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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 79,894

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

As the year progresses, we will be expected to watch what we say. A repost of JK Galbraith....

with some very important words for Democrats of all shapes and sizes before that time comes. There are some important things in the article that still will have a bearing on the elections in the fall.

Galbraith has words for the Democrats.

Yes, he is critical of President Obama, but he is fair and intelligent about it. He is not one whose words are to be taken lightly.

In economic policy it was said earlier we have a lack of narrative. Recently, Gregory King asked why the people didn't know that the Republican Party is uniformly and massively opposed to job programs, to state and local assistance, and to every legislative measure that might aid and promote economic recovery from the worst crisis and recession in modern times. Why is that that they didn't know? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the White House didn't tell them?

....The president deprived himself of any chance to develop a narrative from the beginning by surrounding himself with holdover appointments from the Bush and even the Clinton administrations: Secretary Geithner, Chairman Bernanke, and, since we're here at Harvard, I'll call him by his highest title, President Summers. These men have no commitment to the base, no commitment to the Democratic Party as a whole, no particular commitment to Barack Obama, and none to the broad objective of national economic recovery that can be detected from their actions.

With this team the President also chose to cover up economic crime. Not only has the greatest wave of financial fraud in our history gone largely uninvestigated and unpunished, the government and this administration with its stress tests (which were fakes), its relaxation of accounting standards which permitted banks to hold toxic assets on their books at far higher prices than any investor would pay, with its failure to make criminal referrals where these were clearly warranted, with its continuation in office -- sometimes in acting capacities -- of some of the leading non-regulators of the earlier era, has continued an ongoing active complicity in financial fraud. And the perpetrators, of course, prospered as never before: reporting profits that they would not have been able to report under honest accounting standards and converting tax payer support into bonuses; while at the same time cutting back savagely on loans to businesses and individuals, and ramping up foreclosures, much of that accomplished with forged documents and perjured affidavits.

Could the President and his administration have done something? Yes, they could have. Where was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation? Why did they choose not to implement the law -- the Prompt Corrective Action law -- which requires the federal government to take into receivership financial institutions when there is a significant risk of large taxpayer losses to the insurance fund? Where were the FBI and the Department of Justice? Did the President do anything? No. Is he doing anything now? No. Why not? The most likely answer is that he did not want to. My understanding, in fact, is that there was one meeting where this issue was raised, and the President stated that his economic team had assured him they had the situation under control.


For several years now we have been judged not by what we say but by loyalty to party leaders.

And we lost in 2010 to a group of uninformed people who actually stood up and spoke out loudly for their beliefs, confused and wrongheaded though those beliefs might be.

....The changes to the social safety nets for seniors, the sneaky ways to turn public schools over to management companies who get taxpayer money, the denigration of public school teachers....these things that the right wing and conservative Democrats have wanted for ages are finally coming to pass right now.

I am not supposed to be upset, and if I do speak out I am considered disloyal to the party.

What is going on now is going to tear our party apart like nothing else has ever before. You say you don't see that in the media? Of course you don't. But the discontent is there lurking, and it is growing.


I have paid a price here in my reputation for being critical of the education policies of this administration. Several others have as well. Some don't bother to post about it any more. I think I will continue, but cautiously as the elections near. That's a shame because teachers are being stripped of union rights, dignity, and their careers.....because of bipartisan policy.

Galbraith added one more paragraph that really struck a chord with me.

This isn't a parlor game. The outcome isn't destined to be alright. It will not necessarily end in progress whatever happens. What we do, how we proceed, and how we effectively resist what is plainly about to happen, matters very greatly for the future of our country, of our children, and of another generation to come. We need to lose our fear, our hesitation, and our unwillingness to face the facts. If we thereby lose some of our hopes, let's remember the dictum of William of Orange that "it is not necessary to hope in order to persevere."


This administration has done some good things. I never post about the ACA because I think it's a beginning of what could get better. To even compare President Obama to what is now available in the extremist GOP is laughable.

But this is about more than just Obama. As a retired teacher I notice mostly things that affect teachers, seniors, the needy, and add to that women's rights. Firm stands should have been taken from the start, not thrown in at the last minute to make liberals feel better.


