Category Archives: Florida

Step aside Mitt: hand the Etch-A-Sketch to Alan West

Joe McCarthy and some dumb Congress critter

Alan West, (R-from my embarrassed State of Florida) is on this weeks’ media menu (from which he will disappear until he says the next stupid thing). On CNN, he was asked about Ted Nugent’s comments (that would be the ones Nugent is ‘talking to’ the Secret Service about today):

“I don’t think the Motor City Madman has any ill will toward the President of United States of America.”

The people’s candidate: not that it matters anymore

Keith Fitzgerald, good guy

Vern Buchanan, my ethically-challenged Congressman, currently (actually I think this is the third time) under investigation by his tribe in the Congressional Ethics Committee, and previously investigated by Fed Election Commission and the FL AG, doesn’t need support from the little people.

A story in my paper this morning looks at funding so far for Vern and his challenger Keith Fitzgerald (go Keith go!).

First quarter funds:

  • PACs: Vern 26.3%; Keith 17.9%
  • “Other”: Vern 19.7%; Keith 0.3%
  • Self: Vern 14.8%; Keith 0%
  • Individuals: Vern 39.2%; Keith 81.7%

And Vern will win the prize. Count on it. USA! USA! USA!

 

Truly barbaric

Florida just lifted a law requiring that women in prison be shackled during childbirth.

We shackled women during childbirth? Until 2012?

I weep.

Dear newsmedia: George Zimmerman is not charged with killing a black teenager; he is charged with killing a teenager

Just heard it again on a radio news broadcast: “George Zimmerman has been taken into custody and been charged with the murder of a black teenager.” That’s what the news reader said – pet peeve of mine.

There may well be racial overtones to this crime, and there are valid reasons to suspect that there are, but Zimmerman is not being charged on those grounds. Zimmerman is being charged with murder, quite serious enough on its own. But  the real defendant in this trial will be the State of Florida and its insane  “Stand Your Ground” law.

So is the racial aspect a matter of concern? You bet it is. But I think the larger threat is to all of us; it is another wound to our tradition of common law.

The Supreme Court just upheld strip searches for unpaid parking fines, so I shudder to think what will happen if a challenge to this Florida law makes its way to that gorgeous white temple to justice. I figure the NRA will get there first.

Climate miscellaney, and saying it isn’t a problem always solves the problem. Right?

Here in my region we’re heading into a third year of serious drought. Last year’s rainfall was 16 inches below normal. Scary, but not as scary as the fact that in just the first three months of this year, we’re already seven inches behind.

Via a trackback to Whatever Works, I discovered Greenfrye‘s blog (here).  It’s a frackin’ good resource for climate information with lots of handy links and includes a “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” feature, an amusing (at first) but ultimately maddening read that also features dozens of delicious videos. (He’s frequently wonky, but there’s plenty there for we mere mortals.)

A few minutes later, I came across this story at the famous lefty rag Scientific American:

LONDON (Reuters) – The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

A recent panel (lost link, sorry) of environmentalists said that Al Gore’s movie hurt because it energized the deniers and recast global warming as a political issue instead of a scientific human issue. That rings true; Gore’s traditional opponents – like those chicken hawks who mocked his Vietnam service by saying he wasn’t, you know, in battle carrying a gun so it didn’t count. At least not like it counted sitting on the sidelines taking pot shots at those who did go into battle and came home wiser and with less enthusiasm for sending their younger brothers off to become the next batch of dead soldiers – piled on.

This planet of ours has a problem, but not to worry –  I’ll close my eyes, click my heels, and make it all go away. Easy.

Rep. Allen West has it exactly right. And that is not something I’ve ever said before.

Rep. Allen West, he of my enlightened state of Florida, is a frequent target of my brethren on the left. He can get all ‘rancid right’ with the worst of them. But here’s what he wrote on his Facebook page today about the killing of Treyvon Martin:

I have sat back and allowed myself time to assess the current episode revealing itself in Sanford, Florida involving the shooting of 17-year-old Treyvon Martin. First of all, if all that has been reported is accurate, the Sanford Police Chief should be relieved of his duties due to what appears to be a mishandling of this shooting in its early stages. The US Navy SEALS identified Osama Bin Laden within hours, while this young man laid on a morgue slab for three days. The shooter, Mr Zimmerman, should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit. From my reading, it seems this young man was pursued and there was no probable cause to engage him, certainly not pursue and shoot him….against the direction of the 911 responder. Let’s all be appalled at this instance not because of race, but because a young American man has lost his life, seemingly, for no reason.  I have signed a letter supporting a DOJ investigation. I am not heading to Sanford to shout and scream, because we need the responsible entities and agencies to handle this situation from this point without media bias or undue political influences. This is an outrage.

