July 31, 2012

New Midwest Director Elected at 2012 RA

The Peace & Justice Caucus conducted its annual elections at this summer’s NEA Representative Assembly in Washington, D.C.   When I know the names of all the newly elected members, I’ll have them posted on this website, but the only significant changes were at the regional level.  The new director in the Midwest is Danielle Dickert from Caledonia, Wisconsin.

She is a delightfully bright and energetic young lady who will be a welcome addition to our caucus, and I am very glad to have her take over from me.  She is very busy now, so I have promised to give her time to ease her way into the job; ergo, you may hear from me again from time to time.  In the meantime, feel free to drop Dani a line and give her your ideas for improving our badly needed caucus.

Thanks again,

Tom Wolfe

Marines Aim to Counter Teachers' Opposition to Recruiting Students

Staff Sgt. James McFalin, a senior Marine Corps drill sergeant, gets a few laughs as
he talks about recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego,
Calif., last week. Educators from the Los Angeles and Sacramento
areas spent four days at the base to experience some of what recruits go through.
by Tony Perry, and Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times (MCT) 

The bellowing from the drill instructors began as soon as the newcomers arrived.
"GET OFF THE BUS!" barked one D.I.

It's a ritual reenacted countless times since 1923, when young men first began coming to boot camp to see if they were tough enough to be Marines.

But last week's group was not composed of frightened young recruits.

Instead they were high school teachers, guidance counselors and administrators from school districts in the Los Angeles and Sacramento areas. All had accepted the Marine Corps' invitation to spend four days at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, watching the training and talking to recruits, enlisted Marines and senior officers.

July 26, 2012

“Afghanistan taught us an invaluable lesson . . . It has been and always will be impossible to solve political problems using force. We should have helped the people of Afghanistan in improving their life, but it was a gross mistake to send troops into the country.”

 Retired Red Army General Boris Gromov.

The success at the 2012 RA in DC is reflected by the Peace and Justice Caucus community on the passage of  NBI 81 which states we will advertise International DAY OF PEACE on September 21.  Peace Iowa is co sponsoring an event at the Coralville Public Library the entire month of September.  This event is called Windows to Mirrors, a reflection of the war in Afghanistan, and displays paintings and murals by Afghan children.  Everyone is invited to view works of art and learn about the organizations sponsoring the event the entire month of September.  Docents will be available and there is always need for more(training 9AM, Saturday, September 1). Iowa NEA Peace and Justice Caucus is one of the sponsors.  See www.windowsandmirrors.org for more information.

Thanks to all who attended summer conference!  Nancy

July 1, 2012

I am running for my first political office.  I turned 60 last week and have been evaluating where I am with my life up to this point.  I have written a number of blogs and have commentated on a number of issues for many years now.  While I should be looking to retire and going into another direction in my career, I find myself unable now to do this because of the financial conditions of our nation, of the state of Illinois, and of my household.  When I coached, I was often irritated by the ignorant comments of those in the stands since they did not really understand the game, the strategy, the rules of the game, and the conditions on the court/field.  I think it is time to get out of the stands and into the sausage-making process that is developing policy.

While I am running to become part of a small cog of a large political process, I find I have a lot of research and understanding to get to before I want to become an effective member of this Board.  So, I have been talking to a lot of conservatives, particularly now that the ACA has been upheld and their hairs are on fire.  This has been a very interesting week.

So, here are the arguments I've been hearing and why I am very concerned.  They truly believe that people in poverty deserve it.  I have always thought this was an exaggeration by the Left about the extremists on the Right, but I am finding this is not the case.  They truly believe that laziness is the driving force to this horrible state in humanity.  When Alan Grayson went onto the floor of the House and did his presentation of the GOP health care plan (http://www.vxv.com/video/mJoiG6IAUg2n/alan-grayson-on-the-gop-health-care-plan-don-t-get-sick-and-if-you-do-get-sick-die-quickly.html), he was not kidding.  I think it's safe to say that these guys are not pro-life, they are pro-wealth--period.  Let's not kid ourselves here.  If we want justice for all Americans, we need to come to this realization:  we are not dealing with pro-life people.  We are not dealing with moralists.  We are not dealing with problem solvers.  We are dealing with the ugliest form of political force.  I have railed against money and its ugly influence on our lives when dealing with religion, health care, and peace.  I think it is safe to say that it permeates every aspect of our decisions.

The challenge I have, should I get elected, is to make sure that I stand up for the right choices when weighing all of the factors separately.  We can't get things done if the money is not there.  However, I can not in good conscience agree to a decision between a moral choice and a financial choice if the financial choice means crushing the moral choice (e.g. the many times we hear about an insurance company deny a young patient treatment because it hurts the bottom line).  I hope I never become so cynical in choices that I end up doing something so horrible.