Mel Sembler's back. Big Rick Scott donor. Remember his abusive camps to scare kids "Straight"?

From Mother Jones:

GOP Gov. Rick Scott Raising Big Bucks With Founder of Abusive Teen Boot Camps

This Thursday, a who's who of Florida big shots will hold a private, $1,000-a-head fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida and Gov. Rick Scott's reelection effort, led by a host committee that includes Mel Sembler, the founder of a notorious substance abuse rehab program that folded after allegations of extreme abuse were lodged against several of its facilities.

The program, Straight Inc., was founded in 1976 by Sembler, a developer, and his wife, Betty. In the 17 years that it operated drug treatment centers, Straight Inc. was plagued by news reports and at least one civil suit claiming that its staff kidnapped its adult patients and mentally, physically, and sexually abused their underage charges. Two state investigations substantiated reports of abuse.

Straight Inc. officials consistently denied these allegations. Sembler's biography on the Sembler Company website hails Straight Inc. as having "successfully graduated more than 12,000 young people nationwide from its remarkable program." Sembler, it adds, "is nationally recognized as an activist in the anti-drug campaign." Sembler could not be reached for comment.

Critics paints a much darker picture. "Children had to flap their arms like chickens or else face shaming as 'sluts' and homosexuals," John Gorenfeld reported in the May 2006 issue of Mother Jones. "Hundreds of Straight alums now claim they were scarred for life, among them Samantha Monroe, who was enrolled in 1980…and claims she was starved, raped, and confined in a closet."


More from Gorenfeld, who formerly wrote for Salon and Alternet and published a book called Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom

This is an article from 2005.

His Own Private Abu Ghraib



He created a system to reprogram bad kids. Delete the bad code in their personalities. Break the will of sullen stoner boys, make bad girls confess to whorish secrets and reverse-engineer the minds of heavy metal kids. And rebuild all of them into an anti-drug army. Such were the works of Melvin Sembler and the feats that STRAIGHT, the ultimate in teen drug rehab programs, attempted during the Totally Awesome Eighties.

Melvin Sembler's clinics might have seemed like a good idea at the time, when teen drug use was high and New Age thinking seemed to offer new and hopeful therapies for pressing the RESET button on human beings.

There were major problems, though. He modeled STRAIGHT after another program, creepily named "The Seed," shut down after the U.S. Congress literally issued a report in 1974 comparing it to "the highly refined 'brainwashing' techniques employed by the North Koreans." Sembler's imitation wasn't shut down until 1993 for illegal child abuse: beatings and sexual humiliation. Kids were thrown against walls. Or forced to sit in their own menstrual blood. Unless, of course, they were ready to cooperate, confess, and chant "I'm at STRAIGHT, feeling great" with the others. In that case they got to be the enforcers. Dozens of lawsuits exposed a similar picture in 12 clinics across America.


And there was an article in Florida Trend May 1997 called Money Man Mel Sembler.

Money Man (Mel Sembler)

Welcome to the front lines of big-money political fund raising. Here, in a spacious second-floor office overlooking Central Avenue on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, Mel Sembler is shaping the future of Republican Party politics. As the newly appointed finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, Sembler is the point man for the party's $50 million fund-raising campaign this year. Next year that figure will be much larger, he says. But don't expect to hear about the $25 checks from the Ma and Pa America.

Sembler targets the really big bucks - the money, as he says, that really makes a difference. At a time when political fund raising by both parties is under a growing cloud, Sembler sees the problem as a Democratic one and presses on with business as usual. "You gotta have money," Sembler insists without a hint of apology. "Without money you can't get your message out to the people. And that's what this is really all about."

A self-made millionaire, anti-drug crusader, community benefactor and self-avowed family man, Sembler personifies the conservative, successful image that Republicans hold dear. He earned a fortune building suburban shopping centers and rode those riches to the highest levels of party politics. He raised millions to support conservative candidates and causes and was duly rewarded by President Bush with the ultimate in political spoils: a key ambassadorship posting to Australia.

