Monthly Archives: April 2018

Making the exception

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“Every rule has an exception, including this one.” (Anonymous) There is an old joke among tax accountants that there is really only one rule in the entire Internal Revenue Service Code: “Everything is taxable unless we say it isn’t.” The rest of the thousands of pages of code and revenue rulings consists of detailed exceptions to that one rule. That… Read more »

“God language,” fundamentalism and Trump

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My take on the link between Christian fundamentalism and Donald Trump is different from both many of his most avid supporters as well his strongest opponents. In short, just like I think we do in discussing Islamic-attributed terror, we give too much credit to “religion” and not enough to “God language” itself, apart from religion. Humans need to communicate. Our… Read more »

Book review: “The Human Instinct” by Kenneth Miller

I have long had a habit of looking in used bookstores for copies of a 1999 book by biologist and best-selling textbook author Kenneth Miller entitled Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, which I then give to friends. Miller’s book is one of the few scientifically-competent books about evolution that is written with the sensitive… Read more »

Seeing past Vern Buchanan’s nose

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My Florida congressman, Vern Buchanan, sends out these inane email surveys almost every week, which always ask one question in a way that screams, “Answer this way!” A recent one, for instance, was designed to get constituents to say that congressional salaries are too high. Which is really rich, because Vern Buchanan is, uh, really rich. As one of the… Read more »

The Ten-ish Commandments

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Despite their iconic status in Christian and Jewish theology, it is unlikely that even the most Bible-literate person you encounter could easily and accurately name all ten of the commandments from chapter 20 in the Old Testament book of Exodus. [1] Bring up your computer’s notepad and try it yourself before looking at the source below. You shouldn’t be too… Read more »

How SHOULD you tax a corporation?

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In two recent posts [1] I have criticized the methods by which the state and federal governments tax corporations and how they treat the state-granted limited liability privileges. In this post I will make some proposals as to how best to tax corporations and limited liability companies given their ubiquity in the economy and international nature. While I disagree with… Read more »

King Hammurabi and your “deontology brain”

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For many people, especially the most religious of a fundamentalist bent, the whole idea of ethics and morality is only about rules. In this continuing exploration of our four “ethical brains” (see this earlier post for an introduction to that concept), it is practical to start with “rules and exceptions,” not because they are the earliest or dominant ethical modes, but… Read more »

Trump real estate finance #4 – What’s at risk?

In the prior post in this series, I looked at where the likely differential between Trump’s self-proclaimed net worth of $10 billion and Forbes’ $3.1 billion estimate came from. In this last post in this series (for now) I want to take a harder look at the Forbes valuation. Skip to the “Trump Businesses at Risk” section at the end… Read more »