Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Felonies in the voting booth? Miami-Dade prosecutors probe ballots cast by ineligible felons

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Miami-Dade corruption prosecutors are investigating allegations that at least 275 ineligible felons voted illegally in the county’s November 2016 general election.
The post Felonies in the voting booth? Miami-Dade prosecutors probe ballots cast by ineligible felons appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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FBI probe of tie between Saudi ambassador, al Qaeda leader put on ice

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
The FBI now appears never to have restarted a suspended 2002 investigation into why a captured al Qaeda leader possessed the unlisted phone number of an offshore company tied to Saudi Arabia’s U.S. ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
The post FBI probe of tie between Saudi ambassador, al Qaeda leader put on ice appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Fueled by Donald Trump opponents, Rachel Maddow’s popularity rises

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Rachel Maddow can trace the mood of her audience by looking at the ratings.
Her MSNBC show’s viewership sank like a stone in the weeks following Donald Trump‘s election, as depressed liberals avoided politics, and bottomed out over the holidays. Slowly, they re-emerged, becoming active and interested again. Maddow’s audience has grown to the point where February was her show’s most-watched month since its 2008 launch.
Maddow has emerged as the favorite cable news host for presidential resistors in the opening days of the Trump administration, just as Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity is one for supporters or Keith Olbermann was the go-to television host for liberals in George W. Bush‘s second term. Trump fascination has helped cable news programs across the political spectrum defy the traditional post-presidential election slump, few as dramatically as Maddow’s.
Her show’s average audience of 2.3 million in February doubled its viewership over February 2016, in the midst of the presidential primaries, the Nielsen company said.
“I’m grateful for it,” Maddow said one recent afternoon. “It is nice for me that it is happening at a time when I feel we are doing some of our best work.”
Those two things — ratings success and Maddow’s pride in the work — don’t always intersect.
“We’re making aggressive editorial decisions in terms of how far we’re willing to get off of everyone else’s news cycle,” she said, “but it’s paying off because the news cycle more often than not is catching up with us after we do something.”
Maddow has decided to cover the Trump administration like a silent movie, so the show could pay more attention to what is being done rather than what is being said. The central focus is on connect-the-dots reporting about Trump’s business interests and dealings with Russia.
Her show is a news cousin to HBO host John Oliver‘s

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Donald Trump looking to Sarah Huckabee Sanders in tough moments

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Faced with aggressive on-air questioning about the president’s wiretapping claims, Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t flinch, she went folksy.
Speaking to George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” she pulled out a version of an old line from President Lyndon Johnson: “If the president walked across the Potomac, the media would be reporting that he could not swim.”
The 34-year-old spokeswoman for President Donald Trump was schooled in hardscrabble politics — and down-home rhetoric — from a young age by her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Her way with a zinger — and her unshakable loyalty to an often unpredictable boss — are big reasons why the deputy press secretary is a rising star in Trump’s orbit.
In recent weeks, Sanders has taken on a notably more prominent role in selling Trump’s agenda, including on television and at White House press briefings. As White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s public profile has fluctuated in recent weeks amid criticism of his performance, Sanders has increasingly become a chief defender of Trump in some of his toughest moments.
Sanders’ rise has fueled speculation that she’s becoming the president’s favored articulator, a notion she disputes. “It’s hard for any one person to maintain a schedule of being the singular face all day every day,” she said. She argued that more than one press aide spoke for President Barack Obama.
“When Eric Schultz went on TV did anybody say Josh Earnest is getting fired?” Sanders asked. “Was that story ever written?”
Spicer echoed that message: “My goal is to use other key folks in the administration and the White House to do the shows.”
Indeed, speaking on behalf of this president is a challenging and consuming job.
Trump often presents his own thoughts directly on Twitter in the early hours of the morning and is known to closely follow his surrogates on television,

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George W. Bush on Donald Trump and Russia: ‘We all need answers’

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Former President George W. Bush said Monday “we all need answers” on the extent of contact between President Donald Trump‘s team and the Russian government, and didn’t rule out the idea that a special prosecutor could be necessary to lead an investigation.
The Republican also defended the media’s role in keeping world leaders in check, noting that “power can be addictive,” and warned against immigration policies that could alienate Muslims.
“I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and upholds the law,” Bush told NBC’s “Today” show.
Bush’s comments came after a prominent Republican in Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was in touch with Trump’s top advisers during the campaign.
Bush said he would trust Senate Intelligence panel Chairman Richard Burr to decide if a special prosecutor is necessary.
But, Bush added, “I think we all need answers … I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”
The former president, who is promoting a book of his paintings of wounded veterans, also took issue with Trump’s characterization of the media as an “enemy of the people.” Bush said the U.S. won’t be able to convince authoritarian governments, including Russia, to open up their governments to media scrutiny if U.S. leaders try to discredit their own press.
“We need an independent media to hold people like me to account,” Bush said. “Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”
On the issue of immigration and Trump’s recent attempt to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, Bush warned that if the U.S. freezes out other countries and turns inward,

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James Comey in middle of political fray over Donald Trump and Russians

