Five on Friday: brain dump edition

Really, I think every blog post I write lately is a brain dump. My creative powers are falling short lately, and I'm sorry. I'm not really sure what is responsible. Could it be that I have finally run out of interesting things to say??

Anyway, my problems are pretty insignificant compared to most other people's, so I won't make this about me. Instead, here are my thoughts about 5 things I've been thinking about lately:

1. Scott Walker. Yeah, I'm afraid to say he's still Wisconsin's governor, and he's still up to No Good. I have many, many complaints about his politics and his style of governance, but the one that hits closest to home is his education policy. Soon Gov. Walker will announce his budget proposal for education in the state of Wisconsin, and it ain't gonna be good. Specifically, he will propose expansion of the voucher program to include private school vouchers for children with special needs. This is VERY, VERY BAD POLICY.

I have close friends who are parents of children with special needs, so this issue hits pretty close to home. Funding vouchers sucks money away from public schools that are strapped for cash already. Private schools have no obligation to accept students with special needs, they can be selective about which students they accept, and they aren't held to the same accountability standards as public schools. Not a single advocacy group for children with special needs/disabilities supports the voucher proposal. This alone speaks volumes, but the parents of kids with special needs are speaking plenty loud as well.

On Monday afternoon at the state Capitol, there is a press conference scheduled for the families of children with disabilities and special needs, during which several parents from around the state of Wisconsin will articulate their opposition to the voucher proposal. I plan to be there with my kids to support their classmates and my friends who will be directly affected by the vouchers. I just hope our knuckleheads in the state leg pay attention.

2. Melting Arctic Ice. Holy cow, you guys, the ice caps are going to disappear completely in a few years and there are still people out there denying that climate change even exists. I don't know where to begin. I'm extremely distressed about this, though. It keeps me awake at night. Quite literally, I wake up in the middle of the night and panic about the implications of this crisis. Nothing makes me feel more helpless than this. Nothing. I used to worry that the human race would destroy itself in nuclear war, but I think we're halfway to self-inhialation with carbon emissions, and I'm not kidding. The fact that four months ago, Mitt Romney and President Obama were practically tripping over themselves to one-up each other on proving who was more coal-friendly was not encouraging, I might add.

3. The cruise ship disaster. You know what I'm talking about, right? That cruise ship that had a fire on board and all those people looking for a cheap vacation were  stranded in the open sea with raw sewage flowing freely in the hallways and no escape? Sounds like absolute hell. Oh, and then they finally returned to land this morning and their bus broke down and left them all stranded - again - on the highway. Oh, the irony. What kills me is that the cruise company offered them refunds (no brainer) AND vouchers for their next cruise. Dude, who would get on one of those boats again after an experience like that??? Ew.

4.  Anna Karenina. I'm reading it. And it's awesome. Seriously, I love this book. I used to poke fun (gently) at my hubby Stuart for reading massive Russian novels for purely recreational purposes. And now, here I go. I've never read Tolsoy before (aside from a few short stories long ago) and now that I've started Anna Karenina, I'm completely hooked. I'm sure the translators (Peavear/Volokhonsky) have a lot to do with it, but anyway, man is it good.

5. TGIF. I don't have special plans for the weekend, but I'm glad it's here, I guess.


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