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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

So much for Rick Scott’s “7-7-7” plan to create 700,000 jobs in Florida.

This morning Scott unveiled his proposed budget at a private meeting of activists from the Tea Party. For a man who campaigned on promises to create jobs and cut spending, he seems to have only made good on the “cutting” portion of those promises. His proposed budget will cut spending by $4.6 billion.

His proposal also includes cutting 8700 jobs, but Scott prefers to call that “cutting the size of government” since it’s state positions he would eliminate. Scott’s reasoning is this:

Though cutting those state jobs would add to the state’s unemployment rate, Scott indicated that the best way to grow the state’s economy was through his “jobs budget,” which shrinks state government and cuts property and corporate-income taxes by nearly $1.4 billion.

That explanation also conveniently provides red meat for the Tea Party crowd, and was apparently the reason he chose the private “preaching to the choir” budget presentation that he did:

“As long as 1.1 million Floridians are out of work, we can’t afford a government that runs wild with taxes, regulations and excessive spending,” Scott told the enthusiastic crowd of a 1,000 conservative activists.

“Reviewing a governmental budget is much like going through the attic in an old home. You come across some priceless things you need to protect,” Scott said. “But there are a lot of odd things someone once thought we needed. Much of it we’ve outgrown. And it just doesn’t  fit anymore. Over the last month, I’ve spent a lot of time in that attic. And I’m cleaning it out.”

Most people would value education as one of those “priceless things you need to protect.” Well, not so the Tea Party types who no doubt fit education into the “it doesn’t fit anymore” category if you’ve observed the mindset, behavior and the misspelled rally signs of Tea “Baggers” and the rich corporate leaders who seek to keep them very much uneducated and in the dark. As evidenced when he began touting his “worse than Jeb” ideas on what to do about education in Florida, Scott hinted that he didn’t value education so much either, and he made that quite clear today when he also announced his proposal to cut education. In one of the largest cuts in his budget, Scott wants to eviscerate education by slashing it by $3.3 billion.

Yes, you read that correctly: $3.3 BILLION. The cuts would come from K-12, community colleges and state universities. However, none of the cuts come from charter schools.

Also “cleaned out from Florida’s attic:”

Department of Community Affairs: ($668 million and almost all the employees), Department of Children and Families: ($178.5 million), Justice Administration: ($489 million, plus $39.5 million in cuts to the court system.) Scott also made cuts in Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection, Law Enforcement, Legal Affairs, Juvenile Justice, Transportation, Elder Affairs, and Health among others. A list can be viewed here.

Among things he increased funding for: adding $629 million for the Executive Office Of The Governor.

Looking at Scott’s budget, it’s not too surprising to see that he chose to give the first look to Tea Party activists. Why a private meeting? Well, why not? That’s the way Scott operates. “We the people” don’t matter once the votes are counted. (Although Scott’s working on the problem of “fair elections” too, since he’s quietly trying to get rid of those pesky Amendments 5 & 6 that the voters clearly wanted, and some members of the legislature are helping him out.) But you wouldn’t know that from listening to Scott. His explanation for the private budget presentation was this:  “I do things different. The world does not revolve around Tallahassee…that’s why I’m announcing my budget in the real world.” Ah yes, The “real world.” In Scott’s neighborhood, reality is a gated community of lobbyists and COC members and business leaders where he merely commutes to Tallahassee and his day job: Florida. It’s just a business, as he’s been so quick to point out.

Over the weekend Scott gave another explanation. In his radio address he said this:

“In the days ahead, the special interests and those who support big government solutions will attack my budget. They don’t recognize, as you and I do, these times require a bold new path.”

The “special interests” will attack my budget. Really? Does he mean these special interests? They may want to help him plan his budget, but attack it? Not so much.

Sure, as he says “you and I” recognize these times require a bold path.

Unfortunately the path that the clueless Rick Scott is leading Florida down isn’t just bold.

It’s dangerous.

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President Obama has recorded a new radio ad this week for Kendrick Meek’s Senate campaign.

The text of the ad:

President Obama:

This is Barack Obama and I want you to know why I strongly support Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate.

Kendrick’s been a powerful voice for Floridians: standing up to special interests, to hold Wall Street accountable, fighting the insurance industry to make sure health care isn’t denied to our children because of a preexisting condition, working to eliminate subsidies to banks so young people can afford a college education, and Kendrick strongly opposes extending tax breaks for the wealthy and has worked tirelessly to expand the middle class and support small businesses.

