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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23:  Sandra Fluke, a...

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Recently, Sandra Fluke testified before Congress, encouraging them to mandate that employers pay for contraception through health insurance.

This is because, as Ms. Fluke testified, there is only way for these women to get contraceptive protection.

“You might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways.  Unfortunately, that’s not true.”

Respectfully, this is nonsense.  Here’s a list of alternatives to employer-subsidized contracepti

on (and their costs):

  • Stop having sex – cost = $0
  • Condoms – cost = $1/condom.  At the high end, you’re looking at $30/month, the same cost as subsidized hormonal contraception
  • Make the partner pay – cost = 50-100% reduction in cost, which is about the same as subsidized hormonal contraception.

This doesn’t address women who need the hormonal contraception for medical reasons because it’s my understanding that those are typically covered by organizations who oppose contraception.

Ms. Fluke argues there’s no requirement in these bills that they be covered.  The good news is, there’s no requirement now and they’re already covered!  Yay!  Win for everybody.

This seems to be another case of jumping to the “force everybody to do what I want solution.”  That’s unfortunate, as force tends to have unintended consequences that rarely go well for the nation.

Let’s all take a lesson from Bush-era mistakes:  force is rarely the best solution.

Dear Mr. Clark,

Thanks for addressing this issue.  Your letter is an example of the kind of straightforward, honest dialog parents need to be having with their children’s educators.

I found a lot to agree with in your article.  “Helicopter parenting”, making excuses for our children, attorneys at parent-teacher meetings (really?!) all need to go.

And I loved this sentence:

“This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn’t assume that because your child makes straight A’s that he/she is getting a good education.”

Totally agree.  Parents need to evaluate their child’s progress independent of grades, as much as possible.

But you said a few things that sound less like partnership and more like continued schism between parent and teacher.  For example, this statement:

“If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer.”

Not going to happen.  I expect my doctor or lawyer to tell me what’s causing my problem and how to fix it.  Plus, they’ve studied/practiced medicine or law for many more years than I have.

And I know teachers have studied/practiced education for many years.  Here’s the difference:  I’ve known my own kid for many years.  To your point, I don’t know them in the context of a classroom with other kids but to say I should take your advice like I would advice from a doctor or lawyer is going too far.

Plus, it contradicts your idea of partnering.  I don’t bring much to my doctor or lawyer except complaints.  With my child’s educator, however, we both bring something to the table and that is knowledge about my child in different contexts.  By coming together, we can paint a more complete picture of him and come to a better understanding of his behavior and needs.

Next, this part:

“At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs.”

I  agree it would be best if, instead of being defensive, we just listened to your perspective, sincerely considered it and made adjustments where we see fit.

But come on.  These are our children.  At home, they make us laugh and chase us with train tracks for swords and let us tickle them and, sometimes, when we’re very lucky, they whisper, “I love you, Daddy.”  Can’t you at least understand that when you tell us our son is under-performing or talking too much or, heaven forbid, cheating, our first reaction isn’t one of passive acceptance?

We’re not reacting to you but to the message.  You can help us by being understanding and patient with us.  That way, we know we can trust you when the emotions have dissipated.  Then, with your support in the classroom, we’ll provide the necessary structure and discipline to make positive changes in his understanding and behavior.

Oh, and about your pet peeve (“Is that true?”)  We’re not asking him to confirm the verity of your statement.  We’re asking him so we can hear him admit his mistake in front of you.  It makes it easier for us to discipline him later on.

Mr. Clark, there are good parents out there who want to partner with their child’s educator to maximize the educational opportunity of their children.  I hope when you meet new parents, you give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them like good, effective partners.  Not like misbehaving children…

Subway
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(read Part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here)

Well, it turns out, timing is everything.  After I asked her out, Heidi attended a personal safety class with a friend of hers.  The purpose of the class was to teach women how to defend themselves in case they’re attacked, a very noble purpose.  Unfortunately, it had the unintended consequence of freaking Heidi out.

