In typical "rules are for suckers" fashion, Congressman Michael Burgess voted along party lines today against a resolution condemning the uncivil behavior by South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson.
Wilson, as you may recall, shouted "You Lie" (itself a lie) at President Obama during his speech on insurance reform. Although Wilson's conduct was a breech of House decorum, he refused to apologize to the house for his behavior, instead choosing to apologize to the President, then turn around and make the rounds with the media, reiterating his original offensive statement.
Last night I attended the LISD Board of Trustees meeting, and took some video.
It is hard to find the words to express my further disappointment in the board and superintendant.
20 citizens spoke at the public forum, 18 of which addressed the censorship of Obama's speech to students. Of the 18, 17 were there to express dissatisfaction with the decision to ban the speech. I only actually know a few of the people who spoke up, and at least one referred to this blog post.
Here is a YouTube playlist of all of the videos, kicked off with me a couple of hours before the meeting sharing my thoughts in a video blog:
TYLER—Hank Gilbert (D-Whitehouse), a candidate for Texas Governor, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the President’s healthcare address tonight:
“Texas has a higher percentage of its citizens living without health insurance than any other state in the nation. Instead of working constructively to do something about this problem, Governor Perry and Senator Hutchison behave like children on a school playground—each one peevishly blaming the other for our state’s problems. Or Washington. Or the 10th Amendment. Basically, doing anything BUT acknowledging their own failure and disregard for their fellow Texans.
One thing you also haven’t heard them say is how they’ll solve the health insurance crisis in Texas. Whether or not the President’s national healthcare plan becomes a reality, we have to do something about health insurance in Texas. We lead the nation in the number of uninsured children. We rank 46th out of the 50 states when it comes to the number of people covered by employer-funded healthcare plans.
That’s inexcusable. During the 24 years Rick Perry has held public office, and during the 18 years Kay Bailey Hutchison has held statewide office, neither has demonstrated the courage Texas needs to pull our state up by the bootstraps from the health insurance sinkhole. These two have more than four decades of government experience between them, and this is the best we get? Allowing health insurance lobbyists to control the agenda in their offices? Campaign coffers filled with money from health insurance interests?
I applaud the folks in Washington who are trying to do something to ease healthcare costs in an effort to help small businesses and ordinary Texans who have been abused for decades by greedy insurance companies. Insurance companies need aggressive competition and fair but strict regulation so consumers are protected and prices don’t skyrocket out of reach of ordinary Texans. Here in Texas, the first step toward making sure that happens is reforming the Texas Department of Insurance. As your governor, I will transform this agency, in cooperation with the Legislature, to make the Texas Insurance Commissioner an elected office held accountable to the voters, and not the governor.”
District Clarifies Usage of President Obama’s Address to Students
Lewisville, TX – Due to logistical issues, the Lewisville Independent School District did not air President Obama’s speech to students live on Tuesday, Sept. 8. However, teachers may use President Obama’s speech as an instructional tool in the appropriate class time and grade-level. Parents and students will be notified prior to the classroom lesson and may opt-out of this activity. (emphasis ours)
Happy as we are to see this reversal, the fact remains that Superintendant Dr. Jerry Roy made a very bad call on this based entirely on political considerations, then continued to dig himself a deeper hole by not reversing himself in time to allow students to see this speech.
Roy claimed the ban was due to logistical issues, but given that he explicitly BANNED the speech from the classroom for teachers who would have been able to work the speech into their schedule and solve the very difficult task of navigating a web browser to the whitehouse.gov website, we find that excuse to be a major cop-out.
It was only after intense pressure by our parents and community members, and the exposure of this behavior that it was finally reversed. Sadly, the message may not reach all of the students who need it the most.
Further, the district continues to show appeasement towards the Texan version of the Taliban who feel entitled to enforce their myopic and bigoted world view on the rest of us.
Lets be absolutely clear about what this was: LISD chose to lend credence to utterly ridiculous claims that the President of the United States would use the opportunity of a speech about staying in school and exercising personal responsibility for one's education. LISD chose to appease conspiracy theorists and sore losers who have taken every opportunity to undermine our American system of government and its long tradition of peaceful revolution every 4 years at the ballot box.
Even with the recent death of Senator Ted Kennedy, the district chose to simply not fly the American flag at some of their campuses, rather than to do what is right, and what was ordered by the Governor and the President, and lower the flags to half-staff - a slap in the face to a great number of citizens in the district, as well as many who work in the schools.
If the district has chosen the courage-free low road in the past, then there is much more to worry about than whether or not our kids are getting the kind of good information this speech delivered today. It is time to question what other decisions may have been made with regard to textbooks, curriculum, staffing, taxation, and school boundaries.
Let this incident serve as a wakeup call for those of us who just trusted the system to work. We are going to have to show up at meetings, and demand that our elected Trustees set aside their partisan leanings and focus on what is best for our children and demand the same of the administration.
The following is a letter from a retired long-time Lewisville ISD employee to the board: Dear LISD board members.
