Monthly Archives: May 2009

Don Quixote Reviewed

Don Quixote is nuts! The best character in this play is a puppet – Rocinante who is really a large rickety tricycle with an expressive donkey head on it. His creator is Emily Decola. There are homeless people playing some of the parts. One of the best things is the band – a gypsy punk band called the Psalters – that plays loud gypsy instruments on the balcony. Don Quixote is completely out of his mind as he rescues prostitutes from their johns, causing immense pain to himself and Sancho. He attacks a windmill that he thinks is a giant. This is extraordinarily well done, and they feed you afterwards. The theater is the back of a beautiful Presbeterian Church that has seen better days. It looked like the room must once-upon-a-time been a beautiful chapel, but now is mainly used to store stuff.  I sat on the balcony on an old pew. I had an excellent view of the gypsy punk band. The director, Lear Debessonet is world famous. She got written up in the New York Times. She only does plays in places like this.

This is better than anything that you could see across the street and its only $15 and includes dinner, which I ate with the director’s uncle and aunt.

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Filed under Art, Don Quixote, Lear Debessonet, music, Philadelphia, Popular Culture, Theater

RIP: Food Stamps

On June 17, 2009 all food stamps expire as they will all be replaced by EBT cards (debit cards). These are easier to deal with, they are more discreet, and grocery stores don’t have to deal with change.

Here are some other facts about the food stamp program:

1. 28 million people use them

2. There has been a name change from “The Federal Food Stamp Program” to SNAP – “supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” since no stamps are involved any more

3.  You can see if you qualify for food stamps using the “Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool”   here http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns/

4. You must have made less than $32,244 for 5 people in the household (and then meet a complicated net income test) last year. (130% of the poverty rate)

5. The maximum monthly allotment is $952 for a family of 6.

7. I got this information here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/ on May 27, 2009.

8. I wonder how long it will take before people stop talking about food stamps and start calling them SNAP.

9. The first food stamp program was put in place during WW II, because there was more food than money. It was restarted in 1961 under Kennedy and has grown since then.

10. Food stamps are now worthless from the government’s point of view. They are also not very valuable as collector’s items. There are too many of them compared to the number of people collecting them.  WW II food stamps are about $10 on ebay.

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Filed under America, RIP

West Chester Rams are in Division 2 World Series College Baseball!

The first game will be played in Cary N.C and on the web at 5 PM, May 24, Sunday. They got in decisive fashion with a 14-0 victory over Mercyhurst. Last year, they just barely missed this series, and I posted about it here. They last reached the national tournament playoff in 2006.

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Filed under baseball, West Chester

Free Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners in Burma

I hope everyone is keeping up with what is happening with Nobel Peace Prize Winner  Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma (also known as Myanmar). Just weeks before her house arrest was to end (but probably wouldn’t have) a man from Missouri, John William Yettaw, an overweight diabetic, swam two miles across a lake to her house.  Suu Kyi tried to shoo him away, but finally for humanitarian reasons, had pity on him and let him stay in her house. Now she is on trial for harboring a foreigner and violating the terms of her house arrest. The world is outraged. Suu Kyi (age 63)  has also not been in good health, and the military regime arrested her doctor! She is currently in the Insein prison known for its cruelty to its prisoners. The trial has been going on for four days, and is supposed to last a long time.

A good source for up-to-date news on Suu Kyi is available on her blog.

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Changing the World

You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them, show respect for them and listen to them.

-Notre Dame’s President John Jenkins explaining why Obama was invited to give the commencement address tonight

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Stimulating Tax News for Parents of College Students

Obama’s stimulus package greatly increases the tax credit to people with kids in college (thousands of dollars). This from Vanguard:

But the most rewarding now appears to be the new American Opportunity Tax Credit. A part of the economic stimulus bill signed into law February 17, 2009, it improves upon the existing Hope credit in three ways:

  1. More money. The new tax credit is larger, up to $2,500 per student versus a maximum of $1,800 for the Hope credit in 2008.
  2. Covers all four years. You can claim the new credit for expenses incurred by students in any of the four years of college. The Hope credit applied only to freshmen and sophomores.
  3. More people will qualify. The qualifying income limits were raised significantly so more middle- and upper-income families should be eligible to receive the credit

 

…and credits are better than deductions! This is money off the top. Having 2 in college, this is good news for me!  I am very stimulated!! Yay!!!  The income level for the full credit was raised from $96000 a year to $160000 a year, which will help a lot of richer people. It also helps poorer people too – if you do not owe the government as much as the credit is worth – Uncle Sam will send you the difference as a tax refund.

My tuition bill is huge – about 60K for the year, but both Josh and Hannah have good scholarships. We just got the news about Josh’s scholarship, and it will pay a good chunk of his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Evangelical Declaration Against Torture

The National Association of Evangelicals has come out with a document called 

AN EVANGELICAL DECLARATION AGAINST TORTURE: PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN AN AGE OF TERROR:

 

That is worth reading here, although it is a little bit wordy.

It says in part (bold print mine)

 

 

 

2.1 We ground our commitment to human rights, including the rights of suspected terrorists, in the core Christian belief that human life is sacred. Evangelicals join a vast array of other Christian groups and thinkers—Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and others—in a long history of reflection and activism on behalf of this critical yet threatened moral conviction.

2.2 The sanctity of life is the conviction that all human beings, in any and every state of consciousness or self-awareness, of any and every race, color, ethnicity, level of intelligence, religion, language, nationality, gender, character, behavior, physical ability/disability, potential, class, social status, etc., of any and every particular quality of relationship to the viewing subject, are to be perceived as sacred, as persons of equal and immeasurable worth and of inviolable dignity. Therefore they must be treated with the reverence and respect commensurate with this elevated moral status. This begins with a commitment to the preservation of their lives and protection of their basic rights.

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