.....Responding to years of complaints from former patients, auditors cited evidence of excessive use of force, sleep deprivation, and the withholding of food and medication. Sembler denies any wrongdoing and continues to defend the program's methods, particularly against the criticisms of the St. Petersburg Times editorial board. "People thought we were taking away children's rights. But we saw it just the opposite - giving them back their rights by helping them get off drugs." In 1993, with the allegations surfacing and the program losing about $500,000 a year, Sembler closed Straight.


And now he's still around helping to get Rick Scott re-elected. From the first link:

After Straight Inc. closed, the education arm of Sembler's organization lived on as a new program named the Drug Free American Foundation, which still exists today. Sembler, after serving as ambassador, continued to fundraise for prominent Republicans, including Mitt Romney. He also hosted an event to raise money for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's legal defense fund when the former Bush White House aide was on trial for perjury.


Posted by madfloridian | Tue Apr 1, 2014, 04:20 PM (1 replies)

Long ‘waiting list’ for Florida vouchers doesn’t actually exist. Another ed reformer lie.

The legislature is trying to pass some bills to expand vouchers to private schools. Right now only the physically or learning handicapped qualify for McKay vouchers, and the poor and needy qualify for others. Both take money from public schools and deplete their resources.

Teachers are constantly held accountable. It's past time that the "reformers" are held responsible as well.

Long ‘waiting list’ for Florida vouchers doesn’t actually exist

Florida’s lawmakers are considering expanding a voucher-like tax credit program because, legislators keep saying, there is a huge waiting list of families who want to participate. It turns out that there is no waiting list.

...The Florida legislature has been considering legislation that would expand the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program, a voucher-like scheme that allows public money to be used for private school tuition but wouldn’t require much if anything in the way of accountability from schools that accept vouchers. (For example, the students wouldn’t have to take the high-stakes standardized tests required of public school students.)

....But the larger point is that the expansion of the program has been pushed by Step Up For Students based on what it and supportive legislators have said is a very, very long waiting list of families who want to participate. Rep. Erik Fresen, a Republican from Miami who was one of the legislators who figured out how to keep the expansion idea alive, said at a hearing in Tallahassee about the bill that there is a waiting list of families seeking the tax credits that now stands “at 100,00 students.” During the debate about the legislation, a figure of 34,000 families on a waiting list has been thrown about, as have other figures.

Specifically citing such numbers suggests there is an actual waiting list. But, it turns out, there isn’t. After school activists and reporters asked for details about the waiting list, Step Up For Students acknowledged that, alas, it doesn’t really keep one. There aren’t any people on the waiting list because there isn’t a waiting list. Why?


Here's why:

The people who process applications at Step Up, which publishes this blog, have become so overwhelmed in recent years that they no longer wanted to give low-income families false hope. They concluded that the main reason for the waiting list was mostly for show, and they wanted no part of that.


Last year charter school advocates were doing the very same thing...lying about the huge waiting list which turned out to be non-existent. They just make it up as they go.

FL charter schools claim 80,000 on waiting list. Not true.

Miami Demorat Representative Kionne L. McGhee didn’t let Florida charter school lobbyist Jim Horne off the hook during this week’s public testimony on the Florida House’s latest charter school bill. Horne, whom sources say wrote the bill, made the claim that there are 80,000 children on charter school’s waiting lists.

..."When McGhee inquired about the numbers, Horne quickly began back-pedaling with vague responses. Sensing Horne’s evasions, he asked two more questions about the numbers forcing FLDOE’s Michael Kooi to the podium to sheepishly admit the numbers were coming from the charter schools. Miami Dade official Iraida Mendez-Cartaya followed Kooi with testimony pointing out that in her district, students are likely to appear on more than one waiting list – an obvious reason for such inflated numbers.


The moment had to be an embarrassing one for Horne, a former state commissioner of education. It was clear he knew the numbers wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny. But the brief exchange again showed charter school’s high paid mouthpieces will say anything.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Apr 1, 2014, 01:08 AM (5 replies)

Loser of the week...Florida's Rick Scott

Winner and loser of the week In Fla Politics

The first sentence states "There are no winners."


