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Under the Radar: Common Core in Our Schools PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:17

As Americans, we had better revisit what the Bill of Rights means to our country’s future, because the individual protections that the Bill of Rights provides each of us are in real jeopardy. There has been a slow creep by our legislative, judicial, and executive branches to erode these protections in favor of administrative rules and regulations that instead protect the growth and continuity of government.

The federal government has gone so far beyond what was originally intended for our republic that there will be no stopping it from the top down. The only hope we have to preserve our future as an open society is to get involved in our local county and city governments, including our school districts, where we can fully participate, oversee, and influence the politicians and bureaucrats who are our friends, family, and neighbors.

Common Core is the new national education initiative of curriculum and standards that were developed by two private trade groups, in cooperation with Achieve, Inc., with the majority of funding provided by the federal government. Additional financial assistance came from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Eli & Edythe Broad foundations, which contributed $60 million, and General Electric, which gave $18 million. The two trade groups’ names – the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers – mislead the public into falsely thinking Common Core was developed by each states’ elected representatives.

Rather, the entire curriculum is privately owned and copyrighted, giving sole control over its content to a small cadre of developers, who will also reap massive profits for manufacturing all new Common Core-approved textbooks, training materials for teachers, and national-testing components that will dwarf previous testing practices in America. These no-bid contracts are worth billions to private and quasi-public corporations, such as Pearson, Core One Press, and Achieve.

 
Celebrating 20 Years of the River Cities’ Reader PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy and Todd McGreevy   
Thursday, 14 November 2013 09:18

Twenty years of questioning the status quo and providing readers with exhaustive resources and perspectives on all things cultural in the Quad Cities merits some reflection and review. We continue to publish the River Cities’ Reader because it is fulfilling and meaningful.

The Reader is independently owned and operated. It started as a monthly newsprint publication, with a regional circulation in Iowa and Illinois – from Galena to Iowa City to Cedar Rapids to Muscatine to, of course, the Quad Cities. After 20 issues, we reined in our distribution to the Quad Cities and immediate outlying areas. This was 1995, and we made the plunge to publish weekly and lived up to the promise of “Every Wednesday Everywhere” for 13 years. We starting publishing our content on the World Wide Web in 1996 at RCReader.com.

 
Government Secrecy Threatens America’s Rule of Law PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:47

The conclusion of John Whitehead’s August commentary “The NSA: The Abyss from Which There Is No Return” (RCReader.com/y/nsa1) deserves serious consideration: “Once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government that establishes that the government works for and obeys you – the citizen, the employer, the master. And once the government starts operating outside the law, answerable to no one but itself, there’s no way to rein it back in, short of revolution.”

For the past six months, the more egregious mass-surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) have been disclosed to Americans, confirming our worst fears. Nearly every form of communication we engage in is being recorded and stored for purposes that are seriously unconstitutional, regardless of judicial oversight done in secret by a special court. And even though our leaders, both political and bureaucratic, assure us that its activities are legal, they are only speaking to administrative sanction. This means that the legality of what they are doing is not necessarily constitutional, nor apparently does it need to be when perpetuated under the guise of national security and/or keeping us safe from terrorists.

 
Learning to Listen to Stories PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 10:40

A short course in learning the language of transition is soon to be offered in the Quad Cities, and it’s one to attend if you’re encountering changes in your life. Present or past, all can be reviewed with careful guidance. Listening is a powerful source of learning, growing spiritually, and sustaining relationships, whether with spouses, family members, friends, or associates. Specifically, listening to another’s life stories, composed of a vast array of experiences and emotions contributing mightily to our individual self-images and well-being. Our stories are often the means by which we convey our identities to each other, a process of self-revelation.

The Reverend Canon Marlin Whitmer, a retired hospital chaplain, believes profound healing comes while listening to stories. He discovered this over 40 years of experience, listening to patients at St. Luke’s Hospital after establishing The Befrienders in 1966. His program began with three people from Trinity Cathedral who were members of the Auxiliary of St. Luke’s Hospital. They were to provide patients with in-hospital visits from non-medical volunteers whose sole purpose was to listen to the patients. The following year and thereafter Befrienders were trained to continue these visits. This legacy continues today at both Genesis and Trinity hospitals and has been recognized as a contributor to improving quality of life in the Quad Cities.

 
Time to Review Davenport’s 60-Year-Old Fluoridation Agreement PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Todd McGreevy   
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 09:46

(Publisher’s note: It’s time for Davenport’s city leaders to carefully and seriously review the requirements, terms, and benefits of a 60-year-old contract that has resulted in the practice of medicating nearly the entire Scott County population with an industrial waste byproduct. The fluoridation of our water supply is happening without informed consent, and even if one wished to be medicated through the water supply, the current practice does not even use medical-grade materials. This issue is no longer fringe. Modern science points to the folly of fluoridation, much like science caught up with the folly of claiming the health benefits of cigarette smoking. What follows are the prepared remarks delivered by Joe Amato to the Davenport City Council Public Works Committee on July 17. The video of this presentation, and subsequent additional public comments, is online at RCReader.com/y/amato. (The documents provided to the city council are here as a pdf.) Fluoride-Free Quad Cities has a meet-up at the Bettendorf Public Library on Tuesday, September 3, at 6:30 p.m.)

Good evening. My name is Joe Amato. On behalf of the coalition Fluoride-Free Quad Cities, I would like to thank you for giving us this time to speak.

We are here tonight to present to you evidence that ingesting fluoride by drinking fluoridated water is definitely harmful and only insignificantly effective, and to request that you, as the responsible legal authority, pass an ordinance to cease fluoridating the public water supply.

 
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