Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Another tax season is in the bag. It wasn't much of one; the office did more tax returns the first full week than we did the last six. I don't expect the franchise owners will bother with it next year. I'm guessing we barely made enough to cover payroll. Not that it matters; I won't be there either way.

Finishing up tax season also means I have to get my butt moving to make The Tax Geek more than just a pricey bit of paper in the file cabinet. I have a good idea of where I want to set up shop, but I have no idea what the rent is going to be. I'll likely do a bit of driving around on Wednesday and get some hard numbers. I should have the software I plan to use sometime today. [UPS dude just dropped it off! Woohoo!] Intuit gives the 2009 version away for free as part of their sales pitch. I was completely underwhelmed by their on-line version for tax preparers. I'm hoping their stand-alone software is more what I would expect from using QuickBooks and TurboTax. And of course, I need to find a starving artist somewhere than can come up with artwork for business cards, etc.

[Aside: I hate when I can't remember something I've seen a hundred times. I know there is a website where you can put work out to contract; virtualsomethingorother.com. The "somethingorother" part is an old word for someone you hire to get stuff done (like "majordomo" only more Southeast Asian). It's been discussed endlessly for over a year on Scott Adam's blog and now because I'm trying to think of it, it's just gone. Normally I write stuff like that down or at least toss it into my bookmarks, but for some reason I didn't. Or I did, but now can't remember where I wrote it down or in what folder I stuffed the bookmark. Getting old sucks dead bunnies.]

The government didn't shut down, but we still don't have a budget six and a half months into the budget year, and won't likely have one before summer. If there is any question our federal government is broken, there is no better sign than the fact that the single most important bit of work will still be incomplete nine months after the due date and a mere three months before the next version is due. If the reason for the delay involved coming to a middle path over some deep philosophical divide, I would likely be less harsh. Instead, we have over-grown children quibbling over crumbs while the nation slowly grinds its way down the slope of decline. I'm waiting to hear some adult conversation about what in Afghanistan is of such strategic importance to the US that we continue to borrow billions from the Chinese to fund our bumbling around in that particular hell hole. I would love to have it explained to me what penumbra formed by an emanation obligates me to pay for someone else's healthcare. Or make them whole after they lose their ass gambling in the derivatives markets. Or to pay for three meals a day for school students whose "parents" trade their food stamp cards for cash to piss away on drugs and alcohol. But our president claims that anyone who dares question the neo-liberal agenda is a stomper of puppies and strangler of babies, and advocates killing anyone over the age of 30. Returning the federal government to the size it was for two centuries will be a disaster. Thus Speaketh The One. Hear ye subjects and tremble.

And we accept this with barely a murmur.

Meanwhile, Big Sis says that adults can stuff their hand down the front of a six-year-old girl's pants and call it "proper screening procedures" as long as the adults come two by two with hands of blue. I think we all know what I would be called if I made a habit of stuffing my hand down the front of little girls' pants, disposable nitrile gloves or no.

And we just line up and take it.

We so deserve what is happening to us.

Speaking of which, we are up to 34 banks closed so far in 2011. That's significantly off last year's pace and the size of the banks involved remains of the small and regional variety. That may be due to the slower pace of foreclosures, or it may be due to smaller banks not being able to borrow billions for 0% interest from the Fed then use it to purchase T-bills paying 3.5% like the too-big-to-fail banks.

So, enough of my babbling. Here is someone that makes me look optimistic:

And a couple essays that run along similar themes:

Gaming Our Own Asses by James Howard Kunstler:

...Barack Obama has waited a bit too long to change the national storyline using the authority of his high office. It's not about "growth" and "recovery." It's about managing contraction and becoming a different sort of American society. Observers of the scene have made a mistake about Obama. He's not "eloquent." He's merely respectable. Being able to speak in grammatical sentences is not the same as having anything to say. It will be a sorrowful day when he is replaced by a genuine idiot like Michele Bachman, but it will happen because he wasn't able to set the tone for his times with something like a straight story....

Alternatives to Nihilism, Part One: A Dog Named Boo by John Michael Greer:

Any of my readers who would like to see how much of this fixation on hunting for scapegoats unfolds from an uneasy conscience need only suggest in public that ordinary Americans might bear some modest degree of responsibility for the unwelcome trends of the last few decades. The shrillness with which most Americans will insist that all the blame lies elsewhere makes it tolerably clear just how sensitive a nerve has been touched. What Carl Jung called "projecting the shadow" has become a potent political reality in America, but you don’t need a degree in Jungian psychoanalysis to realize that people who spend their lives pointing fingers at other people are trying to paste a villain’s mask on the rest of the world in order to avoid seeing it when they look in the mirror.

As usual, the real fun is in the comments. Greer's commenters are generally polite and provide useful input (something enforced mercilessly by JMG); Kunstler's are... um... not. Which just increases the unintentional humor factor to the stratosphere.

Well, I should go find something useful to do with my unemployed self. Maybe a nap.

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