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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 30,530

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If we have to draft a president, let's get someone good

How long will it take till MH17 is compared to abortion?

Every time a tragedy happens, the anti-abortion crowd jumps in soon after with "but the real tragedy is abortion!" When do you think they'll start burying us in that?

Can't we just get abortion practice declared an organized religion?

It's become increasingly apparent that your Get Out of Hell Free card can also get you out of obeying any law you don't like and also allows you to control everything and everyone around you. All you need do is claim it "goes against your deeply held beliefs" and boom!

Well, we have deeply held beliefs too. One of the more important ones is Women Should Never Be Forced Into Unwanted or Unsafe Pregnancies.

I figure we create a new IRS-Approved religion that sees abortion and birth control as sacraments and one of the thousands of fertility goddesses as our deity, and then we can overthrow every one of these damn laws. Look at it this way: if the cult that uses this damn thing...

can be an IRS-Approved Religion, then so can abortion. Call it the Church of Choice.

We're trying to fix the Hobby Lobby decision the wrong way

Attempting not to sound too lawyerly here, let's try this:

One of the things you've got to decide when you set up a business is its "form." There are five, and the one you choose determines three things: who will be liable for claims against the business, the number of owners the business can have, and whether the business or the owner will be liable for taxes.

The classic "mom and pop" is a Sole Proprietorship. One person, or a married couple, owns the company and taxes are paid on that person's individual income tax form.

"Johnson Brothers Plumbing" is a Partnership. To set one up, they'll hire a lawyer and execute a Partnership Agreement that stipulates the percentage of the business each of the four Johnson brothers owns, which also sets the percentage of the profits each brother will be paid. Taxes are paid the same way sole proprietorships' taxes are: as individual income.

Of course, when the Johnsons go to the lawyer the first thing the barrister will do is to beat them all unconscious for even thinking of setting up a partnership. Sole proprietorships and partnerships have one huge drawback: all liability falls onto the owners. If Eddie Johnson installs an underground sprinkler with a defective backflow preventer and herbicide makes its way into the city water system, everyone in the partnership could lose everything they have. When and if they wake up, the lawyer will convince them to create a Limited Liability Company - which has the same tax treatment as the first two forms of business, but gives some separation between their business and personal affairs.

For extra separation between you and your business, you incorporate. This structure forms a "corpus" - a person on paper - that owns the business. (The Citizens United ruling was an outrage not because it created corporate personhood - corporations have been people ever since there were corporations, my friend - but because it decided the corporate person had the same rights a natural person did. That is an outrage and needs to be reined in, but it's not what we're here for today.) Unless your corporation commits a major atrocity, any liability falls onto this corpus. By "major" I mean REALLY major - McDonald's sold Stella Liebeck a cup of coffee hot enough to boil a sixth of the skin off her body, but at no time was there ever thought given to sending postcards to all their shareholders: "We got sued for selling coffee hot enough to melt pig iron and lost, and part of the settlement is your responsibility; stick four cents in an envelope and mail it in before Friday."

The problem with the corporation form, for small business people who might want to protect themselves, is taxation: it's a flat 35 percent on all business profits. To allow "two guys and a backhoe" companies to incorporate the IRS created a special "small business" corporation, which is called "Subchapter S," that has a tax structure like an LLC or sole proprietorship. In exchange for this protection, the IRS limits the number of owners and the kinds of stock they can sell.

Now for the problem: Subchapter S, which Hobby Lobby uses, doesn't limit revenues. You can legally run a Subchapter S corporation that brings $3 billion across the threshold...we know this because Hobby Lobby, and half the buyout shops on Wall Street, are doing it.

And how to fix the Hobby Lobby decision once and for all: Cause the IRS to determine that any business earning more than $1.5 million per year is not eligible to operate under Subchapter S.

Stories about the murdered dog in Coeur d'Alene

Officer kills dog in parked vehicle


(Updated to admit it was a Lab, not a Pit Bull)

Dog details emerge


Java owners discuss incident


From all I gather, social media was alerting people to watch out for a white van that was targeting children. The guy who owns the Java on Sherman coffee house (if you want to Google Maps it, search for "Zips Drive Inn, East Sherman Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, ID" because asking for Java on Sherman shows you their old location at 4th and Sherman) saw such a white van in his parking lot when he arrived at work a few mornings ago. There are families with children living across the street from his lot, so he called the cops and reported it. The cops came over, blew away this guy's dog for reasons as of yet unknown, confiscated the body, put a note on the windshield, told the owner of Java he needed to call a towing company to have the van removed, and left.