Knowing all of you and working very closely with most of you for many years, it's very disheartening to be writing you at this time to express my sadness, disappointment and complete disagreement with your decision to not air President Obama's address on Tuesday.
Like TXsharon, Elizabeth Burns is a reluctant activist forced into action by the horrendous environmental abuses she witnesses on her own ranch. Her videos have exposed reckless drilling practices by XOM that endanger human health and safety, harm wildlife and spoil air, soil and water. XOM has gagged Mrs. Burns claiming that she is revealing "trade secrets."
This past Friday, my fellow local Democrats and other supporters of health care insurance reform held a rally at the Lewisville office of Congressman Michael Burgess. Although I supported that effort and participated in the preparation and publicity, I only spent a few minutes there, snapping a few pictures and waving to my fellow patriots.
Early in the week, we had decided that although the main body of our rally would be at the office of Michael Burgess, he wasn’t really the audience for our support of health insurance reform. Burgess may or may not have been in the office – in fact, he may have been out doing another joint town hall meeting with Rep. Michelle Bachman of Minnesota. We have tried to express our opinions to him and our two Senators, but we know that regardless of what they all may say about wanting some type of health insurance reform, their actions and their votes speak louder than their words.
For this reason, we wanted to share our message with regular people, and engage them with the truth. We know from polling data that a majority of Americans support reform, but we also know anecdotally that the belligerent right has screamed the loudest, and raised the most dire predictions of doom.
So what we did was to create our own hand-made banner, not with a witty or sarcastic bumper-sticker slogan, but designed to drive home the three main principles of what President Obama is looking for in his plan for health insurance reform:
Lawn Work Since I am on a deadline to finish some stuff for an old client, I am subconsciously looking for other tasks to take on - such as blogging right now. I've discovered that there are two factors that make lawn work more pleasant: 1) When the weather is cool, and 2) When my mind is full of other crap.
So today I edged and mowed with my wind-powered lawnmower and trimmer, and even fixed my back gate, which for the last year I've had to keep closed with a bungee cord, and a dumbbell, with a recycling cart rolled in front of it just to keep my dog from bolting out for his semi-monthly freedom sprint through the neighborhood.
911 Call This is strange: Last night I dreamed that I witnessed an armed robbery at a gas station, and barely escaped without getting shot. In my dream, I tried to call 911 on my cell phone, and the phone wouldn't dial it no matter what I tried. I'd key in 9-1-1, and the screen would show 6-2-2 or some weird thing. Or I'd dial and the call wouldn't go through.
So this afternoon, I'm out sweeping grass-cuttings from the alley behind my house, and I see this pickup truck stopped way down at the other end, pointing in my direction. I think to myself that I need to keep an eye out, because he may want to get by in a few seconds.
When I look up from sweeping, I see that the truck has moved closer, but is again stopped. I watch for a minute and see that the driver is moving very slowly, and looking up the driveways into the garages of each house he passes. This raises the suspicion level that he doesn't belong. The other thing is that people tend to enter and exit the alley on the same end of the street as their house. It's rare for a resident to drive completely from one end to the other.
As he passes me, I see that the bed of this pickup truck is filled with what appear to be bicycles and children's riding toys.
OK, so that's it - I'm gonna call this one in. I make a mental note of the license plate and then run in the house and grab my cell phone. As I head back out, I dial in 9-1-1, but my phone's screen just shows V-E-E (my phone is a Palm Treo, which has the numbers on top of an alpha keyboard), and as I type, it pulls up a narrowing list of contacts (Vince, Vetcare, Verizon, etc.) I have stored - none of which is 9-1-1, eventually saying "No matches".
Dammit! By now I'm cursing and fumbling with it, trying to figure out how to convince the phone that I'm trying to literally type a number. I try the numeric shift, and that has no effect.
Eventually, I manage to clear the screen and get it to dial 9-1-1 correctly. When I explain about the suspicious truck to the dispatcher, she naturally asks for the license plate number, which I had repeated mentally over and over about 15 times before reaching my phone.
I draw a complete blank. "uh.. crap. I think it started with '99'", I say. A black truck that looks like it might be a Chevy, and the license plate has a 99 in it. That narrows things down a lot.
So, I went back to sweeping and never heard back from them. I told the dispatcher they didn't need to stop by unless they needed more info. I was embarrassed. I probably should have stopped to write down the plate before grabbing my stupid phone.
And to make me look even more foolish, as I sit writing this tonight, I've TRIED to get my phone to repeat its silliness for me. No matter what combination I try, by the time I type the second '1' of 9-1-1, it switches out of "hunt for contacts" mode and puts the digits 9-1-1 on the screen. ---
Anyhow, if you live in Southern Lewisville, you may want to keep your bikes in your garage, and keep your garage doors shut. If you see a 40-ish Hispanic male driving a black late-model Chevy pickup with "99" in the license plate, and he's cruising your alley with a load of bicycles, call it in. In fact, call in any suspicious vehicle or person. We need to get a handle on the property crime down here.