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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 83,069

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

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)

Has Ayn Rand's time as guru finally passed? Maybe.

I love Michael Hiltzik's work, and I ran across this today. Some pieces of good news in the article.

Has Ayn Rand's day as a business guru finally passed?

Ayn Rand, center, with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, stars of the ridiculous 1949 adaptation of her book "The Fountainhead." (Warner Bros.)

They handed out the book to their junior executives, told interviewers how reading Rand in their youth had changed their lives, identified with her granite-jawed, confident characters. The pathology extended to Washington, where Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) was requiring staffers to read "Atlas Shrugged" and talking about how her philosophy of uncompromising individualism was what got him interested in politics. "Ayn Rand did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this, to me, is what matters most," he said in a 2009 campaign video.

They all found something encouraging in Rand's notion that looking out for No. 1 was the best way to serve society, and were perhaps comforted by her depiction of a world made up of makers (themselves) and takers (everyone else). If they needed a justification for ruthlessly cutting payroll and subverting government regulation, there it was.

....That time may have passed. Ryan started playing down his love for Ayn Rand back in 2010. And last month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini cited a very different book when he announced that his company was raising its minimum wage to $16 an hour as of this April. The change, affecting 5,700 employees, comes to an average raise of 11%, and for some workers as much as 33%.

......There may be several reasons for what seems to be the decline of Ayn Rand as a business beacon. One is that she hasn't proved to be a very useful guide. The most prominent Randian in corporate America, Sears Holdings Chairman Edward Lampert, seems well on the way to running that once-dominant retailer into oblivion. (See accompanying chart.)

Tell me about it. I bought a Kenmore Dishwasher this year to replace the one I had 30 years before it got a broken latch..no parts available. It took 4 home repair visits and replacing vital parts to even get it to work.

Rand's me-first philosophy, moreover, simply doesn't serve very well when income inequality is on the front burner--indeed, when the issue even is being cited by conservative Republican politicians on the stump. As the economy strengthens and corporate profits remain strong, the essential defensiveness of Ayn Rand's worldview doesn't seem as necessary as it used to be.
Posted by madfloridian | Thu Feb 5, 2015, 09:21 PM (7 replies)

New Bottles Old Wine.

I was so glad to see Claire Conner start posting here today. She has the passion we all should have when facing such extremists and their heartless views.

From a great article at the SPLC in 2013.

Bringing Back Birch

There are several sections. The part about Claire's book is called New Bottles Old Wine.

Back from the Birchers: Claire Conner grew up among leading lights of the society, but completely rejected its views later in life. COURTESY CLAIRE CONNER

At 67, Claire Conner has been watching the John Birch Society up close and very personal for most of her life. Conner was once right-wing royalty, a princess in the court of Welch. Her father was a member of the 25-person national council of the society for 32 years. He was the first official Bircher in Chicago. Her mother was the second. They signed their daughter up when she was 13. Welch often stayed at their home when visiting the city on Birch business. “He was kind of off-putting when you first met him,” Conner said. “You expected this giant of a man. He had sinus problems and was forever coughing into a handkerchief. When he gave a speech, he just read it. But he was brilliant, and, at the dinner table, he was very animated.’’

Conner long ago turned her back on the society. Today, she is an unabashed, proud, Obama-loving liberal. She has written a funny and sometimes sad book about growing up Birch called Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America’s Radical Right that is due to be released by Beacon Press in early July. She worries that her fellow liberals are making an old mistake, underestimating the John Birch Society and its ability to “create havoc.”

“I always say to my liberal friends you better stop laughing at these people and pay attention,” she says. “The ideas that you hear today coming from the right were generated in the ’60s by the John Birch Society. It’s new language, but the same ideas. In terms of the intellectual framework of the GOP, it’s the Birch Society every single day.”

She says liberals are still celebrating Obama’s re-election while the Birchers and the rest of the right are back at work. One lost election or 20 years of lost elections, she says, won’t discourage them. “If anything,” she says, “they’re going to be energized. They really believe President Obama is part of the socialist revolution that began with FDR. So, they’re going to dig in their heels. They’re going to get busy and stay busy. As the kids say, that’s how they roll.”

