Sunday, July 11, 2004

Bush Tales

The Bush family has been busy doing many things, and some of them are more interesting than others. In Florida, Jeb Bush has had a fascinating week. First, he failed a math question asked by an eighteen year old Florida school student at an occasion where Bush was speaking about the importance of passing the Florida FCAT test that is required there for high school graduation. Here's Jeb's excuse for failing:

"If the point is I haven't been in school for the last 30 years, that's true. But if I'm going to be graduating from high school and I can't pass a 10th-grade aptitude test, then I'm fooling myself," Bush said. "The fact that a 51-year-old man can't answer a question is really not relevant. You're still going to have to take the FCAT, and you're still going to have to pass it in order to get a high-school degree."

Hmm. I wouldn't be convinced by this if I was a student in Florida.

Though Jeb's administration does seem to suffer from some type of math angst. Consider the fact that it recently released a list of Florida felons, barred from voting, and this list missed most Hispanic felons, supposedly due to data handling problems:

The decision to scrap the list was made after it was reported that the list contained few people identified as Hispanic; of the nearly 48,000 people on the list created by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, only 61 were classified as Hispanics.
That was because when voters register in Florida, they can identify themselves as Hispanic. But the potential felons database has no Hispanic category, which excludes many people from the list if they put that as their race.

Hmm. What language is the name "Florida"? Never mind. I have been told by several data handlers that the omission of the Hispanic names can't have been due to computer problems, unless the Florida state workers are unusually incompetent. So perhaps this is another example of Jeb's math anxiety? Or something.

Meanwhile, Jeb's big brother has been busy sulking in public and sticking his tongue out at the NAACP. He refused an invitation to speak at the annual meeting of the NAACP, and when asked to reconsider this is what Bush answered:

Bush, campaigning in Pennsylvania on Friday, said he would not attend this year's NAACP event. He said his relationship with its leadership was "basically nonexistent" and he referred to being called "names" by organization members.

Hmm. Interesting behavior. Reminds me of spats between little children. Its use by the president of the United States is novel, though. There are more than twelve million registered black voters in the country, but most of them vote for Democrats. Maybe the president isn't for every American anymore, just for those who vote Republican?