Why I Hate Children’s Hospital and You Should Love It

Posted by on Jul 15 2014 | Purely Personal

Like most parents, I sometimes lay awake at night worrying about my children. Unlike most parents, I worry about how to care for my 10-year-old son with Down syndrome, since he’ll never grow to be a fully independent adult. His mental and physical limitations prevent him.

And many nights, I lay awake thinking of my daughter, Parker. She’d be 13 years old now, and it’s been over 12 years since I’ve seen her. She died just days before her first birthday. An incurable and vicious cancer ate threw her little body. The site of the old Children’s Hospital building, dingy, cramped and uncomfortable, is where we got her death sentence.

With perfect clarity I remember asking Parker, while she was strapped down by wires and punctured by tubes to her head and torso, “Why do you have to die?” She looked at me and with her tiny hand tapped her head where a tumor was growing out of control.

I never really understood what being powerless was until then.

I like to think of myself as a brave guy, more than happy to take on powerful politicians, governments, and Leftists in ballot boxes, courtrooms, and the court of opinion. But when it comes to facing the suffering and death of my sweet little girl, I am still a coward. I haven’t even the strength to visit her at her gravesite. I, I just can’t, even now, all these years later. People give me flowers to decorate her grave. I graciously thank them for remembering her. When they’re gone, I throw away their flowers rather than face that brutal tombstone. That’s how brave I am.

For months after Parker’s death I fought off a maudlin desire to go to her grave to dig and dig until I reached her, just so I could hold her again. In the madness of the time it made all the sense in the world.

I also had deep thoughts of suicide, and not for the reason most think. It wasn’t because I wanted to end my pain, though I certainly did. There was a more important reason – to care for my daughter. I didn’t know if my daughter’s spirit lived on after her death, but if she did live on then she was without her Daddy. This thought destroyed me. My duty was to be beside her, no matter what. And I couldn’t do that from this side of reality.

It might be difficult to understand this, but I wanted to kill myself to be a good parent. And why not, I had no other children tying me to this world.

Then all that changed. In perhaps the most optimistic decision in my life, we tried for another child. A little girl, Piper, came to save my life. She filled me with purpose again.

She deserved a little brother or sister; so in no time at all one was on its way.

Then the horror hit all over again. The ultrasounds showed something was very wrong with our little unborn boy: a sizable hole in his heart, likely completely deaf, and a myriad of ugly prognoses, Down syndrome being the most charitable.

And here’s an odd thing to say: my son Chance was lucky. He only had Down syndrome.

So, back I went, to the most horrific place on earth – Children’s Hospital, the place I could only associate with terror. To save his life at three weeks old, Chance had open-heart surgery. Since then, this little 10-year-old man has had 12 surgeries, all at Children’s. He is the brave one.

I’ve come to see Children’s in a different light over the last decade. The hospital moved from its torture chamber-like location in the old part of Denver to a bright, cheery, and friendly new home in the Anschutz Medical Center in Aurora. And through my son I have experienced what Children’s has always really been: a child’s greatest hope for a good life.

The courageous people at Children’s couldn’t stop Parker’s suffering. No one could. But they cared for her with tenderness, humanity, and dignity. And because of Children’s Hospital her little brother is still alive, saving me from the horror of losing another child.

Children’s Hospital connects the daughter I lost with the son I hope not to lose. I love and hate this place. I need this place.

I’m asking you to invest in this place before someone you love is in the same need.

Folks at Independence, spurred on by our graphic artist Tracy Smith, celebrate Parker’s memory and Chance’s, well, chance for life by raising money in the Courage Classic. Every year “Team Parker” cycles through the Colorado Rockies raising money to give other children the hope for a good life.

Last year we raised $14,000 to help little people at Children’s. Would you please help us raise just one penny more this year? Don’t give because of what I went through. Give so little ones like Parker can be comforted as she was, and little ones like Chance get a shot at life. You can donate through our official Team Parker page here.

Please do it right now.

Thank you for remembering Parker and helping Chance.

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Wining, Women, and Weapons

Posted by on May 06 2014 | Events

Have you noticed that the sun is coming up earlier and staying out later? Well there’s a scientific reason – the Colorado legislative session is drawing to a close. There’s only one day left.

And you can tell it’s an election year because the Democratic controlled legislature did not attack our gun rights, massively increase our power costs with renewable mandates, open our voting system to even more mischief, or put a massive tax increase on the ballot. And hell, Governor Hickenlooper actually vetoed something this year! So, time to celebrate!

