Business

Dear Jim at the Oregon Department of Revenue, When I filed my taxes in February last year I just assumed that I would be receiving my refund. When I got a letter that I needed to prove the identity of my five dependent children, I forked over the hundred bucks for birth certificates, without calling you a fucktard like I wanted to because I understood audits happen and am glad to be a citizen of this fine state. When I got the notice that the birth certificates weren’t enough and that our dependents wouldn’t be considered exemptions and we now had a large tax bill, I didn’t send back an envelope full of dog shit because this sort of mix up does happen. I wrote to request an appeal and waited. And waited. And waited. This January you called and assured me it was all a paperwork...
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Dear Job Market, I don’t want to be a designer, a marketer, an illustrator, a brander, a social media consultant, a multi-platform guru, an interface wizard, a writer of copy, a technological assistant, a personal assistant, most any kind of assistant, a data calculator, an aesthetic king, a profit-maximizer, a bottom-line analyzer, a meme generator, a hit tracker, a re-poster, a sponsored blogger, a starred commentator, an online retailer, a viral relayer, a handle, a font or a page. I don’t want to be linked-in, tuned-in, “liked,” incorporated, listed, or programmed. I don’t want to be a brand, a representative, or an ambassador. I don’t want to be your special candidate, your human resource, or a coin in your bank of human capital. I don’t want to be an entrepreneur of myself....
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Dear Targeted Online Advertisers, I hesitate to write this, because honestly, much of what you do for me is still spot-on. Sometimes, when I go to read my ‘recommended’ articles on the Washington Post online and I see a sidebar ad showing the exact model and color Mazda CX-5 I have been salivating over during the last several months, I feel so unconditionally loved and understood that it brings tears to my eyes. In those moments, it still seems as though you know me better than I know myself.

 But lately I’ve noticed a growing disconnect between the types of purchases I’m interested in making, and the ads you’ve been showing me based on the sites I visit, and the key-words you’ve pulled from the text of my personal emails. In short, despite the ample evidence I give you every day...
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Dear Craigslist Sellers of Sofas, Please learn to rotate your photos so they’re right side up. I shouldn’t have to visit the chiropractor after looking at your delightful purple sofa. I would also appreciate it if you could stand back a few feet when you photograph your couch so that I can see more than a part of one arm or a one-foot-wide section of the back. You’re not Annie Leibovitz, I presume (because why would she be in Binghamton trying to sell a sofa?), so a single photo that consists of an artistic close-up of your late grandmother’s “vintage Victorian” couch doesn’t do me any good. If you live in a home that is approximately the width of a tractor-trailer, standing diagonally across and back from the sofa to take the photo might work. When you don’t include a full-sized...
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Dear Mr. Assange, Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom organisation, regrets the incredible irresponsibility you showed when posting your article “Afghan War Diary 2004 - 2010” on the Wikileaks website on 25 July together with 92,000 leaked documents disclosing the names of Afghans who have provided information to the international military coalition that has been in Afghanistan since 2001. Wikileaks has in the past played a useful role by making information available to the US and international public that exposed serious violations of human rights and civil liberties which the Bush administration committed in the name of its war against terror. Last April’s publication of a video of the killing of two employees of the Reuters news agency and other civilians by...
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Dear Joe: Like you, I came to my position in Washington from the cloisters of a tenured position at a top-ranking American University. Like you, I came because I care. Unlike you, I am humbled by the World Bank and IMF staff I meet each day. I meet people who are deeply committed to bringing growth to the developing world and to alleviating poverty. I meet superb professionals who regularly work 80-hour weeks, who endure long separations from their families. Fund staff have been shot at in Bosnia, slaved for weeks without heat in the brutal Tajikistan winter, and have contracted deadly tropical diseases in Africa. These people are bright, energetic, and imaginative. Their dedication humbles me, but in your speeches, in your book, you feel free to carelessly slander them.2 Joe, you...
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Dear Sirs and Mesdames: Over the last several months, our company has been caught up in litigation between your unions and the federal government related to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. There are strongly held views on all sides, and the matter has received a great deal of media attention. But the dispute has not created a single job and it is causing considerable strain on our proposed Murray River Project. On the strength of government approvals, we have spent millions of dollars and hired or contracted many from the Tumbler Ridge community and have made a real contribution to the local economy. While the federal government is doing a policy review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, we do not believe the goal posts should be changed or that our plans should be...
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Dear Governor Fortuño: I wanted to write you to discuss the condition of Puerto Rico’s economy and its municipal debt load. After I wrote a column last week entitled “Puerto Rico is America’s Greece,” I was surprised to see the piece get a lot of attention. What I said has been common knowledge in the U.S. bond market for some time, and the facts that I brought up have been previously pointed out by the major credit rating agencies. For those in municipal bond markets, I wasn’t really adding much that was new to the conversation. But it turned out the attention my piece was getting was from people outside the bond market. Those who were responding to it were those who love Puerto Rico and are concerned about its future, namely its citizens. They seized on what I wrote and passed it...
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Dear Target, I’ve been a customer of yours for decades, like most Minnesotans. I estimate I likely spend well north of $2,000 a year at your stores, counting groceries and clothing. And like about 180,000 Minnesotans, I have a permit to carry a firearm. Minnesotans with carry permits are nearly three orders of magnitude less likely to commit a firearm crime than the general public; we are literally better safety risks, per capita, than your employees are. Now, a group called “Moms Demand Action”, which is an astroturf pressure group owned and operated by billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, is putting a lot of media pressure on Target to bar all firearm carry at your stores, nationwide, after the intemperate actions of a few “open carry” activists in Texas. While your...
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Dear Boss Who Was Recently Fired, I want to begin by offering my condolences. I know that your recent firing was an unexpected blow. To you. Because the rest of us in the office saw it coming. From a frickin’ mile away. Regardless, the job market is currently quite difficult, especially if you’ve just been fired. In the interest of burying the tension between us that you were totally unaware of, I would like to offer a few suggestions that will help you procure, and keep, new employment. 1) I would pick a single hair color and stick with it. Though your current combination of black, brown, and blond is a bold choice, I don’t think it projects the right image to potential employers. Rather than an image of constant professionalism, it tends to project that you can’t commit. And...
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