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Data Mining: Florida students leaving their privacy at the schoolhouse door

Recently when Governor Rick Scott was asked if he supported the data mining aspect of Common Core, Scott answered ‘no’ to the question. It appears the Governor did not get the memo from the Florida Department of Education that public schools have been data mining for years using “student surveys“.

Florida parents were shocked when their children came home from their first day of high school with surveys asking personal questions about their habits, family and beliefs. Students at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida were given forms to fill out by their teachers. Riverview high school English teacher Dr. Elinor Wachs sent students home with a “Multiple Intelligence Survey” (MPI) created by Surfaquarium to fill out. MIS questions included:

  • Ecological issues are important to me
  • I believe preserving our National Parks is important
  • Religion is important to me
  • I wonder if there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe
  • I value relationships more than ideas or accomplishments
  • I like to be involved in causes that help others
  • Fairness is important to me
  • Social justice issues interest me
  • I am willing to protest or sign a petition to right a wrong

Ms. Susanne Johnson, an Algebra teacher at Riverview, sent home a two page survey with her students (Note: Students received multiple surveys). Johnson’s survey asks:

  • Who lives in your home?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have? How old are they?
  • Have you travelled outside the United States? If so, where have you travelled?

WDW – FL sent an inquiry to Superintendent Lori White about the district policy on student surveys. Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist for Sarasota County Schools, in an email provided the following:

The multiple intelligences forms do not require approval at the district level.

Other teachers may use these forms or other forms at their discretion. We don’t track the number of teachers who use them.

Teachers use this type of form to learn more about their students. Teachers have various ways to get to know students so they can engage them in lessons by keeping students’ individual interests, learning styles and personalities in mind. Multiple-intelligences surveys such as these are one way for teachers to get to know students, but students may opt out of answering the questions.

Various forms may be used by teachers at various levels. Whatever forms are used are age-appropriate.

I don’t know how long the forms you sent me have been used in the district, but teachers have long used various ways to get to know their students, for the reasons stated above.

Regarding teachers requesting “private information,” see third paragraph above. If students believe the answers to the questions are “private,” they can refrain from answering them.

The forms simply help the teacher get to know the student in his/her class for that semester or year; they’re not considered educational records and do not become part of the student’s permanent record.

The use of such forms is not prohibited by School Board policies. These policies are posted on our website in the School Board section and are searchable by keywords.

Nothing on the forms sent home by either Ms. Wachs or Ms. Johnson states it is “optional” or that a student may “opt out”. Surfaquarium offers multiple surveys. WDW – FL asked Surfaquarium about the uses of their surveys in Florida by teachers and schools. We are awaiting answers to our questions.

One parent, who requested to remain anonymous to protect their student from retribution, stated, “These questions absolutely do look like data mining to find out the political leanings of the family of the student … perhaps then they ‘target’ those students for further brainwashing efforts or give the data to other groups for same purpose.”

Data mining is front page news, few believed it would already be in public schools. It appears public education has a thing or two to teach the NSA?

To view all survey responses click here.

RELATED: Florida School District lied and student privacy died

Firearms Freedom Act coming to Florida?

The SWFL Citizens Alliance has been working to get Florida to be one of the next states to pass a Second Amendment Protection and Firearms Freedom Act. This is happening while Democrats are trying to repeal Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

A Firearms Freedom Act passed in Kansas this year. Proponents see it is a strong statement of “State Sovereignty” based on both the Commerce Clause and the 2nd, 9th and 10th Amendments of the US Constitution.

Map of states that have passed, introduced or are considering a Firearms Freedom Act. For a larger view click on the map.

In an email the SWFL Citizens Alliance states, “We have met with and have the support of 7 of our 8 FL House and Senate delegation from Southwest Florida. Rep Matt Hudson submitted the Kansas bill to Florida House Bill writing team and we have a Florida Draft of the bill – see attachedRep. Dane Eagle volunteered to sponsor this bill and our SWFL delegation strongly supports him to sponsor the House version of this bill.”

“We have had lengthy conference calls with the Kansas Sponsor of their bill, Rep. John Rubin and the NRA Affiliate, Patricia Stoneking, who was co-author of their KS Bill,” notes the Alliance.

The Alliance had a booth at the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Summer Conference. Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk introduced the Florida draft legislation during the conference. The sheriffs agreed by consensus to ask their Legislative Committee to consider including this in their 2014 Legislative Agenda. The FSA Legislative Committee meets on August 30th.

The Alliance is seeking a Senate sponsor, with “several Senators contacted who are reviewing the draft legislation”.

