Choosing one of the two talking points, or rather words, the Florida Republican Party is using in the 2014 governor's race, Jeb Bush endorsed Rick Scott today, using "economy," in spite of dubious claims about Florida's.
One thing you can always count on from Rick Scott is his predictability when it comes to shameless hypocrisy. His few campaign promises often fall flat, and when they do, he tries to manufacture fictional victories.
Tony Bennett Gets An "F" In Playing Politics With Education
(Updated Below: Bennett to resign.)
On Monday, a report from the Associated Press indicated that emails obtained from then Indiana Schools Chief Tony Bennett showed that he changed the school grade for a charter school run by a prominent Republican donor from a "C" to an "A." Bennett was later defeated by a Democrat and left Indiana soon after. Naturally, Bennett was then picked by Florida Governor Rick Scott to take charge of Florida schools.
Now that the Indiana grade change details have been made public, many are calling for Bennett to step down. Unfortunately, after saying he hadn't seen the reports, Rick Scott responded to this latest scandal with much the same response he gives all the scandals coming from his office: "He's doing a great job."
In his place, Scott named DCF’s regional managing director for the southern district, Esther Jacobo, as interim DCF secretary.
“David did a great job in leading the state’s top child protection agency and his service is deeply appreciated. I have no doubt that Esther will increase accountability in the department and enhance child protective services in order to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Scott said.
Should we be surprised that Scott is standing by Tony Bennett? Probably not, and for more reasons than one. Of course Scott takes no blame when things go wrong under his direction, but the fact that Bennett allegedly changed grades for political reasons (although Bennett claims that isn't the case) may be exactly why Scott says he's doing a great job. Perhaps that's by design, and exactly what Scott intended.
In a textbook exercise in Orwellianism, Bennett, now the Florida schools chief, defended his damage-control frenzy by saying the rating apparatus as a whole was in jeopardy.
Educators, from those with traditional public schools to those operating charters to those teaching teachers in universities, already had warned him about A-F. But they saw the jeopardy the other way around: It was and is a blunt instrument that treats parents choosing schools like shoppers for backpacks. And it sets schools up for state takeover, and management by private businesses with political connections, without giving them and their communities a fair chance to explain their numbers and describe their needs. It tends to financially reward the affluent.
Though the Florida Parent Trigger push has gone down in defeat in the legislature two years in a row, the powers that be are still hard at work trying to propel Florida schools into privatization. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and his nationwide efforts with his Foundation for Florida's Future, along with Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst and California-based Parent Revolution have gone to great lengths to find other ways when legislation fails in spite of deception tactics like the "Debunking Parent Empowerment Myths" propaganda they deployed earlier this year.
There are big profits to be gained from privatization in spite of the evidence that many charter schools in Florida have had not only bad academic failures, but financial accountability problems, and weighting and boosting grades for private schools isn't new either.
When people whipped money in the 2012 election, stunning journalists who had swallowed Bennett’s Kool-Aid and had presumed his easy re-election, the vanquished golden boy of the national conservative school crusade opined that he had been too busy rescuing our children to devote sufficient time to politics. His sponsor, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, suggested that illegal campaigning by unionized teachers had derailed vitally needed reform.
"He is very focused on accountability. He is very focused on making sure we have the number one school system in the country."
Coming from the governor who claimed he was working to do the same while actually defunding public education leaves one with more than just a little skepticism.
While Scott hasn't "directly answered" the question of whether Bennett's job is secure, he has a political dilemma of his own to face in his next move. He's placed Florida families and education squarely in his reelection cross-hairs, but voters have seen through his actual treatment of both, and parents are in no mood for another "parent trigger" style privatization maneuver.
If Rick Scott truly were interested in giving Florida's children a chance at a "world class education," he wouldn't be playing politics with them year after year, and he wouldn't have put Tony Bennett and his questionable past with Indiana schools in charge of Florida schools in the first place.
Remember back when the so-called "Tea Party" was manufactured, and a common rallying cry from it's "members" was "We want to take our country back"? And remember how many of us asked "take our country back to what, exactly?"
Yeah, well I think we're getting the answer to our questions right now.
