In this play, one Ignis Bird (of ambiguous gender, perhaps a pseudonym,
perhaps a chimera) is a war tax resister in a running battle with the
he or she decides to take as an opportunity for literature,
sniggling, and confusion.
Ignis invents dozens of personalities, and corresponds with the
agents assigned to his or her case through them — posting letters from all
over the world (and even from within the
field office in Utah) from characters like attorney Bedelia Burbot, Beaut
Sinewrelli, Baron Bueno Scampo, Rajan Rajan,
Sgt. Dodge Bullet, pedagogue
Walnut Bean, and Dooly Daffodilt.
The play used some forty actors to bring these characters, and the besieged
(and eventually bemused)
agents, to life.
Ignis Bird sniggles his or her way in this amusing fashion through the Reagan
and Bush Ⅰ administrations,
paying none of the taxes or penalties that accumulate, and even gets a parting
tip-of-the-hat in a postscript from the
manager who retires, having never been able to locate the mysterious Ignis or
his or her assets.
The play’s director, Randall Stuart, hints that this is all based on a true
Tonight’s theatrical version represents only some of the “canon” — as there
are over 200 letters and 77 personalities tapped-out from one typewriter. We
hope you will enjoy this edited version, knowing that there are even more
letters to be unsealed.
Those of you still struggling with your “was it worth it” spreadsheets can add
in that $70 billion I noted
, and now
A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000
more people may have died throughout the country in
than would be expected based on the death rate before the
Designed and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia
University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, the study is being
published on the Web site of
The Lancet medical journal.
The survey indicated violence accounted for most of the extra deaths seen
, and air
strikes from coalition forces caused most of the violent deaths, the
researchers wrote in the British-based journal.
“Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and
children,” they said.…
The most common causes of death were heart attacks, strokes and other chronic
diseases. However, after the invasion, violence was recorded as the primary
cause of death and was mainly attributed to coalition forces — with about 95
percent of those deaths caused by bombs or fire from helicopter gunships.
Violent deaths — defined as those brought about by the intentional act of
others — were reported in 15 of the 33 clusters. The chances of a violent
death were 58 times higher than ,
the researchers said.
Twelve of the 73 violent deaths were not attributed to coalition forces. The
researchers said 28 children were killed by coalition forces in the survey
households. Infant mortality rose from 29 deaths per 1,000 live births
to 57 deaths per
“We estimate that there were 98,000 extra deaths during
in the 97
percent of Iraq represented by all the clusters except Falluja,” the
researchers said in the journal.
This figure is several times higher than the frequently-quoted numbers at
Iraq Body Count which are based on
civilians whose deaths are reported in two or more independent news sources.
The report in The Lancet can be viewed
at this link,
and it goes into detail about the data-gathering and -interpreting
Remember this story the next time someone from
the Department of Homeland Security gets up and screams “Anthrax! 9/11! Dirty
Bombs! We need more money!” —
“It’s all very surreal, quite honestly,” [Stephanie] Cox said
. “I thought it was a prank when
I first heard. I couldn’t understand why Homeland Security would be
investigating a tiny toy store in
The call came in . A man identifying himself as a federal Homeland Security agent
said he needed to talk to Cox at her store.
Cox asked what it was all about.
“He said he was not at liberty to discuss that,” she said.…
“I was shaking in my shoes,” said Cox, who has owned Pufferbelly Toys for
more than four years. “My first thought was the government can shut your
business down on a whim, in my opinion. If I’m closed even for a day that
would cause undue stress.”
The next day, two men arrived at the store and showed Cox their badges. The
lead agent asked Cox whether she carried a toy called the Magic Cube. She
said yes. The Magic Cube, he said, was an illegal copy of the Rubik’s Cube,
one of the most popular toys of all time. He told her to remove the Magic
Cube from her shelves, and he watched to make sure she complied.…
After the agents left, Cox called the manufacturer of the Magic Cube, the
Toysmith Group, which is based in Auburn, Wash. A representative told her
that the Homeland Security agents had it wrong. The Rubik’s Cube patent had
expired, and the Magic Cube did not infringe on rival toy’s trademark.…
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said
agents went to Pufferbelly based on a trademark infringement complaint filed
in the agency’s intellectual property rights center in Washington,
Kice also said Homeland Security officials routinely investigate such
complaints and follow up if they determine they are valid.
“One of the things that our agency’s responsible for doing is protecting the
integrity of the economy and our nation’s financial systems and obviously
trademark infringement does have significant economic implications,” she said.
I don’t have many nice things to say about the
I’ve always respected their thoroughness in making information easily
available on the web. If I want a form, or a statistic, or an obscure ruling,
or tax-law-made-simple info for the non-accountant, I can usually find just
what I’m after at irs.gov.
(And I’m a linux geek, too, so I respect that they have all of this available
in multiple formats, none of which require Windows or other MicroSoft
also announced this week that they’re going to be making available on their
site PDF forms that you can fill in using
the free Adobe Reader. That ought to make ’s taxes a little tidier at least.
It’s public transit, but it’s free-market.* It
relies on anonymous volunteers operating without official sanction in an
atmosphere of trust and mutual cooperation. It’s
and I think it’s pretty cool.
* it does rely on the enforcement of carpool lanes to provide
the driver’s incentive, which kind of cuts into the free-market part of the
argument, but work with me here, okay?
I think something is wrong if who to vote for is your biggest decision this
year.… The substantive question isn’t whether or not you’re voting your
conscience on Election Day; the real question is whether you have your
conscience guiding you every other day. Some get out the vote campaigns have
been using the slogan Vote or Die. The unfortunate truth of the matter is if
all we do is vote, they will continue to die.
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