THE AUSTIN WEEKLY NEWS Volume 1, Issue 1 23 November 2009
I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E
1 Local News 1 Opinions 2 Wit and Wisdom
LOCAL NEWS Birthday Becomes Thanksgiving for
Austin Weekly News
On Saturday, November 21, 2009 an ordinary little girl performed an extraordinary act of kindness. Skye Michaels turned her eight h birthday into Thanksgiving for the many homeless men and women who live around the 183 overpass near her home in Austin, Texas.
Skye had a party to celebrate like any other little girl her age, and the children played games and ate cake, but then something amazing happened. Instead of opening presents, all of the children and adults gathered in the kitchen to make sandwiches, wash fruit, and bag carrot sticks. In all they packed over 50 lunches for the homeless. Every lunch bag contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and socks that the other kids had brought as “gifts” for Skye.
Show-and-Tell Susan Michals
Austin Weekly News
My daughter is in third grade now. Last week on the second day of school the teacher informed the children that this year they were too big for show and tell. They would not be wasting time in third grade on such childish activities. When my daughter relayed this to me with tears in her eyes, I have to admit that I welled up a little too. Since when is eight too old for show-and-tell? Since when is 18 too old for show and tell? Show and tell is the only activity in the busy and impersonal school day where students get to express who they are and what they love. They get to show off a little by saying, “I own this or I made that or this is really special to me.” In this moment each child gets to be the special one. Show and tell also builds community in the classroom. Kids really begin to know the other kids, and they discover shared interests and common concerns. In Kindergarten my daughter found her best friend on the day she brought in the paper crane she made at Chinese school. Another little girl was stunned that a flat piece of paper could become a three dimensional bird. At recess my daughter showed her new friend the folds, and they have been BFFs ever since, though neither of them has pursued origami any further. The final and most important reason for keeping show-and-tell in school is that it teaches students how to speak in front of a group and more importantly how to listen when someone else is speaking. These simple communication skills cannot be over practiced or underestimated in the important roll they will play throughout life. So I beg you teachers in third grade and beyond. Don’t give up on show-and-tell; don’t discard it like an old toy; preserve that special time where each child gets to be the star and make friends at the same time. Use show-and-tell to teach the lifelong lessons of give and take, speak and listen.
continued on page 2
continued from page 1 When they were done, they walked the 3 blocks to the
overpass and handout the gifts. Skye told all the people it was her birthday and she wanted everyone in the world to be happy on that day. Some of homeless wept openly at the child’s generosity.
One of the parents at the event who did not want to be named said, “I was frankly a little nervous about my child interacting with those people, but it was truly a moment that will change the way I look at the world.”
Skye was not sad that she didn’t get any Barbies or CD’s. She said she got exactly what she wanted: for everyone to be happy for one day.
WIT AND WISDOM
Sick of Health Care Susan Michals
Austin Weekly News
The corporate slaves and wealthy in America will scream from their glass ceilings that there is no healthcare crisis in this country. The sick should not have insurance because they are too costly to treat. The poor should be allowed to ail and die so there are fewer to care for, and the self-employed and part- timers forced into contractorship by the languishing corporations have only themselves to blame for not working harder or climbing the ladder faster. Of course, these elitist attitudes are ridiculous. Of course, America is suffering from a monumental healthcare debacle. Any specious debate over that is well . . . specious. What we need is a solution. Ordering the masses to obtain insurance is pointless; regulating insurance companies is putting a Band-Aid in a hemorrhage; and socializing healthcare like other civilized countries in the world today is just laughable. The only real solution is the time honored corporate solution to costs that have spiraled out of control; we must simply eliminate the health care system in this country and outsource it.
Outsourcing health care will eliminate any further necessity for insurance companies. With these greedy behemoths beheaded, the economic problems of the country will be mitigated. Life will return to a time of chickens in every pot, and a Wii in every rec room. Insurance companies
account for 80% of the cost of every medical procedure. And what do you get for your money? You get the ever vigilant and caring adjuster waiting to deny your claim for a new liver because you can live just fine without one if you don’t eat or drink or engage in physical activity. Receiving that decree probably cost you $1000 in consultation and research fees . The money spent to save money at the expense of your health is staggering. Imagine the money that could be saved if there were no claims to deny.
An added benefit of outsourcing healthcare is the boost it will give to the travel industry. Anyone who is sick will have to board an international flight and infect the entire passenger manifest to be cured. Then all of those people will have to travel for help, and so on ad infinitim. More international flights will be added; airlines will emerge from bankruptcy; pilots will be paid like surgeons. The benefit in the travel sector could bring the entire economy back from the brink of the precipice upon which we now hang by a mere fingernail.
Finally, with no doctors or hospitals standing the way, overpopulation will be naturally culled so that only the “best” Americans will remain to occupy the McMansions, and Craftsman cottages lining the lovely water ways and scenic regions of this fair land. Discrimination would cease to exist because fairly quickly the unwashed masses who sully this country could not afford to travel and so would die off, though probably not quickly enough for some. Yes, with the healthcare crisis averted with outsourcing as the cure, America would truly become the promised land.
Consider carefully the benefits outlined in this humble proposal. Outsourcing has after all proven so beneficial in so many other American industries. Computer support is only a short phone call and $100 an hour translator away. Manufacturers and designers have finally learned the metric system. Berlitz and Rosetta Stone are raking in the benefits of buyers who can’t tell the difference between un mil camisas and cien camisas. “Your shopptertunistic opportunity!” no doubt. There is no end to the success of outsourcing, so let’s stop looking for Band-Aids, tourniquets, and sutures to mend our ailing health care system, and apply a tried and true solution; outsourcing is outstanding!
WIT AND WISDOM
Sick of Health Care