Tax Credits for Education

Back in my university days, a number of us fancied a libertarian concept known as “tax credits for education”. The idea seemed so simple. Parents pay taxes for the public education system; middle- and lower-income parents have little or no money left over to choose the private school option. Why not give them a tax credit, letting them vote their dollars to the school that best achieves their educational goals? But in 2010, nothing is ever so simple …

When we passed out the leaflets on campus, other students scowled at us like we were from Mars. Perhaps we were.

Today. our “idea from Mars” is federal law, as the IRS explains on their Education Credits web page.

Continue reading

551 total views, 1 views today

The Willingham Execution

I may have read the September 2009 New Yorker article about this disturbing case. But it’s so sordid I may have just passed it over.

It was actually while watching last night’s disturbing PBS FRONTLINE broadcast that the full impact of this 2004 Texas execution dawned on me. Essentially, the State of Texas executed a man for a crime the DA couldn’t prove, because it didn’t happen that way, and the reason no one was interested in a stay of execution, from the DA to the Governor to the U.S. Supreme Court, is that Willingham, by all accounts, was a dirtbag.

The case is so disturbing it’s difficult to watch on television. Todd Willingham was a bully, a blowhard, a wife-beater, an alcoholic, and a liar and prevaricator. He couldn’t hold a job, showed no ambition to become the family bread-winner, and had numerous petty crime convictions. When the fire department arrived, Willingham was standing barefoot on the front porch, crying, while his three babies burned alive in a family bedroom. Local fire department investigators could not determine any cause for accidental fire. They determined they had evidence of an accelerant, like charcoal lighter fluid, being poured on the floor of the family dwelling where three babies died.

Continue reading

649 total views, no views today