Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Naught Six

Here's hoping that 2006 is a whole lot better for you than 2005 was for most of us.

Despite the fact that it's an election year, bringing with it posturing, pontificating, promises, and flat-out prevarications for months to come.

But at the same time, let's pray for a little more civility, a little more openness, a little more honesty and a little more giving, doing and loving from ourselves and each other and from our governments in the coming year.

Let's try to keep a lid on excessive greed, mistrust, dishonesty and a lack of respect for each other and for everyone's personal rights in the coming year.

Unless that's too much to hope for.

And so it goes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Vote for who?

It's so rare I agree with a News-Gazette editorial that I actually went back and read it again a day later to see if Tuesday's offering still said what I thought it said.

The editorial - which is, of course is not online - is headlined TRANSIT ELECTION PLAN/A GROSS OVERREACTION. It argues quite logically against the silly bill introduced by Reps. Rose and Cuthra to force elections for mass transit district boards.

The editorial's subhed pretty well states the premise:
Some people might like to get even with the local mass transit district by electing the members of its board of directors. But proposed legislation to do so is bad public policy.
Completely true. And that's all the proposal is for - to get even with the CU MTD. How juvenile.

The only persons likely to run for such positions are those with axes to grind. Those interested and/or incensed by one single issue. That kind of person will make for very bad governance of a board which administers such a large and expensive enterprise as the CUMTD.

About the only persons likely to care enough to become familiar with the issues and vote (if they can remember when to vote) will be a few incensed and largely single-issue voters with similar axes to grind.

To put it another way, there's simply no way to get a competent MTD board by electing it. Injecting even more poilitics into an already politicized situation isn't gonna solve anything. Instead, it'll just make it worse.

Happily, as the editorial makes clear, the legislative proposal is pretty much stillborn.
It is highly doubtful tghat the legislative proposal authored by state Reps. Shane Cuthra and Chapin Rose will go anywhere. They are Republicans in a Democratic House controlled by Speaker Madigan and, consequently, they have nothing resembling clout.
Fortunately.

And so it goes.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Posting here's been pretty light of late and I expect that pattern to continue through the holidays.

Some things are going on personally that should continue to preclude the attention I'd like to pay to the blog.

In the mean time, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and any other good wishes you'd like.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Stuff

Assorted odds 'n' ends:

-- Good to see the Solon Home may finally get the care and renovation it desperately needs. It was donated to the Preservation and Conservation Association, according to the News-Gazette:
CHAMPAIGN - One of the city's oldest and certainly grandest houses has been donated to the Preservation and Conservation Association.
The Civil War-era Solon House, one of the few remaining Italianate structures in Champaign-Urbana, was designated a landmark by the Champaign City Council in 1998, three years after the last of Francis Solon's children, John Solon, died.
Richard Thies of Urbana, the attorney for the Morris family descendants of the Solons, said it was impossible to put a value on the house and land.
PACA's executive director, Karen Kummer, called the donation "priceless."
It's a magnificent old structure that deserves to be preserved and restored to its original beauty.

I just hope PACA can either figure out how to restore it or find a buyer who will bring it back to life.

-- It was interesting what happened at the opening of filing for various political races. It's been adequately covered elsewhere, but since when has that stopped me from commenting? A few Republicans were NOT among those lining up in Springfield. State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, hasn't filed. State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, hasn't filed. Most notably, Judy Myers hasn't filed. Incumbency is enough to explain away the first two. But is Judy so nonchalant about the state Senate race that she doesn't think filing's a big thing? Or is she really not all that interested? Fine message to send to voters. "Oh, I'll get around to it one of these days. Maybe.'

-- Interesting that the UI is becoming concerned with human rights - when it comes to soft drinks Seems the UI is all concerned about Coca Cola's overseas bottling plants.
Chancellor Richard Herman wrote a letter, dated Nov. 30, to Coke's director of global labor relations, expressing "serious concern" about allegations concerning bottling plants in Colombia and India. The allegations include intimidation of workers involved in union activity in Colombia and water supply issues and pollution in India.
Legitimate concerns, concerns I, too, have. The UI's justified in looking into such abuses.

