She knows!

Well, well, well. The cat is out of the bag. I told you it might not be long.
So the missus calls me while Brent and I are still at lunch, and in the course of the conversation informs me I’m “busted”, that she’s activated her WalkAmerica site, and she’s already started emailing her friends.
Now, you have to understand the different circles my wife and I run in. She’s an attorney (pipe down there in the back; it’s corporate law, not ambulance chasing or class-action cannibalism), so naturally a lot of her friends are attorneys, which, as a group, tend toward the wealthier side of the populace.
I, on the other hand, am unemployed. You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?
Given my past, most of my friends tend to be in the IT and creative fields, or in some sort of service area, and thusly, as a group, tend toward the less-wealthier side of the populace. Thus, I have to make up for this disparity in numbers of donators, and would appreciate all the help I can get.
To top it all off, that minx I’m married to set her goal forty bucks above mine!

WalkAmerica 2007

Well, I suppose this is as good a time as any…
Fundraising for the March of Dimes’ WalkAmerica has begun, and once again, the missus and I will be walking with the tyke (who will be riding in a running stroller).
In an attempt to get the jump on raising donations over my wife (we have a friendly competition), I’ll point you to my personal WalkAmerica page. (Said jump will likely last as long as it takes from this post’s publication to her reading it, so we’re talking sixty seconds to a couple of weeks, folks.) Any amount is greatly appreciated. I’ve also placed a March of Dimes badge at the top of the blog’s sidebar, so you can come to my site at any time and click on that to donate.
You were all very generous last year, blowing through the first, second, and third fundraising goals I set, so I’m raising the bar this year: $400. Yes, four hundred measly dollars, but four hundred bucks that could do a world of good. And I’m starting with $25 of my own, so that only leaves $375 for the rest of you to pick up. Should be a snap, right? Right!
The walk is in April, so you have plenty of time, but why wait for me to annoy you to make a donation? 😉
Thanks, all!

This is pretty much how I feel (or at least, how I should feel)

Walter E. Williams:

[T]he founders of our nation were suspicious, if not contemptuous, of government.

[…]

Today’s Americans hold a different vision of government. It’s one that says Congress has the right to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote. Most of what Congress does fits the description of forcing one American to serve the purposes of another American. That description differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery.

At least two-thirds of the federal budget represents forcing one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress.

[…]

You say, ‘Williams, don’t you believe in helping your fellow man?’ Yes, I do. I believe that reaching into one’s own pockets to help his fellow man is both laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pockets to help his fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

The bottom line: We love government because it enables us to accomplish things that if done privately would lead to arrest and imprisonment.
Like Mr. Williams, I don’t mind giving money to help others. In fact, my faith compels me to help others, if not with my time and sweat, then at least with my money. I am happy to give. However, I believe I am a better steward of my own money than the government, especially when it comes to charity. Private charities do a better job in their respective areas than similar government agencies. There are charities which receive federal and state funds, which to me means nothing more than the government acting as an unnecessary and fund-stealing middle-man. The government needs to get out of the charity business.
Speaking of charities, a good one to consider this holiday season is Feed the Children. Hunger is still a problem even in the United States, and it’s especially important for children to get proper nourishment so they develop normally. Please consider a donation to Feed the Children as part of your end-of-the-year giving.

Compassion’s AIDS Initiative

As we enter the holiday season, please consider a donation to Compassion International’s AIDS Initiative. More than 12 million kids have been left orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, and Compassion’s efforts are among many trying to stem the flood. Donations to the AIDS Initiative provide food, shelter and basic care for AIDS orphans, as well as medical treatments, including AIDS-inhibiting antiretroviral therapy, and HIV/AIDS awareness education for surviving adults and children.
You can make a one-time donation, choose to donate monthly, or, better still, choose to sponsor a child on a monthly basis in the affected areas. Sponsorship is certainly worth the time and effort; we look so forward to the letters, photos, and drawings from the child we sponsor in Tanzania.
This season is big on gift-giving, and here is an opportunity to give the gift of live in a land where survival is beyond anything most of us can imagine. Please consider a donation today.

