December 2007 Archives
Christmas in NYC
Spent a lovely five days and nights in NYC at Christmas.
Enjoyed several evenings wandering through the holiday shops and watching the ice skaters at Bryant Park. Although the ice rink at Rockefeller Center is the famous one, Bryant Park is beautiful and it is not crowded so you can watch from the rink wall, shouting out encouragement to the newbies of all ages. Great fun, and some of the skaters are excellent.
In front of the ice sculptures at Bryant Park
Took youngest child to see Santa at Macy's. Although the Macy windows were a disappointment (the Bergdorf Goodman and Lord & Taylor windows were much better), the Santa we visited at Macy's was the REAL SANTA! The beard, the voice, the laugh, the Santa outfit - SPECTACULAR! And despite having dealt with crowds for hours, ALL the elves were smiling and full of Christmas cheer.
Window at Lord & Taylor
The Macy's Santa Train Conductor
Macy's Santa Elf "Lightfoot"
The Christmas tree at the Met was, as always, beautiful and worth the trip.
FDNY: "Chinatown Dragon Fighters"
The holiday train show at Grand Central is always fun.
Midnight Mass at St. Malachy's on West 49th had good singing and music - good homily, too!
The 7-day unlimited ride Metro card for only $24 made it easy to go all over the city using the subway and buses. An amazing bargain.
Ring bell for psychic?
Doesn't the "psychic" know you're there?
Unclear on the concept.....
BEWARE Amazon Pro Merchant sellers - Amazon will close fully paid Pro Merchant seller accounts with no notice
We have been selling on Amazon for several years. Today, attempting to access our Amazon seller account we continued to get a "no such account" message. What the #@#@!?!?!
When we contacted Amazon seller support, we were told that our Pro Merchant account had been shut down because of unspecified activity. What the #@#@!?!?!? Amazon seller customer service could not give any more information.
We were given no notice that our Amazon Pro Merchant seller account was being closed; we only happened to discover it when we attempted to access it Friday evening to check some inventory.
Despite Amazon having our COMPLETE contact information, including email address, cell phone number, and office phone number, Amazon NEVER contacted us to alert us that they were closing our Amazon buyer and Pro Merchant seller accounts.
This unilateral action by Amazon is the equivalent of renting a store, and, despite paying your rent on time and in full, the landlord comes to your store when you aren't there and not only closes your store, but disposes of all of your inventory. With no notice and no warning. And no explanation.
This enormous breach of trust and complete failure by Amazon to contact us to let us know that Amazon was closing our buyer and Pro Merchant seller accounts with no advance notice, indeed, with no attempt to contact us, has now caused us to examine our relationship, and trust in, Amazon.
If you use Amazon as a buyer or seller, especially as a Pro Merchant seller, be very careful of all information you entrust to Amazon.
As a seller we are now very reluctant to continue to sell items on Amazon due to Amazon's failure to notify us or to make any attempt to contact us to let us know they were closing our account. (And yes, our seller account fees were paid in full and current.)
If you are an Amazon Pro Merchant seller, be warned. You might find your account closed and your inventory pulled - WITH NO NOTICE and for no reason. Sheesh.
Who Pays Federal Taxes?
Source: Marginal Revolution, December 18, 2007; "Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979 to 2005," CBO, December 2007 (8-page pdf )
- "Real Earnings and the Distribution of Earnings, 1995-2005," RL33835, January 24, 2007
- "Income Inequality and the U.S. Tax System," RL34155, September 04, 2007
- "Major Tax Issues in the 110th Congress," RL33768, January 10, 2007
- "The Tax Reduction and Reform Act of 2007: An Overview," RL34249, November 13, 2007
- "Corporate Tax Reform: Issues for Congress," RL34229, October 31, 2007
- "Tax Gap and Tax Enforcement," RL33882, February 16, 2007
- "Modifying the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Revenue Costs and Potential Revenue Offsets," RL33899, March 06, 2007
- "Estate and Gift Tax Revenues: Past and Projected," RL34142, August 24, 2007
- "Tax Benefits for Health Insurance and Expenses: Overview of Current Law and Legislation," RL33505, July 20, 2007
- "Estate Taxes and Family Businesses: Economic Issues," RL33070, January 26, 2007
- "Federal Income Taxation of Indian Tribes and Members," RL34220, October 26, 2007
Homer Simpson does Noah Kalina
When your Karate instructor gets beat up by an interior decorator....
I'm not in the least bit shocked that the CIA would try to destroy the tapes of an interrogation. It's a spy agency for God's sake, not an accounting firm. The whole foundation of the CIA is based on secrecy and covert operations, not transparency and accountability. Yet I too have to confess to being shocked by this revelation. Why? Well, apparently our top spy agency is too inept to handle even a simple cover up operation. This is a very despairing revelation.
It's sort of like finding out that your Karate instructor was beaten up by an interior decorator.
"What is the CIA doing?" Ernie the Attorney, December 7, 2007
Real or artificial tree?
"New Yorkers should really never be included in any survey of what normal Americans do."
"re: Did You Know?" by Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Corner, December 7, 2007
The Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, November 20, 2007 - January 6, 2008.