Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

The @JusticeDept Readies Its Case: 10 Questions About United States v #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley, @rebmason, et al

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

USA v. Robert J. Bentley, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and Other Co-Conspirators

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on April 19, 2016
Used with permission

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley, 73, and political consultant Rebekah Caldwell Mason, 40, are expected to be charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for using Bentley’s position as governor to execute a wide ranging racketeering conspiracy involving wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, bribery, money laundering, the unauthorized use of the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS) databases, and related criminal charges.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and paramour-cum-Senior Political Advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason

As we announced exclusively on April 9, 2016, federal prosecutors in Washington have decided to expedite the initiation of public corruption charges against Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason. This article takes you deep inside the criminal case against the governor and his married lover.

Mason, a mother of three young children, is trying to stay out of jail by cooperating with the federal probe. She does not have the financial resources to mount a spirited or sustained defense to the expected criminal charges.

Bentley, whose criminal defense attorneys are paid from campaign funds and personal savings, is helping Rebekah Mason fund her criminal defense by keeping Jonathan Mason, her husband, on the state payroll as the director of Serve Alabama at an annual salary of $94,000. This financial assistance, however, is woefully inadequate considering the tidal wave of legal trouble Rebekah Mason faces.

Robert Bentley, Rebekah Mason and other co-conspirators are staring down the barrel of a criminal indictment that is expected to exceed ninety felony charges once the case has been presented to a federal grand jury. Bentley will be named as the “ringleader” of the racketeering conspiracy.

The commonly asked questions about the governor’s criminal conduct and Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Abused Office As Evidenced By Aircraft Use

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 11, 2016

—UPDATED 13 April 2016 to add helicopter/wallet detail.—

Alabama Governor Bentley used numerous state aircraft several hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of times, including ones registered to, or leased by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and Alabama Department of Transportation – not just the governor’s “official” craft, and used state money to pay for even more charters with numerous other private firms.

 

In fact, since the day of his initial inauguration, he and former wife Dianne flew 749 times – more than TWICE as much as former Governor Fob James.

 

The number of aircraft flights taken by former Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley, and paramour Rebeka Caldwell Mason are telling.

The destinations and purposes for many, if not most, of the trips – including ones he made for campaigning – were purposely vaguely listed to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Even With #ALpolitics @ALGOP & @GovernorBentley’s Iron-Fisted Control, Alabama STILL Thanks God for Mississippi

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fraud, waste, and abuse are rampant in Sweet Home, and it’s KILLING the state.

Cronyism and corruption remains alive and well, despite claims to the contrary as asserted by the GOP, which now rules Alabama with an Iron Fist.

If it could be said that states have personalities, Alabama’s would be bipolar, and schizophrenic. Reeling from fear – though they deny it – they continue to perpetuate and indeed, cultivate the very worst of the very worst in human behavior.

It’s not that Alabama or its people are bad, it’s that fear rules their hearts, and fearing that want and poverty will overtake them (ALERT! It already has.), they continue to elect those who pander to their fears. As a result, they get what they deserve.

It’s HIGH TIME – as was said in the Star Trek television series – “to BOLDLY go where no man has gone before!”

No one praises cowards, or cowardice. And yet, so many praise Alabama’s politicians, who are veritable Cowardly Lions.

Alabama has had – and continues to have Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics Robert @GovernorBentley Update

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Robert Bentley Update

by Donald V. Watkins
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our report for the U.S. Department of Justice on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s criminal conduct in office has been written and vetted by our editors and attorneys. The report, which grew out of our Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Criminal Conduct Update: #ALpolitics Robert @GovernorBentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 16, 2015

Robert Bentley Update

by Donald Watkins, Monday, 16 November 2015 8:30PM CST

Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, MD - (R)

Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley – (R)

Our report for the U.S. Department of Justice on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s criminal conduct in office has been written. The report, which grew out of our Facebook news team’s special series of investigative articles titled “Forbidden Love” and “Executive Betrayal“, is undergoing a review by our editors and legal team. The report is tentatively scheduled to be delivered to the Justice Department on Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Hoodwinks @YHN & @ALdotcom

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bentley Hoodwinks Yellowhammer News and AL.com

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Communications Director cum Senior Political Advisor

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Communications Director cum Senior Political Advisor

by Donald V. Watkins
Published via Facebook Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Used with permission

Once again, Governor Robert Bentley has hoodwinked Yellowhammer News and AL.com. This time, Bentley has deceived these two news organizations by providing them with a handful of sanitized text messages between Rebekah Caldwell Mason and himself in response to their separate Open Records requests for emails and text messages between the two lovers.