Picture from TBT Rick Scott and Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Lt. Governor

Loser of the week 1

Gov. Rick Scott. He lost co-finance chairman Mike Fernandez, who in resigning dumped a pile of dirty laundry about the internal operations of the campaign, while leveling the charge that campaign staffers faked Mexican accents on route to Chipotle. What Hispanic vote? The campaign denied that, but the damage was done; Democrats feasted all week.

Loser of the week 2

Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera. This is not what he signed up for: having to deflect questions about what a powerful Cuban-American businessman had to say about the alleged Mexican accent incident. "There's no validity that we can find to any of those comments, or what was written," he said. Even if that were the case, it's highly awkward for López-Cantera, who is supposed to help Scott with Hispanics.


Rick Scott is planning to have 25 million to use in his campaign against Charlie Crist. Let's hope he continues to be a loser.

Arne Duncan complicit as forces of privatization take over public schools.

Silence shows complicity

NY legislature: Charter schools get free space in public schools. Hostile takeover of public arenas?

Of course some charter schools have been doing this for years. But now the legislature has made it all legal. Charter owners costly ads were successful. Their large donations to politicians paid off well.

New York Legislature: Billionaire-funded Charter Schools Will Not Have to Pay Rent for Public Space

The following just in as the New York State Legislature responds to the pressure of a $5 million advertising campaign demanding free space for privately-managed charters. Also, the billionaires behind this ad campaign have given handsome sums to Governor Cuomo and other key politicians. Cuomo has received at least $800,000 from the charter advocates. Under the legislation below, the charters are given the right to expand as much as they want, without paying rent, pushing out the public school that once was sited in the building. The charters can afford to pay their “CEO” half a million dollars, but they can’t pay the rent. They can pay millions for attack ads on television, but they can’t pay the rent. They can hire the politically-hot public relations firm SDK Knickerbocker more than $500,000 a year, but they can’t pay the rent. Their biggest boosters are billionaires, like Paul Tudor Jones, whose Robin Hood Foundation raises $80 million in a single night, but the charters can’t pay the rent. The charters are proving to be public parasites in New York City, invading the host and doing harm to the 94% of children who are not in charters.


So how has the takeover of public space been working out for the public schools?

Eva Moskowitz moves charter school into another public school's space, boots them from classrooms.

..."Staffers at the district schools say their new neighbors have booted them from classrooms and stairwells, while sharing the libraries, cafeterias and playgrounds.

...."Staffers at PS 30 say Bronx Success 1 sealed off the third floor to its staff and students - even taking over a stairwell - so Success students don't mingle with their district school neighbors.

"We are not allowed there," said one PS 30 teacher, noting the classrooms taken over by Success were formerly used for tutoring children with special needs. Now we have to do therapy sessions in the hallway."


Another NY public school was told by the charter school moving in that they could move to the basement.

Harlem Success Academy, whose current enrollment is 361, serves kindergarten through second grade; it eventually plans to expand to eighth grade. P.S. 123 has an enrollment of 630 students this year in pre-kindergarten through seventh grade.

The tensions began when the charter school first moved into the building, but increased this year when P.S. 123 lost its computer room to the charter school, as well as part of its teachers’ lounge and half its library, now devoted to Harlem Success Academy office space, said Hargraves.

P.S. 123 was offered basement rooms to replace some of the space Harlem Success Academy has commandeered, but “there’s no way a kid can learn in that environment,” Hargraves said, describing the basement as “no more than a storage area.” The school squeezed in classes elsewhere in the building.


Taking over classrooms, computer rooms, libraries, teachers' lounges....they've been doing it but now it's legal. Money to politicians, 5 million dollars in ads made sure of that.





Lazy sorry journalism in FL about reason for crisis in funding public schools.

The Lakeland Ledger and the Ocala Star Banner have articles discussing the lack of funding to public schools for maintenance and new buildings. They managed to write whole articles without a single mention of the fact that for at least two years only charter schools got maintenance money and public schools got none....zero...zilch.

Now that is lousy journalism. There is not a word in either article that tells the real reason public schools are in such poor condition.

Here's some background.

Florida charter schools get 91 million for facilities. Public school funding dwindles.

Charter schools will receive $91 million for their construction and maintenance needs, state lawmakers agreed late Sunday.

