Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Julia Dales

Yeaaaaah Booooy! Two casual minutes in the back seat of a car with a cellphone--taking a break from reading Death of a Salesman--Julia lays down some beats that are good enough to get her into a wildcard spot at the Beatbox Battle World Championship in Berlin this weekend. That's top 20 worldwide, y'all.




To quote Karl, "anything humans can do, they'll do competitively," and Julia just takes us all to school. Again, I am amazed at what humans are capable of, because not only is Ms. Dales in the beatbox battle, but she's holding a 95% average down, sings, writes music and plays guitar, and is in the process of choosing the university at which she will pursue studies  in global development and political science.
Back in Grade 9, she knocked out her friends and schoolmates:




Humans have the most unexpected talents and they come out in the most unexpected times and places--often during wars, emergencies, or other times of great stress. It is up to us as a culture, as a society, to find ways that everyone's talents get a chance to develop--without the war, emergency, or great stress. Do I really have to tell you why?


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Monday, May 25, 2009

Mulroney: He's Having Our Cake...and Eating It, Too

There's one thing about this sordid Mulroney-Schreiber thing that I don't get.
Mulroney says that starting in 1993 he was paid $225,000 by Schreiber in three installments of $75,000 each. In cash. In brown envelopes. In hotal rooms.
Mulroney did not claim this money on his taxes for six years because, he claims, as the payment was a retainer, he didn't have to declare this income until his retainer ended. That sounds fishy to me, but I'm no tax lawyer, so let's take Mulroney at his word and assume that Mulroney was acting in good faith based in this belief.
Mulroney finally declared this income and paid taxes on it in 1999. As Schreiber's legal woes grew, Mulroney decided the retainer was concluded, declared the income, and paid taxes on it.
Er, but wait a minute. Mulroney declared this income under the Canada Revenue Agency's Voluntary Disclosure Program. According to their website, this program:
require that the disclosure be voluntary, complete, involve the application or potential application of a penalty, and generally include information that is more than one year overdue.
This CRA program allows people who have been overdue in reporting taxes to pay unreported back taxes, and at the time that Mulroney paid his taxes, at a discount of 50%.
But wait another minute. This procedure is only for "information that is more than one year overdue." According to Mulroney, this information wasn't overdue -- according to him, it wasn't payable until the year he claimed it: 1999.
So Mulroney either was years in arrears in reporting this income and reported it under the VDP, thus allowing for a 50% tax discount, or he reported it on time, but reported under a program it wasn't eligable for and scored a 50% tax discount.
Either way, he handled it inappropriately and ripped off hard-working Canadian taxpayers.
(And why did Mulroney leave this amount of cash in a safe for six years? Why not put it in a bank and get at least some interest on it? For someone who seems well-versed in how to use the tax system, this seems a very odd course of action. But I digress.)