Mark Twain Branch Of Detroit Library Sad Statement About Society

Hat Tip to Suzanne.


When I first saw the photos of the Mark Twain Branch of the Detroit Library on Facebook I thought they were a joke.  A bad attempt at making some point about this or that policy.  In just a few seconds of looking however I came to understand that what I was looking at was in fact reality.

That is when a flood of feelings came over me.

Sadness, some anger, and a deep sense of how lost we are as a society.

One can argue about the financial mismanagement and even political ineptness of those who made the choices over the years for Detroit.  One can lay blame at the feet of every person who failed to step up and vote or care more about the city they lived in, or the community they called home.  There are countless places that blame can be placed for the images that screamed out for some answer as to why and how such a thing could happen.

Having grown up in a small town with a local library the size of the back portion of a tiny house means that I understand the importance of these places for the mental expansion they provide to a community.  Libraries nurture minds, and when one of them is shuttered, and in the case of the Mark Twain Branch allowed to decay in such a manner makes me aware of how far removed some are from the needs of their communities.


There is no way that anyone can defend the loss of those books.  If there was no way to keep the library open, and I suspect there was, then for Pete’s Sake at least make sure the books were donated to a place they could have been used.   Tap into local volunteer organizations to keep the doors open, and find some creative ways to make sure the lights were paid for.  I can not accept that there was no way to prevent this closing, and then destruction of the library from happening.  It had stunning architecture that evoked the mood of what a great library can offer.


While I am not privy to what must have been a long story to the closing of this library I am sure there must have some way to prevent it from happening.  If not, then the loss I feel for what is happening to our society is even deeper.  The library closed in 199s for renovations.  Asbestos was discovered and it seems that was the end of the project.  Fiscal woes were also a problem and the story unwinds from there.  The Detroit Public Library Board confirmed in news reports at the time that despite passing a tax levy that explicitly included funds to renovate the Twain library, it intended to demolish the building instead.

While there are many places in Detroit that resemble the end of a rugged war I would hope all recognize the importance of libraries to the foundation of our neighborhoods and always do all we can to keep them open.

Granted I live in a city that has no fiscal disaster and where local revenues are sound.  So perhaps I am so far removed from the angst of a place like Detroit that I have no perspective.  But we all know the value of books and libraries, and surely sense the loss of this one.

The building was razed in 2011.  Very sad indeed.


House Republicans Rigged Rules To Continue Shutdown


This story is picking up steam and moving from ‘in the weeds’ to out front so everyone can start talking about it.

As my readers know when it comes to the process of government I can be rather particular.  Bitchy might be the other word.  There is a need for a clear and transparent process to government for it to function with credibility.

So it caught my attention when over the past couple days a story about how the GOP made a rule change about how the federal government shutdown could end, (or be lengthened) started percolating.   At first I thought it was not accurate and just another in a series of attempts to sway partisans without the facts.  But as I read more and came to better understand the matter it is clear that the process of government has really been turned upside down.

And steering the topsy-turvy ride are Republicans.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has been fuming in recent days about Republicans quietly changing the House rules to prevent a clean funding bill from getting a vote, guaranteeing the government would remain shut down.

But two weeks ago, in the middle of a largely unnoticed House Rules Committee hearing, it was Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) reacting in disbelief to what Republicans had done.

House rules typically allow any member, Republican or Democrat, to call up a Senate-passed bill for a vote. But on Sept. 30 — the eve of the government shutdown — Republicans on the House Rules Committee changed the rule so only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) could call up a Senate-passed clean funding bill — a bill that has the votes to pass the House and would end the shutdown, if it were given a vote. The move to prevent lawmakers from bringing up the bill came as part of Republican leaders’ strategy to try to extract concessions from Democrats in exchange for reopening the government.

A video clip from that hearing, which surfaced Monday, shows Slaughter, the ranking Democrat on the committee, trying to comprehend why Republicans would make such a significant change to House rules.

“It was just pointed out to me that under regular order of the House, any member can call for a vote on the Senate proposal,” Slaughter says to Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “But you have changed that regular order under this resolution so that only the majority leader can do it. Can you tell us why you did that?”
“In fact, that is correct,” Sessions said. “What we are attempting to do is to actually get our people together. Rather than trying to make a decision, we are trying to actually have a conference. … So we think this is the quickest way to get that done.”

They went back and forth several times, with Slaughter asking why Republicans would alter House rules and Sessions confirming only that the rules had been changed. They both established that, under normal circumstances, any lawmaker would have the right to make a “privileged motion” to call up the Senate-passed bill, at any time.

“I think you have taken that away,” Slaughter said.

 “That is what I am saying,” Sessions said. “We took that away.”

 “Then how can we do it at any time?” she asked. Sessions replied, “I said you were correct we took it away. And the reason why is because we want to go to conference.”