The figure represents a $36 million increase over last year's allocation. But it falls just short of the $100 million proposed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House.


....The one-time allocation will come out of the Public Education Capital Outlay fund. PECO dollars are generated from the state's gross receipts tax on cable, electric and land-line telephone bills.


Doesn't indicate just how much public schools will get for that 2013-2014 year. They will finally get some I hear.

For 2011:

In 2011 public schools got nothing, while charter schools got 55 million.

Traditional public schools in Florida will get no money from the state this year for additions or needed repairs to thousands of aging buildings, but charter schools will score big.


For 2012-2013:

In 2013 charter schools received 64 million for maintenance, public schools got nothing. They must have upped it for the next year to 91 million.


The state Department of Education last week gave a Florida Senate subcommittee a report on the state Board of Education’s requested budget for next year. The budget includes a request for about $64 million for capital improvements at charter schools. Last year charters received about $55 million for school construction.

If approved, that budget would mark the third straight year the state has given capital outlay money to charter schools but no capital funding to districts to build and maintain traditional public schools


Now for the two articles that don't even mention the word charter.

Here is the Ledger article March 26 2014:

Some Funds for Florida Public School Maintenance in Works

Florida's public schools and universities will receive funding for repairs and maintenance for the first time in two years.

But deciding just how much they get and where the money comes from means House and Senate members of a conference committee must reconcile their widely different ideas on how to fund repairs to dilapidated education facilities.

House Appropriations Chairman Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, said his full committee, which voted on its budget Wednesday, has a

recurring source of money for the Public Education Capital Outlay program, which funds school repairs.


The article fails to mention that the chairman, Seth McKeel is on the Board of Trustees of McKeel Charter schools

I am sure there is no conflict of interest there. No sarcasm tag needed it is so obvious.

From the Ocala Star Banner this week:

Editorial: Florida’s school maintenance crisis

Only a trickle of money is available from the Public Education Capital Outlay trust fund, which has been the longtime statewide source.

A December revenue-estimating conference of the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research put the PECO funding for this fiscal year at $294 million, $232 million for 2014-2015 and $126 million for 2015-2016.

The fund is based on the state’s gross receipts tax. The income from the tax is insufficient to sell new PECO bonds this fiscal year. But no bond sales are expected through the 2016-2017 fiscal year, said the revenue-estimating conference.

The PECO fund, established by the state in 1963, and once a gusher of funding for maintenance of educational facilities, is tapped out for the time being.


The article fails to even mention how many millions went to charter schools.

Kudos to the Orlando Sentinel. They did a lot better in pointing out the negligence of the state legislature's Rick Scott Republicans, but they still missed a few vital points.

Lawmakers stuffing more dollars into charter school construction

Yes, they are. Thanks for pointing out that fact while other papers definitely missed it.

Florida lawmakers are beefing up school construction dollars – both for charters and traditional public schools -- despite a steep drop-off in the funding source the state has historically relied on to pay for them.

The $75.3 billion House spending plan before the Appropriations Committee today devotes $596.8 million to public education capital projects (PECO), including $104 million for public university maintenance -- and a record $100 million provided to charter schools for repairing school buildings.

The total for charters, including those managed by for-profit companies, is more than the $91 million they landed last year. Public school districts and Democrats have raised concerns about the larger dollar amount being steered to charter schools. House Democrats questioned whether the split was fair on Wednesday when many public school systems had buildings falling apart.


Guess we should be thankful the public schools are finally getting something.

"We Don't Need Two Wall Street Parties" Markos responds to Third Way attack at Politico.

The Third Way is at it again. On March 19th they put up an op ed at Politico accusing Markos of Daily Kos of folding up the big tent. Politico gave Markos a chance to respond today.

Here is the Third Way attack on the 19th.

Kos folds up the big tent

If Markos Moulitsas had his way there’d be no Affordable Care Act, no Dodd-Frank, no economic stimulus package. That’s the price when purity tests are applied to Democrats.

In a remarkable post yesterday, Moulitsas, founder and publisher of the progressive community site DailyKos, celebrates the departure from the Senate of 10 moderate Democrats over the last decade, and makes clear his hope that Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) lose their tough reelection battles this year. He doesn’t name some other moderates in tight races, like Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), but his logic suggests that he’d be only too happy to say goodbye to them as well.


