One less tax

In a rare move, it appears that the courts and national representatives might actually do something helpful for consumers. Since 1898, a 3% tax has been added to all phone bills to help (get this) “pay for the Spanish American War.” Americans have overfunded the 6 month war by about 50 times, adjusted for inflation. And to add shock to awe, the telephone companies actually agree. AT&T’s general counsel even states that “it makes no sense, and it ought to be repealed.” Rejoice for rational and logical thought from corporations, the legal system, and the house of representatives!

Katrina, Katrina

I know that the news has been covering this extensively, and that some people are glued to the teevee and some have completely turned off and disconnected. Unfortunately, those who did not have the resources or ability to leave New Orleans have no such luxury. Some have provided additional information and resources, some have merely been only able to wait. The devastation becomes more apparent everyday, not only in the physical destruction in the aftermath, but in the human and social element. There are even speculations on the timing, which dig deep into prejudice and fear. Why the breakdown in disaster relief occurred (or delay, depending on the side of the levee you are sitting on) will no doubt be reviewed semi-exhaustively, but very little of this situation should come as a surprise to anyone. What should also come as no surprise is the resiliency and willingness to help those less fortunate that most Americans share. Most local areas have been contacted with specific items to donate and of course the Red Cross is accepting donations for hurricane relief. My thoughts are with those who need help and all of those who are trying to provide help for this natural disaster.

Headline gets it right

Superjumbo completes maiden flight reads the title. The Airbus A380 is gigantic. Stock 555 people. Flight distances of almost 10,000 miles. Wingspan that hangs the engines past the edge of the runway as well as requiring airports to reconfigure terminals just to accept the traffic. Huge. And most importantly, as the article reports, the largest airliner ever produced actually completed it’s maiden voyage. Can you imagine being the person furthest from the doors and waiting for everyone to disembark?