We write about billionaires and their philanthropy almost every day here at IP, and so we’ve been intrigued by Darrell West’s new book, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust.
An amazing interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich by Meg White is at Buzzflash. Kucinich recently introduced articles of impeachment against President Bush for lying us into war. This would have gotten press coverage, except that Angelina Jolie was doing something last week and the press has to prioritize. Luckily, you can go to Buzzflash and read this–
“Where’s our heart here? What is going on that we can’t connect with the suffering of other people?” he asked. “We can’t say, ‘Oh, yeah, we went into a war, they didn’t tell the truth and all these people died. Sorry about that. Pass the Grey Poupon.’ We can’t do that. We cannot become so callous that we don’t care that innocent people are killed. This is what’s driving me.”
Check out the rest of the interview for details of the impeachment, who else signed on, and what the next step will be.
UPDATE: I’m not sure what happened, but the show did not broadcast. Sorry — I’ll let you know when it’s going to be on.
We don’t have cable TV, but luckily I’ll be at work tonight, so if I can convince a bunch of rowdy teenagers to cooperate, we might be able to see this. The show will be broadcast at 5:30 pm on channel 18. It’s a half-hour interview with me conducted by Rebecca Flores-Amado, (scroll down on the linked page to see her bio) in which we discuss what it’s like to start and run a blog and how blogging is part of my larger vision of what it means to be a progressive citizen and a clinical social worker.
Issues discussed in the interview include: the Iraq War and Senator Reed’s response to the President’s current plan, Senator Reed’s plan going forward in conjunction with Senator Levin, the Biden-Gelb plan and its feasibility, concerns regarding the long-term effects of war on American military service personnel, including PTSD, and whether our VA’s are funded to handle the issues, health care and the crisis of the uninsured, Senator Reed’s efforts to fund SCHIP for the state of Rhode Island, the medicare prescription drug benefit and Reed’s support of the proposed changes, education funding from the national level and fulfilling the promise to fund special education under IDEA, addressing the national deficit by stopping the President’s tax cuts, funding alternative energy projects in the US. The interview is approximately 22 minutes long.
Contrary to what the President and other conservatives would have you believe, those who favor a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq do have alternative plans for how to achieve stability. The Iraq Study group provided its recommendations, which include no increase in troops and more efforts at stabilizing the region overall. The full report from the Iraq Study Group is available here. The Center for American Progress also provides a plan for moving forward responsibly in Iraq. Also, Senator Joe Biden has established a plan in conjunction with Leslie Gelb, which calls for creating a sustainable political settlement among the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, including dividing up the region and dividing the oil so that all the sects have access to a certain amount. The US would remain involved in the reconstruction effort but would call on allies in the Mideast to do their part to ensure stability among the sects of Iraqi people. The Biden-Gelb plan is being praised by voices as diverse as Bill O’Reilly, Bill Richardson, and Henry Kissinger.
Today I am meeting with Senator Jack Reed and hope to discuss some of the alternative plans to addressing the Iraq situation. I encourage people to read about these plans and to consider endorsing the Biden plan as a way to let Congress know that Americans are not “surrender monkeys.” We are people who care about our country and about Iraq, and we want to find a way to move forward that will avert further death, trauma, and loss for everyone.
Here is the interview, wherein the following topics were discussed: how education funding has changed since the 1980’s and 90’s, how much of education costs are salary and benefits, the new law which caps education spending, what cuts might be enacted, school closings, merging the comprehensive and college tracks on the high school level, seeking grant funding, contacting state legislators and our federal delegation, merging school districts, merging the city’s school departments with the municipal departments, privatizing of education, merit pay for teachers, medicaid reimbursement for special education.
Times are tough for schools. The funding of our schools, and the reducing of quality in education, is something that nearly every school district in the nation is facing. While there is a perennial tension between schools wanting more and local budgets being loathe to give to them, things have gotten significantly tighter in Rhode Island and in other areas of the country. One reason why things are tighter in Rhode Island is that the state legislature passed a bill this past summer mandating that no school district could increase its budget by more than 5.25 percent.
Mike Traficante, our current School Committee Chair, has a long history of involvement with schools and school funding. He started his career as a teacher, coach, and assistant high school principal, and eventually moved on to become Mayor of Cranston, a position which he held for an astonishing 14 years.
On Wednesday morning, I’ll be sitting down with Chairman Traficante to discuss the circumstances of our local education funding crisis. I’m planning to digitally record the interview and use a cool website called Evoca to upload the interview to the internet for public listening.