Monthly Archives: March 2022

A Number I Can Grasp

The US is planning to send $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, about half of it military.

I like to divide federal spending by the number of US households (c. 130 million in 2021) to help me grasp what it means.

So that $13.6bn becomes $104.62 per US household. Of course that’s just an average as federal tax incidence is not uniform. Personally I’m happy to pitch in, but it’s easy for me to say that.

Posted in Econ & Money, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Perils of Online Grocery Shopping

For health reasons, I’ve been doing almost all the grocery shopping online.

It isn’t more convenient, because the shopping process involves a fair amount of following along as the shopper ignores one’s fallback instructions and either does or doesn’t text for instructions. (I think of it as “the world’s worst video game”.) Unlike in-person, I don’t get much control over timing, as the shopping will happen some random time up to 3 hours before the delivery time. And the delivery window is also only notional; I suspect that the ratio of would-be shoppers to customers has gone down and as a result my often sizable orders with good tips get grabbed early. Indeed, they are often delivered well before the window I set, which can also make for conflict with online meetings and the like.

And it is expensive: I figure between the app’s markup over the store prices, and the tip, I’m paying at least 25% more than if I went myself.

And it’s frustrating when some types of things that I think I could find in person are not offered on the app. [Yes, there’s a ‘special requests’ mechanism, but it is a bit of a pain.] And it’s also frustrating when stuff theoretically on the app turn out to be not available, although I imagine that this likely would be equally frustrating in person too, given supply chain issues.

Today, however, I experienced a new online grocery shopping problem–or at least one new to me.

Amidst an order with several items, I asked for this:
chicken

I got most of what I asked for, but in addition to the chicken I asked for (or meant to ask for?), I also got (and got duly charged for), this:

chickenchickenchickenchicken

Yes, I got FIVE chickens. Five. I didn’t save a copy of the original order (I sure will from now on) so I can’t prove I didn’t do something to cause the app to record an order for a record number of chickens, although I can’t see how I could have done that.

So now I have five chickens. Guess I know what we’re eating this week. And next.

Plus I have a new appetite for chicken jokes. (Bonus: Painful chicken jokes from Iraq 2004.)

Posted in Shopping | 1 Comment

Accountability, Just Maybe

65 project logoOne more item like this and I’m going to declare a trend.

According to Axios, a bunch of Democrats are planning to play ethics offense against lawyers who signed complaints or phony electoral returns in the meritless attempt to overturn the last election.  They’ve created the “65 project“, so named because the courts kicked all 65 lawsuits filed on Trump’s behalf unceremoniously to the curb.

The 65 Project is targeting 111 attorneys in 26 states who were involved to some degree in efforts to challenge or reverse 2020 election results. They include lawyers at large national law firms with many partners and clients and lawyers at smaller, regional firms.

  • It will air ads in battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
  • It also will push the ABA and every state bar association to codify rules barring certain election challenges and adopt model language stating that “fraudulent and malicious lawsuits to overturn legitimate election results violate the ethical duties lawyers must abide by.”
  • It plans to spend about $2.5 million in its first year and will operate through an existing nonprofit called Law Works.

[David] Brock [, founder of Media Matters for America] told Axios in an interview that the idea is to “not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints, but shame them and make them toxic in their communities and in their firms.”

And, indeed, the 65 project filled its first wave of ethics complaint yesterday, against Jenna Ellis, Joseph doGenova and seven others.

Posted in 1/6, Law: Practice | Leave a comment

Accountability, Perhaps

Accountability has rarely been a key feature of US politics (see, e.g. Kissinger, Henry), at least not in a sensible way (see, e.g. “Who Lost China?”).

But Priorities USA is trying to gin up some accountability with this pair of new videos:

There’s Off the Hook:

And there’s the even more blunt Chosen a Side :

Posted in 2022 Election, Trump, Ukraine | Leave a comment

This Could Explain a Lot

Cathederal of Kyivan Cave Monastery

Dormition Cathedral of the Kyivan Cave Monastery. Kyiv, Ukraine — the holy site most coveted by the Russian Orthodox Church’s Ukrainian Branch

© 2017 Skelanard, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

If, as multiple sources report, Russian President Putin has fallen under the spell of Rasputin Patriarch Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, then perhaps a major motivation for the invasion is that the Russian Orthodox Church wishes to displace the growing Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which only achieved (or, if you prefer regained) its independence in 2019. As the NYT explains,

If Russia wins, the Ukrainian church is unlikely to survive inside Ukraine.

Prizes in the struggle include holy sites such as the Monastery of the Caves, a sprawling complex of churches in Kyiv overlooking the Dnieper River, whose golden onion domes were glistening in the sun on a recent afternoon as artillery shells exploded across the capital. In the caves, in grottos, lie the remains of the earliest saints of Slavic Orthodoxy, control over which would symbolize pre-eminence in this branch of Christianity.

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Good Tax Policy (Ukraine Edition)

Yours tax-free if you can get it out of the mud.

Bloomburg’s Matt Levine points us to the latest Ukrainian tax announcement: Feel free to capture Russian tanks tax-free:

Ukraine’s National Agency for the Protection against Corruption (NAPC) has declared that captured Russian tanks and other equipment are not subject to declaration.

“Have you captured a Russian tank or armored personnel carrier and are worried about how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the Motherland! There is no need to declare the captured Russian tanks and other equipment, because the cost of this … does not exceed 100 living wages (UAH 248,100),” NAPC’s press service said.

Also, there is no need in this case to submit reports of significant changes in property status within 10 days.

“Speaking by the letter of the law, combat trophies are not subject to reflection in the declaration for the following reasons: they were acquired not as a result of the conclusion of any type of transaction, but in connection with the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022 against the independent and sovereign Ukrainian state as a continuation the insidious attack of the Russian Federation on Ukraine launched in 2014. Thanks to the courage and victory of the defenders of the Ukrainian state, enemy military equipment usually comes to you already destroyed and disabled, which makes it impossible to evaluate it in accordance with the law On the valuation of property, property rights and professional valuation activities in Ukraine. Therefore, it is also impossible to find out how much such property costs,” the NACP said.

Wouldn’t want to discourage capturing tanks, would we?

Posted in Econ & Money, Ukraine | Leave a comment