steem

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Computist (May 1987)






Computist (May 1987)


Computist was a rather unique magazine for the Apple II. It openly advocated circumventing copy protection and provided the means to do so. Piracy was a big deal back in the day, especially for 8-bit computer software so various disk based copy protection methods were common. While covering other technical subjects and containing some other typical computer magazine stuff like reviews, the bulk of Computist was dedicated to publishing techniques to remove or circumvent such copy protection for the stated purpose of being able to back up your software. The contents of the May 1987 issue of Computist include: Softkeys for:
  • Graphics Expander
  • Information Master
  • Certificate Maker
  • Elite
  • Catalyst
  • Temple of Apshai
  • Spell It
Feature
  • Capturing Locksmith
  • 6.0 Fastcopy
Core
  • Computer Eyes / 2: a review
...and more!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Space Shuttle Launch (2000)(4)

Another shot of a space shuttle launch from 2000. I had no digital camera yet (they were still pretty crappy then) so this was taken the old fashioned way, with a 35mm camera.


via Twitter

The Gender Pay Gap Says More about Preferences Than Sexism


Ideologically, women and men should receive the same pay. In a simplistic world, if output for women and men is the same, they deserve an equal wage. The issue with such policies is that they never consider the true complexities of the market.
According to Pew Research Center analysis, women earned 85 percent of what men earned in 2018. A cursory glance at this statistic can cause outrage. The problem with statistics is that they only show the corner of the jigsaw and not the full picture. When you piece it all together, you find you are comparing apples to oranges.

Not all women do the same job nor do they work the same hours. The reality is that a large proportion of women prefer a better work-life balance. Lawyers, for example, are notorious for their long working hours. Achieving a work-life balance is difficult in such a profession. It is for this reason that many women are put off and account for only one in three lawyers.
The choices that women make are, on the whole, very different from those of men. This means that outcomes are equally very different. Women value time away from work and flexibility more than men do. In fact, research from Claudia Goldin of Harvard University backs this up. She concludes that women earn less because they prioritize flexibility, both in work hours and location.

Further research by Emmanuel and Bolotnyy of Harvard University concluded that men are more likely to take on overtime with short notice. The research states that when overtime is scheduled three months in advance, both sexes are equally likely to take it on. However, when these hours are offered at the last minute, men are far more likely to work them.
According to research by the Center for Creative Leadership, the number one thing women want from work is flexibility with where, when, and how they work. The issue with this, however, is that the cost of accommodating flexible hours remains high.

General attitudes have changed over the last century. However, female participation rates in the US have remained stagnant. At 67 percent, they remain behind the male participation rate of 77 percent. A 2015 Gallup poll confirms that women prefer the homemaker role. Fifty-six percent of women with children under 18 prefer this. By contrast, only 26 percent of men prefer the homemaker role.

Due to these preferences, women generally take on this role by choice. Greater weight is therefore placed upon childcare. Inevitably, this leads some women to prefer employment that is more flexible.

Eliza Khuner famously left her job as a data scientist at Facebook. The company refused her request for flexible working patterns, which led to her departure. Unfortunately, this happens time and time again. Women understandably want to both work and look after their children. However, there is a harsh reality at play.
The reality of flexible employment is that it does not work for certain jobs. Business development managers, for example, require significant interaction with other firms. If an employee is working when everyone else has gone home, they won't be very productive. Employers are compensating workers not only for their time but also for specific times. For example, employers may offer extra pay for working night shifts.

Flexible working can cause headaches for employers. If everyone requests flexible working, there may be nobody left to manage peak hours. It can also cause discontent among those who are left to deal with an increased workload. For example, there may be excessive demand in the morning but not as much when the flexible employee returns in the afternoon.

In short, women are demanding flexibility from employers, but employers are reluctant to give it to them. There are associated costs with this, which puts many employers off. Equal pay laws don’t help in this regard. If employers are worried about the associated costs, they should be allowed to offer a lower salary. In fact, a survey by My Family Care in partnership with Hydrogen Recruitment showed that 53 percent of employees would choose flexible working over a five percent salary increase.
The gender pay gap is often misconstrued in a way that suggests men get paid more for the same job. Stating "a woman working full time earns 80.7 cents for every dollar a man working full time earns” creates a picture where the jobs men and women do are comparable. Jobs such as kindergarten teachers are highly dominated by women. By contrast, brick masons are almost exclusively male.

The harsh reality is that teaching assistant positions and other female-dominated jobs are not valued as highly as male-dominated ones, such as electricians. The question is: Why are women attracted to such positions, then? Firstly, it is by choice. Women aren't forced to become hairdressers, and they equally know the wages aren't great.
There are many issues with flexible working. Is the employee being productive? Will it affect others’ morale? How does it affect client availability? Some roles may benefit from greater flexibility. However, the highest-paid roles generally don't. When looking at the gender pay gap, it is inevitable that those highly paid workers will skew the picture somewhat. Chief executive officers, for example, are paid millions. However, only 25 women are in such positions among the Fortune 500.

So what holds women back from leadership positions? Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was one of the leading female CEOs in the Fortune 500. She believes the main cause is the difficulty of balancing family, career, and marriage. However, the facts speak for themselves. According to BLS data, over 26 percent of working women are in part-time employment for non-economic reasons. By comparison, just over ten percent of men are in part-time employment for non-economic reasons.

By demanding greater flexibility, whether male or female, you are unlikely to fit well into executive or managerial positions. For jobs that require 70 to 80-hour weeks, it's hard to find any with much flexibility. Coupled with the rise of single-parent households, it is easy to see why executive and managerial positions are not an option for many women.
With all of this said, there is undoubtedly still a level of sexism that prevents women from progressing. However, the gap is most prominently explained by the choices women make, whether this is part-time work or the types of jobs they take on. Even in egalitarian Sweden, the pay gap is still over 12 percent.

That is only marginally more than the US’s 15 percent. So the issue lies beyond providing greater maternity leave or more social benefits. In fact, the research conducted by Emmanuel and Bolotnyy concludes that the gender pay gap can be entirely explained by the different choices of men and women.

Paul Boyce
Paul is a Business Economics graduate from the UK and currently an editor at http://boycewire.com.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.



The Gender Pay Gap Says More about Preferences Than Sexism

Monday, July 29, 2019

Parliament in Ottawa (3)



Another photo of the Parliament building in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This is a view from the river behind the building. This was taken, I believe, in late Summer or Early Fall 2000.

dp015 - Dirty Pair





Friday, July 26, 2019

Space Shuttle Launch (2000)(3)

Another shot of a Space Shuttle launch from 2000 as seen from the Melbourne, Florida area. Here the Shuttle is just emerging from a cloud (or from behind one).