 “Oh, mercy,” Slaughter said. “I think it is an atrocity to the rules of the House.”

What Can Senator Ted Cruz Do Now With Senate Deal Nearing Completion?


There is no doubt that the bipartisan deal that is materializing in the Senate is one that Senator Ted Cruz and his House conspirators are unlikely to support or vote for when it reaches the floor.

So what does Cruz do?

Nothing can be ruled out given his antics and need for self-aggrandizement that has been witnessed for the past three weeks.

Cruz could take to the senate floor and attempt a filibuster of the deal.  But in taking such a move it would likely push any Senate vote on final passage past the Thursday deadline to raise the debt ceiling.   That means Cruz and his nutty allies would bear the brunt of the political consequences that will come from a default.  It would be an international bashing of the type never seen before for the conservatives.  But if Cruz crumbles and does nothing it might make him look like a smaller dick than he is among teabaggers.

Oh, the tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive…….

Senate Leader Reid Said No Vote For “Blatant Attack On Bipartisanship”

Hand claps and hurrahs for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Ried said his chamber will not approve the budget bill being put together by House Republican leaders and blasted the proposal as “nothing more than a blatant attack on bipartisanship.”

“We felt blindsided by the news from the House,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Let’s be clear: The House legislation will not pass the Senate.”

No Ransom For House Republicans And Teabaggers Over Government Shutdown


After news the U.S. Senate is closing in on a deal that both Republicans and Democrats can accept comes news that House Republicans want to wade in and demand, yet again, ransom demands for fulfilling their duties as members of congress.

House Republicans offered ideas, yet again, that are not acceptable.  Period.

They again feel that changing President Obama’s signature health care reforms is somehow a right they are entitled to while everyone else knows this is a last-gasp effort to influence the agreement to reopen the government and raise the federal borrowing limit.   But there can be no give on these matters from Democrats in light of how the GOP closed down the government in an attempt to get their way.  That is not how the process works.   To allow for that to happen now will only set a bad precedent for others to try and emulate in the future.

The House bill would include most of what is in the Senate agreement while adding a provision to suspend an Affordable Health Care tax on medical devices for two years and remove federal health care subsidies for Obama and legislators when they obtain health coverage under the reforms.  Then the teabaggers added for frosting a proposal that would forbid the Treasury from taking what it calls extraordinary measures to prevent the government from defaulting as cash runs low, in effect requiring hard deadlines to extend the federal debt ceiling.

The President needs to send a clear signal, yet again.

No way.

And, Bite Me.

The words from White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage sums it up nicely.

The president has said repeatedly that members of Congress don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills. Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place.  Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working in a bipartisan, good-faith effort to end the manufactured crises that have already harmed American families and business owners. With only a couple days remaining until the United States exhausts its borrowing authority, it’s time for the House to do the same.”

The GOP walked into a field of land mines when they shut down the federal government and took the nation with them.  They now seek to take the good faith and credit of the national economy with them and shred it to pieces.

And they want to be rewarded for the calamity that will fall upon us!!

No way!   This nation will not pay ransom to the Tea Party.

Nut-Free College Football Game For Northwestern Wildcats


This story struck me this morning as most interesting.  With all the news which makes me wish for something better happening in the world comes. well, news about something better happening in the world.  This just makes me aware that people can be sensitive to others, and work in concert to make lives better.

As reported on WGN radio the Wildcats are likely the first college team to host an allergy-friendly game.  To make such a thing possible requires power-washing the stadium’s nearly 50,000 seats.  Good for those who made this possible.

While I have no such allergy I am aware that many do have issues that develop with peanuts,  So to make it possible for everyone to better enjoy the game I applaud the move.  Lets hope the Wildcats win on Saturday.

Northwestern University is hosting its first peanut-free football game to give fans with allergies a chance to focus on the game instead of worrying about negative reactions to the popular stadium snack, which can range from mild irritation to life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

That’s a big draw for Joyce Mason’s family, Northwestern fans from Gurnee. Mason’s daughter Julie, 13, has a potentially life-threatening peanut allergy. Safeguards such as wiping down the seats and traveling with two EpiPens to counter severe reactions aren’t always enough.

At a Cubs game a few years ago, Julie broke out in hives and began wheezing despite taking all of those precautions, Mason said, so now they attend only peanut-free games.

Peanut allergies affect about five of every 1,000 Americans and are on the rise, said Raoul Wolf, chief of the pediatric allergy and immunology section at University of Chicago Medicine. Though closed environments like airplanes pose a greater danger, stadiums can be “a huge risk,” Wolf said. “If you can smell the peanuts, there’s enough protein in the air to cause a bad reaction. For the most sensitive patients, it’s not a risk worth taking.”