Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Santa Fe is the New Disneyworld, Swiss Finks on 4,500 Americans

Maureen Dowd
Kathleen Parker
Anne Applebaum
Warren Buffet

"Sadly, there’s no such thing as a private affair anymore." - Maureen Dowd

"Well, knock me over with a wakame frond." - Kathleen Parker

“I am sorry. It’s a little word, I know, but it is true.” - last words of Jason Getsy

This isn't really earthshaking news, more like an aside. Since Sonia Sotomayor became a justice on the Supreme Court, there hasn't been any stories about her until now. She has cast her first vote, and it was on a death penalty case: "Justice Sonia Sotomayor cast her first vote in a Supreme Court death penalty case late Monday, dissenting from a decision that allowed the execution of a death row inmate to proceed. The inmate, Jason Getsy, was executed Tuesday morning by lethal injection in Lucasville, Ohio.

Justice Sotomayor, who joined the court this month, dissented along with three members of its liberal wing, Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. The court’s brief order offered no reasoning, and the dissenters merely said they would have granted Mr. Getsy’s application for a stay of execution.

But the alignment of the justices in the Getsy case gave a preliminary indication that, as expected, the ideological fault line at the court was not changed by Justice Sotomayor’s succeeding Justice David H. Souter, who often voted with Justices Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer." No surprises, pretty much the status quo in the alignment of justice voting. But, the article did give me a good quote... it looks like we will have to wait for the media's 100 day retrospective...

It seems as though our major diplomatic coups are being scored unofficially. The latest is the visit by two North Korean diplomats to Santa Fe, New Mexico, today for talks with Governor Bill Richardson. From MSNBC: "Richardson was to meet Wednesday with diplomats Kim Myong Gil and Paek Jong Ho, at the North Koreans' request, his office said. The North Korean delegation was also scheduled to receive briefings on renewable energy initiatives in New Mexico on Thursday.

The governor's office said Richardson would not be representing the Obama administration in speaking to the officials from North Korea's U.N. mission. Richardson was U.N. ambassador in Clinton's administration, and has served as a roving diplomatic troubleshooter in North Korea, Sudan, Cuba and Iraq. In the 1990s, Richardson, then a congressman, went to North Korea twice to secure the release of detained Americans...In April 2007, Richardson embarked on a four-day trip to North Korea, which was endorsed by the Bush administration.

Richardson has regularly made diplomatic trips, often on his own initiative, to a number of global hot spots. Though visits to North Korea by senior U.S. officials are rare, it was Richardson's sixth to the country."
It looks like the North Koreans are about to be our new Best Friends Forever, which is what they really have been wanting for years, a way to be players on the international scene. Yeah, our guys have traditionally have gotten it all screwed up and helped paint them into a corner, or the two North Korean diplomats are trying to score the John Wayne Western DVD set for Kim Jong Il, because we all know not to let Obama pick out the gift on his own... actually, this is better than the alternative, throwing temper tantrums and launching missiles to get our attention.

In the wake of the Madoff and Stanford ponzi schemes, there are about 4,500 more wealthy Americans who are about to get screwed, but in a good way, if you are a supporter of the IRS. Financial Times reports: "The US blasted a hole in Switzerland’s famed bank secrecy on Wednesday as Bern agreed to reveal the names of 4,450 wealthy Americans holding offshore accounts at UBS, the country’s biggest bank.

Washington hailed the deal as a victory in the clampdown on tax evasion and indicated that it would be the foundation of efforts to pursue other foreign banks. “This agreement sends an unmistakable message to people hiding income and assets offshore,” said Douglas Shulman, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the US tax authority.

“The IRS will vigorously pursue tax cheats around the world, no matter how remote or secret the location.”

That's 4,500 out of 52,000 Americans who have accounts at that bank. Other banks may follow, and soon there won't be any secretive place left to hide your money. Now, if only we can get rid of the gaping loopholes that allow the largest, most profitable companies to pay zero dollars in taxes... Hmmmm. Maybe we have just found a way to pay for health care reform... Along with legalizing drugs and getting billions in new taxes from it, we may also be able to balance the budget and clear up the deficit. Then, more cash for clunkers!

late night jokes:

"Hot in New York City today. It was so hot, I was sweating like Granny before a death panel." --David Letterman

"Oh, man, did you see the PGA Championship over the weekend? Tiger Woods never lost a major when he's been leading, you know, halfway through the dang tournament. And then this kid, Y.E. Yang, comes along and he defeats him. And I felt bad for Tiger. He was upset. He was upset. As a matter of fact, Obama had been watching the contest. He knows that he is upset. So he invited Tiger and Yang to the White House for a beer." --David Letterman

"Did you see Hillary Clinton? There was videotape of her in Africa at a press conference and somebody asks her something and she gets angry. Did you see that? Well, now they're talking to her husband, Bill Clinton, and he says that he had not seen the press conference and had not seen the videotape of the press conference. And I'm thinking, I bet this guy's got a pretty good idea of what Hillary's like when she's angry." --David Letterman

"The Obamas visited the Grand Canyon and I was thinking, yeah, well, New York City's got potholes bigger than that." --David Letterman

"And then Obama was in Mexico the previous week. And he met with a group of North American leaders. And afterwards he laid a wreath at the grave of the Taco Bell Chihuahua." --David Letterman

"You know what? It's the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Did you realize that at the original Woodstock, Dick Cheney was there, later Vice President Dick Cheney. Yeah, he was there hunting hippies." --David Letterman

"Happy birthday to Madonna -- 51 years old on Saturday. And I thought this was nice. President Obama phoned Madonna on her birthday and reassured her that no one was going to pull the plug on her." --David Letterman

"I am ecstatic. We are close to defeating President Obama's evil plan to keep people healthy. The president is so desperate that he resorted to publishing an op-ed called 'Why We Need Health Care Reform' in yesterday's New York Times. Textbook sign of surrender. ... Of course the president blamed our problems on the health insurance industry, but where is the balance? Why won't the Times print the insurance companies editorials, like this one I got today. Dear Mr. Colbert, we regret to inform you that we cannot cover your hip surgery due to your pre-exsisting wrist injury." --Stephen Colbert

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