September 23, 2013 is the first Florida Committee week in Tallahassee. The Alliance hopes to get teams from 8-10 counties to meet with various Committee heads to insure the Second Amendment Protection and Firearms Freedom Act is a priority for both House and Senate in the 2014 cycle.

Read the SWFL Citizens Alliance mission and vision statement here.

Will the Obama clown be invited to the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo?

Poster courtesy of The People’s Cube. For a larger view click on the poster.

Daniel Greenfield from FrontPage Magazine reported, “On Saturday night in Sedalia, a Missouri city with a population that would fit into Arrowhead Stadium four times over, the entire nation was shaken when a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask performed his usual routine. Toward the end of Obama’s first term a tornado had torn through Sedalia blowing off roofs and destroying a school bus barn, but that was nothing compared to this.”

“The governor of Missouri stated that the performance, which involved Obama being chased by a bull, did not “reflect the values of Missourians”. He did not clarify whether the other times that a rodeo clown was chased around by a bull did reflect those values … The Missouri State Fair apologized and banned the unnamed rodeo clown for life and announced that they are reviewing their contract with the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association. Their next contract will hopefully have an ironclad ‘No Mocking Obama’ clause in place to prevent another tragedy from taking place,” wrote Greenfield.

The Nation’s Justin Sink reports, “Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) invited the rodeo clown who sparked controversy by donning a mask of President Obama at the Missouri State Fair to perform in Texas, his office said Wednesday. Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in a statement. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between, Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have [the] performers.”

Stockman dismissed the reaction as “straight out of Alinsky.”

This leaves Floridians wondering if Governor Scott, a member of the Florida legislature or member of the Florida delegation will invite the Obama clown to the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo being held on September 21, 2013.

Where is a politician with true grit like John Wayne when you need him?

ABOUT THE ARCADIA ALL-FLORIDA CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO:

The Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo is a non-profit organization that was established in 1952 by the Arcadia Rodeo Association, which evolved from a group of American Legion Members who held the first rodeo in 1929. It is the oldest rodeo organization in the state of Florida, and benefits all of Arcadia and DeSoto County.

The Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo Association is made up of members of the local community. The members volunteer their time and energy to make each of the rodeo events enjoyable for all. 

The People’s Cube has picked up on his violation of the First Amendment and is having a good belly laugh with it. Will a ‘No Mocking Obama’ clause be added to the contracts of Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Conan O’Brien, etc.? The People’s Cube produced a number of graphics (below) the first titled “Bronco Bama”. They are posted here with permission.

BroncoBama

RELATED:

Head of MO NAACP Calls Clown Mask ‘Hate Crime’…

FLASHBACK: Obama wore Obama mask on ‘Saturday Night Live’…

NAACP ripped for demanding federal probe…

Have you noticed Rubio is not talking amnesty during the August recess?

WDW – FL gets daily press releases from the office of Florida Senator Marco Rubio. During the August recess to date there is one topic he is not talking about – amnesty. It appears Rubio is not hosting any town hall meetings. Rather he is giving speeches to select friendly groups, such as Chambers of Commerce. The Chamber supports amnesty because it provides its membership with cheap labor.

If he did hold a town hall meeting he might get an ear full like what happened in Sarasota, FL, where at a presentation by Dennis Michael Lynch on amnesty just the mention of Rubio’s name drew loud boos.

Rubio wants to talk about Apalachicola Bay (oysters), defunding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Washington misspending (which will increase if  the amnesty bill passes), the UN nominee Samantha Power and a liberal activist court.

Where is anything on amnesty? Nada, nothing, total silence.

Sarah Carter from The Blaze reports, “Cochise County [Arizona] Sheriff Mark Dannels doesn’t mince words. He’s angry that local law enforcement and the citizens who call the Southwest border home have been left out of the decision making process when it comes to security and immigration reform … ‘Look at (Sen. Marco) Rubio out of Florida — have you been down here, Rubio?’ he said, noting that drug cartels had just replaced a radio relay station on the mountain that the sheriff’s team had taken down less than three weeks earlier.”

“I say to myself, ‘Rubio, you’re making decisions for me, for my state, for my county, my city when you haven’t even been here – what an insult,  what do you know about our border?  You know nothing about our border. Yet you’re making those decisions without even speaking to us,’” wrote Carter.

Rubio’s office did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Maybe this is a topic that Rubio wants to ignore but AZ Sheriff Dannels and the people do not.

Here is a list of releases dated August 13, 2013:

For a complete list of Rubio press releases for August 2013 go here.

For Rubio perhaps silence is golden on amnesty?