It's bad enough that in November of 2008, the Republican Party made the decision to ignore the voters by blocking anything and everything that the President and Democrats tried to do, while repeating ad nauseum that they were doing so because "It was what Americans wanted." Never mind every other trick they've pulled out of their hats the last five years. Rather, let's just look at the most recent examples.
In the space of just a few weeks, the U. S. Supreme Court, which "formally" ended its history as an apolitical body when they ignored our votes and forced George W. Bush on us in 2000, has now become another wing of the Tea Party, thanks to their wing nut majority of justices, and took it upon themselves to butcher the Voting Rights Act. Worse, they did so while one member said that allowing black people to vote was a "racial entitlement" and another justified the ruling by saying racism no longer exists in this country, hence, no need for the now "quaint" Voting Rights Act. One would assume no one could actually pull that argument off when racism personified is but a chair or two away sitting on that same Court. But no, John Roberts is an ace at hypocrisy: Racism no longer exists because we have a black President, and because racism no longer exists, Republicans can now feel free to move about the country and prevent those "entitled ones" from voting.
This is what now constitutes logic in the highest court in the land.
Then of course, the abortion police in the states proceeded to pass more egregious abortion bills in the space of a couple weeks, adding to record numbers of legislation since the 2010 mid-terms, when gerrymandering Republicans took the House promising jobs, jobs, jobs.
That went well.
We've seen a Texas Democrat illustrate what an actual filibuster looks like when the GOP sought to force a bill through there. We saw elderly women protesters dragged away by police, and tampons, yes, tampons, confiscated from protesters out of fear they would be used as a weapon. In Texas. Where guns are not only carried and welcomed everywhere, but are also a fashion accessory. We saw lawmakers say it was OK to ban abortions, one reason being they would no longer be necessary because rape kits take care of all the pesky results and "particulars" down there afterwards. We heard the reasoning that eliminating women's health clinics in the name of abortion actually benefits a woman's health overall, in that there's no access to that health care..... and we've seen abortion provisions added to motorcycle safety bills, or any other legislation they could find.
The right would have you believe that a politician guarding and regulating one's uterus is in no way an intrusion by "big government" which they loathe. Nor is having to consult your local politician rather than your doctor to make health care decisions for yourself. And while guns should be available to all, (owning several, or a complete arsenal is even better!) a tampon becomes a weapon should it enter any venue where women dare to speak their minds about not wanting to wear a state-sanctioned chastity belt.
Then we come to the trial of a wannabe cop and self-proclaimed neighborhood watch superhero with a gun who "protected the neighborhood" by gunning down the son of a resident's girlfriend, and hence, one of the people he was supposed to be protecting. We are now actually told by those on the right that this is acceptable, because the victim was black.
When President Obama was elected, the white right proclaimed that we were now even. Racism was erased because "those people" scored themselves a President. And then they set about proving otherwise. There were many who felt free to let loose, and just went ahead and let their racist flags fly. Now, with the Trayvon Martin killing, eventual arrest of George Zimmerman, and the subsequent verdict of not innocent guilty, it's as if those same people and more are not only letting their racist flags fly, but they're saying "We're going to need a bigger, taller flagpole, and a flag large enough to see from space."
A teenager was gunned down because he was in a place he had every right to be, doing nothing more than walking home. He was black, wearing a hoodie, and walking on a dark night in the rain, in an area that had seen an uptick of burglaries. Enter the armed Neighborhood Watch vigilante who disobeyed the rules because he alone came to the conclusion that with the elements above combined, this child was black, and therefore must have been the responsible party. Trayvon Martin was targeted as the "a**hole" that wouldn't get away. So said George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was found "not innocent guilty" by a jury of his peers, because it's Florida. And peers they were. (Don't just take my word for it. Go listen to the interview of one of them on CNN, or read her comments here.) This juror was not only his "peer" but sounds like the President of the George Zimmerman fan club. She calls Zimmerman George, but refers to Trayvon Martin as the "boy". To hear her speak is to assume that she believes the real victim in all this was poor George, who has learned his lesson. George, she says, indeed profiled Martin, but race had nothing to do with it. George went too far, but she would totally be comfortable having him on her Neighborhood Watch as long as he didn't go too far again. George, who she feels was "egged on" by the 911 operator who told him to stay in his car.
