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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 82,318

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Dish Network replaced Fox News with Glenn Beck's The Blaze while negotiations continue.

Accidentally tuning in to Fox News is bad enough, but seeing The Blaze is a total shocker.

Since The Blaze is already available on Dish 212 it seems that channel gets double coverage now.

Orlando has Disney World, Holy Land, Epcot..and now Machine Gun America.

This is right in the middle of a much visited strip of tourist attractions. I assume since Channel 10 News in Tampa is shown in a video at the link discussing it, that it might be considered general discussion material. The video is partway down the page.

Also since it is being reported abroad, even if by the Daily Mail....that it is topic of general interest.

What could possibly go wrong? Assault rifle theme park 'Machine Gun America' where children as young as 13 fire military-grade weapons in zombie-themed training simulators to open in Orlando



Although management claim their Orlando, Florida, attraction provides a safe place for the use of firearms, critics claim it is unsuitable for an area known for its child-friendly attractions.

The website for the business - named Machine Gun America - states it is Orlando's 'first automatic adrenaline attraction'.

It explains: 'Whether you're looking to unleash your inner action star or become a zombie hunter, experience the exhilarating rush of shooting real machine guns and powerful firearms for a thrill like any other.'

But Lucia Kay McBath, a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, said: 'You've got Holy Land right there in Orlando. You've got Disney World, and Epcot. All places for family fun where they should feel protected,' WTSP reported.

A look back at all the money Andrew Cuomo got from the Koch brothers. Money buys influence.

From 2011. It's so easy to forget sometimes why some Democrats fail to act very much like Democrats.

Koch donations: $43,000 to Scott Walker. $87,000 to Andrew Cuomo.

From an education blogger at Norm's Notes:

The contributions from Mr. Koch and his wife Julia to the Cuomo campaign totalled $87,000. In comparison Koch only spent $43K on Gov. Scott walker of Wisconsin.


He has some comments and links to the few sites that have covered this. One is a right wing site and one is a union site.

The contributions from Mr. Koch and his wife Julia to the Cuomo campaign totalled $87,000; In comparison Koch only spent $43K on Gov. Scott walker of Wisconsin.
Koch brothers in total gave Cuomo $92K. Explains why he’d rather cut education funds than tax the rich.


Where has the MSM been on this? have you seen any stories in the papers?

Only one I can find is Dan Janison of Newsday here: http://www.newsday.com/columnists/dan-jani...

See also http://theunionlegion.blogspot.com/2011/02...

http://www.futureofcapitalism.com/2010/09/...


One of the above links does not work.

From the Union Legend link above.

Andrew Cuomo's Koch Problem


I was handed the flyer below by a student at yesterday's rally in support of Wisconsin Public Employees and Worker's Rights by a student. I foolishly forgot to ask his name so that he could get proper attribution for his work. However, he did some leg work I was planning on doing and, low and behold, he found what I expected would be the case -- Andrew Cuomo has a Koch habit.

As you can see in the pdf below, Cuomo has accepted $92,000 from the Kochs -- yes those Kochs who are working as hard as possible to eliminate the Human Right of Collective Bargaining in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinios, and New Jersey. The very same people, so addicted to greed that they feel entitled to trample on the lower and middle classes in their quest to acquire more.


Interesting words from the New York GOP chairman in 2012 on how Cuomo works and plays so well with the Republican led Senate in the state. Koch agenda being fulfilled with loads of money.

New York Republican Party Chair on the Connection Between David Koch and Andrew Cuomo

According to New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox, reclusive Republican megadonor David Koch has done quite a bit to shape the current Albany landscape and the cooperation between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Republican majority in the State Senate.

...“He’s a private guy, but he wants to do what’s right for New York State and for America, because he’s backed Republicans, but he also–he and his wife maxed out in their contributions to Andrew Cuomo when he was running for governor,” Mr. Cox said. “We talked about it, and he felt that Andrew Cuomo was the right person, he felt that the Republican Party was the right party to support. And, by golly, guess what? Our majority in the Senate is working with Andrew Cuomo. They complement each other and he was part of that. He was right on both sides.”

