The Wires
The Ledes

Monday, March 18, 2019.

NBC News: “Heavy rain and melting snow that overpowered the Missouri River forced hundreds of families out of their homes in the Midwest and forced the base that is home to U.S. Strategic Command to sharply scale back operations on Sunday. At least three people are confirmed to have died in what the National Weather Service called 'major and historical river flooding' along parts of the Missouri and Mississippi river basins.”

TPM: "Fox News has hired former interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile as a contributor, the network announced Monday. According to the press release, Brazile will offer political analysis on Fox News and Fox Business News. A source close to the situation told TPM that Brazile will not play any role related to the debate or town hall process."

New York Post's Page Six: "Brian Williams could come back from TV news exile, Page Six is told. The anchor was booted from the 'NBC Nightly News' in 2015 after it was revealed that he’d embellished some stories with fictional details — and sent to the relative Siberia of 11 p.m. on sister station MSNBC. But despite his tarnished reputation and graveyard-adjacent time slot, Williams has made his '11th Hour With Brian Williams' show a legit hit, beating CNN and Fox News for three months straight. Now 30 Rock insiders say Williams could move to a more prominent time slot, possibly replacing vet Chris Matthews at 7 p.m." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Despite his less-than-liberal views, Williams' 11 pm newscast is really pretty good. He's a pro. Another pro at MSNBC who impresses me is Richard Liu. The other night, a feed from Los Angeles went dark, and within 90 seconds, Liu got himself on the air & conducted a full segment (with Ken Dilanian as one of the last-second guests) with what I would guess was zero prep. Years ago, when I was not much younger than Liu appears to be now, I worked for a national news network, and I had actual nightmares that I might get stuck on-air with no copy. (I was not an on-air personality, but I could have got stuck with an on-air spot during a strike.) I could not have done then what Liu did this week.

Everybody liked this Oscar moment:


Cartoon by R.J. Matson. Thanks to forrest m. ... The Verge has the complete list of Oscar winners.

Ars Technia: "Excavations at two ancient quarry sites in western Wales suggest how ancient people probably quarried some of the stones now standing at Stonehenge. The 42 stones in question are some of the smaller parts at Stonehenge, relatively speaking: they still weigh two to four tons each. They're called the bluestones, and they came all the way from western Wales [about 180 miles from the Stonehenge site]. Chemical analysis has even matched some of them to two particular quarries on the northern slopes of the Preseli Hills. One, an outcrop called Carn Goedog, seems to have supplied most of the bluish-gray, white-speckled dolerite at Stonehenge. And another outcrop in the valley below, Craig Rhos-y-felin, supplied most of the rhyolite. University College London archaeologist Michael Parker Pearson and his colleagues have spent the last eight years excavating the ancient quarry sites, and that work has revealed some new information about the origins of Stonehenge.... The ancient quarry-workers left behind mudstone wedges and stone hammers, which they would have driven into the cracks between the pillars to carefully pry them apart.”

The dollhouse of Petronella Oortman, in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.Emily Landau in the New York Times: "The whole point of a dollhouse is that it’s not to be played with. It’s untarnished by the workaday furniture we get for our real homes, the Sears dining tables and cheap Ikea Billy bookcases. And for many people, it’s the only place where ludicrously opulent décor is attainable, where you can go all out on mother-of-pearl doorknobs or Versailles-worthy brocade chaises without losing your savings or your dignity." Mrs. McC: I think Laudau helps explain why I have so enjoyed moving from a mansion-sized house to one that is one-tenth the size of the "mansion."

The Los Angeles Times has the full list of Oscar nominees here.

NBC Sports: "Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martínez, and Mike Mussina have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America as part of the 2019 class. The results were just announced on MLB Network. Rivera received votes from every single writer who submitted a ballot, becoming the first player ever to be unanimously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Halladay and Edgar Martínez each received 85.4 percent of the vote and Mussina appeared on 76.7 percent of ballots. Rivera, 49, spent all 19 of his seasons in the majors with the Yankees. He was initially used as a starter, but quickly moved to the bullpen, becoming the greatest closer of all-time. He racked up 652 saves — the most in baseball history — during the regular season along with a 2.21 ERA anda 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings. He saved his best work for the postseason. Rivera appeared in 96 postseason games, saving 42 saves in 47 opportunities with a 0.70 ERA and a 110/21 K/BB ratio in 141 innings. Rivera won five championships, five Rolaids Relief Awards, as well as MVP awards in the World Series, ALCS, and All-Star Game. He made the AL All-Star team 13 times."