Zimmerman Aftershock: NBC lawsuit, calls to investigate State Attorney Corey

The name George Zimmerman is sending aftershocks across the state of Florida and the nation.

Since his acquittal on all charges stemming from the self defense shooting of Martin many actions and counter actions are anticipated. Among them: the lawsuit against NBC for “yellow journalism” and calls to investigate Florida State Attorney Angela Corey‘s misleading affidavit of probable cause, which had not disclosed significant exculpatory details.

Both are interrelated and deal with telling the truth.

In the first instance NBC employees (recently fired) selectively edited the 911 call that aired.

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reports Zimmerman attorney James Beasley stated that he and his team were eager to resume the [NBC] suit, which had been put on hold due to the beginning of the criminal trial. With that out of the way, they now intend to proceed. “We’re going to start in earnest asap, we just have to get the stay lifted which is a ministerial act,” Beasley said via email. Beasley did acknowledge that while Zimmerman’s victory in his criminal trial could be helpful to this civil suit, it was not a guarantee that he would win his defamation case.

To understand NBC’s alleged “yellow journalism” perhaps the following quotes from from a former Monitor/NBC Radio reporter are useful. The comments were sent to WDW – FL by Don Blair, former Monitor/NBC Radio news commentator and Florida resident. Blair’s last broadcast for Monitor/NBC Radio was in 1989. Blair was responding to a column posted by WDW – FL and wrote in a series of exchanges referring to Zimmerman: “Probably that a cold blooded murderer has been set free.” … “Is he immune from a drive-by shooting?  I don’t think this man can look forward to a long…or longer life from here on out.  I will drink to his death…hopefully a painful one.” … “I’ll say it again.  I will drink a toast the day that miserable bastard is gunned down.” Similar comments were made by others on social media sites. One of the defense attorneys referred to the media as “mad scientists“. Some in the media “cry foul” on the verdict.

While Blair’s comments do not reflect on the current management or employees of NBC or its affiliates, there is a lesson to be gotten from his mind set regarding the Zimmerman case.

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey

The second issue are calls for an investigation of State Attorney Angela Corey for the misleading affidavit which lead to charge of second degree murder against Zimmerman.

Multiple emails to WDW – FL state, “Please write to Governor Scott and request that he immediately order a full and comprehensive investigation into the actions of State Attorney Angela Corey during the entire George Zimmerman arrest and trial.”

William A. Jacobson from Legal Insurrection reports:

In early April 2012, Florida State Attorney Angela Corey decided not to take the George Zimmerman case to a Grand Jury, opting for the filing of a Criminal Information which then was presented along with an Affidavit of Probable Cause.  The Court found probable cause for the charges.

It turned out, once pre-trial discovery was exchanged, that the affidavit upon which probable cause was found had not disclosed a lot of significant exculpatory details.  There was no mention of the significant injuries to Zimmerman, or of John Good’s eyewitness account that Martin was on top of Zimmerman hitting him Mixed Martial Arts style.  All the Affidavit said on the subject of the physical confrontation was that there was “a struggle.”

Read more.

Eliott C. McLaughlin from CNN reports:

The George Zimmerman investigation was hijacked “in a number of ways” by outside forces, said the former police chief of Sanford, Florida.

Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, told CNN’s George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.

“It was (relayed) to me that they just wanted an arrest. They didn’t care if it got dismissed later,” he said. “You don’t do that.”

Read more.

The shock waves from the Zimmerman acquittal are just now being felt. Stay tuned, it will be a bumpy ride.

RELATED VIDEO: Prosecutors address the media after the verdict. Corey states Zimmerman “profiled” Trayvon Martin. Listen carefully to the media questions and statements by Corey.

Danger: Public-private partnerships come to Florida

Governor Rick Scott signed into law HB 85 – Public-Private Partnerships (PPP or P3) on June 27th, 2013. HB 85 states:

Public-Private Partnerships: Provides legislative findings & intent relating to construction or improvement by private entities of facilities used predominantly for public purposes; provides for procurement procedures, requirements for project approval, project qualifications & process, notice to affected local jurisdictions, comprehensive agreements between public & private entities, use fees, financing sources for certain projects by private entities, & applicability of sovereign immunity for public entities with respect to qualified projects; authorizes counties to enter into public-private partnership agreements to construct, extend, or improve county roads; provides requirements & limitations for such agreements; provides procurement procedures; requires fee for certain proposals; revises limit on terms for leases that Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority may enter.

HB 85 takes effective on July 1, 2013

According to Joan Veon, author, journalist and expert on globalization, “Public- Private Partnerships are one of the most effective tools that are used by the globalists to implement Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, with the goal of destroying the structure of governments that represent the people, and puts profits and resources in the hands of those private interests.”

