Category Archives: Education

Jerry Brown says state faces first budget deficit since 2012 – a $2 billion deficit

government spending

Why is it always a revenue shortfall and never a spending problem? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

From SFGate: Lagging revenues have put the state’s financial outlook on shaky ground, and Gov. Jerry Brown warned Tuesday that California could face a $2 billion deficit if spending is not tempered.

In unveiling a $122.5 billion general fund budget proposal for the 2017-18 fiscal year, Brown said the projected deficit can be eliminated and he proposed moves that might make the Democrat-controlled Legislature cringe.

Among them are:

  • Spending $2 billion more on public schools and community colleges in 2017-18 instead of $3.8 billion more by adjusting the Proposition 98 formula that guarantees funding. K-14 would receive $73.5 billion in the next fiscal year under the proposed budget.
  • Eliminating last year’s one-time allocation of $400 million for affordable housing that was never spent.
  • Eliminating last year’s one-time allocation of $300 million for state building modernization that was never spent
  • Pausing rate increases for child care and freezing Middle Class scholarships so that no new students receive them. Also freezing state spending, including money that implements new legislation.

“We are in very uncertain times,” Brown said. “We are subject to a lot of unpredictability … I think it is time for precaution.”

Budget negotiations in recent years have been characterized by Brown’s insistence that the state be cautious in its spending, with his January proposal providing a starting point for six months of negotiations with Democrats who have in previous years urged more spending on social programs.

This is the first time since 2012-2013 that the governor’s budget projected a deficit. The governor cited lower than expected revenue, which fell short of estimates in five of the past seven months. Despite that, revenues are up 3 percent overall.

Last year, Brown and legislative leaders reached a budget deal days before the June 15 deadline for the state Legislature to pass the annual spending plan. With that deal in place, Brown uncharacteristically did not use his authority to change the budget passed by the Legislature

The current budget totals $122 billion and bolsters the $6.7 billion rainy day fund. The current budget also sends $71.9 billion to K-12 schools and community colleges, the highest amount sent to schools under the state’s minimum funding guarantee. That brought the per student spending in K-12 schools to $10,643, which is up $3,600 since 2011-12.

Under the budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Brown wants to expand the rainy day fund by another $1 billion.

State lawmakers have emphasized the need to address the state’s woefully dated roads and bridges. In his budget, the governor pushed the same transportation package he introduced in 2015, which provides $4.2 billion each year to address the state’s highway system, much of which was built between the 1950s and early 1970s.

Brown’s transportation plan includes a new $65 highway user fee paid by California drivers plus higher taxes at the gas pump.

Population increases in recent decades along with more trucks on the roadways due to increased international trade moving goods from the state’s ports has placed additional pressure on the aging highways. At the same time, fuel-efficient cars have become more popular, leading to a decrease in the amount of the taxes collected at the pump to pay for the transportation infrastructure.

DCG

Local Democrats practically begging Hillary to run for NYC mayor

enhanced-video-of-hillary-clintons-9-11-collapse

The most qualified womyn…

What are they putting in the NYC water supply system?

From NY Post: Run, Hillary, run — for mayor. Local Democratic activists said they would rally to Clinton’s side if she decided to take on Mayor de Blasio in a ­primary this year.

If Hillary entered the race, she would be the best candidate. I would support her because we need a change in New York City,” said Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237. Floyd, who represents school safety officers and Housing Authority workers, has clashed repeatedly with City Hall over policy. “Hillary would be a better mayor than de Blasio. Every week we hear about investigations about fund-raising and city property being given away to real estate developers,” he said.

Clinton captured 79 percent of the vote in the five boroughs during her failed November presidential run.

The Rev. Patrick Young, pastor of First Baptist Church in East Elmhurst, Queens, said Clinton could make history by shattering the mayoral glass ceiling in Gotham. “Hillary would have been the first female president. She would be the first woman mayor in the history of New York City,” he said. “She would be better at working with people and engaging people. She would be a breath of fresh air. We have a cloud over our leadership right now.”

The Rev. Johnny Green, pastor of Harlem’s Mount Neboh Baptist Church, said Clinton would have his vote. “Hillary over de Blasio. Anybody against de Blasio. De Blasio is a repeat offender when it comes to stupidity,” Green said.

One de Blasio critic claimed de Blasio would be toast if Clinton runs. “I’m not sure she would have an opponent. De Blasio would have to drop out if she ran,” said former Mike Bloomberg campaign manager Bradley Tusk, who is hunting for a viable foe against the mayor.

The Clinton-for-mayor rumors lit up social media. “Ummm, this may be the BEST news of 2017 yet!!! I’m fine with a pantsuit city,” ­Ladychampagneb posted on Instagram.