From her perspective, she has now given permission to a stranger to take her to a place she’s never been, surrounded by people she doesn’t know and to, potentially, give up her free will and do who knows what.  And I know hypnosis doesn’t work like that, but Heidi didn’t!

So, she cancelled.

The day of the date.

At this point, my psyche was giving me a superior look and saying “I told you so!”  I couldn’t figure out what had happened, but I at least had the presence of mind to ask for a raincheck (yes, I used that word).  What that raincheck would be, I had no idea.

I racked my brain to think of fun date ideas.  We could go to the International Cinema and see a foreign film.  Let’s see, last time I went there, I saw an Argentine film where a man slammed a woman’s hand in the door.  Not the handle side, but the hinge side.  Lovely.  Plus, I think there were bees in it, too.

Okay, that’s out.  The problem was, there were a thousand things we could do and I had no idea what she was into.  Then, I remembered!  She had mentioned she liked Peter Breinholt, a local musician.  And he was doing a concert soon!  And I could buy tickets to it!  And then we could go!

I asked if she was interested in that and, indeed, she was.  I also asked a good friend of mine, Jimmy, and his wife to go with us and they happily agreed.  We would pick everybody up, grab something from Subway to eat at the show (it was an outdoor concert) and head up to Sundance.  Everything was set for Friday.

So, why was I alone on Friday night when I was supposed to be on a date with Heidi?!!

(to be continued…)

Fred, over at Real Debate Wisconsin, outlines exactly what’s in the stimulus bill, down to the dollar.  Full disclosure, I can’t find a source for this anywhere on his page. I’ve reorganized the list into three sections (very generously, I might add):

  1. Items that either push a leftist agenda item or merely increase the size of government
  2. Items that may actually create jobs and/or help the economy
  3. Others (mostly funds to audit the other line items)

Here’s a quick summary:

  1. 248,131,000,000 – 62%
  2. 141,840,000,000 – 35%
  3. 12,081,000,000 – 3%

Note that none of these items will create jobs in the near term.  Why? Government simply isn’t capable of affecting the economy in the near-term.  These programs won’t ratchet up employment for at least 1.5 years.  They most likely won’t even start until 2010.

This is Obamabush’s way of capitalizing on a disaster to enforce his policies and priorities, at taxpayer expense.  Sound like anybody else we know?

And he can do it because we elected a Democratic House and Senate.

Great work, 52%

82436764

**Bonus**  Check out the Americorps volunteer line.  Since when do we pay volunteers?

Detail (spreadsheet here)