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

FBI Director James Comey is again in a familiar spot these days – the middle of political tumult.
As a high-ranking Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, he clashed with the White House over a secret surveillance program. Years later as head of the FBI, he incurred the ire of Hillary Clinton supporters for public statements on an investigation into her emails. Now, Comey is facing new political pressure as White House officials are encouraging him to follow their lead by publicly recounting private FBI conversations in an attempt to dispute reports about connections between the Trump administration and Russia.
It’s an unusual position for a crime-fighting organization with a vaunted reputation for independence and political neutrality. Yet Comey, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who later became deputy attorney general of the United States, is known for an unshaking faith in his own moral compass.
“I’m not detecting a loss of confidence in him, a loss of confidence in him by him,” said retired FBI assistant director Ron Hosko, noting the broad recognition that “these are very tumultuous, polarized, angry, angry times.”
The latest flare-up occurred Friday, when White House officials told reporters that chief of staff Reince Priebus had asked top FBI officials to dispute media reports that Donald Trump‘s campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election. The officials said the FBI first raised concerns about New York Times reporting but told Priebus the bureau could not weigh in publicly on the matter. The officials said Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Comey instead gave Priebus the go-ahead to discredit the story publicly, something the FBI has not confirmed.
As the FBI declined to discuss the matter, pressure mounted on Comey to either counter or affirm the White House’s account. Even the Trump administration

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Donald Trump’s visits to Florida costing sheriff $1.5 million in OT

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Donald Trump‘s visits to his South Florida estate since he was elected president have cost the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department $1.5 million in overtime costs.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is confident the money his department has spent while assisting the Secret Service will be reimbursed by the federal government.
“I do hope he is correct,” said Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker.
The county sent letters to federal officials in December seeking reimbursement for the overtime security costs from Trump’s five-day visit to the estate called Mar-a-lago in November, the Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday.
Those costs were originally estimated at $250,000, but Bradshaw said the total will be closer to $300,000. Based on the revised number, the sheriff said told the newspaper the security costs are amounting to about $60,000 a day during Trump’s visits to the county.
Aside from the five days in November, Trump stayed at Mar-a-lago 16 days in December. He has returned for two weekends so far in February.
The sheriff’s presidential detail is covered by overtime and doesn’t compromise law enforcement for the rest of the county.
“We don’t take anybody off the road that handles normal calls for service,” Bradshaw said. “I’m very confident that we’re going to get reimbursed. There’ll be a point in time where I’ll have a conversation, I hope, with the president personally or with someone high up in his administration.”
Baker said the sheriff works closely with the Secret Service and would have a better feel about any reimbursement. “I have not received that type of information from anyone in writing,” Baker said.
Presidential visits aren’t unusual in Palm Beach County as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all made multiple visits for fundraisers, golf outings and campaign appearances. But they didn’t involve extended stays.
“Obviously we take it very seriously and we’re fortunate we have

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On MSNBC, David Jolly wonders how serious Donald Trump is taking the presidency

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

David Jolly is in New York this week, making the rounds at the cable news networks as one Republican not afraid to criticize Donald Trump.
On his latest appearance on MSNBC’s The Last Word (with guest host Joy Reid), the former (and possibly future?) congressman from Florida’s 13th District called Trump’s first month in office “his JV moment,” specifically referring to Stephen Miller’s performance on the Sunday morning shows.
Miller is the 31-year old senior adviser to Trump who is reported to be working alongside Steve Bannon in crafting the President’s messaging.
Among Miller’s most provocative comments was on CBS’ Face The Nation, when he said, “The media and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
“The first month of the Trump administration has been his JV (junior varsity) moment,” Jolly said on MSNBC. “Get the 31-year-old sweaty kid off the TV, and bring in the steady senior hand.”
Jolly compared the beginning of Trump’s presidency with that of George W. Bush’s, the last president elected without winning the popular vote. Jolly said that Bush 43 surrounding himself with senior Washington officials like Dick Cheney and Andy Card, who, he said, “whether you liked them or not, we’re a steady hand.”
“We will see turnover, and frankly, this 31-year old should not have been the voice of the president on Sunday morning TV when we’re in such a pivotal moment,” Jolly said.
Jolly also questioned how seriously Trump is taking his job as the most powerful man in the free world.
“I think this is the very quiet anxiety of most Republicans, including congressional Republicans, is how serious is the president taking this job?” he asked. “He is our president. President Donald Trump. Like him or loath him. But how seriously is he

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Being a White House kid comes with pluses and minuses

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

If it’s tough being a kid, try being a “first kid” — the child of an American president.
Just ask President Bill Clinton‘s daughter, Chelsea. Or President George W. Bush‘s twins, Jenna and Barbara. And now, President Donald Trump‘s youngest child, Barron, is finding out.
Ten-year-old Barron was the target of a poorly received joke tweeted by a “Saturday Night Live” writer on Jan. 20 as the new first family reveled in Inauguration Day events. Separately in Chicago, comedian Shannon Noll played the title character in “Barron Trump: Up Past Bedtime,” which had a recent run at a theater in Hyde Park.
Both instances have revived age-old questions about the sometimes less-than-kid-glove treatment of presidential kids.
“I think the children are off-limits,” said Lisa Caputo, who was White House press secretary when “Saturday Night Live” made fun of then-13-year-old Chelsea Clinton. “They didn’t run for public office, they don’t hold an official role.”
“SNL” cast member Mike Meyers sent the Clintons a letter of apology after the incident.
The teenage Chelsea Clinton also was mocked by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who called her a dog.
Katie Rich, the “SNL” writer who tweeted about Barron, was suspended indefinitely. After deleting the tweet and deactivating her Twitter account, she reactivated the account, saying she wanted to “sincerely apologize” for the “insensitive” tweet and that she deeply regretted her actions.
“It was inexcusable & I’m so sorry,” Rich said. Fellow comedians have risen to her defense, but Noll told the Chicago Reader that she has been the subject of a social media backlash, including death threats, as well as homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic and racist comments directed at her. The theater also has been harassed.
All presidents and first ladies seek a life outside the spotlight for minor children who live in the 132-room mansion, except when they themselves put their kids