The below video is by Cassandra Anderson, based on an interview with Veon discussing public-private partnerships.

According to Veon:

The public part of the Public- Private Partnership (PPP or P3) is the government, which becomes corrupted and no longer represents the taxpayers, when it accepts funding from private interests. Further, the government becomes silent against abuses to the public when they have been compromised by PPP business arrangements, and, worse yet, may also sell off resources and utilities that were owned by the taxpayers. The government does this because they are broke and more taxation is unpopular.

The private part of the PPP is often a combination of these entities: * Corporations (usually multinational) * Foundations (like Rockefeller) * Associations * Universities * Any entity with a lot of money * Non-Governmental Agencies (NGO’s). NGO’s are usually environmental agencies, like the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy.

The private stakeholder in the business arrangement always has profit as its goal, not service. Service was formerly the role of the representative government. The assets that once belonged to the taxpayers are then transferred to private interests, in a transfer of wealth through the assets, to private parties that seek profit at any price. Frequently, deceit, deception and distortion are used to fleece the taxpayer into this ‘solution’ for governments that are broke.

American local, county, state and the federal governments have gone broke and are ripe for the sale of their assets to PPP’s because of deficit spending, and a lack of economic common sense. John Maynard Keynes promoted deficit spending to Roosevelt as a way to escape the Depression. This results in diluted government and loss of power.

For more information on PPP’s and related topics visit www.womensgroup.org.

The Supreme Court’s Marriage Decisions by the Numbers

The following is courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

The morning after two important—and troubling—Supreme Court decisions in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases, here’s the lay of the land. The important take away: The marriage debate is every bit as live today as it was yesterday morning. Some key numbers following the decisions:

50  The number of states whose marriage laws remain the same after the Court’s marriage decisions.

38  The number of states with laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That includes California and Florida, where the scope of today’s Prop 8 decision beyond the specific plaintiffs will be the subject of ongoing debate and, most likely, further litigation.

12  The number of states that can now force the federal government to recognize their redefinition of marriage. The Court struck Section 3 of DOMA, which means that it must recognize same-sex marriages in states that redefine marriage.

1  The number of sections of the Defense of Marriage Act struck down yesterday (Section 3). Section 2, which ensures that no state will be forced to recognize another state’s redefinition of marriage, is still law.

0  The number of states forced to recognize other states’ redefinition of marriage.

Ryan Anderson discusses what the Supreme Court did in its marriage decisions—but why the proponents of same-sex marriage failed to achieve their goal of a court-imposed nationwide redefinition.

The important news you may not be hearing is that the U.S. Supreme Court did not redefine marriage across the nation. That means the debate about marriage will continue. States are free to uphold policies recognizing that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, so that children have a mother and a father.

In the states, support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman remains strong. Many believe the Court should have respected the authority of California citizens and Congress.

On DOMA, it appears the Court did not respect Congress’s authority to define marriage for the purposes of federal programs and benefits. The Court may have gotten federalism wrong.

On Proposition 8, the citizens of California who voted twice to pass Prop 8 should have been able to count on their Governor and Attorney General to defend the state’s constitution. That’s what democratic self-government is all about.

Download your free copy of TheMarriageFacts.com.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

Florida “Watchdog education organization” calls for special session on Common Core

Sheri Krass, founder of Eye on US Education

Sherri Krass in an email to WDW – FL states, “Eye On US Education (EUSE) a national conservative “Watchdog” education organization, based in the state of Florida, believes in limited government, adherence to our Constitution, and State Sovereignty.”

“EUSE is calling for the Florida legislature to convene a Special Session to consider legislation similar to that proposed in South Carolina. This legislation can be edited to take into account the Florida Constitution. It can be written fairly quickly as it will not be necessary to write it from scratch,” notes Krass.

H 3556 General Bill, By Huggins Summary: Balance of Powers Act

A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 36 TO TITLE 1 SO AS TO ENACT THE “SOUTH CAROLINA BALANCE OF POWERS ACT”, TO CLARIFY THE COMPACT ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE UNITED STATES, TO ASSERT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATE UNDER THE SOUTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION, TO PROHIBIT THE INFRINGEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA OR ITS PEOPLE BY MEANS OF ANY FEDERAL STATUTE, MANDATE, EXECUTIVE ORDER, JUDICIAL DECISION, OR OTHER ACT DEEMED BY THIS STATE TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, TO CREATE THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON THE NEUTRALIZATION OF FEDERAL LAW, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE MEMBERSHIP AND DUTIES OF THE COMMITTEE AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES. [Emphasis added]

View full text.