And once again they used the words "politics of purity".

We have all witnessed the devastating effect that the politics of purity can have, as the Republicans grapple with the toxic impact of the Tea Party on their candidates, their congressional leadership and their governing philosophy. Let’s not become them.


I hate that term. Through the years they have called us fringe, elitists and worse. They should not be accusing others of purity politics.

Here is Markos' response today.

We Don’t Need Two Wall Street Parties

It’s tough to be a “Third Way” corporatist in today’s Democratic Party. Sure, the numerically small faction of Wall Street and Beltway Democrats has long enjoyed an outsized influence on public policy, but all the hedge fund money in the world can’t change the fact that the party is in the midst of a dramatic reorientation toward a new progressive populism. And it turns out that populism is popular! Voters across the country are increasingly concerned about the pressing issues of income inequality and economic security, and elected Democrats have responded with a renewed focus on solutions for working Americans.

...Apparently, the answer is to lash out at me and others who simply want to see the Democratic Party work for Democratic values. Third Way’s Matt Bennett and Jim Kessler took to this site last week to charge me with the apparent sin of celebrating the party’s current Senate majority, one that is finally starting to function thanks to the absence of corrosive elements like Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman, who tied the Democratic caucus in knots just 10 years ago.

....Still, let’s look at the question of whether our populist approach is compromising the party’s ability to win across the country. Bennett and Kessler lament that seven of the 10 right-wing Democrats that I celebrated for no longer being in the Senate were replaced by Republicans—but what was then a Democratic two-seat minority is now a Democratic 10-seat majority. If you’re genuinely a Democrat, you have to admit that a 55-seat caucus reinforced with strong progressive voices is objectively preferable to a 49-seat caucus packed with corporatist Democrats who voted for the disastrous Iraq war and George W. Bush’s budget-busting tax cuts. If you’re genuinely a Democrat.

.....Indeed, it was September 2012, just months before election day, when Third Way’s Bennett claimed that Elizabeth Warren was “catastrophically antibusiness” and that her economic populism was “not a winning strategy.” It would make sense for Third Way to prefer Sen. Scott Brown over Warren, given that 27 of the organization’s 29 board members are current or former CEOs, corporate lawyers or principals at financial service institutions.But you don’t get to whine about big tents after undermining Democratic candidates in the heat of an election.



These TN Momma Bears support public education, call out Rhee's group, say it buys "likes" on FB

I really got a big chuckle out of this post. The funny part is that Students First, the group founded by Michelle Rhee to attack public education, blames the suspicious "likes" on public school advocates.

It's either laugh or cry, and I think I will laugh at the absurdity.

StudentsFirst's "likes" on Facebook: Pathetic Popularity Contest


StudentsFirst's "likes" on Facebook: Pathetic Popularity Contest

03/18/2014

Picture
Momma Bears has often wondered about the gullible people who fall for the StudentsFirst sales pitch. StudentsFirst is an underhanded, astroturf organization funded by corporate billionaires HERE and HERE. This is Michelle Rhee's group. Yes, the same Michelle Rhee that legislators don't want to be associated with because she has such a bad reputation. How on earth do they have over 75,000 "likes" on Facebook? The people commenting on their posts obviously don't agree with them (read them when you need a laugh, it is pretty funny). They rarely get any "likes" at all on their posts despite having 75,000 "members" on their facebook page.

Well, we found the answer... those gullible people were really not people at all!!!




StudentsFirst's Facebook "likes" were bought from Bangladesh!!!

See the red circle around "Dhaka, Bangladesh"? It is listed as the "Most Popular City" for likes on this page.

Search on Facebook for "We Sell Likes in Bangladesh." You'll see that anyone can buy 1000 likes for about $15 bucks. (Click HERE to go buy likes or fake friends for yourself.) Click HERE to read an article that tells about the dishonest business of buying popularity on social media sites.