How she used this profound wisdom to find Zimmerman not guilty is beyond my comprehension.
Basically, Zimmerman's peers found that, though there was that whole inconvenience of the "killed Trayvon Martin" part, Martin was black, so one cancels the other out. Even Steven.
As if that weren't bad enough, it gets worse. It isn't only the jury, but those on the right who have made him their new best friend. They have seen him get away with killing an unarmed black teenager and that makes him a hero! Why, FOX made him one long ago with an exclusive interview where he told Sean Hannity that killing Martin was "all part of God's plan." (The jury must bust believe that too, as it was in evidence at trial.) Right wing radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh said basically, due to so many political wins by Democrats he's seen via hallucination, finally, FINALLY the right has a "win" in their corner for once. You read that right: A dead black child, not to mention a future ""racially entitled voter, goes into the record books as a win for him and his Republican-Tea-Party-Conservative-Bircher pals. Not to be outdone, professional troll Ann Coulter summed up that "win" by Tweeting "Hallelujah!" Saturday when the verdict was announced. (Book soon to be published on the topic no doubt.) Not to be left out, even left leaning journalist Jonathan Alter actually invoked the now common "both sides analogy" while explaining his views to Joy Reid on MSNBC this afternoon. (Joy didn't let that one go, however, and I can't be the only one who took satisfaction in watching her do so.) This is of course, a false equivalence, as always. There is no "both sides" to this one. There are none on the left who celebrate anything as egregious as the circumstances surrounding the death of a child. None.
In the farce that the right has turned America into, Zimmerman emerges the hero, he'll probably have no shortages of offers for book deals and movie rights, perhaps a position alongside that other right wing celebrity nut-bag and professional victim Sarah Palin over at FOX. Count me as unsurprised if there isn't some sort of reality TV deal coming down the road. Something in a how-to self defense, martial arts, vigilante justice kind of thing like "George Zimmerman Stands His Ground."
Then there are the jurors, the one above, who within just days of the verdict, sought out and signed on with a literary agent for a possible book deal. Sadly for her, in under 24 hours, she announced this, went on national television and did enough damage by opening her mouth that outrage ensued, and through Twitter activism, the agent dropped the juror as a client. One could take that to say there is still just a smidgen of justice left in the world. Conventional wisdom and pundits tell us we mustn't criticize the jury. They also say we must accept the verdict.
Really? I don't think so. Not this time.
As George Zimmerman's attorneys gloated and bragged on camera after the verdict, so too did Florida's Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, for reasons that still boggle my mind. Her loss was a win for the right, as well as for right wing Florida politicians, like Rick Scott who appointed her.
How did we get here?
Florida is the state where common sense, logic, and consequences for immoral actions and ethics go to die. For a majority of bad decisions, outcomes, and head-scratching stories that define the saying "truth is stranger than fiction" chances are that all roads will lead back to Florida. The 2000 election, electing a governor who was previously best known for running a company that scored the biggest Medicare fraud fine in history, and now has a state sanctioned, "shoot first, ask questions and fill in the blanks later" law that allowed George Zimmerman to profile, pursue and admittedly kill a black child, and walk away not only a free man, but one who may well live out his days profiting from it.
Only in Florida can you profile and stalk a child, and then claim you shot him in self defense when he did what children are told to do by their parents when strangers are coming after them: Get away. Run. Because this child was black, Zimmerman's defense said it was justified. Said their client was the victim, not Trayvon Martin. The defense turned the tables and when it was over, the outcome was as if Martin was tried and found guilty, and Zimmerman was the wrongful victim. The deceased Martin was demonized, the responsible party walked away, and he, his defense team, and many on the right from reporters, radio race baiters and bloggers, to the very Republican politicians who made this legal outcome possible, are now dancing on this child's grave.
This law that allows you to get away with murder as long as you kill the only witness was written by ALEC, and handed down to the good old boys in Tallahassee who were only to eager to enact it. Thank Jeb Bush who was governor at the time. Thank its proud sponsor Dennis Baxley, a funeral home owner who also conveniently walks hand in hand with the NRA. Thank Republicans who hold the majority in the legislature who allow it to remain law. Thank Rick Scott, who appointed the Special Prosecutor who acted as though she were accepting an award when she lost her case, also the one who sent a black woman to jail for firing a warning shot in the air under the same Stand Your Ground law. Thank Scott a second time for reluctantly, under pressure, finally calling for a task force to "investigate" the SYG law, which he filled with Baxley, and an entire group of gun friendly, NRA owned lawmakers. What did they find after their so-called investigation? Surprise! The law is just dandy the way it is!