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How can we respect the presidency, when Donald Trump clearly doesn’t?

Friday, February 10th, 2017

When President Harry S. Truman threatened in December 1950 to punch out a Washington Post music critic who had panned his daughter’s singing, he wrote the letter in his own hand, affixed his own postage stamp, and did not make it public. Neither did the Post.
But America knew all about it once it had leaked to the Washington News.
“It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful,” the president wrote …”Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
Public reaction was divided. Some people, Republicans especially, said that what Truman did was terrible. Others, fathers especially, applauded him for sticking up for his daughter.
Actually, the critic, Paul Hume, was a young man, 34, only three years into what became a long and acclaimed career at the Post. When they finally did meet, years later at Truman’s home in Independence, Missouri, they played the piano together.
Truman’s outburst comes to mind with the news of the very public way in which Donald Trump and his shrill White House shill, Kellyanne Conway, reacted to news of a department store chain, Nordstrom, dropping Ivanka Trump‘s branded merchandise.
The so-called president used his personal and White House Twitter accounts to denounce the company for treating his daughter “unfairly.” Conway was on Fox “News” the next day urging people to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.
“I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today everybody, you can find it online,” Conway said.
That goes way, way beyond what Truman did, and is far, far worse. Truman involved public resources only to the extent that he was living in the White House when he wrote the letter, and he did not

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Darryl Paulson: Florida – Land of electile dysfunction

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

During and after the 2016 presidential election, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump complained about “millions of people who voted illegally.” He offered no proof to his charge, and virtually all state supervisors of elections found little evidence of fraud.
It is “big news” when a single case of vote fraud emerges. It would be the story of the decade if 3 million individuals cast fraudulent votes as Trump alleges.
When Sara Sosa of Colorado voted in the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 elections, every wire service carried the story. The unusual part of the story was that Sosa died in 2009.
Examples such as Sosa are used by those who want to preserve the “integrity” of the election process. It is also used by those who use the case to show how unusual and rare such cases are in any election cycle.
President Trump has become the first president to demand an investigation of an election he won. My guess is that this will be the first of many “firsts” during Trump’s tenure as president.
With all of Trump’s complaining about vote fraud, it should be remembered that state and local governments have probably engaged in more case of fraud than have individuals. Few states have manipulated the voter rolls more than the state of Florida.
Vote fraud by individuals in Florida
Perhaps the prime example of vote fraud by people in Florida elections was the 1997 Miami mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor Xavier Suarez hired “Boleteros” or paid absentee ballot brokers to stuff the ballot boxes to win the election. Because of the vote fraud, the election results were overturned, and Joe Carolla became mayor of Miami.
More recently, Zakee Furqan of Jacksonville, convicted of second-degree murder under the name Leon Nelson, voted in several elections before his felony conviction was discovered. The first trial resulted in a

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Donald Trump campaigned as a disrupter, begins governing by chaos

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Trump’s temporary halt to the U.S. refugee program — the most consequential policy he’s unveiled in his presidency’s opening days — wreaked havoc at airports and sparked protests across the country. The order left Trump’s own government agencies scrambling, his Republican Party divided and allies around the world uneasy. A federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily blocking part of the measure, setting up a legal battle ahead.
Trump could have avoided at least some of these consequences. He could have consulted significantly with the agencies tasked with implementing the order. He could have delivered a speech explaining his action and its intent in detail to the American people. His team could have prepared a contingency plan for the newly banned travelers already en route to U.S. as Trump signed the order.
Instead, Trump showed that not only does he intend to follow through on his controversial campaign promises, he plans to do so in the spirit of the mandate his advisers believe he has: disrupting Washington and setting fire to the playbook its leaders have long relied on.
It’s not clear whether the White House acted Friday knowing the consequences that would follow. But Saturday, as protesters crowded U.S. airports where legal U.S. residents were stuck in limbo, the president declared he was pleased with the results.
“It’s working out very nicely,” Trump said Saturday.
Trump is known to tolerate considerable instability and fluidity in his inner circle. His campaign was often improvisational and unpredictable, driven at times by the split decisions of the candidate. As a chief executive of a private company, Trump rarely had to contend with the complexity or scrutiny involved in operating the federal government.
Even before the chaos surrounding the refugee restrictions, Trump was sowing confusion in his first days in office.
He announced an investigation into voter fraud — on

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Charlie Crist slams the GOP for ‘extreme measures’ on women’s reproductive rights

