Rep. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake
Here's her smiling member page.
Florida House member finally discloses her nonprofit benefits from her vote
By Michael Van Sickler
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
November 30, 2013
In the conservative Florida Legislature, Rep. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, has an undisputed reputation for fiscal austerity.
None other than Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group founded by billionaire libertarian brothers David and Charles Koch, gave O'Toole an A plus rating in June, establishing her as the gold standard for a group that says it prizes "free markets over cronyism."
Yet even this group questions O'Toole's dual roles as chief operating officer of a nonprofit and vice chairwoman of the House education appropriations committee that approved $6 million for the same Miami nonprofit in this year's budget.
Take Stock in Children was awarded an additional $9.1 million from the state's $200 million mortgage settlement. O'Toole, a former IBM executive with a thick Boston accent, voted on both matters.
In neither case did she disclose she's paid $50,000 a year by the group.
Florida's Republican-driven legislature is a nest of thieving snakes. Power should be stripped from them.
At long, long last.
Just as a reminder:
Since Jeb Bush left the Florida governor's office in 2007, this busy beaver and his "Foundation for Excellence in Education", with its hand-picked minions scattered across the country, have been:
Systematically undermining public schools;
Denigrating teachers and their job security;
Pushing for the privatization of public schools;
Siphoning public school funding toward the rampant proliferation of charter schools, virtual schools and online education;
Tying teacher pay to harsh measures of standardized testing of students;
Disrupting communities by closing public schools that are the glue holding students and families together;
Firing teachers across the country
And NOT LEAST:
---Raking in big money from political donors who stand to benefit from these policies Jeb Bush has created as he leads the charge in browbeating state legislatures across the country---
All of these things are under the Bush brand of cynical snake oil of "raising educational standards".
His efforts in Maine are a very recent prime example.
Back to the IRS complaint, with the scoop from Mother Jones:
IRS Complaint Filed Against Jeb Bush's Ed Reform Foundation
By Stephanie Mencimer
Oct. 15, 2013 3:05 PM PDT
This week, as Bush is back in the limelight in Boston kicking off his foundation's annual education reform summit, a New Mexico advocacy group, ProgressNowNM, has filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that Bush's foundation has failed to publicly disclose on its 990 tax forms thousands of dollars it paid to bring public school superintendents, education officials and lawmakers to foundation events where they had private "VIP" meetings with the foundation's for-profit sponsors. Nonprofits are required to disclose payments for public officials' travel and entertainment if it exceeds $1,000. Public records unearthed by the New Mexico group show payments for travel exceeding that amount for several state education officials whose travel wasn't reported on FEE's 990 form.
The complaint alleges that Bush's foundation disguised travel payments for officials as "scholarships" to hide the fact that the nonprofit was basically facilitating lobbying between big corporations and public officials who control local tax dollars. The complaint notes:
The unorthodox manner of these scholarships—and the fact that they are used as a vehicle to meet with for-profit education corporations—further raises suspicions around the Foundation's failure to properly disclose payment of travel expenses in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, it is possible these unreported payments to the government officials may be deemed to provide a private inurement in violation of IRS regulations.
In its complaint, ProgressNowNM notes that New Mexico’s education secretary Hanna Skandera received foundation funds to travel to Washington, DC, to testify before a US House committee on the expansion of "virtual" education in her state. Skandera asked House members to consider providing more flexibility in federal funding to pay for virtual schools. Some of the for-profit providers of those virtual schools—among them the troubled K-12 Inc.—in New Mexico are also donors to FEE. Using tax-exempt funds to subsidize congressional testimony, ProgressNowNM says, is an "apparent violation" of IRS regulations.
“This tax-exempt organization is serving as a dating service for corporations selling educational products—including virtual schools—to school chiefs responsible for making policies and cutting the checks,” ProgressNowNM's Patrick Davis says in a statement. “Just like
Jeb Bush has been using his political influence to lobby state legislatures to create controversial educational legislation that will directly benefit the large companies that are donors to his Foundation for Excellence in Education. That's so nice for Jeb, because it just might help him run for president.... By the way, many of these companies that stand to benefit from these legislative changes to education are owned by Fox News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch.
This just ain't right.
Critics rap actions of Jeb Bush's education foundation
The Corporate Cash Which Fuels Jeb Bush’s Education Empire
Jeb Bush’s disdain for public education
Who does Jeb Bush think he’s kidding?
Heads up NC: Jeb Bush to bring ALEC's "educational reform" agenda to McCrory fundraiser April 30 April, 2012
Jeb Bush hatchet man Tony Bennett (thrown out of Indiana) appointed as FL's "Education Commissioner" December, 2012
Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade July, 2013
Amid school grading controversy, Florida education chief Tony Bennett resigns August, 2013
Wherever Jeb Bush goes, there will be plunder and destruction of what people before him have worked so hard to build.
Oh, and Jeb's Foundation's response to this IRS complaint?
*UPDATE: Jaryn Emhof, communications director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released a statement Tuesday night responding to the IRS complaint. She said, "It’s not surprising that Progress Now New Mexico, a partisan organization that has a history of opposing education reforms that put students first, would attack efforts to improve the quality of education for children across America...We fully comply with IRS rules when providing policy research and expertise and will continue to do so. This is nothing more than a politically motivated complaint by opponents of education reform."
Sorry, Jeb. Your GOP colleagues' failed stunt to shut down our government can no longer shield the activities of your "Foundation for Excellence in Education" from the IRS.
Your lies must end.
Ms. Ravitch, tremendous thanks for your valiant efforts to put the spotlight on the value of public education throughout our lives, and the need to reverse the damage done by Jeb Bush and his cadre of "Educational Foundations".
For many reasons, we are finally making progress.
Governor Crist, you may yet receive another chance to undo the damage of the Jeb Bush Wrecking Machine, for the weary people of Florida.