Like former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Bentley withheld the more embarrassing text messages about his illicit love affair with Rebekah from public disclosure. Of particular significance are the text messages where Bentley describes his true love for Rebekah, including a text message Bentley thought he was sending to Rebekah that he mistakenly sent to his former wife Dianne instead.

Yellowhammer bought into Read the rest of this entry »

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Department of Justice Report on #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Now Underway

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour Communications Director/Senior Political Advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason

DOJ Report on Bentley Underway

By Donald V. Watkins
Published via Facebook October 11, 2015, 9:54am
Used with permission

Our Facebook news teams is in the process of preparing a detailed prosecutorial memorandum on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s misuse of taxpayer and donor money to carry on a love affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason, his senior political advisor. It is anticipated that the report will be Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @FirstLadyDB: Strength in the Face of Domestic Abuse

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dianne Bentley: Strength in the Face of Domestic Abuse

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 23, 2015.
Used with permission

Governor Robert Bentley abused Dianne Bentley emotionally, psychologically, and verbally. The abuse started when Rebekah Mason became Bentley’s closest advisor and lover during the governor’ first term in office. Bentley’s domestic abuse of Dianne was pervasive, degrading, and ugly, and his malicious words and deeds, ultimately left Dianne feeling irrelevant, disgraced, and utterly inadequate.

As Bentley’s romance with Rebekah Mason heated up, so did his abuse of Dianne. Though not physical in nature, Bentley’s abusive conduct was so disparaging towards Dianne that even the couple’s four sons and some of his grandchildren have felt the need to disassociate from him.

Once Bentley became governor, he changed. He was Read the rest of this entry »

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Bentley’s Real Executive Protection – Part 3, Forbidden Love: #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Secret Love Affair

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 11, 2015

Bentley’s Real Executive Protection

Forbidden Love – Robert Bentley’s Secret Love Affair – Part 3

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 11, 2015
Used with permission

George L. Beck, Jr., is the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, which includes Montgomery.

George L. Beck Jr. was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama on July 6, 2011. He was nominated by President Obama on March 31,2011, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, 2011. Prior to being appointed, George Beck served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Alabama for eight years, and Judge Advocate General for the Corps of Alabama Army National Guard for over thirty years, retiring at the rank of Colonel. He joined a private law firm in January 2004 where he remained until he was confirmed as U.S. Attorney. Mr. Beck received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his law degree from the University of Alabama.

George L. Beck Jr. was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama on July 6, 2011. He was nominated by President Obama on March 31,2011, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, 2011.
Prior to being appointed, George Beck served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Alabama for eight years, and Judge Advocate General for the Corps of Alabama Army National Guard for over thirty years, retiring at the rank of Colonel. He joined a private law firm in January 2004 where he remained until he was confirmed as U.S. Attorney.
Mr. Beck received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his law degree from the University of Alabama.

President Obama appointed Beck to the top federal prosecutor’s job in Montgomery in 2011. Beck’s Senate confirmation took a mere three months from the date of his nomination, even in the midst of a gridlocked Congress, because Beck enjoyed the support and loyalty of Alabama’s two Republican senators, as well as its Republican governor and state attorney general. For all practical purposes, Beck is a “closet” Republican.

Beck received his law degree from the University of Alabama, where he was a law school classmate and personal friend of David Byrne, Governor Robert Bentley’s chief legal advisor. Over the years, the two men formed Read the rest of this entry »

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Sodomy: A prime example of what’s wrong with #ALpolitics

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 12, 2015

A dear friend who is a long-time retiree, aged 78 years, entire subsistence is from a meager pension (earned from a lifetime of work in a unionized organization), supplemented with a paltry Social Security check.

She’s lived through breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) & reconstruction, other major surgeries (knee replacements) and procedures, and lives in a trailer which she owns, situated upon a lot which she rents. She has resided there many, many years.

To save money, she recently Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Much Could Alabama Save By Not Paying Legislators?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 30, 2015

UPDATE: Sunday, 14 June 2015 – Found following main body

Today (Thursday, 30 April 2015) the Alabama State Senate knocked off at 11:30, and reconvened 1PM. It’s also the final day of the Legislative Session for the week – they only work three days each week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

An hour and a half – that’s a nice, long lunch break for a wealthy man, a powerful man – not a working man. It’s pretty cushy for someone who works three days a week, only 30 days a year. Reckon how your boss would respond if you asked for a three-day work week and a 30-day work year?

