Obama reminds business owners, ‘You didn’t build that’

There was plenty of speculation yesterday about what could have made so many people faint during President Obama’s speech in Roanoke, Va. Hot Air has reviewed the official White House transcript of the campaign event and perhaps has uncovered the precise words which rendered so many unconscious — especially those who have built their own businesses.

Echoing Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s claim that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” Obama told those left standing by the end of his speech that “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own.” And that wasn’t all.

Obama: "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." http://t.co/aViP8b8T

— Brandon Kiser (@Kiser) July 14, 2012

Wait, Obama really said this?! "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." http://t.co/OVSiZB7K

— Lee Doren (@LDoren) July 14, 2012

Un-freakin-real. Obama not only doesn't understand small business; he doesn't even have the first clue. http://t.co/S5c1ATjk #tcot #TheLeft

— Josh Painter (I-TX) (@Josh_Painter) July 14, 2012

Obama says small business owners didn't built them. Spoken like an blowhard politician who never built anything! http://t.co/HokgQ99g

— Hammer_N_NC (@Hammer_N_NC) July 14, 2012

Here's Obama giving the finger to every entrepreneur in America. I'm livid. http://t.co/mPBRSmtm

— Cuffé (@CuffyMeh) July 15, 2012

As a small business owner, these statements from Obama just piss me off. What an arrogant ass. http://t.co/4KWT1cQT

— opinions from CA (@PhilippeHeller) July 14, 2012

Obviously these people don’t appreciate that their ability to tweet their displeasure also came from government. “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own,” Obama continued. “Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/07/14/obama-reminds-business-owners-you-didnt-build-that/

How Controversial Online Charter Schools Push Aside Their Opponents

Thanks to a mysterious legislative mandate tacked onto the state budget, North Carolina will now be home to two new experiments in online schooling.

Don Douglas/Don Douglas

It has taken three years, a court case, an appeal, a half-dozen hearings, and a posse of lobbyists, but controversial education company K12 Inc. has finally won a battle to operate an online charter school in North Carolina.

The Board of Education approved today the opening of North Carolina Virtual Academy, an online charter school that will be managed and operated by K12 Inc. After years of resistance from the state school board, the approval was essentially mandated by a last-minute legislative rider slipped into the state’s budget. Another virtual charter school, which will be operated by a subsidiary of education giant Pearson, was also approved.

In online charter schools, students take classes at home on their computers, interacting with their teachers via chat and video calls; as at traditional charters, taxpayers foot the bill.

The opening of North Carolina Virtual Academy is a key victory for K12, the nation’s largest operator of online charter schools, which has been weathering increasing pushback across the country in the face of poor academic results and high student turnover in the online schools it manages. K12 does not dispute those results, but attributes them to the struggling student population it says it serves.

K12 was targeted by a high-profile campaign from activist investor Whitney Tilson, who criticized the school’s practices and compared it to subprime mortgage lenders, as well as two shareholder lawsuits, which were both dismissed. The company was cited in Florida for failing to provide adequately certified teachers, and last year, the NCAA ruled that it would no longer accept coursework from two dozen of the company’s virtual schools.

In 2013, the company lost its management contract in Colorado, which cited the school’s poor results; last year, it lost a major contract to manage its largest school, in Pennsylvania, which at its peak made up 14% of K12’s revenue. It is now on the verge of being driven out of Tennessee.

“K12 has a lot riding on North Carolina Virtual Academy,” said Matt Ellinwood, an attorney and policy analyst at the progressive North Carolina Justice Center, which has long publicly opposed K12’s expansion into the state. “They’re in a grow or die industry, and that’s how their model works.”

K12, currently valued at around $615 million, saw its stock rose almost 3% on Thursday, the day the company won the right to operate the North Carolina school. To increase revenue and satisfy shareholders, Ellinwood said, the company needs to replace its lost contracts with new ones, opening new schools in as many states as it can.

The complex legal and legislative battle K12 has waged in North Carolina shows just how far the company is willing to go to achieve that goal.

Getty Images Peter Macdiarmid

While NC Learns, a nonprofit, will technically operate North Carolina Virtual Academy when it opens this September, K12 is contracted to provide day-to-day-operations, management, and curriculum, with the nonprofit redirecting virtually every dollar of public money it receives to K12. NC Learns was funded solely by K12, which has paid its legal costs and sat alongside its members at every meeting and hearing since the board’s founding.

