Archive for June 18, 2012
I went down to join Progressive Iowa and local Quad Citians protesting the appearance of Willard Milton Romney in Davenport today. About 30 citizens showed up, but of course in this land of free speech we were so far removed from where the actual event would take place that no one aside from TV cameras could see us.
There was an hour or more between the end of the protest and Romney’s appearance. Reminder: the day was hot and the wind howling at a horrendous pace. I decided to drive around downtown Davenport to see where the Romney event was. Google map had it about 5 blocks from where it actually occurred.
I was sad to see Davenport kind of run down, but I am getting used to seeing once proud towns hurting because of the new Walmart and the lack of revenue. I was unable to find the location, so decided to come home. I drove down River Street and low and behold, Romney signs. I followed the signs and found the venue.
If I was picking the most ironic place for a Mitt Romney speech, I could have done no better than his own staff did – right next to the gambling boat. I wonder yet if they have figured this one out yet?
As I drove in I saw a handful of protesters. Figuring if I could find a parking spot, I’d go talk with them. When I did find a parking spot, it was right near the move-on.org “Team RomneyMobile” – a Cadillac Escalade covered with corporate logos and a stuffed dog tied on top. I spoke briefly with the “Team”, thanking them for their work. They will be following the Romney bus around the Midwest.
I then joined the 4 protestors. They got some dirty looks and some yells from afar. Only one guy bothered to go face to face. He spoke of how proud he was to be rich and we said congratulations. He went on, we ignored him and last I saw he got turned around and was headed out. Oh, well.
We had several Ron Paul supporters come by and about half a dozen who said they backed Obama.
It was after 4 and no Romney. I was hot and tired of the wind, so I decided to leave. I was able to drive by the “crowd.” My guess is 300 to 400. Pretty sparse, but then there was never many going in. Not much for a metro area of @300,000.
As I left I chuckled about the crowd, but then caught myself. These appearances are just for show. The Republican plan to win involves billions of dollars of commercials and maybe some well-placed vote counting software.
This Week On The Fallon Forum: LGBT Vote, Latino Vote, Green Accounting, State Conventions, Bikes And Food
Ed is still doing great progressive talk radio. Check here for the Fallon Forum weekly broadcast schedule each and every Monday. You can livestream The Fallon Forum at www.fallonforum.com or WRLD.TV from 12:00-1:00, Monday-Friday. Podcasts available, too.)
Monday, we talk with Justin DeVries about the GLBT vote in the upcoming election. I’ve been working to get someone from the Republican Party of Iowa to join the conversation, too, but so far no luck (perhaps that won’t surprise anyone). Also joining me today is local acupuncturist Bill Terrell.
Tuesday, Gabriel De la Cerda is helping to organize the Latino vote. We’ll talk with him about that, and I also want take a closer look at President Obama’s recent executive order establishing a limited version of the Dream Act.
Wednesday, State Rep. Dan Kelly (D-Newton) is on the show with me. Beyond that, they’ll be plenty of open-line time, including a look at this past weekend’s state conventions.
Thursday, we’ll dig into the growing movement to provide a more comprehensive, sustainable method of assessing economic well-being, a method called “green accounting.” It’s one of the many items on the agenda for this week’s Rio Earth Summit.
Friday, among other topics, I want to take a closer look at efforts to make Des Moines’ streets safer for bicycles…and the controversy the effort is generating among neighbors on Des Moines south side. We’ll also talk about the local foods’ movement during the second half of the show.
So, join the conversation, Monday-Friday, online from 12:00-1:00 pm at fallonforum.com. Call in at 244-0077, or toll free (855) 244-0077. Video and audio podcasts are available, too. Please tune-in to Bradshaw, Monday-Friday from 1:00-3:00, also at fallonforum.com. And pledge your financial support, using either Pay Pal or Dwolla.
I want to thank the non-profit organizations that help sponsor this program, specifically:
Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility
Sierra Club Iowa Chapter
Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa
For several years now, heavy-handed centralized management of the Chicago Public School system – by a CEO nonetheless, not even a superintendent – have alienated parents, community organizations, students, teachers and support staff.
The days of Harold Washington’s democratic reforms establishing neighborhood control through local school councils are long gone, and onerous federal mandates from No Child Left Behind have tied funding to standardized tests and teachers to filling out endless paperwork rather than practice the art of teaching. The Board of Education, still a democratically elected organization in Iowa, is now appointed by the Mayor himself and not directly beholden to the voters of Chicago.
This management style, where performance measures distract anyone from understanding Thoreau’s writing or pondering on the unfolding mystery of DNA, has produced dozens of local school closures. It’s diverted more funds into charter schools that have proven no better at educating children, but better at shifting funding from school workers salaries and into creating profits for charter school managers.
It’s sent children on busses and trains to schools outside their community without producing measurable improvements. The CPS remains quite exceptional, however, at producing high school dropouts at a consistent rate of 50%. A mere 6% of them get a bachelor’s degree. Oh, it has also succeeded in opening five new military academies.
So it’s not surprising – even in a post Walker-Wisconsin World – that more than 90% of teachers voted to authorize a strike last week in the Chicago Public School District.
Mind you, the threshold for authorizing a strike was recently raised by the Mayor’s Democratic friends in Springfield to be more than 75%, not the simple majority still required at all other school districts in the state. This difficult threshold not only counts those who voted, but the entire organized workforce. Imagine if corporate boards or the legislators in Springfield had to operate based on these hefty measures.
But the teachers, led by a grassroots activist coalition CORE that was elected just two years ago reaches across the district, use the old-fashioned organization model to build support. They effectively communicated with other teachers, parents and communities the majority of whom are also upset at the closure of local schools and libraries.
To counter this strategy, the Chicago School District CEO for the first time ever is using robocalls to reach out to parents– traditionally a stalwart of electoral politics not public sector negotiating. Democrats for Education Reform is paying for the costs of the calls rather than the district itself. Don’t be fooled by this Astroturf school reform group. Despite the positive liberal sounding name, Democrats for Education Reform is actually a for-profit charter school advocacy group run by hedge fund managers and other people in the financial industry.
Stay tuned as this drama unfolds. Chicago teachers haven’t actually gone on strike since 1987. But with Chicago’s rich history of progressive education reforms (John Dewey & Jane Adams) let’s hope that this community-based activism results in truly democratic reforms instead of the corporate model that has failed two decades of Chicago school children.
Nuns On The Bus Iowa schedule today:
Day 1: Monday, June 18
Cities: Ames, IA to Cedar Rapids, IA to Dubuque, IA
8:30 AM — Send off for Ames, IA.
10:00 AM — Rep. Steve King Office: 711 E Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50010
4:00 PM—Editorial Board Meeting with Cedar Rapids Gazette: 500 3rd Avenue Southeast, Cedar Rapids, IA
7:30 PM — Friend Raiser: St. Joseph Hall, Mt. Carmel, 1150 Carmel Dr., Dubuque, IA 52003