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There are two part of this story; the first started many years ago with the plan to move the city of Muskegon farmers market form the Jackson Hill neighborhood to downtown.  It continued with the changes several years ago of the city of Muskegon zoning to allow community gardens as a use by right everywhere in the city.  The second started this last week and is much much worse.

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Reading the coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting there was one story that stood out in my mind.  CNNs interview with First-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig who recounts how she took all her student into the bathroom while they waited for police to arrive.  She recounts, "[i]f they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, 'It's going to be OK.' I wanted that to be the last thing they heard, not the gunfire in the hall." (1)

Here, in the time when most appropriate to be afraid, when no one would blame her for fear, she focused on getting through and keeping herself and her students calm.  To me, this is such a huge part of the true heroism.  It is not just in what they did, it is in thinking at all times what is needed to help the students get through the situation.

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We live in Michigan, one of the state harder hit (I think) by the recent cuts in education funding.  Our school district closed four buildings at the end of last year and the district next door is shutting down entirely to be replaced by a charter school - that means over a thousand kids won’t even have a public school to attend as we go into this next school year.

While much has been said about the need for political reform (and I don’t want to in any way detract from the need to lobby, vote, and sometimes run for office) we have to remember that there is a lot we can all do outside the system.

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Having seen so much in the news about this, and several excellent post here (including one about the problem of using executive order for this issue that I would link if I could still find it) I think it worth mentioning another serious problem with the vaccine requirement.

In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261 (1990), the U.S. Supreme Court established that the right to refuse medical treatment was a fundamental one.  This means that in order to force you (assuming you are a legally competent adult) to receive medical treatment (like a vaccine) the state has to show a compelling interest and that there is no less oppressive way to achieve that interest.

Early on, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory vaccinations were legal, interestingly this was before Cruzan and they have never applied the compelling interest/least restrictive means test to a vaccine case.

By their own ruling they should, so what would happen if they did,

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In response to RfrancisR’s diary about the confrontation of Rick Santorum (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/stark-interviews-santorum-audio/).

Mr. Santorum may call it "a false choice,"but it is a real choice, a choice that hundreds of “pro-life” advocates have already made.  The choice to “adopt”(a misnomer both legally and linguistically) an embryo rather than a living breathing child.

The fact is that at any given time thousands (if not tens or hundreds of thousands) of children languish in the foster care system in this country waiting for adoption.  The mantra “every child a wanted child” has been parroted by “pro-choice” activist and the claim that for every aborted baby there is a family waiting to adopt has been equally cried by “pro-life” proponents.  

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I have seen too many post with comment the likes of "if you can afford to have Internet [which you obviously have because you post on, or read, Daily Kos] you're not really poor."  I have had similar things said to me about the fact that I have a cell phone.  As one of the many cyclically unemployed college educated Americans, I am sick and tired of being told that my one and only way to find work and try to get out of poverty is proof that I must not be poor.

I will start by saying that part of being employed on and off (and usually part time) since I finished undergrad five and a half years ago is that there are good times and bad times financially.  Times I would consider my family very poor and times that I would not.  That being said there has never been a time I did not have internet access and a cell phone.  Why?  Because I have to work.  

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