Category Main Line item Total
1 Agriculture $19.99 billion in mandatory spending for the Food Stamp program. 19,990,000,000
$400 million for watershed flood prevention and rehabilitation. 400,000,000
$726 million for the after-school snack program. 726,000,000
Agriculture Total 21,116,000,000
Commerce, Justice, Science $1 billion for NOAA climate satellite and habitat restoration programs, 1,000,000,000
$100 million for science education programs. 100,000,000
$2 billion for research grants, 2,000,000,000
$200 million for academic research facilities renovation grants, 200,000,000
$250 million for economic development assistance grants. 250,000,000
$300 million for research instrumentation grants, 300,000,000
$400 million for major research equipment and facilities projects, 400,000,000
$500 million for NIST research, construction and manufacturing support pÍograms, and 500,000,000
Commerce, Justice, Science Total 4,750,000,000
Energy and Water $ 1.5 billion for grants to institutions to identify, design, and implement sustainable energy proj ects, 1,500,000,000
$2 billion for capital improvements at Department of Energy labs and facilities, and for advanced research projects, and 2,000,000,000
$2 billion for facilities to support the manufacturing of advanced vehicle batteries, 2,000,000,000
$2 billion for research related to renewable energy and energy effrciency, 2,000,000,000
$2.4 billion for carbon capture and sequestration demonstration projects, 2,400,000,000
$200 million for Transportation Electrification Program to move the transportation sector toward clean energy sources, 200,000,000
$3.4 billion for the State Energy Program to provide grants to state energy offrces, 3,400,000,000
$3.5 billion for Energy Effrciency and Conservation Block Grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes to reduce fossil fuel emissions, 3,500,000,000
$300 million to provide rebates to residential customers for the purchase of energy efficient appliances, 300,000,000
$4.5 billion to support research and development, pilot projects, and federal matching funds for the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the country’s electric grid, 4,500,000,000
$400 million for a pilot programthat will allow state and local governments to acquire alternative fueled vehicles, 400,000,000
$500 million for an industrial waste energy recovery incentive program, 500,000,000
$500 million for to accelerate ongoing nuclear waste cleanup. 500,000,000
$6.2 billion through the’WeatherizationAssistance Program to assist low income families in reducing energy costs, 6,200,000,000
$8 billion for a new loan guarantee program for renewable energy and electric power transmission systems, 8,000,000,000
Energy and Water Total 37,400,000,000
Financial Services $6 billion dedicated to projects focused on energy-efficiency and conservation and 6,000,000,000
$600 million to replace a portion of the Federal vehicle fleet with alternative fuel vehicles. 600,000,000
$7.7 billion for construction and repairs of Federal buildings, with 7,700,000,000
Financial Services Total 14,300,000,000
Interior $1 billion for clean-up of Superfund sites and leaking underground storage tanks. 1,000,000,000
$100 million for facility repairs and modernization of programs through the National Park Service Centennial Challenge grants. 100,000,000
$100 million for the Brownfields program to address site assessment and cleanup. 100,000,000
$200 million for repair and restoration of science facilities and scientific equipment of the US Geological Survey. 200,000,000
$300 million for grants and loans to states and local governments to reduce diesel emissions (DERA). 300,000,000
$35 million for the Inspectors General of the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. 35,000,000
$4.375 billion for construction, capital improvements, and revitalization projects of the Smithsonian Institution, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Indian Health 4,375,000,000
$50 million for grants through the National Endowment for the Arts. 50,000,000
$8 billion for state revolving funds for clean water and drinking water. 8,000,000,000
$850 million for wildhrehazard reduction, including on Federal lands. 850,000,000
Interior Total 15,010,000,000
Labor-HHS $ 1.5 billion for NIH research.$ I .l billion for comparative effectiveness research. 1,500,000,000
$1 billion for construction and renovation of existing facilities. 1,000,000,000
$1 billion for LIHEAP for fiscal year 2010. 1,000,000,000
$1 billion for the Community Services Block Grant. 1,000,000,000
$1.2 billion for a new program for youth summer jobs, 1,200,000,000
$1.5 billion for university research facility construction through NIH. 1,500,000,000
$100 million for school construction in school districts heavily impacted by Federal or tribal lands on which they cannot collect property taxes. 100,000,000
$100 million for teacher quality grants to institutions of higher education. 100,000,000
$100 million for the Compassion Capital Fund. 100,000,000
