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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 83,064

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

This Bob Simon interview a favorite. "but Bush didn't give a sh** and invaded Iraq." Video

About 29 minutes in.



There's a strange comment above the video.

This video is unlisted. Be considerate and think twice before sharing.


SO if it doesn't play that's why.

The show he refers to from 2002 I think, can't be found anywhere online apparently.

“60 Minutes” reporter Bob Simon just died. This was his most important story

Taking stock of a career that spanned five decades, Simon told an interviewer for the Archive of American Television in 2013 that his most important reports were about the flawed intelligence that led up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. His favorite one involved an Iraqi defector code-named “Curveball,” who, as Simon said in his 60 Minutes broadcast, “spun a web of lies which convinced America’s top spies” and made the case for waging war in Iraq.

Another story about the Iraq war, broadcast before the invasion, was also high on his list of favorites. He explained, “Look, I knew from my sources, particularly Israeli sources, ’cause whatever you say about the Israelis, they’ve got great intelligence, they told me, they said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

So, Simon said, he and his producer did a blistering segment on CBS called “Selling the Iraq War to the US.” The broadcast is no longer available from CBS (and does not seem to exist on Youtube), but you can read a summary here.

“That piece got a lot of attention,” Simon told the interviewer, “but of course Bush didn’t give a shit and invaded Iraq, as they had decided to do.”


Here is a summary of that show in a few paragraphs, but it really says very little.

Politicians have had to sell the public on going to war since Colonial times, but they never had the arsenal of advertising and communications techniques the Bush administration is using to sell a possible war on Iraq. Bob Simon reports on those techniques and those employed by the elder Bush prior to the 1991 Gulf War.

Simon reminds viewers that a horrible story spread widely by the first Bush administration prior to the Gulf War about Kuwaiti babies pulled from incubators by invading Iraqis turned out not to be true. The current Bush administration may be also misinforming the public in its efforts to justify a possible second war with Saddam Hussein.


I would love to see that show online.

Seems to me that Simon tried to say more about the Iraq lies than most other journalists.

RIP Bob Simon.



Stunning to read Joe Bageant's critique of the Left Behind series.

What the 'Left Behind' Series Really Means

Before he begins he showed these two quotes about the LeHaye series.

"Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again."
-- From Glorious Appearing by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

"The best thing about the Left Behind books is the way the non-Christians get their guts pulled out by God."
-- 15-year old fundamentalist fan of the Left Behind series


That is the sophisticated language and appeal of America’s all-time best selling adult novels celebrating the ethnic cleansing of non-Christians at the hands of Christ. If a Muslim were to write an Islamic version of the last book in the Left Behind series, Glorious Appearing, and publish it across the Middle East, Americans would go beserk. Yet tens of millions of Christians eagerly await and celebrate an End Time when everyone who disagrees with them will be murdered in ways that make Islamic beheading look like a bridal shower. Jesus -- who apparently has a much nastier streak than we have been led to believe -- merely speaks and "the bodies of the enemy are ripped wide open down the middle." In the book Christians have to drive carefully to avoid "hitting splayed and filleted corpses of men and women and horses" Even as the riders’ tongues are melting in their mouths and they are being wide open gutted by God’s own hand, the poor damned horses are getting the same treatment. Sort of a divinely inspired version of "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on."

This may be some of the bloodiest hate fiction ever published, but it is also what tens of millions of Americans believe is God’s will. It is approximately what everyone in the congregation sitting around me last Sunday at my brother’s church believes. Or some version of it. How can anyone acquire and hold such notions? Answer: The same way you got yours and I got mine. Conditioning. From family and school and society, but from within a different American caste than the one in which you were raised. And from things stamped deep in childhood -- such as coming home terrified to an empty house.