How long do you get for lunch?

Most folks get 30 minutes.

The Alabama Senate gets THREE times longer than most working folks.

But then, excesses in Alabama state politics is nothing new.

Recall that – by law – the Alabama Legislature is limited to work <30 days/year (in a 105 day period) & for that privilege, citizens & taxpayers fork over $50K+/yr in pay & compensation to them – 35 in the Senate, and 105 in the House.
TOTAL=140 men (mostly) & women.

In stark contrast, New Mexico’s State Legislators are a Volunteer Legislature (they’re elected, yes, but unpaid), and during Session, by State Law receive a Daily Federal Per Diem, and Two-Way Mileage once during a session EXCLUSIVELY.

Legislative pay in Alabama has been a hot-button issue, particularly in recent years – and, it’s unnecessarily complicated. By State Constitutional Law, their “official” pay is Read the rest of this entry »

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Dumb Dog Owner Blames Dog For Her Mistakes… Hopes You’ll Believe Her

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sure, you’ve seen ’em… the dog owner places a card around the dog’s neck which tells of the dog’s alleged bad deeds.

Some are hilarious, while others…

Well, let’s just say that others are not so bright.

TRANSLATION:

My owner was TOO STUPID to Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Place To Meet Boys?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 15, 2015

At a school in Alabama.

Jennifer Collins McNeill was a married 39 year old 6th Grade Teacher at Thorsby K-12 School, in Chilton County, Alabama who went after her son’s friend who was 14 years old, and whom she had met at church.

Warrants filed in Chilton County Circuit Court show that Mrs. McNeill was charged with six counts of second degree rape and two counts of second degree sodomy with a juvenile male under 16 years of age, but older than 12, between April 10, 2012 and June 28 of 2013.  Court records indicate she was released from the Chilton County Jail Saturday, August 17, 2013 after posting $160,000 bond. She is due for arraignment March 10, 2015.

Jennifer Colling McNeill, was a teacher in the Jefferson County School system when she sexually abused a student at the school where she worked.

Jennifer Collins McNeill, 39, was a 6th-Grade teacher and cheerleader team sponsor in Thorsby, AL when she sexually abused a student at the school where she worked. The Chilton County District Attorney has charged her with with six counts of second degree rape and two counts of second degree sodomy for different incidents with the same victim, who was aged 14 at the time.

According to research performed by a former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Education, Alabama has the nation’s HIGHEST per capita rate of sexual abuse by school system employees.

Terry Abbott, who owns Drive West Communications, a Houston, Texas-based Public Relations firm, counted a total of 781 sexual abuse cases in Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley OK’d $580K Trooper Gate pay, lied about it

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 13, 2014

#ALPolitics @GovernorBentley OK’d $580K #TrooperGate pay, lied about it  http://j.mp/TrooperGate

Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD, OK’d $580,000 Trooper Gate pay, then lied about it
http://j.mp/TrooperGate

Bentley Punished DPS Bosses for Questioning Lewis’ Gigantic Overtime Pay

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 12, 2014
Used with permission

Retired state trooper Capt. Mark Whitaker ran the Protective Services Division and Capitol Police in the Alabama Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) until this year. This is the DPS division responsible for guarding and driving Governor Robert Bentley. Wendell Ray Lewis was a sergeant under his command.

While running his division, Whitaker learned that Lewis’ overtime pay was pre-approved by Bentley and never to be questioned. This was even true with regard to Lewis’ claimed entitlement to 24 hours of overtime for a single day. Prior to Lewis, Whitaker had never seen a trooper make a claim for or receive 24 hours of overtime pay for a single day.

On January 14, 2014, Whitaker was called into then-DPS Director Hugh McCall’s office where McCall told Whitaker that his entire division would be transferred to the newly created Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (“ALEA”). As a result of the transfer, Whitaker, a highly respected captain, would fall under the command and supervision of Lewis, who at that time was a sergeant. Unbelievably, Captain Whitaker would be reporting to Sgt. Lewis.

This order came directly from Governor Bentley.

This humiliating role reversal was the ultimate insult for Whitaker, a career officer who had climbed the ranks within DPS and earned his command position. According to published reports, Whitaker believes this demeaning and insulting personnel action – a captain reporting to a sergeant – occurred merely because he sought to question Lewis’ overtime pay in the months prior.

“This is what I get for doing my job,” Whitaker complained to McCall at the time. He retired soon after.