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Following moves by President Trump and the GOP-led Congress this week on abortion, St. Petersburg Democratic Representative Charlie Crist is blasting D.C. Republicans on the issue of women’s reproductive rights.
“This past weekend, I stood with thousands of my neighbors in St. Petersburg, Florida to demand the protection of women’s health and rights – a message that was echoed by a million others nationwide,” Crist said. “And how did Republicans in Washington respond to this call to action?  By pushing forward several extreme measures attacking women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.  This alone is outrageous.  Even worse, these actions will particularly hurt low-income families, young people, and women of color.”
Among the decisions that Crist was criticizing was a vote on H.R. 7, sponsored by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith. The bill permanently bans the use of federal funds for abortion and prohibits anyone who receives subsidies to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from purchasing a plan that covers abortion.
On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order banning foreign nongovernmental organizations that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling health clients about abortion or advocating for abortion law liberalization. Ronald Reagan originally issued the so-called Mexico City policy in 1984. Bill Clinton reversed it when he took office. George W. Bush put it back into play in 2001, and Barack Obama reversed it in 2009.
However, according to Mark Leon Goldberg with UN Dispatch, Trump’s executive order goes beyond what previous Republican Presidents have done on this issue:
Rather than applying the Global Gag Rule exclusively to US assistance for family planning in the developing world, which amounts to about $575 million per year, the Trump memo applies it to “global health assistance furnished by all department or agencies.” In other words, NGOs that distribute bed nets for malaria, provide childhood vaccines, support early childhood nutrition and brain development,

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Senate panel approves Nikki Haley nomination to U.N.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The Latest on activities in Congress (all times EST):
12:25 p.m.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has overwhelmingly approved South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley‘s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
By voice vote, the panel recommended President Donald Trump‘s selection of Haley to the full Senate. She is expected to be confirmed easily.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the committee’s top Democrat, backed Haley’s nomination. Cardin says what Haley lacks in foreign policy experience, “she makes up for in capability, intelligence, and a track record of building coalitions in South Carolina.”
During her confirmation hearing, Haley declared her support for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The shift may trigger increased violence in the Middle East.
Haley also took a hard line against Russia. She says she doesn’t think Moscow can be trusted right now.
___
12:20 p.m.
President Donald Trump’s pick for health secretary is adamant that the new administration will protect people with pre-existing medical problems even as it moves to repeal the Obama-era law prohibiting insurance discrimination.
Georgia Rep. Tom Price told the Senate Finance Committee that “we need to make sure nobody loses their insurance or is unable to gain insurance because of pre-existing conditions.” Price was being questioned by Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
But the way Republicans would go about guaranteeing coverage could be very different. They are looking at special “high-risk” insurance pools as a last resort for people who can’t get coverage otherwise. That hasn’t worked well in the past, providing costly coverage to a limited number of people.
Price said “nobody ought to be priced out of the market for having a bad diagnosis.”
___
12:15 p.m.
Health care plan? What health care plan?
Laughter erupted during a tense Senate confirmation hearing when Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, asked President Donald Trump’s health nominee if it’s true that the new

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Fact Check: Donald Trump overstates crowd size at inaugural

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

President Donald Trump‘s speech Saturday at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency turned into the latest battle in, as he put it, his “running war with the media.” He had two central complaints: that the media misrepresented the size of the crowd at his inauguration and that it was incorrectly reported a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. was removed from the Oval Office. A look at those assertions:
TRUMP: “I made a speech. I looked out. The field was — it looked like a million, a million and a half people.”
The president went on to say that one network “said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad. But it’s a lie.” He then claimed that were 250,000 right by the stage and the “rest of the, you know, 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”
“So we caught them,” said Trump. “And we caught them in a beauty. And I think they’re going to pay a big price.”
THE FACTS: Trump is wrong. Photos of the National Mall from his inauguration make clear that the crowd did not extend to the Washington Monument. Large swaths of empty space are visible on the Mall.
Thin crowds and partially empty bleachers also dotted the inaugural parade route. Hotels across the District of Columbia reported vacancies, a rarity for an event as large as a presidential inauguration.
And ridership on the Washington’s Metro system didn’t match that of recent inaugurations.
As of 11 a.m. that day, there were 193,000 trips taken, according to the transit service’s Twitter account. At the same hour eight years ago, there had been 513,000 trips. Four years later, there were 317,000 for Obama‘s second inauguration. There were 197,000 at 11 a.m. in 2005 for President George W. Bush‘s second inauguration.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer later

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could mean more Florida charter schools, a lot more

