Saturday, October 27, 2007


Due to some client work I traveled to the Windy City (Chicago) this week for the annual dinner of the Heartland Institute ( For several years now this dinner has been held in the same ball room at the Hilton Hotel but this year this same ball room was being used by Chicago Public Schools for their annual awards banquet. This meant that the Heartland Institutes's event was held in the ball room on the floor below the school event. For the average reader these ball room logistics would go un-noticed but in this situation it was just damn funny!! Why? Because the Heartland Institute is a libertarian/free market think tank which advocates school (aka parental choice) choice via their "School Reform News" newspaper while the Chicago Public Schools tends to support school choice "as long as our system is the only choice consumers have..................." (my wording so feel free to challenge it).

The event itself was not only entertaining but it was also very educational. Nearly 600 dinner guest enjoyed the comedy routine of Tim Slagle who offered a free market perspective on global warming, Al Gore, and Halloween -- yes two of these three things are scary :-) Mr. Slagle's spoof on Halloween was the best as he explained that when a child returns home with their bag of candy that they worked for that he would take portions of the candy away for -- "income taxes, social security taxes, sales tax..................." leaving the child were only half of Snickers bar. This "candy re-distribution" (my phrase) then inspires the child to simply lay on his parents' couch during the next Halloween opting instead to just eat from the bowl of candy that his mother left out for trick or treaters thus creating WELFARE.

After Mr. Slagle's performance we enjoyed a very lively debate between two scholars discussing whether or not US President Abraham Lincoln save the USA or was merely a power-hungry tyrant who destroyed civil liberties. The end result for me was that the debate opened my eyes to several things I was unaware of that even scared me such as President Lincoln's order to have 20 Maryland state legislators arrested to essentially silence them. Historically I am a sucker for buying the book of authors that I meet as I did at Thursday night's dinner so now I have yet another book on the growing reading list.

Overall it was a great trip to the Windy City and I look forward to future visits.


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