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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Monmouth-Roseville School Board Meeting Tonight

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If you wish to voice your concerns about the “Wacky Wednesday” changes in the school calendar for the 2012-2013 school year, please come to the M-R 238 School Board meeting tonight at 7 PM.  The meeting as the District Office in the old Willits School, 105 North E Street.  Don’t be late – the time allotted for public commentary is at the beginning of the meeting.

Lessons in Government Transparency by Douglas Adams

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“But the plans were on display . . .”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a torch.”
“Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard.”

If you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, do yourself a favor and go get it NOW.  I’m going to recommend it to the Monmouth-Roseville District 238 School Board when I speak to them on April 17.

Monmouth-Roseville School Board Needs a Lesson in Open Government

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I went back to the Monmouth-Roseville school district website to see what information was available regarding the March 13 meeting.  The minutes aren’t yet published online, but the agenda was available.

I read through the agenda.  The first thing that I noticed is that the public input session is at the beginning of the meeting.  So, unless specifics of the meeting are published beforehand, the public doesn’t have a chance to comment on anything being discussed and voted on in that particular meeting.  We only have an opportunity to get up and complain after the fact, which is what I’ll be doing at the April 17 meeting.

Secondly, there was NO information published in the agenda about the proposed “Wacky Wednesday” schedule change for the 2012-2013 school year.  The recommendation for this schedule change came out of the District Goals Committee, and this is all that was published in the agenda:

10.2 District Goals Committee Report to Board
Committee Co-Chairs Presentation
Recommendations
This agenda item is intended for information only. No board action is anticipated,
but the board may act upon information presented if they so move.

Does anyone see a heads-up that the council is going to be voting on a schedule change for the 2012-2013 school year?  I sure don’t.  There’s no information at all.

So far, Bobbi Uddin, who voted against the schedule change, is the only school board member who has responded to my email.  I think there are some Monmouth-Roseville school board members who need a lesson in open government.

Attack of the Gerrymander

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My voting tendencies are liberal, especially for rural Illinois.  I usually vote for Democratic candidates.  Yet I find the proposed Illinois redistricting map an obscenity, and the arrogance involved in creating it astonishing in its disregard for our country’s democratic principles.

Capitol Fax has a thorough summary.  Harry Bulkeley has fired off a rant that I actually agree with, although if the shoe were on the other foot and Republicans controlled redistricting, I’m certain that we’d simply have a clutch of red gerrymanders instead of the blue ones we have now.  “To the victor belong the spoils” a la Andrew Jackson.

When are we going to stop letting our elected officials brazenly abuse the system like this?

Written by Matthew

May 30, 2011 at 6:00 am

Contra Bulkeley Re: Asking the Right Question

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Harry Bulkeley thinks we’re not asking the right question in regards to the debate over the federal budget.  For him, the only important question is “Do we have any money to pay for______?” And the answer, according to Mr. Bulkeley, ‘is a clear and resounding “NO!!”’

First off, the discretionary spending being discussed in his editorial accounts for something like 12% of the federal budget.  So Mr. Bulkeley – along with the President, the Congress, and most media outlets – ignore the other 78% of the budget because they don’t want to touch those political hot potatoes (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and defense spending).  It’s cowardice and our children deserve better.

Secondly, cuts in social programs today often lead to GREATER costs down the line.  For instance, if you cut funding for preventive mental health services, the people benefiting from those services don’t just disappear.  They end up in emergency rooms and jails, which are far more expensive and far less effective means of addressing their needs.  Worse, people who were once able to function, hold jobs, pay taxes & provide income for their families are no longer able to do so.  So yes, absolutely, it’s better to send out the government collectors plate to preserve programs like that rather than ax them for short term improvements in the balance sheet.  You may save a dime today, but you’ll spend a thousand dollars tomorrow.

What we can’t afford is the conservative social engineering started by that Republican deity Ronald Reagan that shoots money like a geyser UP the social ladder, concentrating wealth & power among the super-rich top 0.1% while everyone else gets screwed.  Why is the social security payroll tax capped at incomes a little over $100K?  Why do the rich get to pay only a 15% tax rate because most of their income is from capital gains?  Republicans are even trying to kill the estate tax by playing it off as a small business killing “death tax” in a horrifically disingenuous propaganda campaign.

These policies all serve to create a new American aristocracy with wealth & power concentrated in the hands of a few.  The heroes of the American Revolution fought & bled & died to break away from the tyranny of the British aristocracy.  Aristocracy is the enemy of democracy, not socialism.  I fear most Americans won’t realize that until it’s far too late.

I agree – ask the right questions.  Harry Bulkeley and most of the folks commenting on his editorial are NOT.

Written by Matthew

March 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Senate Ends Practice of Secret Holds

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On January 27, the U.S. Senate voted 92-4 to end the practice of secret holds.  Secret holds allowed one Senator to gum up legislation or the approval of a nominee – all anonymously.  This was an enormous overstep of governance, and I’m glad to see that the practice has been stopped.

It’s interesting to note the Senators who voted against the rule change ending secret holds: Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim DeMint (R- SC), and John Ensign (R-NV).  All are right-wing extremists, and DeMint and Ensign are two of the most corrupt politicians in Washington.  It amazes me that Rand Paul, the love child of the Tea Party Patriots and the Hero of Libertarianism (Ron Paul), voted to preserve this easily abused Senatorial power.

Also interesting is the list of Senators voting “present” on this resolution: Kay Hutchison (R-TX), John McCain (R-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Daniel Inouye (D-HI).  I’d like to see them interviewed regarding their reasons behind that vote.

Hat Tip: Solomon Kleinsmith.

Moment of Silence Returns

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Like a zombie that just won’t quit, the moment of silence is back in our public schools.  The waste of time, money & ink on this issue appalls me.  How is 15 seconds of silence going to further the education of our children?  Do conservatives really think that this will bring the children of Illinois closer to God?  Do the people who came up with this collective kumbaya think that it will somehow solve all the problems of our broken education system?

UGH.

Written by Matthew

January 21, 2011 at 7:36 am