Showing posts from March, 2012

Guns and Drugs from Washington to The Wire

By Robert E. Wright for Augustana College’s chapter of Phi
Alpha Theta, 28 March 2012.

Strangely enough, I became an
historian of the Early Republic in order to better understand current public
policy debates. Politicians and pundits have long been pretty good at putting
words into the mouth’s of the Founding Fathers. I don’t think that all our
policy decisions need to be based on the thought of the Founders but when they
are, they should be based on plausible historical interpretations.

After having studied the thoughts and
deeds of numerous Founders for almost two decades now, I’ve concluded that
sometimes the words that policy wonks put into the Founders’ mouths ring true. But
too often they are a load of specious bull puckey. One particularly laughable
claim is that the Founders believed that roads should be forever free. Some
Founders favored local government roads but realized that even those had to be
paid for, with labor and materials if not cash. Other Founders -- including George
Clinton a…



no excuses (kawasaki disease)

I hate afternoon naps because each and every time I take one, I wake up feeling bad or nursing a headache.

A lot of thoughts are running through my head but my emotions wouldn't connect, making them seem like a million miles away. But I don't want the day to end without me capturing some of those thoughts and getting in touch with my current feelings... some sort of breather, an outlet.

Last Friday, our son's pediatrician finally (though awfully belatedly) confirmed that he has kawasaki disease. What's worse is that, his sickness is pass the so-called "golden period" of detection and medication of 10 days. The first questions to my and my husband's minds were: "what kind of pediatrician would fail to diagnose the disease even though the idea was already brought up by another doctor? and what kind of parents are we to 'allow' the doctor not to diagnose our son properly and not to have asked for more tests to be done, not to have been more obse…

Budgeting Household Chores

Spring is here in two hours. Spring cleaning officially starts in two hours. Do you share a household with others? Do those of the household not share an equal level of desire to maintain an orderly and clean environment?
Whether a husband and wife or roommates, sharing this responsibility can be a challenging task. How do you peaceful resolve the differences? One option:the envelope. How much would it cost to have a cleaning service come in weekly and keep the home in a 'guest-ready' state?

Each of you contribute proportionally to the envelope. Each of you record your contribution to the clean environment for the past week. If the effort has been equally shared then divide the contents of envelope equally back to all of you. Somewhat lopsided? You get that percentage of the envelope that equates to your percentage of exerted work. No one worked at it - you have the budget collected to hire out.
Either way, the "envelope" method helps for everyone to feel fair about …

15% for All

We filed our taxes this week. The picture on the wall of our tax preparer’s office included the quote: “When the first 1% income tax rate was being debated in 1913, a U.S. Senator opposed to it stated, "If they get away with 1% today, some day it may be raised to as high as 5%!" How lovely would it be today to be capped at 5%? We would even be excited to cap at a certain ex-governor’s 15% if fairly distributed to all tax payers, whether their earnings were by way of nursing a patient bedside or from long-term capital gains.
We know that paying taxes is our legal obligation. And we believe it is a social responsibility to pay taxes to support the common good – our roads, street lights, schools, libraries, fire fighters, and so on. But it is a bit painful to see all in one lump sum the amount of our ‘giving’ to the government for the past year.

In the words of Scottish whisky distiller Lord Thomas R. Dewar (1864–1930) “The only thing that hurts more than paying an income tax is…