You’re welcome to send your Live Wire news tips or suggestions to [email protected].
Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links
- Rick Scott’s Coming Assault on Schools
- Florida’s Deficit Grows to $3.5 Billion
- Jesus, Left-Wing Pinko
- Time’s Man of the Year
- Congress’s Lowest Approval Ever
- Nate Truelove Update
- James Baldwin on Malcom X
- The Hallelujah Flash Mob
- Dinner With Santa Tonight at FPC
- A Few Good Links
Daniel Ruth in the St. Pete Times: “Let’s face it, by now it’s become abundantly obvious that former Gov. Jeb Bush, and his political paramour, Gov.-elect Rick Scott, regard a public school education with about the same esteem as the Taliban’s Mullah Omar has when finding himself stuck in an elevator with Lady Gaga. If Scott has his way, Florida’s public classrooms could well be reduced to a one-room school house meets Oliver Twist’s school of artful dodgers. A few days ago, the governor-to-be proposed blowing up the state’s public school system, calling for a gimmick to provide every family in the state vouchers to send their little dickens to any educational system they want: private, public or even virtual schools. If he succeeds, families would receive a voucher worth $5,500, or about 85 percent of the per-student cost of educating a Florida public school student, to be applied to their kiddo’s learning. Or put another way, much like the way he ran the massive Columbia HCA hospital chain, Scott would, in effect, lead a hostile takeover of public institutions. He would essentially privatize the schools, drive out the public sector end of education and leave families to fend for themselves in educating their children — only without (hopefully) all the fraud charges that Scott’s hospital company resolved by paying record fines. […] Aside from the effort to transform the incoming Scott administration as the Bush 2.0 junta, the new governor’s dream to turn public schools into an educational Easter Island is fraught with problems, not the least of which is the Florida Supreme Court has already found vouchers to be unconstitutional. […] In the end, a cynic might well come to the conclusion that Scott’s scam to blow up the state’s public school system has less to do with some surreal argument about improving educational quality and more to do with an attempt to geld the state’s teacher unions by methodically draining away school funding.” The full column.
- The Many lies of Waiting for Superman
- Rick Scott’s Public School Evacuation Plan
- Why Michelle Rhee Is A Bad Choice for Florida
- Impasse Over: Teacher and Service Unions Win Salary Concessions from Flagler School District
- Charter School Failure
From the St. Pete Times: “Rick Scott’s campaign promise to cut property and corporate-income taxes got a little tougher Tuesday when state economists forecast that anemic tax collections could punch a $3.5 billion hole in his first proposed budget. The big budget shortfall is at least $500 million more than recent estimates, and it could increase if Florida’s economy worsens. Cutting taxes would make the budget gap bigger. But Scott won’t say just what he’ll reduce in the budget — which he’ll propose in February — to offset his tax cuts. […] In recent weeks, state economists have estimated that, because of declines in property values, schools will receive about $150 million less statewide if tax rates remain the same. That budget hit was somewhat blunted by forecasts that class sizes wouldn’t swell. […] Sales taxes make up the biggest decrease, accounting for 67 percent of the $1.2 billion in lower-than-anticipated state revenues forecast Tuesday. Corporate taxes — which Scott plans to eliminate — are also decreasing. Overall, however, state revenues are still growing, but at a much slower rate than anticipated when economists last met in August. […] The sea of red ink increases the likelihood that Scott and his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature will also fire state workers, cut pay and reduce programs like Medicaid — the biggest budget cost driver. Right now, the state budget stands at $70 billion, but $2.6 billion of that is federal stimulus money that the state won’t get next year. As of now, though, specifics remain elusive.” The full story.
