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Showing posts from February, 2013

Thinking about everyday heroes and special needs children

I stumbled across this piece by Liane Kupferburg Carter on 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Parenting a Child With Special Needs a couple days ago, and I've been meaning to link to it.  She personalizes it about autism, but as the parent of a special needs child with a different disease I read each of her "10 Things" with great interest and found much to think about (and agree with). So here is a snippet for Dana, and for John, and for all the other parents in whatever station of life, with whatever social/political views, who are struggling to do their best for their "special" son or daughter: 3. People will stare.   This will eat at you in the beginning. It's natural to feel uncomfortable, resentful, even mortified. It is also a natural instinct for people to look at anything that's a little out of the ordinary. Your child's quirky behaviors in public may draw attention, and what if they do? Stop worrying about it so much. Who cares what

Larry Kotlikoff at PBS wins "worst non-answer" award of the week

You don't have to be ideologically in agreement with a position to recognize a complete and utter non-answer to a question. In this case, a PBS viewer asked Kotilkoff why Congress doesn't extend the ceiling for Social Security taxes upward to increase revenue coming into the system.  It is not an unusual question--I've probably heard it about a million times. But this has to be the worst non-answer ever given: As an overview, Social Security's payroll tax is highly regressive. But it's benefit formula is highly progressive. On balance, the system is progressive. So Congress may feel that the system is already progressive enough. Larry, you're kidding, right?  Congress has consciously balanced the regressive nature of the tax against the progressive nature of the benefits and decided the system is "progressive enough"? Sure they did. Oh--and a footnote for Larry and any PBS copy editors out there:  in the first line there should NOT be an ap

Fisker was always a sham

... and the State either knew it or should have known it. This is not a post about whether or not Governor Markell should or should not have invested our tax dollars in stimulating industry and job growth.  That sort of decision will always be debatable along party/ideological lines, and--in fact--all rhetoric to the side both major parties do so on a regular basis. This is about what appears to have been outright fraud--fraud that should have been easily detectable. Over the past several years I have spoken, independently, to about a half dozen Fisker employees, all of whom were experienced auto workers and most of whom had previously worked at the Boxwood Road plant.  The earliest was at a Conrad High School football game 2 1/2 years ago; the latest was yesterday. All of them told exactly the same story. It goes like this: In all the time they worked for Fisker, none of the old machinery was removed from the plant.  No new machinery was installed.  Think about that for

Robert Gibbs admits White House demanded he lie about drones

OK, they said, "Don't talk about it or acknowledge it," but listen to the former Obama administration Press Secretary himself : “When I went through the process of becoming press secretary," Gibbs said, "one of the things, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists.'” ---snip--- Gibbs said that once he figured out a reporter's question was about the drone program, "I realized I'm not supposed to talk about it."   “Here’s what’s inherently crazy about that proposition," Gibbs said. "You’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists. So you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program -- pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

Effects of sequestration: a non-existent Federal department will have its budget cut

You can't make this stuff up: If you want a thorough agency-by-agency rundown of the budget cuts sequestration would deliver, the Office of Management and Budget has you covered. In compliance with The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012,  the OMB sent a detailed report  to Congress in September 2012. But there's a small problem with the report: One of the cuts it warns against would affect an agency that no longer exists--and didn't exist when the OMB sent its report to congress.    The first line item on page 121 of the OMB's September 2012 report says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget. While that's slightly more than 8.2 percent (rounding error or scare tactic?), the bigger problem is that the National Drug Intelligence Center  shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012 --three months before the OMB issued its report to Congress. 

Back ... sort of ... by popular demand (yeah, right)

It has been nearly two months since I last posted here, which is way too long to remain in limbo.  One should either give the thing a merciful natural death or return to writing on some predictably regular basis, particularly if one wants to play fair with the (very) small cadre of loyal regular readers. But, of course, there is always real life, which keeps intervening with increasing energy, and the need to use precious time to do other things with family, friends, and professional endeavors ... Yet there has been no shortage of topics that need commenting upon.  The gun control debate has seemingly degenerated to the point where instead of discussing the role and limits of constitutional rights we are not throwing stones over whether firearms are (statistically speaking) a useful defense against rape (therefore making possession and carry a women's rights issue).   In this "debate" within Delaware were have recently been treated to the local spectacle of the same p