DeSantis' Dumpster Fire of Democracy and Trump’s Woes Worsen
James Dolan Bans Lawyers from Knicks Games, M. Night's Disaster of a Movie, and More
So much to talk about. Let’s get to it.
Politics: DeSantis Is Dreaming of a White Florida
The Dumpster Fire of Democracy That Is Florida
Here’s a quick round-up of Florida spearheading the drive to become all that Americans loathe: excessive government interference with personal choices, curtailing free speech, promoting racism, undermining justice. Every article is a frontal assault on the U.S. Constitution. Yup, old times there are not forgotten.
Ron DeSantis and the New Campus Free Speech Crisis (Daily Beast)
SUMMARY: “On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a broad outline of legislation that would enact the most draconian restrictions on public higher education institutions in the United States.
“Among its many pernicious features, the proposal would hand control of the core curricula at Florida’s universities to a single system-wide board appointed by the governor; ban critical race theory (CRT) and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives (DEI) at universities by legislative fiat; and give boards of trustees unchecked power to hire and fire faculty, effectively ending tenure protections.
“It would also unilaterally rewrite universities’ mission statements and force colleges to deprioritize majors deemed to further a ‘political agenda.’ And it would ‘overhaul and restructure’ New College of Florida, whose new board of trustees, stacked by DeSantis with out-of-state conservative pundits, on Tuesday fired the college president and replaced her with a political ally of the governor.”
MY TAKE: What’s happening right now in Republican education “reform” across the country is one of the most important—and damaging—issues facing the country. It is no exaggeration to say that the kinds of learning restrictions and dumbing-down efforts of the courses that they are instituting is reminiscent of the Salem witch trials, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China’s reeducation policies. This is the opposite of what education is about.
Take a look at what happens when politicians try to groom party members instead of thinkers:
The Wyoming legislature tried to defund the University of Wyoming’s gender studies program.
Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Iowa, and Mississippi are all attempting to restrict or eliminate faculty tenure.
And, of course, whatever the hell is going on in Florida as DeSantis inflicts death by a thousand paper cuts, so we can all watch their educational system bleed out.
Tenure is an easy target because many people don’t understand why it’s so important that a faculty member can’t be fired unless there is strong professional justification. Tenure encourages academic freedom, protecting teachers from politicians who don’t like what’s being taught when it conflicts with their beliefs, politics, or religion, and they want to fire that teacher.
Many students can’t afford to travel out of state or go to expensive private schools, so these students are left with what is becoming watered-down state schools run by hall monitors rather than educators. To them, higher education is just a sausage machine designed to produce only students who think like them—and vote Republican.
SUMMARY: Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced plans this week to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory in his latest attack on Black and LGBTQ+ people in the public education system.
MY TAKE: DeSantis has made a clear pronouncement regarding who he thinks the enemy is: all marginalized people, especially Blacks and LGBTQ+. We do not want the people who reject diversity, equity and inclusion deciding the future of America, a country founded on principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Florida athletes could be required to submit their menstrual history to schools (The Seattle Times)
SUMMARY: “A proposed draft of a physical education form in Florida could require all high school student athletes to disclose information regarding their menstrual history — a move that’s already drawing pushback from opponents who say the measure would harm students.
“The draft — published last month by the Florida High School Athletic Association, a group that oversees interscholastic athletic programs across the state — proposes making currently optional questions regarding a student’s menstrual cycle mandatory, as reported by the Palm Beach Post.
The form, if approved, would ask students if they’ve had a menstrual cycle, and if so, at what age they had their first menstrual period, their most recent menstrual period and “how many periods [the student has] had in the past 12 months.”
The questions have appeared in the state’s athletics participation form for more than two decades, but have been optional.
“‘This is clearly an effort to further stigmatize and demonize transgender people in sports (and) meant to further exclude people who aren’t assigned female at birth in girls sports,’ said Maxx Fenning, president of PRISM, a South Florida nonprofit organization that provides sexual health information to LGBTQ+ youth. ‘Beyond that, I think there’s concern among LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ [students] alike. This is an extremely invasive mode of gleaning into someone’s reproductive history, which is especially dangerous in this post-Roe world we live in.’”
MY TAKE: One has to wonder why conservatives who complain that their phone can track them don’t have the same outrage about intrusive mandatory questions from the government. Does their defense of constitutional rights to privacy stop when they don’t like the people whose rights are being violated? It’s crucial that they understand that if one group’s rights can be violated, then anyone’s can.
SUMMARY: “Florida could soon be the only state where a judge could override a jury’s recommendation for a life sentence and give the death penalty instead, under proposed legislation to recraft Florida’s capital punishment system.
“…The language is nearly identical to Florida’s previous statute, which allowed judicial override until 2016, when the Legislature reworked the statute following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said judges had too much power, instead of juries, when it came to the death penalty.
“Along with opening the door for judicial override again, the bill proposes doing away with requiring unanimous jury verdicts for a death penalty sentence, lowering the threshold to an 8-4 majority.”
MY TAKE: Florida Republicans have a problem: the pesky juries just don’t want to execute enough people. So, these dedicated lawmakers decided to remove the hairball clogging the drain of justice by making the jury less consequential. They are clearly hoping that the Trump-stacked Supreme Court will support this execution of constitutional rights.