Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Salinas Library--Measure V passes!

You might know that the Salinas Public Library, in Salinas, California--once home to John Steinbeck was slated to close forever by the end of 2005 if more funding had not been found. Well, this brief note in Library Journal from November 10th links to information on Measure V, recently passed.

Salinas Library will stay open, serving the public.
Measure V also provides funding for public recreation facilities. People are really being civic-minded here, providing opportunities for learning and recreation for ALL the people of Salinas.

Victory for our side.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kansas Democratic Party




Just to let you know, here's a link to the Kansas Democratic Party.

You can sign up to participate on forums (fora) and blog from there if you wish.

I just don't have much time lately to blog period!!! But there's a lot to keep track of.

In any event, by scrolling down you'll see that our governor, Kathleen Sebelius is among Time Magazine's picks for hardest working governors in the nation.

(you'll also have to scroll down in the Time article) (but she's there).

High fives for Governor Sebelius!!! Some things are fine in Kansas :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hope in Pennsylvania--in Kansas, we wait until 2006

From the NY Times this morning:

Evolution Slate Outpolls Rivals

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Published: November 9, 2005



All eight members up for re-election to the Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy.

Among the losing incumbents on the Dover, Pa., board were two members who testified in favor of the intelligent design policy at a recently concluded federal trial on the Dover policy: the chairwoman, Sheila Harkins, and Alan Bonsell.

The election results were a repudiation of the first school district in the nation to order the introduction of intelligent design in a science class curriculum. The policy was the subject of a trial in Federal District Court that ended last Friday. A verdict by Judge John E. Jones III is expected by early January.

"I think voters were tired of the trial, they were tired of intelligent design, they were tired of everything that this school board brought about," said Bernadette Reinking, who was among the winners.

The election will not alter the facts on which the judge must decide the case. But if the intelligent design policy is defeated in court, the new school board could refuse to pursue an appeal. It could also withdraw the policy, a step that many challengers said they intended to take.

"We are all for it being discussed, but we do not want to see it in biology class," said Judy McIlvaine, a member of the winning slate. "It is not a science."


In Kansas, however, the school board in a 6-4 vote, decided to change the science standards once again to dumb down science.

Four of the board members are up for reelection, however next year and we should try to vote them out. They are among those who are voting to strike the current science standards down.

Intelligent Design is a theory, yes, but it's not science. My opinion is that it belongs in a religion curriculum and not in a science curriculum. And now it belongs in teachings about what's wrong with Kansas.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Grilled Cheese

I may have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

I don't add mustard. Ketchup would be unpalatable for me. As for H&P sauce, well, I have no idea what that tastes like, so, nope. Not gonna do it.

I like my grilled cheese plain and redolent with butter. I soften the butter in the microwave, smear one side of one piece of bread first. The slices of cheese are lying on top of the other slice of bread. Then I toss the sandwich buttered side down onto a hot skillet. At that point, I butter the side that's on top. And in a few moments, it's ready to turn.

And soon it's done. Oh why am I not hungry for lunch right now!!!

Now as for cheeses, I have to admit that a sharp or medium cheddar or even American cheese (not cheese-food, though) work best for me. I have a hard time with cheese that melts and gets stringy like mozzarella or even swiss.

Grilled cheese is excellent when accompanied by a lovely tomato soup. Campbells is okay, traditional comfort fare, but the Pacific brand--found in Wild Oats or Whole Foods--now that is ambrosia!

Unless you make your own exquisite tomato soup.

Or chili. That'd be good. Kosher dill pickles on the side.

Yes.

My mouth is watering.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Einstein

Check out the Einstein pumpkinheads at the Johnson County Public Library. The carved one with the light inside is simply awesome!

Thinking versus politics, part one

I have to agree with Mike Hendricks--Hendricks writes commentary on the front of the Metro section of the Kansas City Star--who wrote along the lines that Paul Morrison, Johnson County District Attorney did not do the politically expedient thing. It will generate controversy, to be sure, but will hopefully give people something to think about.

From today’s Star, Friday, November 4th, 2005

Refusal to seek death penalty becomes political issue

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

The decision not to seek the death penalty in the Ali Kemp murder case turned political Thursday, with a Republican questioning District Attorney Paul Morrison, a newly minted Democrat.

“If this isn’t clear, if a crime that is this heinous and this awful doesn’t fit the death penalty statute, then what does?” state Rep. Eric Carter, an Overland Park Republican, said outside the Johnson County Courthouse.

Morrison, who met with reporters a short time before, defended his decision as one that was relatively straightforward and generated little controversy within his staff.

He said staff members spent months considering whether there was a way to go for the death penalty, but in the end, “I don’t think it was a close call.”


I haven't followed the Ali Kemp murder case with enough zeal to understand all sides of the story. I understand the father's pain. I wrestle myself with my thoughts about what I'd want if my son or husband were murdered.

To tell you the truth, I'd want mercy. But that's the way I feel today. It hasn't happened to me. If it ever did, I might change my mind.

Enough of me. To recap: Paul Morrison, Johnson County DA just changed parties and is planning to challenge current Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline. Kline's campaign will probably focus on Morrison being "soft on crime." (my quotation marks--it's just a common term). Nevertheless, Morrison is enough of a professional lawman that he understands you can't just seek the death penalty. And since the young man convicted in the Kemp case is pleading "Not Guilty," I wonder what other evidence there is. To read a bit more on the proceedings in the Ali Kemp case, here's a link to an article in the Star.

Ali's parents and friends, I believe, have set up a a website in her memory.

I don't know all the legal ins and outs. Maybe Morrison has really shortcircuited his campaign. I doubt it. He's doing his job and not seeking to score political points with this side or that. I don't know about you, but that's refreshing.

I do know enough though that for even the state to put someone to death,it's got to be really, truly well-deserved. How many of us can make that decision with equanimity?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Alito and Oil

What do Alito and Big Oil have to do with one another...just some thoughts.

Of course with Alito on the bench, the atmosphere for big bidness will probably open up even more than it has with the restriction-fearing Republicans.
But I’m truly more afraid that their Democratic counterparts will be powerless to resist. The era of big government is over and we're neck deep in the era of big business.

In any event, I suspect the Democrats are showing more guts lately, despite the disheartening news about the Senate allowing drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. This from the Washington Post:
The Senate today moved closer to allowing oil companies to drill in an Alaskan wildlife refuge, narrowly defeating a provision that would have removed drilling authority from a massive budget reconciliation bill.

The entire package is scheduled for a vote later today, and the House plans to vote on its version of the bill next week. The two versions must then be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee.

By a 51-48 vote, the Senate defeated an amendment sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that would have stripped the bill of a provision authorizing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The Senate subsequently voted 86-13 to bar any exportation of oil eventually produced from the refuge, requiring instead that it be used domestically to help lower the nation's dependence on foreign oil.




And hearings on Alito won't begin until January. Plenty of time to keep focused.