K12 and NC Learns first submitted an application to open a virtual school in North Carolina more than three years years ago, in 2011, when a change in state statute appeared to open the door to the legality of virtual schools. K12 Inc. said that NC Learns’ founder Chris Withrow, a longtime advocate of virtual charters, approached the company.

The state board’s chairman had said in October of that year that the board would not approve any virtual schools. So rather than apply to the state — as is the protocol in North Carolina — K12 took the application directly to Cabarrus County, a midsized county near the state’s center.

Cabarrus’ superintendent first heard from K12 and NC Learns by way of a lobbyist named Jeff Barnhart, a five-term state representative of Cabarrus County who had left the state House just two months earlier. The deal, he proposed, was that Cabarrus would approve the virtual school’s application — and share in a fraction of the school’s revenue, which K12 projected to top $34 million by the end of its fifth year. The lawyer K12 paid to represent its interests was the current state senator from Cabarrus.

After a pair of meetings dominated by K12 employees — representatives from the nonprofit partner appear not to have spoken, according to minutes of the meetings — Cabarrus County school board approved the school. But when the state’s school board did not provide an approval of the decision, K12 turned to legal action, asking a judge to file an injunction against against the state school board compelling the school to open. K12 lost subsequent appeals, including a final appeal on December 3, 2013.

Three days later, on Dec. 6, K12 and NC Learns submitted another application for a virtual charter school, this time directly to the state. It was joined by a second application for a virtual school, North Carolina Connections Academy, which would be managed by Pearson subsidiary Connections Education. Connections’ application made it through the first round of approval; K12’s did not. It was unanimously rejected by the state’s charter board. So was the appeal that K12 filed a day later.

K12 Inc. deferred comment to Withrow, the NC Learns founder, who declined to speak to BuzzFeed News. In a statement, Withrow said of NC Learns: “Our mission has always been to provide innovative digital learning charter school option to NC families. Our members contacted K12 to help us provide that opportunity.”

The charter board’s concerns about K12 ran deep. They praised the nonprofit’s experience, but expressed worries about improper and infrequent oversight of K12 Inc. They said there was little rationale for allowing K12 to run the school, aside from the company’s massive size: the company’s academic performance was poor, the proposed student to teacher ratio was “too high,” and the budget projections were “inadequate.”

Others in North Carolina were equally critical of the K12-backed application. Beyond the issues of quality are concerns about budget, said Mark Jewell, the vice president of the North Carolina Educator’s Association, another longtime K12 foe. “Every student that goes to a virtual school is sending student dollars away from a state system that’s looking at a couple hundred million dollar shortfall this year,” Jewell said. “And the money’s going to a for-profit company on Wall Street.”

The school board’s concerns, however, were essentially overridden by a mysterious act of legislative fine print. On May 15, two days after the K12 application had been rejected for a second time, a provision appeared in the state budget that would change the company’s fate in North Carolina. The school board, the budget mandated, was now required to approve two separate pilots of virtual charter programs by the start of 2015.

The legislative rider passed without ever being discussed publicly. K12 representatives, activists, and school board leaders said they did not know who had introduced it; the minority leaders of the state house and Senate declined to comment.

K12 Inc. and Connections jumped on the chance the Senate had given them, and were the only companies to apply for the slots.

When it came time to approve the K12-backed application and send it to the state board for final approval this past December, the school board’s special committee appeared to be hesitant, according to transcripts of the meeting. They had grilled a K12 representative — who spoke more frequently than the nonprofit’s president — about the company’s reputation and proposals, receiving answers that at times skirted the reality of K12’s troubles in other states with technicalities.

“I don’t want to be next,” one committee member, Helen Nance, said when she was called on.

“I didn’t want to be first,” another replied.

“I didn’t want to go at all,” said a third.

“I know,” Nance said. “It’s hard.”

Ultimately, though, all of the state committee’s members voted to move the application forward.

Before the state board, K12 and NC Learns were grilled yet again, in two separate meetings. They received several pointed questions about K12’s background, with one member asking repeatedly how the company could explain “what I read on the internet.”

