Saturday, May 02, 2015

Reform comes to College of DuPage

It was a privilege to attend last night's COD Board meeting. Reform has begun as the three new Board members and new Chair Kathy Hamilton became the majority; immediately passing sweeping action to end and prevent recurrence of financial, educational and administrative mismanagement resulting in numerous investigations at COD. President Robert Breuder was placed on administrative leave. House accounts for dining and entertainment were cancelled. The state required audit was finally approved and expanded to include conduct during President Breuder's entire six year reign.

This was the first Board meeting I attended where serious COD issues were discussed and dealt with. While pleased with the resolutions passed, it was unfortunate that the three members tied to the Breuder administration chose to vote as a bloc against every single action. I was hoping they would put their previous lockstep support for Breuder's policies and actions aside to become constructive change agents at COD. Their votes last night signal they are unwilling to accept responsibility for the year long public controversy that has been simmering under the surface for faculty, students and taxpayers for six long years. They should reconsider this course and use their considerable talents at future Board meetings to facilitate long overdue reforms and accountability. There is never a bad time to begin doing the right thing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Institutional racism a mystery to Rand Paul

Presidential candidate Rand Paul on Baltimore unrest:

 "It's depressing, it's sad, it's scary. I came through the train on Baltimore last night, I'm glad the train didn't stop. The thing is that really there's so many things we can talk about, it's something we talk about not in the immediate aftermath but over time: the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of sort of a moral code in our society. And this isn't just a racial thing, it goes across racial boundaries, but we do have problems in our country."

Paul comments are insensitive, unhelpful  and clueless. After calling it depressing, sad and scary, he jokes about being glad the train carrying him through Baltimore didn't stop. Then he says that now is not the time to talk about the problem, but talk about it Paul does, putting the blame on "lack of fathers" while failing to acknowledge that excessive early death and massive incarceration from institutional racism have left the nation's black community short 1,500,000 men in the 25 to 54 age group. Paul shifts the entire focus from the forgotten pockets of poverty in the black community left behind in an otherwise thriving economy, by claiming this is not racial, but due instead to an overall lack of moral code in general.

Paul is unfit to address, as president, what is arguably are most crucial domestic problem we face. He would be well served by viewing President Obama's passionate and eloquent comments on Baltimore today to see how a true president comports himself. Then he should address this issue constructively and forthrightly or get off the national stage.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Life/Death Penalty piece misses point

Tribune deputy editorial page editor John P. McCormick missed two key points in his op ed "Ask Death Row: No, rotting in prison isn't worse than being executed."

He implies that former Gov. George Ryan was acting solely on behalf of 167 death row inmates when he commuted their death sentence to life for 164 and 40 years for three). He omitted that Ryan was acting, first and foremost, on behalf of society in general as a means of making i...t more civilized. In Illinois, at least, Ryan was ultimately successful. His January 31, 2000, announcement suspending Illinois' death penalty was one of the most moving and humane public policy speeches I ever heard.

Second, McCormick's piece, by analyzing which is a more vengeful punishment, life or death, tacitly supports capital punishment and completely ignores that vengeance should not be the concern of the penal system for heinous crimes. It should be to secure the public from violent offenders; provide justice, not vengeance, for the victims; and to discourage anti social behavior in others.

McCormick could better serve Trib readers pondering how to reduce the 63% national approval rate for the death penalty. I'd suggest he sit down with former governor George Ryan. He could learn a lot.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kirk a One Trick Pony on Iran deal

My senator Mark Kirk (R. IL) sure can't speak extemporaneously very well about the 5 power nuclear deal with Iran. Asked to comment after its announcement, Kirk, one of the Senate's most virulent proponents of Iranian regime change, also known as war, compared it to the president making a worse deal than Neville Chamberlin got from Hitler at Munich in 1938. Then he postured that the proposed deal puts Israel on the road to war with Iran. Bot...h charges are unbecoming of a senator charged with promoting peace instead of war.

But he does a bit better when he has someone write out a relatively coherent speech such as he gave in last weeks Republican radio address. Mindful of his charge from the war party and the Israel Lobby to sabotage the current deal designed to reduce the likelihood of war, Kirk tried to sound cautious and peace loving; claiming he's merely trying to prevent another holocaust and a Middle East nuclear war. But we shouldn't be fooled by Kirk's nice-guy sounding rhetoric. Without a word of support for negotiations which is the only path to peace and eventual rapprochement with Iran, Kirk played the war card throughout, promoting sanctions, sanctions and more sanctions. When he calls Iran the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism, he conveniently omits mentioning his 14 year support in Congress for unnecessary and senseless war in the Middle East that his killed hundreds of thousands and injured or displaced millions.

When it comes to diplomacy, Kirk is a One Trick Pony; sanctions that will inevitably lead to war. Rather than charge ahead as leader of the War With Iran crowd that infests Congress, Kirk could better serve his state by visiting the families of Illinois soldiers killed in the senseless wars he's promoted and apologizing for his mendacious support for them.