McCain vs. Obama: Getting Answers on the Adoption Tax Credit

About a week ago I was talking to a friend about the adoption tax credit that offers a $10,000 credit when you adopt. This friend claimed the credit was George W. Bush’s idea and lamented that if Barack Obama gets elected the credit will vanish. So I decided to sort out some facts. Which is harder than I thought.

To start with the basics, the adoption tax credit started in 1997 as a $5,000 credit and was raised to $10,000 in 2001 as a part of Bush’s tax cuts. Bush didn’t start the tax credit, though he did raise it. It’s also not clear if this is something Bush pushed for or if it was just part of the package. It’s also slated to expire in 2010 if it’s not renewed.

And this is where it gets tricky. Where do the current presidential candidates stand on renewing the adoption tax credit?
Continue reading McCain vs. Obama: Getting Answers on the Adoption Tax Credit

Demolition of the High Bridge Power Plant Smokestack

Earlier this week I talked about the demolition of the High Bridge Power Plant smokestack. Well, today was the day.

Smokestack go boom.

You can check out my before and after pictures, but the real excitement is the video. I missed the opening blast, but it took plenty of time for the 570-foot smokestack to fall. Lots of folks showed up for the demolition, and a lot of us on the High Bridge had to get out of the way of the coming dust. I think I got some smokestack in my eye. The bridge shook with the initial explosion, but the final thud of the smokestack hitting the ground was wild.

Demolition of the High Bridge Power Plant Smokestack from kevinhendricks on Vimeo.

Both Bob Collins’ News Cut blog and Teresa Boardman’s real estate blog have coverage.

Famine in Ethiopia. Again.

It breaks my heart to hear the stories of starving children in Ethiopia. Thanks to drought, failed crops and rising food prices, Ethiopia faces a return to the 1984-85 famine that killed more than one million people. The Big Picture blog has stunning pictures.

  • 4.5 million children are threatened with starvation.
  • 75,000 children are currently suffering from severe malnutrition and need urgent care.
  • 3.4 million Ethiopians will need food aid in the next three months.
  • 6.8 million Ethiopians are at risk for malnutrition. (all stats via Telegraph)

Continue reading Famine in Ethiopia. Again.

Barack Obama vs. James Dobson

During the Tuesday, June 24, 2008 broadcast of Focus on the Family, James Dobson talks about a speech presidential candidate Barack Obama gave about religion in June 2006 (CNN story). I’ve never been a fan of Dobson (being blacklisted doesn’t help), but the tone of this attack amazed me.

I wrote up seven pages of text analyzing what Barack Obama said and what James Dobson said. It was good stuff. Fiery and mad and pretending to be non-biased but so completely biased.

I was going to break it up into five or six posts and unleash it slowly, savoring the thrill of bashing Dobson. But then I was reminded of all that stuff in the Bible about not being so quick to criticize. I hate those passages. I always want to insist that it’s not being critical, it’s about justice and explaining what’s right and wrong (clearly I’m right, they’re wrong). But those are just excuses. So I’ll hold off on my blow-by-blow (at least for now).

I will say that I think Barack Obama’s speech was impressive. I think James Dobson found a way to criticize everything possible, even if that meant misunderstanding Obama’s intention. It’s that kind of reaction (the kind that finds something wrong with anything) that makes me hate politics. And that’s exactly what I was starting to do, so I’ll stop.

Instead you can read Barack Obama’s Call for Renewal speech and you can listen to James Dobson’s broadcast (the first third is about Tim Russert, then they get to Obama) and decide for yourself.

Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Global Food Crisis

Today Compassion International is holding a Day of Prayer and Fasting to combat the global food crisis. If you want to help, aside from prayer and fasting, you can donate to their Global Food Crisis Fund.

It’s hard for me to get my head around the fact that people around the world go hungry. I’m sitting here with four boxes of cereal on the kitchen table. There are two more different varieties in the cupboard, and when the Wheaties run out, there’s another box of those as well. When I get hungry, I eat. When I’m really hungry, I go out. When I crave chocolate, I can usually find it.

I am rich. And while it’s easy for my heart to go out to those who are hungry, it’s a lot harder for my actions to change in order to support them. I go back and forth from guilt and eagerness to change, to despair (how does giving up a Pepsi and eating PB&J make any difference?).

But today I suppose I can pray. I suppose I can eat less, maybe simpler. While it won’t change much, perhaps it will begin to change my attitude and that might begin to change my actions. Otherwise it feels like putting a bandaid on a severed limb.

The Top 100 Movies/TV Shows/Music/Books I Don’t Enjoy

Entertainment Weekly released lists of the top 100 movies, TV shows, albums and books of the last 25 years. It’s kind of interesting to check out the lists and see how many of the top picks I’ve seen/listened to/read:

  • Movies: 42/100
  • TV Shows: 28/100
  • Music: 10/100
  • Books: 9/100

Keeping reading for disclaimers and inane insights.

Continue reading The Top 100 Movies/TV Shows/Music/Books I Don’t Enjoy

High Bridge Power Plant Smokestack Coming Down

Downriver On Saturday, June 28 Xcel Energy is going to blow up the tallest thing in St. Paul’s skyline. The 570-foot tall smokestack at the High Bridge Power Plant is scheduled to be imploded on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. The old power plant is being replaced by a newer, more efficient plant. The smokestack will come down despite pleas by locals to preserve the landmark, which was built in 1923.

The party’s kind of early on a Saturday morning, but I’m thinking of checking it out. How often do you get to see an implosion?

Update: Read my entry about the smokestack coming down. And according to Nick Coleman’s column, the power plant was built in 1923 but the smokestack was built in 1972.

Twitter Recap

A friend commented the other day that I don’t blog anymore, I just twit. He’s right, the blogging has dropped off lately. Partially it’s from being busy, partially it’s from having Twitter as a release valve. But I haven’t forgotten about you. I do have several blog entries in me, they just haven’t happened yet.

Until they do, how about a little recap of the best stuff from Twitter…

  • Wondered why Barack Obama’s web site has no search function. Either I’m dumb and can’t find it, or their web team is dumb and didn’t include one. The way campaigns pack their sites with info, I don’t know how you get away with not having a search function.
  • Watched a couple episodes of Cleopatra 2525, a half hour, Xena-quality, sci-fi TV show, solely because it starred Gina Torres from Firefly/Serenity. Cleopatra has to be the campiest thing I’ve seen in a while. It was pretty bad.
  • Pointed people to Cookie Monster’s appearance on the Colbert Report. Hilarious.
  • Realized that Sandy Patti Cover Band and Steal My Catchphrase would be awesome band names.
  • Noted more lost public art in the Twin Cities. This time around it’s the mural on the old St. Paul police station at University and Dale.