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Outside Republican convention, Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee use film to push parent trigger education policy

08/31/12 Janelle Irwin

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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and education reform activist Michelle Rhee talk about a movie that brings the parent trigger debate to the big screen.


photo by Janelle Irwin



Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush used the Republican National Convention as a platform to garner support for so-called parent trigger legislation. During a panel discussion at the Straz Center for the Arts Tuesday, Bush said states need massive overhauls to their education systems.

“We have a third of our kids that are college or career ready despite spending more per student than any country in the world. We can say, ‘U.S.A. number one’, we can be proud that we won all these medals and we can brag about country, but the foundation of our country is not just cracking, it’s coming apart because two thirds of our kids won’t be able to be successful.”

Bush spoke to a crowded auditorium of Republicans after watching a movie called Won’t Back Down It’s about two women who try to take over a failing school to make it better. It echoes the parent trigger legislation that failed in Florida this year. Opponents argue it’s an effort to funnel public money into private hands. Former Washington, D.C., schools head Michelle Rhee dominated the panel discussion. She started a non-profit called Students First that advocates for education reform. Read full story

Journalists and suspected activists denied entrance to 'public' Citizens United film screening

08/31/12 Liz McKibbon

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CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin protested in her vagina costume a number of times during the week of RNC in Tampa.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF




Several people, including journalists, were denied access to a film screening about the Occupy movement Thursday. The film sponsored by Citizens United was described as being free and open to the public on the last day of the Republican National Convention. WMNF’s Liz McKibbon was one of the people denied access. This is her story:

I arrived at downtown Tampa’s Liberty Plaza with tickets and a press badge and passed through the first security checkpoint. During a second security screening at the door to the theater they found CODEPINK press release inside my bag. I told the employee that I was press and that there might be protesters at the event and I was here to document it. But she asked me to leave immediately and I was led out by security. Outside I talked to Andrea Assaf, another woman denied entrance to the event.

“I just arrived here at Liberty Plaza a little bit late, because it was very hard to find parking—to attend a movie that I have a ticket for that I signed up for online and printed out and brought my ID followed all of the instructions. To see the Citizens United movie Occupied Unmasked. And when I presented my ticket and my ID, I was told—I was denied entrance because they have determined that I am on a list as a potential Occupier.”

Read full story

Anti-pollution activists lock themselves together at TECO plant - police use saws to free them

08/31/12 Janelle Irwin

WMNF Drive-Time News Friday Listen to this entire show

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Activists made tube-shaped locks around their arms that police removed with circular power saws.


photo by Janelle Irwin



Seven environmental activists locked themselves down yesterday during a direct action at the TECO power plant in Apollo Beach. Even though police spent hours cutting the locks that linked protesters no one was arrested.

Earth First! activist Leah Rothchild wanted to use the Republican National Convention as a loudspeaker for the group.

“Because this is the dirtiest coal burning power plant in the state of Florida and TECO whose power plant it is, they’re a contributor to the RNC.”

So the activists secretly planned three lockdowns at the plant with smokestacks as a backdrop. Rothchild said two groups of three attached themselves to each other in the middle of one of the roads trucks use to make deliveries including coal. The demonstrators were connected with homemade tubes. Read full story

Anti-pollution activists lock themselves together at TECO plant - police use saws to free them

Anti-pollution activists lock themselves together at TECO plant - police use saws to free them

Anti-pollution activists lock themselves together at TECO plant - police use saws to free them

Anarchists continue peaceful protests in streets of Tampa on final night of Republican convention

08/31/12 Seán Kinane

WMNF Drive-Time News Friday Listen to this entire show

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The heavy police presence typical of RNC week. This is minutes before the coronation of the 1% ceremony.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF



For a fifth straight day protests of the Republican National Convention were peaceful. More than 100 demonstrators, many of whom described themselves as anarchists – marched through the streets of downtown Tampa until after midnight, after the convention was over.

The celebrations ended soon after a steady trickle of convention delegates and alternates made their way north on Ashley. That’s the scene of the only close encounters between protesters and a few dozen convention-goers. A few protesters went beyond the typical chanting and yelled curses at delegates. One of the people coming from the convention told a black protester to go back to his own country.

Like most of the anarchists nervous about being targeted by law enforcement, the protester would not give his name. The only incidence of violence is when protester Mariah McKinney was shoved by a person Getty Images identified as an alternate delegate from the Republican convention.

Several journalists, police and protesters witnessed the shove. Read full story

Anarchists continue peaceful protests in streets of Tampa on final night of Republican convention 

Anarchists continue peaceful protests in streets of Tampa on final night of Republican convention

Anarchists continue peaceful protests in streets of Tampa on final night of Republican convention