- Executive Summary of the Dec. 14 Revenue Estimating Conference
- Financial Outlook Statement
- Latest General Revenue Fund Estimates, By Category
Last year it was Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. In 2008, Barack Obama, preceded by Vladimir Putin, and, in 2006, one of the hokier choices, “You.” This year’s choice is mildly hokey, adding the the increasing irrelevance of these man-of-the-year gimmicks all over the place: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, for “connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives.” From Time: “Facebook has merged with the social fabric of American life, and not just American but human life: nearly half of all Americans have a Facebook account, but 70% of Facebook users live outside the U.S. It’s a permanent fact of our global social reality. We have entered the Facebook age, and Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us here. […] It will not amaze you to learn that Mark had a Star Wars–themed bar mitzvah, or that he was a precocious computer programmer, beginning on a Quantex 486DX running Windows 3.1. When he was 12, he created a network for the family home that he called ZuckNet; this was at a time when home networks didn’t come in a box. (He clarifies, out of both modesty and a compulsion for accuracy, that they brought in a professional to do the wiring.) He also wrote computer games: a version of Monopoly set at his middle school and a version of Risk based on the Roman Empire.”[…] “If you’re not making compelling points, he kind of just tunes out,” Bosworth says. “He’s not trying to be rude. He’s just like, ‘O.K., you’re not the best use of this time anymore.’ He’s going to find a better use of his time, even if you’re sitting right there.”” The full story.
And who were the runners-up? The tea party, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan (what?), Julian Assange of Wikipedia, and the Chilean miners. See the full list.
- A Round-Up of Reactions to the Pick
From the UK’s New Statesman: “Was Jesus Christ a lefty? Philosophers, politicians, theologians and lay members of the various Christian churches have long been divided on the subject. The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev once declared: “Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind.” The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, went further, describing Christ as “the greatest socialist in history”. But it’s not just Russian ex-communists and Bolivarian socialists who consider Jesus to be a fellow-traveller. Even the Daily Mail sketch-writer Quentin Letts once confessed: “Jesus preached fairness – you could almost call him a lefty.” That conservatives have succeeded in claiming Christ as one of their own in recent years – especially in the US, where the Christian right is in the ascendancy – is a tragedy for the modern left. Throughout history, Jesus’s teachings have inspired radical social and political movements. […] These days, however, the so-called God-botherers tend to be on the right. In his book God’s Politics, the US Evangelical pastor Jim Wallis, spiritual adviser to President Obama and Gordon Brown before him, laments the manner in which Jesus’s message has been misinterpreted by the warring political tribes, writing of how the right gets Christ wrong, while the left doesn’t get him at all. […] Traits of character aside, where would Jesus stand in the main debates of our time, such as war and peace, wealth and taxation, health care and financial reform? To use the formula made popular by Evangelicals in America (often abbreviated to WWJD), “What would Jesus do?” He would do the same as any self-respecting lefty. Here are five reasons why:”
- Jesus the class warrior
- Jesus the banker basher
- Jesus the fair-wage campaigner
- Jesus the universal health care champion
- Jesus the anti-war activist
See the full piece.
- Idioting Up Over Islam, Rev. Franklin Graham Reveals America’s More Present Dangers
- Calvary Christian’s Bus Ministry: Treasuring the Homeless, One Sunday at a Time
- “Jesus Christ Superstar” Launches Flagler Playhouse’s 32nd Season Friday Night
- What’s the State of Ecumenism in Flagler (And What on Earth is Ecumenism Anyway)?
- Palm Coast Group Nails Historic Marker on Church-State Wall
From Gallup: “Americans’ assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83% disapproval rating is also the worst Gallup has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance. The prior low approval rating for Congress was 14% in July 2008 when the United States was dealing with record-high gas prices and the economy was in recession. […] Frustration with the tax deal among Democrats in the general population could be a major reason for Americans’ historically low approval rating of Congress. That frustration could be opposition to the bill’s particulars or frustration with the Democrats in Congress opposing the president’s deal. Democrats’ approval of Congress is down significantly, to 16% now, from 29% in November. The November poll was conducted after Republicans won control of the House of Representatives for 2011-2012 in the midterm elections, so the drop in this month’s numbers is not a reaction to the Democrats’ midterm losses.”
- Health Care Reform Ruled Unconstitutional; Florida Judge’s Decision Up Next
- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 8-hr 38mn Speech on Obama’s Deal With the GOP
- Eleanor Roosevelt: If I Were a Republican Today
- Obama Caves on Tax Cuts
- A Confederacy of Bipartisan Dunces
Nate Truelove is the 7-year-old boy who was in a ruinous wreck on Old Kings Road on Sept. 19. His great-grandmother Charlene Yazurlo has been keeping us updated about his progress. She writes:
I visited Nate at his school on Wednesday, 12/8/10, and noticed great progress, but “great” is a relative term. In reality, he is taking very teeny, baby steps. He can blink his eyes; he can smile; he can touch a controller if he likes something; he has better control of his neck and head, and of his right arm. But he has a very long way to go. He will have another MRI soon, and the controller on his shunt will have to be reprogrammed. He is still fed through a tube into his stomach. He can‘t talk or walk. He will be fitted soon for a car seat. He will have splints put on his left arm and both of his hands and botox injections on his left arm and hand, to relax the muscles, as well as his jaw to keep him from grinding his teeth. He seems to grind his teeth when he‘s pleased, but it is just slightly annoying to the listener.
