Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No, I'm Not Dead

I realized today I have not posted on my blog in two weeks. My other responsibilities, such as earning a living, teaching Sunday School, and being a parent, have trumped the blog in recent days. I intend to be back soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy the month of April!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hypocrisy at the Highest Levels

From the Washington Examiner via Net Right Nation comes this nugget: Pelosi et al., the ones who are seeking to ram through the abominable healthcare legislation that will socialize a substantial portion of our economy without a real up-or-down vote, once went so far as to join in a lawsuit to stop this same strategy for being used for the purpose for which it was actually intended. Here are parts of the article:

But put aside the present for the moment and step into my time machine. Dial the date selector back to 2005 when the Republican majority in Congress approved a national debt limit increase using a self-executing rule similar to the Slaughter Solution.

Guess who went to federal court to challenge the constitutionality of the move? The Ralph Nader-backed Public Citizen legal activists. Here's the argument they made:

[Click here to read their argument]

And now for the kicker, guess who joined Public Citizen in that suit with amicus briefs:

Nancy Pelosi

Henry Waxman

Louise Slaughter

If the Pelosi/Slaughter/Waxman argument against using a self-executing rule against a debt limit increase measure sounds familiar, it should because it's the same argument now being used by Republicans to oppose the Slaughter Solution for moving Obamacare through the House.

Of course, there is one major difference between 2005 and 2010. Debt limit increases are routine in Congress and have been for decades. But to place the American private health care system under government control -- effectively socializing one-sixth of the U.S. economy -- that has never been done before.

Read all about it here and here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How is Your Congressman Going to Vote?

The Hill, which is more-or-less the newspaper of record covering things in Congress, has published a list of which Democrats could possibly vote "No" on the abominable healthcare legislation currently before the U.S. House. Please take a look at the list, and if you have a Congressman who might vote "No" on this bill, call and demand that he/she do the right thing!

For those of you in Michigan, Reps. Stupak, Schauer, and Kildee are on the list. Pester them if they belong to you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Media Just Doesn't Get Homeschooling

In an AP story I found on, someone evidently discovered that a lot of the most popular science textbooks among homeschooling parents do not promote Darwinian evolution. Early in the article we find this:

Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth's creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children "religious or moral instruction."
No surprise there—that's why they homeschool! The public indoctrination centers (a.k.a., public schools) promote and propagandize the theory of evolution while trying their very best to demean and squash any thought that an all-powerful and all-knowing God created everything.

The majority of the rest of the article then whines about the fact that some homeschoolers—presumably that other 17%—don't want their children taught about Creation. Why such people would choose to use Christian science materials is beyond me, unless it is because such books do such a good job of teaching science overall.

One of the two books featured in the article is the Biology (3rd ed.) text from Bob Jones University Press, my alma mater. I am somewhat familiar with the first two editions of the Biology book, and I am even now using their 3rd edition 7th grade Life Science textbook with my daughter. This is an absolutely top-notch textbook in every way. If the Biology text is even half as good as the 7th grade text—and I strongly suspect it is—it will still be one of the very best Biology textbooks around.

The "reviewers" used by the AP in this article demean these texts; one said he would give the books an F. They clearly equate "good science" with slavish devotion to evolutionary theory. This is one of the greatest errors of our age. The mass of evidence points to a Creator far more powerful than we comprehend, not to an existence that came about by some happenstance or chance.

And if parents want to teach this to their children, more power to them.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More From

You know you're in big trouble when the IRS makes an example of you on its website. Here we learn of someone who got into a mess of his own making:

WASHINGTON — Massachusetts Tax Attorney Kevin Kilduff was barred from practicing before the Internal Revenue Service for 48 months for failing to file one federal tax return and for filing another five returns late.

“Professionals who demonstrate a lack of respect for our tax system by failing to meet their own tax filing obligations should not expect to retain the privilege to practice before the IRS,” said Karen L. Hawkins, Director of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

The OPR had originally sought the 48-month suspension, alleging Kilduff’s conduct was willful and disreputable. OPR enforces standards of conduct under Treasury Circular 230, which governs enrolled agents, attorneys and certified public accountants. Kilduff formerly worked for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) subsequently set the penalty at a 24-month suspension. Kilduff appealed the ALJ decision to the Secretary of the Treasury’s Appellate Authority, which in fact ultimately imposed the harsher 48-month suspension.

Kilduff’s suspension is for a minimum of 48 months. OPR has sole discretion regarding his reinstatement to practice before the IRS. At the very least, Kilduff must file all federal returns and pay all taxes he is responsible for, or enter an acceptable installment agreement or offer in compromise. [Emphasis mine]

So let's sum up what not to do:
  • Fail to file your own tax return and/or pay your taxes for several years, when you are supposedly helping other people do just that.
  • Work for the legal arm of the IRS and then cross it.
  • Appeal a 24-month suspension when you have been that foolish already.
Yes, I do work for H&R Block during this time of year. I don't read this stuff strictly for amusement. :-)

Monday, March 1, 2010


When you make money doing other people's tax returns and read information from the IRS, sometimes you encounter facts like these [data is the most recent available]:

Individual income tax returns reporting a tax liability in 2007 faced an average tax rate of 13.8 percent, the same as in 2006. Taxpayers with AGI of at least $410,096, the top 1 percent of taxpayers, accounted for 22.8 percent of AGI in 2007, an increase of 0.8 percentage points. These taxpayers accounted for 40.4 percent of total income tax reported in 2007, an increase from 39.9 percent in the previous year.

Points to note:

1. "reporting a tax liability" means that all those people who did not make enough money to owe the IRS are eliminated from the statistic. In other words, their "taxable income" was zero.

2. Does it bother you that 1% of the taxpayers are paying 40.4% of all the income taxes? On the other end, over 40% of "taxpayers" are paying no income taxes...and in many cases, claiming credits, such as the Earned Income Credit, that provide them with robust refunds anyway.