But for most board members and observers, the legislative mandate made the question of approval moot: there were two charter applications, and two mandatory slots. “There’s a lot of fear and trepidation over things we don’t know,” said one board member. “This has been done in other states, and there have been some challenges there. But we do have legislation in front of us that says to offer a pilot program for two schools.”

Technically, the school board could have denied the K12-backed application, reopening the process. But few saw that as a possibility. The virtual charter pilot legislation made approval such a foregone conclusion for K12 that, a week before the school board was set to meet to vote on North Carolina Virtual Academy, NC Learns’ president, Chris Withrow, began tweeting a countdown to a “super colossal announcement.” “I just can’t wait,” he tweeted. The countdown coincided exactly with the time of the school board’s meeting.

Minutes after the board had voted, Withrow tweeted: “I am proud to announce the State Department of Public Instruction of North Carolina has awarded us a contract to open the first K — 12th grade Virtual School.”

The Count Down Has Begun, the Super Colossal Announcement is 1 Day 14 Hours away

— Chris_M_Withrow (@Chris Withrow)

North Carolina Virtual Academy I am proud to announce the State Department of Public Instruction of North… http://t.co/SNJrRPMBkD

— Chris_M_Withrow (@Chris Withrow)

Getty Images Peter Macdiarmid

At the final meeting to approve North Carolina Virtual Academy, several school board members continued to express trepidation about the applications before them. “There’s too much left unanswered for us to give these two companies, who are questionable from where I sit, access to our children,” said a board advisor, Evelyn Bulluck. “We have not gotten answers to our questions.”

When it came time to vote on a motion to approve K12’s school, John Tate, a board member, delayed the motion to speak. “Personally, I can’t support one of these schools, [because of its] historical performance,” Tate said. “In the spirit of doing what’s right,” Tate proposed deferring a vote in the hopes of getting more than two applications. “I’d rather risk a rushed start than settle on an applicant I don’t think is qualified,” Tate said.

Tate’s motion was denied, and the board voted to approve the K12-backed school, with Tate as the only opposing voice.

North Carolina Virtual Academy hopes to have 1,500 students in its first year, the maximum allowed by the pilot program. Its elementary school will have a student-to-teacher ratio of 1:45, and its high school, “one teacher per class of 30 students (five sections a day),” as according to a K12 representative — or around 150 students to 1 teacher.

Bryan Setser, who runs the nonprofit associated with Connections Academy, the other virtual applicant, said he has been frustrated to be “lumped in” with K12 and NC Learns. “The difference between us is, we followed every state protocol,” Stetser said. “We never tried to bypass it by going to a district… We never went through any litigation.”

Stetser also pointed to his nonprofit’s one-year contract with Pearson, which he said stands in contrast to the four-year contract that NC Learns has with K12 Inc, allowing his board more flexibility in holding the for-profit company accountable.

“Over the years there were struggles, but I knew this was the right thing for the children in our state,” Withrow, the president of NC Learns, wrote in a statement. “I am now proud that today, a historic day for families in North Carolina, we are able to see the vision come to fruition.”

With North Carolina checked off of its list, K12 Inc. has its sights set on several other states, it said in its most recent earnings call, where it is likely to follow similar by-any-means-necessary tactics to ensure approval.

In Maine earlier this week, K12 won another hard-fought battle to open a virtual school — its third time applying for a school in the state. It had been rejected months ago over concerns about the nonprofit board’s lack of independence.

“I can’t exactly tell you which new laws will be passed, nor when new applications will be filed and approved,” the company’s CEO, Nate Davis, told investors in January. “But, the message is, I want you to know that we are working with partners to expand school choice.”

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mollyhensleyclancy/online-charter-schools-winning

‘Open for business!’ Desperate Truth Team still pimping disaster that is Obamacare

Hallelujah! It’s Day Four and we’re still beholding the glory of Obamacare:

If only someone besides an OFA volunteer were able to sign up.



Yeah, about that OFA volunteer …

Obamacare poster boy mocked after story takes on Milli Vanilli vibe


‘BEHOLD THE GLORY!’: Cult-tastic OFA Truth Team spreads the good news about Obamacare

‘Classic’ @BarackObama beclowning: ‘Obamacare is here’; So is hilarious mockery

Cavalcade of celebs promote dysfunctional Obamacare website [pics]

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/10/04/open-for-business-desperate-truth-team-still-pimping-disaster-that-is-obamacare/

‘Breaking’ scoop! WH announces latest way to sign up for Obamacare [pic]


If the old-timey phone business doesn’t work (and we know it doesn’t) try that, Obama administration!


