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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 82,594

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

It all started over whose god was more peaceful, kind, and forgiving.



Thanks to Kal toons

Daily Kos protesters hold Democrats accountable for their Wall Street reform gutting votes

From longtime Kos blogger McJoan...Joan McCarter at Daily Kos today. I love this.

Daily Kos holds Democrats accountable for Wall Street reform gutting votes



In case you missed it, Paul Hogarth from our actions team wrote about the one encouraging data point in the defections of House Democrats who voted with Republicans to gut the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms. When Republicans tried to pass the bill last week under a suspension of the rules (a move that limited debate and amendments, but required a two-thirds majority) 35 Democrats voted with them.

In response, the actions team set up a petition to those 35 members, blasting them for their votes. More than 118,000 people signed that petition, and thousands of you who lived in the districts of these 35 emailed them directly to register your disapproval of their votes. So when the bill came back up this week, 29 Democrats defected (you can see the list in Paul's story).

Four Democrats switched their votes from yes to no (Bobby Rush of Chicago, Hank Johnson from the Atlanta suburbs, Elizabeth Etsy of Connecticut and Suzan DelBene of Washington), three more did not vote, and one Democrat—Brian Higgins of New York—flipped the other way.

So our work clearly had an impact, but not enough
. Every time a Democrat abandons the Party to shill for corporations at the expense of their constituents, we must let them know we are watching and won’t forget when it comes time for re-election.

The fact that a handful of these Democrats did the right thing doesn't mean we're letting any of the 29 who didn't off the hook. We want you to let them know that you'll be watching, as will the whole, large Daily Kos community.

Arne Duncan's inane confusing words about excessive testing....he caused it by his own policies.

What Duncan got wrong about testing.

"Testing is still the cornerstone of Duncan's vision of teacher evaluation."

I believe parents, and teachers, and students have both the right and the absolute need to know how much progress all students are making each year towards college- and career-readiness.


Of course they do. Tests and grades have always been...always.

I am absolutely convinced that we need to know how much progress students are making – but we also must do more to ensure that the tests – and time spent in preparation for them – don’t take excessive time away from actual classroom instruction. Great teaching, and not test prep, is always what best engages students, and what leads to higher achievement.


Right again, Arne. Now stop the policies that require all this testing. He is spouting stuff so obvious.

Of course "great teaching" is better than "test prep."

SO stop the requirements that lead to "test prep".

And this one is ridiculous.

Sometimes, educators are better at starting new things than we are at stopping things – several decades of testing ideas have sometimes been layered on top of each other in ways that are redundant and duplicative, and not helpful.


Read that again. He's saying that educators are causing the testing.

Peter Greene says it just right.

You know who didn't mandate test after test after test? You know who didn't decide that we'd better have practice tests, too, since everyone's career is riding on test results? Spoiler alert- not classroom teachers. Not even "educators." I believe the correct answer is "government bureaucrats."


Amen to this statement:

Irony overload

Later in the speech, Duncan suggests that "maybe our only hope is absolute honesty and transparency." It is a great line, and one that I absolutely agree with.


This is the man who is leading our country's education policy. He is allowing reformers to use unproven tactics which are doing great harm.

He has carte blanche, and there appear to be no repercussions for anything he does or says.

What's the difference between Bob Graham and the Clintons on the Iraq fiasco? Honest truth.

On the lead up to the Iraq war Senator Bob Graham was very critical of those who refused to read the entire NIE and not just the sanitized version. He did not mince words. These are strong words for Bob Graham who always thought and thought about things before speaking.

This is a partial repost, but it needs to be said again. I notice Graham is still after getting the redacted truth about 9/11 out to the public.

We need to remember things like this at this anniversary of the time that our country invaded another country based on lies.

I remember Bob Graham's rant on October 9, 2002, two days before the IWR vote.

The Palm Beach Post link is no longer available, but I saved the text and the article.

..."On Oct. 9, 2002, Graham — the guy everyone thought of as quiet, mild-mannered, deliberate, conflict-averse — let loose on his Senate colleagues for going along with President Bush's war against Iraq.

"We are locking down on the principle that we have one evil, Saddam Hussein. He is an enormous, gargantuan force, and that's who we're going to go after," Graham said on the floor. "That, frankly, is an erroneous reading of the world. There are many evils out there, a number of which are substantially more competent, particularly in their ability to attack Americans here at home, than Iraq is likely to be in the foreseeable future."

