Court: Union Boss’ Fake Emails Impersonating Lawmaker Protected by 1st Amendment

leidecker1
(eagnews.org)

The Rhode Island Superior Court yesterday overturned a misdemeanor conviction for John A. Leidecker, a top teachers union official who mocked and impersonated a state lawmaker during the 2010 primary.     

Leidecker, an assistant executive director of the National Education Association of Rhode Island, was busted in 2010 for sending emails mocking former state Rep. Douglas W. Gablinske on a number of political issues.

The messages were sent from an email account of Doug Gablinski, and detailed exchanges between the imposter and a fictional person, Walter Flatus, in which the union official misrepresented the lawmaker’s position on bridge tolls, school funding and union contract issues. Gablinske contends Leidecker’s musings, which he forwarded to the lawmaker, caused him to lose the primary, as well as many restless nights, the Providence Journal reports.

Leidecker was found guilty of cyberstalking by District Court Judge Stephen M. Isherwood in 2011 and ordered to pay a $100 fine for the misdemeanor conviction, but the union boss appealed the decision to the state’s Superior Court.

This week, Judge Susan E. McGuirl ruled the mocking and harassing emails were protected political speech under the First Amendment, and overturned the lower court’s ruling, the news site reports.

“The language in the emails, while annoying, did not rise to the level of threatening, she said. She also could not find that it was without any legitimate purpose as it addressed issues up for political debate at the time, she said,” according to the Journal.

Gablinske, of course, didn’t take the ruling lightly.
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New Website Exposes Sky-High Public School Salaries, Including Dozens of Six-Figure Custodians

eye
(eagnews.org)

California school employees are squirming to justify their top-dollar salaries to the public after a government watchdog group recently launched an online database with the eye-opening compensation records of over a half-million employees.

“The public votes on tax measures, bond measures without complete knowledge about how the money is being spent,” Ed Ring, executive director of the California Policy Center, told the LA Times. “Taxpayers are paying these salaries so they have a right to know.”

That’s why the Center recently launched Transparent California, a searchable online database with compensation figures for more than 581,000 California public school employees, as well as pay data for other public sector employees.

And the figures are staggering.

“Last year, James Hammond, the superintendent of the Montclair-Ontario Unified School District in the Inland Empire, was paid $492,077. Jonathan Eagan, the principal of a junior high school in the Bay Area city of Martinez made $279,669,” the Times reports.

“And 31 custodians at California public schools were paid more than $100,000 in 2013.”

The data was collected through public information requests sent by the Center to 1,058 school districts across the state, though only about 653 responded with relevant data. The Los Angeles school district, for example, hasn’t released the salary figures for its school employees.
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Fla. School Board Member: Apply ‘Stand Your Ground’ Principle to Bullies

bullies

A Duval County, Florida school board member wants students to be able to defend themselves against an attacker, which is drawing comparisons to the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.

School board member Jason Fischer shrugged off the comparison when he told First Coast News that his proposal would simply change the student code of conduct to allow students to avoid becoming a victim by fighting back.

“You know, I think (Stand Your Ground) is a charged phrase. What I’d say is, it’s really about protecting the right to self-defense and making sure our children aren’t being punished for stopping their attacker,” Fischer told the news site.

“We have to, as a society, say we’re not going to let our kids be bullied, we’re not going to let them be attacked and violated, or further victimized by the criminal justice system or the discipline process,” he said.

The mere comparison to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, however, is making other school board members and the district superintendent nervous.

“For many, that law brings to mind the George Zimmerman second degree murder case, although it never actually figured into Zimmerman’s defense,” according to the news site.

According to Wikipedia, Stand Your Ground laws in the U.S. generally mean “that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense without an obligation to retreat first.”

In a sense, that’s exactly what Fischer is proposing for students in Duval County, although the concept is commonly associated with the use of firearms in self-defense.
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AFL-CIO Bans AFT Boss Weingarten’s ‘Dear Friend’ and Gov Candidate from Speaking at Convention

Do_As_Youre_Told
(ljwritesbooks.com)

There’s labor strife brewing in New Haven.

But it’s not your typical employees-versus-management strife. No, it’s a conflict between union officials and their members over who to endorse for the upcoming Connecticut gubernatorial race, and it’s starting to get kind of ugly.

From the New Haven Independent:

“The head of a national teachers union praised a ‘dear friend’ and third-party candidate who was barred from addressing a labor convention – then made a case for why delegates should instead support a governor who has angered teachers.”

The duplicity came when Rhonda Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, addressed attendees this week at the Connecticut AFL-CIO union convention in New Haven, “where, according to script, delegates unanimously endorsed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election run,” according to the news site.

Weingarten encouraged attendees to endorse Malloy after union officials banned her “dear friend” Jonathan Pelto from addressing the convention, limiting the choices for union members to Malloy and Republican Tom Foley.

Pelto, an education blogger and former state legislator, is an outspoken critic of Malloy who entered the governor’s race under the “Education and Democracy Party.” He’s targeting rank-and-file union members who don’t like Malloy’s endorsement of Common Core, support for charter schools, and other reforms, the Independent reports.

