Imagine that you work for a relatively small company. One fine Friday in Spring you go to pick up your paycheck, and the owner of the company asks you to sign this:

I agree to use none of my paycheck from XYZ LLC to purchase novels in the Twilight or 50 Shades series. If I am found to own such books, I agree to show that they were not purchased with salary funds (i.e., gift) or face immediate termination.

You might say “What’s this?”

The owner might reply “Those books are sinful, and I won’t allow my money to be spent on them.”

“But it isn’t your money anymore. It’s my money,” you say.

“And you wouldn’t have it if I didn’t give it to you. Now, are you going to sign this, or are you fired?”

I think most of us would be outraged if this happened — even if we never had any desire to read those books. If it were an option, some of us might find other jobs (ha, yeah right, what other jobs?). A few of us might call a local investigative reporter to stick a microphone in that owner’s face. Somebody might think to call the ACLU.

It’s not an accident that I chose two controversial series with a largely female fan base. That’s because the thing some employers are actually trying to censor is access to birth control pills.

The employers trying to do this are using the exact same argument: “It’s sinful and I won’t allow my money to be spent on it.” It sounds a lot siller when we talk about books rather than medication that can prevent poverty and can relieve women of PCOS and endometriosis symptoms — making them more productive workers.

Obamacare requires health insurance plans to cover birth control pills, regardless of what your boss thinks of them. If you think that’s a good thing, click here and sign the petition.

I think I have a better idea….

So Clark County School District — the 5th largest school district in the nation — has a “successful” pilot of a program to keep track of students on school busses. Parents can theoretically find out whether their kids got on the bus, and where the bus is. Roughly 700 of the 110,000 students who daily ride the bus got special ID cards and were tracked for 4 whole weeks. Clearly something short of a representative sample. However, “because of financial problems, the district has shelved any large-scale program.”

Good for administrators for realizing that there were concerns about losing passes, and concerns about the costs of the system.

However, here’s the thing. There’s already a great technology in the hands of many middle school students and virtually all high school students that parents can use to keep track of their kids. Better yet, there is absolutely zero cost to the school district for this technology; most parents willingly — nay, eagerly — pay for implementation and all necessary equipment. I personally tested it for 4 years within the Clark County School District Transportation Department, and I feel certain that other parents here and elsewhere have similar experiences. In one case, I was even alerted to a wreck involving the school bus. This of course not only delayed pickup, but changed the pickup location. Use of this amazing technology saved the school district the time and expense of individual notifications to parents in most cases.

It’s called a cell phone.

Stop trying to reinvent the wheel, and stop pretending that a child’s RFID tag is necessarily in the same location as the child.

In closing: good call; inconvenient truth for anti-porn crusaders; Heinlein; I guess none of the researchers ever played the “telephone game”, or they could have saved a lot of research; so some busybody docs and pharmacists think they know more about women’s reproductive health than gynecologists; support a political cartoonist; hackers, crackers, and black swans; Expert Ezra; what could possibly go wrong; income inequality; the Buffett Rule; sure, there’s no such thing as inflation; and Cat Heaven Island. Enjoy an early Caturday.