Friday, March 10, 2006

Billibustering


Billibustering
Originally uploaded by faithwearspurple.
Little Larry's son Big Billy filibusters (or is it billibusters?) in Austin. We have to put him to work as much as possible before he takes off for the North Easy this Fall.

Tale of Three Mollys

OK, my favorite Molly is this one; she's related to me. I also love this Molly; which is probably going to get me in a whole bunch of trouble. But she reminds me of Jane, who helped a lot of women and girls in a heap o' trouble back in my day. You see, I remember coathanger days, I remember reading about women and girls dying from unsafe abortions. I remember in particular, a girl in the local high school who committed suicide because she was afraid to tell her parents she had gotten pregnant.

It kinda sucked, "back in the day", being female. We were supposed to be attractive, yet modest; seductive, yet virgins; clever, but not smart. We were supposed to be, in a word, popular. It was a very fine line we had to walk, "back in the day"; and if we slipped by being too attractive or being too much in love, well there was that trip down the 101 to Mexico.

So I have a heap of admiration for Molly #2, born of my memory.

Then, today I read this from my second favorite (living) Molly; a woman I not only admire and repect, but love. And she is doing a little poorly lately, with an illness she'd rather not us talk about; so I was thinking it would be a great tribute to her if we just go out and win a bunch of elections this cycle. If we can take some seats back, everywhere, (including 122), we may have enough juice for the DLC and LMNOP and whatever other roll-over Dems there are in DC who think they run the party to stay the hell out of the way, and let real Democrats nominate a real Democrat in '08.

Well, a girl can hope...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Where In The World Is Little Larry?

Karl-T brings his Little Larry* push card to the Austin filibuster.



*Little Larry portrayed in actual size.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Five Smooth Stones Of Democracy

Well, it turns out that Little Larry is not running against Frank Corte, after all. Frank Corte is just a rich kid whose main claim to fame is he played in the Aggie Band (which I admit is a pretty cool claim to fame for a 22-year-old), and who owns some trailer parks and apartment buildings, and dabbles in legislation. Nope, Larry isn't really running against Frank Corte. He is running against this guy who has given so far $3.2 million to pro-school voucher candidates in Texas; and who, because he is so religious, no school was pure enough for his kids, so he home schooled them - and that was "back in the day". The public schools, in his deranged opinion, are so bad, so corrupt, that the underperforming ones are unsalvageable no matter how much money they get; so he wants to give Texas education money from your school to folks who want to send their kids to those pure, wonderful, nearly perfect private religious schools. He wants to do it by means of what is so innocently known as school vouchers. He offers no studies, no scholarly papers, no measureable data at all to convince you and me that public schools are broken beyond repair and that vouchers can fix the education system (whether it's "broken" or not in your district).

Little Larry's kids are no strangers to private schools, nor is the candidate himself. Hell, I, the underperforming campaign director, am completely a product of the best private schools money could buy in the '50's, '60's and even into the 1970's. My parents sacrificed so my brothers and I could go to parochial schools - they bought one new car the whole time I was living at home, a stripped-down Studebaker "Scotsman" station wagon. That model didn't even have a radio, fer cryin' out loud! Back then, in California, folks were trying to get tax breaks written into the California tax code for families that had kids in parochial schools. Now, it wasn't as direct as "vouchers", but it would have given my dad a bit of a deduction on his California state income tax every year. But my dad, honorable man that he was, was against such a plan. I came home from the nuns one day, excitedly telling him about this tax proposal the good sisters wanted us to encourage our parents to vote for. My dad very calmly told me that he knew all about it, and was against the measure. Shocked, I asked him why, and he said it was his and my mom's choice that we went to St. Pius School in Redwood City, California; and they would pay for that choice. He was afraid that this so-called proposed "tax break" would be a slippery slope in which the public schools would gradually lose more and more money. His attitude was, "We can afford the choice of parochial schools, but many people can't. We shouldn't be taking money away from parents who have no choice". He also thought that public schools needed all the money they could get, because they had to educate everyone, not just the kids who could pass an entrance test, like we had to. Also, the public schools, even back then in the "golden age", had to educate the kids with behavior problems, kids who had a hard time learning, kids who came from homes with no books, kids who had unstable families - and there were plenty of them, even when Donna Reed was a mom, and Father Knew Best.

Larry graduated from a private, Catholic college in 1976. Our daughter, COMM-D, went to one semester of parochial school, but we took her out because it was the most joyless, anxiety-producing experience of her young life. She finished her education (through her BA) in public schools, many of them considered at-risk, and she graduated #7 in her high school graduating class. She got a full-ride honors scholarship to a state-supported university. She's a proud product of public schools. Our son Billy went to a private, Catholic school here in San Antonio for one semester also. That school was too rigid to deal with his curiosity and his Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and he was miserable there, so we approached our local elementary school about admission. They weren't thrilled to get another difficult child, but they had to take him. And he drove his teachers crazy. He was so challenging to his second grade teacher that for a field trip she talked her husband, also a teacher, into taking the day off just to keep track of Billy. He drove most of his teachers and administrators crazy, and I spent a lot of time talking to teachers, overseeing homework, and having many "come-to-Jesus" conversations with Billy. But you know what? That kid, who has had more teachers tear out their hair than most kids I know, got accepted early action last December to Harvard's class of 2010.

This discussion isn't bragging about either our kids or our efforts to motivate them - it is a discussion about the quality of public education. Now, I don't know if Leininger's home-schooled kids went to Harvard or Oral Robert's University, and it doesn't matter, if they got the education their parents wanted and they needed. The point is, our Texas schools can prepare kids for any type of college. Kids don't need to go to voucher-supported schools to get into the college that's best for them. And I am just so frakkin' sick of the rhetoric about crappy public schools and the vouchers we need to save kids from them. Our kids don't need to be "saved" from our schools, our schools need to be saved from the likes of Leininger.

Make no mistake - these folks don't want public education at all. They don't want kids to be educated in reading, writing, math, history, science, art and music from a basic, broad point-of-view of western liberal arts education. No, they want your kids to be educated from the same perspective theirs are - a narrow, neo-Christian philosophy called Dominionism. I use the word philosophy deliberately. This has less to do with religious faith than it does a faith in capitalism. Personally, I place my faith in the Lord God Yahweh, who Jesus called "Father"; but hey - that's just me. I certainly don't want you to have to follow me in faith, and neither I nor Candidate Larry want our faith being propagated in our public schools. Larry knows that kids from all faith traditions can freely study what they need to be successful in life in our public schools, because each of their traditons is respected there - not just Leininger's. And folks that think God Himself is not free to touch the hearts of students in public schools any time He pleases don't think very highly of Him, do they?

Now, all this discussion is to highlight a sobering fact - Little Larry has a heck of a lot in common with the shepherd boy, David. You know, the one who took five smooth stones and his slingshot into battle against the giant Goliath who was armed with the finest weapons money could buy? Larry Stallings For Texas 122 has a little less than $400.00 in the campaign treasury; but Little Larry has the faith of David. He is not afraid to go into battle against the Goliath of vouchers with five smooth stones of Democracy.