Well, around here we’ll use just about anything as an excuse to celebrate (read: “drink”). So next Wednesday, May 14th, the ladies of II are hosting another one of their “Wining with Women” parties (read: “drinking without men around to kill their buzz”). And the ladies’ very special guest speaker (read: “person to make this look like a legit event instead of a bunch of women chugging red wine like Slurpees”) is Julie Gunlock from the Independent Women’s Forum in DC.

Julie runs their Culture of Alarmism Project and is the author of From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back. She’ll talk about how this culture of alarmism is weaving its way into nearly every aspect of our daily lives, making parents worry about common everyday products, food, and healthy activities. Her book encourages all Americans to have some perspective, use common sense, enjoy life, and to reject the culture of alarmism.

And Julie Gunlock’s last name should remind everyone to lock up their firearms before going to any alcohol-fueled event (read: “last time the women around here attacked the liquor cabinet they forced the male interns to do table dances at gun-point”).

RSVP online here or call Su at 303-279-6536, ext. 117.

In other news, we’re looking for some new male interns. To learn about our Future Leader’s Program contact Kait@i2i.org.

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VIDEO: Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily

Posted by on Apr 23 2014 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Events, U.S. Constitution

The Institute for Justice (IJ) fights for the little guy. IJ has a great track record of standing up to government when they refuse the right to earn a living here in the land of opportunity. Clark Neily is a senior attorney for IJ and has been on the front lines fighting for basic economic freedoms that Americans are promised in our constitution. As a result, he’s seen how our courts have failed in protecting our freedoms. In this speech given at the Independence Institute offices on April 16th, Clark discusses his new book, Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government.

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In time for Earth Day: How “green” are Colorado’s green schools?

Posted by on Apr 22 2014 | Environment







April 22, 2014

Contact: Mary MacFarlane, 303-279-6536 ext. 102, Mary@i2i.org


How “Green” Are Colorado’s Green Schools?

Think tank study reveals vagueness when measuring energy efficiency

DENVER, Colo – Many Colorado school districts have at least one “green” school that uses more energy per square foot than the best-performing traditional school in the same district, says a new issue paper published by Colorado’s free-market think tank, the Independence Institute.

When looking at the higher construction and operating costs green schools require compared to traditionally built schools, Todd Myers, Environmental Director at the Washington Policy Center, found that in some cases, green schools are using up to 60 percent more energy than the best performing traditional school.

“On Earth Day, many on the Left confuse environmental symbolism with environmental effectiveness. Too many green schools end up increasing environmental damage and the cost is not only paid by taxpayers and students. The environment also loses as we waste resources on policies that look good instead of where we could really make a difference,” said Myers.
The paper, titled “Colorado Green Schools” is available here.

“We’d encourage all Colorado districts to follow Poudre School District’s lead and do a comparison of energy performance versus cost to see if ‘green’ school buildings live up to their promises,” said Amy Oliver Cooke, Energy Policy Center director.

“We aren’t saying that air conditioning and natural lighting don’t promote a better learning environment for students and teachers,” added Cooke. “But labeling creature comforts as cost-saving, energy-efficient ‘green’ building codes is disingenuous to taxpayers and Mother Nature, as the study proves.”

The Independence Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization based in Denver.


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Calling all entrepreneurs! (And wanna-be entrepreneurs)

Posted by on Apr 16 2014 | Events

Our good friends at Liberty on the Rocks will be hosting an incredible FREE weekend event for all current and aspiring entrepreneurs, here at the Independence Institute offices, May 2-4th. The event is aimed at folks who don’t want to just understand the theories behind free markets and liberty, but want to actually engage the free market in order to advance liberty. Below you’ll find the details of the event from Amanda Muell, President of Liberty on the Rocks and host of the Liberty Lab.

Have you heard about Liberty Lab? It’s the newest how-to-start-a-business-boot camp designed specifically for liberty minded entrepreneurs. Whether you live in Denver or wish to participate remotely, this event is for anyone with an idea for advancing freedom!

Do you have a project or a business idea that you believe will change the world, but don’t know where to start? Or have a project or startup you are looking to grow in a new direction? Liberty Lab is the event you can’t afford to miss – you will even have the chance to win up to $2000 in seed funding. And, it’s free to attend!

Held over the course of three days (and also streamed live online), Liberty Lab is your opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded freedom lovers, while learning how to launch your project from some of the best and brightest liberty minded entrepreneurs in Colorado. Don’t believe me? Here are a few people you will be learning from:

  • Jeff Proctor, Senior Instructor at the Koch Institute
  • Lani Langton, Business Coach at ActionCOACH
  • Brian Watson, President of Northstar Commercial Partners
  • Darrell Hornbacher, CEO of Midas Financial Company

Click HERE to see the full list of speakers, coaches, and mentors.

Spaces are filling up fast, and you don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity. Register today, mark your calendar, and get ready to change the world. And don’t forget to tell your friends!