Case closed. Move along.
Even after the verdict, Baxley stood by his SYG baby like a proud father. Why wouldn't he? Because the law allows just exactly what it was intended to. Having made guns more readily available than birth control, and easier to get than it is to vote in Florida, they wrote a law that protects someone like Zimmerman. Protects the sacred right of the gun owner. After all, if you put him in prison, he can't buy more guns, which means less campaign checks from the gun companies. That's the way they roll in Tallahassee. If a child or any other innocent victim happens to find themselves on the wrong end of a gun, so be it. Collateral damage.
This is what we've come to. This is what the right wants to "take the country back to." This is their idea of freedom and liberty. Guns for all, votes for whites only, and exerting power and control over minorities, women, taking away choice, protecting those in the womb, only to be cast aside as slackers and takers after they're born, forced to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." Bootstraps they've legislated out of reach.
My heart aches for the loss of Trayvon Martin. It aches for his family. While we can't bring him back, we can change. We have to change. This is insanity. If there are those who seek to prevent a change for the better, they need to get out of the way.
We are better than this. Please tell me we are better than this.
"All too often we’re associated with being 'anti' everything," Bush said. "Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs, because those voters feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome in our party."
If only Jeb Bush were willing to take Jeb Bush's advice.
No, Bush has decided that if you can't beat insanity, or fund raise and push your agenda without it, by all means start campaigning with the inmates! Last night Bush headlined a fundraiser with one of the most unpopular Tea Party Governors who has tossed his hat back into the reelection ring.
No, not Rick Scott this time, think crazier:
Maine's very own lunatic Governor Paul LePage. And people keep insisting that Jeb's the brains in the Bush family.
The media wasn't allowed at the fundraiser, which I guess under the circumstances is perfectly understandable. Most wouldn't want that kind of association to get out, but when you're shameless and desperate like Jeb, I guess it's worth the risk.
Or how about the time he said this, over repealing a ban of Bisphenol A (BPA), a man made carbon-based compound used in plastic beverage bottles that exhibits hormone-like properties:
"There hasn't been any science that identifies that there is a problem" and added: "The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards....and we don't want that."
Even though Bush and LePage share ties to the State of Maine, why would Bush risk embracing the crazy? Well, here's how LePage views immigration and education for a hint. LePage has touted how a private school was able to bring up its math scores “because they bring kids from Asia.” Also, this hint from Bush spokesman Jaryn Emhof:
"I know (Bush) has a lot of respect for what Gov. LePage is trying to get done in the state," and the two spent time together at a national education conference and have "a good rapport."
Of course. Money, and Bush's love for privatizing public schools.
Did I mention that Bush is shameless and desperate?
Of course that's not the entire reason for Bush and LePage to become BFF's. The best reason is the one that Jeb would rather you not believe. That he and LePage are actually ON the same page when it comes to many of their shared political beliefs. Jeb just thinks you won't notice, given that he's supposed to be the sane member of the GOP.
He's just not inclined to use colorful terms terms like "Gestapo" or "vaseline" to promote them.
Progress Florida has released a new report on ALEC's influence in Florida, this time concerning public schools which are under assault by those who seek to profit from privatization. Cited in the report are The Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), founded by Jeb Bush, and the Special Needs Scholarship Act, which is based on the Florida McKay scholarships. Model legislation in Florida is just part of the widespread influence ALEC has on education nationwide.
“Floridians need to know who is representing, and how cozy their lawmakers are with, the for-profit education industrial complex,” said Mark Ferrulo, executive director of Progress Florida. “We will continue to shine a bright light on ALEC and the lawmakers doing their dirty work for as long as their assault on our neighborhood public schools continues.”