Whitaker is the second high-ranking trooper to retire over the Bentley-Lewis overtime pay scandal. In 2011, Major Marc McHenry, now retired, served as the DPS chief over Protective Services and the Capitol Police. Lewis also worked under McHenry.

When McHenry realized in 2011 that Lewis had accumulated a gigantic amount of overtime pay, he tried to put an end to Lewis’ financial windfall. At the time, troopers were not being paid for overtime. They were given time off instead.

McHenry sent the issue to Lewis’ supervisor, and two days later he was Read the rest of this entry »

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How Successful Is It To Drug Test Public Assistance Welfare Recipients?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 5, 2014

UPDATE: 07February2016
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/02/07/drug-testing-benefits-tennessee-yields-only-65-positives/79776756/

Since implementation of a law began July 1, 2014, the Tennessee Department of Human Services found only 65 out of 39,121 people who applied for a cash assistance program known as “Families First in Tennessee,” tested positive for illegal substances, or medicines for which they had no prescription.

That’s less than 1% of all applicants who tested positive.

That information was provided provided to The Tennessean by the Tennessee DHR.

An extra 116 refused to participate in an initial drug screening questionnaire, which automatically disqualified them for benefits.

The average monthly benefit of the cash assistance program was $165 per month in December – or $1,980 per year. If they otherwise would have qualified to have received assistance, the total value of the benefit to the 116 people who refused to take the test would have been $230,000 annually – if they had otherwise qualified for benefits.

Since the law began, 609 people have been asked to take a drug test: 544 tested negative, and 65 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 40 were referred for substance abuse evaluation, and 13 enrolled in a drug treatment facility or recovery support group as a condition of receiving benefits.

The total cost to Tennessee taxpayers so far has been $23,592.

There’s a meme which circulates on FaceBook and presumably, in other places as well, which appears similarly as this:

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients Meme

Honestly, the idea is a failure.

But you’d rarely – if ever – hear about it’s failures.

Florida was the first state to tread that path. What they learned was surprising. And then, the law was struck down by a Federal court. The states that embark upon Florida’s path will be wa$ting their citizen$ taxe$.

Only 2.6% of Florida applicants failed the drug test.

“Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test. As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780.”

The purported savings in Florida’s program will be negligible after administrative costs and reimbursements for the drug tests are taken into account.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html

But it wasn’t limited to Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cullman Alabama Mother & Son Plead Guilty to Theft from Poverty Healthcare Program

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cullman County Scum.

“Some folks just need killing.”

Either that, or chop off their hand, or foot.

This is OUTRAGEOUS!

Stealing from the poor!

This makes me LIVID!!

They’re both human ostomy bags.

Mother, son charged in federal health agency fraud; more than $100k used on items including adult website, fish finders

Kent Faulk | kfaulk@al.com By Kent Faulk | kfaulk@al.com
Follow on Twitter
on August 27, 2014 at 5:15 PM, updated August 27, 2014 at 5:16 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – A mother and son from Cullman have been charged in a scheme to defraud federal health agencies and a nonprofit east Alabama health center of more than $100,000, which they used to buy personal items such as electronic fish finders, truck tires, cell phones and an adult website membership, federal prosecutors announced.

Sheila Osborne Parker and James Robert Parker were charged in separate documents today in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, according to a joint press release issued by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr., IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Regional Office Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson.

AL.com and The Birmingham News recently reported that a federal grand jury has been investigating the financial dealings of the federally-funded Birmingham Health Care center, which at one time a pioneer in the care of the homeless in Birmingham, sources tell AL.com.

Sheila Parker, 59, faces six counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and two counts of failing to file federal income tax returns, according to the press release. James Parker, 33, faces five counts of wire fraud and two counts of failing to file income tax returns. The mother and son have both entered plea agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Sheila Parker worked for Birmingham Health Care, a nonprofit organization in Birmingham intended to provide free or low-cost health care services to the homeless and to people living below poverty level in the metro area, according to the press release.

In 2008, BHC assumed responsibility for Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasons to Oppose Common Core from the Left & Right

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 11, 2014

Once, I supported Common Core.

Now, I do not.

Read on to understand why.

***

***

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Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch

January 18, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/18/everything-you-need-to-know-about-common-core-ravitch/

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who has become the leader of the movement against corporate-influenced school reform, gave this speech to the Modern Language Association on Jan. 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards.

Here’s her speech:

As an organization of teachers and scholars devoted to the study of language and literature, MLA should be deeply involved in the debate about the Common Core standards.