From the piehole of "the smart one"....
You just cannot make this stuff up.
Jeb Bush speaks Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. (Mary F. Calvert/Reuters)
Jeb Bush champions immigration reform, Canada at conservative conference
By Rachel Rose Hartman
Approximately 11 am, June 14, 2013
Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida, stood out on Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference on the issue of immigration—and not just because he's fluent in Spanish and married a woman born in Mexico.
Unlike the speaker who preceded him—tea party conservative Michele Bachmann—Bush offered full support for immigration reform. He was greeted with tepid and sometimes absent applause from the mostly evangelical Republican audience gathered for the annual event at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C.
"The one way we can build the demographic pyramid is to fix a broken immigration system to allow more people to come to learn English, to play by our rules, to embrace our values and to pursue their dreams in our country with a vengeance to create more opportunities for all of us," Bush said. "This is a conservative idea. And if we do this, we will rebuild our country in a way that will allow us to grow. If we don’t do it … we will be in decline."
Bush—a recurring potential candidate for president—said immigrants create more businesses than do individuals born in the U.S., and are "more fertile and they love families," and so can replenish the country's population with young people. At one point he argued that the U.S. ought to look to Canada as a model for immigration.
Just a glimpse of what this huckster has been pursuing:
Critics rap actions of Jeb Bush's education foundation, via Tampa Tribune, March 3, 2013
The Corporate Cash Which Fuels Jeb Bush’s Education Empire
Jeb Bush: Public education “dumbs down standards to make adults look better."
Getty Images, via Huffington Post
And this guy lusts for the presidency.
A small problem, Jeb. America has outgrown the Bush Family with its toxic wars, public educational destruction, environmental spoilage and national economic ruin.
This, from PBS yesterday:
What An NSA Domestic Spying Operation Looks Like
June 6, 2013, 12:40 pm ET by Jason M. Breslow
Millions of Verizon customers awoke Thursday to learn that the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting their telephone records, under a classified court order granted to the Obama administration in April.
According to a report by The Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald, the order requires Verizon, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications providers, to give the NSA information on calls from within the U.S., as well as between the U.S. and foreign countries on an “ongoing, daily basis.” That information includes the numbers of both parties on a call, location data and the time and duration of the conversation, according to The Guardian.
The report has brought flashbacks of the highly controversial domestic surveillance program first initiated by the Bush administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The inside story of that effort was uncovered in 2002 by Mark Klein, a former internet technician with AT&T. In the following clip from the FRONTLINE film Spying On The Home Front, Klein describes how he first pieced together that the NSA was building a massive top-secret data mining operation in a nondescript room just steps from his desk. Eventually, he told FRONTLINE, “it all clicked together to me … ‘Oh, that’s what they’re doing. This is a spy apparatus.’”
But when we first noticed this in 2006, we were derided as conspiracy theorists.
Dorothy, we are not in Kansas any more.
FL GOP tries to close state pension system to new workers, yet take THEIR pension at 2X accrual rate
More thievery from Florida's GOP-ruled legislature...
Tia Mitchell at the Tampa Bay Times reports:
May 17, 2013
TALLAHASSEE — Florida House Republicans tried to close the state's pension system to new employees this year, saying it's a ticking time bomb that could cripple the state's budget for years to come.
But many of those same GOP lawmakers are members of the state pension system themselves, according to a Times/Herald review.
In fact, more than half of House Republicans could see the perks of the pension when they retire, forgoing the riskier 401(k)-style plans they wanted to force upon new state employees.
Several of those same Republicans debated in favor of closing the pension system when it came up for a vote in March. Most of them did not respond to interview requests Friday.
Of the three who did, two said they weren't aware that they were in the pension.
The bill was a high priority of House Speaker Will "Pensions are good for US, but not for YOU" Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel).
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel (SCOTT KEELER | Times)
Former Gov. Jeb Bush met with Florida House Republicans on Thursday (February 14, 2013), but what he told them is pretty much hush hush because the meeting was held behind closed doors with reporters stuck waiting outside.
Bush was invited by House Speaker Will Weatherford, who worships him as his political model.
“I don’t know if you’ll find a bigger Jeb Bush fan than me,” Weatherford said. “We were honored that he took this much time to be here today.”
Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said he had about 10 minutes to talk with Bush for he spoke to the 76 Republicans in the House. He said's always enjoyed a special relationship with Bush.
"He’s always allowed me to have access to him, whether it’s on the phone or in person to seek his advice and counsel," Weatherford said. Thursday was no different.
Am I a good boy, Daddy? Am I? Am I?
The greed and arrogance know no bounds with these people.
It is time for the people of Florida to make these politicians pay what what they have stolen and are stealing from us.
Gary Stein at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel alerts us to this, this morning:
May 15, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott can’t be serious. But boy, I sure wish he was.
Scott the other day said former Rep. Allen West would be a “great” pick as his lieutenant governor. I am not making that up.
West is doing some sort of work these days since losing his seat in Congress. One of his spokespeople told me West had no comment when I asked if he would be interested in the lieutenant governor’s job.
The public tossed him out, obviously tiring of his mouth. But he was a journalist’s dream.
Scott, of course, can’t be serious. Surely, he is just sucking up to the hard right and tea party, who he has turned off lately. Just mentioning Allen West’s name makes the tea party all giggly and excited.
Certainly Scott can’t be serious. The job of lt. governor – well, what exactly is the job, other than to be quiet and collect a state paycheck? Certainly Scott wouldn’t think Allen West would be quiet.
And could you see a Rick Scott-Allen West ticket in 2014? No. And I don’t think Scott really could, either.
But he has tossed the name out there.
Florida Governor Rick Scott
Yeah. Rick Scott thinks Allen West would make a GREAT Lieutenant Governor, since his last LG resigned in March 2013 because of ties to illegal internet gambling.
