Monday, August 29, 2005

Teacher tax deduction expiring for Illinois.

Teachers in Illinois who pay for classroom material out of their own pockets have been eligible for a $250 income tax deduction, but this benefit expires at the end of this year. A new bill before the House of Representatives H.R. 2989, would not only extend this deduction, but make it a permanent part of the tax code. Many teachers in Chicago pay for many things needed in their classroom, hopefully they also know about this deduction.

In order to combat this lack of funding for unique educational programs in the school systems. Teachers and donors are joining forces. The web Site DonorsChoose, lets people who want to donate to quality educational programs, pick what they want to help fund. You can read proposals from teachers all over the country and give as little or as much as you can to help that teacher make their programs a reality. Here is a wonderful example.
This year my goal is to create a wonderful, diverse, and engaging library. I want my students to learn to love to read. I believe that the most important impact that I can make on a child is to teach them to love reading. I am asking for your help so that I may create a classroom that is safe for my students, one in which they can take chances and risks in their learning. With your help, I will be able to provide reading materials about many, many different subjects so that I may engage all readers.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for your consideration.

The cost of 4 book bundles covering both kindergarten and fifth grade levels, Because of Winn Dixie, and Because of Winn Dixie Teacher's Guide from AKJ Educational Services is $372, including shipping. Fund all or part of this proposal now.

It's that Easy

Thanks respublica for HR 2989, sorry I plagiarised.

Friday, August 26, 2005

NYT reporter in the making

It looks like this young and enterprising journalism studdent has a long career at the New York Times to look forward to. Iraq death an Hoax!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Democrats' new strategy: Almost winning

You have to read this for a good laughDemocrats' new strategy: Almost winning. I have to cut and pase it as is, its to good to mess with. Here are the highlights.

'In nearly the biggest political upset in recent history, Democrat Paul Hackett came within just a few thousand votes of defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's Second Congressional District.'

Yes, indeed. It was 'nearly the biggest political upset in recent history,' which is another way of saying it was actually the smallest political non-upset in recent history. Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign. He was a veteran of the Iraq war, but he was anti-war, but he made solemn dignified patriotic commercials featuring respectful footage of President Bush and artfully neglecting to mention the candidate was a Democrat, but in livelier campaign venues he dismissed Bush as a 'sonofabitch' and a 'chicken hawk' who was 'un-American' for questioning his patriotism.

And as usual this nearly winning strategy lost yet again -- this time to a weak Republican candidate with a lot of problematic baggage. Insofar as I understand it, the official Democratic narrative is that Bush is a moron who's nevertheless managed to steal two elections. Big deal. Up against this crowd, that's looking like petty larceny. After the Ohio vote, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg declared that 'one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything.' That might have passed muster two years ago. Alas, the party's real problem is that increasingly there's no doubt whatsoever "

Fortunately, the Dems have found a new line of attack to counter the evil election-stealing moron. A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth.

Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.

The idea that Bush is heartlessly pursuing an elite leisure activity denied to millions of American schoolchildren takes a bit of swallowing given that his preferred fitness activity is running. "Running" requires two things: you and ground. Short of buying every schoolkid some John Kerry thousand-dollar electric-yellow buttock-hugging lycra singlet, it's hard to see what there is about "running" that requires increasing federal funding. Perhaps America could have a Running Czar or a National Commission on Running that would report back on the need for a Cabinet-level Runner-General. Perhaps Title IX needs to be expanded to provide a federal sneaker subsidy: a woman's right to shoes.

But I don't think so. Sitting behind yet another Vermont granolamobile bearing the bumper sticker "Bush Scares Me," I found myself thinking that perhaps the easiest way to reduce childhood obesity in American families might just to be to shout out, "Look! There's big scary Bush! Run! Run for your lives! No, wait, there's John Bolton, too! Better cut through the park before he puts his hands on his hips in an aggressive manner!"

The DNC's Bush-is-the-reason-your-kid-is-fat press release is a convenient precis of the party's problem: While he runs rings around them, the Dems lounge about getting flabbier by the week and telling themselves it's all his fault they can barely move except to complain about Bush's Supreme Court nominee's kid being overly cute. What's the betting for 2006? The Dems will have a few more "nearly the biggest political upsets," while the Republicans will have the actual political upsets -- a couple more Senate seats? Including Robert C. Byrd's venerable perch in West Virginia?

Republicans may see the increasingly arthritic, corpulent, wheezing, flatulent Democratic Party as a boon for them, but I don't. Two-party systems need two parties, not just for the health of the loser but for that of the winner, too. Intellectually, philosophically, legislatively, it's hard to maintain the discipline to keep yourself in shape when the other guy just lies around the house all day.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Chicago's longer green

Finally a program that I can support. Drivers along Lake Shore Drive in Grant Park are getting more "green" time as the result of new traffic-detecting cameras that are helping reduce backups by about a quarter-mile during rush hours. The cameras essentially "see" where the traffic is and where it isn't to Cameras ease traffic snarls And read the second half of the story where we continue to chronicles the stealing of tollway users deposits.