[June 10, 2000]

The Justice Department is absolutely desperate to close the door on this case before the Dems get voted out of the White House. They want to skip the Appellate Court for the DC Circuit, they want to settle the appeal now, all to avoid "a protracted legal proceeding." They have forgotten the first rule of negotiation - your next best alternative to a negotiated settlement must give you some leverage. Microsoft clearly has the advantage here - they can string out the appeals until next January, quite easily. And then, they'll be negotiating with a different, presumably more sensible, crew. W

Death to the death tax: House Votes to End Estate Taxes (washingtonpost.com)

The Republican bill passed 279 to 136, [including 65 Democrats] which with the votes of absent lawmakers might be enough to defeat a promised veto by President Clinton. A veto would require 290 votes.

I'm surprised that so many Democrats voted in favor of this bill (H.R. 8). However, there is a major poison pill in this legislation, inexplicably stuck there by Chairman Archer:

After repeal of the estate, gift, and generation skipping taxes, the basis of assets received from a decedent generally would be the basis of the decedent (i.e., carryover basis); however, current law basis step up rules would be retained for $3 million of assets left to a surviving spouse and $1.3 million of other assets left to any beneficiary (the $3 million and $1.3 million figures would be indexed for inflation).

Effectively, a person who inherits stock from his grandmother, who acquired it in 1950, would pay capital gains on that stock based on the value of that stock in 1950. I am frankly baffled as to why Archer would include such a provision, which only serves to complicate the tax regime further. Compliance would be a nightmare, since so many people who have relied on the current basis step-up rule have no records as to what the original basis might be. Although I support the repeal of the death tax, this bill is fatally flawed and may never reach a Senate vote in current form. W

[June 9, 2000]

The Gore campaign apparently learned a valuable lesson from Nixon: Destroy the tapes. If you don't think it could happen, answer this: when has the Clinton-Gore adminsitration ever believed in admitting an embarassing truth when obstructing justice and hiding or destroying evidence would do just as well?  W

This week, a Federal judge, on the grounds that government has gotten just too damn big and oppressive, ordered that the liberal propaganda tool known as "A Nice Piece of Ass" be split into three parts. Just as before, the liberal philosphy will not be appealing. W

The Governor's record: What did Arkansas look like when Al Gore joined Bill Clinton in 1992? Scroll to the bottom (oh, how delicious the irony!) for the answer. W

[June 8, 2000]

If Governor Bush speaking at Bob Jones Univeristy equals support for their interracial dating ban, what does this appearance mean for Al Gore?

Democratic strategists groaned at the unnecessary embarrassment that Gore could have avoided if his staff had checked.

Apparently, the same folks who handle his real estate do the background checks on his campaign stops. Gore has an astonishing penchant for surrounding himself with idiots. Can you imagine the nimrods who might be appointed to a Gore cabinet? Clinton's picks would look marvelously deft by comparison. W

I'm not alone... Max at Lots of Co. sez:

I was so hungry after working out last night that I grabbed my favorite low-fat-pseudo-Italian-meat-and-starch-product and ate it straight from the can. (FYI: I love cold ravioli--you are supposed be recoiling in disgust from the "straight from the can" part.)

Ever since I broke my front tooth as a kid, and was placed on strict orders for a week of soft room-temperature foods, I've enjoyed the same guilty pleasure. Those around me usually enjoy it slightly less. W

Right on! Big & Loud & Formidable & Right - "Proudly proclaiming all of the things that the left would rather see hushed up." W

The Libertarian Party fought hard and made it onto the Presidential ballot in Oklahoma, but the struggle for ballot access is just beginning in Illinois and Pennsylvania. W

[June 7, 2000]

Really, I mean it this time, when I say Spain pics are coming really, really, really, really soon. Thanks in part to DanW

Uh-oh. She's got the blog bug. I think it may be time for a page of her own... W

Honestly, I haven't been following the whole Microsoft case too closely, but I just read an article about it in the Wall Street Journal which noted that:

Among other things, Microsoft was ordered:
not to restrict PC makers from modifying aspects of Windows, such
as the "desktop" presented to computer users;

Is it me, or is there a copyright problem here? As copyright owner of Windows, doesn't Microsoft have an unequivocal right to prevent others from creating derivative works of its intellectual property -- especially when the changes the PC makers make could well degrade the functionality of Microsoft's product??? Yes, it's a monopoly, but it is a monopoly conferred to all authors of intellectual property, and and for good reason. Without such a monopoly, cream skimmers could just change a word or two, or make a very minor improvement, and cash in. Can it really be that in the interest of enforcing the antitrust laws Microsoft can be prevented from exercising its most basic intellectual property rights? It just seems wrong to me. W

You heard it here last: Judge Orders Microsoft Split in Two

It appears unlikely the case will be fully resolved before swearing in of a new president in January -- either Republican George W. Bush or Democrat Al Gore. There is speculation in Washington that Bush would be more skeptical of the government case.