Wake us when this entire right wing nightmare in Florida is over.
This, in the face of denying 1 million poor Floridians $51 billion dollars in fully federally funded Medicaid funds. Gleefully, the House GOP then patted themselves on the back, clinked glasses and closed out this year's ugly legislative session.
It is beyond my ability to express the degree of stinking disgust for these people. And they will continue to rape Florida until they are forced out.
House members say yes to cheap health insurance — for themselves
By Tia Mitchell
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
May 13, 2013
Florida House Republicans last month loudly and proudly rejected billions of dollars in federal money that would have provided health insurance to 1 million poor Floridians.
Quietly, they kept their own health insurance premiums staggeringly low. House members will pay just $8.34 a month for state-subsidized health care next year, or $30 a month to cover their entire family.
That's one-sixth of what state senators and most state employees will pay, and one-tenth of the cost to the average private-sector worker, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
In a statement Monday, (House Speaker Will) Weatherford said: "We are aware of the differences in what House members pay compared to other state employees for health insurance and are looking forward to addressing it next session."
The discrepancy, even if it's addressed, doesn't diminish the awkwardness of House lawmakers accepting cheap, subsidized health insurance for themselves while effectively saying no to health care for others.
"I don't think there is a defense of that. I think its pretty unconscionable," said Karen Woodall, executive director of the left-leaning Florida Center for Economic and Fiscal Policy. "And then to turn around and the leadership to say the reason 1 million people aren't accessing taxpayer-funded health care is they don't want to use taxpayer dollars is very disingenuous."
These Republicans commandeering our state government are taking their health care on the cheap, while proclaiming "NO!" to federal Medicaid funds for 1 million poor Floridians:
Rep. Larry Ahern(R) District 66
Rep. Richard Corcoran(R) District 37
Rep. James Grant(R) District 64
Rep. Kathleen Peters(R) District 69
Rep. Jake Raburn(R) District 57
Rep. Dan Raulerson(R) District 58
Rep. Robert Schenck(R) District 35
Speaker Will Weatherford(R) District 38
Rep. Dana Young(R) District 60
Rep. Ross Spano(R) District 59
Rep. Ed Hooper(R) District 67
There will come a time for the people of Florida to force these politicians to pay for what they have stolen from the people. That time is at the ballot box next year.
And there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for any of these criminals to run for re-election unopposed.
Florida's Republican government. Shot through with self-serving thieves since 1998.
Lawsuit accuses Senate President Don Gaetz's former company of Medicaid fraud
By Mary Ellen Klas
May 9, 2013
TALLAHASSEE — The U.S. Department of Justice has sued the hospice company founded by Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, accusing the company of engaging in Medicare fraud for more than 11 years, including during the time Gaetz was vice chairman.
The lawsuit, filed May 2 in the district court for the western district of Missouri, alleges that since at least 2002 Vitas Hospice Services and Vitas Healthcare Corp., the largest provider of for-profit hospice services in the country, "misspent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the Medicare program."
Gaetz sold the company in 2004 to its current owner, Cincinnati-based Chemed, and reportedly no longer owns any shares or has any affiliation with the company. Chemed operates hospice services in 18 states including Florida.
Gaetz founded Vitas Healthcare as a nonprofit, Hospice Care Inc., in Miami in early 1978 with partners Hugh Westbrook and Esther Colliflower. That same year, Gaetz and Westbrook helped pass Florida's hospice licensure law, which gave his hospice a 20-year head start over for-profit competitors.
Rick Scott, Medicare fraudster. He sits in Florida's governor's office.
Don Gaetz, Medicare/Medicaid fraudster. He is Florida's current Senate President.
Criminal Republican gangsters have now held Florida's government hostage and picked it clean since 1998.
These people are nothing short of bloodthirsty pirates.
Where are the *$#&*$@ U. S. Marshals?
It still just amazes me, after all of these years, what a terrible a judge of character Jeb "The Reformer" Bush is...
Maybe authorities ought to take a closer look at the 'consultant'.
Jeb Bush to return $270,000 paid by fraudster Osorio
Reporter- South Florida Business Journal
March 21, 2013
Former Gov. Jeb Bush has agreed to return $270,000 that he was paid as a consultant to convicted fraudster Claudio Osorio and Osorio’s companies.
An agreement outlining Bush’s settlement payment was filed Thursday in bankruptcy court in Miami.
According to the agreement, Bush was paid $468,901 between December 2007 and September 2010 for consulting “plus reasonable expenses.”
Bush and his company, Jeb Bush & Associates, are repaying the money to Soneet Kapila, a court-appointed fiduciary who is collecting funds Osorio stole from other people and used to fund business operations at InnoVida Holdings, his housing panel manufacturing business.
Osorio is facing up to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was indicted Dec. 7 for defrauding investors, stashing their money around the world and lying to the U.S. government to obtain $10 million in loans, which were supposed to be used for building homes in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake there.
The settlement references a 2007 contract Bush’s company struck with Osorio for $15,000 a month.
Well, isn't this interesting....
December 8, 2012
To lend legitimacy to his effort, Osorio assembled a high-profile board of directors that included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Miami condo king Jorge Perez and others.
Chris Korge, a shrewd Miami developer and lawyer, said Osorio assured him that his company had about $40 million in cash and a lucrative deal with Middle Eastern investors to purchase $500 million in company stock. Korge invested $4 million before he began to suspect that something didn’t add up.
“Jeb Bush was on the board, there were a lot of successful people convincing me. We went out and we met and I just began to realize that the cost-effectiveness of building with the materials would never work,’’ Korge said. By that time, however, it was too late.
December 10, 2012
Authorities say the high-flying businessman lured potential investors with false financial statements and high-profile connections, including a blue-chip board of directors that included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has not responded to a request for comment.
