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Naturally, when all hope was gone, voila: There it was. And so we ran smack into one of the seminal legal writings of all time, whose motivation and purpose are kinda murky and whose common name is probably misleading, and whose power and influence resonate more than 3 millennia later. When she wanted to find this, naturally I was up for it, expecting — I dunno, tablets of some kind? I confess my prior knowledge of this was limited to hazy junior-high cradle-of-civilization, Tigris-and-Euphrates memories.

He ruled for over 40 years, and this artifact comes from near the end of that reign, at roughly the time of pottery use in Peru, the extinction of the woolly mammoths in Siberia, the end of pyramid building in Egypt, the development of chariots, the composite bow, and tables for solving quadratic equations. The current common name is somewhat of a misnomer. And by the way, who wants an unsuccessful robber buried in your back yard?

What we have is incomplete, missing Nos. About half deal with contracts, and another chunk with what we would call family law — inheritance, divorce, paternity. Others deal with theft, debt, medical malpractice, even the establishment of a minimum wage. If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out.

If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.

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Some practices have fallen out of favor more recently; judges then who failed to reach a decision could refer the matter to the gods in a trial by ordeal in the river. Those sound familiar — sadly, so does this: No.

If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina. If he put out the eye of a man's slave, or break the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half of its value. This class structure is overt and inescapable, as is differentiation by gender men were permitted affairs with servants and slaves; unfaithful women were drowned in the Euphrates with their lovers.

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In general, crimes again the state are punished more harshly than those against individuals. As with any society, insight into its legal systems and principles provides insight into broader social structures and norms, in ways later generations might find welcome or repellent. So — where is the law? Any other questions?

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Given the circumstances, likely not. Those rules and laws then also reinforce and reify the structures and roles of the society, with a permanence that only basalt, notoriously difficult to edit, can provide. Andrews, Evan. Accessed July 23, Arnold, Bill T. Who Were the Babylonians? Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, Charpin, Dominique.

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Hammurabi of Babylon. Driver, G.


Oxford: Clarendon Press, Glaubitz, H. August 22, Law Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon.

Basalte, H. Liptak, Adam. Van de Mieroop, Marc. King Hammurabi of Babylon: A Biography. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. Vincent, George E. These turgid legal statutes, designed to "serve the cause of international understanding," have — logically — resulted in a kitschy song contest among odd countries broadcast every May to an audience of million. What do all of these have in common? Russian grandmothers singing while baking bread, a Ukrainian man running in a hamster wheel, Polish women seductively churning butter, rapping astronauts from Montenegro, an Irish turkey puppet, Moldovans on unicycles wearing dunce caps, an Azerbaijani man contorting in a glass case full of blowing rose petals, and an Austrian drag queen with a beard.

And the pope. The EBU is one of myriad international organizations that deal with all manner of things from the World Meteorological Association to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to the International Telecommunication Union, founded in to promote cooperation for the emerging telegraphy networks and now responsible for the technical standards that allow for communication interoperation. There are currently about 6 dozen member broadcasters representing over 50 countries and another 30 or so associates in other nations including all the major American TV networks, and National Public Radio, but not PBS.

It has no connection to the European Union or any other continental organizations, and membership provides access to shared content including licensing of sporting events like the World Cup, as well as participation in technical, lobbying, and other shared expertise. Those statutes, since revised and updated most recently in , are exactly what you think they are — a couple of dozen pages of turgid legalistic prose, establishing the organization, its structure, members, rules, officers, meetings, and so on, mind-numbing to almost everybody, and also critical for the functioning of any organization particularly when something goes wrong or a crisis emerges and then everybody dives for the founding document to see what the rules are to, say, kick out a member for misbehavior or not meeting their financial obligations.

The first broadcast was later that same year, in August using a temporary and experimental microwave transmission from Calais to England. The first major coup, probably the first international broadcast of a live event, was in June of with a relay of the coronation of Elizabeth II to France, the Netherlands and Germany. The first Contest was held in , in Lugano; Lys Assia won for the host Switzerland despite forgetting the words mid-song.

That, and the fact the scores have never been revealed, are among the many, many aspects of Eurovision lore pored over by hordes of fanatical Euronerds. Two semi-finals winnow the field down to a somewhat manageable 26 or so entries in the Grand Final, broadcast across Europe and around the world to an audience of million, one of the most reliable audiences in the world, greater than that for the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards combined.

Entries are judged by professional juries in each of the eligible nations as well as by public televoting. Greece gives points to Cyprus and vice versa, usually with little regard to the actual song involved. Malta gives points to the UK.