Welcome to the DU fray. Hope you post freely.
Posted by madfloridian | Thu Feb 5, 2015, 03:39 PM (6 replies)

"This country can't afford to replace 'the fierce urgency of now' with the soft bigotry of...

it's optional." Arne Duncan in January 2015.

It seems he quoted Martin Luther King and an altered version of George Bush's "bigotry of low expectations."

Actually he was talking about testing. It's a garbled message.

Arne Duncan Wants To Drop 'No Child Left Behind' — But Keep Its Tests

Duncan called No Child Left Behind "tired" and "prescriptive." Nevertheless, he declared that the law's central requirement should stand: annual, mandated statewide assessments from third grade through eighth, plus one test in high school.

Some Republicans in Congress have been discussing the idea of reducing or eliminating those testing requirements.

In his speech, Duncan invoked famous phrases used by both President Obama and former President George W. Bush, the latter of whom introduced No Child Left Behind more than 13 years ago.

Actually "the fierce urgency of now" was used by Martin Luther King in 1963

At the 1963 March on Washington and elsewhere, Martin Luther King, Jr spoke of “the fierce urgency of now,” the need for immediate, “vigorous and positive action” on civil rights. Princeton historian Julian Zelizer has borrowed King’s words for the title of his new book to re-examine the Lyndon Johnson presidency, the power of Congress, and the birth, and fate, of the Great Society.

There was a book by that name as well.

In The Fierce Urgency of Now, Zelizer recounts the astonishing achievements of a brief three-year window, 1963-1966: the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Medicare and Medicaid, the War on Poverty, national investments in education and infrastructure, and a series of groundbreaking environmental and consumer protection laws. Challenging what has become, a half century later, received wisdom about the Great Society, Zelizer shifts the lens from Johnson to the Congress to explode what he calls two “myths”: that much of the country and the federal government had become, ineluctably, liberal, and that LBJ’s famous “Treatment” – the force of his personality – willed legislation into being.

He is using quotes that did not even refer that much to education and its reform. Someone is feeding him confusing things to say.

Again, this is what Arne said:

"This country can't afford to replace 'the fierce urgency of now' with the soft bigotry of, 'It's optional,' " he said.

His solution? Cut down on the testing, but keep No Child Left Behind which now demands EVERY student pass the standardized testing.

More solution? Spend more money. Give more to the huge testing companies to make better tests.

He said that the federal government will request funding to improve the quality of tests, beyond the $360 million already spent on creating exams aligned with the Common Core learning standards. At the same time, he wants student test scores to be included in teacher evaluations.

Posted by madfloridian | Wed Feb 4, 2015, 10:55 PM (8 replies)

Rick Scott to state law chief, Gerald Bailey, "resign or retire, and do it before 5 o'clock."

Rick Scott again Monday continued to say that he did not tell the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to resign. George Bailey continues to dispute him. Guess who I believe.

Scott's office blatantly refuses to be honest. Apparently the time for him to resign was changed to 3 pm because "the media is on this."

Florida Department of Law Enforcement - Bailey: Scott's Account of Outster ‘Untrue'

GERALD BAILEY, who was ousted as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement last month, disputes the latest account of his being asked to leave the post. "When the governor's office gives you until 3 o'clock to resign, you're not working out anything with your successor," said Bailey.

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday issued yet another account of Gerald Bailey's ouster from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Bailey broke a self-imposed silence to call it "absolutely untrue."

The former FDLE commissioner also gave the Times/Herald new details of a Dec. 16 visit from Scott's top lawyer that abruptly ended his 35-year career in law enforcement and set off the ugliest controversy of Scott's tenure, with Cabinet members calling for outside investigations and First Amendment experts exploring possible Sunshine Law violations.

.....Scott's press office claimed for the first time that on the day he was ousted, Bailey was asked to work out a transition with his successor at FDLE, Rick Swearingen. Bailey said no such request was made and that Scott's office again was not telling the truth.

"When the governor's office gives you until 3 o'clock to resign, you're not working out anything with your successor," Bailey told the Times/Herald.


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."

A St. Pete lawyer who claims Rick Scott violates Sunshine State laws is considering filing a lawsuit.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Feb 3, 2015, 01:42 AM (5 replies)

Rick Berman's phony front group to air anti-worker ad during Super Bowl.