From the report, ALEC v Kids, the specific policies pertaining to Florida:
ALEC’s ties to Florida are reinforced by the connection with Former Governor Jeb Bush and his ALEC member Foundation for Excellence in Education. ALEC has taken model policies from FEE, and FEE has promoted policies taken from ALEC. Matthew Ladner, working at the time for the Goldwater Institute, introduced the ‘A-Plus literacy Act’ as an ALEC model bill based off the education policies, including vouchers, Former Governor Bush spearheaded in his tenure in Florida. Ladner then began working for FEE, where he works today. FEE’s digital learning statistics are used by ALEC for their report card, and Florida has enacted an ALEC model Virtual Public Schools Act. FEE supported the ALEC ‘Parent Trigger’ legislation that failed in Florida, voted down by the Senate 20-20.
ALEC’s education policies have been intertwined with Florida for more than a decade. In 1999 the Florida Legislature passed a bill as part of Governor Jeb Bush’s signature education reforms establishing the McKay Scholarship Program. The program is a voucher system to allow for disabled students to attend private schools. This program was the first of its kind. ALEC’s model ‘Special Needs Scholarship Program Act’ is based on the Florida McKay scholarships. Now, at least seven states have enacted similar programs. Although it was the first of its kind, Florida’s McKay scholarships are wrought with problems.
There is no mechanism in Florida law to measure the academic achievement of students using the scholarships. It is impossible to know if the program is improving or harming academic performance. For more than a decade, Florida has spent millions on the scholarships, without any mechanism to assess the efficacy of the program. Not for lack of trying, the Manhattan Institute, a State Policy Network Affiliate with ties to ALEC, has attempted to assess results by conducting a surveys, in 2003 and 2008. Not surprisingly these surveys mirror the ALEC model legislation, attempting to assess satisfaction, but not truly assessing student performance. In 2011, still with no credible assessment of the Florida program, the state expanded the McKay scholarships to encompass more students.
As the program has grown in size to 26,000 students, with the state paying more than a billion dollars, rampant fraud has followed. In a thorough investigation, the Miami New Times investigated the McKay scholarships and found appalling fraud. While schools were required to have a physical location, no verification was required, and the New Times found that funds were being spent on schools that did not exist, existed in condemned buildings, or simply existed in public parks. Schools had virtually zero regulation of curriculum, and no requirement for accreditation, to the extent that many ‘schools’ let children wander in parks, and in an appalling case had children panhandling as a ‘business management class.’ Even corporal punishments, banned in Miami-Dade public schools, made a resurgence in McKay funded private ‘schools.’ Between the program’s implementation and 2011, the Florida Department of Education had investigated 38 schools, and substantiated claims of fraud in 25 of them; many of the schools committing fraud continued to receive McKay funding. According to the Miami New Times, many of the schools committing fraud are merely asked to repay the stolen funds, and continued to receive McKay payments.
This is not surprising, as the law, at the time, stated that the Florida Department of Education could make no more than three random site visits each year; three visits covering the more than a thousand schools who were in the program. The Miami New Times investigation prompted legislators to enact measures to combat fraud, 12 years into the program. ALEC’s model bill has not changed, and continues to advance in states.
While we're only months into President Obama's second term, the last thing I want to write about at the moment is the next Presidential election, but it's hard to pass up a chance to point out that two of the 2016 hopefuls from the shrinking Stupid Party (not my words, branding from one of their own) seem to be in a battle to appeal to the craziest of crazies in their party.
There's Marco Rubio, the so-called "rising star" who so far is more of a flame out (gulp), and then there's the recently resurfaced Jeb Bush, who for no apparent reason, they refer to as the "smart one" of the Bush clan. As they both jumped into the Presidential hopeful spotlight in recent days and weeks, things haven't gone too well for either of them.
During the 2012 campaign, Jeb sat on the sidelines while critiquing Mitt Romney and the others, and for most of that time, he echoed the conventional wisdom that the GOP had turned into a clown competition, and that they would never get anywhere unless they started acting civilized.
Yeah, that didn't last long.
Jeb entered the spotlight again this week to try and sell his new book. The only problem is that it's a book about immigration, and as everyone now knows, he's taken about three or four (I've lost count) different positions in the space of two days. That's a record, even beating Mitt Romney's flip-flop on positions that differed with the ones he wrote about in his book on health care. No doubt Jeb took a hard right turn off the road of his faux sensible Republican act in order to play to a base that's not just anti-immigration, but anti-anything but white folks (and women) altogether. Now Jeb has been invited to speak at the annual Take Off Your Straightjacket weekend or CPAC, so it's anyone's guess what hoops he'll be jumping through at that little hate-fest.