Mr. Koch and his wife, Julia, gave a combined total of $87,000 to Gov. Cuomo during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.



Links between Citigroup, Robert Rubin, and government...graph.

Elizabeth Warren was right: The links between Citigroup and government run deep

Washington's version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is much less exciting than everybody else's. It's called One Degree of Citigroup, and it's not much of a game since so many economic policymakers have worked at the banking behemoth. It's exactly the point Elizabeth Warren made in a big speech last week, expressing anger that Citigroup and other big banks were able to weaken a key Wall Street regulation in the new government spending bill.



Courtesy Washington Post

In many ways, however, this isn't One Degree of Citigroup. It's One Degree of Robert Rubin. After his stint as President Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary, Rubin decamped for the newly-created Citigroup, which formed after Congress passed a law ending the Depression-era prohibition on banks and securities firms from operating under the same roof. And then Rubin's long list of proteges followed. It's been enough to turn Citigroup into a kind of government-in-exile for Democratic policymakers, with current and past employees including current Treasury secretary Jack Lew, former Office Management and Budget chief Peter Orszag and current U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman.


Robert Rubin has had almost complete access to congress and has had a huge influence.

From 2006:

Robert Rubin gets the floor to himself to talk to new Congress folks.

From Greider at The Nation:
Same Old Same Old

So why does Pelosi begin the education of her freshman members with a seminar on Rubinomics? Robert Rubin, the Citigroup executive and former Treasury secretary, will appear solo next week before the party caucus to explain the economy. Pelosi has scheduled another caucus briefing on Iraq, but that includes five expert voices of varying viewpoints. Rubin gets the stage to himself.

When labor officials heard about this, they asked to be included since they have very different ideas about what Democrats need to do in behalf of struggling workers and middle-class families. Pelosi decided against it. This session, her spokesman explains, is only about "fiscal responsibility," not globalization and trade not the deterioration of wages and disappearing jobs. Yet those subjects are sure to come up for discussion. Rubin gets to preach his "free trade" dogma with no one present to rebut his facts and theories.


I remember Rubin told Howard Dean in 2003 to stop criticizing NAFTA, that he could not get him any big donations if he didn't. But actually what Dean said was sensible and geared to the people's needs.

But one thing bothers me about Dean, and I raise it with him. He (Dean) wants to renegotiate NAFTA to include labor and environmental standards—his lone departure from Clinton-style Rubinomics. Dean even says: "I actually had this argument with Bob Rubin, who totally disagrees with me, of course. But I think it's because Bob is fighting the last war. He said they use those arguments to try to undo NAFTA. I said, I know they use them to undo NAFTA, but now you've got NAFTA, and you're going to have NAFTA, now think about what this problem is. He said, you're right about the problem. Your analysis is right. I just don't have the solution. I'll get back to you when I do. I haven't heard back yet."


Dean's ideas were quite good. But they were just not wanted.

Dean's theory in a nutshell: The structure of wealth in the United States before labor unions resembled that in Third World countries today, so in order to create middle classes in the developing world, we need to bring labor unions to them.

....Won't Dean's plan make the price of goods go up? "Yeah," he says quietly. "But so what?" My 25 minutes are up. We've arrived in Osceola, the site of Dean's next talk, and I'm being ushered out of McFun by Dean's staff. But I think Dean realizes he's ended the interview on the wrong note because he quickly adds: "Because in return for making the price of goods go up, you've fixed the illegal immigration problem, you've fixed the drain of jobs problem, you've created a middle class that can buy American exports. There's a lot you get for that.

Mark Fiore. Cashing in on public schools.



Published on Dec 8, 2014

This animated feature on school privatization stars little Timmy, a kindergartner who likes his public school. Timmy gets a confusing lesson in corporate education reform, starting with the rightwing mantra "Public Schools have failed."


Two weeks before Christmas and all through The House....a budget was burning...



Twitter hat tip to Vivian Griffin

John Yoo of the "torture creative class" is not a happy camper right now.