Phony Front Group, Center for Union Facts, to Run Super Bowl Ad

In what has become a local tradition, the front group Center for Union Facts will air an ad in Washington D.C. during Super Bowl, The New York Times reports. When the union-busting organization did the same thing three years ago, Working America took to Twitter to point out the irony of running an anti-union ad during a “celebration of unionized players,” referring to the NFL Players’ Association, which is one of the most well-known unions in America.

Center for Union Facts is a $3.5 million-a-year organization, and part of a vast web of front groups funded and controlled by PR spinmeister Rick Berman. Once dubbed Dr. Evil by CBS’s 60 Minutes, Berman has launched a plethora of “deceptive campaigns against industry foes, including labor unions; public-health advocates; and consumer safety, animal welfare, and environmental groups,” according to watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

CMD has tracked Berman and his phony front groups for years and his deep ties to corporations and trade associations fighting better pay and benefits for working families.

In October 2014, Berman was caught on tape as he met with energy company executives and pitched his tactics to undermine grassroots environmental and labor organizations. "Think of it as an endless war," he told the deep pocketed executives. “I get up every morning and I try to figure out how to screw with the labor unions; that’s my offense,” says Berman, who has been a reliable waterboy for some of the worst wage-crushing institutions in America. Berman has had a long-standing relationship with the National Restaurant Association which has fought to keep the tipped minimum wage at $2.13 an hour for decades.

There are a lot more articles about Rick Berman at the SourceWatch link

Some of his words are revealing.

"Screw" your enemy. Berman boasted about his obsession with unions and his attack on their efforts to raise the minimum wage for American workers: "I get up every morning and I try and figure out how to screw with the labor unions."
"Marginalize" your opponents. Berman described his tactics against public interest groups: "wherever possible I like to use humor to minimize or marginalize the people on the other side."
"Demolish the moral authority" of powerful public interest voices: "I got George McGovern to come out and say that unions were wrong. I represent some alcohol companies, I got Candy Lightner, who started Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to come out and say that MADD was overreaching and that she endorsed our position, our client position, rather than the MADD position. That is a demolishing of moral authority."

"Make it personal." Berman's associate Hubbard described how they go after concerned citizens who dare to challenge their clients: "we do have a section on every single activist. Their rap sheets, their criminal records they have. We’re really making this personal. We’re trying to make it so they don't have any credibility with the public, with the media, or with the legislators."

And this one says it all:

Being "nasty" wins. Berman shakes off concerns that his activities are too nasty or aggressive, saying "you can either win ugly or lose pretty."
Posted by madfloridian | Sun Feb 1, 2015, 01:40 PM (4 replies)

Deion Sanders Prime Prep charter school closed down this week.

There are several articles about it, and he sounds very angry about the way things happened.

This version from the Dallas Observer has some upsetting language from a recording at a meeting.

Deion Sanders Demanded a Raise, Threatened to Break Prime Prep CEO's Neck (Audio NSFW)

The audio comes from a meeting that included Sanders and D.L. Wallace, his Prime Prep co-founder, former business partner and the ex-CEO of the two-campus charter school. It's unclear from the audio when and where the meeting took place, and the source who provided it declined to provide those specifics. But Wallace has previously described a meeting that took place between him, Sanders and two members of Prime Prep's board in June 2013, at the field house on the school's southern Dallas campus. The content of the recordings matches Wallace's description of that meeting.

.....But as the school struggled in its first year-plus, and after Sanders was briefly fired for assaulting an employee, he began angling for a bigger share of the responsibility, and taxpayer-funded compensation to go with it. Records show that Sanders was making $40,000 while Wallace, who has since resigned, was paying himself $120,000.

"I'm going to get more money, or there ain't going to be no school, that's just flat out how it's going to be," Sanders tells Wallace in the recording.

He admits he doesn't really need the money. "Forget me, because what I do with the money I'm getting, I turn around and stipend my coaches," he says, apparently referring to the small stipends usually paid to high school sports coaches. "Because God has blessed me, I don't really need it. But I'm going to get it because it's mine and my name is on the building. OK, that's just fair."

When his partner asks what position Sanders wants to take on...Sanders responds:

"What position?"