VideoGames & Computer Entertainment (June 1993)





VideoGames & Computer Entertainment (June 1993)

VideoGames & Computer Entertainment was the first video games magazine I ever bought and it remained my favorite throughout its life. The June 1993 issue includes: Features
  • Blaster Master 2 Contest! - Sunsoft, VG&CE and Triax have combined forces to give away some great prizes. Don't miss out. Enter today to win!


  • The Quest For Immortality, Part 2 A Player's Guide to Gods - This month we'll take an in-depth look at Level 3 and make sure that your fighting skills will be at their peak.


  • VG&CE Preview: Aladdin - For the first time ever, Disney animators will join forces with Virgin and Sega to produce an exciting 16-meg cartridge for the Genesis. Join Andy as he takes a look at what will go into the making of the game.


  • The Tentacles Have Taken Over The Asylum: A Preview of Maniac Mansion 2 - It's been six years since the release of the original game. Join the editors of VG&CE for a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of this new graphic adventure.
Reviews & Previews
  • Video-Game Previews
    • SF II Turbo Champion Edition
    • Journey From Darkness: Strider Returns
    • Crash 'N Burn
    • Super Empire Strikes Back
    • Super Turrican
    • World Heroes 2
    • Cotton
    • Speedy Gonzales
    • Jungle Strike
    • Nigel Mansell's World Championship
    • Lemmings
    • Puggsy
    • Lester the Unlikely
    • Streets of Rage 2
  • Video-Game Reviews
    • WWF Royal Rumble
    • B.O.B.
    • Toys
    • Summer Challenge
    • Vasteel
    • Kid Klown
    • Tuff E Nuff
    • Super Black Bass
    • 3 Count Bout
    • Dungeon Master
    • The Secret of Monkey Island
    • Cacoma Knight in Bizyland
    • Ultimate Fighter
    • Shining Force
  • Gaming on the Go
    • Raging Fighter
    • Vampire: Master of Darkness
    • Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers
    • Gordo 106
  • Computer-Game Previews
    • BloodNet: A Cyberpunk Gothic
    • High Command
    • Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos
    • Kyrandia 2
    • SimFarm
  • Computer-Game Reviews
    • Strike Commander
    • Freddy Pharkus
    • Lemmings 2
    • Ultima VII - Part II
    • Chess Maniac 5 Billion and 1
    • Mad Dog McCree
    • Space Hulk
    • Eye of the Beholder III
    • Legacy
    • Eternam
    • Protostar
    • Pax Empiria
Departments
  • Editor's Letter
  • Yea & Nay
  • Reader Mail
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • News Bits
  • Tip Sheet
  • Destination Arcadia
  • Advertiser Inidex
  • Q & A
  • Computer Strategies
...and more!

Vintage Photos - Oestreicher (373-376)

See the previous post in this series here. Feel free to skip the quoted intro text if you have read it before.
I had the opportunity to pick up a huge batch of slides recently. These are pictures spanning from as early as the late 1940s to as late as the early 1990s (maybe earlier and/or later but these are what I have sampled so far). These came to me second (third?) hand but the original source was a combination of estate sales and Goodwill. There are several thousand...maybe as many as 10,000. I will be scanning some from time to time and posting them here for posterity.
Apparently, getting your pictures processed as slides used to be a fairly common thing but it was a phenomenon I missed out on. However, my Grandfather had a few dozen slides (circa late 1950s) that I acquired after he died. That along with some negatives is what prompted me to buy a somewhat decent flatbed scanner that could handle slides and negatives (an Epson V600). That was the most money I was willing to spend on one anyway. It can scan up to four slides at a time with various post-processing options and does a decent enough job. The scanner has been mostly idle since finishing that task but now there is plenty for it to do.

This set continues a rather large batch of slides that originally came from an estate sale and appear to have belonged to a locally well known photographer from the Spokane Washington area and later Northern Idaho named Leo Oestreicher. He was known for his portrait and landscape photography and especially for post cards. He career started in the 1930s and he died in 1990. These slides (thousands of them) contain a lot of landscape and portrait photos but also a lot of photos from day to day life and various vacations around the world. Here's an article on him from 1997 which is the only info I have found on him: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jan/04/photos-of-a-lifetime-museum-acquisition-of-leo/

Many of these slides had the date they were processed (presumably) stamped or printed on them (month and year). I've found that in cases where I could verify the date, either because a more specific date was hand written or there was something to specifically date the photo in the photo itself, that this date has typically been the same month the photos were taken. In other words, I expect that in MOST cases these photos were taken relatively near the processing date. No doubt there are some exceptions.

No dates on this set of slides and only one is labeled. In the first picture, labeled Leo, I believe we have the person who was the photographer of most of the pictures that I have been posting under the "Leo Oestreicher" label. The second and third photos appear to be of the Roman Forum and the final photo is of a mountain. This one appears to have been taken through binoculars or a telescope. These photos were most likely taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Click on one of the images or the link below to also see versions processed with color restoration and Digital ICE which is a hardware based dust and scratch remover, a feature of the Epson V600 scanner I am using. There are also versions processed with the simpler dust removal option along with color restoration.


Leo




https://supload.com/B1pj7myn4

The entire collection that has been scanned and uploaded so far can be found here.

Tucker Carlson Says Corporations Are Now the Biggest Threat to Your Freedom. He’s Wrong


Sundar Pichai, Jack Dorsey, and Mark Zuckerberg have no prisons. They've never run an internment camp or seized anyone's home for failure to mow their lawn. Their body counts are a combined zero. Yet in a recent keynote address at the National Conservatism conference, Tucker Carlson suggested that big corporations—like Google, Twitter, and Facebook—are a greater threat to your freedom than the government.

“The main threat to your ability to live your life as you choose does not come from the government anymore, but it comes from the private sector,” the Fox News host said.

Echoing recent praise for Senator Elizabeth Warren and her brand of economic nationalism, Carlson declared that her book on the two-income trap is “one of the best books on economics he’s ever read.” (Might we recommend a bit of Sowell, Hayek, or Smith?)

Is Carlson’s claim defensible? Not by a long shot.
The genius of the Constitution is a result of the American Founders' understanding that our freedoms and rights precede government and that an unrestrained government is the biggest threat to those freedoms. The Founders limited the power of the government through an intricate system of enumerated powers, separation of powers, explicit rights, and rights retained by the people to impede the abuse of governmental power.

Limiting the potential for governmental abuse was fundamental to the design of our constitutional order and remains an abiding concern. No such concern existed for “big corporations” because businesses do not wield the power to promulgate civil and criminal laws and exact punishment for violations of them. The state, not business, has a monopoly on compelled coercion.