Twitter users offer some other ideas:


Philly-area columnist J.D. Mullane had another “scoop” as well. He spotted the infamous navigator!


He then summed up the problem:



No lapdog here! Philly-area columnist slams ‘fraud’ Al Gore, GOP establishment; Praises Cruz

Full Twitchy coverage of J.D. Mullane

Finally! Obamacare website ‘glitches’ explained in two perfect pics

‘Classic!’ New and improved Obamacare program released? [pic]

Whoops! President Infomercial: You guys, just use the phone for Obamacare; Guess what happens

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/10/23/breaking-scoop-wh-announces-latest-way-to-sign-up-for-obamacare-pic/

Cue the tiny violins: Marion Barry absolutely outraged by DHS snub

D.C. corruptocrat Marion Barry is beside himself. The U.S. Coast Guard is opening a new headquarters in Ward 8 and according to Barry, he wasn’t invited to speak at the soft opening even though he’s the councilmember for that ward.

It’s too bad Twitchy didn’t play a role in the decision. We’ve been waiting for months to see Barry tweet, “Twitch set me up!

Better act fast! Big Sis is just about ready to wrap up that whole DHS thing. On the other hand, maybe — just maybe — there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for excluding Barry from the ceremony:


Schadenfreudelicious: Corruptocrat Marion Barry reportedly penning autobiography

Marion Barry has no love for Twitchy

Thanksgiving suppression? Marion Barry giving away free turkeys; Photo ID required

Marion Barry channels Frederick Douglass: DC isn’t free so ‘put the #$%! hot dog down’

Marion Barry has change of heart after being saved by Filipino hospital staff

Marion Barry: Happy Mother’s Day to ‘my ghost tweeter, a nurturing cancer’; Update: Barry explains

Marion Barry: It’s all the media’s fault! Update: Eleanor Holmes Norton says Barry should apologize

Marion Barry: Let’s get rid of Filipino nurses along with those ‘dirty’ Asian shops

Update: Marion Barry quadruples down on anti-Asian business attack

Marion Barry doubles down on ‘dirty’ Asian shop comments; update: tripling down?

Marion Barry: we must do something about the ‘dirty’ Asians; update: Barry doubles down

Marion Barry arranges date with voter on Twitter

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/07/27/cue-the-tiny-violins-marion-barry-absolutely-outraged-by-dhs-snub/

Obama supporters still urinating on Romney yard signs, bumper stickers

For Republicans, coming of age means graduating from high school, getting a job, getting married, or perhaps starting a business.

For Democrats, it means relieving oneself on a Romney/Ryan yard sign or bumper sticker.

Photo credit: @OmarLopezomar1










Others let their dogs do the deed on their behalf:












Or worse:



Oddly, we weren’t able to find many tweets about dogs that peed or defecated on Obama signs.



Exit question: Are most dogs Democrats?


Unhinged liberals urinate on Romney-Ryan yard signs; Update: No apologies

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/11/04/obama-supporters-urinate-on-romney-yard-signs-bumper-stickers/

Goldman Sachs executive slams Goldman Sachs in NY Times; Update: The Empire pushes back

“Am Leaving Goldman Sachs” is trending on Twitter this morning thanks to Greg Smith’s op-ed piece/resignation letter, “Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs”  in the NY Times.

If you ask us, it’s a big yawner (is anyone really surprised that a Wall Street firm sells its clients products they don’t need?), but there’s no question Mr. Smith’s op-ed struck a chord on Twitter:

Candid resignation letter by a disgruntled Goldman Sachs ex-trader with much to be disgruntled about: http://t.co/2yOGm46B

— Gordon Darroch (@synthjock) March 14, 2012

A gripping, beautifully honest resignation letter if there ever was one http://t.co/PrhGM0DO #Goldmansachs #Gregsmithrocks

— Kaisa SD (@Kaisa_SD) March 14, 2012

Wow – stinging resignation letter by a Goldman Sachs Executive Director, a must read http://t.co/kDBUwXDF via @archiebland

— Neal Mann (@fieldproducer) March 14, 2012

Satire: “Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader

Trending Topics

Trending Topics


http://t.co/iqLuCKbX Goldman Rejects Claims Made by Disgruntled Executive

— Josh Sternberg (@joshsternberg) March 14, 2012

Wall Street Journal:

We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business,” a Goldman spokeswoman said. “In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves.”