"HNIC," Sanders shoots back. That's "Head Nigga in Charge."

From DFW CBS station:

Prime Prep, Charter School Started By Deion Sanders Closed

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Prime Prep Academy, the charter school co-founded by Deion Sanders, closed today. The Texas Education Agency said the school doesn’t have the money to continue one more day. The announcement has left families scrambling to figure out where their children are going to go to school.

“While there was hope this charter could survive through the end of the school year, the financial resources simply aren’t there,” the state’s education commissioner said in a statement.

The commissioner lashed into Prime Prep’s previous leadership Friday. He said the upheaval could have been avoided if school leaders acknowledged their financial problems earlier – and worked toward a transition that put students first. Students like the school’s star quarterback Micheal Curtis, who left early Friday when he realized it was his last day at the school.

More at Deadspin. I don't know this site, but the report seems straightforward.

Deion Sanders's Disaster Of A School Is Being Shut Down

The school was founded by Sanders and Damien "D.L." Wallace, who handled the logistics while Sanders mostly brought the star power. It went poorly from the very beginning:

"The initial charter application claimed corporate partnerships that didn't exist, plagiarized other schools' applications and included a scam by Wallace to pay himself rent with taxpayer money. State regulators caught the problems and approved the charter anyway."

Prime Prep was always intended to be about sports—Sanders and Wallace pitched it as a way for the top local (and not-so-local) athletes to get into college. But the school's stated mission backfired almost immediately. Because many of the athletes, recruited from Sanders's sports camp and leagues, transferred from other schools, they ran afoul of University Interscholastic League eligibility rules. In the first season, four top basketball recruits were declared ineligible, as was the entire Prime Prep football team.

..... Things weren't much better for the rest of Prime Prep's students.

"Parents expected Prime Prep to be a polished college preparatory school, as the name suggests. Instead, Henderson says, they found the lights in the hallway were dim and sometimes flickered, reminding her of a less odorous Abercrombie & Fitch. The paint on the walls was peeling away. A sign on the side of a building, attached by duct tape, warns visitors that a side door is broken."

Like all charter schools Prime Prep was getting taxpayer money while open, money which came from traditional public schools. As resources are taken from public schools the new ed reform policies demand more and more from them.

Something is wrong with that picture.

Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’...Michael Schiavo's story.

I remember this whenever Jeb starts spouting about what a moderate he is. Or when others portray him that way.

Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’

Michael Schiavo at home. "He should be ashamed," Schiavo said of Jeb Bush. "To bring as much pain as he did, to me and my family, that should be an issue." | Maggie Steber/Redux for POLITICO Magazine

“It was a living hell,” he said, “and I blame him.”

Michael Schiavo was the husband of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead woman from the Tampa Bay area who ended up at the center of one of the most contentious, drawn-out conflicts in the history of America’s culture wars. The fight over her death lasted almost a decade. It started as a private legal back-and-forth between her husband and her parents. Before it ended, it moved from circuit courts to district courts to state courts to federal courts, to the U.S. Supreme Court, from the state legislature in Tallahassee to Congress in Washington. The president got involved. So did the pope.

But it never would have become what it became if not for the dogged intervention of the governor of Florida at the time, the second son of the 41st president, the younger brother of the 43rd, the man who sits near the top of the extended early list of likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates. On sustained, concentrated display, seen in thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of emails he sent, was Jeb the converted Catholic, Jeb the pro-life conservative, Jeb the hands-on workaholic, Jeb the all-hours emailer—confident, competitive, powerful, obstinate Jeb. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it’s the Jebbest thing Jeb’s ever done.

“If you want to understand Jeb Bush, he’s guided by principle over convenience....“He may be wrong about something, but he knows what he believes.”

Those are the words of Dennis Baxley who was one of the most conservative legislators ever.

SO...even though Jeb is wrong about something it is okay because he believes it strongly. That is a pathetic excuse for ignorance.

Long article, hard to limit to just a few paragraphs. The worst is how Jeb continued attacking Michael Schiavo even after Terri's death.

