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I Am Staying in My Post as Iowa/Nebraska NAACP Education Chair PDF Print E-mail
Letters to the Editor
Written by Jonathan Narcisse   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:17

After the resignation of the Reverend Keith Ratliff as the president of the Iowa/Nebraska Conference of the NAACP, which followed the National Board’s decision to support gay marriage as a civil right, I have been asked by several members of the media if I intend to stay on as education chair for the Iowa/Nebraska Conference of the NAACP.

I do not mean to diminish the issue, but over the past few years, the advocates of marriage equality and the opponents of same-sex marriage have, through their actions, asserted this is the only issue that matters.

Period.

As education chair of the Iowa/Nebraska conference of the NAACP and as a former director of the Des Moines School Board, I have witnessed Iowa’s academic crisis, especially the urban academic crisis, worsen to a near state of emergency. Yet, most Iowans remain ignorant of the important data and proposed solutions to these solvable problems while the body politic and the media refuse to report, and at times, even acknowledge the severity of this crisis.

 
Did Governor Break a Promise on Facility Closures? PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 24 June 2012 05:34

Several Downstate Illinois legislators were furious last week that Governor Pat Quinn decided to go ahead and close some state facilities, including prisons, in their districts.

They weren’t just upset about the lost jobs, however. Some also claim that Quinn brazenly broke a deal on the closures. “If the governor proceeds with this, he has gone back on his word,” Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) told a crowd gathered to protest the planned closures last week. Bost and others indicated that the trade was made over revenue issues, but he didn’t get more specific.

Bost did not return a phone call, but he was almost surely referring to the cigarette-tax increase.

 
Changing of the Iowa GOP Guard PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Todd McGreevy   
Thursday, 21 June 2012 05:44

Twice at the Iowa GOP state convention, efforts were made to restrict any criticism of a Republican from anyone holding an elected state-party position. Twice those efforts failed, thankfully. The insularity that the big-government, war-mongering Republicans want to impose on their fellow Republicans is stifling.

It’s no secret that 23 of 28 non-bound voting delegates from Iowa at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August are Ron Paul loyalists or supporters – including new Iowa party chair A.J. Spiker, who was formerly a Ron Paul paid staffer. The Ron Paulistas, as some refer to them, have taken over the Republican Party of Iowa, and nothing was more evidence of this than the peaceful, professional, and controversy-free manner in which last Saturday’s statewide convention played out.

 
Labor Punishes Democrats – Barely PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Monday, 18 June 2012 09:31

Only a handful of state House Democratic incumbents targeted for defeat by the Republicans were endorsed by the Illinois AFL-CIO last week, but the damage to the Democratic Party’s chances this fall will likely be minimal.

 
Justice on the Rocks: The Demise of the People’s Court PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Thursday, 14 June 2012 05:44
Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” – William Howard Taft

When I was in law school, what gave me the impetus to become a civil-liberties attorney was seeing firsthand how much good could be done through the justice system. Those were the years of the Warren Court (1953-1969), when Earl Warren helmed the U.S. Supreme Court as chief justice, alongside such luminaries as William J. Brennan Jr., William O. Douglas, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Thurgood Marshall.

The Warren Court handed down rulings that were instrumental in shoring up critical legal safeguards against government abuse and discrimination. Without the Warren Court, there would be no Miranda warnings, no desegregation of the schools, and no civil-rights protections for indigents. Yet more than any single ruling, what Warren and his colleagues did best was embody what the Supreme Court should always be – an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds.

That is no longer the case. In recent years, especially under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, sound judgment and justice have largely taken a back seat to legalism, statism, and elitism, while preserving the rights of the people has been de-prioritized and made to play second fiddle to both governmental and corporate interests – a trend that has not gone unnoticed by the American people. In fact, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing, while 75 percent say the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views.

 
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