So please join me in supporting Kendrick Meek for Senate.

Because if we work together, he will win.

Announcer:

Go to KendrickMeek.com to learn more. Or text”join” to 35736. That’s “join” to 35736 to get involved today.

Kendrick Meek:

I’m Kendrick Meek, candidate for senate, and I approve this message.

You can listen to the ad here.

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While Rick “But-I-Was-Never-Charged-With-Medicare-Fraud” Scott is busy making his way around the state spreading cash and “selling” himself to scared seniors, among others, he’s also painting himself as an “outsider.” Actually, the Republican Party Of Florida described him the same way until their boy Bill McCollum lost to Scott in the primary. Now of course, the RPOF has welcomed Scott with open arms and whatever cash they can scrape together because he has an “R” behind his name, and they’re stuck with him.

Sure, Scott claims he’s an outsider, but if you’ve been paying attention to the way the Republicans have run Tallahassee, Scott’s business track record makes him a perfect fit. He’s also a good fit in the “transparency” department. He won’t release depositions or tax returns, much like the missing credit card bills of Marco Rubio, and the recent RPOF “audit” of themselves that found nothing wrong with….them.

Yes, Scott’s business ethics fit right in with the Republicans in Florida. Better yet, he’s a textbook case.

On college campuses across the country, students of business ethics are learning all about the subject from Rick Scott. He’s a big star in a textbook called “Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases.” Those Republicans certainly picked a winner. They must be so proud!

From the St. Petersburg Times:

Rick Scott is featured in Case #13: The Healthcare Company: Learning From Past Mistakes.

Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA, which the textbook describes as a company where “health-care services and staffing … often took a back seat to the focus on profits.” The case study describes Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Charlotte as the focal point of a federal investigation that resulted in $1.7 billion in Medicare fraud fines.

The textbook points out that federal investigators alleged that Scott and another executive “were briefed routinely on issues relating to Medicare reimbursement claims that the government charged were fraudulent.” Scott resigned from the company and was never charged with any crimes.

Just imagine you’re a student minding your own business, studying hard, and darn if a familiar gubernatorial candidate doesn’t pop up in your “here’s what NOT to do” chapter on business ethics. Then imagine the State of Florida as Columbia/HCA super-sized. Gosh, could it be that Florida is on the verge of becoming the mother of all “textbook cases” of Medicare fraud? Why, Florida’s a virtual gold-mine of snowbirds, and permanent retirees alike. Imagine the possibilities! Cat: meet elderly canary! What’s not to love?

No wonder he wants to privatize education in Florida if he’s elected. First order of business: get rid of those textbooks!

The chapter ends with a list of questions for students to ponder, starting off with this:

What were the organizational ethical leadership problems that resulted in Columbia/HCA’s misconduct?

Wait, wait…..I know this one!! Uh, it’s……oh yeah….. I’ve got it:

RICK SCOTT!

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Remember way back in the “good old days” before former GOP Chairman Jim Greer was facing fraud and money laundering charges? Before all that “unpleasantness” when the IRS began investigating Greer, along with his buddies Marco Rubio and Delmar Johnson for their unsavory habit of misusing Republican Party credit cards for personal expenses? Or in Rubio’s case, his entire family? Like Rubio’s wife, I mean “treasurer,” (wink, wink) who spent $5,700 for “gas and meals,” among others. Or that $93,566 charge for the family minivan repairs, hundreds more in charges for computer supplies, liquid lunches, Las Vegas rental cars, and that infamous $134 haircut. Or “back-waxing” if you ask Charlie Crist about it.

Before Greer was arrested for those things, he became famous for trying to scare parents and their children by claiming that a speech President Obama would be giving in schools would “use taxpayer dollars to spread his socialist ideology,” and that Obama would be “indoctrinating” children. His claims so alarmed parents that many of them kept their children home from school that day, rather than being forced to watch the speech. What was the scary socialist speech about, you might ask? It was about the importance of education, attending school, and inspiring children to be good students.

Sadly, some children missed the speech. Ironically, they also missed the point.

