from prison in 1997, at which time he rejoined his wife and children. Sometime thereafter he began working as an auditor for the Texas Workforce Commission."

Let's get this straight: He did Federal prison time for bribing a public official, and then the Texas Workforce Commission hired him as an auditor?

He may be a loser, but what does it say about the shmucks at the Texas Workforce Commission?

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