Palm Beach County’s top 3 plagiarism snafus

Melania Trump’s speech – was it plagiarism?

We realized – as so many things in Palm Beach – that there’s some connection to that issue here, and it’s been in the past year: In just the past year, Palm Beach County has seen at least three high-profile events concerning plagiarism. Here they are:
Plagiarizing principal
Former West Boca High teacher Mark Stenner used vast swaths of two popular speeches for two commencement addresses two years in a row. In the school district, students generally get an “F” when between 15 and 25 percent is taken without attribution.
Stenner was baffled at the brouhaha.
“Using copyrighted material or going word for word for the entirety of the speech. The speeches weren’t word for word, I took large chunks of them. The speech is famous on the Internet, it had a couple of million hits on YouTube, so I didn’t give it a second thought. … If I had used ‘Fourscore and seven years ago’ would I have needed to credit that author?”

And a soon-to-be school superintendent …
Anthony Hamlet, former Palm Beach County administrator and chosen superintendent to lead Pittsburgh school, used words that were not his own on his resume and during his first news conference.
“A successful superintendent has to satisfy many constituencies, keeping high achievers in the system while devoting resources to those who need them the most,” Hamlet wrote in his resume. It came from a February 2015 Washington Post editorial about a superintendent in Maryland.
Also, his issues about school grades.

And finally, ask not what you can do for your city
Steven Grant, Boynton Beach’s mayor, chose a great speaker to inspire his first public speech as mayor. He said he used John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address as a guide, got all ideas from him, changed some words around, but failed to tell anybody he did so — until he was asked by The Palm Beach Post.
Some excerpts:
JFK’s words: “For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.”
Grant goes on to say, “Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch is passed to a new generation of Americans, tempered by terrorism, disciplined by technology, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of human rights to which this nation has always been committed…”
The 33-year-old mayor is defending himself saying, “I don’t think that the whole having a speech at a legislative session requires me to cite my sources.”

Fed report: More Medicaid equals fewer addiction troubles in Florida

Hypodermic needles found in the trash at a cottage apartment by Jean Thomas, 83, in West Palm Beach's Prospect Park neighborhood. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
Hypodermic needles found in the trash at a cottage apartment by Jean Thomas, 83, in West Palm Beach’s Prospect Park neighborhood. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Elevator scene from the National RX Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta:

Reporter to woman: Are you here for the conference?

Woman: Yes, I’m from Detroit.

Reporter: We’re from South Florida.

Woman: Oh, South Florida. That’s where you go when you’ve got money for treatment.

Or not.

On Monday, Health and Human Services released a report on just how many Floridians with addiction or mental health issues can’t get adequate help – in some cases, any help – because the state won’t expand Medicaid, a key feature of Obamacare.

(Comes a day before President Obama is slated to speak at the Summit. Coincidence? You decide.)

Anyway: Florida has fought tooth and nail against any such expansion, even though the rolls of Floridians on the health plan for the poor continues to rise.

About three in every ten people living below 138 percent of the poverty level need treatment for drug abuse or mental illness or both, HHS estimates.

From those numbers, the feds put together these numbers in the report:

  • 390,000: Number of uninsured Floridians age with either mental illness or an addiction problem who would qualify for treatment under Medicaid expansion. (For bragging right purposes, that’s second only to Texas among states without Medicaid expansion.)
  • Nine: Percentage of uninsured Floridians getting help for the above, 2010-14.
  • $7 million-$190 million. Budget savings range reported by different states which expanded Medicaid.
  • 17, 18, 33: Percentage drop in arrests among three groups of people frequently in trouble with the law after Washington state began providing them with Medicaid-financed substance abuse treatment.

We already tackled one tricky addiction math question this morning, one raised by this festive magazine cover.

Harpers' controversial piece on legalizing drugs- all drugs.
Harpers’ controversial piece on legalizing drugs- all drugs.

Stay tuned as Post reporters Christine Stapleton and Pat Beall cover the Summit live from Atlanta.  Stapleton and Beall are members of a team of reporters that have been investigating scams in Palm Beach County’s $1 billion drug treatment industry

The 8-month long investigation by the Palm Beach Post uncovered patient brokering, insurance fraud and kickbacks.