Friday, September 22, 2017

ALL IN THE FAMILY: What Do Robert Buckhannon And “Cultiv1260” Have In Common?

Call me crazy, but it looks like another member of the Buckhannon family might be going to pot.

While Robert Buckhannon has MicroCann1260 with his former hedge fund dawg, it appears his brother, Ronald, has dipped his toes in the cannabis pond.

An entity calling itself “Cultiv LLC” registered a domain name (“cultiv1260.com”), a Word Press site still under construction.

As you can see from the image below, the site is still using “dummy text” as descriptive copy for Ron Buckhannon—AKA “The Dude”.

I'm not certain if the man pictured is indeed Buckhannon, as the same image is used to depict Sergio Dula, described as a grower.

Like Robert Buckhannon, Ron Buckhannon flouts the law.

An extensive search for “Cultiv LLC”, the business entity name shown on the site, returned no results.

No South Carolina registration, where Ron Buckhannon is purported to now live. No Nevada corporation or even a Delaware corporation.

And nothing here in Michigan, either.

But the site makes this claim:

“We studied and lived in Peru and our products are inspired by iconic Machu Picchu, which encapsulates some of the sophisticated ingenuity behind the Incan civilizations’ agricultural practices and irrigation techniques. 

Cultiva is dedicated to producing the safest and most effective growing products that will keep your plants and grow operation producing fast results for many years with low maintenance, just like this fascinating wonder of the world in the Andes Mountains.” 

So is it Cultiv...or Cultiva?

I'm betting there's no South Carolina fertilizer license under either name.

But you could always call them at 1-844-CULTIV and ask!

UPDATE: September 23-Just discovered another, likely related site under construction by Ronald Buckhannon: Cultiv Residential Turf Remediation.

“With Culitv 1260 Residential Turf Remediation, you can feel secure, knowing that your family will enjoy a safe-non toxic environment when you step into your outdoor lifestyle. Through years of research, we have developed, tested and perfected an organic-based approach to eliminating the toxins that have been considered acceptable in your families recreational areas. The impact of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides cause long lasting health and environmental implications and are no longer acceptable.” 

Any fertilizer registration in South Carolina? I'll let you know.

BETSY DOUBLES DOWN: Education Secretary DeVos Increases Stake In Neurocore

When the family of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos increased its financial stake in Neurocore this spring, the controversial “neurofeedback” company was being investigated by an advertising-industry group for making questionable claims about its treatments for such conditions as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and memory loss.

The National Advertising Division formally recommended in July that the company stop making a wide range of advertising claims and stop promoting many of its user testimonials. Neurocore is appealing the decision. 

On February 10, the group alerted Neurocore that it was opening an investigation into the company's advertising claims. 

Subsequently, DeVos or one of her immediate family members invested more than $1 million and maybe more than $5 million. 

The National Advertising Division said the investigation was initiated in part because Neurocore's claims appear to target “uniquely vulnerable” audiences. 

Coming later, Neurocore's expansion and the overselling of its treatment.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

YOU CAN OWN THE HOME OF A SCANDAL! Convicted Tax Cheat Steven Ingersoll's Former Pleasure Dome Hits Commercial Real Estate Market!

There is no disguising the bare-naked bullshit of real estate advertising, so I'll avoid it. 

The building that was supposed to be the “jewel in the crown” of Steven Ingersoll's Front Porch Renaissance just slithered onto the market for the princely sum of $513,000.

Featuring a photo that belongs on the cover of an Edgar Allen Poe short story collection, the brief Chemical Bank-owned listing reveals the commercial building boasts nearly 24,000 square feet and was built in 1886.

Wait, what!?


During opening statements at Ingersoll's federal tax fraud trial, his criminal defense attorney, Martin Crandall, said that Ingersoll's $1.8 million loan from Chemical Bank was bolstered by an additional million out of his “own pocket”, all used to convert the 400 N. Madison Avenue church building into a school. 

“It's done, it's beautiful, it's operating and it's filled with students,” Crandall said.

I'll agree with Crandall on part of his bare-naked bullshit: it is done.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A “MARSHALL PLAN” FOR THE POOREST CITY IN AMERICA: Flint Native Gordon Young's Provocative Proposal

In 2013, I interviewed Flint native Gordon Young, for a feature I produced that aired on a public radio station. Young's new book,“Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City”, had just been released.

The book chronicled Young’s adventures as he traveled from his home in San Francisco back to where he grew up in Flint. His quest was to buy a home, but the book was more a story of Young trying to reconnect with the city he said made him who he is.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Politico, Next City, Utne Reader, and numerous other publications. 

Since 2007, Young has published Flint Expatriates, a blog for the long-lost residents of the Vehicle City. He is a senior lecturer in the Communication Department at Santa Clara University and lives in San Francisco.

Young recently published a follow-up to his book, profiling his friend P-Nut, whose home was destroyed in March by a fire.

“Long before Flint had a water crisis, it had an arson problem. And decades before Cher and Snoop Dogg arrived on the scene with their PR teams, or the journalists and presidential candidates showed up, my hometown was vanishing in ways both large and small. Shifting global economic trends aren’t big on taking union industrial strongholds along for the ride, and Flint was left behind to fend for itself. Obviously, it hasn’t fared well. Decades of double-digit unemployment, population loss, and artless budget cuts equal crime, abandonment, and burning buildings.”

