Daily archives: August 31st, 2008

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Meeks

Despite widespread criticism that he’s doing more harm to education in Illinois than good, State Senator James Meeks insisted last week that his planned student boycott of Chicago Public Schools will go forward.  Parents are almost unanimous in their opposition.

From the Sun-Times:

Parents at a Humboldt Park back-to-school festival Saturday said “no thanks” to the Rev. James Meeks’ planned student boycott of the Chicago Public Schools’ opening day of class Tuesday.

“The boycott is not good,” said Maybeline Juarez, who makes sure her 13-year-old daughter always attends school. “My daughter is in special education classes, and she needs all the help she can get. Colleges look at that.”

Angelo Valentin, who has five children in Chicago Public Schools, agreed that a boycott isn’t the answer to the schools’ money problems.

“The schools should get their money, but it shouldn’t be in the lap of the children,” said Valentin. “You can’t use them as pawns.”

The last statement really made an impression with me.  Meeks is using children as pawns in a vicious political game.

Meeks’ grand plan is simple: bus 2,000 students to wealthy Winnetka to protest school-funding inequities in Illinois, then try to register them at New Trier High School’s Northfield Campus.

This misguided publicity stunt will do nothing.  The children will not be able to register at New Trier High School.  At the end of the day the children will be left with anger and frustration.  No doubt Meeks will point reporters in the direction of children shouting in anger, or crying.

Then, next week, those kids will have to go to school, starting the year four days behind.  Will Senator Meeks pick up the tab for the Huntington Learning Center or the Sylvan Learning Center?  I doubt it.  When these students who took the four-day field trip with the senator start to fall further behind, Meeks will no doubt take advantage of the opportunity to further point out the failures of education in Illinois.

Another leader in education reform has another idea:

While Meeks prepared for the boycott, Phillip Jackson, founder of the Black Star Project, was at the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park on Saturday urging men to participate in the project’s nationwide “Million Father March” by taking their children to school on the first day.

Jackson said he also wants better school funding. But he wants children in school on the first day — and every day.

“Every day they’re not in school, they’re further and further behind,” said Jackson, who expects “tens of thousands” of mostly black and Latino fathers in Chicago to take their children to school Tuesday.

Sadly, Meeks’ boycott is all about Senator Meeks, a publicity stunt he can tout during campaigns and from the pulpit.  The children of Illinois, already victims of an unfair educational system, will suffer.

Who is Sarah Palin, Really?

From our friends at MoveOn.org:

Dear MoveOn member, Yesterday was John McCain’s 72nd birthday. If elected, he’d be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for ‘inexperience,’ here’s who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here’s some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska’s governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s ‘Big Oil first’ energy policy. She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here’s a sample:

She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK

She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She’s a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK

As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK

Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK

She’s vehemently anti-choice and doesn’t care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK

I think she’s far too inexperienced to be in this position. I’m all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn’t done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain’s part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he’ll get our vote by putting ‘A Woman’ in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She’s a global warming denier who shares John McCain’s commitment to Big Oil. And she’s dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he’s made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain’s vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Thanks for all you do. –Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team


  1. ‘Sarah Palin,’ Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008
  2. ‘McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate,’ NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008
  3. ‘Sarah Palin, Buchananite,’ The Nation, August 29, 2008
  4. ”Creation science’ enters the race,’ Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006
  5. ‘Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science,’ Huffington Post, August 29, 2008
  6. ‘McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy,’ Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

    ‘Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past,’ League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

    ‘Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor,’ The Times of London, May 23, 2008
  7. ‘McCain met Palin once before yesterday,’ MSNBC, August 29, 2008

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