Archive for theft

Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs #CharterSchoolsWeek

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charter schools corporate

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the GOP and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.

Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.

How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?

By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.

Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:

While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools—from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices—this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city’s public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]

[The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:

• Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
• School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
• Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
• Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
• Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
• Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.

Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:

• Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school “lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.”

[...]

Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children’s future.

No wonder Republicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

More at Salon.

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Old Habits And Larcenous Senators Never Die - They Just Become Rand Paul

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thief

Well, Rand Paul is at it again. After being caught plagiarizing passages from other people's work and passing them off as his own in speeches late last year, the junior Kentucky senator evidently hasn't learned his lesson. In making his un-heartfelt semi-apology after being confronted, he promised to correct this "oversight." via Talking Points Memo:

Paul was hammered by critics last year after news outlets uncovered a string of his speeches and op-eds that seemed to lift material from Wikipedia and other sources. He has since vowed to better vet his material and offer footnotes.

Okay, it happens. But Rand Paul should know better. Anyone who publishes or makes public speeches knows how easy it is to simply acknowledge the source of their materials, just like I did above with linking to Talking Points Memo for the passage above.

This latest theft of intellectual material stems from a class action law suit he's filed against President Obama regarding the NSA.

It's not just a large law suit, it is the largest class action suit ever filed.

Now its not to be unexpected that there would be some similarly worded "boiler plate" and references to the broken laws in the filing. But that's not the case here. It's more than that. Paul and his attorney, former Virginia Attorney General Ken "the Cooch" Cuccinelli allegedly stole or lifted entire passages from the work of another attorney, Bruce Fein, who recently served as an attorney for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's father.

From the Washington Post's Dana Milbank:

But a Jan. 15 draft of the complaint written by Fein has long passages that are nearly identical to those in the complaint Cuccinelli filed Wednesday. Except for some cuts and minor wording changes, they are clearly the same documents.

Now the Cooch and Rand Paul's defense is not that they stole from Bruce Fein but that he did this work, (evidently quid pro quo) for some future consideration. Of course acknowledging this would have saved them a lot of embarrassment, but that's never been an issue for either Paul or the Cooch. The two shysters just slough this claim off by saying, again via TPM:

Doug Stafford, the executive director of Paul's political action committee RandPac, told Bloomberg Businessweek that “allegations that Bruce Fein was not paid are false, he was paid. Additionally, Bruce was one of several attorneys involved in this lawsuit.”

But...

I know you were waiting for that three-letter word... But, it seems this is all news to Bruce Fein. He claims this is not true. He was never "hired" by them nor was he compensated.

Fein's ex-wife and spokeswoman, Mattie Fein, told Milbank that Cuccinelli stole "the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein" without payment.

If you ask me, if anyone would know whether or not payment was made, it would be Fein's ex-wife and spokesperson. Who better than his ex-wife, knows and cares extensively whether or not her ex got paid? Future alimony payments could be affected.

heavy lifting 2

So I'm going to leave it with you to sort this one out. Who do you believe, confessed plagiarist Senator Paul along with his extremist attorney the Cooch, or lawyer Bruce Fein and his ex-wife/spokesperson, Mattie Fein? It does make you ponder what's next from Senator Paul. A new Constitution that he'll take credit for that still has the faint signature of Thomas Jefferson on it? I hope Paul doesn't tire too soon from all the "heavy lifting" he's been doing during the campaign. He's fun to watch when caught -- he squirms and sweats profusely.

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Monday Links

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SochiDisplacedHomeownerw396h264Sochi Olympic Winter Games at root of residents' housing woes

A Violinist's Triumph Is Ruined by Thieves

Not a headline, just an interesting article on the history and impact of the Grand Coulee Dam.
The Cost of the Grand Coulee Dam

You might want to rethink that 'The Bible is the Literal Truth thougt...
Christians Might Be Surprised to Find That Not God, But Men, Decided What They Would Believe

So where do you get water on Mars when you're thirsty? From the red dirt, of course.
Mars water surprise in Curiosity rover soil samples

Pussy Riot's Stars Tossed Out of Pussy Riot

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Former Florida GOP chairman now sells La-Z-Boy recliners

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la z boy recliner vintageAllow me to introduce you to Jim Greer. He became the Florida GOP party head in January 2007, former governor (and recent convert to the Democratic party) Charlie Crist's personal pick.

He was one of the former Florida GOP leaders who said that voter suppression was the reason for a new election law.

He was also accused of stealing a couple of hundred thousand dollars from the Republican party using a phony campaign fundraising operation. Then the Palm Beach Post reported that he was suing them back, saying GOP leaders knew what he was doing and voiced no objection.

But oops, the Tampa Bay Times reported that, despite his protesty indignation, Greer had been sentenced to 18 months in state prison plus one year of probation after he pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and one count of money laundering.

There. Now that you know Greer better, let's see how the former GOP official has been spending his time lately. Via the Orlando Sentinel, we discover what Republican felons do post-sentencing. Talk about a career change:

Jim Greer, the disgraced former chairman of the Florida GOP, is now selling La-Z-Boy recliners for $8 an hour plus commission at an Orlando-area furniture store as part of a prison work release program. [...]

But instead of behind bars, he's now assigned to an Orlando work release facility on Mercy Drive. It has no bars and no prison-like security, although, it is fenced.

Would you buy a chair from this schmo?

And as Not-Quite-Inmate GOP Guy pockets $8 an hour plus commission (minimum wage in the state is $7.79), millions of Americans are out of work, are unable to receive unemployment benefits or a decent living wage (thanks to Greer's fellow Republican pals in Congress), and are struggling just to barely get by, get fed, and get through a day.

but wait there's more smaller

Prior to his snazzy new recliner-hawking stint, Greer pulled weeds and picked up trash for six hours a day. That and the La-Z-Boy gig should spiff his political resumé right up.

Greer's lawyer, Damon Chase, said, "He's in a really good place in life, and his family is doing great."

Too bad the same can't be said for all those law-abiding types whose families depend on them for food, shelter, clothing, warmth, and security.

Greer hasn't quite turned over the proverbial new leaf yet, though. He managed to break the rules while incarcerated for breaking the rules. See, he had a $20 bill in his possession, which is a big no-no; he wasn't supposed to have anything bigger than a $5 bill on him. Hey, no problem. They counseled him a little, and he's a new man, enjoying his "good place in life."

Maybe he could talk a few of his Republican lawmaker BFFs into making life easier for the rest of us.

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