He told his fellow senators that if they didn't recognize that going to war with Iraq without first taking out the actual terrorists would endanger Americans, "then, frankly, my friends — to use a blunt term — the blood's going to be on your hands."


It was a watershed moment. Gone was the meticulous thinker who would talk completely around and through a problem before answering a question about it...


In contrast to those words were the ones spoken by other leaders.

Clinton defends successor's push for war

"I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over," Clinton said in a Time magazine interview that will hit newsstands Monday, a day before the publication of his book "My Life."

Clinton, who was interviewed Thursday, said he did not believe that Bush went to war in Iraq over oil or for imperialist reasons but out of a genuine belief that large quantities of weapons of mass destruction remained unaccounted for.

Noting that Bush had to be "reeling" in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Clinton said Bush's first priority was to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist networks from obtaining "chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material."

"That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for," Clinton said in reference to Iraq and the fact that U.N. weapons inspectors left the country in 1998.


Of course his views were the basis of many of the votes for the invasion by others in Congress.

And Hilary also spoke on the topic in 2008, when there had been plenty of hindsight.

Hillary and the Iraqi People

Sometimes one can agree with a great part of what one says, but then can be appalled by one statement. This was that kind of time for me.

As Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, prepares to give a major address on Iraq today, I’m reminded how much I was struck by this part of her Friday speech in Pittsburgh, when she sounded as if she were implying that the Iraqi people were entirely to blame for their current troubles.

Democrats, it seems to me, have blurred the line between the Iraqi government officials unable or unwilling to come together, and the Iraqi people — the millions of people who have been victimized by Saddam Hussein, then a poorly-planned war, and on and on.


Her words from that ABC article in 2008.

"And I believe that at the same time that we have to make clear to the Iraqis that they have been given the greatest gift that a human being can give another human being – the gift of freedom. And it is up to them to decide how they will use that precious gift that has been paid for with the blood and sacrifice and treasure of the United States of America.


Changing the reason for the invasion from protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction to giving Iraqis the gift of freedom. That is a terrible spin about such a tragic loss of our country's integrity.

Ethan's Story. Commentary on high stakes test obsession.

The story is from 2013. It was told so well by the Orlando Sentinel's Scott Maxwell.

Florida's test-obsessed style of education hits disabled families hard

Just teaching Ethan to say "yes" or "no" — or even keep his gaze focused — was an accomplishment.

So the idea of asking this 10-year-old to solve math equations on an FCAT test seemed ridiculous.

But this is Florida — where the standardized test is king.

So the state made Ethan take it anyway. He spent six hours over the course of two weeks being led through a test.

And then he was asked about eating a peach.

That was the question that set Andrea on fire.

Ethan, after all, can't eat peaches. Or any fruit. Or food at all.

He gets his food through a tube.


Ethan passed away in February 2014. I have not seen the video until now. I found it at the
blog of the NEA president.



Scott Maxwell heard of another child who was blind being shown pictures of animals and being asked which one was the monkey, the elephant, and so on. So he asked some questions about it. He went to the state with his questions. The response.

"These summative assessments used in Florida are one way to measure student mastery of these standards," came the email response from a spokeswoman.

Mastery of the standards?


26 Earthquakes Later, Fracking’s Smoking Gun Is in Texas

26 Earthquakes Later, Fracking’s Smoking Gun Is in Texas

After 11 quakes in the last two days – with one registering at a 3.6 – Irving, Texas’ sudden onset tremor problem might be the fracking industry’s nightmare.

There’s a monster lurking under Texas, beneath the sand and oil and cowboy bones, and it’s getting a little restless after a 15 million year nap. Shaking things up in the city of Irving, just slightly west of Dallas, where no less than ten earthquakes yesterday and today bring the total tremors to 26 since October in that town alone. Over 100 quakes have been registered in the North Texas region since 2008, a staggering uptick from just a single one prior that year.

The Balcones Fault Zone divides the Lone Star State in half, loosely following the route of Interstate 35 and passing under Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. And it’s not just a huge amount of human populations that sit on top of it. There are also thousands of fracking wells boring down in to the earth’s crust, pumping millions of gallons of water down with the direct intent of breaking apart what lay beneath.

...And it’s not just Texas. Poland Township in Ohio had 77 earthquakes happen last March that researchers have definitively linked to fracking, in a paper published just days ago. And British Columbia has the oil addiction shakes, too.