Back in 2009 Katha Pollitt wrote an article at The Nation about how those who were the architects of the torture program were faring quite well for themselves. John Yoo was one of them.

Those of the "torture creative class" and how they got rewarded.

Yoo is only one of those who are mentioned, and of course there were Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Feith.

What I mean is, I should have been a member of the torture creative class--a conceptual torturer, a facilitator of torture, perhaps an inventor of torture law, an architect of the torture archipelago, a dissimulator, concealer, denier, rationalizer, minimizer and pooh-pooher of torture. As a word person, I could have come up with circumlocutions to confuse the media, bureaucratic phrases like "special methods of questioning" and "enhanced interrogation techniques." According to New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt, just figuring out whether to call a given action "harsh" or "brutal" has kept editors busy for years! Or I could have written copy for the CIA. For example, I could have suggested they call putting people in coffinlike boxes full of insects "studio picnics," because studio apartments are small and picnics have bugs, and I could have nicknamed waterboarding "drinking tea with Vice President Cheney," although come to think of it, waterboarding is a euphemism already. Maybe that's why people didn't catch on that it was the same thing we prosecuted Japanese interrogators for doing in World War II. In the Tokyo trials it was called "the water treatment," or "the water cure," or just plain "water torture." Calling it "water torture" was probably what got those Japanese into trouble. That, and losing the war.

Why should I have joined the torture creative class? Because now I would be having a great life.


She mentions Yoo.

John Yoo. In 2002, while working for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Yoo wrote a crucial memo saying that terror suspects weren't covered by US commitments to treaties and agreements banning torture. Now Yoo is a tenured professor of law at Berkeley. Eat your heart out, Ward Churchill! And he isn't hiding away in his office, either. This semester Yoo's a visiting prof at Chapman University School of Law, where he spoke at a public forum and defended torture as necessary to protect the country. "Was it worth it?" he asked, according to the Los Angeles Times. For John Yoo, definitely.


This year UC Berkeley students, alumni and a group of lawyers are protesting John Yoo's faculty chair endowment.



UC Berkeley students, alumni and a group of lawyers in the Bay Area initiated an online petition last week to rescind UC Berkeley School of Law professor John Yoo’s recent faculty chair endowment.

Spearheaded by the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the petition was launched after Yoo was announced as a newly endowed faculty chair along with four other law professors in June. Yoo has been in the spotlight of controversy ever since he co-authored a series of memorandums, dubbed the “Torture Memos,” during the administration of former president George W. Bush.


Wikipedia has some of the Torture Memos.

This week John Yoo published an op ed in the New York Daily News about his opinion of the torture revelations.

A torture report for the dustbin

The release of a Senate report on Bush-era interrogation policies could have prompted an informed, responsible debate over intelligence and the war on terror. But not the report that saw the light of day Tuesday.

Because of fundamental mistakes made at its very birth, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s accounting offers a dispiriting, partisan attack on American intelligence agencies at a time when we need them more than ever.

Bizarrely, Feinstein and her staffers refused even to interview the very CIA officials who ordered and carried out the program in question. Because Republicans saw where the train was headed, they refused to participate in the review.

The slanted approach to the investigation sadly colored its conclusions — which are questionable, to put it charitably.


Muckety has a flow chart.



A former editor of the Yale Law Journal and clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, he is beloved by many on the right and mocked by many on the left.

He wrote the torture memos as a deputy assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration.

He has responded to the Senate report in a Time magazine post, saying that a president responding to terrorist attacks “must obtain intelligence as soon as possible to stop the next attack. Under these emergency conditions, a chief executive would reasonably give the green light to limited, but aggressive interrogation methods that did not cause any long-term or permanent injury. You might even approve waterboarding in the time of emergency.”

The Senate report found that torture was ineffective in unearthing information that could prevent future attacks, a finding disputed by former Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration.

The interactive Muckety map above shows Yoo’s current and former connections.


In 2011 The Guardian UK summed up the problems this torture culture has caused for our country.

