Tell the Kansas Legislature that cutting funding to our public schools is unacceptable.
Just 48 hours ago released her proposed budget. Schools were not exempt from sharing in the pain. While school funding remains at the same level approved for the current year under Governor Sebelius' budget, it in no way means that school funding has not taken a cut. Schools will have to use the same amount of money for more pupils and pupils with greater needs.
Folks, I'm afraid this is about as good as it gets.
However, many GOP lawmakers are calling for deeper cuts. They don't even want to look for ways to minimize the impact on schools. Apparently across the board cuts are much easier.
"The quick way to fill a hole is across the board" - ~ Topeka Capitol Journal, Jan. 15, 2008
It took them almost 10 years to fund public schools, even after a court order. We can't understand why they can't wait and give careful consideration to the budget and possible help that is on the way from the federal government.
SENATE WAYS AND MEANS
Senator Jay Emler, Chairperson firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Ty Masterson email@example.com
The Acts of Change
Abbie McCeney writes for The Coloradoan: "My grandfather, Jonathan Brown Sutin (Papa), was approximately the age of 25 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fighting toward African-American rights. King fought tirelessly for voting rights, educational rights and overall respect, as did Papa. King brought hope to his fellow people and gave them courage to stand up to people who disrespected them. What King and my grandfather both hoped for the most was change." Her commentary is one of the winning entries in an Matrin Luther King Day essay and poetry contest honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
The Power of Nonviolence
Last spring The Nation Institute sponsored a forum at the Society for Ethical Culture in New York City on "Gandhi, King and the Power of Nonviolence: Alternatives to Force in the 21st Century." The participants were Jonathan Schell, The Nation's Peace and Disarmament correspondent, author of The Fate of the Earth and most recently, The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger; and Taylor Branch, author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning three-volume history of the Martin Luther King era. The moderator was the writer Suzannah Lessard. What follows is an edited transcript of the discussion.
Cease Fire, Cease Siege
Former Community Bridge guest, Kathy Kelly writes for Truthout: "Yesterday, en route to the Rafah border crossing that leads into Gaza, our driver pointed to a long line of trucks laden with goods that are desperately needed in every area of Gaza. 'You see,' he said, 'all of this is to help people.' Generous people, around the world, want Gazans to have food, shelter, fuel, medicine and water while the Israeli military ruthlessly attacks their homes and neighborhoods. The aid shipments will surely save lives and ease affliction. Nevertheless, this relief will meet only a fraction of the need."
What's CIA Director Hayden Hidin?
Ray McGovern, who appeared on Community Bridge last October, writes for Common Dreams: "Outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden is going around town telling folks he has warned President-elect Barack Obama 'personally and forcefully' that if Obama authorizes an investigation into controversial activities like waterboarding, 'no one in Langley will ever take a risk again'"
Sources: Obama Ready to Ban Harsh Interrogations
Lara Jakes and Pamela Hess write for The Associated Press: "President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two US officials familiar with drafts of the plans. Still under debate is whether to allow exceptions in extraordinary cases."
Obama's Stimulus Plan Is Only Half a Loaf
Steven Hill writes for Truthout: "Imagine a place where doctors still do house calls. Or where child care is affordable, professional and widely available. Or where all new parents are paid to stay home and care for their newborns and they receive a monthly stipend to pay for diapers, food and other daily needs."
Budget Office Estimates Bailout to Exceed $64 Billion
Paul Keil reports for ProPublica: "In a report today, the Congressional Budget Office tried to put a price tag on the bailout  (PDF) through the end of last year. The answer: $64 billion. That's what the office projects the 'subsidy cost' of the Treasury Department's actions through Dec. 31 to be. As of Dec. 31, the Treasury Department had invested or lent $247 billion. The subsidy cost, according to the report, is 'the difference between what the Treasury paid for the investments or lent to the firms and the market value of those transactions.'"
Can Labor Revive the American Dream?
Esther Kaplan writes for The Nation: "The financial markets are in tatters, consumer spending is anemic and the recession continues to deepen, but corporate America is keeping its eyes on the prize: crushing organized labor. The Center for Union Facts, a business front group, has taken out full-page ads in newspapers linking SEIU president Andy Stern to the Rod Blagojevich scandal. The Chamber of Commerce is capitalizing on the debate over the Big Three bailout to claim that 'unions drove the auto companies off the cliff,' while minority leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators insist on steep wage cuts. A December 10 Republican strategy memo revealed their central obsession: 'Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor,' the memo read. 'This is a precursor to card check' - a clear reference to the Employee Free Choice Act."
