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Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Economics

A friend posted on Twitter tonight how some brat (my choice of terms) came to his door, “sees candy in my hand, says ‘I can take bigger handful.’ I tell him, ‘but that would be greedy’- so he digs in & grabs a big handful anyway.” And all this, with his father silently watching on!

My initial reaction (now immortalized on Twitter) was to say that I knew who his parents were voting for! But, while I was initially thinking of the recent “wealth transfer” headlines, and the looming possibility that people will feel entitled to whatever amount of our hard-earned goodies they want to take, I soon realized that this was not an isolated party or class issue.

The greedy idiots who ran major financial institutions into the ground are just as culpable. By lining their pockets with millions while adding negative value to the economy, they are no better (whatever their party affiliation) than those who would rejoice at punishing the successful by confiscating their wealth through taxes. People at both ends of spectrum are thieves, whether a or not a gun is used for the holdup.

And political figures (of either party) who take donations in order to maintain the status quo are no better.

The good news is that, as my friend mentioned, the vast majority of the kids coming to the door were polite and grateful. And whatever your political affiliation, if you’re polite, grateful, sincere, and thoughtful, we can very likely enjoy a glass of wine (and a candy bar) together. The jerks, though their influence is outsized, probably are in the minority…

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This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin made one of her most stirring pro-choice/pro-life speeches of the campaign, underscoring the need to give parents and caregivers maximum choice in choosing the educational path of their special-needs children.

She pledged that a McCain-Palin administration would make the federal government an advocate in making funds “portable” so that parents can individualize their educational choices, instead of being limited by whatever public school offerings happen to be available.

She also demonstrated that it can be a genuine blessing to choose to give life to vulnerable, special-needs children, many of whom are now aborted with the full blessing of those who call themselves “pro-choice”.

In this arena, and in many others, Gov. Palin shows that a true pro-choice stance includes individual responsibility and decision-making. On the other hand, the Democratic party seems to have made a deep investment in the agenda of the monopolistic National Education Association and other special interest groups that are more concerned with political correctness than educational excellence.

Pro-choice people will fight monopolies. The educational bureaucracy is one of those monopolies, which  fights parental choice and advocates governmental control of education at every turn. This is demonstrated by a willingness to disenfranchise parents and students from educational choice through attempting to suppress vouchers, homeschools, and other options outside of their control.

If a party was truly pro-choice, it would advocate individual freedom in far more areas than escaping the consequences of reproductive behaviors. And it would be even better if both parties would dismantle the federal meddling in education so that we can get back to pursuing creative excellence in education!

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Now found on Alltop!

Steve’s Leave’s now appears on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop site, in the “Life” category. W00t!

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It was shaping up to be a reasonably pleasant birthday some years back. A co-worker had treated me to a nice lunch. I was working out of a remote office, so I was only 10 minutes away from home instead of the usual 1 hour+. My wife, accomplished in the kitchen, had the cake in the oven, and I’d soon enjoy her company at the table with my tow-headed boys as we ticked off yet another 40-something milestone.

Then the phone rang, and everything ground to a halt. Or rather, accelerated into a dizzying swirl of horror.

Frantic, my wife told me to get home immediately, as one of my sons (Ryan) and his friend had just been hit by a truck crossing the neighboring street. Everything was confusion – what actually happened, their condition, and whether life as we’d known it had just been whirled out of control.

Rushing home, I saw the police (and neighbors) at the scene. The two boys were on the way in ambulances to two local hospitals. Quickly piecing together the fragments of the story, one of my older sons was leading the other boys across the street, between cars that were backed up at a stop sign. Not able to see all the way up the short hill to the intersection, he noted a stopped driver waving them through, and assumed that all was clear. Unfortunately, just as they began to cross, a heavy-duty pickup rounded the corner and approached them as they moved from invisibility in one lane to inevitability in the other.

The oldest in the group suddenly spotted the truck, and being farthest along, (barely) leaped safely to other side of the road. My younger son and his friend, however, were caught. One tire ran over my Ryan’s foot and he was tossed aside like a rag doll by the side-mounted mirror. His friend, however, went under the tire, which traversed his midsection and collapsed a lung. Miraculously, he somehow got up and stumbled across to the other side. Horrified, my older son ran the block home to get help, which arrived promptly.

A mix of incoherence and “cool under fire” jostled for control of my brain. A neighbor took over watching the remaining kids while I rushed to the hospital to join my wife and son, still at this point not at all sure what I was going to find. Meanwhile, the other boy was in intensive care at the other hospital, unconscious, with a touch-and-go prognosis.

The birthday cake was forgotten. Instead, we were ingesting a steady diet of guilt and dread, the kind only a parent knows when a kid gets hurt on your watch. And the misery was multiplied, as our friends’ child was in even greater danger.

Because Ryan’s foot had been ground into the pavement by the truck, his wound was dirty; filled with sand and small pieces of gravel. I had to do the most heart-wrenching thing I ever hope to do as a Dad – hold him down to assist the doctor cleaning out the ugly wound, actually helping contribute to his pain. His foot, and my heart, were in agony. Parenting and hospitals are a volatile and frightening mix.

Eventually, he recovered fully, though there will always be some scarring there. Happily, the other boy recovered even more quickly, bouncing back in a few days despite being actually run over by the truck. His parents were wonderful examples of kindness and grace in what could have been an explosive situation.

I guess I’ve mostly recovered, too, though there remains a residual dread whenever the 18th day of October rolls around again. That bullet was dodged, but sometimes I can still hear the faint echo of it whizzing past in the darker recesses of memory. A nice, quiet, uneventful birthday is just fine with me, thank you very much. Just fine with me…

(image credit: candle)

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A massive investigation in the Baltimore office of ACORN was kicked off when it was found that one of its thousands of registration cards actually showed “Republican” written in.

“We don’t know how it could have happened!” cringed Sally Green, Regional Head of Fraudulent Registrations. “Our cards give people the choice of registering as Democrats or Other (Democrat), so how this one Republican slipped in is beyond me. I can only apologize to all the other ACORN offices who now must be subjected to this search-and-seizure to find any other errant registrations.”

Names of the entire Baltimore Ravens football team were found several times each, as well as every Civil War soldier from Maryland who ever fought in that great conflict, “but that is hardly a problem, since all of those folks are clearly Democrats from our POV. And we are hoping to get all the Toddlers from the Bay-Bee Preschool over for voting day also, since they all raised their hands when we asked if they’d like to have a mid-day Barack. But we know that the card listing Republican can’t be right. We’ve never seen one of those around here.”

Asked if fictional characters, such as Mickey Mouse, would be allowed to register in Baltimore, Ms. Green allowed as that wouldn’t be a problem, “as long as they…you know…line up on the right, er, left side of things. We’re all about fiction.”

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