Clinton allies are pushing talk of her possibly running for mayor to “torture” de Blasio for waiting so long to back Clinton in the presidential race, according to one Democratic Party official. “Trust me. People don’t forget,” said a Clinton Democratic National Committee delegate from New York.

A source said Clinton did not discourage her backers from discussing a City Hall bid. “She wants to remain relevant,” the source said.

DCG

Philadelphia in shock over 51% beverage tax

Imagine paying $8.03 for this 8-pack of Lipton Diet Green Tea that normally costs $4.99.

philadelphia-beverage-taxb

That’s what Philadelphians woke up to on January 1, when a soda tax approved last June by the Philadelphia City Council and Democrat mayor Jim Kenney went into effect.

With 14 Democrats and 3 Republicans, the City Council’s vote was — SURPRISE! — 14-3.

The proceeds from the soda tax ostensibly will go to expand “early childhood education”. It is expected to raise about $91 million annually to be spent on expanding prekindergarten programs in the city; creating community schools; improving parks, recreation centers, and libraries; and offering a tax credit for businesses that sell healthy beverages.

Philadelphia’s 1.5-cent-per-ounce soda tax, the first such tax imposed in a major U.S. city, affects thousands of products – essentially anything bottled, canned, or from a fountain with either sugar or artificial sweetener added, with a few exceptions. That means a 12-oz bottle of regular or diet soda will have 18 cents added to its retail price, in addition to what Philadelphia (2%) and the state of Pennsylvania (6%) charge as sales tax.

That doesn’t sound too bad until you look at the receipt below, for a 10-pack of Propel Zero Berry Water Beverage Powder Mix (source: The Burning Platform).

philadelphia-beverage-taxa

The 10-pack was on sale for $5.99, $1 less than its regular price.

The beverage tax was $3.04, which is 51% of what the 10-pack costs (51% of $5.99 = $3.04).

Then add $0.72 sales tax, and the total cost of that 10-pack of flavored water comes to a whopping $9.75.

But if you had bought the same 10-pack a day ago, on December 31, you would have paid only $6.47 ($5.99 + 8% sales tax of $0.48). Today, however, the 10-pack costs you $3.28 more because of the beverage tax.

Chuck Andrews picked up a $1.77 gallon jug of tea, got home and looked at his receipt. He said: “When I read the receipt I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. I paid more in tax than I did for the product!’”. The tax on the $1.77 gallon of tea was $1.92 cents.

Philadelphia’s small businesses are getting an earful from customers about the higher prices and wonder what this will mean for their future. “The businesses take a hit with profits, the customers take a hit with payment, and it’s kind of a lose-lose in Philadelphia with this tax,” Mike Maziarz of Franzones said.

Many people are saying they will go out of Philadelphia rather than pay the hefty soda tax. Others, like Carl Saulsbury, say they will change what they buy: “So now I know. I’m buying water, water, water.”

~Eowyn

Obama’s pal catches major break in for-profit college deal

O's Chicago friends - Martin Nesbitt, Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Eric Whitaker

Nesbitt (far left) with Obama and fellow pals.

The “ethical fog” has been a permanent fixture in Obama’s administration. Just two more weeks…

From NY Post: A close pal of President Obama will be able to buy the for-profit parent of the University of Phoenix after federal regulators cut him and other buyers a major break, The Post has learned.

Marty Nesbitt — a Chicago business mogul who is widely considered Obama’s best friend — has won a loosening of stiff capital requirements that had threatened to derail the $1.1 billion deal for him and his partners, according to public filings reviewed by The Post.

The lowered capital strictures, quietly eased by the Department of Education in an unusual regulatory move last month, effectively seal the pending agreement by Nesbitt’s private equity firm, Vistria Group, to buy University of Phoenix owner Apollo Education at a fire-sale price, critics charge.

“I think every way you look at this transaction is questionable and suspicious,” said Diane Jones, the former assistant secretary for post-secondary education at the Education Department under President George W. Bush. Jones said the DOE typically does not change terms after making a public recommendation.

Adding to the potential controversy surrounding the DoE’s rare move to lower capital requirements, former Deputy Education Secretary Tony Miller — formerly a tough regulator of for-profit schools — is now a partner at Vistria Group.

On Dec. 20, the DoE lowered to 10 percent of the school’s Title IV federal student-aid funding from 25 percent the capital Apollo had to keep in a letter of credit, according to public filings. The other 15 percent can be put in escrow. The higher capital requirements were handed down just two weeks before the cut.

The lightened restrictions will allow Nesbitt to avoid triggering a provision that would allow the school’s owner to walk away from the deal if the DoE requires a letter of credit greater than 10 percent, the documents show. “I do believe the restrictions were going to kill the deal,” Mark Schneider, a former education official under President George W. Bush, told The Post. “I think there is a cloud of ethical fog.”