For all my earlier ranting about this case, I think the quote holds the key to the final resolution of this case. Clearly, the Department of Justice is on a poltically-motivated rampage. Once the election is over, out next president will be in a position to resolve the matter amicably. All Microsoft has to do is put forth a strong appeal with a reasonable likelihood of victory, and a future administration will find political cover to settle this dog.

Here's the Final Judgment:

c. This Final Judgment shall expire at the end of ten years from the date on which it takes effect.
d. The Court may act sua sponte to issue orders or directions for the construction or carrying out of this Final Judgment, for the enforcement of compliance therewith, and for the punishment of any violation thereof.

As I suspected, Judge Jackson wants to supervise this one for at least the next decade. W

I am almost 95% positive that this message was meant for someone else. W

[June 5, 2000]

Well, maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all. W

My loving husband is trying to drag me kicking and screaming into the world of blogging. I'm not exactly the html type, and I am frankly surprised that he would let me invade his libertarian/conservative domain with my crazy liberal ideas, but the blogger invite was too good to resist, so here I am. BTW, he'll swear I'm not as liberal as I say I am, but he's wrong, as men often are. Given his tendency to tell the story of how I "agreed" with a Newt Gingrich speech regarding the estate tax as support for his theory that I am actually slightly to the right of Attila the Hun, I figure this article is a good first post for me. W

Blue skies above me
Green grass below; Haiku the
Blog, viewed from the side W

POP! goes the manhole... W

Recycled LinkFrom Running Tally: An alert on gay-bashing by rapper Eminem. But it's not like he's singling out gays for special treatment - he's waxed rhapsodic about killing just about everyone, including convenience-store clerks, high school bullies, the mother of his child, and even himself. He's got plenty of hate to go around for just about anyone you can think of. W

Derek sez (on June 2):

Helvetica is so poised for a comeback.

Does that mean Helvetica is the new Palatino? And what does that mean about Arial's chances? W

[June 4, 2000]

I can't find any fault with his taste in jazz. Based upon my own fondness of Coltrane's work and Jason's recommendation, I snagged a copy of John Coltrane, The Classic Quartet several days ago and it's been on heavy rotation in the cup-holder ever since. W

Spain pictures are coming very, very soon. I promise. W

A note on split infinitives, from the The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996:

In fact, the split infinitive is distinguished both by its length of use and the greatness of its users. People have been splitting infinitives since the 14th century, and some of the most noteworthy splitters include John Donne, Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Johnson, William Wordsworth, Abraham Lincoln, George Eliot, Henry James, and Willa Cather.
The only rationale for condemning the construction is based on a false analogy with Latin. The thinking is that because the Latin infinitive is a single word, the English infinitive should be treated as if it were a single unit. But English is not Latin, and people split infinitives all the time without giving it a thought. Should we condemn compound infinitives, such as I want to go and have a look, simply because the infinitive have has no to next to it?

In other words, the split infinitive is a matter of style, not grammar, a matter of personal preference rather than grammatical rectitude. There are plenty of web references on grammar and style for those interested in crying over split milkW

The difference is that I've never argued that anyone's grammatical mistakes and typographical errors should disqualify that person from running a weblog. I'm well aware that I have typographical errors in what I post, which is why I rarely, if ever, initiate discussion of them; however, those who use grammar as a measure of intelligence should be prepared to be judged by their own standard, especially for grammatical errors in the very same post.  W

I find it highly amusing that this sentence:

What an amazing, amazing column on the linguistic inadequacy of Dubya ("President Jabberwocky"), and why they disqualify him from running the United States.

contains a glaring error of elementary grammar, as does this one by the same author:

Dubya is such as ass.

Kettle, have you met PotW