Sunday: KindHearts of Toledo was raided by Treasury agents as an alleged front operation for funneling money to terrorist organizations Hamas and Al Qaeda.

That's about four miles away from my house. I've driven past that place probably a thousand times (though I'm not sure how long they've been there.)

My first thought: it's unsettling to think there could be terrorist fundraisers that close to home, but I'm willing to wait for a trial to assume guilt. (It's not like I was giving them money, so whether I presume them guilty doesn't really contribute to anything.)

Yesterday: The FBI arrested three Toledoans on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against Americans.

They showed the houses and street names of these guys on the local news, along with reaction from neighbors. One of the three lives about a half mile from the church where two of our children attended preschool.

My thoughts now:

  1. Assume guilt. It's still true that whether I think they're guilty has no bearing on anything. In a court of law, they can be innocent until proven guilty. The court of public opinion doesn't work that way.
  2. Interrogate the snot out of the SOB's, using whatever means necessary.
  3. Two of them are American citizens. What's the penalty for treason again?
Side note: The Justice Dept. commended the local muslim community for its support in this case. But there were a number of community leaders on TV last night saying they expect a public backlash against law-abiding muslims following these events. They're right, of course. There will be, but there shouldn't be. There are honest hard-working muslim citizens in this nation who love their country and deserve the respect of their countrymen. Some have earned our respect this week, and we shouldn't forget it.



Taxes on windfall profits

Why do we need them, since there are already corporate income taxes which (theoretically) are taxes on the profits made by a business? The idea that we should tax "excessively" large profits at a higher rate than others implies that there is such a thing as an excessively large profit.

It assumes one of two things:

  1. Either that a corporation lucked into an exceptionally high earnings year without significant planning, preparation, or risk, and that's a dubious notion in itself,

  2. Or that while the corporation may have laid the groundwork for its success, it isn't entitled to benefit from it.
It further assumes that larger profit values should be taxed progressively: the more a company makes, the higher the tax rate should be. It suggests that the purpose of a business enterprise is to generate revenue -- not for its owners or shareholders -- but for the government.

It changes the after-tax income from the reward for a wise investment of time and resources into merely the charitable indulgence of a beneficent government. In effect, it punishes successful businesses for an effective and efficient distribution of resources, which is a goal which should be in everyone's best interest. Such punitive taxes amount to a financial disincentive to invest in market segments where the demand is highest, potentially diminishing the supply and raising prices on the product -- oil anyone?

One more thing before I wrap up. I'm not suggesting here that taxes are bad, per se. But I do think there's a moral implication to tax policy. This nation has long recognized a strong right to property, and the idea that a corporation is in business to generate revenue for the nation (rather than for shareholders) represents a sharp retreat from a dearly held American value.

For more on the topic, check out Stephen Green's Monday post on Vodkapundit. (I know, I'm late in getting to this.)

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Cuteness, or From the mouths of babes

The small cross which hangs in our sons' bedroom falls off the wall with the banging of a door or the stomp of a 2-year-old's foot. It's a daily occurrence.

And while our kids recognize drawings or paintings of Jesus, and they know the Lord's prayer -- when I pray with OS at bedtime, YS chimes in with "Father...power...glory...amen" -- it's probably that cross that gives them most physical reminder of Christ.

Today, I'm told that little cross fell off the wall while our youngest was being changed. Deciding he'd caused Jesus to fall off the wall, he said "Sowwy, Jesus".

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And the lesson for today is...

Plan ahead, but not too far ahead. And when you plan ahead, expect the unexpected.

We've been working on finishing the basement recently, with the idea that we'd turn it into a rec room / office. We had removed a lot of the clutter in the fall, then put up a partition wall to separate the laundry room from the rest of the basement.

We installed styrofoam insulation on the outside walls two weeks ago, and we're now ready to run the electrical. Right now, we only have two outlets in the basement, which are dedicated to the washing machine and the sump pump. For lighting, we have four functional -- but not attractive -- single-bulb fixtures which are typical of every unfinished basement I've ever seen. So we're planning to add about a dozen wall outlets and a couple of lighting circuits to give us some flexibility to place furniture and a television and to select lighting.

As I was saying, we're ready to start running electrical this weekend because I took the time around Thanksgiving to map every electrical circuit in the house. I spent most of a day turning off circuit breakers and then running around the house checking to see which outlets and lights were without power. I needed to do this because our breaker box is completely filled, and it was possible I'd have to combine some circuits to make room to wire the basement.

So what's the problem? Well, I'm notoriously disorganized. Scattered. I wasn't born with the place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place gene. Fortunately for me, my wife isn't just beautiful and smart -- she's also congenitally neat, and she's got my back. So when she advised me to put that map somewhere I'll be able to find it, I listened.

That's right, I put it in the one place I knew I'd be able to find it: in the home computer. That around Christmas. I copied the information into the PC and threw away the original hard copy. You can guess what happened next. The first week in January, the hard drive crashed and burned. Two months out of warranty, and me without a useful backup. This weekend, it looks like I'll be re-mapping all the circuits. And next weekend, I'll be backing up my hard drive. So, like I said, when you plan ahead, expect the unexpected.



That's disappointing...

And I'm in Ohio.

Eric Florack reports that the House Majority Leader is John Boehner. via Fox News



Groundhog Day

In an effort to prove that I am at least as prescient as a large rodent, I have two predictions to make:

  1. There will be six more weeks of winter.
  2. The day after tomorrow will end with the letter y.
Let me know how I did.