While laws and law enforcement are essential in a free and orderly society, government abuse at all levels has riddled our history (from FDR’s internment camps to Jim Crow laws in the South) and is the stuff of daily headlines.

Government has the legal authority to incarcerate you, allocate your tax dollars how it sees fit, and foreclose on your home if you fail to mow the lawn.

You may recall the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission involving Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop. Phillips was asked by a same-sex couple to create a wedding cake for their upcoming ceremony. Jack politely refused. A complaint was filed with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which led to a years-long struggle for Jack as he sought to protect his business, his brand, and his reputation. Even though the Supreme Court ultimately sided with Jack, the state of Colorado sought to punish him for exercising his freedom of speech and association.
Much of the nationalist right’s recent lambasting of big business seems focused on social media. A few media personalities like Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopoulos have been de-platformed for violating terms of service or community standards, but where is the widescale conservative or nationalist purge? Even when users from the right have been suspended “permanently,” social media has reversed course and reinstated their accounts, sometimes within 48 hours. (Ask your attorney if you can appeal a conviction or civil judgment brought by the government within 48 hours.)

The reality is that no person has a constitutional or natural right to a social media account. A user must agree to the terms of service and comply with community standards to enjoy the services offered by these platforms. No user can compel Facebook or Twitter to tolerate what it deems hateful or offensive language any more than they can compel Fox News to give airtime to pro-Antifa screeds.

Where else is big business threatening conservatives’ freedom? Are banks refusing mortgages to conservatives? Are hospitals refusing to treat them? Are auto dealers refusing to sell F150s to boomers because of MAGA memes? Certainly, there are unfortunate stories of well-known conservatives being refused service at local restaurants, but the multi-year investigation into the IRS’s unfair treatment of conservative groups reveals where the greater threat lies.
Carlson’s speech at the conference was titled “Big Business Hates Your Family.” While Carlson has railed against American companies for any number of reasons in recent years, his latest bĂȘte noire is Oreo. Nabisco, a parent company of Oreo, was in Carlson’s crosshairs for advertising that suggests kids “choose their pronoun” with their Pride Month “pronoun pack” cookies.

Tucker dismissed the idea that people can start their own competing business if they don’t like a company’s practices. This dismissal of entrepreneurship is puzzling coming from an entrepreneur; Carlson is the co-founder of an online publisher. But there is an even simpler course of action than starting your own cookie company. If you are not happy with Nabisco’s business practices, buy different cookies… or bake your own at home with your family.

It’s not clear what policy Carlson would suggest in response to Oreo, but Carlson’s characterization of big companies as monopolies may give a clue.
Carlson has blasted social media giants as “digital monopolies.”

 

Despite the national media celebrity’s histrionics, there are dozens of social media platforms and search engines. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be the most popular for now, but if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

Decrying social media companies as monopolies suggests that the companies should be broken up under antitrust laws. However, the Federal Trade Commission enforces antitrust laws where there's a showing of anti-competitive practices. It isn’t enough to say that a company is too large or the company’s practices are not pleasing to pundits like Carlson.

If companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook engage in anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing or exclusionary contracts, they should be forced to comply with applicable law like any other company. But rather than fearmongering that these companies are a greater threat to freedom than the government, we should narrowly tailor a remedy.

For instance, these tech companies’ greatest competitive advantage is that they have collected extensive data over the years. Rather than trying to break up these companies, users could be given the statutory right of data portability, where a person can delete their account and take all of their personal data with them. Giving users greater control over their own information would be one way to give consumers more power without breaking up the companies they enjoy using on a regular basis.
Ultimately, it’s an odd time to rail against American capitalism. Unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since 1969, and worker wages are on the rise. Capitalism, including big business, is a source of economic prosperity for American workers and families.

Rather than weaponizing antitrust prosecutions for political or social purposes, policymakers should eliminate the anti-competitive privileges of crony capitalism. Concerns about data privacy are real but can be addressed with focused remedies rather than the blunt tool of “breaking up big tech.”

Americans are not at the mercy of businesses that don’t share their values. Like Tucker Carlson, we are free to start a competing business, or we can simply choose another supplier. By contrast, we can’t “log out” of laws and regulations—even ones we disagree with. Violating federal law or disobeying the instructions of a law enforcement officer can come with severe and sometimes deadly consequences.

Our Founders wisely recognized that our greatest threat isn’t Nabisco or Facebook. With the memory of an overreaching British monarch fresh in their minds, they sought to establish a republic that ensured government—not private business—was properly constrained. We ignore their wisdom at our own peril.



Doug McCullough
Doug McCullough is a corporate attorney at the Texas law firm, McCullough Sudan, and is a director of the Lone Star Policy Institute. Doug is a co-host of The Urbane Cowboys, a podcast on policy, society, and innovation. He is a National Review Institute Regional Fellow and Better Cities Project Fellow. He is a regular contributor to Foundation for Economic Education, and has been published in Entrepreneur, The Hill, Washington Examiner, Arc Digital, Houston Chronicle, and San Antonio Express.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Brevard Renaissance Fair 2019 – The Craic Show – Part 6 (Shee An Gannon)





Brevard Renaissance Fair 2019 – The Craic Show – Part 6 (Shee An Gannon)

Space Shuttle Launch (2000)(2)

Another shot of a Space Shuttle launch from 2000. I believe this was taken from near the Eau Gallie Causeway in Melbourne, Florida.

Vintage Photos - Oestreicher (369-372)

See the previous post in this series here. Feel free to skip the quoted intro text if you have read it before.

I had the opportunity to pick up a huge batch of slides recently. These are pictures spanning from as early as the late 1940s to as late as the early 1990s (maybe earlier and/or later but these are what I have sampled so far). These came to me second (third?) hand but the original source was a combination of estate sales and Goodwill. There are several thousand...maybe as many as 10,000. I will be scanning some from time to time and posting them here for posterity.
Apparently, getting your pictures processed as slides used to be a fairly common thing but it was a phenomenon I missed out on. However, my Grandfather had a few dozen slides (circa late 1950s) that I acquired after he died. That along with some negatives is what prompted me to buy a somewhat decent flatbed scanner that could handle slides and negatives (an Epson V600). That was the most money I was willing to spend on one anyway. It can scan up to four slides at a time with various post-processing options and does a decent enough job. The scanner has been mostly idle since finishing that task but now there is plenty for it to do.

This set continues a rather large batch of slides that originally came from an estate sale and appear to have belonged to a locally well known photographer from the Spokane Washington area and later Northern Idaho named Leo Oestreicher. He was known for his portrait and landscape photography and especially for post cards. He career started in the 1930s and he died in 1990. These slides (thousands of them) contain a lot of landscape and portrait photos but also a lot of photos from day to day life and various vacations around the world. Here's an article on him from 1997 which is the only info I have found on him: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jan/04/photos-of-a-lifetime-museum-acquisition-of-leo/

Many of these slides had the date they were processed (presumably) stamped or printed on them (month and year). I've found that in cases where I could verify the date, either because a more specific date was hand written or there was something to specifically date the photo in the photo itself, that this date has typically been the same month the photos were taken. In other words, I expect that in MOST cases these photos were taken relatively near the processing date. No doubt there are some exceptions.