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: If you're a shut-out Trump Shutdown victim tooling around the Internets with nothing to do today, let's assume that some day some time, Trump will de-furlough you and you can get back to work enthusiastically serving the American people in your appointed capacity. In case Trump has rendered you a bit rusty in the area of job skills, Conan here provides some useful tools that may help you get to work on time, even on casual Friday:

ABC News: "Breathtaking drone video of a pod of friendly, playful dolphins joining a surfer as he took to the waves near the coast of Ventura, California, is making the rounds on social media and bringing smiles -- and wow's -- to viewers. ABC station KABC-TV's meteorologist Kimi Evans met the drone's owner Craig Badger, who shared the footage, and spoke to surfer Alden Blair.... The video has been seen more than 3 million times on social media." ...

NBC Suits Are Such Geniuses. New York Times: "After a drawn-out negotiation period, NBC and Megyn Kelly have formally agreed to part ways. The network and the onetime cable news star reached a final agreement on Friday, nearly three months after she wondered aloud on-air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface for Halloween. NBC and a representative for Ms. Kelly declined to reveal the details of the exit package. But according to two people familiar with the negotiations, Ms. Kelly was paid the outstanding balance on her contract, a figure that amounts to roughly $30 million. At the time of the separation, Ms. Kelly was in the middle of a three-year, $69 million contract with the network."

Monday
Apr162018

Things I Learned Yesterday Filing My Taxes

You can pay your estimated federal taxes online, something I'm about to try as I'm snowed & iced in today. Update: I did it. It's a bit more complicated that writing a check as you may have to dig up a previously-filed 1040 for verification purposes. But it appears to have worked, & was less perilous (I hope) than hiking through snow, sleet, ice & rain to my local PO dropoff box.

You can pay any federal taxes due online, too. For once I overpaid my estimated taxes, so I didn't try this.

Having trouble getting your computer & printer to communicate? I was able to scan from my PC to the printer yesterday, but I could no longer scan from the printer to the computer (which I needed to do to send the signed tax docs back to my accountant -- [tho to save time, I sent her a electronic signature first]). I spent about 6 hours doing all things sensible & superstitious to rectify the matter & finally gave up & called Best Buy's Geek Squad. It turns out that Windows has an app built into the software called "Windows Fax & Scan." You should be able to find it by typing "WFS" in the Windows search box (bottom left-hand corner of the screen). The Geek guy made me a desktop button for the app, which is helpful if you're going to use it a lot. Of course you have to have already established a wireless connection between your computer & printer, but my annoying Canon printer would tell me the connection was good -- until I wanted to scan. The Windows Fax & Scan is super-easy to use; the instructions are self-explanatory.

The Trump-Ryan-McConnell Republican tax "reform" law will raise my federal taxes by 15% to 20% next year, according to my accountant. ...

     ... Update: To add insult to injury, Trump went to the town where I grew up -- Hialeah, Florida -- to lie about all the big tax breaks ordinary people like me would get under his favorite tax bill. Then he left to go to Mar-a-Lago, the resort he owns which I could not afford to visit if I wanted to (and I don't).

If you have any wise tips (or corrections to mine) learned in the tax-filing process, please share.

Reader Comments (2)

Tangentially relevant?

An old idea updated recently on "Vox".

Makes sense so it probably has a snowball's chance.

https://www.vox.com/2016/4/13/11417676/elizabeth-warren-tax-return-free-filing-tax-day-intuit-hr-block-turbotax-automatic-simple

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Bea, you are a far braver woman than I am. The very thought of filing electronically is alarming to me. My accountant knows I will only file on paper and via certified mail. Yeah, she always makes me sign a document that this is what I want...but, I have a deep skepticism about how well the IRS online security is...that goes for Social Security, too. With budget cuts...I have to wonder how much money goes into supporting and creating the safety factors needed for sites where such invaluable info goes.

Yeah, I know...once they get my paper filings they probably have someone input the data into their computer system so it is there electronically anyhow. But, at least I don't feel complicit.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMAG
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