The U.S. gov’t acts disgracefully in collecting debt from 40 years ago. A beautiful tale of leaving notes for kids. And NCAA hypocrisy exposed again


I’m saving my review of last night’s “Mad Men” for Tuesday (oh Pete Campbell, you’re just so California cool!), but it was pointed out to me by numerous people on Twitter that every single date this week is the same written forwards and backward (4/14/14, 4/15/14, etc.)

I don’t know what that means, but I think we’re in for a weird, weird week.

And Happy Passover to my fellow Members of the Tribe! I hope you all enjoy the matzoh and gefilte fish, while my brother-in-law Flyers fan and I argue over who’s going to win the Rangers-Flyers series starting Thursday.

A few people I know were outraged about this on Facebook, but quite honestly I never took the time to read the story until this weekend.

Now I’m outraged, too. According to the Washington Post, the Treasury Dept. and the Social Security Administration have been going after the children and grandchildren of people who either received too big a tax refund or owed a debt to the IRS.

In most cases, the children and grandchildren never knew about any such debt, but they’re being notified and having their tax refunds withheld by the government.

This is affecting hundreds of thousands of people, and most of them

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service.

What’s even more ridiculous is that in many cases, the government can’t prove if any extra benefits were even awarded to the families of the now-deceased.

From the lawyer of one of those individual affected:
“The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,” says Robert Vogel, Grice’s attorney. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”

Just awful and unfair.


**Next up, something a little sweeter. Like tons of other parents (and like I’m sure I’ll do one day), Wendy Bradford’s husband got in the habit of leaving notes for his three children in their lunchbags every day.
Wendy didn’t leave notes. And her kids noticed.

And so she started to, and her kids started writing notes back… and it’s just a really sweet little story. Check it out on Wendy’s blog

**Finally today, two pieces that continue to show the insanity that is the NCAA rules. First, Jon Stewart satirizes and mocks the idea that the players who make millions for the NCAA get bubkes from the deal.

Then there was this eye-opening piece on by Steve Godfrey, a semi- first-person account from an NCAA “bag man,” a fella who delivers cash to athletes at a major college, explaining how it’s done, and how easily it’s done.

Here’s the lede to get  you hooked:

The Bag Man excuses himself to make a call outside, on his “other phone,” to arrange delivery of $500 in cash to a visiting recruit. The player is rated No. 1 at his position nationally and on his way into town. We’re sitting in a popular restaurant near campus almost a week before National Signing Day, talking about how to arrange cash payments for amateur athletes.

“Nah, there’s no way we’re landing him, but you still have to do it,” he says. “It looks good. It’s good for down the road. Same reason my wife reads Yelp. These kids talk to each other. It’s a waste of money, but they’re doing the same thing to our guys right now in [rival school’s town]. Cost of business.”

Technically, this conversation never happened, because I won’t reveal this man’s name or the player’s, or even the town I visited. Accordingly, all the other conversations I had with different bag men representing different SEC programs over a two-month span surrounding National Signing Day didn’t happen either.

But that’s OK, NCAA< let’s just keep the status quo. Everything’s just fine.


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