Listed below are three stories, all true. They are things that are going on in America right now, and I'm very interested in determining how many of them you know about. When I bring them up amoungst people I know who read newspapers, read news online, watch tv and are fundamentally "informed", they don't know about all (or sometimes even any) of them. I consider this a problem with the media, who aren't telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Not that they ever did, as a whole, but it seems to be getting worse. Here goes.
#1: This Tuesday, a ballot initiative called "Amendment 1" will appear on North Carolina ballots. It reads:
Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.
The most heinous part of this proposal is not just that the rights of the minority should NEVER be a ballot issue, but that couples (same sex or male-female) lose all protections they now have. For example, an unmarried woman would lose the legal standing to get a restraining order against her live-in boyfriend.
#2: In Michigan (and to a lesser extent Indiana and New York) Emergency Managers have been put in place to run cities and towns. These folks have the right to invalidate contracts, sell city assets, fire city workers, deny elected officials the right to hold meetings, and fundamentally serve as mini-dictators over all aspects of city government. An attempt was made to put repeal of the enabling legislation on the ballot, but the Board of Canvassers (who needed to certify the petitions) disregarded the position of the Board of Elections, and on a party-line vote deadlocked, therefore denying the ballot issue. Their gripe? The petitions used the wrong font size.
The problem with Emergency Managers is that they completely usurp the democratic process of electing officials, honouring the contracts put in place by those officials, and in general, they don't work out in terms of "saving" the economies of the towns and cities they are charged with running.
#3: Tom Corbett's Pennsylvania budget cuts from schools, infrastructure improvements, Medicaid, food stamps, and everything else reasonable people believe in. Doubtless you knew that, and possibly even knew that with the latest cuts, the total cut this year and next fiscal year specifically to education is about $1 Billion dollars. You probably also knew that the reason Corbett likes cutting school budgets is because he and his friends make money on charter schools. But did you know that the state ended the 2010-2011 fiscal year with a surplus of close to $200 million dollars?