One September day when I was in the third grade I got off the school bus and walked up the red dust powdered lane to my house only to find no one there. The smudgy white front door of the old frame house stood open. My footsteps on the unpainted gray porch creaked in the fall stillness. With increasing panic, I went through every room, and then ran around the outside crying and sobbing in the grip of the most horrific loneliness and terror. I believed with all my heart that The Rapture had come and that all my family had been taken up to heaven leaving me alone on earth to face God’s terrible wrath. As it turned out they were at the neighbor’s house scarcely 300 yards down the road, and returned in a few minutes. But it took me hours to calm down. I dreamed about it for years afterward.


And then the Bageant ties the author to the John Birch Society.

Scratch LaHaye and you’ll find an honest-to-god surviving John Bircher. In the 1960s when LaHaye was a young up-and-coming Baptist preacher fresh out of Bob Jones University, he lectured on behalf of Republican Robert Welch’s John Birch Society. We are talking about a man who believed Dwight Eisenhower was an agent of the Communist Party taking orders from his brother, Milt Eisenhower. Along the way LaHaye extended his paranoid list of villains to include secular humanists who "are Satan’s agents hiding behind the Constitution." And the only way to destroy them is to destroy their cover.


Joe Bageant passed away in 2011. He called things as he saw them, did not mince words.

RIP Joe Bageant.

Columnist psychologist gives good examples of Florida's two-tier school system. Did his homework.

I think he describes well what is happening and why.

Two-Tier School System Working?

Charter, magnet and private schools are able to choose their students. Though any student is welcome to apply for enrollment in a magnet or charter school, as soon as that student falls short of the school's expectations, he or she is sent back to their home school. In this way, certain schools are able to retain only those students who meet the school's academic and behavioral standards.

By contrast, all other public schools have a zero percent rejection rate. They must educate all children, regardless of disability, motivation, parent involvement, or whether or not they speak English. Just as a comparison, let's look at two schools: Lincoln Avenue Academy and Oscar Pope Elementary.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Lincoln Academy had 570 students, 2.3 percent of whom were "disabled" and 20.8 percent of whom were "economically disadvantaged." Oscar Pope, on the other hand, had 482 students, 20.5 percent of whom were "disabled" and 62.2 percent of whom were "economically disadvantaged." That same year, 22 percent of Oscar Pope's entering students were considered "not ready" for kindergarten, compared to 6 percent of students at Lincoln Avenue. Regardless of the metric used, there is nothing remotely similar between these two schools.

Despite the fact that one school has distinct advantages in terms of the students enrolled, both schools (and all the teachers) are evaluated according to the same standards and with the same tests. Is it really surprising that Oscar Pope was graded as a D school, while Lincoln Academy earned an A?


He points out that blaming the teachers for the poor performance of students is not productive.

He recognizes this is probably the future of education and says we need to figure out how to level the opportunities.

As a nation, we seem to be accepting the idea of a two-tiered public school system where students lucky enough to have their lottery number picked or to receive a voucher receive an excellent education, while those relegated to "regular" public schools do not.


I know for sure that the new Florida trend of taking the state money from public schools and giving it to the parents is going to cause more destruction of public schools.

Cast out of the Media Village. Politico's Wuerker has great cartoon



Oregon Teacher of Year threatened with discipline. He stands against bullying of LGBT students.

There is no way to sum this up in just a few paragraphs. The article must be read.

I will quote his bio from his Twitter site.

I am the first Special Education to be Oregon's Teacher of the year. I am humbled by that honor. My words are my opinions and nobody elses.


Teacher of the Year Threatened With Discipline After Filing Complaints


From the article Brett Bigham and President Obama

Oregon’s Teacher of the Year in 2014 says he has been threatened with disciplinary action by his school district if he attends a national education award ceremony in the capital this week.

Brett Bigham, the first openly gay teacher of the year to use the position as a platform for LGBT rights, spent the better part of 2014 criss-crossing the state giving speeches about how LGBT students can deal with bullying. He now claims he's become the victim of bullying, as his own district, he says, is retaliating against his attempts to fight back.

...During a time Bigham said he faced "constant harassment," he was selected for another national award. However, senior MESD staff denied him leave to attend the National Education Association’s awards gala to accept the 2015 Award for Teaching Excellence from Oregon.