It seems Greer was also a bit of a hypocrite. He too spoke to students in public schools, but unlike President Obama, Greer did speak with an agenda in mind. He spoke to students about Republican values. He joked about the differences between Democrats and Republicans:

“Republicans get up and go to work. Democrats get up and go down to the mailbox to get their checks.”

Ha. Ha. Actually Mr. Greer, any school student who reads the paper, or merely pays attention could tell you that you have it backwards. But thanks for playing.

Now, fast forward to a year later. President Obama is making another speech, and Jim Greer is facing charges for fraud and money laundering, and the Republican Party Of Florida now refers to him as “Jim who?”

In that year Greer has had time to think about what he said about that speech of President Obama’s. Now he wants to “set the record straight,” and has issued this statement (violins, please):

“In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation’s schoolchildren, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served,” Greer said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our party today. My children and I look forward to the president speech.”

Greer has pulled himself out from under the RPOF bus, only to have emerged a truly enlightened man! Who knew there were racists in the GOP? Extremists! Imagine the horror! To have spent all that time with “the party he so deeply loved and served” only to find one year later that they were closet racists! Oh….wait. Did he say “one year?”

“In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation’s schoolchildren, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served,”

So if he only learned in the year since that “racists” were in fact responsible for that “prepared statement,” than he was “placating” “extremists” he didn’t yet know existed? Really? Along with money laundering was he also charged with “bad lying?” Because that’s a pretty lame one. Are we also to believe Greer had only just learned in the last year that there’s this thing called “video” where he can be seen and heard ranting about Obama’s plans for the “indoctrination of children” by spreading his “liberal propaganda” (or what teachers refer to as “lesson plans”)?

I suppose Greer was just “overdoing it” with the GOP propaganda when he himself called the President: “Pied Piper Obama?”

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Wow. Marco Rubio is pulling out all the stops and doesn’t know when to quit.

Today, with Jeb Bush by his side, who helped pave the way for the disaster that is FCAT in Florida (among others), Rubio presented his 12 ideas to improve education. Yes, it’s kind of like his “23 simple ideas” economic plan (cough, tax cuts! cough), only simpler and dumber. In other words, it’s like both Bush brothers ideas combined!

And since it’s an election cycle, Jeb threw this out there:

“Marco Rubio understands that God has given every child the ability to learn,” Bush said.

Sure, every child has the ability to learn, it’s just that only the kids whose parents are loaded would benefit from that ability under the Rubio plan.

But God says: “Vote for Marco!”

Drumroll please:

Rubio said parents should get a tax deduction for whatever money they spend on their children’s education, from private-school tuition, school supplies or after-school programs: “There’s no reason why every American should not receive a tax deduction for their children’s [schooling],” he said.

Other parts of the plan: giving parents better access to information about a school’s performance, using federal Head Start money to fund children’s pre-kindergarten tuition and not pre-kindergarten programs, and setting up a national competition to find the best virtual programs for online learning.

(That online learning wouldn’t have anything to do with software developed for a company associated with a certain family like after Katrina I don’t suppose? Just sayin.’)

Yes, Rubio is a gift that keeps on giving….to private corporations, rich folks AND now rich children.

Not to mention the Bush legacy.

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A report from the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center shows that the United States is now ranked 12th internationally in the number of college graduates. Canada is ranked number one. We’re actually outranked by South Korea.

Florida is ranked 47th in average graduation rates for public high schools, and 32 in the estimated rate of high school graduates entering college.

Republicans in Congress, including those from Florida, apparently think those numbers are just fine. They consider passing a bill to save jobs for teachers a “bailout.” They say there’s no money and that we can’t afford to “spend, spend, spend” for things like education. Never mind that they bailed out Wall Street without batting an eye, and for good reason. Sizable contributions to the GOP from Wall Street are growing every day. But Republicans blame THAT bailout on the “people over-spending on homes they couldn’t afford,” NOT the banks. People like, oh I don’t know, maybe teachers or emergency workers who’ve lost their jobs? Maybe even you or someone you know?

One explains the Republican logic this way:

“Spending another $10 billion we do not have will not improve public education or protect the very best teachers.”

While you’re scratching your head over that one, remember Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)? He’s the guy who apologized to poor old BP when President Obama’s proposed cleanup bill got in the way of their perfectly good oil disaster that threatens Florida’s economy along with several other states. Before he voted against the bill he apologized yet again for more ungrateful victims:

“I’m sorry that we have to be here today to spend money that the taxpayers don’t have and Congress can’t afford for an economic stimulus program that doesn’t work.”