Since Jeb conveniently popped up with a book on immigration just as Rubio was crowning himself the king of an immigration policy that the GOP is crowing about, but no one has actually seen yet, I suppose it's only natural that Rubio would try and go even lower, after a six pack or two of bottled water.
Also from that same interview, he threw in a veiled threat at possibly blocking yet another nominee, this time for the Environmental Protection Agency, because enforcing regulations that would keep the big polluters from killing us all must not stand as far as Rubio and his donors are concerned. You know the argument, no regulations, free market, big government, and so on.
Who really knows if there's a rivalry between these two, or if at the moment they're just camera ready attention hogs. For all we know, they may think that a double dose of crazy would be just the thing for a two man ticket in 2016, although I'm not sure either of their egos could stand the competition.
Either way, it's going to be interesting to watch them race to the bottom.
On a more serious side however, in the meantime Rubio still wants to take the entire country hostage over the protection of tax cuts for the wealthy while trying to kill the ACA, and anything else that will benefit the country as a whole, while he uses every crisis as an opportunity to raise money from the rich folks he actually works for.
If any of you GOP inclined voters in Florida think there's a Republican primary coming up for U.S. Senate candidates, Connie Mack IV has a message for you:
You see, the "Gas Prices Are Too Damn High??" candidate has declared himself the winner because he currently has a 33 point lead in the polls over the others who assume they're still running against him, and of course we all know that polls never change. Never! Well, except for when they do.
But no matter! That's not the only reason Mack has declared himself the winner. He has endorsements from Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, so there! Guess we're to assume they're the ultimate deciders since Jeb all but made his brother the President in spite of the number of votes counted, and Mittens declared himself the frontrunner long before Republican voters came to the conclusion there was no one else left to support after a long primary season. Not for lack of trying either! They gave a shot to just about every last wing-nut they could find from Michele "We ARE In The Last Days And Besides, I'm Hearing Voices" Bachmann right down to pizza magnate Herman "9-9-9" Cain. Never mind that the name Bush still means the plague in most "thinking" voters minds, and no one likes Mitt Romney no matter what they say. He's similar to our governor, Rick Scott, in that sense. Both were elected as Governors, and yet they were so bad at their jobs no one will admit to actually voting for them.
Really. Ask around!
No, the race is clearly over as far as Connie's concerned. Since he's spent so much time batting at George Stand-In LeMieux like a pesky fly for months to no avail, he's decided to just pretend he's not there from now on, along with......those other guys running.
Another reason may just be Connie's Daddy. He's Connie Mack for Pete's sake! Besides, Daddy's in agreement. It's over, so there. Any questions? (Did Connie Mack IV mention his Daddy is Connie Mack?)
Those are the conventional wisdom choices, but I think there's another reason. He's basically a coward with nothing to offer, and he knows it. Here's your first clue, from Mack himself:
"We have a 33-point lead," Mack said last week, explaining his decision to skip three televised GOP primary debates.
[...."If my opponents want to debate me, that will only help Sen. Nelson," Mack said.
Wow. That's some admission. The ony thing that might have surprised me more would have been if he said he was a hapless loser. Sure others have made that assumption, but I do believe this is a first.
"If I debate, I'll lose!"
He's starting to sound like Mitt Romney: "I'll have it both ways, thank you."
The unspoken truth here is that in a debate with Sen. Bill Nelson, Mack will likely lose there too. Why prolong the agony, I say?
But some grass roots Republicans say it's too soon for Mack to declare himself the winner — especially if he won't make the customary rounds at debates and straw polls.
"It's an incredibly bad message to send to the voters in a primary," said Nancy McGowan, president of the Conservative Republican Forum of Jacksonville. "It just says, 'What you think doesn't matter.' "
Another astute observation from the right, but then being a conservative Republican Ms. McGowan should know by now that "what you think doesn't matter" is pretty much the Republican platform these days. They don't care what you think, or want, regardless of party affiliation. You're on your own.