But what about disenfranchising and marginalizing an entire race of people right on your own campus? Concerned about that, Richard? Or have you (and the BOT) forgotten about the hostile and abusive Cheef?

I wonder if the BOT is waiting until the Christmas (nee holiday) break to finally deal with the problem with much less scrutiny and publicity.

And so it goes.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Be there

Conservatives and evangelicals and other right-wing nutcases are decrying the use of "Happy Holidays' in place of 'Merry Christmas,' particularly by clerks and others in stores. They're also fighting against holiday breaks and holiday celebrations.

Morons.

Christmas is a whole lot more than a silly statement from a bunch of sales folks who are intent on separating us from our last dollars. Whether they say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukkah or Joyous Kwanzaa means nothing. Nothing. Nothing!

The fact that Christmas is celebrated in December is because of the proximity of other religions' holidays, such has Chanukkah and certain early pagan rituals. Either to counter them or coincide with them, depending on whom you ask. It's not the date that matters. It's not what we say. It's why we're celebrating that matters.

(By the way, December 25 is not Jesus' actual birth date. Figure it out, folks.)

The phrase you say when greeting a customer as part of an over-commercialization process does not matter. What matters is what is in your heart and what you are actually celebrating. And that ain't trees and presents and buying and wrapping and eating and drinking and carrying on.

Get over it.

Meanwhile, those same conservatives and evangelicals have noticed that this year, Christmas falls on a Sunday. Bad News.
Some of the nation's most prominent megachurches have decided not to hold worship services on the Sunday that coincides with Christmas Day, a move that is generating controversy among evangelical Christians at a time when many conservative groups are battling to "put the Christ back in Christmas."

The Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., has Christmas decorations, but not services.

Megachurch leaders say that the decision is in keeping with their innovative and "family friendly" approach and that they are compensating in other ways. Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., always a pacesetter among megachurches, is handing out a DVD it produced for the occasion that features a heartwarming contemporary Christmas tale.
How heartwarming. Celebrate Christmas morning by DVD light. Remember, folks, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. I fail to see how celebrating with a a heartwarming contemporary Christmas tale on DVD is exactly what worship is all about.

I know my church is holding a Christmas service the morning of December 25. I plan on being there.

Because THAT is the true meaning of Christmas. Celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior in corporate worship with other believers.

Personally, I don't care what a clerk at Wal-Mart might say as he's ringing up another overextended credit card purchase.

Oh yeah, and Happy Holidays.

And so it goes.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Just wondering

I have absolutely no doubt that air marshalls in Miami acted completely appropriately, professionally and correctly in yesterday's fatal shooting of the threatening but mentally ill passenger. In all that I saw and read, they had no other choice and took the only action available to them to keep people and the skies safe.

But I still have one question: Wouldn't tasers be just as efficient in such a confined space, without the subsequent loss of life?

The mentally ill should not have to die simply because they are mentally ill.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Equally stupid

I'm all for equal rights and equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sex, race, sexial orientation,

But what's been going on lately in Champaign-Urbana schools...damn. From Tuesday's News-Gazette:
CHAMPAIGN - Five girls were arrested on juvenile charges of mob action after a fight at a school bus stop Monday.
Champaign police Detective Nate Rath said there had been an altercation at Jefferson Middle School involving some girls earlier in the day. That dispute carried over to a bus stop on West Springfield Avenue near Country Fair Shopping Center about 3 p.m. Monday, he said.
"One of the girls involved in the earlier altercation and some of her friends went after another girl," Rath said.
The girl who was attacked was not seriously injured, Rath said.
Five girls, ages 11 to 14, were arrested on juvenile charges of mob action and four of them also were arrested for aggravated battery, he said.
All five were taken to the Champaign County Youth Detention Center, where they were briefly detained and released to their parents.
These are girls engaging in mob action. Middle-school girls. In Champaign-Urbana. Stuff like this is way beyond anything that makes sense.