The for-profit college’s value could soar under Nesbitt’s ownership, critics say, as President-elect Donald Trump is expected to lighten rules that govern such schools after years of tough regulation by Obama administration officials.

Rival DeVry Education’s shares have risen by more than a third since the election, recently trading above $31 a share.

Obama had been on a crusade against for-profit schools, cracking down on predatory practices and blasting some colleges for “making out like a bandit” while their debt-riddled students struggled to find good jobs. He didn’t name any schools specifically.

Other curbs imposed on the deal Dec. 7 have remained, such as barring Apollo from adding any new programs or locations and capping enrollment at current levels. “The final terms, developed by legal and financial aid professionals, were not loosened,” a DoE spokeswoman insisted to The Post.

A Vistria spokeswoman said, “No one at Vistria has contacted the White House to advocate for an outcome of this transaction.”

Apollo Education declined comment beyond saying the deal was expected to close by February 1.

DCG

DHS memo indicates President Trump will hit the ground running with border wall construction

According to an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo that Reuters reviewed, once he’s inaugurated on January 20, President Donald Trump will hit the ground running on constructing that US-Mexico border wall he’s promised.

obama border patrol

Julia Edwards Ainsley reports for Reuters, Jan. 3, 2017, that the DHS memo “offers a glimpse into the president-elect’s strategy for securing the U.S. borders and reversing polices put in place by the Obama administration.”

The DHS memo recounts “wide-ranging” requests for documents and analysis by Trump’s transition team in a meeting the team had with DHS officials on December 5, 2016. Trump asked for the documents in order “to assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.”

Trump’s transition team asked for documents and information on:

(1) Copies of every executive order and directive Obama sent to immigration agents since he took office in 2009. (Note that President Trump can undo Obama’s executive orders with a wave of his pen and without Congressional consent or approval. See “How Trump can undo what Obama did in past 8 years”)

(2) A DHS aerial surveillance program called Operation Phalanx, which authorizes 1,200 Army National Guard airmen to monitor the southern border for drug trafficking and illegal migration. The program once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush but was considerably scaled back by Obama.

(3) Whether federal workers have altered DHS’s biographic information about migrants “out of concern” for their civil rights and civil liberties. A DHS official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency interpreted this Trump transition team request to mean the transition team wanted to make sure that federal workers were not tampering with information to protect DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients and other migrants from deportation.

Note: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama administration immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as minors (defined as before their 16th birthday) to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. To be eligible, they must have (illegally) entered the U.S. before June 2007; are under age 31 as of June 15, 2015; are currently in school or  a high school graduate or  honorably discharged from the military; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security. DACA does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship. DACA has collected information including participants’ addresses that can theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed.

(4) DHS’s capacity for expanding “immigrant” detention.

(5) Resources available for building walls and barriers. DHS officials who attended the meeting with Trump’s transition team understood the request to include both the northern and southern borders. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection staffers identified:

  • Specific locations in more than 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canada border, where new fencing could be erected.
  • The costs of building a fence are estimated at $3.3 billion for 452 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, and $11.37 billion for 413 miles of fencing on America’s southwest border which would keep pedestrians as well as vehicles from crossing. Pedestrian fences require more staff and would cost $11.2 million per mile.

In fiscal year 2015, the latest year for which data is available, border patrol agents apprehended 331,333 illegal migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, and 2,626 illegal migrants on the U.S.-Canada border.

H/t ZeroHedge

~Eowyn

Trump-hater California college prof. Olga Cox has a sex slave

Do you remember my post of December 14, about Olga Perez Stable Cox, a professor of human sexuality at Orange Coast College in southern California, who was captured on video ranting in her class on human sexuality about the Nov. 8 election being “an act of terrorism” and calling Trump a “white supremacist”?

According to two students, Cox also demanded that students who had voted for Trump stand up before the class so that other students know whom “to watch out for and protect yourself from”.

After a student posted the video to Facebook, Cox allegedly received hate messages and went into hiding, according to Rob Schneiderman, president of the Coast Federation of Educators/American Federation of Teachers Local 1911. Schneiderman described Cox as a “lesbian Latina”. (See “Calif. college professor goes into hiding after calling election of Trump ‘white supremacist terrorism’”)

It turns out Olga Cox is so much more than a mere lesbian Latina.

olga-cox

In 2005, as president of the Western US region, Cox was at the 4-day conference in Australia of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

As reported by Australia’s ABC News on May 7, 2005, the theme for the conference was “Unstudied, Understudied And Underserved Sexual Communities.” Presentations ranged from autoerotic asphyxiation or “breath play,” to zoophiles or bestialists, to more mainstream topics like sex motives of dating partners. Cox explained her attendance to ABC News: “These couples have problems that I didn’t know how to deal with. You have to understand the culture, otherwise you’re an outsider, and you don’t get it.”