The Common Core standards were developed in 2009 and released in 2010. Within a matter of months, they had been endorsed by 45 states and the District of Columbia. At present, publishers are aligning their materials with the Common Core, technology companies are creating software and curriculum aligned with the Common Core, and two federally-funded consortia have created online tests of the Common Core.

What are the Common Core standards? Who produced them? Why are they controversial? How did their adoption happen so quickly?

As scholars of the humanities, you are well aware that every historical event is subject to interpretation. There are different ways to answer the questions I just posed. Originally, this session was designed to be a discussion between me and David Coleman, who is generally acknowledged as the architect of the Common Core standards. Some months ago, we both agreed on the date and format. But Mr. Coleman, now president of the College Board, discovered that he had a conflicting meeting and could not be here.

So, unfortunately, you will hear only my narrative, not his, which would be quite different. I have no doubt that you will have no difficulty getting access to his version of the narrative, which is the same as Secretary Arne Duncan’s.

He would tell you that the standards were created by the states, that they were widely and quickly embraced because so many educators wanted common standards for teaching language, literature, and mathematics. But he would not be able to explain why so many educators and parents are now opposed to the standards and are reacting angrily to the testing that accompanies them.

I will try to do that.

I will begin by setting the context for the development of the standards.

They arrive at a time when American public education and its teachers are under attack. Never have public schools been as subject to upheaval, assault, and chaos as they are today. Unlike modern corporations, which extol creative disruption, schools need stability, not constant turnover and change. Yet for the past dozen years, ill-advised federal and state policies have rained down on students, teachers, principals, and schools.

George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have combined to impose a punitive regime of standardized testing on the schools. NCLB was passed by Congress in 2001 and signed into law in 2002. NCLB law required schools to test every child in grades 3-8 every year; by 2014, said the law, every child must be “proficient” or schools would face escalating sanctions. The ultimate sanction for failure to raise test scores was firing the staff and closing the school.

Because the stakes were so high, NCLB encouraged teachers to teach to the test. In many schools, the curriculum was narrowed; the only subjects that mattered were reading and mathematics. What was not tested—the arts, history, civics, literature, geography, science, physical education—didn’t count. Some states, like New York, gamed the system by dropping the passing mark each year, giving the impression that its students were making phenomenal progress when they were not. Some districts, like Atlanta, El Paso, and the District of Columbia, were caught up in cheating scandals. In response to this relentless pressure, test scores rose, but not as much as they had before the adoption of NCLB.

Then along came the Obama administration, with its signature program called Race to the Top. In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Education $5 billion to promote “reform.” Secretary Duncan launched a competition for states called “Race to the Top.” If states wanted any part of that money, they had to agree to certain conditions. They had to agree to evaluate teachers to a significant degree by the rise or fall of their students’ test scores; they had to agree to increase the number of privately managed charter schools; they had to agree to adopt “college and career ready standards,” which were understood to be the not-yet-finished Common Core standards; they had to agree to “turnaround” low-performing schools by such tactics as firing the principal and part or all of the school staff; and they had to agree to collect unprecedented amounts of personally identifiable information about every student and store it in a data warehouse. It became an article of faith in Washington and in state capitols, with the help of propagandistic films like “Waiting for Superman,” that if students had low scores, it must be the fault of bad teachers. Poverty, we heard again and again from people like Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, was just an excuse for bad teachers, who should be fired without delay or due process.

These two federal programs, which both rely heavily on standardized testing, has produced a massive demoralization of educators; an unprecedented exodus of experienced educators, who were replaced in many districts by young, inexperienced, low-wage teachers; the closure of many public schools, especially in poor and minority districts; the opening of thousands of privately managed charters; an increase in low-quality for-profit charter schools and low-quality online charter schools; a widespread attack on teachers’ due process rights and collective bargaining rights; the near-collapse of public education in urban districts like Detroit and Philadelphia, as public schools are replaced by privately managed charter schools; a burgeoning educational-industrial complex of testing corporations, charter chains, and technology companies that view public education as an emerging market. Hedge funds, entrepreneurs, and real estate investment corporations invest enthusiastically in this emerging market, encouraged by federal tax credits, lavish fees, and the prospect of huge profits from taxpayer dollars. Celebrities, tennis stars, basketball stars, and football stars are opening their own name-brand schools with public dollars, even though they know nothing about education.