Can’t make it in person? Register here to participate remotely.

Click Here to Register for your chance at $1500 in Seed Funding**

What: Liberty Lab

When: 05/02/2014 – 05/04/2014

Where: Independence Institute, 727 East 16th Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Why: Individuals, not government, are the answer to societies problems

Who: Hosted by Liberty on the Rocks

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Institute for Justice Event This Wednesday

Posted by on Apr 14 2014 | Events, U.S. Constitution

It isn’t easy being illiterate. My dyslexia makes everything more interesting, just like those dyslexic atheists. They don’t believe in dogs.

Anyway, when my staff emailed me all excited about getting the author of Terms of Engagement to speak here, I said “okay, do it.” You see, I thought they said the author of Terms of Endearment. Seemed like a chick flick to me, but Jack Nicholson was way cool in it so, you know, whatever.

Apparently Terms of Engagement is a book. Who knew?

Clark Neily is a senior attorney for one of the greatest outfits around – the Institute for Justice. He litigates economic liberty, property rights, school choice, First Amendment, and other constitutional cases in both federal and state courts.

Thee new book, which doesn’t even have a forward by Jack Nicholson, argues that judges need to take a lot of the blame for the hard turn to the left our nation has taken. And he offers a solution.

Well, come hear him speak at the Independence Institute offices (727 E. 16th Ave. Denver, CO 80203) this Wednesday, April 16th. Event starts at 5:30p with light refreshments. Did I mention the event is FREE? All you’ve got to do is RSVP either online here or over the phone at 303-279-6536.

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UPDATED! Article V Symposium featuring Rob Natelson

Posted by on Apr 09 2014 | Article V, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, U.S. Constitution, Video

The other day I posted 4 of the 7 videos of the Article V Symposium that Rob Natelson moderated/MC’d. Below you’ll find the 3 missing videos for the whole collection!

Here are Rob’s opening remarks (8 minutes)

Author Bob Berry outlines several amendment ideas (20 minutes)

Michael Farris’ remarks (17 minutes)

Here’s the roundtable discussion (48 minutes)

Senator Kevin Lundberg and Representative Lori Saine’s resolution (13 minutes)

Questions and Answers (33 minutes)

Here’s Mark Meckler’s closing comments (11 minutes)

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Article V Symposium featuring Constitutional Scholar Rob Natelson

Posted by on Apr 07 2014 | Article V, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, U.S. Constitution

Our senior fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence Rob Natelson was asked to be the moderator for this Article V “Convention for Proposing Amendments” symposium. Below you’ll find Rob’s remarks and the rest of the symposium for your viewing pleasure.

Here are Rob’s opening remarks (8 minutes)

Author Bob Berry outlines several amendment ideas (20 minutes)

Here’s the roundtable discussion (48 minutes)

Here’s Mark Meckler’s closing comments (11 minutes)

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April Fools’

Posted by on Apr 01 2014 | Purely Personal

I thought you might get a kick out of our April Fools’ joke press release we sent out today. Since the Left claims every organization that promotes Liberty (including us) is funded by the evil Koch brothers, we thought we should make their dream come true. At least one AP reporter ran with the story on twitter, then had to retract it.









April 1, 2014

Contact: Mary MacFarlane, 303-279-6536 ext. 102, Mary@i2i.org

Independence Institute announces partnership with Koch Brothers

Today the Independence Institute, Colorado’s premiere think tank, is pleased to announce an exciting new chapter in its nearly 30 year history as Charles and David Koch commit to a sizable investment in Colorado.

Jon Caldara, president of Independence, announced, “After months of negotiation with the Koch brothers we have reached an agreement on ownership of the Independence Institute which preserves the integrity and effectiveness of this great free market organization. This arrangement ensures our future and our impact in Colorado.”

Under the terms of the agreement the Koch brothers have invested an undisclosed amount of funding into the Institute, in exchange they will receive 51% ownership of the organization. This will provide Independence with the resources necessary to continue operations and serving the cause of freedom in Colorado.

Caldara said that the change in ownership will not have a sizable change in the operations or the direction of the Institute saying, “We are thrilled about keeping the name “Independence” in the new iteration of our organization.”

Caldara declared that the newly titled “Koch Institute at Independence” pays tribute to our proud history but also points to our new and properly funded future.

The Independence Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization based in Denver.


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Just the Fracking Facts: Hydraulic Fracturing Debate

Posted by on Mar 17 2014 | energy, Events

Just a reminder of our fracking debate coming up this Thursday at the Denver Post building.

Here’s the Facebook event page.


To RSVP online, go here. Or you can call Mary MacFarlane at 303-279-6536, ext. 102.

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