Barton and his colleagues could solve some of the problem by putting people back to work right away. They could use a little economics tutoring. Maybe hiring an acting coach while they’re at it? To pass this bill, they say we’re spending another $10 billion the taxpayer doesn’t have!

They’re lying.

They think you’ll believe all this just because they say so, loudly in front of cameras from C-Span (Watch here for some of the highlights, from Media Matters.) They think you’re stupid. They voted against you AND that bill, perhaps hoping to keep it that way: Stupid.

On Tuesday, House Democrats passed the bill that will save over 300,000 jobs for teachers and emergency workers. A bill that will bring more than $700 million to Florida to prevent cuts in Medicaid and will save 9,200 teaching jobs. A bill that is paid for by closing tax loopholes for multinational corporations. No wonder Joe Barton is so indignant!

The bill passed by a vote of 247-161 and split on party lines. Republicans from Florida naturally joined the rest of their party and voted no. Four of the Republicans didn’t even bother to show up to vote.

No to those “bailouts” for teachers and their students. The GOP now defines education as a “special interest.” Unfortunately that’s one “special interest” that just can’t compete with Wall Street.

Republicans ARE however in favor of extending those Bush tax cuts for incomes of $250,000 or more a year. The ones that add a hefty chunk to the deficit and aren’t paid for. Not to worry though. They plan to let the middle class foot the bill, problem solved! Now there’s a bailout they can get behind!

Try to see it from a Republican millionaire’s point of view: any money that comes out of his/her pocket from those tax cuts they so desperately want to keep, and instead goes to funding things like health care, police departments, fire departments, emergency first responders, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, social security before age 70, just to name a few, well that’s just simply unaffordable! Even the smallest fraction taken from the paycheck of, say a GOP House member who can’t even bother to show up and physically vote against a bill to do so. Any amount of that expired tax cut that could put a teacher back to work, a student back in school five days a week instead of four, or maybe just give us a shot of catching up to college graduates in South Korea. In a perfect GOP world money spent on education would be a terrible thing to waste!

In Florida all “yes” votes for the bill came from Democrats. All Republicans listed below voted “no” or didn’t bother to vote, period. Maybe we should be asking THEM why anyone in Florida should bother to vote for them next time around?

Voted No:

Not Voting:

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Wow. That didn’t take long! The ink was barely dry on that veto Charlie Crist signed on SB 6 yesterday before the rest of the GOP froze him out faster than Jeb Bush’s momma freezing out a Katrina victim. In other words, Charlie is finding Florida unseasonably cold for April. It’s probably not a stretch to say that the chill will soon spread throughout the rest of the country before long.

Poor Charlie, he’s having a bad year, and it must be exhausting with all the flipping and the flopping and fretting about where the next campaign contribution will be coming from. Or IF any more contributions will be coming.

Probably just as Charlie was writing the letter “V” his old buddy, the former U.S. Senator Connie Mack resigned as his campaign chairman. OK, probably sooner than that, judging from the letter:

“As you know, I strongly disagree with your veto,” Mack wrote his fellow Republican. “Your veto I believe undermines our education system in Florida and the principles for which I have always stood.”
Mack went on to say that Crist’s decision to veto the bill was “unsupportable and wrong.”

“As you can understand, I can no longer serve as chairman for your campaign for the United States Senate,” Mack wrote.

In other words, “how dare you side with teachers, students and education in Florida, and go against the wishes of the GOP and the Jebster in his assumed position as still-governor of Florida?” Hiss!

As I write this, so far no word on what said Jebster has to say. I’ve listened closely, so far there’s no giant sucking sound coming from south Florida yet. But you know it’s coming. Silence can be ominous. Charlie seems to be hiding somewhere because so far that’s all we’ve heard from him too.

It’s only a matter of time before Rubio comes out whining like a fifth grader ratting out a bad classmate, as he is wont to do.

Unless something has happened in the last ten minutes that I don’t know about, the “Countdown To A Three-Way” party switching clock is still clicking, and it’s getting louder by the moment.

Ticktock, ticktock….almost like an alligator swallowed a clock or something!

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