March of Dimes + MasterCard

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and the March of Dimes has teamed up with MasterCard to raise awareness and double fund-raising efforts. If you use your MasterCard to make a donation to the March of Dimes, MasterCard will double it!
As parents of a preemie (though you’d never know it to see him now!), the March of Dimes is a charity near and dear to our hearts. Please consider using your MasterCard to double your donation this month. Thanks!

Winning hearts and minds

From Jack on the World_SIG list, who said, “You’ll never see this in the MSM.”
Winning hearts and minds The text accompanying the photo reads:

“Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt, of the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad, Iraq, cradles a young girl as they both sleep in the hospital. The girl’s entire family was executed by insurgents; the killers shot her in the head as well. The girl received treatment at the U.S. military hospital in Balad, but cries and moans often. According to nurses at the facility, Gebhardt is the only one who can calm down the girl, so he has spent the last several nights holding her while they both sleep in a chair.”
CMS Gebhardt will never be singled out by the American or Arabic press for his compassion. He will not receive an award for the love and affection he has shown a little girl in such desperate need of both. His action may not resonate with anyone on this blue marble except the little one on the receiving end.
A couple of nights ago, I caught a M.A.S.H. re-run. It was the one where a Korean-American baby is left outside The Swamp, with a note attached telling the camp the baby’s father was an American GI. Like Japan, Korea is a very homogenous culture, and children of mixed heritage were (are?) looked down upon. This little girl would not have a happy childhood, and would likely even be killed before she reached adulthood. The staff of the 4077 try in vain to get her transferred to the U.S., and finally resort to leaving her at a nearby monastery, where the monks will keep her cloistered and safe from those would harm her.
As they’re saying their goodbyes outside the monastery, Hawkeye tells the baby, and forgive me for my paraphrasing, “You brought a little light in to a world filled with darkness.”
Thank you, CMS Gebhardt, for bringing light in to a little one’s world of darkness. I know you are likely not concerned with receiving it, but I pray she is able to thank you some day, too.

Shouldn’t everyone have access to clean water?

Jeff lays in to Richard Branson for donating billions to “blue-sky research” on alternative fuels, when for a fraction of that, he could be helping people survive by having access to potable water. I’m all for alternative fuels, but I have to agree with Jeff that priorities seem to be a bit skewed, and it’s not just Branson who’s doing the skewing. (Hey, that’s actually a verb. Wow.)
Jeff notes Dean Kamen’s latest venture, which sounds fascinating, and it reminded me of Blood:Water Mission.
Blood:Water Mission was started by Jars of Clay, as a result of a visit Dan Haseltine, the group’s lead singer, made to Africa. Its mission is to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS by providing clean blood and clean water, digging 1,000 wells, and providing medical facilities to treat the sick. All Blood:Water Mission is asking for is a simple, one-dollar donation per person.
The new technology Dean Kamen is working on will help untold thousands, perhaps millions, but it’s not available yet, and won’t be on a massive scale for a while. In the mean time, please consider a donation to Blood:Water Mission or a potable-water charity of your choice.

Miscellany

  • Thanks to the folks at Xerox, with help from Layer 8 Group, you can send a postcard, with original artwork by a child, to a member of the armed forces serving abroad: Let’s Say Thanks. I sent one, how about you?

    [Via Susan via e-mail.]

  • About.com has some good advice in its Back to School section concerning backpack selection for students. The first tip they offer, to get a bag with two straps instead of just one, to help balance the load across the body better, is why I’m a dedicated backpack guy.
  • My new addiction is Armagetron Advanced, an open source 3D game of the lightcycle contest from Tron.

Miscellany

Photo mosaics have become popular; I have one of Darth Vader, made up of different scenes from Episodes 4-6.
There are many tutorials online for making your own photo mosaics, but John Tolva has one where you create your mosaic with LEGOs. You’ll need Photoshop, and a healthy bank account for all those LEGO pieces you’ll be buying.
[Via Photojojo.]

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How close to you and yours does a convicted sex offender live? Find out, thanks to Family Watchdog.
[Via Daily Dose.]

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Happy Birthday to the United States Coast Guard, which turns 216 years old today.