Sneaking Suspicions
Archives-- June 5-18, 2005

This page includes posts from June 5-18, 2005 in the usual reverse order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.

June 16, 2005
Thanks for taking the suggestion

Like many other states, Delaware is seeing some pleasant increases in its net tax revenues this year.

Next week's meeting of the Delaware Economic Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) will provide the final revenue estimate figures that the General Assembly will use to complete the state budget and bond bill for FY06. In the meantime, the Governor and the Republican legislative leadership have managed to reach a broad-ranged deal on a mix of tax cuts and budget increases.

I'm happy to note that the deal includes an income tax measure I suggested here last January, when there were already some good signs that the state's financial picture would be much brighter than it had been the last few years.

For the first time, Delaware will have its own version of the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families:

Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, said she was pleased to see a state version of the earned income tax credit. The program will piggyback on the federal program.

"This really does a lot for the working poor and low- and moderate-income families," she said. "It's not everything I wanted -- I always hoped for a tax refund -- but this is a good start and will make their lives a lot easier."

Under the program, a single parent of two or more children would have to earn $25,000 before having to pay any state taxes.

When I suggested the EITC in January, I expressed no preference as to whether the credit would be limited to the taxes paid, or whether the credit would follow the more generous refund model used in the Federal version. Given the fiscally conservative approach to government finance followed by both major parties in Delaware, however, I'm not really surprised that the negotiators limited the credit as they did.

That's okay. It's still a good step toward encouraging initiative and work, and the folks who will receive the credit could certainly use the help.

June 14, 2005
Reading books

Glenn Reynolds posted an interesting short piece yesterday, in which he answered a few questions from Meryl Yourish about his book-reading history and influences.

My own responses are as follows:

Number of books you own: Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,ooo, in combination with my wife.  We’ve donated or sold at yard sales a few hundred more.

Last book I bought: Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History.

Last book I read: Tonight I’ll finish Joe Queenan’s Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile’s Pilgrimage to the Mother Country.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

There are two books in particular, for very different reasons. In addition, and also for very different reasons, a few authors made a big impression on me beyond a single title, leading to collections of their works.

The two books are Wind in the Willows and Counting by Race: Equality from the Founding Fathers to Bakke and Weber, by Terry Eastland and William J. Bennett.

The other writers include Walker Percy, John McPhee, and C. Northcote Parkinson's books on finance, management, and government, especially Parkinson’s Law and The Law and the Profits.

That is an admittedly eclectic list.

June 11, 2005
Proud Parents

Younger daughter gave her parents a great graduation gift earlier this week.

The class president gave a wonderful speech to her fellow students and the assembled parents, school officials, and other dignitaries. It was followed by sustained, enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Have I mentioned before how proud we are of her?

June 11, 2005
The Expert Claudes

Sometimes the use of some form of the stock headline phrase "Experts say" can truly enhance the opportunities for a high-ranking Claude award.

A friend of mine pointed me toward a real doozy featuring this special characteristic that I'd somehow missed, and for which nearly no comment is needed to explain why it's receiving four Claudes:

Hot weather feels hotter, expert says

Simply stunning, isn't it?

June 8, 2005
Separated at birth?

Despite the common initials of their names and their strong physical resemblance, there are a few critical differences between these two guys:

Howard Dean

Howdy Doody

Howard Dean, DNC Chair

Howdy Doody

One is an obvious puppet, mouthing the incredible inanities hes fully expected to say at any time for a wildly appreciative, though increasingly limited audience. 

The other is a former TV star.

Hat tip: James Lileks's Screedblog today.

June 7, 2005
Watching the old man

We took the girls to see B. B. King on Sunday night, part of our graduation celebration for them.

"The old man," as he described himself during a very funny interlude between songs, put on a great show at Rehoboth Convention Center, along with his band. The performance was part of the initial Blues Festival weekend. It also served as a fundraiser for diabetes, a disease King says he's managing now, after years of not even realizing he had it.

The sold-out audience ranged in age from high school through folks as old as King himself, and it was just a love feast all around.

UPDATE: For more news about this event, click here.

June 7, 2005
Traffic Report

Today marks the 41st month of this site's existence. Thus far, 381,973 visitors have read 502,661 pages of what's here. The average daily visitor count last month was 462, about three times the monthly average experienced here during the blog's initial months.

Everything is going according to plan.

Thanks again for your patronage, and stop by again soon.

June 5, 2005
I'm liking Butz

Sometimes there are some unexpected benefits to watching a Broadway show.

During this same weekend last year, for example, we went to a Sunday matinee and watched Rent. I thought it was mostly earnest and a bit dated, but otherwise enjoyable for the effort the cast put into the long-running production.

The payoff came later in the year, with the brutally hilarious parody of the show that appeared in Team America--World Police. If I hadn't seen the original, the Lease skit simply wouldn't have been nearly as funny.

This year I'm hoping for a different kind of benefit, one more common to the Broadway experience.

I'd like to see Norbert Leo Butz win the Tony Award for best actor in a musical, for his hugely energetic and funny performance as a con man in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

We saw the show two weeks ago, and Butz was simply amazing. He has great comic timing, a good voice, and a fearless attitude about slapstick.

Here's hoping he wins the Tony and that it leads to even more opportunities to appreciate his comedic talents.

UPDATE: Guessed right.


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Fritz Schranck
P.O. Box 88
Nassau, DE  19969


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