EUSE is calling for a Special Session on the grounds that there is a time-limit before the implementation of both Obamacare and the Common Core Standards. The next regular State of Florida Congressional Session will not meet until March 2014.

“EUSE is sending this to all members of the Florida legislature, to EUSE County Chairs and Conservative/Tea Party/912 organizations throughout the State of Florida,” states Krass.

EUSE is also requesting a meeting with Governor Rick Scott to discuss educational issues and legislation we recommend be enacted concerning these issues.

Report: Enterprise Florida “operates in a crony capitalist manner”

A new report from the Reason Foundation titled “Crony Capitalism and Community Development Subsidies” raises the questions “Do community development subsidies actually result in community development? Or have they been captured by vested interests?”

Report authors Anthony Randazzo and Victor Nava reached the conclusion that Enterprise Florida “operates in a crony capitalist manner”.  

According to the Reason Foundation:

Enterprise Florida is tasked with providing grants, loans, tax incentives and subsidies to businesses it believes will spur economic development in the state of Florida. Seventy-six percent of Enterprise Florida’s budget comes from either state or federal funds, which are then allocated to the specific businesses and projects seeking the funds, but not before 35% of its funds are used on administrative and marketing costs. On its website Enterprise Florida defines economic development as follows: “In a nutshell, economic development focuses limited resources on securing business investment and employment that are either at risk or would not otherwise occur. It works to expand targeted business sectors as the primary means of sustaining a high quality of life while also maintaining a favorable tax environment. Where possible, it targets businesses that are able to pay their employees higher wages, while still maintaining competitive costs for doing business.” It’s this curious definition of economic development that makes the agency susceptible to charges of crony capitalism.

Integrity Florida, a nonprofit watchdog group, has recently leveled charges of crony capitalism against Enterprise Florida. In a recent paper the watchdog group claims that Enterprise Florida not only failed to meet its job creation objective and obtain the required level of private sector support, but it also has the appearance of pay-to-play, apparent conflicts of interest, and displays clear favoritism toward certain companies and industries.  According to the documents obtained by Integrity Florida, Enterprise Florida provided contracts to corporations with ties to Enterprise Florida’s board of directors. Half of Enterprise Florida’s board of directors have also “invested” an average of $50,000 each into Enterprise Florida.  Another potential conflict of interest revealed in the report is the fact that the board has control over staff bonuses, of which nearly $500,000 worth were given out by the board in 2012 ($70,000 alone to the president/CEO).  While it is unclear whether or not these board member investments or staff bonuses factor into deciding which companies receive funding, all the elements for a pay-to-play scheme are certainly there.

Even if a pay-to-play scheme were not the case, Enterprise Florida (like the CRA/LA) still operates in a crony capitalist manner. Its entire operating strategy of “promoting targeted industries” is—in and of itself—crony capitalism, as it has a government-funded organization using taxpayer money to pick winners and losers by favoring certain businesses over others.

In 2012 Enterprise Florida even made deals with eight companies listed as “confidential” in the documents provided to Integrity Florida. It is disconcerting that Enterprise Florida is not only picking winners and losers with taxpayer money, but also doing so without revealing who the winners even are.” 

Read more.

Florida Republican Club cancels speech on “radical Islam” – Speaker responds

Dr. Jonathan Matusitz

WDW – FL received a copy of the letter below, which was sent from Dr. Jonathan Matusitz to Peter Schorsch, Editor of the St. Petersburg Blog. Dr. Matusitz was schedule to speak at the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC) on Monday, June 10th. His appearance was cancelled due to pressure primarily from board member, Chris Latvala who posted an objection on his Facebook page.

Dr. Matusitz is an associate professor in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He studies globalization, culture, terrorism and health communication. On top of having 95 academic publications and over 100 conference presentations, he taught at a NATO-affiliated military base in Belgium in 2010.

The unedited letter follows:

Dear Peter Schorsch,

To my dismay, it is the first time that some Republicans have openly expressed their objection to my presentation on Islam. As a UCF faculty, I never intend to be controversial; rather, I try to be factual and 100% correct. If I didn’t think Islam poses a threat to Western civilization, then I would not stick my neck out by delivering public presentations on that subject. As Anna Phillips has aptly remarked in the Tampa Bay Times, I make a distinction between Islam (the threat) and the average Muslim (who is NOT the threat). What you also need to know is that, unlike other faiths, Islam is not just a religion; it is also a political system and global ideology. And, unfortunately, such political system and global ideology are profoundly anti-Western.