March 13, 2011
InnoVida’s board of directors — which once boasted marquee names such as Clark, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Miami condo king Jorge Perez in company promotional materials — has also been disbanded.
Let's see, Jeb left the Governor's office in January, 2007.
Here are Jeb and Columba Bush, center, hosting a party at the home of fraudster Osorio (on far left) in Miami on April 26, 2007, for an organization called 'Worldfund'.
Photo is from the website of the organization named 'Worldfund', which has as one of its principles: 'We believe raising educational quality in Latin America requires changing mindsets and practices of teachers and principals.'
May 9, 2007: Jeb Bush Joins the Tenet Gravy Train (To be paid ~ $37,000 a day)
September 11, 2007: Jeb Bush joins Lehman's private equity board
November 16, 2007: Jeb Bush joins CNLBancshares board
December 1, 2008: Jeb Bush lands a position on Rayonier Board of Directors
Link no longer available, but here is a clip:
...Rayonier, a Jacksonville-based timber and real estate company that claims ownership of 200,000 acres along Interstate 95 from Savannah, Ga. to Daytona Beach.
The company should be familiar with Bush — Rayonier did tens of millions of dollars in land deals with the state while he was governor, including a $60 million deal in 2001 to connect Osceola National Forest to Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and a $30 million agreement in 2003 that put 8,465 acres in St. Johns County into the Florida Forever program.
In 2000, Bush blasted a $20 million deal with the company as too expensive but joined a unanimous vote from the Cabinet to approve the agreement. Here’s his quote that ran in the Orlando Sentinel and the Vero Beach Press Journal:
“Man, I can’t wait to get back into the real estate business and sell property to the state,” Bush said.
Lee Thomas, Rayonier chairman, said in a press release this morning, “Jeb’s management experience as governor of one of the country’s largest states and his expertise in real estate and public policy issues make him an ideal fit for our Board.”
September 15, 2011: Jeb Bush forms new company and gets into 'privatized' disaster response business
St. Petersburg Times, now Tampa Bay Times
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is getting into the for-profit disaster response business. ..... Bush has joined forces with O'Brien's Response Management, an emergency planning company, according to a story in the Maritime Executive on its web site today.
According to the Maritime Executive's story, O'Brien's is a a wholly owned subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings Inc. and joined forces with Bush's company, Old Rhodes Holdings LLC, to help the company expand into new markets. "O’Brien’s provides emergency planning, disaster response, preparedness consulting, crisis communications and regulatory compliance services to corporations and governments,'' the report says.
A few more of Jeb's connections:
John E. Bush
Manager at Old Rhodes Holdings, LLC
Managing Member at Altara Investments LLC
Manager at Britton Hill Partners, LLC
Manager at Bush Financial Holdings LLC
Manager at Bush Realty, LLC
Director at Florida Hispanic Outreach, Inc.
Director at Foundation for Excellence In Education, Inc.
President at Foundation for Florida's Future Action Fund, Inc
President at Foundation for Florida's Future, Inc.
Manager at Granada Investment Holdings, LLC
Manager at Jeb Bush & Associates, LLC
Managing Member at Santa Maria Holdings LLC
He's been a busy bee since he 'left the stage' in 2007.
I want to be very wealthy, and I'll be glad to tell you when I've accomplished that goal.---John Ellis (Jeb) Bush, son of the president
Not to be outdone by W., Jeb wants some boots of his own.
But, the truth is finally overtaking the Bush Family.
Good Lord, deliver us.
“Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker.” -----Jeb Bush, at CPAC, March 15, 2013
Gee, ya THINK??
The crowd's response to Bush's speech lacked the energy of earlier CPAC sessions. | AP Photo
Immigration reform: Jeb Bush stepped in it., March 7, 2013
Maybe, after all the gushing about his policy chops, strong executive record and ability to broaden the appeal of conservative Republicans, Jeb Bush isn't ready for the national stage.
It's one thing to make an off-hand comment that requires backpedaling or clarification on a hot-button issue. It's another to co-author a book on a controversial topic then make a carefully planned publicity tour that prompts much of the political world to question not only where you stand but what your motives are.
A series of national interviews this week made Bush look like a cross between Mitt Romney — flip-flopper — and Rick Perry — having to walk back what he wrote in his own book.
Bush used to support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but wrote in his new book, co-authored by Clint Bolick, that he now only supports a pathway to legal residency for illegal immigrants currently living in America.
In his book, Jeb Bush favors curbing emergency room services to undocumented and legal immigrants seeking citizenship
So far, the media haven't TOUCHED that little item in his book.
Don'tcha just love that 'compassionate conservatism'?
Jeb Bush, 2003: The ERA is so "retro..... it's like going back and wearing bell bottoms." (*So, we will again ignore ratification.*), April 7, 2003
TALLAHASSEE - As president of the Business and Professional Women's Clubs state chapter, Sue Banks says she was "dumbfounded" by the reception she received last month from a state senator when she asked him to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
"That's silly," Banks recalled the senator telling her with a laugh, then adding, "You ladies are superior to us already."
Days later, Banks, a Palm Beach Gardens business consultant, was appalled to read comments by Gov. Jeb Bush ridiculing the ERA's revival as a "retro" movement that he said is "like going back and wearing bell bottoms." ..... "The Republican Party is supposed to stand for individual rights and freedom," said Banks, 53. "To have a party that is wrong on the ERA and yet feels that the female vote is so critical and so important, that's talking out of both sides of our mouth."
Coupled with his brother's recent decision to study the usefulness of Title IX, the federal law that requires equal opportunities in college sports for men and women, some Republicans worry that the Bush brothers' approach could hurt the president and other GOP candidates in Florida, where moderate female voters can swing elections. .....
Marco Rubio's bill imposes religious agenda in workplace (The war against women rages on.)
