Friday, April 29, 2022

Last Call For Ron's Gone Wrong, Con't

The Disney/Reedy Creek debacle in Florida keeps getting worse by the day for GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has now pissed off financial bond ratings agency Fitch with the Republican law dissolving Disney's development district in direct violation of the state's contract with the House of Mouse.

One of the nation’s leading bond rating agencies warned Thursday that if the state of Florida doesn’t resolve a conflict over its decision to repeal Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and its obligation to investors, the move could harm the financial standing of other Florida governments.

Fitch Ratings posted the alert late Thursday on its Fitch Wire web site, nearly a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the measure dissolving the special taxing district that governs Disney property by June 1, 2023.

Reedy Creek Improvement District holds nearly $1 billion in bond debt and last week Fitch issued a “negative watch” because of the uncertainty around how that debt will be paid and by whom.

The agency said the situation “reflects a unique and dynamic level of discord” and expects the state to “ultimately work with various stakeholders to resolve the uncertainty.”

But it also added a warning: “The failure to do so could alter our view of Florida’s commitment to preserve bondholder rights and weaken our view of the operating environment for Florida governments.”
Fitch and other ratings agencies cutting the credit rating of Florida governments will cost state taxpayers billions in borrowing costs, and that is going to wreck the state's budget. DeSantis and his people know this, and they can't wait to blame those awful Disney people for it.

A 1967 state law that established the Reedy Creek Improvement District on 39 square miles of Disney property gave the district the power to issue bonds and tax itself to build roads, sewers and utilities, establish its police and fire departments, and regulate its construction. In exchange, the state pledged “it will not limit or alter the rights of the District...until all such bonds together with interest thereon...are fully met and discharged.”

The law dissolving the district does not address how the bonds will be paid, but on Friday when he signed the measure, DeSantis said: “We’re going to take care of all that. Don’t worry. We have everything thought out. Don’t let anyone tell you that somehow Disney is going to get a tax cut out of this. They’re going to pay more taxes as a result of that.”
DeSantis knows full well what's coming, and he's going to shift the blame to Democrats as soon as he can. Most likely, he's going to get away with it too.

The Big Lie, Con't

 The Trump regime's disinformation campaign about the 2020 presidential election being "stolen" has no actual evidence about election theft, but there's plenty of actual evidence about FOX News working with the regime to lie to Americans, in particular, Sean Hannity.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Fox's Sean Hannity exchanged more than 80 text messages between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden's January 2021 inauguration, communications that show Hannity's evolution from staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump's election lies to being "fed up" with the "lunatics" hurting Trump's cause in the days before January 6.

CNN obtained Meadows' 2,319 text messages, which he selectively provided in December to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. While the logs show Meadows communicating with multiple Fox personalities, as well as a number of journalists from other organizations, Hannity stands out with 82 messages. The texts, including dozens of newly disclosed messages, offer a real-time window into how Hannity, a close friend of Trump, was reacting to the election and its aftermath. 
Throughout the logs, Hannity both gives advice and asks for direction, blurring the lines between his Fox show, his radio show and the Trump White House. 
On the afternoon of Election Day, Hannity texted Meadows at 1:36 p.m. to ask about turnout in North Carolina. Two hours later, Meadows responded: "Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote. On radio."

"Yes sir," Hannity replied. "On it. Any place in particular we need a push."

"Pennsylvania. NC AZ," Meadows wrote, adding: "Nevada."

"Got it. Everywhere," Hannity said.
The texts also show the two men debating Trump's strategy to challenge the election, complaining about Fox, and plotting about what to do after Trump left office -- including possibly working together.

"You also need to spend at least half your time doing business with us," Hannity texted Meadows on December 12. "And I'm serious. Did u ever talk to Fox. I've been at war with them."

"I agree. We can make a powerful team," Meadows responded. "I did not talk with (Fox News CEO) Suzanne (Scott) because I got tied up with pardons but I will make sure I connect. You are a true patriot and I am so very proud of you! Your friendship means a great deal to me."

"Feeling is mutual," Hannity wrote back. 
Hannity did not respond to requests for comment from CNN; neither did Meadows or his attorney. A spokesman for the January 6 committee declined to comment.
To be clear, Trump's WH Chief of Staff was giving and getting advice on lying to the American people from a major cable news network host directly as part of a massive seditious conspiracy to defraud the nation and steal the election. 

Hannity too needs to see the inside of a prison for a very long time.

It must knock over the big fish, or we're done as a democracy.

We Don't Need No Education

A new NPR/Ipsos poll finds the vast majority of parents are happy with what's being taught in schools, with fewer than 20% of parents actually screeching about "culture wars" crap, yet that's driving 100% of the conversation about K-12 education in America.

Math textbooks axed for their treatment of race; a viral Twitter account directing ire at LGBTQ teachers; a state law forbidding classroom discussion of sexual identity in younger grades; a board book for babies targeted as "pornographic." Lately it seems there's a new controversy erupting every day over how race, gender or history are tackled in public school classrooms.

But for most parents, these concerns seem to be far from top of mind. That's according to a new national poll by NPR and Ipsos. By wide margins – and regardless of their political affiliation – parents express satisfaction with their children's schools and what is being taught in them.

The nationally representative poll of 1,007 parents of school-aged children follows up on a similar survey NPR and Ipsos conducted about a year ago. In both polls, parents answered questions about the impact of the pandemic on their children, academically and socially, and about their schools' performance during this time.

This year's responses showed positive trends as the nation continues to recover from the worst of the pandemic. Compared to 2021, a growing margin of parents say their child is "ahead" when it comes to math, reading, social skills, and mental health and well-being. Fewer parents say their child is "behind" in those areas. In fact, in 2022, almost half of parents, 47%, agree with the statement: "the pandemic has not disrupted my child's education." That's up from 38% in 2021, and is a view at odds with that of most education researchers, who see big disruptions in indicators like test scores, college attendance, and preschool enrollment.

For decades, voters have expressed concern in polls about the state of K-12 education in the U.S. But when you zoom in closer, parents seem to like their own kids' school, and they like their kids' teachers even more.

That's true in the NPR/Ipsos poll as well. Parents named education as their top concern after inflation and crime/gun violence.

However, 88% of respondents agree "my child's teacher(s) have done the best they could, given the circumstances around the pandemic." And 82% agree "my child's school has handled the pandemic well."

That satisfaction extends to hot-button topics. In the poll, 76% of respondents agree that "my child's school does a good job keeping me informed about the curriculum, including potentially controversial topics."

"It really is a pretty vocal minority that is hyper-focused on parental rights and decisions around curriculum," observes Mallory Newall of Ipsos, which conducted the poll.

Just 18% of parents say their child's school taught about gender and sexuality in a way that clashed with their family's values; just 19% say the same about race and racism; and just 14% feel that way about U.S. history.

Christine, a mother in Wisconsin who participated in the poll, is a member of that vocal minority. She asked not to use her last name because she says she's afraid of her child being retaliated against.

Christine, who is white, says her son's teacher has made "snarky comments about white privilege. " She also doesn't approve of her son, who is in high school, being asked what pronouns he prefers to use. Switching to a different school or district would be tough for their family, so, Christine says, "hopefully we can do enough countereducation at home to have it not be detrimental to [his] growth and development."
The problem of course is that the vocal, largely unhinged fifth of American parents treat "countereducation" the same way Bush-era neocons treated "counterinsurgency", which is "carpet bomb everyone involved until they stop". Right now Republicans are winning this battle with the media as a force multiplier, and it's working.

It's far past time for the satisfied 80%+ of parents to get involved, folks.

And for the rest of us.
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