Gloves off!

April 22, 2008

This blog is supposed to be all about relaxation and my favorite pasttime, reading. Dog walking and home decorating. Delicious food. Photography and travel. You know, the fun stuff of life.

Keep kids reading!I’ve tried, really tried, to keep politics out of it, but I can’t keep my mouth shut any longer. There’s a reading-emergency afoot and we need to do something. THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO CUT ALL FUNDING FOR READING IS FUNDAMENTAL. This is the first time in the history of the program that any administration, Republican or Democratic, has eliminated funding.

Destroying this historic literacy program hits me where I live. Taking books away from children is the last straw. So I’m joining with fellow authors to urge you to send an e-mail message to your reps in congress in support of continued funding. The appropriation committee will be meeting in May and June to decide on budgets.

Let me be clear: This is not a controversial program. From its inception in 1966, RIF has been supported on both sides of the aisle because of its demonstrated success. Regardless of politics, thinking people know that we can either educate our children now, or pay later, when we’re dealing with the known consequences of illiteracy: poverty, increased crime, unemployment, dependence on welfare.

According to Publishers Weekly, “while President Bush continually overlooks the organization, both his wife and mother have held positions within the organization. Barbara Bush served on RIF’s board of directors from 1980 to 1988 and then on its national advisory board from 1989 to 1992 (chairing the advisory board for three of the four years.) Laura Bush served on RIF’s national advisory council from 1996 to 2001.”

So what’ll it be? RIF costs $1.63 per child per year. It costs us $22,650 per prisoner per year to incarcerate a criminal, and yes, there’s a connection. 70% of incarcerated criminals are functionally illiterate.

This administration always finds funding for massive tax cuts to corporations, the super-wealthy, and no-bid contractors. Yet when it comes to the education of low-income children, it’s happy to slash the budget to nothing.

RIF’s Web site provides a link for supporters to find their senator and representative and send an e-mail message in support of continued funding. The appropriation committee will be meeting in May and June to decide on budgets. 

Funding for RIF was cut from the 2001 budget, but there was such an uproar that it was reinstated. So roar again! Please! It’s a no-brainer.

| 8 Comments
  • I just contacted my Kansas U.S. Reps.
    Thanks for making it so easy for me to do it, Susan .
    You have just performed a public service for so many kid’s and their families.

  • Actually, Tamara mentions Sesame Street, but it wouldn’t surprise me that Public Television wasn’t right up there as well.

    The fact that his mother and wife were so involved with literacy is what is astounding. It seems like a slap in their face. If this is where my miniscule tax cut check comes from, you can take it back and actually put it to use.

  • Holy cow, what’s next, taking Sesame Street off the air? Taking the vitamins out of Cheerios? Leaving out the flame retardant in pajamas?

    I remember RIF clearly as one of those godsends that saved so many inner city kids back in the 70s. Even when I was in kindergarden I knew RIF was necessary. The bookmobile would blow through town and we’d all bring home books stuffed with RIF bookmarks.

    Maybe it’s because Bush never learned how “reading is fundamental” when he was a child. Hee haw, what does a wealthy oil baron’s son need with bux anyhoo…? As long as he can count.

    Given W’s serious lack of critical thinking and communications skills, that doesn’t seem an altogether unlikely theory. Gads.

    And it might explain one thing. That’s why Librarian Laura married him… to make him over. Beauty and the Beast and all that.

    Anyway, we’ve all seen that pic of him reading an upside-down book. Maybe that was a clever mashup, but it might as well not be, given his stupidity.

    Fool. Can we just send him home now and go without a president? Would anything change between now and Inauguration Day next year, were that to happen?

  • Ditto, thanks for the heads up. I can’t wait to see the end of this administration. I get so angry just hearing that man’s voice that I have to turn off NPR when it broadcasts one of his ignoramus soundbites. ARGH.

    Meanwhile, hope you’re doing well!

  • I thought I would share my thoughts –

    I didn’t contact you when the VA bureaucracy delayed my cancer treatment for 2 years. I didn’t complain when Social Security screwed me out of $10,000 per year. I didn’t complain when George W didn’t live up to my expectations ….

    However, cutting the budgetary funding from “Reading is Fundamental”
    – is like peeing in my grits!

    Some things are unforgiveable …and unforgettable!

    I hope you have more sense than to vote for increased illiteracy in the state of Missouri!

  • I am pretty easy going but — That makes me ANGRY!!! Angry enough to give someone a piece of my mind! So I will!

    Thanks for the Heads Up!

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