All of the pictures in this set were taken in the 1960s. The first was taken driving down the highway somewhere, the next one shows what was a very late snowfall if it was really taken in June which is what is written on the slide, the third is of a flowered cross and the final one shows some cacti. No real labels other than the dates on these.

Click on one of the images or the link below to also see versions processed with color restoration and Digital ICE which is a hardware based dust and scratch remover, a feature of the Epson V600 scanner I am using. There are also versions processed with the simpler dust removal option along with color restoration.


processed August 1961

photographed June 1964

photographed June 1964

photographed June 1964

https://supload.com/SJT6pzAsN

The entire collection that has been scanned and uploaded so far can be found here.

Monday, July 22, 2019

50 Cent Comics – The Magdalena #5



Continuing on with my 50 cent comic book score from MegaCon a couple of months back, we have The Magdalena #5 from February, 2011.


The concept of this book is that there are a long line of descendants from Jesus and Mary Magdalene who protect the Church from evil from generation to generation. The concept is interesting (if a little reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code).and the art is pretty good but there doesn't seem to be much depth here. The story basically involves a young boy who is being cultivated as the Anti-Christ though it's a little unclear whether he really is or not.


In this issue, The Magdalena battles another ugly demon from Hell. There weren't many ads in this issue and being a relatively recent book, they aren't as fun to look back at anyway.

See my last 50 Cent Comics entry here: https://megalextoria.blogspot.com/2019/07/50-cent-comics-avengers-345.html







50 Cent Comics – The Magdalena #5

ANALOG Computing (April 1987)






ANALOG Computing (April 1987)

ANALOG Computing was probably the most successful magazine dedicated to Atari 8-bit computers. If you watch closely, you can see at least one issue lying around in Ready Player One which I just watched the other day. By 1987 the last generation of Atari 8-bits (the XE series) had already been around a couple years and ANALOG was also giving some coverage to the Atari ST. The April 1987 issue of ANALOG Computing includes: Features
  • Music during the Musical Blank Interrupt - Part 3 in our series details what's involved in accomplishing music during the VBI.
  • Background Printer -= A device handler which lets your printer do its thing while you are doing yours.
  • Floyd the Droid Goes Blastin' - Wipe out the mutants just for kicks in this new machine-language game.
  • HardCopy and CheckWriter - Adding these two programs to MicroCheck (from issue 27) lets you prepare multiple copies and print checks.
  • Multicopy - A versatile utility for copying files, made even easier by keyboard or joystick use.
  • Bits & Pieces - The BSR home controller is just an article away from your Atari.
  • Modems and the Atari 8-bit - An introduction to the universe of telecommunications BBSs and networks.
  • The Baud Warrior - Advice for the experienced modem user.
Reviews
  • Lightspeed C - A detailed look at this structured language.
  • Soundwave 1 and Soundwave 8 - Two sequencers for the ST - do they live up to their claims?
  • The Learning Phone - Check out the Atari Plato cartridge.
  • Screens - Tricky screen formats are yours with this inexpensive, useful utility.
  • The New Technology Coloring Book - Hi-tech coloring for children.
  • Nite Lite - A close examination of one of the popular BBSs for the 8-bit and the Atari ST, too.
  • The Atari ST User's Guide - How worthy is the new ST Logo guide?
  • Blazing Paddles - Is this recently introduced art program an 8-bit DEGAS?
  • Carina BBS - Our BBS expert checks out this feature-packed program.
  • Panak strikes! - Flight Simulator II Scenery Disks, Mail Order Monsters, Moonmist, and Rommel Battles for Tobruk are examined.
  • Video Vegas - Slots, Keno, Blackjack and Draw Poker in one package...how do they stack up?
Columns
  • Editorial
  • Reader comment
  • M/L Editor
  • Scheduled Atari Fairs
  • ST notes
  • Atari Users' Groups
  • The End User
  • Database Delphi
  • Index to Advertisers
...and more!


Friday, July 19, 2019

America Outperforms Canada in Surgery Wait Times—And It’s Not Even Close


Canadian Medicare, our northern neighbor’s universal health care system, generally receives rave reviews from proponents of nationalized or socialized health care, but the Fraser Institute found that more than 63,000 Canadians left their country to have surgery in 2016.

As Americans contemplate overturning our health system in favor of one similar to Canada’s, we must ask why so many leave.

The Canadian system consistently ranks low or lowest across numerous metrics in the Commonwealth Fund’s extensive survey on health care. With regards to specialists and surgeries, the United States ranked best or nearly best.
The Fraser Institute study did not examine where Canadians traveled for surgery, but given proximity and our much better metrics, most probably came here.

Surgeries are scheduled after patients are seen by the surgeon, and most people see surgeons only after a referral by either their primary care physician in America, or their general practitioner in Canada. In the United States, 70 percent of patients are able to be seen by specialists less than four weeks after a referral. In Canada, less than 40 percent were seen inside of four weeks.

After being advised that they need a procedure done, only about 35 percent of Canadians had their surgery within a month, whereas in the United States, 61 percent did. After four months, about 97 percent of Americans were able to have their surgery, whereas Canada struggled to achieve 80 percent.

America is significantly outperforming Canada in surgery wait times even as it’s likely that tens of thousands of Canadians come here to use the American system.

General surgery, procedures such as appendectomies, cholecystectomies, and hernia repairs, make up the largest portion of those who leave Canada for care. Based on the latest available date from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the total Canadian caseload for many of these procedures is about ten percent of America’s.
America’s health system is certainly flawed and in need of reform, but there is clearly something working well enough that our system, despite already treating ten times more cases of appendicitis, can absorb the dissatisfied Canadians.

This has been a consistent trend since at least 2014 when an estimated 52,513 Canadians left for their medical care. In 2015, the number went down slightly to 45,619. 2016 exceeded the 2015 number with an estimated 63,459 patients seeking care elsewhere.

Moreover, both countries have had comparable rates of private health insurance coverage for the past 20 years, roughly 60-70 percent. But the Canadian private insurance market is entirely supplemental—it covers co-payments for services not covered or not entirely covered by the provincial insurance.

Primary coverage, which is the predominant form of insurance in America, is all but illegal in Canada and would be under “Medicare for All” as well.

In the United States, government insurance covers gaps left by the private market. Private insurance is the norm and Medicare and Medicaid provide a health insurance safety net for elderly or low-income Americans.

