Scientologist are the IRS' Chosen People?

Here’s a curious lawsuit. A Jewish couple is suing the IRS for rejecting their deduction of their children’s religious education. Apparently, members of the Church of Scientology are allowed to do just that under a secret agreement with the IRS.

This is the couple’s second lawsuit. In the course of the first set of suits, one of the judges offered this tidbit of legal advice:

“Why is Scientology training different from all other religious training?” Judge Barry D. Silverman wrote in his opinion, adding that the question would not be answered just then because the court was not faced with the question of whether “members of the Church of Scientology have become the I.R.S.’s chosen people.” Judge Silverman then recommended litigation to address whether the government is improperly favoring one religion.

Indeed. This could prove to be an interesting case as the CoS has LOADS of money. OF course, the couple’s lawyer is working pro bono, so it sounds as if his firm has an axe to grind as well.

Link (via Drudge)

Auchtoon is Live!

A friend (and sometimes collegue) of mine, John Auchter, has finally opened up his website.

It’s… alive! Yes, the long fabled Auchtoon! website has finally made it past its two-and-a-half-year temporary home page:

http://www.auchtoon.com

Read, enjoy, waste a little time! Drop me a line and let me know what you think. And please feel free to forward the link to friends, family, and wealthy cartoon art aficionados.

Thanks!
John

John’s one of those people you’d look at and say, “Really? You’re a cartoonist?” (Just kidding John.)

Seriously, his stuff is great even if you don’t agree with him. Drop him a note of congratulations and buy a cartoon you friggen freeloaders! This one is my favorite so far.

Link

NASA can read your thoughts

So, if someone can develop a (powerful) computer that I can wear (say, small cell phone sized) with a secure wireless connection to a mic and speaker, and a monitor projected onto my retina (or beamed directly to the appropriate area of my brain), I’m all set.

Suddenly first-person shooters would take on a completely new dimension.

Link

Carbon Neutral

I’m no scientist, but I have some severe doubts about the science behind this movement; planting trees to compensate for our carbon dioxide output. Basically, the idea is that we can’t get rid of producing carbon dioxide, but trees can. So, in order to compensate for our output, we plant trees which can clean up that CO2.

Here’s my problem with this. I did a calculation for how many trees I’d need to plant in order to remove the CO2 produced on a flight from Grand Rapids, MI to Baltimore. The site says I’d need to plany one tree (at a cost of $11 and change, which they can conveiniently collect right now since I asked). I’m pretty sure a tree isn’t going to clean up the 600+ pounds of CO2 produced by that flight in, say, the same time it took to produce that CO2. So really, to have a zero sum, I’d need to plant something on the lines of acres of trees.

Michigan State University’s Center for Integrative Toxicology, says this:

It is estimated that an acre of trees uses four and a half tons of CO2 a year

Doing some real quick math, that’s about 25 pounds a day per acre.

Something smells funny…

Link

Isn't this just bloggin on paper?

This is a weird story on the NYT. Book sellers (such as Border’s) are beginning to offer publishing kits.

“It’s easy to publish your own book!” the “Borders Personal Publishing” leaflets proclaim. Pay $4.99. Take home a kit. Send in your manuscript and $199. A month or so later, presto. Ten paperback copies of your novel, memoir or cookbook arrive.

I’m a product of the “I have a novel in me somewhere” generation, but this just seems like the cheaters way out. Plus, this doesn’t get you promotion, just publication. An interesting idea though.

Link