$120 million to employ older Americans in community service. 120,000,000
$13 billion for formula grants to school districts. 13,000,000,000
$13 billion for special education state grants. 13,000,000,000
$14 billion for construction of elementary and secondary schools.$ 14,000,000,000
$2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant. 2,000,000,000
$2.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start. 2,100,000,000
$200 million for centers for independent living. 200,000,000
$200 million for senior citizen nutrition programs such as Meals on Wheels. 200,000,000
$200 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund. 200,000,000
$200 million to pay Americorps volunteers. 200,000,000
$25 billion for other state and local government functions (including education). 25,000,000,000
$250 million for statewide education data systems. 250,000,000
$3 billion for a new prevention and wellness fund. 3,000,000,000
$300 million to construct Job Corps facilities. 300,000,000
$39 billion for state and local education agencies’ 39,000,000,000
$462 million to continue replacing CDC facilities. 462,000,000
$50 million for Youthbuild, and 50,000,000
$500 million for construction of NlH-owned facilities. 500,000,000
$500 million for state employment service and reemployment grants. 500,000,000
$500 million for vocational and rehabilitation state grants’ 500,000,000
$600 million for special education programs for infants and families. 600,000,000
$66 million for education for homeless children and youth. 66,000,000
$750 million for green jobs, healthcare, and emerging industry training grants. 750,000,000
$80 million to ensure infrastructure projects funded in the bill comply with worþlace safety re gulations. 80,000,000
$88 million to replace HRSA’s headquarters facility. 88,000,000
$900 million for Project Bioshield. 900,000,000
$900 million to reduce the Social Security disability case backlog and construct a new computing center for the agency. 900,000,000
Labor-HHS Total 125,466,000,000
State-Foreign Operations $224 million to rehabilitate the Rio Grande Flood Control System and meet water quality and capacity requirements of the Colorado River Boundary and Capacity Preservation project. 224,000,000
State-Foreign Operations Total 224,000,000
States $1 billion for capital investment grants for new transit projects. 1,000,000,000
$1.5 billion for the HOME program to rehabilitate and construct housing, as well as fill financing gaps. 1,500,000,000
$10 million for nonprofit housing organizations to develop or rehabilitate lowincome housing. 10,000,000
$100 million to address lead-based paint threats in public housing. 100,000,000
$2 billion to rehabilitate existing transit systems. 2,000,000,000
$2.5 billion to renovate and retrofit federally-assisted housing units to make them more energy efficient. 2,500,000,000
$3 billion for airport improvement projects. 3,000,000,000
$300 million for intercity rail programs. 300,000,000
$35 million for the Inspectors General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation to conduct audits and investigations of these programs. 35,000,000
$4.19 billion for the Neighborhood StabilizationProgram for local communities to purchase and rehabilitate vacant housing. 4,190,000,000
$5 billion for repair and construction projects in public housing units. 5,000,000,000
$50 million, which will allow loan limits to be raised in subareas, if warranted. 50,000,000
$500 million to renovate and retrofit Native American housing units. 500,000,000
$6 billion for transit capital assistance grants for vehicle acquisition and facility construction. 6,000,000,000
$800 million for Amtrak for capital infrastructure improvements. 800,000,000
$l billion for Community Development Block Grants. 1,000,000,000
$l.5 billion for emergency shelter grants. 1,500,000,000
States Total 29,485,000,000
Transportation-HUD $20 million for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise bonding, 20,000,000
$300 million for roads on Indian reservations, 300,000,000
$60 million for administration, 60,000,000
Transportation-HUD Total 380,000,000
1 Total 248,131,000,000
2 Agriculture $253 million for the Department’s building and facility repairs. 253,000,000
$345 million for information technology improvements. 345,000,000
$5.13 billion for rural grant and loan programs, including programs to support broadband deployment, the Rural Business Cooperative Service, housing insurance, water and waste programs, and community facilities. 5,130,000,000
Agriculture Total 5,728,000,000
Commerce, Justice, Science $ 1 billion for unspecified activities related to the 2010 Decennial Census, 1,000,000,000
$150 million for aeronautics research and 150,000,000
$3 billion for the Byrne/JAG formula grant programand 3,000,000,000
$3.175 billion for broadband mapping and for the deployment of wireless and broadband technology to unserved areas, 3,175,000,000
$400 million for Science to accelerate the highest priority Earth Science missions, 400,000,000
