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White guy, computer programmer. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Marietta teacher faces disciplinary action for slavery game

A Marietta teacher is facing disciplinary action for what one grandmother calls a demeaning educational game.

Delores Bunch-Keemer told Channel 2 Action News she knew something was wrong when her 10-year-old granddaughter came home from Cheatham Elementary on Tuesday afternoon.

She said her granddaughter is the only African-American girl in the classroom and was asked to play an interactive game that involved pretending to escape a plantation. The class was trying to find freedom on the Underground Railroad, where a roll of the dice determined whether a player would make it to the woods, Channel 2 reported.

The teacher may have been trying to make a dramatic point about the suffering imposed on slaves, but the 10-year-old took her history lesson to heart.

Read more: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/marietta-teacher-faces-disciplinary-action-for-sla/nsMk3/

Kaine blasts Trump in Tallahassee trip

Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine touted Hillary Clinton’s plan to help small business during a campaign stop in Tallahassee while blasting Donald Trump for the support he said he's getting from the KKK.

Kaine, during a rally at Florida A&M University, lambasted the GOP presidential nominee for comments he's made throughout the campaign, saying he's ridiculed people with disabilities, trashed people of Mexican origin and suggested Muslims should be second-class citizens.

"Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, Donald Trump values are not American values," he said before a crowd of hundreds at the historically black institution. "They're not our values. And we've got to do all we can to push back and win."

His remarks came a day after Clinton accused Trump of taking hate groups mainstream and hijacking the Republican Party. Trump, meanwhile, has taken to calling Clinton a bigot, saying her policies have failed minorities.

Read more: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2016/08/26/kaine-talks-small-biz-tallahassee-trip/89432554/

Judge blasts state, local schools in 3rd-grade retention case

A judge Friday sharply criticized state and Central Florida school leaders for failing to follow the law when they barred from fourth grade some youngsters who'd refused to answer questions on Florida's required third-grade reading test.

Their conduct caused "injury which will continue as long as the children are not in the appropriate grade in the appropriate school," wrote Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers of Leon County. "Grade 3 students with no reading deficiency should not be retained, but should be promoted."

Her 52-page order was especially critical of the Orange County School Board, which she said acted in a "particularly blatant, arbitrary and capricious" way to daughter of Michelle Rhea, a third grader at Dommerich Elementary School in Maitland last school year.

Rhea is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed earlier this month on behalf of 14 students in six school districts, including Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. The lawsuit challenged sections of Florida's third-grade retention law.

Read more: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-third-grade-retention-judge-ruling-20160826-story.html

Obama Administration officials push for Medicaid funding, EITC for Puerto Rico

The Obama Administration this morning reiterated its requests that the Congress treat Puerto Rico much more equally with the States in contributing to Medicaid in the territory and that it fund an earned income tax credit (EITC) in the islands. The call came in a letter to the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, established by the June 30 law on territorial finances known as PROMESA from Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

The Administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017 beginning October 1st proposes monies for more equal funding of Medicaid in Puerto Rico and the four much less populated territories on a phased in basis of $9.315 billion over five years and $29.644 billion over 10 years. Under past legislation, Puerto Rico has received 87.1%-92.5% of such funding increases for health care programs for low-income individuals in the five territories.

The Obama budget plan would also appropriate $601 million for an EITC in Puerto Rico in FY 2017 and $6.642 billion for it over 10 years. One aspect of the proposal that will be somewhat controversial in Puerto Rico is that the proposal would fund a local EITC instead of extending the refundable portion of the EITC that applies in the States, the District of Columbia, and, to en extent, three other territories. Leaders of Puerto Rico’s autonomy-oriented Popular Democratic Party, which controls the Government of Puerto Rico now, wants a different program than the national program. Leaders of the New Progressive Party, which has equality within the nation as its primary goal — and is likely to sweep November’s elections, wants Puerto Rico to be part of the national program. An earned income tax credit reduces income taxes for low-income workers. The refundable portion of the Federal EITC provides cash payments to low-income workers to the extent that they cannot use a tax credit.

In their letter, Lew and Burwell emphasized the benefits of the two proposals to Puerto Rico’s failing economy. Economists consider that the proposals would have major positive impacts on the insular economy because the funds would be spent locally.

Read more: http://www.puertoricoreport.com/obama-administration-officials-push-medicaid-funding-eitc-puerto-rico/

Fitch Downgrades U.S. Virgin Islands Matching Fund And Gross Receipt Tax Bonds To Junk Status

Another top U.S. ratings firm has downgraded the territory’s bonds, compounding an already precarious situation for leaders here as they contemplate floating bonds to meet a $110 million budget shortfall. The move comes three weeks after Moody’s downgraded the territory’s matching fund bonds, and adds gross receipt tax (G.R.T.) bonds to the mix.