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio believes that women who work for religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities should be subject to a religious agenda as a condition of their employment. The Florida Republican introduced a bill this week that would allow any employer with religious objections to avoid covering contraception in its employee health insurance plan. Rubio claims this would promote religious liberty. But whose? Certainly not the religious liberty of female employees. Rubio's bill, which has 20 co-sponsors including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is an attempt to extend religious dictates beyond the confines of churches and religious orders and impose them on a secular staff.
Jeb Bush skeptical about global warming: 'Climate change advocates acting from religious zeal...', April 23, 2008
As governor, Bush, a Republican, was largely silent on global warming. His successor, Charlie Crist - who is often mentioned as a possible GOP running mate for McCain - has said Florida should become a leader in addressing climate change because its low elevation makes it vulnerable if ocean levels rise.
Bush said those who advocate action to limit climate change are acting out of something like religious zeal.
"I don't think our policies should be based on emotion; they should be based on sound science," he said.
Rather than reducing oil consumption, Bush said the United States should focus on "energy security" - reducing dependence on oil imported from hostile or politically unstable countries by encouraging alternative fuels.
On EPA failure to hold Florida accountable for filthy water, Sen. Marco Rubio is wrong again , by gimleteye at Eye On Miami blog, March 16, 2013
As reported in the Miami Herald, US Senator Marco Rubio issued a statement praising the EPA's collapse after years of litigation by environmental groups that struggle to protect water quality in our polluted state: "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (praised) the deal, calling it important for the economy that state agencies rather than Washington “bureaucrats’’ controlled pollution rules.
“Keeping the EPA out of Florida on this effort is a significant win for job creators across the state,’’ he said in a statement. “It will better ensure that the proper balance can be struck between protecting our water and making sure over-regulation doesn’t drive businesses and jobs out of Florida."
The bottom line is that Marco Rubio is clueless. For a state that bears so heavily on the political fortunes of the nation, Rubio's anti-science, anti-environmental zealotry is a disaster.
When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe
"It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing," Bush said during the meeting Wednesday. "That's probably good news for the country.", Jeb Bush, November 13, 2003 (AP story)
Bush's latest gaffe comes on the heels of the first arrests in the tragic Rilya Wilson case. The child, who turned 6 last month, has been missing from state custody for more than a year, having last been seen at the home of her guardian Geralyn Graham. Graham, who has a long rap sheet for fraud and more than 40 aliases, says a worker from the state's Department of Children and Families picked up the little girl from her home and never returned with her. She and her sister Pamela Graham claimed to be the child's maternal grandmother and grand-aunt, respectively, but turned out to be acquaintances of Rilya's mother. They're now under arrest, along with two of Geralyn Graham's grown children, for allegedly obtaining more than $14,000 worth of state assistance for the girl after she went missing.
News of their arrest prompted Bush to tantalize GOP lawmakers at a Wednesday meeting with what he called "juicy details" about the women -- who he implied were not sisters at all, but rather a lesbian couple.
"As was being arrested," Bush told the Panhandle lawmakers, "she told her co-workers, 'Tell my wife I've been arrested.' The wife is the grandmother, and the aunt is the husband." Bush added gestures, using his fingers to make quotation marks as he emphasized the word "grandmother."
"Bet you don't get that in Pensacola," Bush added for flourish, apparently not realizing that a reporter with Gannett Regional Newspapers of Florida was in the room. His comments were first reported in Wednesday's editions of the Pensacola News-Journal, and soon made the rounds of media across the state.
On Thursday, Joshua Fisher, Pamela Graham's attorney, called the governor's comments "outrageous" and "disgusting."
"He's making jokes when there is still a missing baby here, or doesn't he care?" Fisher said.
Bush's people called his latest gaffe a "nonevent," but it quickly drew the fire of the state's largest gay-and-lesbian advocacy group, Equity Florida, whose executive director, Nadine Smith, called Bush's remarks "childish" and "locker room homophobia." And a spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill McBride remarked that "Floridians would be concerned that Jeb Bush has a different message behind closed doors than what he does in public."
Yeah. Just like Jeb's man for 2012, Mitt Romney.
As two-faced as they come.
Jeb Bush leads move to reduce teachers union's influence, April 13, 2010
The battle over the teacher tenure bill is the latest in a long-running war between the Florida teachers union and conservative Republicans.
Led by former Gov. Jeb Bush, the conservative side of the GOP has long sought to marginalize teachers' unions in Florida, which merged in 2000 to form the Florida Education Association.
Non-partisan but Democratic-leaning, it is Florida's largest and most politically powerful union, with about 140,000 members, including 100,000 of the state's 175,000 public schoolteachers.
Bush wanted to be known as Florida's "education governor," but his reform proposals, including private school tuition vouchers, more standardized testing and state-mandated merit pay plans, have put him at odds with the FEA. He has openly expressed his desire in the past to undercut its clout.
"The face of the Republican Party needs to be the face of every American." -----Jeb Bush, at CPAC, March 15, 2013
Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
We reject the face of hatred, arrogance and self-entitlement.
Message to Jeb Bush:
The GOP's doomed ship Bigotry has sailed, with your party of hatred, arrogance, fear and discrimination on board.
The 'copter is waiting.
(Hat tip to Bob Sikes for the heads up to this riveting, excellent analysis)
From the Missouri Education Watchdog blog:
Database in Common Core Explained. Segregation Revisited?
Posted by stlgretchen
March 13, 2012
We shared Mark Garrison's written testimony yesterday supporting MO SB 210 and HB 616 which calls for the halting of Common Core implementation.
Garrison writes in An Irrational $170 Million Database We Most Certainly Don’t Need about the data to be gathered on students via databases and Common Core standards:
While some folks have been warning the public about this for over a year, a recent Reuters article has renewed popular outrage over a privately controlled centralized database that will house an unprecedented amount of individual level data without the consent or even the knowledge of parents, and apparently, state or federal legislatures. My comments are throughout, as I can’t resist. The article reads, in part:
An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.