The reason why torture is universally prohibited in international and domestic law the world over, however, is not because it is ineffective or counterproductive (though it is). Torture has been universally prohibited because in the aftermath of the second world war, the nations of the world agreed, under the leadership of the United States, that respect for basic human dignity required the absolute prohibition of torture under any circumstance.

The acts of torture that John Yoo and other Bush administration officials so proudly defend are nothing less than war crimes that, in the absence of accountability, continue to undermine the United States' claim to respect the rule of law.






Creative writing teacher out of job because student writes of Jesus giving out marijuana to the sick

The administration said that the teacher was not fired, but she chose to resign rather than conduct her class "in a professional manner".

I would think there would be a wide range of what is considered "professional" in a creative writing class of all places. A student writes creatively of a topic that offends another student and their parents. She was targeted and harassed.

I found the news video at You Tube, the article is listed below it.



Creative writing teacher resigns after student writes about Jesus, pot

The assignment was to take a fairy tale or legend and rewrite it in modern times. One student changed the biblical story about Jesus handing out bread and fish to the poor to Jesus handing out marijuana to the sick.

“I don't take any personal offense. It's not written for me. It's written for them. It's how they can express themselves,” said Guarascio.

But according to the teacher, during peer review, one of the other students got highly offended by the story and told her parents. And then the teacher was put on administrative leave while the district investigated.


The teacher had one last message for her students.

“If they have something to say, say it,” Guarascio said. “Not everyone's going to agree with you. But that doesn't make your point invalid or worthless. Tell your story.”


Another article makes it clear that the teacher was said not to be conducting her class in a professional manner. That of course is ridiculous. It was a creative writing class. The student applied a present day problem and told how it might have been handled by Jesus.

Conservative Student Attacks Teacher Over Jesus Story, Teacher Resigns

Katrina Guarascio, a teacher at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, gave her class the assignment to rewrite a fairy tale or legend with a modern setting. One of her students, following instructions, rewrote a tale about Jesus, a central biblical figure, to have him handing out marijuana to the sick. During the subsequent peer review session, one of the students claimed to be so offended, she complained to her parents, who then filed a complaint to the school. Guarascio was subsequently placed on administrative leave pending investigation, despite not having violated any rules.

“It was Kind of a slap in the face after years of hard work,” Guarascio said to KOAT 7.
The teacher had been working for the school for eight years at the time of the incident. Of the student who claimed offense, she said on Facebook that the student had been bragging to her classmates that she was going to get Guarascio fired. Now Guarascio has resigned amid being “targeted and harassed.”

In response, the school district’s Communications Director Kim Vesely, declining to go on camera with KOAT7, released the following statement:

“The teacher involved chose to resign rather than follow the school district’s direction that classes be administered in a professional manner.”


The teacher said that Kim Vesely was someone she had never met, and someone who had never even been in her classroom.


I Grew Up in Guantanamo and Time Has Left Me Behind. From age 17 to age 30.

I Grew Up in Guantanamo and Time Has Left Me Behind



I wish I had the ability to describe the passage of 13 years at Guantanamo. My own mind shuts down when I try to think about it. And I have no words that can make you truly understand.

In that time, I have lost so much both here inside the prison and outside in the world I left.

I miss my home -- too much. But the truth is that if I returned to my village tomorrow, I would be a stranger, even among the people who love me the most.

A few days ago, Omar brought me dozens of photographs of my village that were taken during the filming of Waiting for Fahd. I carried them back to my cell and held them with me like a treasure - I looked at every face, every building, and every mountain peak. I stayed up until the dawn hours before Fajr prayer, studying the images one by one. My mind and my heart raced. I wanted to be able to recognize every detail in the photos to be reminded of my life before Guantanamo. But it was nearly impossible.

I did not even recognize the faces of my best friends.

My younger brother, Abdur-Raheem, who I used to feed and care for and discipline, does not know me. Now he only knows of me.


He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, and there is more of his story at the link.