Based on your (and Chris Latvala’s) comments, you expressed concerns that my presentation on the “Islamic Threat to America” at the Republican Party of Pinellas County may hurt the election of local Republican candidates because (1) you think that my speech is not important to the mission of the party and (2) you think it may alienate Muslim voters as the purpose of my speech is to criticize Islam. It is obvious that both you and Chris would sacrifice pro-American conservative values in order to earn votes from people of all religions and creeds.

Please allow me to be clear: your strategy of earning votes from Muslims will not be efficient. Indeed, in regards to Muslim constituents themselves, for the past few decades, in the Western world, no matter what method Republicans and Conservatives have used to earn votes from Muslims, the vast majority of the latter have always voted for Democrat, Socialist, or left-wing parties. Below are statistics about Muslim votes in Western European countries and North America.

Muslim Vote in Western Europe

According to a poll conducted by France 24 (a French news channel), 95% of French Muslims voted for Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate, against Nicolas Sarkozy (http://www.france24.com/en/20120315-secular-france-religion-decisive-electoral-factor-muslim-jewish-vote-sarkozy-hollande)

According to a poll conducted by Le Figaro (a French newspaper), 93% of French Muslims voted for François Hollande, who became the Socialist President of France in 2012 (http://www.businessinsider.com/muslims-hollande-france-sarkozy-2012-5)

According to a poll conducted by The Guardian, only 16% of British Muslims tend to vote Conservative (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/feb/23/muslim-votes-tory-election)

According to The Position of Muslims in the Netherlands: Fact Book 2010, “Turks and Moroccans traditionally vote for left-wing parties” (p. 24) (http://www.forum.nl/Portals/International/english-pdf/Muslims-in-the-Netherlands-2010.pdf)

Muslim Vote in North America

According to a CAIR poll published on Fox News, 85% of American Muslims voted for Obama in the 2012 Presidential Elections (http://nation.foxnews.com/muslim-american-votes/2012/11/09/poll-85-american-muslims-voted-obama)

In the 2011 Canadian elections, only 12% of Canadian Muslims voted Conservative (http://www.dennisgruending.ca/2011/05/election-2011-political-and-religious-polarization/)

Peter, I just want to make sure that you clear out the misconceptions that you have about me. You referred to me as “controversial” and “apolitical,” and that is flat-out wrong.

Thank you for reading this.

Dr. Jonathan Matusitz

RELATED COLUMNS:

Republican Party of Pinellas County stifles free speech

“The Americans fear that their cultural barrier has been broken and now Jihad has become a normal career choice for any youthful American Muslim”

RELATED VIDEO: 

Panel Discussion – Radical Islam and U.S. National Security – Orlando, FL 4/20/2013. Frank Gaffney – Moderator, Pamela Geller, Jonathan Matusitz, and William J. Murray.

Florida’s counties have a mixed record on transparency

How transparent is your county? Did you know that only 47 of 67 of Florida’s counties post their budget online? Less than half post current audit information on their website. Only three counties disclose if they belong to a government sector lobbying association.

Sunshine Review is dedicated to “bringing state and local government to light”. A government that is transparent is key to understanding how it functions and spends taxpayer money in the public good. Florida’s 67 counties have a mixed record.

Florida has 67 counties. In 1968, Florida voters adopted a constitutional amendment that grants local voters the power to adopt charters to govern their counties. Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county. They resemble state or federal constitutions and they must be approved by the county’s voters.

As of January 2009, 20 counties in Florida have adopted charter status. Taken together, these counties include more than 75 percent of Florida’s residents.

According to Sunshine Review:

  • 47 of the 67 counties posted their budgets online.
  • 60 counties include information on their websites about public government meetings.
  • 57 include information about the county’s elected officials.
  • 46 include information about the county’s administrative officials.
  • 52 counties give information about permits and zoning in the county.
  • 31 of the counties put information on their websites about audits that the county government has had performed.
  • 22 of the 67 counties give information about their contracts with county vendors.
  • 3 Counties (DuvalPalm BeachPinellas) disclose whether or not they belong to a government sector lobbying associations.
  • 8 counties (CalhounDixieDuvalEscambiaHighlandsOrangePinellasPolkPutnam) provide information on how to request public records using the Florida Sunshine Law.
  • 54 county websites provide some information about county taxes.

Additionally, Ballotpedia evaluated Ballot measure information on Florida county websites.

See also

External links

Is Gov. Rick Scott abusing his executive powers?