“Pelto has played Lord Voldemort in the script of the convention the last two days: Convention organizers refused to let him speak and in some cases shuttered to say his name, portraying him as the evil third-party spoiler who could snatch the margin of victory away from Malloy in a tight rematch with Republican Tom Foley,” according to Tuesday’s Independent.
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Obama Owns Chaos in Iraq

ObamaIraq
(tcsnews.com)

George Bush’s Iraq war is now President Obama’s Iraq war.

And this time around, the president will be fighting on two fronts: against ISIS rebels that have reportedly seized much of the country over the last week, as well as progressives who represent Obama’s political base.

BuzzFeed reports “thousands have added their names to two progressive petitions warning the president against military action in Iraq, one from San Francisco-based progressive group CREDO and the other hosted by MoveOn.org.”

“If the president takes ownership of George W. Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq by launching a new round of bombing strikes, Iraq will become Barack Obama’s war,” according to the CREDO petition cited by BuzzFeed.

Some believe it already is.

The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake put the problems in Iraq into proper perspective for MSNBC host Joy Reid earlier this week. Despite Reid’s attempt to goad Lake into blaming the current situation on “neoconservatives” who served under George Bush, Lake put the blame exactly where it belongs.

From the Daily Caller:

“’You should look at all of the history,’ Lake replied, ‘including the history before 2003. … I think the way Paul Bremer made a huge mistake disbanding the Iraqi military in the way that he did.

‘But I also think it was a huge mistake that the Obama administration never used any of his leverage with (Iraqi Prime Minister) Nouri al-Maliki to try to save Maliki from his own worst tendencies,’ Lake asserted, saying Obama’s decision to reward Maliki with F-16s and other ineffective support clearly backfired.

‘It’s a very easy thing to sort of say, ‘Oh, Iraq is a mess, remember the neocons,’ he accused. ‘So in that respect, I think that – you know, yeah, they’re in the commentary now. How really relevant is it? No one is proposing ANY kind of invasion. I think the whole country is against it.’”

Regardless, “to progressives, even a limited intervention in Iraq by Obama would be a betrayal of the base that helped get him to the White House six years ago,” BuzzFeed reports.
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Poll: Half of Americans Question Obama’s Competence – More Than George W. Bush!

Obama_End War
(townhall.com)

Half of Americans believe President Barack Obama is incompetent.

Half.

Obama is now officially viewed by his countrymen as less competent than George W. Bush at the same point in their presidencies, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted June 11-15.

“The … survey found that just half of all respondents consider Obama to be competent, even lower than those polled in the wake of Bush’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“And 54 percent said Obama is no longer able ‘to lead the country and get the job done,’” according to the news site. “More than 40 percent of respondents believe the administration’s performance has gotten worse in the past year.”

The polling results are so bad they’ve even prompted some in the mainstream media to declare the president a lame duck.

“This poll is a disaster for the president,” NBC News Chief Chuck Todd said Tuesday. “You look at the presidency here: Lowest job rating, tied for the lowest; lowest on foreign policy. His administration is seen as less competent than the Bush administration, post-Katrina.”

“On the issue of do you believe he can still lead? A majority believe no. Essentially the public is saying your presidency is over,” Todd said, according to the Examiner.

Predictably, Obama’s worst ratings are on his handling of foreign policy, which is obviously tied to his thumb-twiddling as ISIS extremists besiege Iraq and unravel all progress in the country.

“Just 37 percent of those surveyed approved of the president’s handling of foreign affairs,” the Examiner reports. “Progressives fear that disillusionment with the White House could endanger Democrats in November’s midterms. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate.”

North Carolina’s ‘Moral Mondays’ Crowd has a Wish List that Taxpayers Can’t Afford

moralmondayprotest
(talkingpointsmemo.com)

North Carolina lawmakers are beginning to understand exactly what the state’s progressives are looking to accomplish with their weekly “Moral Monday” protests at the Capitol, and it’s insanely expensive.

Forbes contributor Patrick Gleason reports that North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger sent a letter to progressive leaders this spring to get a better idea of the associated costs of the actual policy changes sought by the state’s far left leaders.

What soon became apparent is the Moral Monday crowd’s list of demands – which includes permitting collective bargaining for all government employees, expanding Medicaid, state subsidized child care for all, state provided health insurance for all and other measures – would entail an astronomical tax increase the state definitely cannot afford, according to Gleason.

“The non-partisan fiscal staff found that the Moral Monday agenda, if implemented, would require state lawmakers to raise taxes by $7 billion. For some context, such a tax hike would increase the North Carolina general fund by a whopping 35 percent,” Gleason wrote.

Most of the money would have to come from a massive increase in taxes on corporations, which have been driving the state’s economic recovery in recent years, making the plan promoted by North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber and other progressives not only unrealistic, but financially reckless.