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Betsy DeVos, whose children never attended public schools, may soon lead the nation’s Department of Education. Assuming she is confirmed, care to take a guess what Florida public education will look like four years from now?
Perhaps former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is DeVos’ biggest cheerleader, can provide some insight. He wrote a stirring endorsement of her in Tuesday’s USA Today, coinciding with her hearing before a U.S. Senate confirmation panel.
“Instead of defending and increasing Washington’s power, Betsy will cut federal red tape and be a passionate advocate for state and local control of schools. More importantly, she will empower parents with greater choices and a stronger voice over their children’s education,” Bush wrote.
“In the two decades that I have been actively involved in education reform, I have worked side-by-side with Betsy to promote school choice and put the interests of students first. I know her commitment to children, especially at-risk kids, is genuine and deep.”
Let’s dissect those words.
First, the biggest federal overreach in education was the No Child Left Behind program signed into law in 2002 by Jeb’s brother, President George W. Bush. It had strong bipartisan support in Congress and from the business community, which argued that U.S. public school students were falling behind those from other nations in math and science.
In the name of “accountability” for schools, NCLB mandated a battery of standardized tests for students. It also allowed students from poor-performing schools to transfer to ones with better overall test results.
There were other federal demands on local school districts, including offering free tutoring to students in need. Of course, the money that was supposed to pay for that never quite materialized in the federal budget, and many schools still struggle to provide that service today.
“Accountability” testing has become a raw spot for teachers, who can face

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Jeb Bush embrace of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary isn’t shared by Randi Weingarten

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Though education was rarely discussed by Donald Trump on the campaign trail, at the top of his list of priorities was to spend $20 million on school choice, which would come from “reprioritizing federal dollars.” In picking Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos to serve as his Education Secretary, he made it clear that intended to make school choice and voucher plans for low-income families a focal point of his education agenda.
And Jeb Bush has been effusive in praising the selection every step of the way.
In November, the former Florida Governor described DeVos as an “outstanding pick” for to lead the Department of Education.  In December, he said he was “so excited” when talking about her at the National Summit on Education Reform, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which he founded and chairs and on which DeVos serves as a board member.
Now, just before her confirmation hearing was set to take place (its since been postponed until next week), Bush is back again, penning a letter to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where DeVos will appear next week. In the letter, he praises her as a “champion of families, not institutions.”
“For her, local control of education decisions means local control,” he wrote. “She trusts parents to choose what is in their unique child’s best interests, and she believes in providing every parent with the resources to pursue those decisions.”
DeVos is a leader in the movement to privatize the U.S. public-education system, but has quickly become a lightning rod in the education world since her nomination by the president-elect.
One of her biggest critics is Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation for Teachers, the one million member-plus union that endorsed Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election. She says that DeVos simply doesn’t believe in public education.
“These are the schools that 90 percent of children go to,”

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Electoral College vote a non-story unless Donald Trump is involved

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Just like that, it was over.
In Tallahassee and around the country, 538 electors cast their ballots to officially elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Of course, they did. There was never going to be a different outcome. Never.
Florida’s 29 electors gathered in the Senate Chamber to do what everyone knew they would do. While protesters gathered in the fourth-floor lobby outside the chamber, all 29 ignored the noise, kept their pledges, and cast their votes for Trump.
I have never felt the desire to attend previous sessions because nothing earth-shattering would occur. Not that anything would be different this time, but I did accept an invitation to sit in the gallery to watch the proceedings.
There was a brief silence when House Republican Leader Ray Rodrigues missed the roll call, but he was in the chamber minutes later.
Every four years the Electoral College goes through the same exercise with little fanfare. The only difference between 2016 and every other cycle was the manufactured fake news surrounding a normally routine one-hour ceremony.
This should not have even risen to the level of a story. Ok, maybe the obligatory interviews for a day or two with those who want no part of Trump.
But the every day, every hour, hysteria of the doomed-to-fail pipe dream of getting 37 Republican electors to flip? Should we mention that Trump led by 74 electoral votes going into Monday and officially won by 77?
While two did not vote for Trump, five Democrats decided Hillary Clinton was not for them. Not even Michael Moore’s offer to pay state fines could turn the trick.
Let us not take cheap shots at those who report the news. Instead, many need to be called out for continuing the charade, thereby giving false hope to those reaching for the unreachable.
Most of this

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Electoral College vote a non-story unless Donald Trump is involved

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Just like that, it was over.
In Tallahassee and around the country, 538 electors cast their ballots to officially elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Of course, they did. There was never going to be a different outcome. Never.
Florida’s 29 electors gathered in the Senate Chamber to do what everyone knew they would do. While protesters gathered in the fourth-floor lobby outside the chamber, all 29 ignored the noise, kept their pledges, and cast their votes for Trump.
I have never felt the desire to attend previous sessions because nothing earth-shattering would occur. Not that anything would be different this time, but I did accept an invitation to sit in the gallery to watch the proceedings.
There was a brief silence when House Republican Leader Ray Rodrigues missed the roll call, but he was in the chamber minutes later.
Every four years the Electoral College goes through the same exercise with little fanfare. The only difference between 2016 and every other cycle was the manufactured fake news surrounding a normally routine one-hour ceremony.
This should not have even risen to the level of a story. Ok, maybe the obligatory interviews for a day or two with those who want no part of Trump.
But the every day, every hour, hysteria of the doomed-to-fail pipe dream of getting 37 Republican electors to flip? Should we mention that Trump led by 74 electoral votes going into Monday and officially won by 77?
While two did not vote for Trump, five Democrats decided Hillary Clinton was not for them. Not even Michael Moore’s offer to pay state fines could turn the trick.
Let us not take cheap shots at those who report the news. Instead, many need to be called out for continuing the charade, thereby giving false hope to those reaching for the unreachable.
Most of this