Fahd Ghazy is a Yemeni-national who has been detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba since February 2002 when he was only 17 years old. He is one of the last remaining prisoners to have been detained as a juvenile. Fahd was cleared for transfer by President Bush in 2007, and again by the Obama administration in 2009. He is now 29 years old and has spent over one-third of his life in Guantánamo without charge.

....Fahd was born on May 2, 1984 in a small village outside of the Yemen's capital. He was married in his early teens and had a daughter, Hafsa, shortly after his 17th birthday. Fahd was an ambitious student. He attended the Al-Najah primary and secondary school in the district near his home, and graduated first in his class. Those results won him a scholarship to attend university, news of which he received while already imprisoned in Guantánamo.

Despite his treatment and the length of his detention, Fahd continues to prepare himself for his release. He has mastered English while at Guantánamo and he reads voraciously – all in the hope that one day he will be able to secure a good job and provide for his family.


A video from the CCR Waiting for Fahd.


Obama, the Third Way, TPP, education privatization..accepting "status quo" used against us.

Right now in this country so many are going along with the idea that all students are alike, learn alike, can perform the same educational tasks, and that there really are no special needs students that can't be fixed by more rigid standards.

In fact President Obama says if we don't accept these new reforms we are comfortable with the "status quo".

"But education is an economic issue – if not the economic issue of our time," Obama said. "It’s an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have.

Black leaders have charged that by firing teachers or closing schools that are considered to be failing, the president is only making a bad situation worse.

Obama, in addressing critics of his program, said that part of the controversy surrounding Race to the Top "reflects a general resistance to change; a comfort with the status quo."


Obama went further in his defense of the new normal in education. He said the "status quo" is morally inexcusable.

President Obama on Education: “The Status Quo is Morally Inexcusable”


Today, President Obama delivered an address on education at the Urban League’s 100th Anniversary Convention highlighting the steps his Administration has taken over the past eighteen months to improve the education system in America. The President stated that education reform is a top priority for his Administration because the “status quo is morally inexcusable, it’s economically indefensible, and all of us are going to have to roll up our sleeves to change it.”


Recently when he spoke of those of us who opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership, he said we were "accepting the status quo".

Video in which Obama says if we oppose the TPP we are "accepting the status quo".

Those words are about 5 minutes into the video.

I believe in both instances there are positions that allow us to have a different opinion but also understand that things are not perfect just as they are.

I believe we can see the serious harm to be done if the "status quo" is changed so very drastically in both areas.

I remembered where I had seen the term "status quo" used to marginalize those of us on the left of the party who question such policies. Guess who said it.

Why Third Way

This dysfunction in Washington serves to maintain the status quo – leaving us unprepared to meet the defining challenge of our time: making the global information era work for the United States, not against us. The innovation, dynamism, and modernization we need from our political system to meet that challenge have simply not kept pace:

Once, we could take prosperity—for America and most Americans—for granted. Now, we need new ideas for job-creation, expanding exports, shifting spending from entitlements to public investment, re-thinking higher education, and making the tax code competitive.
Once, our K-12 education system was the envy of the world. Now, we are struggling to compete in a knowledge economy, with a teaching profession—the linchpin to providing equal opportunity and mobility—that hasn’t been reformed in generations.
Once, our energy was largely shipped in and burned freely. Now, the U.S. is a fossil fuel powerhouse while simultaneously facing a global climate crisis, and we need new policies that can reconcile those two opposing forces.

Once, we stood atop the globe as a super-power. Now, we face ever-more complex security threats, but our defense systems are still fitted to a Cold War age.
And though some of our hot-button social issues have been addressed, new and pressing questions remain, on immigration, gun safety, and LGBT equality.

Third Way’s role in these debates is to serve as a centrist counterweight to the forces of polarization and ideological rigidity – forces that serve only to preserve the status quo. Our job is straightforward but not easy: we ponder, develop and then offer paradigm-busting policies and narratives; we find creative and strategic ways to make them politically salient; and then we work relentlessly to promote them to policymakers.


It's a term used too freely, so freely that it has literally lost its meaning.
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