“The Moral Monday plan would also necessitate a nearly ten-fold increase in the state corporate income tax, taking the rate from 6 to over 50 percent. Combined with the federal income tax, the highest in the world, if Rev. Barber and crew had their druthers, companies would face a combined tax rate of over 80 percent on profits earned in North Carolina,” Gleason reports.
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California School Districts Send Employees on Pricey Trips, Courtesy of the Taxpayers

sweep money
(entrepreneur.com)

California taxpayers are starting to realize a sad reality about public education that EAGnews has harped on for years: public schools spend millions on employee travel, much of it to luxurious out-of-state destinations.

The Sacramento Bee reports that school districts in the Sacramento area alone spent $10 million on employee travel in the 2012-13 school year, a substantial increase over previous years that was fueled by a massive 2012 tax hike.

In other words, California’s public schools are using their increase in school funds to send teachers and administrators all across the United States for “professional development conferences” and other training at high-end resorts.

“District leaders said the trips were necessary to prepare teachers and administrators for the new Common Core State Standards, as well as advanced programs such as the International Baccalaureate track that some schools have added to attract high-caliber students,” the Bee reports. “They also said they had to address a backlog of training needs after slashing travel budgets during the state budget crisis.”

The total travel expenses for several districts in the Sacramento area are astounding.

The San Juan Unified School District, for example, spent about $1.1 million on employee travel to conferences. In the Twin Rivers district, it was $894,000. Sacramento City Unified spent $744,000. At Elk Grove Unified – $655,000.

Even smaller districts like El Dorado Union High School District shelled out big bucks for employee travel. That district, while only spending a measly $340,000, topped the Bee’s list for the most travel spending relative to the student population at $54 per pupil.

Other big spending districts, according to the Sacramento Bee:
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MSNBC Host Fails to Get Reporter to Blame Bush for the Current Situation in Iraq

Obama_Iraq
(collapse.com)

MSNBC and other liberal mainstream media stations have worked to minimize President Obama’s role in the current crisis in Iraq, but honest reporters like the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake aren’t playing along.

That was evident on a recent episode of “The Reid Report” in which host Joy Reid attempted to place the blame for the Iraq crisis on neoconservatives who served under President Bush, only to have Lake set the record straight about Obama’s massive failures.

“Reid … began the segment trying to dismiss warnings from ‘neoconservatives’ that Iraq may soon become a breeding ground for future attacks on the continental United States,” the Daily Caller reports.

“’This time around, is this back to the future?’ Reid asked. ‘Or is there some realistic link between what’s happening in Iraq right now and possibility of terrorism on domestic soil, here in the U.S.?’”

Lake threw Reid’s obvious set-up question out the window, and instead rightly called out progressives for their attempt to shift the blame for the problems in Iraq.

“Well, I mean, the director of the FBI has been warning about attacks on the U.S.,” he said, “and so … have many leaders of the intelligence community. I think you’d be hard pressed to call them neoconservatives.

“Neoconservatives have been out of power in terms of the U.S. government really since Bush’s first term ended and then he cleaned house. In my view, I think that sort of focusing on what (former Defense official) Paul Wolfowitz may say on some of the Sunday shows is a way for progressives to avoid some of the hard questions about the policy of a Democratic president right now on Iraq. This is obviously very different than it was in 2003.”

Reid tried a second time to steer the conversation to 2003, and the disbanding of the Iraqi army, but Lake took the opportunity to provide a mini history lesson on exactly why Obama’s very much to blame for allowing ISIS terrorists to unravel the progress in Iraq.
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Obama Administration Angers Its Friends in the Teachers Union by Supporting Anti-Tenure Court Decision

Duncan
(Cleveland.com)

The recent landmark California court decision in Vergara v. California – which ruled the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional – is exposing a growing rift between the Obama administration and the teachers unions that twice helped to elect him.

President Obama, through Education Secretary Arne Duncan, has continuously pushed for increasing teacher accountability and other education reforms unpopular with the teachers unions, but Duncan’s recent comments applauding the results of the California case is sending the unions and their allies over the edge, Businessweek reports.

Duncan said the Vergara case “presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect, and rewarding careers they deserve,” according to the news site.

But American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda Weingarten took Duncan to the tool shed over his take on the case in an open letter that “was clearly meant to gird her members for battle,” Businessweek reports.

“Teachers across the country are wondering why the secretary of education thinks that stripping them of their due process is the way to help all children,” Weingarten said.

From Businessweek:

“It is unexpected to see a top Obama administration official staking out a position so at odds with teachers unions. They are, after all, a key part of the Democratic Party’s base. But Duncan’s praise for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu’s June 10 decision speaks volumes about the ruling’s potential to change the public education system in the U.S.

“Treu tentatively ruled in favor of nine California students – backed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch and his nonprofit organization Students Matter – who argued that they were deprived of their right to a quality education because of state laws granting tenure to teachers after just 18 months on the job. The judge accepted the plaintiffs’ case that too many underperforming teachers wind up in low income and minority schools and can’t easily be fired. Treu rejected the argument made by unions that tenure is simply the right to due process; he noted that tenured instructors in California are rarely dismissed.”

Union officials typically refrain from speaking publicly about the obvious political connection between the teachers unions and their beneficiaries, but unflinching union apologist Dianne Ravich didn’t hesitate to admonish Duncan for betraying his supporters in the Democratic Party.
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