Vote on this story -->>>

Electoral College vote a non-story unless Donald Trump is involved

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Just like that, it was over.
In Tallahassee and around the country, 538 electors cast their ballots to officially elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Of course, they did. There was never going to be a different outcome. Never.
Florida’s 29 electors gathered in the Senate Chamber to do what everyone knew they would do. While protesters gathered in the fourth-floor lobby outside the chamber, all 29 ignored the noise, kept their pledges, and cast their votes for Trump.
I have never felt the desire to attend previous sessions because nothing earth-shattering would occur. Not that anything would be different this time, but I did accept an invitation to sit in the gallery to watch the proceedings.
There was a brief silence when House Republican Leader Ray Rodrigues missed the roll call, but he was in the chamber minutes later.
Every four years the Electoral College goes through the same exercise with little fanfare. The only difference between 2016 and every other cycle was the manufactured fake news surrounding a normally routine one-hour ceremony.
This should not have even risen to the level of a story. Ok, maybe the obligatory interviews for a day or two with those who want no part of Trump.
But the every day, every hour, hysteria of the doomed-to-fail pipe dream of getting 37 Republican electors to flip? Should we mention that Trump led by 74 electoral votes going into Monday and officially won by 77?
While two did not vote for Trump, five Democrats decided Hillary Clinton was not for them. Not even Michael Moore’s offer to pay state fines could turn the trick.
Let us not take cheap shots at those who report the news. Instead, many need to be called out for continuing the charade, thereby giving false hope to those reaching for the unreachable.
Most of this

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Chief of staff Reince Priebus? Some Donald Trump loyalists still dubious

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

When President-elect Donald Trump tapped Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, Republican leaders cheered the prospect of a close ally having a top White House job.
But as Priebus tries to wield his influence and bring more structure to the president-elect’s freewheeling political organization, he’s frustrating some longtime Trump allies who see him as too conventional a pick for an unconventional president. Others fear being left behind as Priebus fills out West Wing jobs.
The dismay over Priebus stems in part from a belief among some Trump loyalists that the outgoing Republican National Committee chairman expected Trump to lose the election. They resent the president-elect “rewarding people who thought he wasn’t going to win,” according to one top adviser.
Still, Priebus appears to have Trump’s trust. He’s been given wide authority to name senior White House staff, according to people involved in the transition, and in shaping the decision on who will succeed him at the RNC, though deliberations over that post continue.
“Reince Priebus has done an outstanding job,” Trump said in a statement to The Associated Press. “All you have to do is look at all of the Republican victories and one in particular.”
If Trump runs his White House like past presidents — and that’s hardly a sure thing — Priebus, 44, could hold enormous sway over what issues reach the Oval Office. Chiefs of staff also typically control who has access to the president — no easy task given Trump’s penchant for consulting a wide network of associates before making key decisions.
Priebus, a Wisconsin native and father of two young children, comes to the White House with no significant experience in foreign and domestic policy. He has close ties with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP congressional leaders. And he’s seen by those who have worked with him previously

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Americans thinking nation is divided hits all-time high, new polling shows

Monday, November 28th, 2016

The number of Americans who think the nation is divided has reached an all-time high according to a new Gallup poll.
The poll found 77 percent of Americans see the country as divided, while 21 percent said the country was united.
In 2012, the last time Gallup measured perceptions of unity, 69 percent of respondents said the country was divided, with 29 percent saying American was united.
The lack of optimism is nothing new. Outside of a pair of polls shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Americans have tended to perceive the country as divided.
The perception of a divided America is more intense among Democrats (83 percent) and independents (78 percent), likely due to the outcome of the presidential election, though more than two-thirds of Republicans hold the same view.
The party split was more apparent when respondents were asked whether President-elect Donald Trump would do more to unite or divide the country.
Nearly nine out of 10 Republicans think he will do more to unite the country, and 43 percent of independents felt the same. Just 12 percent of Democrats think Trump will act as a uniter, compared to 81 percent who think he will divide the country further.
Overall, 49 percent of Americans think Trump will do more to divide the country.
In 2012, 55 percent of Americans saw President Barack Obama would unite the country, and in 2004, 57 percent thought the same of former President George W. Bush.
The survey took in 1,019 responses from adults living in all 50 states and Washington D.C., and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The post Americans thinking nation is divided hits all-time high, new polling shows appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Martin Dyckman: Hillary Clinton, Democrats must now live with futile victory, anachronism

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Late on the afternoon of Oct. 8, 1966, the Florida State University football team was trailing its archrival, the University of Florida, 19 to 22. With 26 seconds remaining, FSU quarterback Gary Pajcic threw a 45-yard pass to the visitors’ end zone. Lane Fenner, a wide receiver fresh off the bench, had outraced two Florida defenders and the nearest official. Newspaper photographs clearly showed Fenner scoring the game-winning touchdown, clutching the ball with one knee on the turf a yard inside the chalk line before rolling out of bounds.
Trouble was, that’s not how field judge Doug Mosley saw it. He ruled the pass incomplete as Fenner and FSU people on the sidelines howled in protest. There was no instant replay then. Florida went home with the victory. An hour later, the photographs came out.
“I’m going to tell my boys they won the game,” said the FSU coach, Bill Peterson.
But, of course, they hadn’t. Mosley’s blown call was the reality. There was nothing for the team could do about it but determine to win the next Florida game, which they did by a score of 21-16—their first victory at Gainesville.
People still talk about “the catch.” The photo is in the state archives.
This is the second time that example has come to mind in a context far more significant than sports.
The first was 16 years ago, when Al Gore lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush despite winning the popular vote.
I telephoned Pajcic, a prominent lawyer and philanthropist at Jacksonville (he died in 2006), to ask how one copes with losing what you know you won.
You just go on, he said, and try to make the best of it.
That’s for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to do following her futile popular vote victory, by a margin five times larger than Gore’s,