In Canada, government-provided Medicare is the primary form of insurance, and private plans merely fill in gaps in coverage for those with more disposable income or employee benefits. The two systems are mirror opposites of one another.
Health care is a product of the labor of physicians, nurses, technicians, and a whole ecosystem of health care workers. If making the government the primary payer for these services is so smart, why does the universal system next door shed patients by the tens of thousands to ours?

American health care can be improved and should be; American health care performs about middle-of-the-pack for many other items on the Commonwealth Fund survey.

There are many inefficiencies, often government-imposed, that increase the cost of health care and restrict the insurance market.

The administration already has loosened some regulations that will give employers more flexibility in providing health benefits and has begun to push for price transparency, which also should bring down costs.

Whatever the case may be, reforming American health care should focus on enabling our strengths. Under no circumstance should we tear it down and build it anew to resemble the system whose citizens escape by the tens of thousands just to be treated in a timely manner.

This article is republished with permission from The Daily Signal. 

 
 
Kevin Pham
Kevin Pham, a medical doctor, is a contributor to The Daily Signal and a former graduate fellow in health policy at The Heritage Foundation.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Space Shuttle Launch (2000)(1)

This is one of the Space Shuttle launches in 2000. I forget which mission this was. I could see the shuttle launches from where I live but we got a little closer for this one.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Fort Henry (3)

A view of Kingston, Ontario, Canada from Fort Henry. This photo was taken in the Fall of 2000.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Brevard Renaissance Fair 2019 - Arthur Greenleaf Holmes (1)





Brevard Renaissance Fair 2019 - Arthur Greenleaf Holmes (1)

Vintage Photos - Oestreicher (365-368)

See the previous post in this series here. Feel free to skip the quoted intro text if you have read it before.

I had the opportunity to pick up a huge batch of slides recently. These are pictures spanning from as early as the late 1940s to as late as the early 1990s (maybe earlier and/or later but these are what I have sampled so far). These came to me second (third?) hand but the original source was a combination of estate sales and Goodwill. There are several thousand...maybe as many as 10,000. I will be scanning some from time to time and posting them here for posterity.
Apparently, getting your pictures processed as slides used to be a fairly common thing but it was a phenomenon I missed out on. However, my Grandfather had a few dozen slides (circa late 1950s) that I acquired after he died. That along with some negatives is what prompted me to buy a somewhat decent flatbed scanner that could handle slides and negatives (an Epson V600). That was the most money I was willing to spend on one anyway. It can scan up to four slides at a time with various post-processing options and does a decent enough job. The scanner has been mostly idle since finishing that task but now there is plenty for it to do.

This set continues a rather large batch of slides that originally came from an estate sale and appear to have belonged to a locally well known photographer from the Spokane Washington area and later Northern Idaho named Leo Oestreicher. He was known for his portrait and landscape photography and especially for post cards. He career started in the 1930s and he died in 1990. These slides (thousands of them) contain a lot of landscape and portrait photos but also a lot of photos from day to day life and various vacations around the world. Here's an article on him from 1997 which is the only info I have found on him: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jan/04/photos-of-a-lifetime-museum-acquisition-of-leo/

Many of these slides had the date they were processed (presumably) stamped or printed on them (month and year). I've found that in cases where I could verify the date, either because a more specific date was hand written or there was something to specifically date the photo in the photo itself, that this date has typically been the same month the photos were taken. In other words, I expect that in MOST cases these photos were taken relatively near the processing date. No doubt there are some exceptions.

The first two pictures in this set are from Tangiers circa 1972. The third appears to be construction on a home from circa 1964 and the final picture also seems to show some kind of home remodeling going on. It looks almost like fire damage except there appears to be none on the ceiling...

Click on one of the images or the link below to also see versions processed with color restoration and Digital ICE which is a hardware based dust and scratch remover, a feature of the Epson V600 scanner I am using. There are also versions processed with the simpler dust removal option along with color restoration.


Tangiers - Processed May 1972

Tangiers - Processed May 1972

Processed October 1964

processed June 1966

The entire collection that has been scanned and uploaded so far can be found here.

Kennedy Space Center - Saturn V (2000)

Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This photo was taken some time in 2000.



Mortal Kombat






Mortal Kombat

There isn't really a whole lot that can be said about Mortal Kombat that hasn't already been said a million times. It was originally released in the arcades in 1992 and the ports to home consoles were some of the most eagerly anticipated that there have ever been. The ad above is from the June 1993 issue of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment and teases the upcoming home releases.

Super NES
Initially, ports for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were released. While the Super Nintendo version was graphically better, the Genesis version was more true to the arcade in terms of gameplay and was not censored to the degree that the SNES version was. Blood was included and the original fatalaties were unlockable. A Sega CD version was released that included all the gore from the arcade version out of the box and was given an MA-17 rating. However, the Sega CD version wasn't much of an improvement over the Genesis version and it had long load times as well. There were also ports for the Game Boy and Game Gear. As you can imagine, the Game Boy version was...not that great. Apparently even an NES ports was considered but it never got past the planning stages. There was also a port for the Atari Jaguar planned but this was also cancelled. In 1994 DOS and Amiga versions of the game were released. In this case the DOS version was the better version. The Amiga version really could have been much better.

Genesis
Later, in 2004, near arcade perfect ports were released as part of Mortal Kombat: Deception for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. That same year a standalone TV plug-in version was released by Jakks Pacific. While similar to the Super Nintendo version, it was a different port and wasn't quite as good. Another near arcade perfect port was released as part of Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play. Finally, Mortal Kombat was released in downloadable form as part of the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection for Windows, PS3 and the Xbox 360 in 2011. While you can find close to arcade perfect ports these days or even emulate the arcade version, the 16-bit ports are fun as well and worth picking up if you collect for those systems. This was certainly one of THE games to have for your Super Nintendo or Genesis "back in the day".


Monday, July 15, 2019

Kennedy Space Center - Model Rockets (2000)

This is a photo of various model rockets taken at Kennedy Space Center sometime in 2000. They are to scale with the largest being the Saturn V on the right.