Coverage of Economy Repeats Iraq mistakes
Jamison Foser writes for Media Matters: "Barack Obama is still nearly 100 hours away from becoming the 44th president of the United States, and already some in the media are looking ahead to the next election. CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider wonders, 'How long will the voters give President Barack Obama to turn the economy around?' Looking back at Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Schneider finds that 'Obama can expect midterm grades in two years, and final grades at the end of four. Another conclusion: Grades are based on many subjects, not just the economy.'"
Why Citi Turned Around on Mortgage "Cramdowns"
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "Could it be that Citi's Pandit knew last week that he'd soon need even more help from Congress than the $45 billion bailout the bank already received?"
Ray LaHood and Changing Our Thinking about Transportation
Alex Steffen writes for Worldchanging: "Soon, the U.S. Senate will hold a confirmation hearing on the president-elect's choice of Ray LaHood for Secretary of Transportation. No one expects that hearing to be anything but easy for LaHood. That's too bad, because it shows that when it comes to greening the stimulus, we're not only missing the forest for the trees, we're not even seeing the trees right."
Agriculture Nominee Vilsack: Supporter of Genetic Engineering and Corporate Farming
Environmental News Service: "Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack had no problem winning over both Democrat and Republican members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee during his confirmation hearing today, but he has not done as well with the growers and consumers of organic foods."
Bush Tarnishes Medal of Freedom by Bestowing It on Uribe
Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, writes: "Bush keeps outdoing himself on his way out the door. On Tuesday, he gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Alvaro Uribe, the head of Colombia. Uribe has had close ties with rightwing paramilitary squads. And his government is a notorious human rights abuser."
Midnight Regs: Nearing the End Game
Jesse Nankin reports for ProPublica: "With just a few days left, the Bush administration is still implementing midnight regulations -- and we're still bird-dogging them. Today's update includes two additions to our chart and a decision from the Environmental Protection Agency that concerns a rule on a contaminant found in drinking water."
The Party of No Ideas
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "Would it be rude to ask whether the Republicans have any new proposals to save the country from this worsening recession? The question arises not because anyone expects the minority party to burst forth with creative ideas, but because conservatives in Congress and the media seem so determined to thwart or stall the economic stimulus plans of President-elect Barack Obama."
Trading in "Barefoot and Pregnant" for Economic nad Reproductive Justice
Gloria Feldt comments for the Women's Media Center: "Arkansas State Senator Paul Van Dalsem got a roaring laugh in 1963 at the then all-male Optimist Club when he railed at women lobbying to improve educational opportunities for African Americans. He said his home county’s solution would be to get an uppity woman an extra milk cow. 'And if that’s not enough, we get her pregnant and keep her barefoot.' Fast forward to January 2009. The relevance of barefoot and pregnant remains central to an inclusive and just America. Economic parity and reproductive justice are still intertwined, not only in the lives of individual women; they are indivisibly connected to our economic recovery as well."
Why Gene Robinson Is too Little, too Late
Nancy Goldstein writes for Salon: "Finally: Nearly four weeks and tons of negative press since Barack Obama announced his choice of the popular -- and notoriously homophobic and anti-Semitic -- evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration, Team Obama has gone into damage control mode. Monday morning they announced that Obama has also invited the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop in 2003, to deliver the invocation for Sunday's kickoff inaugural event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."
Gay but Equal?
Mary Frances Berry, the chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 to 2004, in this piece calls for the creation of a "new, independent human and civil rights commission" that would take a hard look at rectifying the lack of equal rights for gays and other minorities. "A number of explosive issues like immigration reform await such a commission, but recommendations for resolving the controversies over the rights of gays, lesbians and transgendered people should be its first order of business," Berry writes.
Obama this is UNACCEPTABLE: Rick Warren Invokes Hilter Youth
Lisa Derrick writes for Firedoglake: "I know I have been on and on about Rick Warren and his loathing of homosexuals, his utter conviction that man and dinosaurs once frolicked together, that he doesnt think abused spouses should divorce because it's not in the Bible, and his support of crazed African pastors."