You will weaken the Presidency/administration in a time of war/crisis/national emergency
An outsider cannot understand
You will take away the motivation to take risks
... and you can offer your own version . . .
It is the excuse not to public identify wrongdoers or to be subject to outside oversight or to allow criminal investigation and prosecution
The claim is that to do so will weaken the Police Force / Church / Military / Business / Organization
The claim is wrong. And failure to fully investigate and expose weakens the institution, because it inevitably leads to an arrogance and the same or similar behavior continues, or happens again. . . and again . . . and again. . .
apologies - somehow forgot to crosspost this here on time, as you can tell by the title, but it is an appropriate followup to my last diary here
It is 4:30 in the morning. I am packing, dressing, and about to leave for my 2nd and final day of the Mission of Mercy project in Roanoke, where I will spend from 6 to 3 or so in dental triage. As I was going to sleep last night I came to several realizations which I wish to share.
posted at Daily Kos, Blue Virginia, and Blue Commonwealth
I sit in a house of a friend, in Roanoke County, VA, having just finished the first of two days of volunteering at yet another Mission of Mercy, the free dental projects put on by the Virginia Dental Society, this at the Civic Center in the city of Roanoke. Yes, as of this week, we have new laws revising health insurance coverage in this nation. Yet the need for care for many remains unaddressed, and will remain unaddressed for some time to come. After all, we still insist on separating dental health from general health. The changes in health insurance by themselves do little to address the crisis of dental health, or the lack thereof, for many in this country.
I am neither a dental or a medical professional. I volunteer in dental triage, helping with paperwork and patient flow so that the volunteer dentists with whom I work can devote more of their time to patient care. I have done so in Wise VA in July, Grundy in October, and Springfield 2 weeks ago. And I will return to Wise in July, which is why I will for the first time not be at our annual gathering, this the 5th back at the site of the 1st in Las Vegas.
I have a few thoughts to offer below the fold, which I invite you to read.
Taxes are being raised. Draconian cuts in services are being made. Public employees are being fired. The tissue-thin national economic recovery is being undermined. And in many cases, the most vulnerable populations - the sick, the elderly, the young and the poor - are getting badly hurt.
What, you say, Obama isn't raising taxes, not even on the wealthy.
Not yet. And that is not the issue. Because the quote, the 2nd paragraph is Bob Herbert's column this morning, is about state governments, and local governments, and especially schools. Believe me, I know.
I am, after all, a school teacher. Our system is cutting over 200 teaching jobs. Those on 12 or 11th month contract are being furloughed for 10 days, those on 10 months (most teachers including me) for 5.
And that was announced BEFORE we found out that further cuts are forthcoming in the state funding for our districts.
But this is not about me, or other teachers. It is about children, about the sick and the elderly, about the least well off. And more.
That is the first line of a remarkable op ed in Friday's Washington Post. The author is the former Anglican Archbishop of South Africa, Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, and in In Africa, a step backward on human rights he excoriates mistreatment of gays in Kenya, an he takes apart proposed legislation in countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi that are horrid in their approach towards gays. As the Archbishop puts it,
These are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa.
for human rights - not gay rights, but human rights.
He is correct, which is why everyone should know what this man of God has to offer on this subject. I also think his words are far broader than the immediate issue which is their occasion.
Today is a Friday. Normally I would have just completed a day with my students. Instead I have done something at least as important as teach. I have just returned from a day of volunteering in dental triage at the Mission of Mercy event at the Medical College of Northern Virginia Community College in Springfield. This is my third time, the first at a dental only event (those at Wise and Grundy were held in conjunction with Remote Area Medical).
Springfield is in Fairfax County, a wealthy jurisdiction of the DC metro area, a community very different from those of rural Appalachia in which I had previously volunteered.
And yet, the need was just as great as in Wise and in Grundy.
I ask that you continue reading as I share my impressions of the day.
It is a Saturday morning. By yesterday afternoon I was so exhausted I left school without some of what I need to plan, albeit only for Thursday and Friday for my AP classes. When I got home I was too tired to sleep - the conflict between desperately needing sleep and being unable to fall asleep. So I began to reflect, a process that continued subconsciously when I finally slept, and during the two times I awoke during that almost ten hour before I awoke a short time ago.
Reflection can be a deliberate process, a slowing down, stepping back, examination of things about oneself, around oneself. My training as a teacher has always included that as an essential element. It can also be something else - a not fully rational process, something operating almost in the background while one is in the midst of doing other things, but which arises and insists on full attention when one ceases the activities which have kept in in the background.
I find I now want my reflection to be deliberate. For that to happen, I write. So it is this morning. Hence this diary.
Here's what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning's position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief "doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work."
So Kyl is against the social safety net unemployment compensation provides. And ignores the fact that one can be seeking work but unless there are jobs incentives and disincentives are irrelevant. Which is why wee need stimuli and jobs packages.
Oh wait, he opposes those as well?
As usual with our favorite recent Nobel economist, there is more. I urge you to read his column. I will explore a wee bit more, and offer a bit of commentary of my own.
You are walking down the street. You are stopped, ordered to spread, frisked by police, your identity checked, and questioned. There was no probable cause to stop you, this is a random check. You are found carrying no weapons or drugs, your identity does not bring up any hits on wants or warrants.
So other than the indignity - visited far more often on young Black and Hispanic men than anyone else - other than the demeaning nature of the encounter, it's over, right?
WRONG. All of your biographical information will now be stored indefinitely by the New York City police in a data base
"used primarily by department investigators during the course of a criminal investigation"
according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
If you are not shocked by this, why not? Whether or not you are, you should read Bob Herbert's column today, Watching Certain People, which will be the basis of this posting.