FAUX Parents
This is what we Momma Bears now like to affectionately call, "Faux Parents." See, when Commissioner Kevin Huffman told a group of rich Chamber of Commerce people that he couldn't possibly listen to parents because there are many "Faux Parent" groups in TN with ulterior motives, we thought he was talking about Momma Bears and groups like ours. Obviously, we were wrong. He was talking about his ex-wife's organization, StudentsFirst! (Okay, he really was probably talking about us and trying to discredit our voices, but still, you gotta note the irony of his claim and the truth of StudentsFirst's purchased popularity!) Check out the Twitter storm (#fauxparent) to see pictures of real parents holding signs about being a "faux parent." Parents, sure do have great senses of humor!


I love the way a site from Nashville Scene covers it, a site called Pith in the Wind.

Rhee Sees Fishy Bangladeshi Like Spike As Anti-Reform Swarm

We're still investigating why we were targeted and how some folks who oppose our education reform platform curiously brought attention to this issue within such a short time frame of it happening. We'll keep you posted as soon as we learn more.


Yes, blame it on the suspicious moves of those who oppose you.

Pith in the Wind sums it up:

The possible explanations seem to be these:

A. StudentsFirst, an organization seen by many as an astroturf operation, paid for Facebook likes to strengthen the appearance of "grassroots" support for "reform."

B. StudentsFirst opponents, who see little, if any, good faith in the "reform movement" or groups like Rhees, buy or otherwise acquire the fraudulent likes for the StudentsFirst page in an act of sabotage, figuring the ends justify the means.

C. The StudentsFirst page was hacked or spammed in some way that had nothing to do with either side of the education debate.

D. LOTS of people in Bangladesh like StudentsFirst.


I choose A or D.


Voting for Dems shouldn't be "a defensive crouch to prevent the insane sociopaths from taking over."

I am not sure I completely agree with that statement, but I am pretty close to doing so.

I will vote for Democrats because I know the dangers of not doing so. I have always voted. I don't remember a time when I did not vote. I am an informed voter who sometimes votes for the better of two candidates because one is likely over the edge and the other is far better.

It is not those like me we need to worry about. It is the apolitical, uninformed, mostly unconcerned voter who doesn't keep up with issues and the news.

A Hullaballoo post says it better than I can.

Alternatively, Democrats could give midterm voters something to believe in

Obama was totally correct in what he said recently:

“The challenge is that our politics in Washington have become so toxic that people just lose faith,” Obama told a group of top Democratic donors gathered at the home of former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning. “They say, ‘Y’know what, it doesn’t matter, I’m not that interested, I’m not gonna vote.’ And that’s especially true during the midterms.”

....“But in midterms, we get clobbered, either because we don’t think it’s important or because we get so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while. And the reason today is so important, and the reason that I’m so appreciative for all of you being here is because we’re going to have to get over that. This is a top priority.”


Here are some ideas offered by the poster. Good ones.

Right now the conversation on healthcare is between one side that wants slightly less expensive corporate healthcare, and one side that wants much more expensive corporate healthcare. It's between one side that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare just a little bit, and another that wants to cut it a lot. It's between one side that wants to implement some very gradual climate change policies that won't stop us from crossing runaway greenhouse barriers, and another side that doesn't believe in climate change at all. It's between one side that wants a very slow, painful set of immigration reforms, and another side that wants no reforms at all. It's between one side that wants to raise the minimum wage to something that still doesn't meet what it was back in the 1970s, and another side that wants to eliminate it.

For a young voter or voter of color, voting for Democrats isn't a matter of hope for a better future. It's basically a defensive crouch to prevent the insane sociopaths from taking over.


I will vote. I always do. My concern is that we need to have more sharply defined issues that have been loudly communicated to the voters....issues that are more than just being a little better on serious things.

My personal addition to what the blogger said....let's stand for public education. Having both parties pushing the agenda of George Bush is really a bad idea. Lets start giving the resources back to the public schools instead of diverting them to private companies to enrich their coffers.

On Edit:

To clarify. Many very informed voters will take another path.

I should have made that clear in the OP. I speak for myself only.

It's not too late to get them on board though. TPP is just one example. Back away from it.

Take a firm stand that the safety nets for seniors and the poor and needy ARE sacred cows. They should be.



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