But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.
In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school — even homework completion.
Brushing off real concerns about this development, readers are reassured with this declaration: “Federal law allows
Further on readers are informed:
Federal officials say the database project complies with privacy laws. Schools do not need parental consent to share student records with any “school official” who has a “legitimate educational interest,” according to the Department of Education. The department defines “school official” to include private companies hired by the school, so long as they use the data only for the purposes spelled out in their contracts.
This raises a host of questions, ones that I’ll deal with in a future post. But, for now, let’s follow the “logic” outlined in the rest of the article and what it reveals about the “Career and College Ready” agenda that is driving this initiative.
“This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.
CompassLearning will join two dozen technology companies at this week’s SXSWedu conference in demonstrating how they might mine the database to create custom products — educational games for students, lesson plans for teachers, progress reports for principals.
Maybe I’m confused, but I thought teachers created lesson plans and principals created reports? This discourse suggests the intensification of the deskilling and de-professionalization of educators that began decades ago with scripted protocols, etc. Once in place, any Teach for America like temp worker can print up the computer-generated lesson plan, which will certainly include some “educational games”. Results of those “games” will automatically populate the report that the virtual principal will produce for the virtual school board.
Next we are told:
The database is a joint project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp
What isn’t shared in the article is the role this database will play in implementing the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), which would not exist in its present form without the Gates Foundation. The inBloom website discussion board clearly indicates that this database is designed around the CCSS. The CCSSI assessment apparatuses are likely to directly tie into this database if and once they become fully functional. And, given that the plan is to have student essays graded by computer, there are likely to be “digital” assessments of student writing from the dispositional point of view. Might an angry or merely “different” essay by a student trigger a “no education list” (a la the U.S. Terrorist Screening Center’s no fly lists) and be used by corporate charters in screening applicants, inventing a vast and detailed hierarchy of “human capital”?
The article continues:
States and school districts can choose whether they want to input their student records into the system; the service is free for now, though inBloom officials say they will likely start to charge fees in 2015. So far, seven states — Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts — have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide.
That piece is an absolute MUST READ for everyone who cares about the future of our children, and, thus, our country's future.
Diane Ravitch has more reaction to the database.
..... And, speaking of Rupert Murdoch, here is the latest headline in yesterday's Guardian (UK):
Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch hit by 600 fresh claims
By Lisa O'Carroll, Patrick Wintour, Josh Halliday
15 March 2013 17.36 EDT
Detectives are examining an estimated 600 fresh allegations of phone-hacking incidents at Rupert Murdoch's now closed News of the World on the back of fresh evidence obtained by the Metropolitan police from a suspect turned supergrass.
Further details are expected to emerge on Monday morning at the high court during a hearing relating to the existing litigation by hacking victims against Murdoch's News International (NI) – hours before MPs are due to vote on joint Labour and Liberal Democrat amendments that would introduce a backstop law to stiffen regulation of the press.
Sources say Scotland Yard detectives believe they can identify as many as 600 new incidents after obtaining the phone records of an insider who is now being lined up as a crown witness. As a result of the new information, the force's Operation Weeting is revisitng the timetable for concluding its investigation, which had been due to be completed with the conclusion of trials this year. Police now expect their work to continue into 2015.
On Monday the high court will hear formally of at least a dozen settlements out of the 167 civil claims filed last autumn from individuals including Cherie Blair and David Beckham's father, Ted. Blair was one of 170 victims who chose to sue in the high court instead of going through the NI private scheme, which has so far accepted 254 compensation claims.
More than 250 people have sued NI including Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Charlotte Church after they were told by police they were targeted by the paper but the opening of a second line of inquiry into activities at the paper will be a fresh nightmare for Murdoch and NI executives who are busy trying to rebuild the reputation of the company before a demerger of the parent company, News Corp, in June.
And Murdoch is the guy who wants this massive database on all of our children??
---The king of spying, hacking into cell phone communications, and now, has/is using a 'news' drone to fly over the US?---
FAA Looks Into News Corp's Daily Drone, Raising Questions About Who Gets To Fly Drones in The U.S.
August 2, 2011
The News Corp’s The Daily has a drone that it’s sent out a few times, as noted by The Observer. After The Daily broadcast some incredible footage of Alabama after it was devastated by storms, UAS Vision reported that The Daily owns a MicroDrone MD4-1000. The Daily sent it out again in June to bring back video from Minot, North Dakota after intense flooding there. (Total non-sequitur: Drones can hack cell phones now, you know.)
Taking footage for news-gathering purposes seemed like a commercial use of a drone, which is a no-no, as I understand it. I followed up with the FAA asking if News Corp was one of the companies with an experimental certificate. The inquiry got lobbed to the FAA’s legal department…
“We are examining The Daily’s use of a small unmanned aircraft to see if it was in accordance with FAA policies,” said Les Dorr in an email today. A Daily spokesperson has not yet responded to an inquiry about ownership and licensing of the company’s drone.
Murdoch Scandal: Feds to Investigate Extent of Hacking, Bribes, July 19, 2011
Viet Dinh, author of Patriot Act... on Murdoch's Board of Directors: How very USEFUL for Murdoch to hack into phones, computers...., August 6, 2011
Murdoch paid US Chamber of Commerce in 2010 to lobby for altering the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, July 15, 2011
(This is Murdoch's end-run attempt around prosecution in the US, for his crimes.)
“Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”, July 31, 2011
US senator invokes website-hacking trial in call for Murdoch inquiry, July 21, 2011
Phone hacking: James Murdoch admits 'hush money' payout August 17, 2011
Here is a comprehensive list of news links about the Murdoch phone hacking scandal, from across the pond.
And also here, from the UK Guardian.