Republicans have been quick to point out that President Obama’s recess appointments bypass the US Senate’s constitutional role of advice and consent. Courts have ruled against President Obama calling some appointments “unconstitutional“. But what happens when a Republican does the same thing?

Governor Rick Scott is coming under fire for recent “recess” appointments.

Scott recently made 42 appointments to boards and commissions throughout the state. Among them was Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, who Scott reappointed for a term beginning May 16, 2013, and ending at the pleasure of the Governor. Health News Florida reports, “Dr. John Armstrong will continue to lead the Department of Health, thanks to a reappointment by Gov. Rick Scott. As the Associated Press reports, Florida Senators, particularly state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, wanted Armstrong out.”

Governor Scott can reappoint one time. If the Senate does not confirm them at the next session, they must vacate their positions.

Two other appointments have also drawn the ire of the Florida Senate. Katie Sanders from the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “Senators approved a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointees on Thursday [May 2, 2013] and are slated to do more today. However, a few notable names will not make the cut. Unconfirmed appointments include state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, Florida A&M trustee (and former Pinellas County school board member) Glenn Gilzean, and the entire Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees.”

Armstrong fell out of favor with senators when he failed to show up for a confirmation hearing, Latvala said. ‘There were some issues with some members of the Legislature and the way he interacted with them. It’s a little behavior management’,” Sanders reports.

Is there a double standard when it comes to recess appointments?

IG Report: Enterprise Florida’s corporate welfare process a mess

Governor Rick Scott today released the Florida Chief Inspector General’s report on Digital Domain. Digital Domain received $20 million in taxpayer funding to “create jobs” in the state. According to the Executive Summary:

The process designed to award economic development incentive funding under the Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF) statute did not result in a recommendation by Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) to the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (OTTED). Concurrent to that statutory process, Digital Domain sought alternative means to obtain funding. In 2009, the funds for QACF that were unexpended in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008-2009, were reverted by the Legislature, appropriated within the same fiscal year to OTTIED and were awarded to recipients including Digital Domain, without the requirement to follow the statutory process for awarding QACF awards.

Although a statutorily prescribed process in place for determining Digital Domain’s eligibility for a QACF award did not result in a recommendation to fund Digital Domain an award of $20 million to Digital Domain still occurred. [My emphasis]

“There needs to be more oversight and accountability of the public’s money,” said Dan Krassner, executive director of the independent government watchdog group Integrity Florida.

Krassner states, “The report makes it clear that Enterprise Florida offered Digital Domain more than $6 million from the closing fund. Unfortunately, Enterprise Florida still appears to be utilizing an insufficient vetting process. Enterprise Florida made several incentive deals with companies just in the last year that have gone bankrupt, including one headed by a convicted cocaine trafficker.”

Companies should not be allowed to circumvent the process but they continue to do so.

“Gov. Scott guaranteed 1,000 new jobs from Northrop Grumman in his State of the State speech. After the speech, Enterprise Florida sat down with the company to negotiate how much money the company wants. How could taxpayers possibly get a good deal with that flawed process? Integrity Florida is encouraged to see bipartisan efforts by lawmakers to increase accountability and transparency of incentive deals,” notes Krassner.

The IG report states, “Testimony supported that although improvements have been made to statutes and processes since 2009, an award similar to the one to Digital Domain could happen again today if the Legislature appropriates funds and gives the Executive Branch the discretion to expend those funds.”  [My emphasis]

The Chief Inspector General made the following recommendations:

Therefore, We recommend that the DEO conduct a formal evaluation of the current statutory provisions to ensure the incentive authority, waiver authority and time frames for evaluation and decision making adequately protect the state’s interests and determine if recommendations for enhancements should be made to the Legislature.

We also recommend that DEO and EFI conduct a review of the economic development incentive processes so that recommendations for improvement may be considered such as documentation and codification of the complete decision making process.

Finally we recommend that DEO and EFI define and codify the process to be followed when DEO’s Division of Strategic Business Development and EFI staff disagree on whether to fund a project. At a minimum, this process should include full disclosure in writing to ensure transparency of the rationale for the ñnal decision.

Governor Scott issued the following statement:

“This Inspector General report shows two things – first, our current economic project vetting process is in place for a reason, and second, that process was clearly circumvented by the previous administration for the Digital Domain deal. We must ensure Florida has the tools needed to compete for economic investment, but we must also ensure that competitive process includes protocols to safeguard taxpayer dollars by focusing on a return on investment.”

Are “retirement migrants” bad for Florida? The birth dearth and a dying older America

The census bureau reports that one of three counties in the United States are dying, defined as counties where there are more deaths than births.