My support for NCLB remained strong until November 30, 2006. I can pinpoint the date exactly because that was the day I realized that NCLB was a failure.
This is a book review. Those words appear on p.99, which however odd a starting point is critical. I learned about this event contemporaneously from the late Gerald Bracey, who informed some of us by email and many more in this Huffington Post blog. At a conference at the American Enterprise Institute called to answer the question of whether No Child Left Behind was working, we learn from Bracey
Charged with summarizing the day, former assistant secretary of education for Bush I, Diane Ravitch, declared that the answer to the conference title's question was clearly, "No!"
then something that should be included, for teachers and administrators, as well as students, are these words:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
We think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.
They were written by Robert Jackson, as part of the opinion of the Court, in the 1943 (note the date) case of WEST VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ET AL. v. BARNETTE ET AL., 319 U.S. 624. And recent events in a school in the DC suburb makes it clear why everyone should know about this case.
All the fear-mongering talk of "nationalizing" 17 percent of the economy is nonsense. Government, through Medicare and Medicaid, is already administering almost half of American health care and doing so with less waste than the private sector. Per capita Medicare costs for common benefits grew 4.9 percent between 1998 and 2008, against 7.1 percent for private insurers. Why not offer Medicare as a choice - a choice - to everyone? Aren't Republicans about choice?
After nearly a year without work, Gary LaPlante was happy to take a three-week construction job. What he didn't know was that the job would cost him more than two-thirds of his benefits when he went back on unemployment.
So begins this Boston Globe story, titled as is this posting, and subtitled Temporary wages lower the calculation for unemployment benefits. Why?
Workers who seek to renew their benefits for a second year - not uncommon during this recession - are finding that their new benefits are based on their most recent wages, even if it was low pay for temporary or part-time work.
In this case LaPlante saw his benefits slashed from more than $600/wk to $178/week.
Which leads me to the following observation: When a government policy discourages people from from taking responsibility for themselves, that policy needs to be reconsidered.
I sit in my living room on a day when I expected to see my students for the first time after a ten-day absence due to weather. Not to be - yesterday evening we were informed that students were not coming to school today, although all staff are required to be there on a two-hour delay - in a sense this is a make-up day for last Friday, which was to be a professional day for teachers. Yet the lateness of the decision will cause major problems in our school, because today was to be the makeup day for our science fair - originally schedule for last Wednesday - and I now wonder about our ability to get anything close to the normal compliment of outside judges our fair normally draws, an important part of the experience for a school that has within the past decade had the national winner.
I worry about my students, for the loss of continuity in their education. And with time to reflect, I also worry on their behalf for the loss of continuity in our governance. Only weather is less of an excuse for the Congress and Administration.. And the damage it done to the future of those students - who are the future of this nation - is potentially far greater than one school year with excessive disruptions due to weather.
Six anti-nuclear activists climbed over an outer fence at Kleine Brogel Air Base, then cut their way through a pair of inner fences, and wandered around the "highly secure'' base for up to an hour, tracking a route through the snow of more than one kilometer, and ultimately coming within yards of the storage bunker where the nukes are held - all this before being challenged by a guard. They videotaped their unimpeded walk-through of one of the most "secure'' compounds in the world. Guards finally arrested them and confiscated their camera, but, in yet another show of ineptitude, not before the activists were able to remove its video-card. They posted their caper on YouTube.
And yet, this is a base at which similar entries have been attempted regularly for many years by an anti-nuclear group called Bombspotting
Let me offer more from Carroll, and some observations of my own, but first:
It won't matter to the likes of Sen. Inhofe, who has his grandkids build an igloo next to the Capitol and label it "Al Gore's New Home." Bill McKibben is realistic about that.
And for those who want to harp on emails and some errors in isolation, it probably also won't matter, although as McKibben reminds us,
The British newspaper the Guardian just concluded a huge series on the "Climategate" e-mails with the words: "The world is still warming. Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it."
But for those who are sane, whose minds are not already closed, McKibben's Washington Post op ed, Washington's snowstorms, brought to you by global warming, is a well-written piece, chock full of the material which will reinforce the seriousness of global climate change, aka global warming, as something reinforced, not undercut, by what happened where I live in the past 9 days.
According a report on social mobility published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], the United States ranks pretty poorly among industrialized nations on intergenerational advancement-that is, the ability to transcend the socioeconomic class, income level, and educational attainment of your family. So that whole bootstraps thing? It looks like that quintessential self-made man is more at home in Norway than Our Town.
Those words are from a piece by Michelle Chen in Racewire. In Moving On Up and Hitting a Wall: Social Mobility in the U.S. and Europe she summarized a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on mobility or immobility across generations, If we are concerned about the future of this nation, we should pay attention to this report: it should remind us yet again that the opportunity to move from one social/economic class to another, something that has been an important characteristic of our society, at least in theory, is rapidly diminishing.
I will explore both Chen's piece and the report to which she refers, and offer a few thoughts of my own.
LATHROP, Calif. - Drive along foreclosure alley, through new planned communities that look like tile-roofed versions of a 21st century ghost town, and you see what happens when people gamble with houses instead of casino chips.
So begin a powerful blog post in the Opinionator page of The New York Times. Written by Timothy Egan, it has a simple title: Slumburbia. The next paragraph reads
Dirty flags advertise rock-bottom discounts on empty starter mansions. On the ground, foreclosure signs are tagged with gang graffiti. Empty lots are untended, cratered with mud puddles from the winter storms that have hammered California's San Joaquin Valley.
and my title is a one-line paragraph that follows immediately.
There are some lessons to be drawn from what Egan describes. Hopefully we are all paying attention.
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