Home Computer Magazine – Volume 5, Number 3 (1985)





Home Computer Magazine – Volume 5, Number 3 (1985)

Home Computer Magazine started life as another magazine that focused solely on the TI-99/4A by Texas Instruments. By 1985, that machine wasn't really doing so well do to Commodore's price war. 99er then became Home Computer Magazine and covered a random assortment of computers including IBM/DOS, the Commodore 64, the Apple II and it continued to cover the TI-99/4A. Home Computer Magazine only lasted for about 11 issues. The Contents of Volume 5, Number 3 from 1985 include: Features
  • Budgetron - A mighty hero to rescue your budget.
  • Over-Reaction - Keep this reactor cool - but don't overreact.
  • Torpedo Alley - Fire torpedoes, then dive, dive!
  • Geometrix - Basic shapes compose the world.
  • Build a LOGO Adventure - In part 3, we add objects to our Adventure Land.
  • Achilles and the Turtle - Can Achilles ever beat the turtle?
  • Apple Seedlings - Generate character graphics on the hi-res screen.
  • Commodore Hornblower - Select waveforms and envelopes from SID.
  • IBMpressions - Blending sine waves into complex patterns.
  • Razzle Dazzle - Multi-layered animation with TI sprites.
  • MAC-ROs - Expanding BASIC on Macintosh
  • Speeding Up A BASIC Program - Part 1 teaches the first steps to speed up BASIC.
Product Reviews
  • The Gibson Light Pen - Sketch or paint right on the screen.
  • Monty Plays Scrabble - Is the computer a worthy opponent?
  • Dollars and Sense - Does it make sense to spend dollars on this program?
  • The Music of Sound Part 2: Music Software for the C-64 vs. Casio's CT-6000 Keyboard - Comparing musical hardware to musical software.
  • Junior's First Words: A Review of the PCjr Speech Attachment - This speech synthesizer has little to say.
  • Commodore-Taming for the Shrewd: A Review of SysRes - Coming to the aid of C-64 programmers.
  • Computer-Age Typing - A Look at Some Key Typing-instructor programs.
  • Going Solo: A Review of Flight Simulator II - Flying by the seat of your computer.
  • Moon Patrol - Eliminate the nasties in Sector 9.
Departments
  • Welcome to HCM
  • Inside/Outside HCM
  • Letters to the Editor
  • HCM One Liners
  • HCM Review Criteria
  • Industry Watch
  • Group Grapevine
  • HCM Product News
  • Program Listing Contents
  • Program Typing Guide
  • Debugs on Display
  • Home Computer Tech Notes
    • Apple
    • Commodore
    • IBM
    • TI
...and more!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Why the Minimum Wage Can’t Solve the Poverty Problem


If wages for those at the bottom are high, you may naturally expect low poverty rates. No matter how you define it, higher wages would most logically relieve poverty levels. This is also the argument made by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). An increase in the minimum wage may very well reduce poverty in the short-term. However, there will be adjustments. In reality, a higher minimum wage changes the types of people living in poverty rather than the overall number.
A higher minimum wage will help those who have a job but not those who are unable to find employment. This favors more skilled and experienced employees who are generally more productive. To an employer, it is more justifiable to employ someone with experience. They are generally able to produce a greater level of output with a higher degree of quality. At the same time, this creates a trap. To the employee, there is less incentive to move on to more productive and higher paid positions.

What we see is the employee getting paid more. What we don't see is the loss of their potential output. Not only is there reduced incentive, but there is also reduced opportunity. Many businesses are already moving to flatter business structures. This means fewer opportunities to progress to managerial positions. We are already seeing the likes of Walmart and McDonalds moving toward this kind of structure.

Though employees on the minimum wage are getting paid more, social mobility suffers. For example, research by Neumark and Nizalova found negative long-term effects from the minimum wage. Their study concluded that the minimum wage had two restricting effects. First, it restricts teens and young adults by deterring their employment. This means they are unable to acquire the necessary employment skills at a young age. Second, employers compensate for the higher wage by reducing their investment in training. Once again, this reduces the long-term skills that teens and young adults gain. Consequently, the ability to move onto more meaningful employment is restricted.

Furthermore, research by Clemens and Wither also found significant declines in economic mobility as a result of the minimum wage. Their study reiterates the conclusions of Neumark and Nizalova. The reduction in upward mobility is largely due to the reduction in opportunities for accumulating work experience.


The minimum wage reduces social mobility, but does it reduce poverty? Media outlets like CNBC are quick to highlight that the minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation. If it had, it would be nearly $11. So the minimum wage has lost much of its value since its peak in 1968. If there were a link between the minimum wage and poverty, we would expect higher poverty rates today. However, the opposite is true.

 

The African-American poverty rate declined from 34.7 percent in 1968 to 21.4 percent in 2016. For whites, it declined from 10 percent to 8.8 percent in the same period. The main contributing factor to this decline is economic growth and the availability of jobs, not a higher minimum wage.

On occasion, the minimum wage has been negatively correlated with poverty. If the minimum wage increases in real terms, poverty also decreases. If we look at the increases in 1997, the minimum wage increased in real terms. The poverty rate subsequently fell from 13.3 percent to 11.3 percent in 2000. This was surely a win for the minimum wage argument, right? Well, this came during a period of remarkable economic growth. When people are employed, they generally escape poverty. When jobs become more available, poverty decreases. The economy grows despite the minimum wage—not because of it. In fact, the empirical evidence provides little support for claims that minimum wages boost economic growth or alleviate poverty during downturns.
Data from the US Census Bureau stated that 12.3 percent of the population lived in poverty in 2017. That's roughly 39.7 million people. Of those, 17.2 percent, or 6.9 million people, were considered “working poor.” However, when only those who were continuously employed over the previous year were included, it fell to 5.3 million. Of those, 3.2 million were in full-time work below the poverty level.

The minimum wage was raised three times between 2007 and 2009. However, this came during one of the worst recessions on record. The last economically stable period where the minimum wage increased was 1996 to 1997. It increased to $5.15 in 1997, equal to $7.87 in 2017 prices. While the inflation-adjusted rate declined, the rate of in-work poverty also declined. The number of workers who were employed all-year round but still in poverty fell from 1.96 percent of the population in 1998 to 1.64 percent in 2017.



The percentage of people in working poverty is at record lows despite the minimum wage remaining stagnant at the federal level. This has not detracted from the prominence of the debate. Over the last 20 years, however, there has been an adjustment among the “working poor.” That adjustment has been a shift toward part-time work. While 30 percent of the working poor worked part-time in 1998, 40 percent did in 2017. The majority of this has come through voluntary means, which is to say that people are classified as suffering from “in-work poverty” through their own free will. Usually, this is because their household income is actually in excess of the poverty level. The minimum wage job is therefore but a supplementary income.

Raising the minimum wage won't help those on part-time work out of poverty. It won't help the other 34.4 million, either. Many of those are either disabled, unemployed, or children. In fact, it may very well make the situation worse. Employment is the best way out of poverty, but raising the minimum wage makes it that much more difficult for low-skilled workers to obtain that employment.A higher minimum wage is sold as a way to help millions out of poverty.

Single-mothers and their children are most at risk of falling into poverty. Many require job flexibility to fit around child care. Raising the minimum wage will make it easier for businesses to pick workers who are more able to fit around their working hours, leaving single mothers without employment.

