Friday, October 5, 2007

Gimme Five!

We all know what a new baby costs. At least, we should. So does Hillary. And wouldn't you know, she wants to help.

CASH IN THE CRIB. Senator and presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to give every newborn child a $5,000 baby bond to pay for college or a new home once he or she turns 18.

From the AP:
The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.
ABC News reports Sen. Clinton floated the same idea last year for only $500 a birth. But then Time magazine suggested five large. So how much will this cost? ABC did the math.
Presuming that approximately 4 million children are born in the United States each year, a $500 "baby bond" would only cost roughly $2 billion per year. A $5,000 "baby bond" would cost the government $20 billion per year.
For comparison, the AP says we're spending $10 billion per month on the Iraq War. The bigger question: what will $5,000 buy when today's newborns turn 18? Will the government even have any money left by then?

MONEY FOR NOTHING. It might, you may argue, if it stops frittering away money like it did with Charles D. Riechers, who got a no-work contract with an intelligence contractor while awaiting White House confirmation to a civilian post with the Air Force.

The Washington Post reports:
For two months, Riechers held the title of senior technical adviser and received about $13,400 a month at Commonwealth Research Institute, or CRI, a nonprofit firm in Johnstown, Pa., according to his resume. But during that time he actually worked for Sue C. Payton, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, on projects that had nothing to do with CRI, he said.

Riechers said in an interview that his interactions with Commonwealth Research were limited largely to a Christmas party, where he said he met company officials for the first time.

"I really didn't do anything for CRI," said Riechers, now principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. "I got a paycheck from them."
The Air Force defends this arrangement, saying it allowed the military to utilize Riechers' skills. We certainly hope that Christmas Party was a blast.

PREMATURE ADJUDICATION? A Coral Gables, Florida man is accused of beating his 8-year-old son with a belt. Loscar Rodriguez says he did it because the boy had bad grades.

But what caught your Lightning Round editor's eye is the reaction from Judge Fred Seraphin at the accused's court appearance, as reported by WPLG-TV:
"What's this abuse thing? He gave him a serious spanking for not doing his work," said the judge during Rodriguez's bond hearing Wednesday.

"A welt from a belt is supposed to leave a mark so you remember to get your work done," the judge said.
We wonder if Judge Seraphin has sentenced anybody to a good fanny-whacking lately.

SPLITSVILLE. Two wingnut groups representing New England liberals and Southern Conservatives are meeting in Tennessee to talk about secession, according to the AP:
If allowed to go their own way, New Englanders "probably would allow abortion and have gun control," [League Of The South president Michael] Hill said, while Southerners "would probably crack down on illegal immigration harder than it is being now."

The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly prohibit secession, but few people think it is politically viable.
And oh yes, there was that war you may have learned about in school.

GOING NOWHERE. Edith Macefield of Seattle turned down $1 million to move so developers could build a shopping center where here home now stands. The 86-year-old woman refused. Rather than force her out in a showdown conducive to a TV Movie of the Week, the builders are building around her, as the AP reports:
Macefield said that she doesn't need the money and that she doesn't want to move from her home, where she has lived since 1966. A concrete wall looms within feet of her kitchen window as the project rises.

Macefield's 108-year-old house is the last home on the block near the Ballard bridge.
KCPQ in Seattle adds some more details via video.

Macefield will be getting several new commercial neighbors, including a Trader Joe's. It's certainly nice having Two-Buck Chuck around.

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