March 31, 2003

Good news, Bad news

Posted by Scott at 10:12 PM

I finished up with the computations and electronic filing of my federal taxes tonight. Overall it was good news, but I thought I'd take a note from my former business partner, Gene, and play it as good news/bad news:

  • Good News: ASIC Intellectual Property Application Engineers earn a decent living
  • Bad News: The IRS knows this ;-)
  • Good News: I'm blessed with several children
  • Good News: Children count as exemptions and for the child tax credit
  • Good News: Timothy was born to us this year in February
  • Bad News: He does not count as an exemption or tax credit for 2002
  • Bad News: Unlike my last (almost paid for and lower taxed) house, our new house has significantly more interest and property taxes
  • Good News: Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible
  • Good News: I was blessed to be able to keep up our charitable giving
  • Good News: Charitable giving is deductible
  • The Best News: In the end we're getting a substantial refund -- whoo-hoo!
  • Bad News: Waiting this long only increases the time I've given the US Government an interest free loan!

No big spending plans on the horizon. It'll be just be nice to recover from last month's plane tickets and the new kitchen table and chairs.

Even though it approached 70° on Saturday, we woke up this morning to see our lawns and roofs covered with a thick dusting of snow. Admittedly it had all melted by this afternoon, but it still was as if nature was just teasing us one last time before spring gets into full swing.

Today marks the end of the first fiscal quarter of 2003. I hate quarter end. It's the days following it that only make me more worrisome. If there's going to be layoffs, they always happen the near the end of the quarter but we usually hear the bad news the first or second day of the new quarter. It's also on the first day or two of the quarter that we hear about some exotic deal made at "the 11th hour" in order to have good quarterly numbers. "Whatever it takes" to have a decent balance sheet.

This morning I came across this headline in the NYT: "Surprise, Mom: I'm Anti-Abortion". Alternative Washington Times headline: "Surprise, Mom: I'm Pro-Life". Alternative NARAL headline: "Surprise, Mom: I'm Anti-Choice". Pick your favorite spin. NYT tried, tried to be objective. I couldn't help but feel that they were a little patronizing of the youth. Those poor, naive kids. They were "idealistic" and didn't know life without access to legal abortion. No, NYT, but perhaps they also are well aware that between 25% and 35% of their peers are not with them today because of abortion.

But don't worry, NYT, if these youth go to a "Catholic" (in name only) college, their support for abortion will increase. In the four years of attendance the numbers increase from 46.3 percent to 60.1 percent, a sharper increase than among students at private colleges (51 percent to 62.2 percent). Thanks to Deal Hudson for those numbers. Sad commentary, especially for those parents who shell out huge dollars to send their kids to a "Catholic" school, only to have their faith undermined.

I plan to research further the Pope's position on the war in Iraq. I found this summary with plenty of links to his actual words over the past several months. The opening:

There’s war in Iraq. A war strongly opposed up to the last minute by the Catholic Church. Opposed but never condemned, judging by what was said by its supreme authority, the pope. The media have not been clear about this lack of condemnation. They have almost always reported John Paul II’s words as if they declared an absolute anathema on this war, if not indeed on all wars. But there isn’t a trace of this condemnation in any of the frequent, relentless speeches in which the pope has called for peace in Iraq.

It later goes on to say:

This is confirmed in the discontent that the papal position has produced among Catholic pacifists. A good number of them in Italy have written an open letter to John Paul II, saying: “Your Holiness, we ask of you a simple and univocal affirmation that does not leave loopholes for parentheticals and hairsplitting.” This is a sign that, in these pacifists’ judgment, the pope’s “no” to war is not radical – without “ifs” and “buts” – as they would like it to be.