Free range parenting – aka How my generation grew up

20000923 DCP 0459Last week in Utah a law was signed into effect that “would allow kids the freedom to walk to and from school, wait in parked cars (while their parents run errands in a store, for example), and visit playgrounds solo

Or what most of us did growing up.

While “it’s not explicitly unlawful for kids to play or walk alone outside; the bill, however, makes it harder to penalize parents for allowing their kids to do so“.

I remember as a kid in 3rd grade my brother and I would walk from home to the stables to ride our pony (yes I had a pony when I was a kid and my sister had horses – we were so spoiled). Distance was 1-1.5 miles.

I remember walking home from school when I was in in 5th and 6th grade in Utah. Distance was about 1.3 miles.

I remember going out to play in the forest across the street, at the school down the street, or at my friends house. All places we went to by ourselves.

Mom knew where we were and made sure we made safe choices, but we had the freedom to explore and be independent. I am not sure if all the things we are afraid of today existed back then but were not publicized, or it was really a different time.
I like to think it was somewhere in between. There were dangers but we made smart choices regarding where we went and who we were with.

Putting the GM ignition switch fiasco in perspective

Gm logoGreat opinion piece in this morning’s Quartz Weekend Brief.

The take away – yes the lives lost (13 or 74, depending upon who ask) are tragic – but

From 2003 to 2010, the period in question, 287,586 people died in the US in car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s 98 people every single day.

If we spent a fraction of the energy we have spent chastising GM on improving overall traffic safety we would have have saved way more lives. But then that is not as exciting of a news story.

Will history be a harsh judge?

Not that I am a “kick a guy when he is down” kinda of guy – but you reap what you sow.

Pretty much everything I read that is political I take with a grain of salt – some a really big grain of salt. So I read this article with that caveat and was not focusing so much on the drinking, but more the current situation in the US that might lead one to drink.
If the president is drinking or not does not really matter. I think the fact that “With less than two months remaining in office, George W. Bush, witnessing a devastating defeat for the Republican Party, worse favorability ratings than those of Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal, and the most devastating economic situation since the Great Depression” – that could lead you to drink, or at least be less than happy.

We can argue that the seeds of what we are seeing now were planted years, if not decades, ago. We can argue that we are seeing/not seeing positive results in Iraq. We can argue that we are successful/not successful in Afghanistan. We can argue that we are in a recession/depression. We can argue that this is all the fault of the Republicans/Democrats.

Bottom line – the buck stops with the President of the United States and this President has not measured up. I find it hard to build a case that supports a claim that Bush will be leaving behind a positive legacy.

I hope that one positive that comes out of our current situation is that we learn that having too much power that pulls us too far in one direction – to the right or the left – is a bad thing. I believe that a significant majority of the citizens of the United States live in the middle. Not too conservative. Not too liberal. They want our country to do the right thing, be a good global citizen, and perform in a manner that reflects well upon it’s citizens.
I hope that the next administration can move us in that direction.

BTW – image from here.

He said it best

Sometimes Keith Olbermann can get a little, uhm, “excited” when doing his Special Comments.
Not this one. It is poignant. It is clear. It is to the point.

Why? All I can say is why does it matter who marries who.

More conversations with George

I know it may be a cop out to use emails as content – but these discussions I have been having with my family have allowed me to articulate my feelings about the election. I have really enjoyed these adult discussion (not that kind of adult discussion – get your mind out of the gutter. Yes that means you GSM) with my Mom and Dad.

And isn’t New Media all about repackaging content 😉

So the conversation started with me pointing to this article in The New Yorker. It is an editorial supporting Obama. It is a long read, but a good read.

[Dad’s response]

I would submit that the author(s) were just a bit biased, Obama, it seems, can do no wrong and McCain no right.

