- What was the TitleIX discussion in College Kids about?
- Has any judge written decisions in verse as was mentioned in #415 "Inauguration: Over There"?
- Serena Chang posted a link on the Television Without Pity West Wing forum to a news story about a judge who has written several decisions in verse. The story is Judge's rhymes bring light relief to bitter court fights (Monday 16th December 2002):
"A judge in the US is dispensing poetic justice - by delivering his rulings in rhyming couplets....
"Justice Eakin said he would never use verse in a serious criminal case, but felt it was justified when the subject of a hearing called for a 'little grin here or there'....
"But Chief Justice Stephen Zappala .... said: 'The integrity of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania should never be placed in jeopardy by actions that would alter the perception of those whose lives and interests are affected by the decisions of the Court.'..."
- What happens if Inauguration Day comes on a Sunday?
- It seems that there are a lot of people out there who think Reagan followed an unbreakable tradition of not holding the public Inauguration on a Sunday. There is a tradition but it is far from unbreakable.
- First of all, the Constituion says the following:
Amendment XX - Presidential, Congressional terms. Ratified 1/23/1933.
1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
- Before that Amendment took effect, Inauguartion Day was March 4
- Sunday Inaugurations
- "...James Monroe won re-election  and took the oath on March 4, in private and was publicly inaugurated the following day."
- "In 1848, Zachary Taylor, twelfth president, asked that the inauguration of March 4, 1849 be moved to the following day since it fell on a Sunday. James Polk's term of office ended at Noon on March 4, thus creating a one-day vacancy whereby David Rice Atchinson,
president pro-tempore of the senate, and at that time third in the succession line, was technically acting-president for one day. [Today the Speaker of the House is third in presidential succession]"
- Rutherford Hayes was elected by a 15 member panel  and "because of the controversial decision, outgoing President Grant convinced Hayes to secretly take the oath of office in the Red
Room of the White House on Sunday March 4, the day before the public ceremony" which had been scheduled for Samuel Jones Tilden.
- When Woodrow Wilson was re-elected in 1917, he also took the oath on Sunday and then had the public ceremony on Monday.
- "Dwight Eisenhower took the oath for his second term in 1957, on Sunday and was formally inaugurated again in public on Monday January 21."
- "Ronald Reagan followed the same scenario [as Eisenhower] in 1985 after winning re-election."
- "January 20 falls on a Sunday four times in the Twenty-first Century; 2013, 2041, 2069, and 2097. It always occurs every 28 years." We shall have to see if every single one of our future Presidents continues this tradition. There doesn't seem to be anything set in stone about it.
------- above quoted statements are from usatrivia.com
- Did Will figure those tax rates correctly [#417]?
- We heard from a number of people on this:
- Frank Ryan wrote: "In the 2/27 episode "Red Haven's Burning", we get a tax tutorial via whiteboard from Will Bailey.
"His presentation is so unbearably wrong. Will Bailey confuses marginal tax rates with average tax rates. For instance, he has the low-wage worker paying an average tax of (approx.) $2,800 on (approx) $18,000 in income, for an average tax rate of 15%. This is an incredible blunder.
"A person making $18,000 pays nothing close to that much tax. For example, if you consult page 75 of your 2002 1040 Forms and Instructions pamphlet, you will see that the marginal tax rate is 10% for a single person for the first $6,000 ($12,000 if married filing jointly). And that's without starting to scratch the surface of the various deductions and tax-relief programs for low-income workers that drive tax-rates far below the 15% mentioned on the show.
"The size of the error is far worse for the higher paid workers...."
- David Mix Barrington wrote: "In #417, Will shows the Ronettes (his speechwriting
interns) a chart with examples of people in different
tax brackets and what they pay in federal income
tax. The tax brackets were 15%, 28%, and I think
36%, similar to the ones in our world. But the amounts
shown for tax paid were completely wrong if their
income tax works anything like ours.
"They showed the 15% person paying 15% of their income
in taxes, the 28% person paying 28%, and so on. But
our income tax doesn't work like that at all. You pay
nothing on the first part of your income, then 15% on
the next part, then 28% on the part after that. I don't
know the cutoffs myself, but I know for example that I
am in the 28% bracket but only pay about 12% of my income
in taxes. A lot is deductible for mortgage interest and
other deductions, and a large part is taxed at lower rates.
The meaning of "28% tax bracket" is that my marginal
rate is 28% -- if I earn another dollar I will owe about
28 cents of it in federal income tax.
"This was just sloppiness on Sorkin's part, I'm quite
sure. I don't think it's conceivable either that (a)
the alternate universe runs the tax policy Will described,
or (b) that a policy wonk like Will would get the policy
so badly wrong."
- Is there a question #75 on the SF-86?
- SF-86 available in pdf - We got this link from the West Wing Episode Guide.
- Government Executive Magazine - 'West Wing' Watch says "Another anonymous source tells us there is no question No. 75 on the SF-86, as Matthew "Liar" Perry suggested. So we checked and didn't see one either."
- Matt Franz emailed us the following, "An SF 86 form is a SECRET Clearance form. It's extremely long and EXTREMELY detailed. They will get rejected for a letter t not being crossed. Second, if he had a position in another government office, like he stated, he would have already filled one out and had it on file. Third, Josh would have no reason to even see the form. It's a formality taken care of at the absolute LOWEST level of the process." Mr. Franz also said, "The majority of the information on it, is background check material (ie past addresses, jobs, etc..) The reason it's so long is because the form makes you put down past addresses for 10 years... including the addresses of people that new you at those addresses that are not currently realted to you. It's very intensive." He also sent us this link: SF 86 Form - you can get the form in pdf