$50 million for hurricane-related construction projects at NASA centers. 50,000,000
$l billion for COPS Hiring grants. 1,000,000,000
Commerce, Justice, Science Total 8,775,000,000
Energy and Water $15 million for the Department of Energy’s Inspector General to conduct audits and investigations of these programs, but no new funds are provided to conduct audits and investigations of the Corps of Engineers’ projects. 15,000,000
$4.5 billion for the Army Corps ofEngineers for repairs and upgrades to levees and dams and $500 million for the Bureau of Reclamation for drinking water supply, water reuse, and water recycling projects. 4,500,000,000
Energy and Water Total 4,515,000,000
Financial Services $1 billion for ports of entry. 1,000,000,000
$430 million for subsidy and administrative costs of small business loans. 430,000,000
Financial Services Total 1,430,000,000
Homeland Security $100 million for non-intrusive Customs and Border Protection inspection equipment, 100,000,000
$150 million for construction at land ports of entry. 150,000,000
$150 million for the Coast Guard for alteration of bridges. 150,000,000
$200 million for Emergency Food and Shelter. (FY08 – $153 million) 200,000,000
$500 million for Explosive Detection System installation and procurement and Airport Checkpoint Technolo gies. 500,000,000
Homeland Security Total 1,100,000,000
Labor-HHS $1 billion for education technology in elementary and secondary schools. 1,000,000,000
$15 billion to reward schools that have made progress in meeting No Child Left Behind standards. 15,000,000,000
$15.6 billion for Pell grants. 15,600,000,000
$2 billion to modernize electronic health records. 2,000,000,000
$25 million for construction loans to charter schools. 25,000,000
$42 million for the Inspectors General of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as the Social Security Administration and the Corporation for National and Community Service, to conduct audits and investigations of the 42,000,000,000
$490 million for college work-study grants. 490,000,000
$50 million for student aid administration. 50,000,000
$600 million to subsidizetraining for primary care workers, including doctors, nurses and dentists. 600,000,000
6 billion for construction of facilities at colleges and universities. 6,000,000,000
Labor-HHS Total 82,765,000,000
Military Construction – Veterans $1 billion for maintenance of veterans’ medical centers and national cemeteries. 1,000,000,000
$6 billion for military construction projects, including base housing, child development centers, hospitals and ambulatory care centers, construction projects to support Guard and Reserve units across the country, and clean-up activities related to base c 6,000,000,000
$l million for the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General to conduct audits and investigations of these programs. 1,000,000
Military Construction – Veterans Total 7,001,000,000
State-Foreign Operations $276 million to improve information technology, including cybersecurity enhancements. 276,000,000
State-Foreign Operations Total 276,000,000
Transportation-HUD $250 million for park roads, $20 million for on the job training, 250,000,000
$30 billion for federal highway projects, including 30,000,000,000
Transportation-HUD Total 30,250,000,000
2 Total 141,840,000,000
3 Agriculture $23 million for the Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General to conduct audits and investigations of these programs. 23,000,000
Agriculture Total 23,000,000
Commerce, Justice, Science $ 16 million for the Inspectors General of the Department of Commerce, Justice, NASA, and the National Science Foundation to conduct audits and investigations of these programs. 16,000,000
$650 million for additional Digital TV transition coupons, 650,000,000
Commerce, Justice, Science Total 666,000,000
Defense $15 million for the Department of Defense’s Inspector General to conduct audits and investigations of these programs. 15,000,000
$350 million for research, development, test and evaluation, including pilot projects, for improvements in energy generation, transmission, regulation, storage, and use on military installations. 350,000,000
$4.5 billion for sustainment, maintenance, and repair of Department of Defense facilities. 4,500,000,000
Defense Total 4,865,000,000
Energy and Water $6.5 billion in additional borrowing authority for the Western Area Power Administration and the Bonneville Power Administration. 6,500,000,000
Energy and Water Total 6,500,000,000
Financial Services $25 million for the Inspectors General of the Small Business Administration and the General Services Administration to conduct audits and investigations of these programs. 25,000,000
Financial Services Total 25,000,000
Homeland Security $2 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General to conduct audits and oversight of these programs. 2,000,000
Homeland Security Total 2,000,000
3 Total 12,081,000,000
Grand Total 402,052,000,000