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Darryl Paulson: Getting schooled on the Electoral College

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Going into the 2016 presidential election, virtually all political pundits and pollsters projected an easy victory for Hillary Clinton. Several of the most respected pollsters gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of defeating Donald Trump. Highly respected presidential scholar Larry Sabato projected that Clinton would win 347 electoral votes that Trump’s 191.
As we now know, Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still undecided. Although Trump won the electoral majority and the presidency, Clinton is leading by over 2 million popular votes.
This marks the fourth time in presidential history where the candidate winning the popular vote lost the electoral vote battle. Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in 1824, Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, and now Clinton has lost to Trump. All four of those who won the popular vote but lost the election were Democrats.
Movements are underway to pressure electors to vote for the popular vote winner. Lady Gaga’s petition requiring this to happen in 2016 has already garnered 5 million signatures.
Movements are also seeking to abolish the electoral college and replace it with the direct election of the president. Both movements are likely to fail.
Supporters of direct election do have the support of a majority of the American public. Their strongest argument is simply that direct election is the most democratic way to select the president. It is also the reason that the drafters of the Constitution opposed direct elections.
Those who drafted the Constitution created a republic and not a democracy. Alexander Hamilton believed the masses could not be trusted since “they seldom judge or determine right.” Hamilton urged the “first class” to “check the unsteadiness of the second.”
James Madison, one of the co-authors of The Federalist

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Darryl Paulson: Getting schooled on the Electoral College

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Going into the 2016 presidential election, virtually all political pundits and pollsters projected an easy victory for Hillary Clinton. Several of the most respected pollsters gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of defeating Donald Trump. Highly respected presidential scholar Larry Sabato projected that Clinton would win 347 electoral votes that Trump’s 191.
As we now know, Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still undecided. Although Trump won the electoral majority and the presidency, Clinton is leading by over 2 million popular votes.
This marks the fourth time in presidential history where the candidate winning the popular vote lost the electoral vote battle. Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in 1824, Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, and now Clinton has lost to Trump. All four of those who won the popular vote but lost the election were Democrats.
Movements are underway to pressure electors to vote for the popular vote winner. Lady Gaga’s petition requiring this to happen in 2016 has already garnered 5 million signatures.
Movements are also seeking to abolish the electoral college and replace it with the direct election of the president. Both movements are likely to fail.
Supporters of direct election do have the support of a majority of the American public. Their strongest argument is simply that direct election is the most democratic way to select the president. It is also the reason that the drafters of the Constitution opposed direct elections.
Those who drafted the Constitution created a republic and not a democracy. Alexander Hamilton believed the masses could not be trusted since “they seldom judge or determine right.” Hamilton urged the “first class” to “check the unsteadiness of the second.”
James Madison, one of the co-authors of The Federalist

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Darryl Paulson: Getting schooled on the Electoral College

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Going into the 2016 presidential election, virtually all political pundits and pollsters projected an easy victory for Hillary Clinton. Several of the most respected pollsters gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of defeating Donald Trump. Highly respected presidential scholar Larry Sabato projected that Clinton would win 347 electoral votes that Trump’s 191.
As we now know, Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still undecided. Although Trump won the electoral majority and the presidency, Clinton is leading by over 2 million popular votes.
This marks the fourth time in presidential history where the candidate winning the popular vote lost the electoral vote battle. Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in 1824, Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, and now Clinton has lost to Trump. All four of those who won the popular vote but lost the election were Democrats.
Movements are underway to pressure electors to vote for the popular vote winner. Lady Gaga’s petition requiring this to happen in 2016 has already garnered 5 million signatures.
Movements are also seeking to abolish the electoral college and replace it with the direct election of the president. Both movements are likely to fail.
Supporters of direct election do have the support of a majority of the American public. Their strongest argument is simply that direct election is the most democratic way to select the president. It is also the reason that the drafters of the Constitution opposed direct elections.
Those who drafted the Constitution created a republic and not a democracy. Alexander Hamilton believed the masses could not be trusted since “they seldom judge or determine right.” Hamilton urged the “first class” to “check the unsteadiness of the second.”
James Madison, one of the co-authors of The Federalist

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Donald Trump opponents try to beat him at the Electoral College