Mr. Smith described himself as an executive director and head of Goldman’s U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

A person familiar with the matter said Mr. Smith’s role is actually vice president, a relatively junior position held by thousands of Goldman employees around the world. And Mr. Smith is the only employee in the derivatives business that he heads, this person said.

Sounds like they have more vice presidents than Obama has czars. Or Michelle has ladies-in-waiting personal assistants.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/03/14/goldman-sachs-executive-slams-goldman-sachs-in-ny-times/

Following indictment, Reuters suspends Matthew Keys with pay

As Twitchy reported on Thursday, a three-count indictment alleges that Reuters’ Matthew Keys conspired with Anonymous to hack into a Tribune Company website.

Politico reports that Keys has been suspended with pay.

Matthew Keys suspended at Reuters — with pay politico.com/blogs/media/20… via @politico

— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) March 15, 2013

This isn’t the first time Keys has been in trouble with Reuters since joining the company in 2012.

Reuters: Matthew Keys was reprimanded last year for creating @pendinglarry to mock Google CEO Page

— Michael van Poppel (@mpoppel) March 15, 2013

On Thursday, Keys tweeted, “I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter.” New York magazine notes that it probably wasn’t much of a surprise.

FBI tells @intelligencer it searched Matthew Keys’s home in October 2012 nym.ag/XDPOiW

— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) March 15, 2013

Keys clarified his tweet today.

Good morning. Still fine. To clarify this tweet from yesterday, I found out about the *indictment* from Twitter – bit.ly/Z2IQxv

— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) March 15, 2013


Glenn Greenwald decries ‘prosecutorial overkill’ in Matthew Keys hacking case

Matthew Keys retweets story about his indictment, promises ‘business as usual’ tomorrow

Whoa: Did Reuters’ Matthew Keys help Anonymous hackers?; Updated

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/03/15/following-indictment-reuters-suspends-matthew-keys-with-pay/

Rest easy, ladies: George Takei will do your Hobby Lobby thinking for you

Now you’ve done it, Hobby Lobby. You’ve forced actor George Takei to drop the F-bomb in a nonsensical meme.

That “f**king crafts store” also drove Takei to  blog about “how the U.S Supreme Court believes corporations are people, yet treats women inhumanely.”


He trots out everything from Scientology to Sharia Law in his quest to portray Hobby Lobby as a company that “can refuse to provide insurance covering contraception to its female employees.” (Never mind the 16 types of birth control Hobby Lobby covers. Reading is hard.)

Takei also calls for a boycott and tells all you ladies what you should do. Because he knows best so pipe down and do as you’re told.

The only way such companies ever learn to treat people with decency and tolerance is to hit them where it counts–in their pocketbooks. I won’t be shopping there, and women everywhere should exercise their right of protest and refuse to shop there as well.

Hey, feminists, isn’t this the part where you call him out for “mansplaining” and infantilizing women by telling them what to do?

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.


Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby in landmark religious freedom case

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/07/01/rest-easy-ladies-george-takei-will-do-your-hobby-lobby-thinking-for-you-pic/

Atlanta Hawks owner selling team after ‘racist’ email discovered

From the Chicago Tribune:

Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson announced that he is selling his share of the team after he admitted to writing an e-mail two years ago that contained racially insensitive remarks about fans.

In July, the NBA launched an investigation after Levenson self-reported the August 2012 e-mail to the league. Before the investigation was complete, Levenson notified the NBA office on Saturday night that he will sell the team.

“Over the past several years, I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with low attendance at our games and the need for the Hawks to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors,” Levenson said in a statement Sunday. “Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing.

“In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making cliched assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.”

But is this actually “racist”?

In the yes camp:

But here’s Kareem Abdul-Jabar, a vocal critic of Don Sterling, defending Levenson, calling it business, not racism:

And there’s a third possibility: Levenson self-reported the email to get a better price for the team?

Door number three here might just be the winner.

More on the story:





Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/09/08/don-sterling-2-0-atlanta-hawks-owner-selling-team-after-racist-email-discovered/