And catch this important paragraph:

Worth noting: This cluster of quakes is taking place almost directly beneath the Exxon-Mobile world headquarters, which is located in Irving. The company’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, joined a lawsuit last year to prevent a water tower used in the fracking process from being built near his 83-acre horse ranch in a swanky suburban Dallas enclave. Whether these are considered ironic or karmic quakes – that’s up to you. But for the repeatedly shaken up people of North Texas, it’s not very funny anymore.


Danziger: Wait! Look! A man with a pencil.



From Huffington Post.

Florida's failed charter schools: Cracks in the system Part I

From an investigation by the Naples Daily News in September 2014.

Florida's failed charter schools: Cracks in the system

NAPLES, Fla. - Seven times since 2006, Richard Milburn Academy of Florida has failed at running a charter school.

In Lee County, two RMA schools closed after administrators manipulated student grades. In the Tampa Bay-area, two RMA schools shut down due to poor academic performance. In Manatee County, one RMA school was shuttered after half of the graduating class received diplomas without earning enough credits.

Yet, in Florida’s charter school system, RMA of Florida is allowed to continue operating and opening new campuses. Many of the same people responsible for the seven failures are now running two charter schools near Daytona Beach, receiving about $2.8 million in taxpayer money last school year.


The Richard Milburn Academy is seen at its former location in Fort Myers in August 2012. The charter school closed following an investigation that found students were receiving diplomas they had not earned. (Video frame grab provided by WFTX-TV Fox 4 Fort Myers)

That RMA still does business in Florida is but one example of cracks in Florida’s charter system, a world in which critics say too many ill-prepared and ill-intentioned operators are failing the state’s students and taxpayers.


It is easy for failed charter schools to keep opening and getting more state money. Why? Because districts are not allowed to turn down a school with a troubled background.

They can only go by what they do presently.

These schools are publicly funded but run privately. Among those applying are:

• A group that managed three new charter schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties that opened this year — and then shut down on the first day of school.

• The founder of two charter schools that failed in 2007 amid accusations of stolen money, shoddy record keeping and parent complaints, according to state and local records. A state investigation later chastised school directors for "virtually nonexistent" oversight, though prosecutors filed no criminal charges.

• An educator who was banned from New Jersey public schools, then consulted for two schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties that shuttered in 2013. The Palm Beach County school district closed one of the schools because of poor academics and financial difficulties; the Broward school chose to cease operations amid dwindling enrollment, according to school district reports.

Starting up, shutting down
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Jan 7, 2015, 02:29 PM (7 replies)

Locations of US prisons. Wow look at Florida. From the WP Jan. 6

Florida's numbers on the graph are astounding.

The U.S. has more jails than colleges. Here’s a map of where those prisoners live.


From WP: SOURCE: 2010 U.S. Census. Published Jan. 6, 2014

As you can see in the map, states differ in the extent to which they spread their correctional populations out geographically. Florida, Arizona and California stand out as states with sizeable corrections populations in just about every county. States in the midwest, on the other hand, tend to have concentrated populations in just a handful of counties. Prisons tend to leave an unmistakeable mark on the landscape, as artist Josh Begley has documented.

Because of the mix of state, federal and local correctional facilities in each county, it doesn't make sense to express these numbers as a rate -- X prisoners per Y number of adults. The presence of a federal or state facility in a given county will greatly inflate that county's prisoner count relative to the general population. And in many instances, large correctional facilities are located in sparsely populated regions, like Northern New York. In some of these counties, prisons account for 10, 20 or 30 percent of the total population.

In recent years criminal justice reform has risen to prominence in the national conversation, with both Democrats and Republicans looking for ways to dial back the incarceration-focused policies of the '80s and '90s. This map shows one reason why the issue is gaining traction: prisoners are literally every where you look in the U.S. Nearly 85 percent of U.S. counties are home to some number of incarcerated individuals. Localities spend tens of thousands of dollars per prisoner each year -- and often much more than that -- to house, feed and provide them with medical care. Most counties would doubtless prefer to spend this money elsewhere.


I don't see a mention of the fact that so many are now privatized. If you build it you must fill it, right?
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Jan 7, 2015, 01:25 AM (1 replies)

Not-so-moderate Jeb Bush of the 1990s. Plus his full op ed 1994 on same sex marriage.

The then St Pete Times carried an article in 1998 about many of Jeb's business dealings and failures.

Make the Money and Run

The son of former President George Bush has followed the family's patrician play book: Hurry up and get rich, then go into public service.