Today, looking back, what makes Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, angriest about the case is Bush’s letter to McCabe. Even after 18 months of legal wrangling, even after her death, even after the autopsy—after all that—the governor asked a prosecutor to initiate a retroactive criminal investigation of his client. It struck Felos as “odd,” “bizarre”—“personal.”

“It was such an abuse of authority,” Felos said. “I think that really raises red flags about his character and his fitness to be president. Jeb didn’t get his way in the Schiavo case. I think he tried to take it out on Michael.”

One interesting part is that President Obama said he regrets that he did not put forth effort to stop the interference.

“It wasn’t something I was comfortable with, but it was not something I stood on the floor and stopped. And I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better.”

New Dem FL congresswoman votes with GOP 4 times 1st week. Sits with GOP at SOTU speech.

She is not from my district, nonetheless when she votes with the GOP 4 times in one week it affects all of us in the state. She said she is going to take North Florida values to DC with her. Wonder where that leaves the rest of us and our values?

North Florida is traditionally very conservative, although there are more Democrats than Republicans.

If a Democrat is going to vote with the GOP and cross the aisle to sit with them during a speech given by the president, it concerns me a lot.

I've heard all the arguments about how a Democrat in a conservative district must vote as the Republicans do. Newsflash, we have lost in a major way in 2010 and 2014 by following such a policy. It appears to be getting us nowhere.

Democrat Gwen Graham takes heat for right-leaning votes

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, who unseated Republican Steve Southerland in November, is under fire from Democrats for votes in favor of the Keystone pipeline, to roll back Wall Street reforms and other issues, illustrating the difficulty she faces in a district with a sizable conservative base.

"I promised to bring the North Florida Way to Washington — and that means working with both parties to reach common sense solutions," Graham told the Buzz. "Now, I'm following through with that promise and focusing on creating jobs, improving education and ending the gridlock in Congress. Neither party is right 99 percent of the time, so the people of North Florida expect us to work together to get things done."

That might have been true at one time. But again here are our Democrats trying to compromise with extremists who will not give an inch. They may enjoy talking about how they love working together, but what they are doing is hurting the people.

Her moves have drawn praise, including an editorial in the News Herald of Panama City. "It seems clear that Graham is making a good faith effort to work with Republicans on the important issues of the day."

In a statement to the Buzz, Leon County Democratic state committeewoman Tabitha Frazier said: "I know that many liberal Democrats had been hoping for a party-line voter when it came to Gwen, one of the few Democratic wins in the entire country. But the majority of North Florida voters are moderate and she campaigned to victory as a moderate. Gwen's independent leadership and across-the-aisle style in Congress are exactly what she promised, and it's a refreshing change from Rep. Southerland's tea party priorities and extreme partisan ways."

Crossing the aisle to sit with David Jolly who was elected in great part by the Tea Party....I do not think she should have done that.

Gwen Graham Responds to State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Statement from Rep. Gwen Graham on the State of the Union address:

“Bipartisanship starts with forming relationships. Tonight, I crossed the aisle to sit with my Florida colleague Representative David Jolly. The people of North Florida don’t expect Democrats and Republicans to agree on everything, but they do expect us to work together to get things done.

Good luck on that, Gwen. At least your father, though very moderate in his beliefs, put his loyalty with the Democrats....but he did stand up against them when they helped take us into a war built on lies.

Here are her first four votes.

Meet the new conservative rising star: Florida freshman "Democratic" Rep. Gwen Graham

Gwen Graham (D) won her seat in one of our rare, balanced districts of the red Northern section of Florida. Although District 2 has 16% more Democratic voters in the district than GOP, it normally leans GOP because that's how Florida voters roll.

She replaced a teabag incumbent that was so incredibly terrible, he couldn't even win in a red wave election. Steve Southerland was the guy who said that his $174,000 congressional salary "wasn't very much", that his job "didn't mean much" to him, and also justified a male-only fundraiser by saying he once went to a "lingerie shower". Really, he was that bad.

Democrats, including myself, worked hard for Gwen. She was the daughter of a popular, former Democratic governor and promised to fight for the working class. Graham won her seat.

And what has she done?

In her first week in Congress, she has voted with the GOP every single time.

She voted against ACA.
She voted for the Keystone pipeline.
She voted to gut Wall Street reform.
She voted against Nancy Pelosi as speaker
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