Both the gross receipt tax and matching fund bonds — the latter backed by rum revenues — have been downgraded to B+ from BB), sending both bonds further into junk status. Additionally, the U.S.V.I.’s issuer default rating (which is the territory’s general credit rating), was downgraded to B+ from BB-.

In simple terms, the more the territory’s bond ratings are downgraded, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to float bonds. In July, Finance Commissioner Valdamier Collens said that the bond downgrades essentially prevented the government from restructuring its debt.

“Whereas we were between the 4 1/2 to 5 percent or even lower in some of the bonds that we’ve issued in recent years, this effect has caused the projected yields to be up 2 to 3 percent higher, and in that regard, it would not make a whole lot of sense to restructure, , your mortgage for a higher rate when you’re already getting a lower rate,” he said.

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/business/fitch-downgrades-u-s-virgin-islands-matching-fund-gross-receipt-tax-bonds-junk-status/

Former V. I. Senator Extradited To U.S., Charged With Wire Fraud, Embezzlement Of Legislative Funds

ST. CROIX — Former disgraced U.S. Virgin Islands senator Wayne James, who was arrested on June 29 in Modena, Italy, was extradited from Italy on Wednesday to face charges that he had defrauded the Government of the Virgin Islands of tens of thousands of dollars while he served as a senator in the Legislature.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of D.O.J.’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe of the District of the Virgin Islands, Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Leff of the FBI’s San Juan Division and Virgin Islands Inspector General Steven Van Beverhoudt.

Mr. James, 55, of St. Croix, was indicted on October 1, 2015, with two counts of wire fraud and one count of federal program embezzlement.

According to the indictment, from 2009 to 2011, Mr. James served as chair of the Senate Committee on Youth, Education and Culture in the 28th Legislature. While serving as the chair, Mr. James allegedly obtained tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for the purpose of acquiring and translating historical documents related to the “Fireburn,” an 1878 uprising by freed slaves in St. Croix.

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/breaking-news/former-senator-wayne-james-extradited-to-u-s-charged-with-wire-fraud-embezzlement-of-legislative-funds/

Gov. Paul LePage apologizes for obscene language in voicemail

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage is apologizing to "the people of Maine" for leaving a vulgar voicemail for a Democratic legislator and says he was using a metaphor when he said he wished he could challenge the lawmaker to a duel and point his gun "right between his eyes."

LePage said in a written statement Friday that he takes it "very seriously" when someone calls him a racist and that it made him "enormously angry" when he heard from a reporter that Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, had called him one.

LePage says being called a racist is "the absolute worst, most vile thing you can call a person." So he says he referred to Gattine as a vulgar name involving oral sex because it was the "worst word" he could think of.

The governor then held a news conference Friday in Augusta where he again defended himself for leaving the vulgar voicemail on Gattine's phone.

Read more: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2016/08/26/gov-paul-lepage-apologizes-obscene-language-voicemail/1983074

So when Trump says something awful it is sarcasm and when LePage says something awful it is a metaphor. What's next?

Gov. Paul LePage calls Khizr Khan a 'con artist' on the radio

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage says the father of a deceased Muslim captain in the U.S. Army is a "con artist" for criticizing Donald Trump.

LePage, a Republican, made the comments on Wednesday during an appearance on a program hosted by Boston radio host Howie Carr.

LePage's comments referenced Khizr Khan, whose son died while protecting other soldiers in Iraq. Khan made an appearance at the Democratic National Convention in which he was critical of Trump, the Republican nominee.

LePage, in his second term as governor, is a supporter of Trump. His daughter Lauren LePage has been hired by Trump and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence to work as the state's coalitions director.

Read more: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/0001/11/30/gov-paul-lepage-calls-khizr-khan-con-artist-radio/1982556

State pays to save Burlington College records

The state of Vermont has stepped in as caretaker of student records at the defunct Burlington College, where former students have scrambled to get copies of their transcripts.

Taxpayers are footing the bill, for now, for moving about 17 filing cabinets from Burlington to the Vermont Agency of Education office in Barre. The State Board of Education is being asked Tuesday to take another $18,000 out of the state general fund to resurrect electronic systems that contain records for recent Burlington College students.

Burlington College President Carol Moore asked the state to become temporary holder of student records in May, shortly after news broke of the college's demise.

As of Monday, however, some students seemed left in the dark about the status of their records.

Read more: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/education/2016/08/22/state-pays-save-burlington-college-records/89113958/

Plan to merge two Vermont colleges moves forward

MONTPELIER — Officials are working out the details of a plan to merge Vermont’s Johnson State College and Lyndon State College under one administration and budget with two campuses.

The full plan is scheduled to be released by Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding at a Sept. 29 board of trustees meeting.

The plans call for the two schools to merge but retain their campuses, programs, mascots and identities.

It’s unclear how tightly the schools will merge but Spaulding says academic programs will remain untouched. He says the identity of the institution is in flux, and he’s unsure of whether it will be called a university.

Read more: http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20160826/NEWS05/160829678
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