My hot wife tagged me, so here goes:

8 TV Shows I Love to Watch:

I don’t really watch TV anymore, except on DVD or online.

1. The Cosby Show

2. The Waltons

3. Little House on the Prairie

4. Alf

5. Growing Pains

That’s all.

8 Places I Love to Eat:

Fooood…

  1. Tasty Thai
  2. Kafe Neo (Greek)
  3. Red Robin
  4. Applebees
  5. Olive Garden
  6. Pecos Pit (BBQ)
  7. McDonald’s
  8. Dairy Queen (Blizzards)

8 Things that happened yesterday:

  1. Spent time with my wife.  Awesome!
  2. Spent time with the Wooga.  Also awesome!
  3. On a conference call with about 40 people, a guy put the call on hold and his company’s hold music blared, forcing the speaker to try to talk over it.  Hilarious!
  4. Spent 4 hours running a ring toss booth with plastic Frisbees and Star Wars bobbleheads.  Computer Security Day!!
  5. Group meeting for class.  Good times!
  6. Saw that “Rudy” is on Hulu.com.  Sweet!
  7. Dow dropped below 8,000.  Big whoop.
  8. Got tagged by my hot wife.  Sweet!

8 Things I Love about Fall:

  1. No mowing
  2. Flannel sheets
  3. Heater

That’s all, and I was lucky to come up with that.

8 Things on My Wish List:

  1. My wife to feel better during her pregnancy
  2. A healthy baby
  3. A gift certificate to any of the restaurants above
  4. Straight A’s in grad school
  5. An HD radio for the car
  6. A promotion
  7. A new deck for the backyard
  8. Time to get the lawn and garden in order

8 People I am Tagging:

The first 8 people who feel like doing it.  Post it to the comments!

An article I read today, by Emma Coleman Jordan (who just happens to be black), attempts to debunk the idea that “Wall Street is melting down because the government forced banks to make loans to poor people — especially poor minorities.”  Specifically, she says the Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) had nothing to do with it.  Here’s her opinion of this idea:

“The fake story line reintroduces the trope of the irresponsible welfare queen who was given a house but who was so stupid and ungrateful as to lose it all in an entrepreneurial misadventure. The argument then descends into standard racial farce.”

and

“No need to dance around it: The story line is a complete lie.”

However, two paragraphs later:

“By and large, the problem with subprime lending was that independent, unregulated brokers pushed inappropriate loans to poor borrowers and to many American middle-class and wealthy consumers”

Summarizing, if we take poor minorities, who didn’t cause the crisis, out of the pool of poor borrowers who did, we’re left with…poor white people!  A black person is blaming white people!  Isn’t that racist?

Except that there’s data on this.

This article from the New York Times says:

“Last year (2006), blacks were 2.3 times more likely, and Hispanics twice as likely, to get high-cost loans as whites after adjusting for loan amounts and the income of the borrowers, according to an analysis of loans reported under the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.”

also

“a recent Federal Reserve study noted that neighborhoods where people tend to have lower credit scores also tend to a greater concentration of high-cost loans.”

Clearly, minorities are the larger recipient of these loans.  But, I will agree it’s not their fault.

According to the same article:

“It may be that these borrowers do not have access to traditional banks, because there are no branches near them. The Community Reinvestment Act, enacted 30 years ago, was intended to address redlining by forcing banks to make loans in lower-income areas. But the law’s provisions do not apply to banks in neighborhoods where they have no branches.”

In other words, if a bank doesn’t have a branch in a lower-income neighborhood, it won’t have to loan money to people in that neighborhood.  What’s the effect of this?

“Banks typically locate branches where they believe they will get the most deposits. A lower savings rate and a distrust of banks stemming from a legacy of redlining may help explain why there are fewer branches in minority neighborhoods, Mr. DelliBovi said.”

Let’s summarize.  The CRA says if you have a branch in a low-income neighborhood, you have to loan more money to low-income people.  Banks that are responsible and don’t want to loan money to people not likely to pay it back, therefore, don’t locate there so they won’t have to make bad loans.  Which means the only access to loans these people have is irresponsible banks who make high-cost loans.

In effect, the CRA guaranteed that minorities would only have access to subprime loans.

Who can minorities thank for this?  The kings and queens of unintended (read: not thought-out) consequences.  The Democrats and their king, Jimmy Carter.  Who won a Nobel Peace prize.

Why is it minorities don’t hate the Democrats?  Seriously.