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Grassroots campaigns have sprung up around the country to try to persuade members of the Electoral College to do something that has never been done in American history — deny the presidency to the clear Election Day winner.
Activists are circulating online petitions and using social media in hopes of influencing Republican electors to cast their ballots for someone other than President-elect Donald Trump and deprive him of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become the next occupant of the White House.
“Yes, I think it’s a longshot, but I also think we’re living in strange times,” said Daniel Brezenoff, who created a petition in favor of Hillary Clinton and is asking signers to lobby electors by email or phone. “If it was ever plausible, it’s this year.”
Trump has won 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, with Michigan undecided, but Clinton is on pace to win the popular vote by at least 1 million ballots. Trump’s opponents are motivated by the outcome of the popular vote and by their contention that the businessman and reality TV star is unfit to serve as commander in chief.
Just one elector so far has wavered publicly on supporting Trump.
Texas Republican Art Sisneros says he has reservations about the president-elect, but not because of the national popular vote. He told The Associated Press he won’t vote for Clinton under any circumstance.
“As a Christian, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Trump is not biblically qualified for that office,” he said.
He said he has heard from ecstatic Clinton supporters and even supportive Republicans, but also from outraged Trump backers writing “threatening and vile things.”
Sisneros signed a state party pledge to support the GOP’s standard-bearer, but that was before Trump was the official nominee. He said one of his options is to resign, allowing the state party to

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.16.16 – Who will be our next Secretary of State?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Now that the shock is starting to wear off over Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the presidential election a week ago, the biggest story in national politics is what he intends to do with his enormous power and who will help him do it.
That means the selection of cabinet officers, with the most high-profile position being that of Secretary of State.
George W. Bush picked Colin Powell immediately after winning the recount election in late 2000; Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton quick after his election in 2008 – what does Donald do?
The two names floated for the position are not being welcomed with universal approval, to say the least. I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.
Because of his passionate advocacy for Trump during the campaign season (to put it politely), Rudy apparently has the pick of the litter of jobs in the new administration, and he wants State.  But what’s his experience there? Apparently it consists of giving a lot of speeches and consulting work.
Then there’s his business background, which includes lobbying for Citgo, a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil conglomerate, as well as business with Qatar, which could be problematic when he has his confirmation hearing before the Senate.
Then there’s the decision to invade Iraq, arguably the biggest foreign policy debacle in the U.S. since Vietnam.
Trump stood out during the campaign for his strident opposition to it, boasting that he was always against it. Though that claim was disputed, the more salient point was how more than any other Republican running in the race, he assailed the war in incendiary terms, freaking out some of the GOP establishment (i.e. Jeb Bush and friends).
Rudy was for the war. So was Bolton. Bigly.
Again, this comes down to : What Does Donald Believe? If he thinks that the invasion of Iraq was such

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.16.16 – Who will be our next Secretary of State?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Now that the shock is starting to wear off over Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the presidential election a week ago, the biggest story in national politics is what he intends to do with his enormous power and who will help him do it.
That means the selection of cabinet officers, with the most high-profile position being that of Secretary of State.
George W. Bush picked Colin Powell immediately after winning the recount election in late 2000; Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton quick after his election in 2008 – what does Donald do?
The two names floated for the position are not being welcomed with universal approval, to say the least. I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.
Because of his passionate advocacy for Trump during the campaign season (to put it politely), Rudy apparently has the pick of the litter of jobs in the new administration, and he wants State.  But what’s his experience there? Apparently it consists of giving a lot of speeches and consulting work.
Then there’s his business background, which includes lobbying for Citgo, a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil conglomerate, as well as business with Qatar, which could be problematic when he has his confirmation hearing before the Senate.
Then there’s the decision to invade Iraq, arguably the biggest foreign policy debacle in the U.S. since Vietnam.
Trump stood out during the campaign for his strident opposition to it, boasting that he was always against it. Though that claim was disputed, the more salient point was how more than any other Republican running in the race, he assailed the war in incendiary terms, freaking out some of the GOP establishment (i.e. Jeb Bush and friends).
Rudy was for the war. So was Bolton. Bigly.
Again, this comes down to : What Does Donald Believe? If he thinks that the invasion of Iraq was such

Vote on this story -->>>

Mitch Perry Report for 11.16.16 – Who will be our next Secretary of State?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Now that the shock is starting to wear off over Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the presidential election a week ago, the biggest story in national politics is what he intends to do with his enormous power and who will help him do it.
That means the selection of cabinet officers, with the most high-profile position being that of Secretary of State.
George W. Bush picked Colin Powell immediately after winning the recount election in late 2000; Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton quick after his election in 2008 – what does Donald do?
The two names floated for the position are not being welcomed with universal approval, to say the least. I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.
Because of his passionate advocacy for Trump during the campaign season (to put it politely), Rudy apparently has the pick of the litter of jobs in the new administration, and he wants State.  But what’s his experience there? Apparently it consists of giving a lot of speeches and consulting work.
Then there’s his business background, which includes lobbying for Citgo, a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil conglomerate, as well as business with Qatar, which could be problematic when he has his confirmation hearing before the Senate.
Then there’s the decision to invade Iraq, arguably the biggest foreign policy debacle in the U.S. since Vietnam.
Trump stood out during the campaign for his strident opposition to it, boasting that he was always against it. Though that claim was disputed, the more salient point was how more than any other Republican running in the race, he assailed the war in incendiary terms, freaking out some of the GOP establishment (i.e. Jeb Bush and friends).
Rudy was for the war. So was Bolton. Bigly.
Again, this comes down to : What Does Donald Believe? If he thinks that the invasion of Iraq was such

Vote on this story -->>>

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