No other nation in the world has inflicted so many changes or imposed so many mandates on its teachers and public schools as we have in the past dozen years. No other nation tests every student every year as we do. Our students are the most over-tested in the world. No other nation—at least no high-performing nation—judges the quality of teachers by the test scores of their students. Most researchers agree that this methodology is fundamentally flawed, that it is inaccurate, unreliable, and unstable, that the highest ratings will go to teachers with the most affluent students and the lowest ratings will go to teachers of English learners, teachers of students with disabilities, and teachers in high-poverty schools. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Education wants every state and every district to do it. Because of these federal programs, our schools have become obsessed with standardized testing, and have turned over to the testing corporations the responsibility for rating, ranking, and labeling our students, our teachers, and our schools.

The Pearson Corporation has become

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Alabama Prison System Teetering on Federal Takover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Every single word in this OpEd is spot-on.

Alabama is on the verge of a complete takeover of it’s prison system. That is a VERY sad indictment, and fact. Further, most Alabamians are COMPLETELY unaware of the dangers the state faces.

Alabama is a state in crisis.

Fiscal crisis from a failure of long-term management, unwise, unsound policy, unnecessary prolonged and costly legal battles at the state and federal levels over inane laws which have had no positive effect upon the state, from policies and procedures which have only burdened the people, tax giveaways to corporations, funded corporate welfare, an inequitable personal income taxation system which has hampered and hamstrung state growth, and further placed the state’s citizens into poverty.

Face it folks… I don’t give a damn about what political colors you wear, or how or what you describe yourself as politically in Alabama… if everything were peaches and cream in the state, then why in the Hell is the state’s poverty level 18% – 4 percentage points ABOVE the national average?

Why is the state sick in their persons? Of all states, Alabama continually ranks high in rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc., even among CHILDREN!

Why does the state have a high crime rate?

Why are Alabamians largely “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”?

WHY?

WHY?!?

WHY!?!

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Why Alabama Cannot Wait on Prison Reform: Guest Opinion

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks  speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and Warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Guest opinion By Alabama State Senator Cam Ward
August 06, 2014 at 9:00 AM, updated August 06, 2014 at 9:05 AM

By Cam Ward

Prisons are an issue that would never rank high on any list of priorities for the people of Alabama and understandably so.  With unemployment hovering near 7 percent and many schools in need of repair, people ask me why prison reform should be a major subject at this time. The answer is simple – because our failure to maintain a good corrections system is going to push over a fiscal cliff that we may never recover from.

For years as our corrections system became more crowded the political leadership in Montgomery turned their eyes to issues more palatable to the voters during election time. The general feeling for decades has been “let’s wait and deal with that when we have more money.”

As we waited our system grew to 192 percent capacity and despite this incarceration rate our state has the 8th highest violent crime rate in the country. Both of these statistics point to a failing system of corrections.

In addition to allowing for a broken system to continue down a path of inefficiency we have also created a fiscal nightmare of the likes our state has never seen before. While we spend Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Misplaced American National Priorities: Fraud in the Department of Defense

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Department of Defense is a bloated organization, rife with fraud, waste and abuse.

Even then-Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Donald Rumsfeld remarked on Monday, September 10, 2001, that, According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. … We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well.”
ref: http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=430

More recently, on December 21, 2010, the Governmental Accountability Office wrote that they “cannot render an opinion on the 2010 consolidated financial statements of the federal government, because of widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties, and other limitations.”
ref: http://www.gao.gov/press/financial_report_2010dec21.html

In his capacity as Acting Comptroller of the United States, Gene Dodaro wrote that, “(1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that have prevented DOD’s financial statements from being auditable, (2) the federal government’s inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and (3) the federal government’s ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.”
ref: http://www.gao.gov/financial/fy2010/10gao1.pdf

Included in that scathing report of fiscal recklessness and laziness were “material weaknesses involving an estimated $125.4 billion in improper payments, information security across government, and tax collection activities,” which were rife in “three major agencies— DOD, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor— did not get clean opinions. Nineteen of 24 major agencies did get clean opinions on all their statements.”
ref: http://www.gao.gov/press/financial_report_2010dec21.html
ref: http://www.gao.gov/financial/fy2010/10gao1.pdf

No entrepreneur, accountant, fiscal analyst, businessman or Chief Financial Officer in their right mind would tolerate what has been allowed to happen with it. Consider the F-35 Lightning II aircraft as a case in point.

At a cost now exceeding $400,000,000,000 ($400 Billion – that’s very nearly 1/2 Trillion), it is by far, THE most costly program EVER to have emerged from the DoD. Among the numerous reasons why it is THE most expensive program ever, are Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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