And now people are attacking the business owner for doing what he thought was the right thing.

Y'know, it would be nice to live in a town that makes the national news when GOOD things happen...

The first try on my new scanner

On Tuesday my New Used Screen DT-S 1030AI Drum Scanner arrived. (Helpful household hint: hundred-pound scanners are no fun to haul up a flight of stairs.) I set it up, calibrated it, made a few "screwing around" scans just to see if it worked, and tried this...

This is a scan of the Salmon Bay Bridge in Seattle, produced on my Minolta F-2900 slide scanner. For this image I cleaned the negative in naphtha, very carefully placed it into the film holder, blew it off with canned air...then after scanning I went over it with a fine tooth comb to get rid of the flaws.

And this is the same picture scanned on my 1030. I just taped it on, scanned it and called it good; if I was going to do a "final" scan I'd oil mount it, but this is just a quickie. It's not even in all that great of focus.

For extra entertainment download both photos and look at the trees. They look like blobs on the top picture and they're really well defined on the bottom one.

Home Depot becomes exclusive distributor of Dinesh D'Souza's latest book

Why Holly Fisher pisses me off

You remember Holly. She's the cute but extremely right-wing asshole from West Virginia who posted the "conservative hat trick" picture of her wearing a "Pro Life" t-shirt and holding a Chick Fil A cup while standing in front of a closed Hobby Lobby store. And of course that wasn't good enough for her friends so she followed it up with the famous Suicide Bombing for Jesus pose.

These were supposed to make liberals' "heads explode." Whatever.

No, what's pissing me off about this little ditz is she self-identifies as the "wife of a combat veteran." The Troops call this "wearing your husband's rank" and we fucking HATE IT!

My new scanner arrives Tuesday!

I really like shooting on color film. Printing it is the problem in today's marketplace. Prints from negatives in sizes over 8x10 are almost a thing of the past and paper for printing slides no longer exists. Black and white shooters have it almost as bad; b&w paper is expensive as hell and all the brands that still exist are the same ones you could get at any communist camera store.

The New Modern Way to photograph on film is "hybrid" - shoot on film, scan it and print it on a big inkjet like an Epson 3880. This has a worse problem: every scanner made in the last five years sucks worse than the Republican Party. They figure everyone has gone to digital and just wants a scanner so they can look at their old pictures. That's fine if you did that, but when your "old pictures" were made in April 2014, you need something a little better. Something that was made when Film Was What We Had.

This is what I got.

The Dainippon Screen DT-S 1030AI scanner is a bit more involved than a flatbed. Kid yourself not: drum scanners are a grade-A pain in the ass to operate, but the images they generate make up for it. The metal device at the left end of the machine is the chuck. It connects to and rotates an acrylic "scanning cylinder" which has your original art taped to it, usually under a sheet of acetate with a mixture of naphtha and mineral spirits squirted in there to cover up the scratches in your film. (I'm not kidding. It's called oil mounting.) The tube-looking thing at the right end is the scan head. It moves back and forth. There's a halogen bulb in it to provide light - the Screen engineers either had a sense of humor or one of practicality; the "special $500 hand-selected bulb" I bought two of a year when I was running one of these at work is actually a 35-watt headlight bulb available for five bucks at any auto parts store, but with the Internet in its infancy then we didn't know it. The light travels through or reflects off your image, is picked up by a focusable lens (the knob on the scanning head is used to focus it, and through experience I can assure you it can be focused extremely well), and travels through fiber optic cable to the heart of the system: four photomultiplier tubes - one for red, one for green, one for blue and one for sharpening. Yes! You know how they tell you to always sharpen a scan? This thing does it for you. You can even choose the amount to apply, in five different levels - "soft" is more than plenty.

When you print inkjet, you set your images to 150 dpi. This machine will magnify 34 diameters at that resolution.

It is a machine that will make images that will cause grown men with $7000 digital SLRs to cry, and I only paid five hundred bucks for it. I already have my software downloaded and installed. Once the scanner arrives, it'll take a couple hours to calibrate it (you put a 21-step transparency wedge called a "Stouffer Scale" on the drum, scan it, read the color values at three specific points, and adjust the highlight, halftone and full tone levels until they match values the manufacturer gives you) and then I'll be in business.

Will Hobby Lobby be cutting its ties with the forced-abortion capital of the world?

It's not like the United States isn't covered up in empty big-box stores that could be turned into Cheap Christian Crap factories with all the money they're saving by no longer having to cover contraceptives for their employees.
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