I was impressed by his words from the article:

“I spent this year talking about LGBT kids and how teachers need to stand up for them against bullies,” said Bigham. “I’ve faced this kind of bullying from my district, and I feel like a hypocrite if I don’t stand up to it.


There is much more to the article, but I will have to add these two paragraphs and let you read the rest.

After the Jan. 27, 2014 speech at the Columbia Gorge Education Service District, Bigham alleges then MESD Director of Functional Life Skills Jeanne Zuniga told him to stop referencing his sexuality in his speeches.

Zuniga, Jorgensen, and three others are named in TCSP correspondence, dated Jan. 8, 2015, regarding the September complaint. Bigham later filed another complaint, with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) Nov. 24, alleging retaliation for filing his first complaint with TSPC, among other things.




FL, AZ already turn public school money over to parents. Other states ready to do so. Choice is

what they are calling it.

This is one of the ideas coming from Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education.

It's a surefire way to destroy public schools. Giving the taxpayer money to charter schools and to private schools through vouchers must not be working fast enough.

States weigh turning education funds over to parents

A radical new concept in school choice will come up for vote in at least a half-dozen states from Virginia to Oklahoma in the coming months, as lawmakers consider giving hundreds of thousands of parents the freedom to design a custom education for their children — at taxpayer expense.

Twenty-one states already subsidize tuition at private schools through vouchers or tax credits. The new programs promise far more flexibility, but critics fear they could also lead to waste or abuse as taxpayers underwrite do-it-yourself educations with few quality controls.

Called Education Savings Accounts, the programs work like this: The state deposits the funds it would have spent educating a given child in public schools into a bank account controlled by his parents. The parents can use those funds — the amount ranges from $5,000 to more than $30,000 a year — to pay for personal tutors, homeschooling workbooks, online classes, sports team fees and many types of therapy, including horseback riding lessons for children with disabilities. They can also spend the money on private school tuition or save some of it for college.

ESAs so far exist only in Arizona and Florida, where one family recently sought to use their child’s funds on an “educational vacation” to Europe. (Program administrators, who must approve all expenditures, said no.) But the idea is catching fire. Bills to create the accounts cleared panels last week in the Virginia and Mississippi legislatures. They’re likely to be on the table as well this session in Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and possibly Rhode Island and Tennessee.


The Foundation for Excellence in Education, founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, published a report this week touting ESAs as a promising way to shake up public education. “We need our policymakers to be much more daring,” the report urged.


So if that one item had been approved Florida taxpayers would be paying for a Euopean vacation. True that would be educational for sure.

I have looked for other situations like that in Florida, but it is really hard to find anything at all about it.

I expect many parents are thinking Hey what a great idea. But if they do a poor job there may be no public schools in the wings to rescue them and educate their children.

The steamroller keeps on rolling.

On Edit: Found a little more at the AJC. Not reassuring.

One choice bill for education reform

Obviously this was written by an avid education reformer, so consider the favorable view.

While some people have wrongly likened an ESA to a voucher, it’s more akin to a Health Savings Account. Hamilton calls it “a parent-driven, consumer-driven education pathway.”

The precise amount of funding would vary by child and school district, as the bill would use the QBE funding formula to calculate exactly what the state would have spent on that particular student, between $3,500 and $5,000 per child per year.

To allay concerns of a “huge exodus” from public schools, HB 243 would cap usage to 0.5 percent of the total student population (about 8,500 kids) in the first year and 1 percent (about 17,000 kids) thereafter. Experience in other states with ESAs, Arizona and Florida, suggests the number will likely be closer to 1,000, Hamilton says.

In any event, because the accounts would be limited to kids enrolled in public school or entering kindergarten or the first grade, Hamilton says the effect on the state budget should be neutral, and the effect on local school budgets ought to be positive.

“We’re only taking the state portion,” he says. “So (districts) still get their local property-tax portion that they receive, even though that student’s not there, and then they also continue to receive federal dollars.”


