On the American-ness (Americanity?) of Christmas

Christmas (also termed Christmas Day and December 25) is an American holiday (5 U.S.C. § 6103(a) (Federal gov’t), Ala. Code § 1-3-8(a) (Alabama), Alaska Stat. § 44.12.010(a)(11) (Alaska), Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 1-301(A)(15) (Arizona), Ark. Code § 1-5-101(a)(10) (Arkansas), Cal. Gov’t Code § 6700(m) (California), Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-11-101(1) (Colorado), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-4 (Connecticut), Del. Code tit. 1, § 501(a) (Delaware), D.C. Code § 1-612.02(a)(10) (District of Columbia), Fla. Stat. § 110.117(1)(i) (Florida), Ga. Code § 1-4-1(a)(1) (Georgia, incorporating by reference 5 U.S.C. § 6103), Haw. Rev. Stat. § 8-1 (Hawai’i), Idaho Code § 73-108 (Idaho), 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-6(b) (Illinois), Ind. Code § 1-1-9-1(a) (Indiana), Iowa Code § 1C.1(10) (Iowa), Kan. Stat. § 35-107 (Kansas), Ky. Rev. Stat. § 2.110(1) (Kentucky), La. Rev. Stat. § 1:55(A)(1) (Louisiana), Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 4, § 1051 (Maine), Md. Code art. 1, § 27(a)(15) (Maryland), Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 4, § 7, cl. 18 (Massachusetts), Mich. Comp. Laws § 435.101 (Michigan), Minn. Stat. § 645.44(5) (Minnesota), Miss. Code § 3-3-7(1) (Mississippi), Mo. Rev. Stat. § 9.010 (Missouri), Mont. Code Ann. § 1-1-216(1)(k) (Montana), Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2221 (Nebraska), Nev. Rev. Stat. § 236.105(1) (Nevada), N.H. Rev. Stat. § 288:1 (New Hampshire), N.J. Stat. § 36:1-1(a) (New Jersey), N.M. Stat. § 12-5-2(J) (New Mexico), N.Y. Gen. Constr. Law § 25 (New York), N.C. Gen Stat. § 103-4(a)(15) (North Carolina), N.D. Cent. Code § 1-03-01(11) (North Dakota), Ohio Rev. Code § 124.19 (Ohio), Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 82.1(A) (Oklahoma), Or. Rev. Stat. § 187.010(1)(j) (Oregon), 44 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 11 (Pennsylvania), R.I. Gen. Laws § 25-1-1 (Rhode Island), S.C. Code § 53-5-10 (South Carolina), S.D. Codified Laws § 1-5-1 (South Dakota), Tenn. Code § 15-1-101 (Tennessee), Tex. Gov’t. Code § 662.002(a)(9) (Texas), Utah Code § 63G-1-301(1)(a)(xii) (Utah), Vt. Stat. tit. 1, § 371(a) (Vermont), Wash. Rev. Code § 1.16.050 (Washington), W. Va. Code § 2-2-1(a)(12) (West Virginia), Wis. Stat. § 995.20 (Wisconsin), Wyo. Stat. § 8-4-101(a)(ix) (Wyoming)).

Marginal Tax Brackets for 2001

I recently solved a problem that has been bothering me for almost a year now. For reasons no one wants me to get into, I had been attempting to model US federal marginal income tax brackets for individuals under 26 USC §1. The math is pretty straightforward. The brackets are adjusted each year according to the average CPI-U for the period September TY-2 through August TY-1. There are some quirky rounding rules, but I had managed to get all the numbers in the model to match the actual tax brackets since 1993 without difficulty. Except one–the 35.5% bracket, which the math kept saying should have had an upper limit of $297,300, but which had actually applied up to $297,350. No matter how I tweaked the rounding rules, I couldn’t make it match without throwing a dozen other things out of whack.

As it turns out, BLS, who publish the CPI-U, had in late-2000 discovered a computing error that affected the reported CPI-U from January 1999 through August 2000. While BLS published corrections for January-August 2000, they never published the corrections for January-December 1999. But they gave the corrected numbers to the IRS under a tax statute revision that passed Congress late in 2000 for IRS to use in computing the 2001 tax brackets. I managed to find the unpublished figures here. Using the corrected numbers in calculating the September-August average CPI-U according to the IRS rule finally corrected my erroneous bracket!

And there was much rejoicing!

Tonight: Qwertz on Gay Marriage & the Spousal Privileges at Philosophy in Action

Tonight, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh will interview me about “Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege” on her live internet radio show, Philosophy in Action. This is the subject on which I wrote an unpublished Law Review comment many moons ago. It wasn’t a particularly relevant topic back then, but a recent Supreme Court decision striking down §3 of the Defense of Marriage Act makes it vastly more likely that the federal courts will have to grapple with the issue eventually. I’ve put the whole comment on SSRN for those who are interested.

This episode of internet radio airs at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 7 August 2013, in Philosophy in Action’s live studio. If you miss that live broadcast, you can listen to the podcast later.

Here’s a bit more about the show:

As the cause of gay marriage gains ever-more traction, many have wondered whether marriage really matters. Qwertz argues that it does. He will discuss the legal status and importance of of gay marriage, including the recent Supreme Court cases, as well as the history and limits of spousal privilege.


To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you’ll find the podcast from the episode posted in the archive: Radio Archive: 7 August 2013.

For more about Philosophy in Action Radio, visit the Episodes on Tap and Show Archives.

If you enjoy the broadcast, consider supporting the show by contributing to the Philosophy in Action Tip Jar or taking advantage of the show’s special 30-day trial offer from Audible.com.

Slice of Light

Literally anyone can pick up a camera and take a snapshot. Most can even take a pretty good snapshot. But to take a photograph requires a bit more. A photograph does not document, or if it does, it does so only accidentally. The photographer must not seek to capture a scene, a moment, an object, a person. The photographer, as against the snapshootist, extracts a narrow, carefully delimited slice of light. The skill with which he carves makes him a technician. The slice he selects makes him an artist.

Draw Something III

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Draw Something II

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Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition

After weeks of hunting, I am pleased to present to you the complete electronic version of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition, as supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor as ASCII files on 34 floppy disks. This electronic version contains data published in the following print volumes:

  • Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition, Vol. I
  • Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition, Vol II
  • Selected Characteristics of Occupations Defined in the Revised Dictionary of Occupational Titles

Data published in these volumes are in the public domain and may be reproduced and distributed without source credit. This version also includes data never published in print. These data, in the following fields, remain under copyright to the North Carolina Occupational Analysis Field Center:

  • Work Fields
  • MPSMS (Materials, Products, Subject Matter, & Services)
  • Significant Worker Functions
  • Temperaments
  • Aptitudes
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Physical Demands (except Strength)

These data may be reproduced and distributed only with source credit.

The Department of Labor has abandoned the Dictionary in favor of O*NET. The Social Security Administration, however, still relies on the Dictionary for work characteristics and transferable skills analysis in administering the disability insurance and supplemental security disability income programs under the Social Security Act (20 C.F.R. §§404.1566(d) and 416.966(d); SSR 00-4p).

Download: DOT.zip
(5,082,753 bytes, md5: 72c11d10fca87b03974ec050ee57febe)