Jeb Bush and his parents at a rally in Orlando in 1994. (Photo courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel)

But Bush's hurried quest for financial success also reveals a naive reliance on his benefactors and a lack of scrutiny of those around him. He tapped his father's Washington connections to recruit help for some questionable businessmen, including one felon who remains a fugitive wanted by the FBI. He embraced business deals that have prompted lawsuits alleging mismanagement, stock manipulation and special treatment.

Armando Codina, a Coral Gables Cuban-American real estate investor who was one of George Bush's earliest supporters. He was so tight with the president that he gave Jeb Bush more than his first job in Florida. Codina put Bush's name on the company and gave him 40 percent of its profits.

Thomas Petway III, a Jacksonville insurance magnate, Republican fund-raiser and a leader on Jeb Bush's campaign finance committee. He invited Bush to an exclusive club to invest in the new Jacksonville Jaguars football franchise. He also lobbied to get Bush appointed to the board of Ideon Corp., a company that -- before its collapse -- paid its directors $50,000 a year, twice the average amount paid to directors at much larger public companies.

David Eller, a Broward County Republican fund-raiser who partnered with Jeb Bush to market water pumps to poor countries around the world. The company relied on pump sales financed by U.S.-backed loans when President Bush was in the White House. Jeb Bush's take: $648,250.


There is more at the link.

On Monday BuzzFeed posted the entire opinion piece Jeb Bush wrote in 1994 in The Miami Herald.



The Miami Herald
June 22, 1994 — Wednesday

JEB BUSH: NO SPECIAL LEGAL STATUS FOR GAYS

Re the June 20 Herald editorial Bigotry and its mouthpieces about the gubernatorial candidates’ position on homosexuality and special legal rights for homosexuals: Homosexuality is wrong, but it is also wrong to discriminate against homosexuals in employment, housing, etc., solely on the basis of sexual preference. I have employed homosexuals and continue to do so. Therefore, I take vigorous exception to your characterization of me as a bigot.

However, I do not believe that government should create a new class of citizens with special legal rights.

It is disingenuous of you to write that “the governor must stand up for and represent all the people of the Sunshine State on all matters.” You imply that discrimination is always wrong, yet government and individual Floridians discriminate every day in innumerable ways. Government discriminates against bank robbers, drug dealers, litterbugs, and homeowners who repair their seawall without a permit, just to name a few. Yours is not a reasoned argument reflecting reality.

The governor — and the government — do not defend the conduct of every Floridian with equal verve and enthusiasm. Polluters, pedophiles, pornographers, drunk drivers, and developers without proper permits receive — and deserve — precious little representation or defense from their governor. The statement that the governor must stand up for all people on all matters is just silly.

The public policy question is whether homosexuals deserve special legal protection from otherwise legal, private acts of discrimination, which protections are not available to smokers, drinkers, children, redheads, Midwesterners, Democrats, veterans, nudists, etc. Or, to put it another way, should sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No. We have enough special categories, enough victims, without creating even more.

Jeb Bush
Coral Gables


A lot of bad things happened while he was governor, though it was often whitewashed by the media. The Florida pension fund suffered greatly for just one example.

The Enron Scandal Grazes Another Bush in Florida

The Enron scandal, which has become the consuming interest in Washington and around the country, is starting to have a particular resonance in Florida, where it is touching another Bush: Governor Jeb Bush.

Mr. Bush particularly has been able to steer clear so far of the enormous damage to the state employees' pension fund, which lost more than any other public pension fund. Almost until Enron collapsed, the Florida fund continued to pour money into Enron stock. As governor, Mr. Bush is one of the fund's three trustees, although the fund has said that Mr. Bush never ordered the purchase of Enron shares or the hiring of the money manager who did.

''You've got to credit Jeb Bush,'' said Richard Scher, professor of political science at the University of Florida at Gainesville. ''He's been wonderful in keeping the issue quiet. Nothing has been coming out. He's been very shrewd in how he's handled it politically and lucky the legislature is in session and drawing attention away. The Enron Florida angle has not come home to roost yet.''

Even Mr. Bush's decision to travel to Houston and raise money on Jan. 17 at the home of Richard Kinder, a former Enron president, has yielded no political advantage for Democrats.


Jeb was one of 3 trustees of the pension fund, yet he managed to get by with very little bad publicity.

Seems to me his background is again being whitewashed, and he is being made to sound like the very most moderate Republican. That is not true. He was not a good governor, and he does not deserve to be president.




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