18 thoughts on “Picture This”

  1. On a Lane in Spring


    A Little Lane, the brook runs close beside
    And spangles in the sunshine while the fish glide swiftly by
    And hedges leafing with the green spring tide
    From out their greenery the old birds fly
    And chirp and whistle in the morning sun
    The pilewort glitters ‘neath the pale blue sky
    The little robin has its nest begun
    And grass green linnets round the bushes fly
    How Mild the Spring Comes in; the daisy buds
    Lift up their golden blossoms to the sky
    How lovely are the pingles and the woods
    Here a beetle runs; and there a fly
    Rests on the Arum leaf in bottle green
    And all the Spring in this Sweet lane is seen


    John Clare (1793-1864)

  2. and then there’s

    Song of the Open Road



     I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree
    Indeed, unless the billboards fall
    I'll never see a tree at all.
  3. wapo:

    Georgetown University students voted overwhelmingly for a proposal to create a fund to help descendants of the enslaved people sold in the 19th century at a time when the school struggled to pay off debts, results released Friday show.

    Two-thirds of undergraduate students who voted in the student government referendum supported the measure, one that is not binding but still sends a message to university administrators and beyond.


    The measure was endorsed by 2,541 students and proposes a fee, starting with $27.20 per student for the fall 2020 semester, that would raise an estimated $400,000. The student fee would increase with inflation and would fund a nonprofit led by a board of students and descendants, who would give money to charitable causes directly benefiting descendants of the 19th-century sale.


    he university has been exploring lesser-known aspects of its history, including the legacy of slavery at the institution. A 19th century sale of 272 enslaved men, women and children — which helped the school resolve pressing debts but which separated families and subjected people to grueling conditions on Southern plantations — has come to symbolize both the horrors of slavery and the choices universities face in confronting their legacies. Georgetown’s leaders apologized for the past and took steps to right historical wrongs.

    Some students contend school officials have not done enough. The measure was an attempt to ensure that some efforts to address transgressions from the past directly benefit descendants of that 1838 sale.


    my suggestion to g-town would be to establish (1) a tuition/expense free scholarship program to all direct descendants who want to go to college and (2) an early childhood thru high school academy for non-college age descendants and (3) adult education, GED, apprentice or life enhancement programs.   such programs all seem to be within the school’s capacity.

  4. Horse racing has bred itself into the grave.  The horses have dry spaghetti for leg bones.  But, there is something else adding to the tragedy at Santa Anita.  Rains? Track mixture change?
    Looks like SFB is really having a lot of fun being a dictator. 
    Came across a SD card with some pictures from ten years ago.  This is a picture of my workspace back then.  I was a temp working for federal agency reviewing employee records for certain legal issues.  We received a pallet of fifty file boxes each Monday morning and had to go through them by Friday afternoon.  Ten of us processed well over a million documents in about eight months.  Whew. 

  5. Thanks Everyone ! Your suggestions help.
    And, more ideas on cheap, effective, communication to W. Europe are also welcome. We’re ordinary old folks, working to be the remote eyes and ears of our friend the traveler, so we want cheap, effective short term phone service to Europe.  
    Oh, Brave New World that has such Features in It.

  6. The Tax Forms Fight – An Opinion
    The trump Imperium has nothing to hide. My opponent, the trump, is a BIG ONE for principles. In the matter of the House tax form subpoena, it’s just the principle of the thing. That principle being that the trump doesn’t want his churchy base-ment supporters to discover the secret payments for his abortions, or child support payments for his other ‘families’. He declared those as deductions from his taxes on another principle, being that only poor people should have to pay taxes. It’s as simple as that. The man stands on his principles and wants you all to do the same.

    Therefore, let us all keep this glorious 2020 campaign as sparkly clean and positive as the trump and mr putin keeps theirs.

    X for Prex – SEND MONEY NOW !

    ps I meant pence, not putin, of course. We are staying positively positive.