The US Census projects nearly 17% of the global population will be 65 and older in 2050, up from 8 percent today. In 2005, Europe became the first major world region where the population 65 and older outnumbered those younger than 15. By 2050, it would be joined by Northern America (which includes Canada and the United States), Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand).

The US Census Bureau reports that 17.6 percent of Florida’s population was 65 and older in 2011 — which led all states.

Kenneth M. Johnson, Senior Demographer at the University of New Hampshire

According to a Fact Sheet issued by Kenneth M. Johnson, Senior Demographer at the University of New Hampshire, “Natural decrease occurs when more deaths than births occur in an area in a given year. The growing incidence of natural decrease in America has gone largely unnoticed, but new data released on March 14th demonstrate that natural decrease is no longer an isolated phenomenon. Last year, 36 percent of all U.S. counties experienced natural decrease.” [My emphasis]

Johnson found, “Deaths exceeded births in 1,135 counties, the most in U.S. history. As recently as 2009, natural decrease occurred in just 880 counties. So the recent rise reflects sharply higher levels of natural decrease.”

“Natural decrease is also regionally concentrated . . . It also occurred early in Florida counties that were among the first to receive retirement migrants,” reports Johnson.

Johnson notes that in the US, “Natural decrease is more prevalent because births are diminishing. There were only 3,954,000 births last year, compared to a record 4,316,000 in 2006–2007. This represents a decline of 8.3 percent in just five years.”

Some like the AP’s Hope Yen are promoting an increase in immigration to offset this birth dearth. Yen states, “The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law.”

Others point to the 2008 recession as the cause of the decline in births. Johnson states, “The recession was closely associated with this fertility decline. Recent National Center for Health Statistics data show that both the number of births and fertility rates dropped sharply over the last several years. Young women are having fewer babies. Fertility rates have declined sharply for them, but they remained relatively stable for older women. The fertility rate for women 20–34 declined 12 percent in just three years. Hispanic fertility declined the most, especially among younger Hispanic women. Taken together, these data suggest that the impact of the recession has been particularly pronounced on younger women, who are likely delaying fertility.”

One factor coming under increased scrutiny is the rate of abortions in the US and China.

Simon Rabinovitch from The Economist reports, “Chinese doctors have performed more than 330 million abortions since the government implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago, according to official data from the health ministry. China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate about its economic consequences as the population ages.”

“Forced abortions and sterilizations have also been criticized by human rights campaigners such as Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who sought refuge at the US embassy in Beijing last year,” Rabinovitch reports.

Rabinovitch notes, “As China’s working-age population begins to decline, economists have warned that the family planning rules will pose an increasing drag on economic growth. China’s dependency ratio – which compares the potential workforce with the number of children and retirees – rose last year for the first time in 40 years.”

Rabinovitch notes, “In the US, where the population is 315 million or about one-quarter the size of China’s, an estimated 50 million abortions have been performed since the landmark Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion in 1973.”

In effect the US has killed 50 million workers. Can any nation long survive economically with the demographic future of more deaths, fewer births and the killing (abortion) of its native population?

Johnson warns, “Demography is not destiny, but one ignores it at their peril.”

Florida Task Force: All persons have a fundamental right to stand their ground

Tallahassee, FL – Today the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, delivered their final report to the Office of the Florida Senate President, Office of the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and the Executive Office of the Governor.

The Task Force concluded that Florida Statute 776 is a good law and should not be overturned. On page five of their final report the Task Force’s top recommendations states:

The Task Force concurs with the core belief that all persons, regardless of citizenship status, have a right to feel safe and secure in our state. To that end, all persons who are conducting themselves in a lawful manner have a fundamental right to stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in every place they have a lawful right to be.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I want to commend the 19 members of the Citizen Safety Task Force and Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll for their thorough and thoughtful consideration of Florida Statute 776. This diverse Task Force listened to the people of Florida and provided a platform for different viewpoints to be shared on the important issue of citizen safety. I met with Trayvon Martin’s parents and our hearts go out to the entire family for their loss, especially as we approach the anniversary of his death. We look forward to reviewing this final report as we approach the beginning of the legislative session.”

The final Citizen Safety Task Force report, video links to all of the task force meetings, correspondence and public input considered is located on the Task Force website.

Link to Task Force website and final report: http://www.flgov.com/citizensafety/.

The Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, led by Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, held public meetings in seven cities across Florida and listened to subject matter experts and citizens. They concluded that Floridians have the right to defend themselves and the right to stand their ground when attacked. They concur that Floridians have the right to arm and protect themselves and their families from violence.