Day: March 19, 2015

The Senate’s 47 percent

By E.J. DIONNE JR. In September 2002, three Democratic congressmen visited Iraq in an effort to prevent a war they thought was a terrible idea. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said very little there, explaining afterward that his sole purpose was to tell Iraqi officials that “if they want to prevent a war, they need to prevail upon Saddam Hussein to provide unrestricted, unfettered access to the weapons inspectors.” On the other hand, former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., and especially Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., were quite outspoken while on Iraqi soil. McDermott urged Americans to take Saddam’s promises on weapons inspections at “face value” and charged that President Bush was willing to “mislead the American people.” Needless to say, supporters of Bush and his policies did not deal kindly with McDermott and Bonior. Writing at the time in the pro-war Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes called them “The Baghdad Democrats” and said: “What apparently didn’t concern the congressmen was the damage their trip might do abroad to any U.S.-led effort to deal with Saddam.” Perhaps it’s not surprising that Republicans are now reminding everyone of the trio’s journey. To defend the 47 Republican Senators who signed a letter to “the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” they invoke the everybody-does-it argument: that interfering with a president conducting a negotiation is as American as apple pie. The letter itself, written in...

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Inequality’s effects on kids

By MICHAEL GERSON It is rare for a work of sociology to leave readers choking back emotion. Max Weber and Emile Durkheim were not known for writing tearjerkers. But Robert Putnam’s “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” is sociology as story, as tragedy and as an act of social solidarity. It is the culminating work of an academic career characterized by sound judgment and bigheartedness. And the more influence this book gains, the more just and generous our country will become. Putnam’s goal is to reveal the consequences of inequality on kids. This unfairness is rooted in various, interrelated trends: family instability, community dysfunction and the collapse of the blue-collar economy. The result is a growing, class-related gap in social capital between rich and poor. But that really does not capture the human reality. Putnam’s case-study approach reveals something important: Children experience these broad social trends mainly as the absence of committed, trustworthy adults in their lives. Putnam introduces us to David, who was abandoned by his mother and can’t visit his father in prison because David is on probation himself. “I never really had around-the-table family dinners at all,” he says, “so I never got to miss it.” And to Sophia, who carries the burden of this memory about her mother: “The day after my ninth birthday, she was arrested down the street from here for prostitution....

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Goodall School gets renewal from SKSB

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes A revised contract renewal for Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School was approved by the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday. The new five-year term, which will begin July 1, had received board approval Dec. 9, 2014, but after reviewing state and district policies, school personnel asked for a revision. The revised contract maintains 85 percent average daily membership funding for the school and adds language on state assessment results to the goals and evaluation guidelines. Also approved were contracts for Michael Wolfe, chief operating officer, and Ken Parshall, assistant superintendent. Each contract is for a three-year term to start July 1. Wolfe’s was approved unanimously, but Paul Kyllo voted against Parshall’s contract. Neither Kyllo or Parshall would comment on the negative vote. Many routine personnel actions were approved, including the following for the McNary High School attendance area: • Changing the status of Melissa Juiskowiak, third-grade teacher at Clear Lake Elementary School, from full-time to part-time effective Sept. 1. • Employment as temporary full-time teachers Lori Lloyd, third grade, Clear Lake; Stacy Fields, English as a Second Language, Claggett Creek Middle School; Avamarie Mallett, learning resources center, Weddle Elementary School; and Vincent Suetos, LRC, McNary. • Resignations of Timothy Brassfield, choir-drama teacher, Claggett Creek; Sandy Watts, English and social studies teacher, Claggett Creek; and Jessica Brammer, first-grade English for speakers of other languages teacher,...

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Slight changes in KLL usage fees

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes The fees are the same, some are just switched around. Fee changes for Keizer Little League Park were approved unanimously March 2 by the Keizer City Council. Most fees are the same for the park, which is heading into a second year of management by Keizer Little League. KLL took over park management from Keizer Youth Sports Association for 2014. “Each year, the manager of Keizer Little League fields needs to submit for approval of any changes,” city attorney Shannon Johnson said. “This year Keizer Little League noted they wanted to make it two fields changed. One of the fields costing $40 didn’t have dugout, while one that was $30 did have a dugout so they wanted to make them consistent. They will be back later in the year with more budgeting information.” Field usage rates for most of the 12 fields at KLL Park will remain the same. Fields 9 and 12 will still cost $30 for a 120 minute period while fields 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10 will each remain $40 for a 150-minute period. Field 6 will remain $50 for a 135-minute period lights and $135 for the same time period with lights. The changes are with fields 1 and 11. Field 1 was $30 last year but is $40 this year; field 11 has gone the...

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