  7. NYTimes:

    A Democratic House chairman on Saturday castigated the Treasury Department for failing to meet his deadline to furnish President Trump’s tax returns, arguing that the administration’s apparent concerns over his use of powers outlined in the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code “lack merit.”

    The chairman, Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts, set a new deadline for compliance, April 23, and warned that if the Trump administration did not reply by then, its “failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request.”

    The tone of Mr. Neal’s letter suggested Democrats are prepared to take their request — made through a little-known provision in the federal tax code — to court if necessary, initiating what could be a protracted legal fight over Congress’s oversight powers. In it, he cited legal precedent that he argued clearly showed the law is on the committee’s side, and said that the executive branch had no right to “second guess” its motivations.

    [Read the letter here.]


    The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Saturday that he had read Mr. Neal’s letter but made no commitments about complying with the request by the new deadline, which he described as “arbitrary.”

    “I feel a responsibility that we get this right and that the I.R.S. doesn’t become weaponized like it was under the Nixon administration,” Mr. Mnuchin said during a news briefing on the sidelines of the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

    Mr. Mnuchin said that Treasury lawyers were studying the lawfulness of the request with the Justice Department. While he said that he would follow the law, he made clear that he had serious concerns about protecting the privacy of the tax returns of all taxpayers, including Mr. Trump.

    “I don’t think these are simple issues,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “They are constitutional issues.”

    House Democrats, anticipating an increasingly likely legal fight over the Ways and Means action, have also taken steps to open a side door into Mr. Trump’s finances. Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, informed Republicans on Friday that he intended to issue a subpoena in the coming days to compel Mazars USA, an accounting company tied to the president, to turn over relevant financial records in its possession.

    Republicans balked at the request, calling it an “astonishing abuse” of the committee’s powers. But Mr. Cummings said he had the authority to investigate potential wrongdoing by Mr. Trump and testimony from Michael D. Cohen, his longtime fixer, that the president had intentionally misrepresented his assets and liabilities to suit his needs at a given moment.


    Republicans on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump’s White House aides, and his personal lawyer, William S. Consovoy, have all argued that Democrats are merely out to politically embarrass the president and urged the I.R.S. and Treasury Department to reject their request as illegitimate.

    Mr. Neal’s letter on Saturday punched back at some of their objections. Notably, it was addressed not to Mr. Mnuchin but to Charles P. Rettig, the I.R.S. commissioner, whom Democrats believe should make the decision himself.

    At the news briefing on Saturday, Mr. Mnuchin defended his decision to oversee the request, noting that the Treasury Department supervises the tax collection agency.


  8. wonkette in its unique way also reports: Steve Mnuchin Won’t Release Trump Taxes, Sends Drawing Of Calvin Peeing On Congress Instead

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent a very nice letter last night to House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) to inform Neal that no, despite a federal law saying the IRS “shall” provide tax returns on request from the chair of Ways and Means, that isn’t going to happen. No, not even though Neal pointed to the law and said “Mother May I” as well. So get ready for the whole shebang to head to the courts, and for Republicans to bluster about how this is exactly like Richard Nixon demanding the IRS harass everyone on his enemies list, because potential tax crimes by the “president” of the United States are none of Congress’s business.

    Mnuchin sent the letter to advise Neal the IRS wouldn’t be meeting the midnight deadline for turning over six years of Trump’s tax returns and other documents. Which is an interesting fact in itself, given that Neal’s letter saying GIVE IT was sent to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, not Mnuchin, who is quite the butt-insky. As Neal’s letter states, the relevant law (§6103 of the Internal Revenue Code) is pretty darn unambiguous on how that works:

    Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request[.] [Emphasis added.]

    Not “shall, if you think we have a good reason” or “Shall if it proves politically useful to Republicans who think the IRS is targeting conservative groups” or even “shall if [anything].”


    And yes, of course this should all eventually end up at the Supreme Court, possibly before the end of Trump’s term, possibly after. When that happens, it should certainly be interesting to see exactly how the “textual originalist” justices appointed by Trump twist themselves into pretzels insisting that “shall” has a lot of nuance and ambiguity.

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