Tax Credits For Residents Of The “Big House”

Taxpayers have to love a story like this:  the federal inspector general for tax administration in the Treasury Department issued a report saying that 1,300 prison inmates received $9 million in tax credits by claiming that they bought a home.  More than 200 of those inmates were serving a life sentence.  All told, more than 14,000 taxpayers wrongly received more than $26 million in phony tax credits.  One house was used 67 times in bogus tax credit claims!

It gives great comfort to know that the same vigilant federal government will be administering the exponentially more complicated “health care reform” legislation, which is supposed to be funded in part by savings achieved when the federal watchdogs ferret out billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse.

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The Right Decision

Today President Obama accepted the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan.  He was absolutely correct to do so.

The remarks of General McChrystal, and particularly members of his staff, to a Rolling Stone reporter showed stunningly poor judgment and in some instances were scornful and wholly inappropriate.  As President Obama noted in his remarks today, such insubordinate comments simply cannot be tolerated because they undermine the principle of civilian control that lies at the heart of America’s military-political command structure.

The President named General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal as commander of the Afghan war effort, and it was immediately a popular choice.  General Petraeus has enormous credibility, in Congress and in the country at large, due to his extraordinarily successful work in engineering the “surge” in Iraq.

It is wonderful to have such an excellent replacement at hand — but the President should have sacked General McChrystal even if General Petraeus were not available and willing to serve.  Success in the Afghan war is important, but not nearly so crucial as maintaining the salutary concept of strict civilian control over the military.  President Lincoln fired the grossly insubordinate General McClellan at a desperate time during the Civil War, when the very survival of the Union hung in the balance.  President Lincoln made the right decision then, and President Obama made the right decision today.

A Fine Visit To Bermuda

Kish and I were in Bermuda last week on a business trip and had a very enjoyable time during our brief visit.  We stayed at the Fairmont Southampton, which is the biggest hotel on the island. It is located on a promontory with a commanding view of the ocean in one direction and a sweeping bay in the other.  Others obviously recognized the value of the location from a lookout standpoint; the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, built in 1844, is a short walk away from the hotel.

The colorful waters of the Bermuda shore line

Bermuda is known for its beaches, and for good reason.  We spent some time on Horseshoe Beach and the neighboring Fairmont Southampton beach, both of which are beautiful.  The sand is light and fine, striking rock formations jut from the shoreline, and the water is highly colorful — brilliant blue in the distance, a bright blue-green near the shore line, and a palette of colors in between depending on the depth of the water.  The bright color of the water stands in sharp contrast to the dark rock that rises quickly from the shore line.  Roads are carved into the rock, making the entire island seem like the careful handiwork of a master sculptor.

The view from our table at the Ocean Club

During our trip, we had some excellent meals.  I highly recommend the Waterlot Inn and The Reefs, both of which are within easy walking distance of the hotel, and we had a wonderful outdoor meal under the stars at the Ocean Club, which is located above the hotel’s private beach.  Don’t miss the Bermuda chowder, which is a dark, hearty, highly flavorful concoction infused with rum and pepper sauce.  We also visited Hamilton, one of the larger towns on the island.  It offers some beautiful vistas, with storefronts and seaside restaurants painted in soft pinks and yellows.  When you see those colors you know that you are in the tropics.