Watched the debate last night. Obama has the ability to tell a good story. McCain didn’t do as well in my view in articulating what he proposes. That said, I am concerned that what Obama proposes is essentially socialism, tax those that have to give to those that don’t. While there are those who really need a hand up, there are also many who won’t take advantage of it when they get it and they will always be a day late and a dollar short. The policy of what I will generously call encouraging lending institutions to loan mortgage money those who have no hope of ever being able to pay it back has its roots in this sort of philosophy. It is also what got us into the financial mess we are in I believe. Bankers used to be known as hard hearted business men but that is what we want looking after the money we deposit with them to invest wisely. Subprime lending with all sort of encouragements to borrow beyond ones means does not in my view constitute good management of my dollar.

Quite frankly, I am concerned that while Obama talks a good line, some of what he is proposing may weaken the country more than strengthen it. On the other hand, I am not sure McCain will really promote a new vision, his ability to articulate his vision isn’t as good as I had hoped. If I had to prioritize my personal concerns, I guess it would be fiscal responsibility first, foreign policy tied with reform of the education system second. Energy policy is right up there at the top but I think it is thoroughly tangled up with fiscal responsibility and foreign policy.

Well, whoever is elected he is going to have a very rough time ahead.

[my response]

Random thoughts – too busy to be coherent.

I was trying to determine if the New Yorker was a left or right leaning publication – left is my guess 😉

Missed the debate last night – hope to watch it online this weekend.

Agree that there is a tough row to hoe for whomever is elected.

I think that we need to invest in our country. From what I know of the sub-prime mess, we might have gone too far to the left. Hopefully there will be some lessons learned that the future administration(s) will apply. But there is so much that needs focus – transportation infrastructure, medical, social security, energy – we have to find a way to focus and fund these items. As the “greatest nation on earth” why do we have so many people living in a world of hurt. Agree that some people will take advantage of the system but got to think more will be helped than “harmed”.

I am not proposing we go as far down the socialist road like we see in the Nordic countries, but it seems like in general the population is happy and well taken care of (Scott – please jump in on this one) [ed. – my brother, Scott, lives in Norway]

I am not proposing we become isolationist – there are a lot of wrongs in the world that we can affect in a positive way – but we need to get our shit together before we go off solving everyone else’s shit. Also think an administration that is more focused on diplomacy would be able to work with allies and leverage everyone’s resources to resolve a number of the world’s issues.

Everyone is talking about the need for change, but the pessimist in me says that by mid next year we will be back to more of the same. I don’t see a significant change taking place in the way Washington works. Too much $$. Too much greed. Too many lobbyists. Too much of doing what is good for my district so I can get re-elected. I mean come on – they added approx $150B on top of the $700B package so they could get the votes. What a load of crap. Managing by committee is a crappy way to do anything. Never works in business and sure as hell does not work in Government

Enough for now.


[Dad’s response]

Maybe the New Yorker was just trying to make amends to Sen. and Mrs. O for the cartoon they ran a few months ago. My guess is that both the New Yorker and the NY Times are pretty left leaning in the view of us here in the west.

I too am of the pessimistic bent. More than likely by mid 2009 things will be back to business as normal in Washington DC. As you point out there are to many there who have as a first priority their own pocket book and getting reelected rather than doing things for the good of the country. One can pick just about any subject from energy to immigration to social security to health care to steroid use in the baseball world and find that little has been accomplished by the politicos in the past decade except talk and grandstanding. I don’t know what the solution is but I would advocate just throwing out the whole bunch of rascals and scalawags if I weren’t concerned the new bunch would probably turn to the same old group of lobbyists and other assorted ‘experts’ to figure out what they should be doing and things could easily be worse than before!! Not a happy state of affairs.


Well said Dad – well said. Not much more I can add to that.
It is interesting to find out that our political leanings are closer than I thought to be – like Father, like Son.

Jesus Made Me Puke

Excerpt from The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi in The Rolling Stone magazine. Definitely tongue in cheek.

My money quote :
“again, there is something very odd about modern Christian men — although fiercely pro-military in their politics and prehistorically macho in their attitudes toward women’s roles, on the level of day-to-day behavior they seem constantly ready to break out weeping like menopausal housewives”

Not making a judgement on religion in general – just think some people go a little over the top.