Oh, yes, those "caps" are only temporary. Don't trust them, sorry.

To have the nerve to say they are only taking the "state portion"? In FL that will be devastating quickly with Rick Scott's tax cutting policies at play in so many districts.


Anybody else love Charlie Landsborough's music?



Very easy listening.



Yes, I love Irish music.
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Feb 9, 2015, 02:21 AM (0 replies)

Wow. Miami Herald says Rick Scott's FDLE scandal "Too smelly to ignore"

Too smelly to ignore


ADMISSION: Gov. Rick Scott, at a public Cabinet meeting at the Florida State Fair in Tampa last week, said that he mishandled the dismissal of the state’s top cop. AP

The Florida Constitution (Article IV, Section 4) is unmistakably clear on the issue of who runs the state’s police department: “The governor as chair, the chief financial officer, the attorney general, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute the agency head of the Department of Law Enforcement.”

Notwithstanding these plain words in the state’s basic document, Gov. Scott on Dec. 16 sent one of his minions to inform FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, a respected, longtime law-enforcement officer, that he must either resign or be fired, no reason given.

After Mr. Bailey chose to resign, the governor disingenuously informed the other members of the Cabinet — Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — that Mr. Bailey had simply turned in his badge. That cleared the way for Mr. Scott to install Rick Swearingen as Mr. Bailey’s replacement without anyone else being considered.


There's been no doubt it was a forced resignation. This is what Gerald Bailey heard from Scott's office

An unsuspecting Bailey said that Scott's general counsel, Pete Antonacci, arrived at his office on a Tuesday morning and told him: "We've known each other a long time, and this is not my idea. You've got two choices: resign or retire, and do it before 5 o'clock."


More from the Herald:

Understandably, the Republican-controlled body is reluctant to investigate a Republican governor, but surely lawmakers realize that public integrity, open government and law enforcement free of political control are not partisan issues. The scandal is too smelly to ignore, and the sooner officials in Tallahassee realize that, the better off Florida will be.


Mom gets note. Her 6 yr old daughter plays with blocks on desk meant only for math problems.

I like the way the Mom wrote this up, she shows respect for the teacher in a difficult situation. She recognizes the new testing for what it is becoming.

Oh no! My 6 year old is playing with blocks! What do I say to the teacher?

I'm a mother of a 6 year old. She is fun. She is physically active. She asks questions and she likes to talk. She also enjoys learning things and figuring out how to master things. She's very good at some things, average at many things, and has to struggle with other things before she gets it right. She's 6. She likes to play. She's a girl. She likes making friends and being around peers. She isn't a genius. She isn't a behavior problem. She's just beautiful, average and growing up before my eyes.

As her mother, I struggle when she tells me she wishes she could play in the playground built for kindergartners at her school. She attends one of the magnet school in Lakeland. When she told me that, I thought, "Of course, she does. She's 6!" It was harder to hear that there is only play time if they can fit it in around the school work. She hasn't had playtime in awhile.

However, a note that was in her agenda this week has me so frustrated. Now, let me start by saying that I review my little one's agenda every night. Every now and then, I get a message that we have to discuss. It is rare, but we get a message that I know needs to be addressed. I stress to my daughter the importance of listening to her teachers, be kind to her classmates, do her work. Sometimes, it is a struggle. When a rare note comes that looks like it may violate these rules, we address it with consequences, talks, etc at the house. I try to think through these situations carefully, though. I don't want to give my daughter the impression that she can do whatever she wants in school without consequences, but I've had a growing frustration that my child....have I mentioned that she is 6?.... having no time to use or deal with the healthy, vibrant energy that I love about her.

So when I learned that she was concerned about a note she had received in her agenda this week, I wanted to cry. I'm furious and have determined that something has to change. I received a note from her teacher that she was playing with blocks on her desk. The blocks were there for her math lesson. I was told that she was playing with them instead of using them to complete her math work.