What's more, many of those 3.2 million in working poverty include tipped workers. The trouble with this is that it overestimates the figure. All tipped workers earning below the minimum wage will be included, but so will those who are actually earning above the poverty rate. The number of people in working poverty falls further when we include tips. Furthermore, such statistics do not include cash transfers such as tax credits or housing benefits. Once these are included, the actual figure falls further. So, the statistics provided are often misleading and drastically overstate the problem. This is an important point because a higher minimum wage is sold as a way to help millions out of poverty. The reality is that it only benefits a small minority to the cost of everyone else. Even then, that small minority will see their hours reduced as a result, leaving everyone worse off.


Paul Boyce
Paul is a Business Economics graduate from the UK and currently an editor at http://boycewire.com.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden (2000)

The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center. This photo was taken in the Fall (I believe) of 2000.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Brevard Renaissance Fair 2019 - Music The Gathering (Part 1) - I'll Tell Me Ma





Brevard Renaissance Fair 2019 - Music The Gathering (Part 1) - I'll Tell Me Ma

Compute! (September 1984)





Compute! (September 1984)

Compute! was the best of the early multi-format computer magazines. In 1984 it was covering a variety of 8-bit computers such as the VIC-20, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, TI-9/4A plus the PC (mostly the PC and PC Jr.). The September 1984 issue includes: Features
  • The Educational Software Explosion
  • The Latest in Learning: New Trends in Educational Computing
  • Choosing The Best Educational Software
Education and Recreation
  • The Tester
  • Missile Math
  • Lightsaver
Reviews
  • Exodus: Ultima III For Commodore 64
  • The Seven Cities Of Gold
  • Word Flyer
Columns And Departments
  • The Editor's Notes
  • Readers' Feedback
  • Computers And Society: Discovery-Based Learning And Teenagers
  • Questions Beginners Ask
  • The Beginner's Page: ROM And RAM
  • The World Inside The Computer: Build A Computer In Your Mind
  • Learning With Computers: Aids For The Blind
  • INSIGHT: Atari
  • Machine Language: Math And Tables
  • Programming The TI: Writing An Educational Program
  • 64 Explorer
The Journal
  • Lightning Sort
  • Atari Bubble And Bulldozer Sorting
  • Commodore Autoboot
  • Atari Paddle Fixer
  • Apple Editing Hints
  • Commodore Disk Pattern Matching, Part 1
  • SYSound
  • Musical TI Keyboard
...and more!

GamePro (October 1996)





GamePro (October 1996)
GamePro was never one of my favorite gaming magazines. It did have a lot of good content but the organization always seemed...random. Nevertheless, it was a popular and long lasting magazine. The October 1996 issue includes:

Cover Feature
  • Nintendo 64: The U.S. Launch
    • The N64: It's Heeeeeeeeeere!
    • Let the Games Begin: N64 Release Calendar
    • The Game Names: Updates on MK Trilogy, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and Freak Boy
    • The Cutting Edge: Nintendo 64 Graphics Hardwired
    • Super Mario 64 ProStrategy Guide
Special Feature
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Gold! - An inside look at LucasArts' five hot Star Wars games: Shadows of the Empire (N64), Dark Forces (PlayStation), Rebel Assault II (PlayStation), Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (PC-CD), and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (PC-CD).
SWATPro Strategy Section
  • Super Mario 64 Nintendo 64 ProStrategy Guide - Mario's most essential moves, how to use camera views, and a breakdown of the first two areas.
  • The Fighter's Edge Presents: Tekken 2 (PlayStation), Conclusion - Best combos, special moves, linking moves, and throws for the remaining bosses: Anna, Devil, Angel, Bruce, Kuma, Ganryu, Roger, and Alex.
  • SWATPro - Secret coedes and tips! Play as Akuma in X-Men: Children of the Atom, Toshinden 2 boss codes, Game Shark codes, and more!
ProReviews
  • N64
  • PlayStation
  • Saturn
  • SNES
  • Sports Pages
  • Role-Player's Realm
Departments
  • Head-2-Head
  • The Mail
  • Art Attack
  • Buyers Beware
  • ProNews - Johnny Cage will appear in Mortal Kombat Trilogy!
  • GamePro Online - AOL games and hot Web sites
  • GamePro Labs - ASCII Saturn Stick, Psychopad K.O., and Saturn 3D Analog Controller
  • Overseas ProSpects - CoolBoarders and Motor Toon 2!
  • Sneak Previews - Fighting Vipers, Soviet Strike, Treasures of the Deep, Doom, and more!
  • PC GamePro - Starcraft, Interstate '76, and more!
  • Hot at the Arcades - Soul Edge Version II
...and more!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Life Before the Income Tax


If someone from the 17th century came back to life, he or she would be surprised, most of all, by the means of transport and communication tools we use now.

Probably, the most familiar things would be hospitals and schools.

Personally, I think that there is something that would very surprise a person from those times even more: the fact that Governments take away individuals’ earnings compulsively.

In fact, contrary to what many people think, income tax is a rather recent “invention,” created—in most cases—as an emergency tax to deal with extraordinary expenses, which later survived as a way to finance the growing fiscal deficits of Governments increasingly mismanaged, corrupt, and in debt.

We will review two significant examples.
After centuries imposing specific, eccentric taxes (e.g. chimney tax, window tax, malt tax, among others), Income Tax was first introduced by William Pitt in the United Kingdom in 1798, and it started to be charged in 1799. The aim was not to finance original expenses of the State but the Napoleonic Wars.

At the time, no other country levied a tax over the earnings produced by its citizens. The United States, for example, would only start charging it, intermittently, some 60 years later, and definitively in 1913.

The non-taxable minimum in the United Kingdom of the late 1700s would be equivalent to £6,000, and the maximum rate was ten percent. Only local income was susceptible to taxing, which was quite logical.

At the time, the malt tax covered approximately ten percent of the Government’s budget.

This first version of the Income Tax was in force only for three years, as it was annulled (logically) upon the signing of the Treaty of Amiens.

Henry Addington, who had succeeded Pitt in 1801 and had eliminated the tax when the peace with France was signed, reestablished it in 1803 when new difficulties appeared with that country. It was kept in force until the Battle of Waterloo. When the tax was annulled again, every document that referred to it was burnt, due to the sense of shame associated with having established and charged this tax.

From 1817 to 1842 there was no Income Tax in the United Kingdom or any other country.

Although he criticized the tax during the 1841 campaign, Prime Minister Robert Peel reestablished it in 1841, not to finance a war but to cover the Government’s deficit.

This time, the non-taxable minimum was over twice the previous one and the rate was around three percent.

