Madison Trying To Limit Leaf Pick-Up Service….And My Thoughts

First let me state the view from the City Of Madison.  My response follows.

The City of Madison is kicking off a new program to encourage Madison residents to manage leaves on their property. The program, called Leave the Leaf, is designed to reduce phosphorus runoff from leaves, improve the quality of area soil and lawns, and reduce the need for more leaf collection trucks and staff.

The 20th Century attitude towards leaves was that once they fell they created lawn litter and had to be removed. It’s a new day, and time for some new thinking. It is time to view leaves as an asset that can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. Leaves also make great mulch, garden cover or rich compost.

Here is what I think of this bone-headed idea, and why.

We just might demand from the city that they provide the services, such as leaf pick-up, that we pay for as taxpayers. I do not like the city trying to play the green card because they waste money on others things and then cut back on the bread and butter items that a city should provide to the citizens.  Basic city services are the very things, when not delivered, that can take out mayors and others at election time. Some might want to ponder that fact.  (Are you listening, Dave?)

I do not want the city moaning about staff time and costs while thinking my lawn should look like crap with leaves, or to have my neighbor think it is OK not to rake and have his/her leaves blow all season onto my lawn. I do not work hard all year on my lawn and flower beds to have it look trashy all fall with leaves because the city can not get their budget  to add up so to provide basic city services.

I will rake my leaves and pile them as always.   That will not change.  If the city can not put together a better time-table to alert the city about pick up that will be their problem.   But my leaves will be piled, along with those from the street that I also rake up so they do not go into the gutter.  I pay my city taxes and reject this crazy notion that city services should be cut at a time when there seems like plenty of cash is around for motel construction.

We are so in need of an election in this city and as soon as the fall mid-terms are over I am ready to line up behind some new leadership for Madison.  I have really had it with this current team.

Top 100 Banned Books From 2000-2009

A woman wrote to me with a news story about Banned Books Week which runs September 25 through October 2.  She stated “We must be bad parents since we own so many that are banned somewhere in the country.”  The news story concerned books that for a variety of reasons, none of them good ones, placed them on the banned list. 

I live in one of those homes where there are far more books to read than time.   I live in a home where the television is not on very much, but books covers are always open.  So it is easy to see why I am always upset when others try to limit the reading material for others.   Be it for politics, sex, religion, or for some other ‘socially offensive’ reason I am opposed to the attempt to curtail what books other folks read.

I try every year to post something about Banned Books Week, and this year I want to post the Top 100 banned or challenged books of the past decade.  As you look down the list I know you too will say “What!”

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

How GOP Plans To Kill Health Care Shows Lust For Power Leads To Hypocrisy

This story is rich!  And typical of the Republican Party.

If America votes for the Republican hucksters in 2010 then they deserve what they get.  Sometimes one  can no longer feel sorry for the voters when they knowingly stick their hands in boiling water.

The first news item that caught my attention this morning is enough to make the case for every article about the craven desires of the Republicans that we have read (or in some cases written) over the past two years.    Recall how self-righteous and outraged the GOP was over the way  the Democrats passed health care?  Now we are aware that what the GOP once opposed is the path that they will try to use to repeal health care.  As I stated, this story is rich! 

The fact is the GOP will use any tactic or argument to advance their dreadful agenda, even tactics they blasted only a year ago.  This has nothing to do with policy, but everything to do with power.

First, let state very clearly there is nothing wrong with the process called budget reconciliation.  I had urged and pleaded for Democrats to use the method to pass health care many months before the bill was finally passed.  But at the time I and others were making the argument for reconciliation one would have thought the idea to Republicans was akin to asking Nancy Reagan to wash dishes……by hand!  

Now…..NOW…….there seems to have been an epiphany within the plotter’s minds about how to kill health care.  They are going to use budget reconciliation!

Which leads me to where we all knew the GOP was the past two years.  Every action of theirs has been purely political for their own ends, not the nation’s best interests.

Take notice America, you are about to stick your hands in boiling water come November if you vote Republican and no one say you were not warned.

Recall back in 2009, when Democrats gingerly toyed with the idea of using the 51-vote budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform in the Senate on a majority-rules basis? Republicans howled. The GOP’s two top budget guys, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in particular blasted Democrats. Gregg compared it to “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.”

With Republicans poised for big gains in November, though, the two of them have had a change of heart. Appearing on CNBC yesterday, the two were asked “Can you use reconciliation to chip away and gradually roll back some of the unpopular Obama policies?”

Sure!

“Yes, you can,” Ryan said. “Reconciliation is the fastest best path to get there. We do want to use reconciliation, you ultimately have to use reconciliation to get there.”

“Absolutely,” added Gregg. “Reconciliation passes the Senate with 51 votes and it can adjust entitlement programs so they’re affordable.”