Now, having just received report cards, I happen to know my daughter at a A in math, so she wasn't failing the class. She wasn't throwing the blocks or yelling...or even playing loudly, so she wasn't a behavior problem. She wasn't trying to eat them or try to engage with the blocks in a way that indicated a biological or mental health issue (I'm a therapist, we look at these things.) She was just not using them for math.


I taught 1st grade only one year, but the other grade level teachers and I worked our kids very hard and demanded a lot from them. But we also realized they were just kids. They needed some down time, and they needed to wiggle a lot.

We've known this was coming. I remember in 2010 the principal at Eve Moskowitz's Harlem Success Academy set forth his goals.

“We have a gap to close, so I want the kids on edge, constantly,” Fucaloro adds. “By the time test day came, they were like little test-taking machines.”


That school was geared to testing.

They actually have a so-called Kindergarten boot camp.

New students are initiated at “kindergarten boot camp,” where they get drilled for two weeks on how to behave in the “zero noise” corridors (straight lines, mouths shut, arms at one’s sides) and the art of active listening (legs crossed, hands folded, eyes tracking the speaker). Life at Harlem Success, the teacher says, is “very, very structured,” even the twenty-minute recess. Lunches are rushed and hushed, leaving little downtime to build social skills. Many children appear fried by two o’clock, particularly in weeks with heavy testing. “We test constantly, all grades,” the teacher says. During the TerraNova, a mini-SAT bubble test over four consecutive mornings, three students threw up. “I just don’t feel that kids have a chance to be kids,” she laments.


They do have high test scores, there's a high price for that.

Dozier School for boys..Florida boys raped in ‘dungeon,’ beaten to death

They are continuing the exhumation of the 51 suspected bodies at Florida's School for Boys. As the investigation continues, more shocking stories come out.

I commend the University of South Florida USF and their involvement in solving the horrific things that happened at Dozier. Their research teams also played a huge role in investigating the BP oil spill.

Florida boys raped in ‘dungeon,’ beaten to death at Arthur G. Dozier School


Asst Professor of Anthropology Dr. Erin Kimmerle exhumes a grave.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As the bodies exhumed from dozens of old graves at a shuttered Florida reform school continue to yield grudging answers to stubborn mysteries, researchers investigating the cases this week released a report on what they know so far.

There was the 6-year-old boy who ended up dead after being sent to work as a house boy. And another boy who escaped but was later found shot to death with a blanket pulled over his body and a shotgun across his legs. Then there was the "rape dungeon" where boys were taken and abused.

What the researchers have learned about decades of horrific acts carried out at the now closed Arthur G. Dozier School in Marianna is outlined in a report released by the University of South Florida as researchers continue grappling with the mystery of the graves and deaths there.

......"Maybe I've been doing this too long, but I'm not surprised at what horrible things people do to one another," said USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, the team leader who has researched other mass graves. "It's just really sad the way people treat one another, which may be in part what's captured the public's attention on this — just the sense that it's not right."


More from The Guardian today:

'Rape dungeon' allegations emerge in abuse report on Dozier School for Boys

Forensic researchers sifting the grounds of a notorious Florida reform school at the centre of a decades-long abuse scandal have identified the remains of two more bodies from 51 recovered so far from unmarked graves.

The investigative team has also revealed horrific new allegations about the extent of physical and sexual abuse inflicted on the mostly African American students at the now-closed Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, including details of a secret “rape dungeon” where victims younger than 12 were taken to be molested.

The revelations come in an interim report submitted to Florida’s senior politicians by Tampa-based anthropologists from the University of South Florida as they prepare for the final stages of their three-year dig at the school.

The team’s leader, Erin Kimmerle, said that while charges against the perpetrators were unlikely, due to the deaths of many former staff members and the statute of limitations on crimes that took place up to a century ago, their work was important to the survivors and victims’ families.


The most shocking claim was made by the man who was doing so much of the flogging was that the punishment was State-Sanctioned punishment

It's good to know someone is now investigating this horrible place once called Hell's Acres
Posted by madfloridian | Sat Feb 7, 2015, 01:35 AM (9 replies)
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