As usual, there is ALWAYS a Florida connection:
Phone hacking: former NoW news editor Greg Miskiw to return to UK (from Florida), July 22, 2011
Still going at full tilt today:
Phone hacking: Police quiz former Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace, March 15, 2013
And, to date, the response from the DOJ and Congress to Rupert Murdoch's criminal enterprise, is anemic to virtually nonexistent.
The Murdoch hacking scandal has put a serious dent in Murdoch's empire. Now, he lusts for the money to be made in privatizing the education of our children. To Murdoch, our children are nothing more than data-based marketing targets for individualized 'virtual education'.
Fox in the Schoolhouse: Rupert Murdoch Wants to Teach Your Kids!
Murdoch and his cohorts Gates, Broad, the Waltons, Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, etc., are engineering and financing this massive database on all of our children and their families, while couching it in the cruel lie of "Bold Educational Reform". This is a travesty.
It's about exploiting for private profit, every last shred of marketing data, at the expense of our students' and their families' privacy.
What will follow is the permanent destruction of the public school teacher-student-parent bond, and a creation of future generations of children who lack critical thinking skills, a weakened community support system to lift them out of poverty and aching need, and the disruption of the cohesiveness of our country in a time of critical need as we face global threats of climate change, pollution, soured international relations, national infrastructure failure, and a lack of national health care delivery.
Jeb Bush even spoke enthusiastically of this "disruption" of public education.
reason: What is at the very top of your education reform list?
Jeb Bush: Applying digital learning as a transformative tool to disrupt the public education system, to make it more child-centered, more customized, more robust, more diverse, and more exciting.
Yeah, 'more robust and exciting' for Jeb Bush, his family's and his corporate co-conspirators' bottom lines.
In the stark face of so many issues that require a strong public education infrastructure to prepare our children for their future, stepping forward are The Profiteers, to rip it all down, turn the entire system into marketing databases to hawk 'educational' software, and gleefully enrich themselves in the process.
It is all so tragically and criminally treacherous.
Gulf spill trial: Contractor finds cement samples
March 14, 2013
NEW ORLEANS — BP's cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon rig has discovered cement samples possibly tied to the ill-fated drilling project that weren't turned over to the Justice Department after the 2010 oil spill, a lawyer for the contractor said Thursday.
Halliburton lawyer Donald Godwin told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier that the company believes the material found Wednesday at its laboratory in Lafayette has no bearing on the ongoing trial to assign responsibility for the nation's worst offshore oil spill.
But a plaintiffs' attorney, Jeffrey Breit, countered that the samples are cement a Halliburton employee used for testing of BP PLC's Macondo well before the disaster.
During the trial's opening statements, plaintiffs' attorney Jim Roy said Halliburton used a cement blend from the Kodiak well in designing the Macondo well. The Kodiak cement contained an additive, a defoamer that "destabilizes and is incompatible with foam cement," Roy said.
"So why would Halliburton risk using this leftover Kodiak cement on the Macondo well and try to convert it to a foam cement when it had defoamer in it? The evidence will show Halliburton was able to save time and save money by doing so," Roy said.
April 30, 2010:
Halliburton completed cementing of well 20 hours prior to explosion
This makes me violently ill.
When will ANY of these *$^@$ EVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE?
Just a cunning, peevish, cobra-tongued, self-serving, blood-sucking, self-entitled Bush. Just like the rest of them.
Manufactured myths, pounded into people's faces for years, of 'the smart one'; 'highly popular' ex-Governor of Florida; 'moderate' Republican, and the most insulting: the 'education Governor' are crashing down like decaying, toxic hulks of space junk.
Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters Link
Here’s why Jeb Bush likely won’t be president – in 2016 or ever
By John Flowers
March 11, 2013
The most important policy position Jeb Bush needs in order to win isn’t an immigration or education plan: It’s a “how do I talk about George W.?” plan. And what he has so far isn’t working: “I don’t think there’s any Bush baggage at all. I love my brother. I’m proud of his accomplishments.” That’s positively Romney-esque in terms of willful blindness. Also, it took him four years go come up with that. (The Daily Beast)
Bush also seemed a bit thin-skinned on Sunday, when he called journalists peppering him with 2016 questions “crack addicts.” It’s also a bit ironic to go on all five Sunday talk shows and tell everyone around you that they’re the ones with the addiction. In fact, that’s generally how interventions begin. (MSNBC)
It’s important, to remember, however, that Jeb Bush can afford to make mistakes, particularly with his non-profit Foundation for Excellence in Education in his back pocket: “The well-funded education foundation he runs out of his office in a Miami hotel is stacked with former political operatives, a large communications team, and a rapidly growing staff whose work stretches into 40 states.” (Buzzfeed)
And judging by these numbers, Jeb Bush’s non-profit is quite the cash machine: “If Bush was to seek the presidency, he could not transfer money raised through his nonprofit to any political committee he formed. But big-dollar donors cultivated through his nonprofit could separately be tapped as contributors or fundraisers.” (The Center for Public Integrity)
“Jeb Bush will be on all five Sunday shows. Usually when a Bush is on all the networks like that we’re invading the wrong country.” (Pour Me Coffee)
But, the biggest lie of all is his madly-clutched, self-stitched robe of 'Bold Education Reformer'.