But Cox is more than a lesbian Latina professor of human sexuality!

olga-cox-and-sex-slave-boi-blu

Stephen Frank reports for California Political Review, Jan. 2, 2017, that Professor Olga Cox, who earns $160,000 a year from California taxpayers, is a leading proponent of bondage and sex slavery:

  • She’s a leader of Los Angeles Radical and Wicked Women (LARAWW), a Southern California-based BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) group.
  • She was co-chair of the Leather Leadership Conference VI and a Threshold officer. Leather Leadership Conference describes itself as “an organization dedicated to strengthening the Leather/BDSM/Kink/Fetish community through the development of the leadership skills of community members and fostering a greater sense of connection between and within community groups.”
  • Cox even has her own sex slave — a man who goes by the slave name boi blu. The two have a “24/7 Master/slave relationship” and are co-owners and co-producers of DESIRE Leather Women Unleashed, “a play and educational weekend event for women interested in BDSM/Leather” held annually at a gay Palm Springs Resort.

Orange Coast College, that institution of “higher education,” must be so proud.

Here’s Orange Coast College’s contact info:

Dr. Dennis Harkins, President
Ph: (714) 432-5712
Email: dharkins@occ.cccd.edu

~Eowyn

Elementary school teacher and his husband sexually abused 8 young boys

WND reports that according to St. Paul Pioneer Press on Dec. 27, 2016, two homosexual men — elementary-school teacher Aric Babbitt and his husband, Matthew Deyo — sexually abused eight underage boys since at least 2013.

pedophiles-aric-babbitt-matthew-deyo

Babbitt, 40, a teacher at Lincoln Center Elementary in South St. Paul, Minnesota since 2002, and Deyo, 36, came to the attention of local authorities on Aug. 14 after a 16-year-old former student of Babbitt’s revealed to his parents his “ongoing sexual relationship” with the two men.

The boy said Babbitt was his volunteer-work supervisor and had become his mentor when he came out to his parents as homosexual. Babbit gave him gifts of underwear and yoga shorts and requested images of the boy before he turned 16. The men asked to take him to a jazz concert but instead took him to a Minneapolis hotel where they provided him with alcohol, marijuana and had unprotected sex with the teen. He was told to “keep this our little secret.”

On August 16, in a search of the two men’s home, police collected a large amount of evidence of their crimes and clues that led to seven other victims, including photos and videos on phones, computers, media devices, and secret video from a camera hidden in a bathroom clock. Videos show Babbitt filming himself masturbating in a school bathroom, and in his empty classroom near a student’s desk.

On August 17, Babbitt was put on paid leave after news of the allegations became public.

The young victims described being plied with alcohol and marijuana at Babbitt’s and Deyo’s home, Babbitt’s family cabin and Deyo’s parents’ farm before “it got weird.” Text messages between the two men revealed the planning that went into their abuse of the boys:

  • Referencing a boy staying overnight, Babbitt texted Deyo: “Make sure the alarm clock [containing the hidden camera] ends up somewhere good. I was going to surprise (boy victim) with hot tub … in case it improves chances of skinny dip.”
  • In another text message, Deyo asked Babbitt, “Should I be expecting a scantily clad 40 yo and (victim) to give me some hugs and kisses this weekend? I just want to be able to hug and snuggle (victim) for a couple mins without (victim) feeling awkward.” Babbitt responded by texting, “You just need to grab him and make (victim) sit on your lap every once in awhile.”

Even as police were searching the pair’s home, Babbitt and Deyo were planning to flee the St. Paul area. On Aug. 16, the men drained their bank accounts, purchased $860 in camping gear on a credit card, and went on the run.

The two were found dead on Aug. 25 on a beach on Lopez Island in northwest Washington state, having died the previous day in a shotgun murder-suicide wherein Deyo killed Babbitt before turning the weapon on himself.

The two men left a note on the dashboard of their car describing their time on the run as the “vacation of a lifetime” which “brought great peace to end it on Lopez.”

In a suicide note mailed to Deyo’s parents, Babbitt and Deyo said that they were not the monsters characterized by some. Portraying themselves as victims of society’s intolerance, the two pedophiles said because the accusations against them were “too great to overcome,” they decided to “choose our own destinies rather than experience the embarrassment, ridicule, hatred and inevitable loss of freedom that the justice system would give.”

See also:

~Eowyn