Calif. GOP to Block Citizens Right to Vote

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Two-thirds of Republicans in the California Legislature announced Wednesday that they were forming a new group and pledged not only never to vote to raise taxes but also to block efforts to place a tax-hike measure before voters.

By republicans vowing to block measures from voters they are taking away the will of the people. Put the tax measures up for a vote and if the people pass the measure then that is what the people want. If they don't pass it then ....

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Wipe Out Teachers Unions, Wipe Out Kids Futures

Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest          Image by mrbula via Flickr
Only five states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal; South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia.

The states respective (but not respected) ACT/SAT rankings are: 50th, 49th, 48th, 47th, and  44th. Wisconsin is ranked 2nd in the country. See a pattern here?

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Watch Out California, The Union Busters Are Coming

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
California Republicans are finding inspiration in the Midwest.

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) introduced a bill Tuesday that would eliminate the right of public employees to collectively bargain for pension benefits. The measure is partly a response to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose controversial bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employee unions has prompted massive protests and a walkout by Democratic lawmakers. The Indiana state Senate also has passed a bill that would limit the power of teachers’ unions.

“I stand in solidarity with the courageous legislators in the Midwest who are taking brave steps to do the right thing for all of their citizens, not just public employee union campaign contributors,” Mansoor said in a statement.

Opposition to Mansoor’s bill will likely be swift in deep-blue California. The state has a Democratic-majority Legislature, and Gov. Jerry Brown has already said he would not pursue Wisconsin-type measures to challenge public employees. Republicans, however, are demanding pension reform as part of the state's ongoing budget talks.

Like labor organizations elsewhere this week, the state’s largest public employee unions have planned a candlelight vigil on the Capitol steps Tuesday evening in support of Wisconsin workers.

(Bold added by me)

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Why Wait Until You Are Sued?

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...  Image via Wikipedia
What is it with school districts and putting up the Ten Commandments? Do they really think that no one is going to notice? Do they think everyone who sees them is OK with it and won't say anything? I just don't get it.
Officials in Giles County Public Schools, acting on a school board vote, removed controversial displays of the Ten Commandments this morning from various buildings, said Amanda Tickle, board clerk and executive secretary in the school system.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened Jan. 20 to sue in federal court to get the religious writings taken down.
I am glad they are removing but they never should have been there to begin with. Why did they way to get sued?

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Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

Monday, February 21, 2011

Open post to view slide show. It may take a while to load.  

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WTF Wisconsin

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Being a union member and a local and regional leader I have been watching what is going on in Wisconsin with reserved apprehension. Despite my union membership I do not fully support all aspects of the union. But, I fully support their right to organize and bargain collectively.
Unions provide meaningful jobs, good wages, health care and retirement benefits while holding unrepentant management at bay. What unions do not give you is a way to get rich. 

If Wisconsin wants to bust unions they should offer the union members the equivalent pay as their non-union counterparts which is usual much higher.

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Child Evangelism Fellowship

Sunday, February 6, 2011
I posted about the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) a few days ago when I learned that parents in a local school district had complained about CEF pamphlets coming home in a weekly homework/school information packet. Since then I have come across several articles about CEF and their aggressive tactics in maintaining their right to send out pamphlets about their clubs.

Some back ground info on CEF:
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), is a fundamentalist Christian organization, and they have been increasing their presence on public grade school campuses across America through their Good News Club

CEF has been around for 70 years and is in over 170 countries. CEF claims that through God they been given a number of unique ministries to prey on and abuse evangelize and disciple children.

They run the Good News Club which is apparently very popular following a Supreme Court victory allowing the club to be in public schools across America. The 5-Day Club®  which takes place during the summer months with with teenagers who receive training in the Christian Youth in Action® program.
CEF appears to be the most dangerous type of religious organization, they are fundamentalists and they are not afraid to use the courts.

CEF continues to sue districts all across the country that challenge them:
Watch out for CEF and their ministries because they are after the vulnerable and defenseless, our children.

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Religious Pamphlets Sent Home in Students Homework Packets

Friday, February 4, 2011
Child Evangelism Fellowship             Christian Evangelism FellowshipI am not sure how this got by me since this is my own backyard. But, an elementary school with the largest school district in my county apparently sent home some pamphlets about an evangelical club.

From Matt Fountain of New Times SLO

Lucia Mar Unified School District administrators are trying to figure out how pamphlets for an evangelical club made their way into students’ homework packets at a local elementary school.

Beginning Jan. 10, students at Ocean View Elementary brought home homework packets, which include assignments, announcements, and other materials. The packets typically go out each week without controversy, but this time they included a permission slip for participation in an after-school Bible study group.

The pamphlets were sent out by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, promoting a group called the “After School Good News Club.” According to its website, the organization is a “Bible-centered, worldwide organization that is dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, disciplined and established in a local church.”

“I was shocked. I could not believe they would allow this to go out to everybody,” said one parent, whose first-grade daughter attends Ocean View and asked not to be named to protect her child’s identity.

She contacted the school, which didn’t know how the pamphlet was included in the homework packets.

According to Principal Cynthia Ravalin, materials must be approved by the district’s curriculum department before they’re distributed to students. The district’s director of curriculum was out of town as of press time and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kevin Baker, Lucia Mar’s executive director of facilities, maintenance, and operations, told New Times he didn’t know how the permission slips made their way out to students, but that it shouldn’t have happened in a public school.

“We’re still investigating,” Baker said. “I don’t know that they did go out to everybody, but so far I can [say] we’re not getting the full story.”

Baker said he was contacted by a concerned parent regarding the pamphlets. Principal Ravalin, whose daughter attends Ocean View, also said she’s been contacted by parents, but that her daughter didn’t receive the pamphlet in question in her homework packet.

Under federal law, public schools aren’t allowed to endorse or promote organizations or clubs that are religious in nature.

Dan Johnson, director of the local chapter of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, said the organization had the right to send the pamphlet out and that it adhered to school district policies.

“The main thing is that they have to treat us the same as any other group,” Johnson said. “The school district has to be consistent.”

Johnson said there’s confusion regarding the separation between church and state. In June 2001, the Child Evangelism Fellowship won a case before the federal supreme court, which ruled a public school in New York violated the club’s freedom of speech when it excluded the club from meeting after hours at the school.

Ravalin said Ocean View is currently allowing the Good News Club to meet on school grounds after school hours, but that the pamphlets probably shouldn’t have been distributed by the school. She said the school has a tenuous history with the group, which has been provided a classroom in which to meet.

“They’ve been quite aggressive,” Ravalin said. “And we want to make sure we follow the proper process.”

She added that she understands parents’ concerns and that she’s awaiting direction from the superintendent’s office.

New Times could not reach Lucia Mar Superintendent Jim Hogoboom for comment.
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