His mother Heather tries to put a positive spin on everything, but she’s very stressed and overwhelmed with Nate’s care, and the bills piling up. Mike has flooded the Deland area with job applications, but no bites, so far. He is a chef, but he is more than willing to do anything! Anything!!
We have been unable to find any county, state, or Federal program that can help the family. All agencies want guarantees that the family will be stable within a month, but the doctors can offer no guarantees. Only God knows.
If you can spare anything to help Nate’s family make ends meet, it will be greatly appreciated. Happy cards will also lift their spirits. Heather has no computer, but cards can be sent to Heather Jenkins, 425½ W Howry Ave., Deland, FL, 32720. We are trying very hard to focus on the miracle that Nate is alive and know that God is healing him. We have every reason to be very thankful!! And we are!! God is good, God is great; thank you God for healing Nate! Please join us in this Christmas blessing and wish.
Nate squeezed Xavier’s hand the other day, and “X” was thrilled and so proud of his older brother! It was a baby step that was huge to X!
Please pray for progress for Nate. His last name, Truelove, is so appropriate!! Positive signs, no matter how small, will help to keep our hopes up. We all really need encouragement. Nate is a miracle child! We know that but we are all so anxious for positive signs–encouragement from Nate and from God. Signs of progress!! We all want Nate back with us so badly, and we are sure that he will return to us. We need him to cheer for Penn State!
Our family has gone through much tragedy through the years. Suffering for Nate has been the greatest challenge. We still trust and will always believe in a loving God who knows best! God sees the entire picture!
We wish each of you a very merry Christmas. We’re very grateful for all of the help you’ve given and the prayers and well wishes that have been coming our way.
By the way, I have it on the best of authority that Mrs. Santa Claus, the woman behind the man, is going to pay Nate, Xavier, and Kahliyah a visit tomorrow night!! I know they’ll all be thrilled. They are all very special!
Love to all of you,
Charlene & John
- Nate’s Latest
- 7-Year-Old Nate Truelove, Old Kings Wreck Victim, Is Going Home
- Small Recovery Victories for Nate Truelove, the 7-Year-Old in Brutal Old Kings Road Wreck
- 7-Year-Old Boy Critical After Crash on Old Kings Road Shears Car in Half
A great interview with the great James Baldwin on himself–and on the great Malcolm X:
- Florida’s Cabinet Apologizes for the State’s Bigotry Toward Civil Rights-Era Protesters
- Dan Warren, Conqueror of St. Augustine at Its Bleakest, Still Heroic After All These Years
- It’s On: FPC Will Stage To Kill a Mockingbird At the Flagler Auditorium Feb. 24-26
- Your Papers Please: Arizona-Style Immigrant-Profiling Law Introduced in Florida
This is the famous flash mob video of the season: Ontario’s Chorus Niagara converged on the Seaway Mall in Welland, Ont., and gave shopper the gift of the year:
- A Musical Journey in the Key of Kindness
- Youth Orchestra’s “Gift of Music” Concert Kicks Off Auditorium’s Holiday Extravaganza
Tonight (Dec. 15) at Flagler Palm Coast High School’s dining hall: Dinner with Santa, hosted by the FPC Student Government, will benefit families in need in Flagler County. All proceeds will be used to purchase grocery gift cards that will be provided to families. This is an affordable holiday event for families. A family of five can eat dinner, visit with Santa, including pictures, enjoy arts and crafts, and make holiday memories through pictures. All for $15.
- Infamy Chronicles: Christian Mom faces Execution for Blaspheming Muhammad
- What “The Lottery” taught Shirley Jackson about her readers
- Qatar Has High Hopes for 2022 World Cup