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Ditto Portugal and Spain, the Nordic states, the Balkans, the Baltics, the other former Soviet countries, all based partly on geography but also on immigrant and even refugee populations voting for their homelands from abroad. For a while countries were required to sing in their national language; that was relaxed in and since then at least a few entries have been in invented or nonsense languages.

Australia began broadcasting the show in , in the wee small hours of the morning, and were allowed to compete as a special event for the 60 th contest in and came 5th, and now they seem to be in permanently. One of the few things practically every European can agree on is that they want the United States to have no part whatsoever in Eurovision. This is, in fact, the largest pan-European election. This has all made great fodder, in recent years, for analysis of Eurovision as not only an entertainment show but also an object of study from political, historic, sociological, gender and other perspectives.

And oh my god the batshit crazy stuff that has gone on. Everything I described at the beginning has happened, as did the Italian satire on modern Western society that involved breakdancing with a guy in a gorilla suit, the Belarus act that started with a video of a naked man howling next to a holographic wolf, and a monster-makeup heavy metal band that won for Finland in Because Eurovision.

To be fair, though, the aforementioned Austrian drag queen, stage name Conchita Wurst sang perhaps the best Bond-movie theme song ever to win in , and the winner for Ukraine retold the sad story of the Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars in And yet, for a few hours each spring, much of Europe does just that, sharing an increasingly rare common experience. For all the sniping about vapid songs, political voting, overblown productions and whatnot, an apolitical organization, born in a deeply political way, in a Europe that continues to struggle with national and continental identities, runs a competition that nevertheless manages to be one of the last cultural communal moments.

And the centerpiece of this anxiety is one of the dullest and most mundane of documents, a form — one of over 2, forms, schedules and publications in the tax arsenal — so deeply ingrained into the national psyche that the mere mention of its number evokes fear and dread.

Just 2 lines. Line 1, how much money did you make? Line 2, send it in. Even as most of us file online, the predictable annual news stories about people parachuting into post offices to get the precious midnight postmark still sprout like tulips on April 15, the date of loathing and doom. And the centerpiece of all this anxiety is one of the dullest and most mundane of documents, a form — one of over 2, forms, schedules and publications in the tax arsenal — so deeply ingrained into the national psyche that the mere mention of its number evokes fear and dread.

Taxation is ancient. Early accounts are haphazard, ranging from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt who would personally tour the countryside counting cattle and collecting a share, to oddities like taxes on urine in 1 st century Rome, bachelors in 13 th century France, window glass in England, even souls try getting out of that one by Peter the Great.

Assessments would be taken in the form of currency but mostly in grain, animals, finished goods and frequently labor, conscripted or enslaved. A small disagreement over taxation and representation led to a minor tiff in the s now known as the American Revolution, which understandably resulted in distrust of centralized taxing power, so under Confederation, the Congress had to request funding from the states as needed.

In the immediate post-revolutionary period, most taxes raised were from customs duties and excise taxes on goods from spirits to sugar to bonds to slaves, proposed and overseen by Alexander Hamilton as secretary of the treasury. The first proposal for a national tax on income was made during the War of , along with houses, land, and other property; all of these were dropped in and a high protective tariff imposed to raise revenue. More complexities, provisions, and special circumstances were added in rent became deductible, for example , and all such taxes were repealed between and The next serious attempt followed the economic panic of Over the next 15 years, discussion and debate continued, and a coalition of progressive Republicans, Democrats, and Populists gave rise to the push for a constitutional amendment to enable what we now know as the individual income tax.

A hardcore Senate majority leader held it back for as long as he could, but once it hit the floor it passed both houses of Congress with ease; ratification started slowly with Alabama first in , then by other largely southern states, picking up steam in , and crossing the finish line in February of This is arguably the only period of American history where amendments came primarily from the public will rather than technical fiddling around with governmental details.

Inevitably, there are people who argue that income taxes are still illegal because the amendment was never properly ratified. Which should come as something of a surprise to those of you who live there. Congress wasted little time and a tax bill was passed later in , like most major initiatives the product of compromises, political considerations, involvement of interest groups from business to labor to farmers, covering life insurance, bad debts, shipwrecks, stock dividends, and it understandably caused great stir and cry — for something that initially affected only about 2 percent of the labor force who had to file returns that first year.

If you believe in omens, was the year the historical Macbeth kills King Duncan and takes his throne.

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Its introduction was a big enough deal that nearly all of page 3 of the New York Times on Jan. United States Script. The language just flows. United States Wow what a question. Where do I start. I think tat most people can identify or identify with most of the characters. United States It helps me pass the time while I abide.