Day: February 18, 2011

The Abuse Of Teachers: A Crime Against Knowledge, Education And The Younger Generation! :(

The teaching profession is an honorable commitment by millions of men and women at all levels from prekindergarten through college and graduate school, and no one goes into the profession expecting to become wealthy!

Rather, they are mostly idealists who love the world of knowledge and wish to impart their enthusiasm for knowledge to the younger generation. They sacrifice the possibility of acquiring wealth because they are drawn to the wish to affect the future in a non profit way.

They should expect respect and dignity from their supervisors, from parents and students, from politicians, from the news media, and from the corporate world!

After all, corporate chief executive officers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, engineers, professors, police officers, nurses, social workers, fire fighters, and EVERYONE ELSE not specifically mentioned, ALL are educated by teachers at all levels.

It is outrageous that conservatives and Republicans have the gall to insult and deprecate our teachers, who are unable to support their families as it is because of low wages compared to their educational preparation, and often have to work at second jobs to survive, but still are committed to do good for their students and for society!

It is about time that the vicious attack on the teaching profession come to an end, and we start treating teachers with dignity, decent pay and working conditions, and honor those who have a greater impact, much of the time, than do parents on the development and success of their children!

The Presidential Medal Of Freedom Awards For 2010

President Obama has chosen 15 Americans for the Medal of Freedom, and they were honored at a White House ceremony three days ago.

It was, as always, a special moment, but particularly special in the mind of the author.

This is because his childhood baseball hero, Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals, who has just reached 90 years of age, was one of the honorees. It brought back memories of childhood and the thrill of watching “Stan The Man” perform flawlessly on a baseball field! 🙂

But also among the honorees was former President George H W Bush, basketball great Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, former AFL CIO labor leader John Sweeney, poet Maya Angelou, and President Kennedy’s sister and sole survivor of the Kennedy generation of nine children, Jean Kennedy Smith, who also served as Ambassador to Ireland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was honored as well, along with Billionaire Warren Buffett, Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein, American artist Jasper Johns, National Resources Defense Council environmental founder John H. Adams, and humanitarian Tom Little who was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan while providing vision care to local citizens.

As Obama said, this is one of the most enjoyable perks of being President of the United States, to honor those who have done so much good for the nation! 🙂

The Long Range Significance Of Wisconsin! Survival Of The Middle Class, Public Education, And Democracy!

The Wisconsin labor struggle is a battle against corporate interests who wish to destroy the working middle class’s right to collective bargaining and labor representation. It is a calculated attempt of conservatives, Tea Party Movement, and Republicans (who have always hated and opposed labor rights) to diminish the middle class and destroy public education, the only way for upward social mobility in this society!

The labor movement helped to create the middle class, but it had to face entrenched business and conservative interests in the 19th century and in the 20th century. Now, in the 21st century, it faces new attempts to take away the hard earned rights and benefits that generations of workers struggled for, earned by the sweat of their brow, and deserve respect and dignity for their commitment to their work.

Every social movement in this country has required marches, demonstrations, lawsuits, and civil disobedience to win support–including the anti slavery movement, the women suffrage struggle, the recognition of labor rights, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, and the gay rights battle!

It is appropriate that Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Republican Party in 1854 at Ripon, and which had a platform of opposition to the expansion of slavery and included abolitionists in its midst; and also the birthplace of the progressive movement in Madison with the election of Governor Robert LaFollette, Sr in 1900–is the “ground zero” location of the new fight for labor rights and the survival of the middle class and public education!

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin might be intransigent, but those opposed to his use of fear and hysteria–just as the GOP has always been good at utilizing, as in the Red Scare led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the manipulation of September 11 to promote the Iraq War–must not give in, and must continue the struggle, and it must be fought in Florida, Ohio, New Jersey and elsewhere with no surrender, as it will determine the future of the American middle class and the survival of a society that can still be termed a democracy!

The Conservative Attack On Michelle Obama’s Anti Obesity And Breast Feeding Campaign: The Accusation Of A “Nanny State”! :(

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy promoted Physical Fitness as a national goal, and no one complained that it was inappropriate intervention in the life of American families to do so.

Now, however, the Tea Party Movement and conservative “family” groups are condemning First Lady Michelle Obama for promoting good eating habits and encouraging breast feeding for new mothers as ways to promote good health in children. She is being accused of promoting a “nanny” state, having the government tell citizens what to do with their bodies, and what to ingest. To suggest vegetables, and to avoid sugar and fatty food, is seen as interfering with the rights of parents to bring up their children in the way they see fit.

Interesting, the word “fit” being used here, when one considers that a large percentage of American children are likely to have diabetes and other diseases, and are right now overweight in larger percentages than ever before. If children are not encouraged to eat well, and exercise, the health care bill in the future will be astronomical because of poor parenting, as it is parents who should be held responsible for insuring that their children are fed well and get exercise.

What it comes down to is whatever the President or the First Lady advocate, they will be attacked, and a lot of it has to do, sadly, with the refusal of many to accept that we have an intelligent, educated, attractive First Couple, who happen to be African American! 🙁

It is hilarious to think that a pill drug addict and overweight (tremendously) talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, and an alcoholic and drug addicted talk show host, Glenn Beck, are the leading critics of the First Lady promoting good health habits! 🙁

But even Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, both of whom are mothers, would rather ridicule and criticize on this matter, than join in promoting good eating and exercise habits! 🙁

What a sad commentary on the political scene in 2011! 🙁

The Move Is On: RECALL RICK SCOTT As Governor Of Florida!

Florida Governor Rick Scott has managed to alienate just about everyone in seven weeks in office, with his outrageous budget proposals that would destroy the Florida Retirement System and demonstrate total disrespect for the hard work and sacrifices of Florida’s public servants; his arrogance toward the news media and refusal to communicate with the public; and now his rejection of $2.4 billion for a high speed rail project from Orlando to Tampa, as part of the federal commitment to the future of transportation in the United States.

He has succeeded in alienating not just labor, progressives and Democrats, but his own party in the state legislature, which although more than two thirds Republican in both houses, has witnessed shock, dismay and anger at this man who ran against the Republican establishment, basically “bought” the governorship with a $73 million personal fortune investment in the campaign, and now seems not interested in working in a cooperative manner with state Republican leaders.

It is now clear that the legislature, when it meets in March and April, will NOT go along with much of what Governor Scott wishes to impose on the state. With his scandalous and corrupt involvement in Medicare scams in the 1990s, and now his hard line stubbornness and insistence on things being done his way, there will be major battles within his own party as to the direction of the state and its finances!

And now there is the beginning of whispers and more about the idea of passing a state law allowing recall of state officials, something not allowed in the Florida Constitution, but permitted in 18 other states.

If the legislation, proposed by a Democratic state legislator were to be adopted, there would be a four month period to circulate petitions, with signatures required in all 67 counties. At least 15 percent of the total number of votes in the last election would have to be gained. All state officials, including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and state cabinet officials could be recalled.

Since Scott won the Governorship by only about 50,000 votes statewide, it would seem likely that if a recall campaign was mounted, that it would be likely to succeed, because one must remember, many Republicans in the legislature and statewide are clearly uncomfortable with the arrogance and abusive manner of Rick Scott!

Recall is a progressive reform first adopted in Wisconsin under the great progressive governor, Robert LaFollette, Sr. in the early 20th century, and the voice of the people should be heard, not only in Florida, but also in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Texas, and other states where the Republican governors are acting in an arrogant, abusive way which harms the states and the citizens they are supposed to serve!