Ironically, P-Nut's Civic Park home, shown at left in 2010, “was the childhood home of writer Ben Hamper, the autoworker and bestselling author of Rivethead: Tales From the Assembly Line, a searingly funny book on factory life in Flint.” 

Flint, Michigan tops the list in two unfortunate poverty departments. 

Numbers recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show 45% of residents and 58% of children in Flint are living in poverty. These percentages not only place Flint as the poorest city in Michigan, but nationwide as well when comparing every American city with at least a 65,000 person population. 

Read Young's entire post, “How to Fix Flint”, at this link.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH: Diane Ravitch Exposes The “Whiston Weasel” On Her Blog!

Brian Whiston's school choice walk-back was given the red carpet treatment today by Diane Ravitch, who prominently featured the story on her blog.

But fear not, school choicers!

With charter tool Bill Schuette running for governor of Michigan, it looks likely the DeVos family's investment in corporate money lovin' Bill will pay off.

But I can still poke them with a stick, right?

Phi Zappa Krappa!

Monday, September 18, 2017

SCHUETTE JUMPS ON THE TRUMP TRAIN: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette Endorsed By Subject Of Federal Criminal Investigation

After first misspelling his name, Donald Trump tweeted his support of Michigan's Attorney General, Bill Shuette Schuette, for Governor of Michigan.

Shuette Schuette, who launched his official campaign last week in Traverse City, thanked Trump for his support in a Facebook post.

Will the Trump tweets come back to haunt Schuette, and will his reaction sound like a scene from “The Godfather”? Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

WHISTON WEASELS: Edu-Gaffe Enrages “School Choice” Proponents; Michigan State Superintendent Of Public Education Forced Into Groveling Apology Over “Backwards” Remark

Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals…except the weasel. 
Matt Groening

A gaffe, it has been said, is when a politician tells the truth — or more precisely, when he or she accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head. 

A gaffe is what happens when the spin breaks down.

Superintendent Brian Whiston recently appeared with host Tim Skubick on his weekly public television show called “Off The Record”.
Whiston, Skubick
Many topics were discussed on the show, including the impact of public charter schools in Michigan. 

During the segment Whiston drew a hard line in the sand on charter schools — one of Michigan Republicans’ favorite education schemes. 

Asked about the performance thus far of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Whiston said it was too early to make a complete call, but he skewered the idea that “school choice” — i.e. charter schools — were the silver bullet to Michigan’s education woes. 

“While I do support choice - and I want to be clear on that - it's probably taken us backwards overall.”

“School choice is important. I support school choice, but Michigan has proven that school choice isn’t the answer,” he said. “If school choice was the answer, Michigan would be the top performing state because we have more choice than just about any other state.”

Whiston’s sentiment isn’t unfounded. 

A recent New York Times deep dive into Michigan’s charter frenzy pointed out that, “in unregulated educational sectors like Michigan’s, there’s evidence that charters have actually increased inequality [in school districts] … and districts with high levels of charter-school penetration, the authors found, have fared worst of all.” 

Whiston wasn’t done with Betsy after his choice comments, he even went after her affinity for vouchers, which would put public funds in the hands of private, parochial, and for-profit schools and charters. 

“We’ll never agree on that,” Whiston said, who has ardently opposed to voucherizing Michigan’s public education system in the past. “That issue is non-negotiable. I don’t think public tax dollars should be used for private education,” he said. 

(Gaffe alert! Cue the shitstorm!)

Let the official flackery begin: Superintendent Whiston responded with a comment that he thinks needs to be explained, so he's made the following statement: 

“In a recent appearance on the public television show Off The Record, I was accurately quoted as saying: "While I do support choice - and I want to be clear on that - it's probably taken us backwards overall." 

That was a poor choice of words on my part and I apologize for those words. I do not think that choice - as defined by multiple pathways within a district; outside district choices; and charter schools - has set us back. 

In fact, I say it is an important part of our education system and I support these choices - my record is clear on that. The point I was trying to make was: 

1. If choice (as defined above) was the only answer, then Michigan would be a Top 10 education state now, because we have more choice than just about any other state. Even with that said, I was clear in saying that I still support choice. Addressing school performance is much more complicated than just one solution, however - there are no quick fixes. The changes we need to make are complicated and will take time. 

2. We do have to take the politics out of the discussion and see how school choice has impacted districts that have lost students, and address that problem. But with that said, I still made it clear that I support school choice. So, let's be crystal clear - I support school choice for students and parents. I define choice as students having choices in multiple pathways within a district; outside district choices; and through charter schools.” 

Ben DeGrow, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank based in Midland that supports school choice, said he was “disappointed” with Whiston's original remark. 

“I think it says a lot that he felt compelled to clarify that's not what he meant,” he said. “At least in part that has to be due to the fact that thousands and thousands of parents in Michigan have a positive experience with choice.” 

Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?

The Mackinac Center is simply a mouthpiece for the DeVos agenda. During this charter school “free market” experiment the ranking of Michigan K-12 schools has dropped to the bottom ten. 

The profit-over-people mantra of the GOP Regime in Lansing is obvious. 

They sure made Whiston jump...and he didn't even have to ask “how high?”.