May 24, 2007


The guiding thread though this week's Goat Rope is Walt Whitman's 1856 poem "Song of Prudence, along with stuff on current events. If this is your first visit, please click on the earlier entries.

As mentioned before, in this poem everything matters not just in its own time but for all time to come:

No specification is necessary, all that a male or female does, that
is vigorous, benevolent, clean, is so much profit to him or her,
In the unshakable order of the universe and through the whole scope
of it forever.

Who has been wise receives interest,
Savage, felon, President, judge, farmer, sailor, mechanic, literat,
young, old, it is the same,
The interest will come round—all will come round.

Singly, wholly, to affect now, affected their time, will forever affect,
all of the past and all of the present and all of the future,
All the brave actions of war and peace,
All help given to relatives, strangers, the poor, old, sorrowful,
young children, widows, the sick, and to shunn'd persons,
All self-denial that stood steady and aloof on wrecks, and saw
others fill the seats of the boats,
All offering of substance or life for the good old cause, or for a
friend's sake, or opinion's sake,
All pains of enthusiasts scoff'd at by their neighbors,
All the limitless sweet love and precious suffering of mothers,
All honest men baffled in strifes recorded or unrecorded,
All the grandeur and good of ancient nations whose fragments we inherit,
All the good of the dozens of ancient nations unknown to us by name,
date, location,
All that was ever manfully begun, whether it succeeded or no,
All suggestions of the divine mind of man or the divinity of his
mouth, or the shaping of his great hands,
All that is well thought or said this day on any part of the globe,
or on any of the wandering stars, or on any of the fix'd stars,
by those there as we are here,
All that is henceforth to be thought or done by you whoever you are,
or by any one,
These inure, have inured, shall inure, to the identities from which
they sprang, or shall spring.

Did you guess any thing lived only its moment?
The world does not so exist, no parts palpable or impalpable so exist,
No consummation exists without being from some long previous
consummation, and that from some other,
Without the farthest conceivable one coming a bit nearer the
beginning than any.

(Note: due to quirks in Blogger, I couldn't get the spaces in the poem right.)

Here's a question: if all that was really true, what if anything would you do differently?

A SIGN OF PROGRESS. For the last few years, lots of people in WV and around the country have tried to fight the skewed budget priorities of the Bush administration, where unnecessary wars and tax cuts for the wealthy have trumped human needs, education, and investments in infrastructure.

The last big example of this was the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (which didn't reduce the deficit). The DRA combined $40 billion in cuts to programs like Medicaid and student loans with $70 billion in tax cuts aimed mostly at the wealthiest. Among WV's delegation, only Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito voted for it.

For a while there, all we could do was damage control by trying to reduce the magnitude and severity of the cuts.But here's a pleasant change--according the the Emergency Campaign for America's Priorities,

On Thursday, May 17, the House and Senate passed the FY 2008 budget resolution, which provides a blueprint for annual spending bills.

The non-binding budget resolution allows for up to $50 billion in new spending over five years for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to protect current enrollees from losing their health coverage and protect more uninsured children. It also rejects the President's proposed cuts in education and training programs and allows for significant new resources for special education, No Child Left Behind Act, and Pell grants. The Agreement also allows for increased funds for Head Start and child care, and rejects President Bush's cuts to Head Start and flat funding for child care under which 150,000 children have lost child care subsidies over the past five years. The budget throws out the President's cut in the Social Services Block Grant program and many other domestic programs that aid low- and middle-income families and are important priorities for our nation that must be adequately funded.

Actual funding decisions for individual programs will now be made as part of the consideration of annual spending bills which fund vital public services.

It's not clear at this point how the administration will respond to the budget resolution now that it's a little short on rubber stamps.Congratulations to all who worked on this! That was a long, hard fight.



Mary Rayme said...

I have come to think that our government is not generally interested in promoting quality education because it values an ignorant workforce and uneducated army.

WV colleges and K-12 schools have been hurt by the Pell grant restrictions and the tethers of No Child Left Behind. Let's hope this new legislation offers something more to our kids. Walt Whitman would perhaps agree...

El Cabrero said...

Hey Mary Rayme,

La Cabra is a teacher and I hear about NCLB all the time, negatively of course.

I definitely think Walt would be with us in wanting decent priorites for this country.