Thursday, April 28, 2011
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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 26, 2011
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Monday, April 25, 2011
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Sunday, April 24, 2011
Posted by William Meloney at 2:06 PM
PAKISTAN'S TRANSGENDER TRIBE OF TAX COLLECTORS
Miss your tax deadline in the United States this weekend, and you might get a nasty letter at your door. In Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, you might get Riffee and the gang. They are "transgender" tax collectors -- whose weapons include flamboyancy, surprise -- and a little lipstick.
In a move that speaks volumes about the lengths to which Pakistan is going to tackle tax evasion, Karachi officials are using Riffee - who like many people in South Asia works under a single name - and her team as enforcers with a difference. They are sent to the businesses or houses of debtors. The aim -- in this very conservative Muslim society -- to embarrass tax debtors into paying up.
Riffee -- like her tax-collector friends Sana and Kohan -- is physically a man, but prefers to be called and dress as a woman. Their job is quite simple: each morning they turn up to work and get a list of missed payments. One by one, they make house-calls, causing trouble at each debtor's home or office, trying to get them to pay up. It's not clear how effective this tactic is, but officials insist they would not do it if it did not work.
"Their appearance causes great embarrassment amongst the people," said Sajid Hussein Bhatti, the tax superintendent who gives Riffee her orders every morning.
Posted by William Meloney at 11:58 AM
“GOD, PLEASE FUCK MY MIND FOR GOOD!” Captain Beefheart shouted at the end of Doc at the Radar Station, his second-to-last album. It was 1980, and it was a dare to whatever version of God might be present to receive it: his audience, maybe; music itself. Or it was a dare to time—the fifteen years since he’d made his first record, or the thirty years to come. Can you shut me up? Can you scramble my rhythm and my words until they’re a labyrinth I’ll never escape? I’ll do it first! [Much more... ]
Posted by William Meloney at 12:35 AM