The First World War was the perfect excuse to increase the rates. So, they were increased to 17.5 percent in 1915, 25 percent in 1916 and 30 percent in 1918.

For context, the only other country with an income tax at the time was the United States, which, as said above, had reestablished it in 1913, with a rate of 1 percent for incomes above $20,000.

The system was modernized as years went by, but the rising trend did not slow down, with a notorious record of 99.25 percent (yes, that is correct) during the Second World War.

Contrary to what one might believe, in the following two decades there was a minor reduction, but the tax remained over 95 percent.

During the 1970s and 1980s there were further decreases, but not very significant.

Only upon the election of Margaret Thatcher and the growth and increased sophistication of the offshore jurisdictions did the rates start to decrease substantially.

In 1988, for example, after three consecutive reductions, the basic rate was 25 percent.

Nowadays, that rate (the basic rate) is even lower: 20 percent and the maximum rate is 40 percent.

Let’s have a look at what happened on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Although the United States became independent from the United Kingdom in 1776, after a conflict arising precisely from a taxing issue, it was not until 1861 that the country imposed the first income tax. And, just like in the United Kingdom, this was not done to finance the ordinary expenses of the State but the Civil War.

In other words, for over a century and 15 presidential terms, the State was financed without needing to take away from taxpayers a part of their income. Moreover, when it was finally done, those funds were not used to finance original expenses, but a civil war.

And even in that emergency situation (1862), the rate was between three percent and five percent, depending on the income level. That is to say, there were just two tax brackets, as is the case today, for example, in Paraguay.

In 1872, the income tax was annulled, basically due to the pressure of taxpayers, who deemed it expropriatory, like the majority of Congress.

In 1894, the income tax was incorporated again, but the next year, when ruling in the case 158 U.S. 601 (Pollock v. Farmers Loan & Trust Company), the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The exact date of the ruling was May 20, 1895, and the main argument put forward by the majority of the justices was that a direct tax was not constitutional if there was not a proportional way to distribute it among the states forming the Union, based on a census carried out to this end. The decision was made with five votes in favor and four against.

In 1909, the creation of this tax was proposed again, and in the presidential election of 1912, the three principal candidates—the president at the time, William H. Taft; the former president, Theodore Roosevelt; and the candidate who eventually won, Woodrow Wilson—supported the legalization of the income tax.
The 16th Amendment was introduced precisely to achieve this goal. Paradoxically, Wyoming—now one of the states where non-residents frequently establish their foreign trusts—was the 36th state to pass the Amendment, which led to the tax being in force.

In particular, this Amendment established that Congress shall have the right to create and collect taxes over income, whichever source they may be from, without apportionment between the different states and without the need for a census.

As said above, the tax bracket for most of the population was 1 percent.

So, when did everything become more complicated for taxpayers? With the establishment of the Revenue Act of 1918 (WWI), which raised this tax to 77 percent, a rate over twice as much as that of the United Kingdom.

From looking at the way in which the public sector has been financed in the United States, the following can be seen:
  • between 1890 and 1920, all internal revenue came from foreign trade, in the form of custom duties;
  • between 1920 and 1940, the greatest part of the revenue came from corporate income tax, followed by personal income tax and custom duties; and
  • between 1940 and the year 2000, custom duties tended to disappear, and the personal income tax overtook the corporate income tax.
As mentioned above, in time, more and more countries started adopting this new type of tax, especially countries with growing deficits.

As an example, Switzerland imposed it in 1840, France in 1872, Spain in 1900, Norway in 1911, Russia in 1916, Canada in 1918, Brazil in 1924 and Argentina in 1932.

As a result, inhabitants of these countries began to look for ways to legally elude these unfair taxes, often using structures in jurisdictions that continued to consider these taxes as expropriatory.

In that context, countries that expected (and expect) to charge this tax (which they deemed unethical not so long ago) turned against the rest and accused them of being “unfair fiscal competition.”

In other words, they unilaterally changed the rules and then attacked those who simply maintained the status quo.

Later, they gathered in small cartels (e.g. OECD, G20, and others) to lend more legitimacy to these claims. That is how the first “black lists” of “tax havens” appeared, and how the pressure against them increased.

When they realized that these organizations were not achieving their goals, they started to use other arguments, more amenable to the general public (money laundering, terrorism financing).

Offshore jurisdictions were not created to capture the investments of fiscal residents of other countries, but it was these other countries which drove away their own fiscal residents by creating taxes on their income (first) and their assets (later), taking the tax burden to untenable limits.

Reality indicates that the very concept of “tax haven” was created by high-tax countries which, not being able to compete, tried (unfairly) to get the most efficient countries out of the competition.

As usual, he who does not want to compete is the least competitive one. No wonder.
What learnings can we derive from the British and American experience?

Several:
  • Firstly, there is a possibility that States finance themselves without receiving funds from the income or revenue of their inhabitants (or taxing these).
  • Secondly, until not long ago, all governments agreed that imposing taxes over income or revenue was expropriatory, and therefore could only be done under extraordinary circumstances. To impose this kind of tax was frowned upon, and those who were forced to do so were embarrassed.
  • Finally, were it not for the “fiscal wilderness” there would be no “tax havens”. If high-tax countries really wanted to “vanquish” tax havens, they should strive to provide legal security and reduce taxes, instead of lobbying through discredited, decadent multilateral organizations, which they have been doing for decades without any results.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Panam Post.


 
 

Martin Litwak
Martin Litwak is the founder and CEO of @UntitledLegal, a boutique law firm specialized in investment funds and international estate planning, and the first Legal Family Office in the Americas. Martin Litwak is the author of the book “How the wealthiest people protect their assets and why we should do the same”.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

50 Cent Comics – Avengers #345



I grabbed nearly 100 comics at MegaCon a couple of months back for 50 cents each. Avengers #345 from March 1992 is one of them.


This issue drops the reader into the middle of a war between the Shi'ar and Kree. This is "Operation: Galactic Storm part 5". I suspect that part 1 would put you closer to the beginning. The fundamental problem for Earth is that both sides are using the Sun to power a nearby wormhole for travel purposes. This is causing instability and will eventually destroy the sun if not stopped. This issue opens with the Avengers rescuing the inhabitants of a space station orbiting the sun that was struck by a solar flare.


The astronauts are saved and the most recent Shi'ar ship to use the wormhole is stopped leading to a confrontation. By the end of the issue the Avengers are setting off on a diplomatic mission to try to end the war. Will they succeed? You'll have to read the next issue... I don't have that one though.


And there's plenty of old video game ads here for a bit of nostalgia from the latter days of the NES and the early days of the Super NES.

See the previous entry in the 50 Cent Comics series here: https://megalextoria.blogspot.com/2019/07/50-cent-comics-peter-parker-spectacular.html