It used to be that the girls were the peacemakers, those who actually DID make sense. Or at least they had the sense not to engage in public 'mob action.' And this isn't the first incident lately.
The incident was the latest in a series of confrontations involving Champaign school students, including altercations that carried over to fights off school properties.
In the past month, there have been incidents when a fight involving several students at Champaign Central resulted in that school being locked down, and another fight at a park near Columbia Center also resulted in that school being locked down as one student returned to the building for safety.
Equality is a good thing, Equally stupid isn't.

Have we become such a violent, reactive society that this is the only way young people feel they can solve their problems? Is it that pathetic? Who is in charge of these jerks? Is that what they're being taught? Are they being taught anything? How pervasive is this type of reaactionary ignorance?

I simply cannot understand this type of action.

And so it goes.

Dreaming?

I see that U.S. Rep Tim Johnson has announced he's running for re-election to Congress. Again. Tim's far from being the worst representative we could have. He's far from the best, too.

But some time ago, perhaps when he first ran or first won the post, didn't he declare publicly that he'd only serve two terms?

Guess he, like so many others, learned the meaning of seniority. And the meaning of an all-but-guaranteed job for life.

Then again, maybe I just dreamed it.

And so it goes.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Happy holidays?

I know the holiday season is supposed to be a happy time. A time of rebirth, renewal. A time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

To the families of those soldiers dying in Iraq - dying for what? - it's not such a merry time.
But that's not much of a concern in Washington D.C., where the big debate is whether to call it a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree.

Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.
To date, at least 2,137 Americans have died in Iraq. Americans are dying at a rate of about 18 per week. Is that acceptable? To whom? Another 18,000 to 48,000 have been wounded (Officially 19,801). And that doesn't count the 30,789 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people.
It has cost us $223.8 billion - billion! - so far. Instead, we could have fully funded world-wide AIDS programs for 22 years. Or maybe done something to insure the Gulf Coast wouldn't be nearly destroyed by a hurricane. $225 billion could go a long way toward building an acceptable levee system in New Orleans, don't you think?
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Qaida connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps. (Camps operating prior to the invasion).
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing.
One accomplishment, however: while Iraq under Saddam was NOT friendly to terrorists, it's now a major terrorist staging ground. Even the W-imbecile administration admits that.
Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet? And the lies continue.
Why, again, are we there?

And so it goes

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Common sense

It seems the CUMTD and the Village of Savoy are still at war. The MTD wants to try (again) to bring about a truce between the two parties.

According to the News-Gazette, CUMTD head Bill Volk has proposed peace talks and an agreement that both entities can work with.
After the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board heard a personal appeal from Savoy Mayor Bob McCleary, MTD Managing Director William Volk proposed yet another truce with the village.
Volk proposed that the board direct its attorney to draw up a new version of an agreement with Savoy and that the district ask its own lobbyist, Mike Hoffman, and the Illinois Public Transit Association to suspend efforts to create legislation that would allow the Regional Planning Commission to approve the annexation of communities like Savoy.
Unfortunately, there are too many egos and too much plain, blind stubbornness for any agreement, any cooperation, any common sense to happen. To hell with what's good for the people, what's good for the area and what's good for the businesses, let's just continue yelling at each other. It's so much more fun. And after all, that's what governing's all about, isn't it? Getting your way and calling each other names. Just like a bunch of 6-year-olds.
Savoy Village Board member Joan Dykstra called Volk's proposal "too little, too late" and said she still intends to have the Savoy Village Board vote in December to create its own mass transit district.
"The Champaign-Urbana MTD has stalled and put us off long enough," Dykstra said on Wednesday evening. "If we don't act in December, there isn't enough time for us to react to the next thing the MTD wants to do to us."
Nice, Joan. I want MY agreement, and I want it NOW! NOW! NOW!

Or I'm gonna go off and throw another little tantrum.

It's simply stupid to have two or three mass transit districts in the same contiguous community. Ridiculous. Pathetic.

Sure, a lot has been made, with good reason, about the arrogance of the CUMTD board. Yeah, Joan, they ARE arrogant. Bullish and boorish.

But have you looked in the mirror lately, Savoy? Are you really looking out for the future of Savoy and of its people and its businesses. Are you really governing?

Or are you just throwing another little tantrum? Tried holding your breath yet?

And so it goes.