For someone who never taught in a public school classroom;
For someone who presided as Governor over abysmal state graduation rates in Florida for every year he was in office;
For someone who has declared relentless war on public school teachers and their labor unions;
For someone who, from the shadows, pushes legislation for 'merit pay' for teachers, stripping them of their seniority, ignoring their years of experience and advanced training, and then slammed Governor Crist for vetoing it;
For someone who said at his 2003 inauguration: "There will be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers; as silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill";
For someone who stands to profit from removal of teachers and textbooks from classrooms and replacing them with cyber schooling;
For someone whose family stands to profit by pushing punitive and repetitive testing of public school students (as Neil Bush smiles);
For someone who gleefully assigns A-F ratings for public school performance, and uses those controversial ratings to punish teachers, close schools, and pad the pockets of charter school operators, many of whom are cronies and compromised legislators who are looking to glean private profits off of public school money;
For someone who vigorously pushes for unaccountable charter schools, bleeding money away from traditional public schools, without a care in the world for how it damages communities and robs children of a healthy, robust public education, inclusive of all family economic situations and in their own neighborhoods;
For someone who disrupts communities across the nation by manipulating state legislatures, in collusion with ALEC, to write legislation to force school closings via 'parent trigger' legislation all over the country;
For someone who refuses to address questions of impropriety by his educational foundations.
Jeb Bush runs from the press who ask these questions.
Here he is on tour in Arkansas.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to reporters at the Arkansas Capitol after taking part in a rally Tuesday on education reform. Bush said he supports a bill to create an independent state Public Charter School Commission. (John Lyon photo)
For someone who gleefully rubs his pudgy hands together when his Florida legislative operatives steer beleaguered, underfunded and underpopulated public school buildings toward charter school ownership (oh, by the way, for FREE);
...And for someone who runs at least two "Educational Foundations" that accept millions from right wing billionaires, to then turn around and lobby/wine/dine/gift state government officials to legislate laws that will carry out the intent of those wealthy donors to enrich themselves by privatizing public education, permanently. (Where are federal and state investigators?)
Hubris is too mild a word for this.
Remember this name--- Patricia Levesque.
She is a long-time Jeb Bush adviser and is the Executive Director of Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education. She also doubles as Executive Director and top registered lobbyist for Bush's other 'educational' outfit, Foundation for Florida's Future.
We will be hearing much more about her.
Patricia Levesque. (Photo courtesy of LeRoy Collins Institute.)
She's already getting some heat:
Following Criticism, Jeb Bush’s Lobbyist Withdraws State Registration, March 6, 2013
Critics rap actions of Jeb Bush's education foundation
By WILLIAM MARCH | The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 03, 2013
TAMPA -- Lobbyists are not allowed to finance perks like trips for state officials, but those at the Foundation for Excellence in Education get around that ban by being registered to another foundation run by Jeb Bush.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush's nonprofit, education reform foundation is taking heat for using donations from for-profit companies to lobby for state education laws that could benefit those companies.
Among the activities of Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education that have come in for criticism: It pays for state officials and legislators to go to conferences where they meet with the company's donors, including officials of corporations who stand to gain from the policymakers' decisions.
The donors include companies that sell testing services, high-tech learning products and charter school services to the state and to Florida school systems, or that would like to.
Normally, it's illegal for lobbyists or lobbying organizations to provide benefits such as free trips to Florida legislators or top executive branch officials.
But the Foundation for Excellence in Education escapes that prohibition because lobbyists on its staff are registered to another, closely related Bush foundation – even though the two share key staff members and even their Tallahassee address.
Again, where are federal/state investigators?
But, Jeb thinks there is no Bush baggage, neither his nor his brother's.
AP via Politico
So, in his singular mind, everything's on schedule for Jeb Bush to assume the Presidency.... being bred to rule trumps any facts the underlings find.
It is the perfect word for the garbage we heard from Jeb Bush today. Hats off to whomever introduced it.
On CBS' Face the Nation:
Jeb Bush: Obama won reelection by ‘dividing the country’
“I think the basic part of his campaign was that those that were successful weren’t paying their fair share, even though we have incredibly high taxes for high income Americans,” Bush said on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.” “I think he ran a campaign of them and us. And it was quite effective, that somehow the Republicans don’t care about the large number of people.” (bold emphasis added)
As 'Mr. Brink' put it, at The Daily Banter:
Had nothing to do with their tax policies, hatred of Obamacare, bizarre attacks on women’s reproductive rights, elderly care, gay rights, religious tolerance, environmental issues, or the disdain they have all shown at one time or another for the working poor in this country, whether caught on tape or written on the walls. They still cannot admit fault, mistakes, or take responsibility for their poor decisions. That’s so Bush.
To David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press:
Jeb Bush must have been tired of fielding questions on a potential 2016 run after a day of talk show appearances.
"Man, you guys are crack addicts," he said to Meet The Press host David Gregory. "You really are obsessed with all this politics... okay, heroin addict. Is that better?"
Bush was responding to a question from Gregory on how he stacked up to another assumed 2016 hopeful from Florida, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.
To Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:
Bush declined to discuss any decisions he might have made about the 2016 presidential election — it was too soon, he told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” and others on subsequent programs — but did say he thought his family name would not be a hindrance for him.
“I don’t think there’s any Bush baggage at all,” Bush said on “Fox News Sunday” when confronted with a poll that showed almost a full majority of Americans have an unfavorable impression of former President George W. Bush.
He told host Chris Wallace: “I love my brother, I’m proud of his accomplishments. I love my dad. I am proud to be a Bush.”
To NBC's Meet the Press:
Jeb Bush: 'History will be kind to my brother'
"So my guess is that history will be kind to my brother, the further out you get from this and the more people compare his tenure to what's going on now."
'What's going on now' is simply the massive cleanup of an economy left in ruins by George W. Bush; the aftermath of two illegal wars, two rounds of tax cuts for the wealthy, and a Medicare prescription drug benefit---all put on the credit card--- by George W. Bush; a devastated human rights reputation nationally and serial destruction of civil and voting rights....
It's NEVER the fault of a Bush, you see.
Go back to your hidey hole, Jeb Bush, with your sharpie pen and your pathetic attempts to rewrite history. And take your 'book' and the terrible disasters your family members have wrought upon this nation, and other nations, with you.
America does not want what you or anyone else in your family are selling.
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