Even a clock is right twice a day . . . .

Another pet peeve: Gail Collins edition

Collins, who is, I believe, the Editorial Page Editor of The New York Times, needs to stand back and read her own stuff:

It’s thanks to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that a crime-watch volunteer was not arrested after he shot an African-American teenager . . .

Do you see it? That brief sentence is the only reference to that recent crime, the only reference to its victim, in the entire column. So how does describing him as ‘African-American’ advance her point at all? It doesn’t. It’s habit, and one that journalists everywhere need to break.

Her column was about the NRA and its endless lobbying for irrational laws. It wasn’t about racism, it wasn’t about bigotry, it was entirely about the NRA and our gun laws. Linguistic categorization adds nothing to a discussion of gun laws.

And that’s what’s wrong with Collins’ column.

(Here in Florida the gun lobby was enormously influential in writing and passing the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, under which self-appointed neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman, acted legally in shooting – to death –  an unarmed kid.)

 

Why I’m so proud to be a Floridian

They don’t even bother to hide what they’re doing anymore. They’re for sale to whoever comes up with the check. Gimme the money, I’ll pass you a nice new law. More here.

I’m genuinely surprised

My Congressman, Vern Buchanan, occupies a permanent place on CREW’s list of the top ten most corrupt Congress critters. We are of course quite proud.

Vern sends out regular insta-polls to his flock down here (more during election season of course), in which he humbly and sincerely seeks our ‘guidance’. I respond every time, even knowing that these polls are designed to elicit reaction from a target audience and therefore provide the desired answer.

I think ole Vern may be as surprised as I was by today’s vote.

Dear Elvis, can you get their deity out of my legislators. And my body. Please.

Some random thoughts arising from my extreme annoyance caused by the legions of men who think they know best:

Republican men in suits on my teevee keep telling me that birth control is a sin and that same sex marraige is an abomination, because it was ordained by their god to be between one man and one woman. They’ve successfully sold that marriage part to their fellow religionists while the rest of the country moves on. But that birth control bit is, I think, going to cause them a bit of trouble.

Historically – and to the present in many parts of the world (no matter what the Reverend Republicans say) – marriage has been an economic contract, not a religious state. Even the English expression ‘took a wife’ is a reminder of what was once a universal tenet – that women were property. This idea is apparently enjoying something of a revival among the overly religious who demand  authority over women’s bodies. They also want the State to give them that authority, all legal like. (No more the ‘mommy state’, now comes the ‘daddy state’.)

One man and one woman? Meh. Even that Commandment about ‘cleaving’ feels a bit empty since it was handed down to a man who himself had a few Mrs. Moseses.  Multiple wives abound in the Old Testament and in ‘holy’ scriptures of all religions. (Of course, today’s version of that is the taking of serial wives, as practiced by Messrs. Gingrich, Trump, Limbaugh, and other stalwarts of traditional values. )

Marriage, no matter the attitudes and rituals of the religious, is a civil contract, one which requires a license.

Remember the Florida ‘Uterati’? (Background here)

Just go away I say.

How about a delightful story from my paper?

A very handsome fellow is Mr. Monk

Mystery monkey settles down

ST. PETERSBURG — The monkey is somewhere up in the vine-laced trees, or perhaps on the roof looking out for predators. Either way, the woman in the house knows how to reach him.

She whistles a few short notes. “Monk,” she calls.

Within seconds, the monkey comes crab-crawling down a post, climbs over a stack of firewood and walks over to the middle of the porch. He blinks, looks around and sits calmly as four people, including a Tampa Bay Times reporter, watch through a glass wall.

He’s a famous fellow who has 82,000 fans on his Facebook page where he has – until now – been known as the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay as he’s bounced around on his own throughout SW Florida for four years. He even had a National Geographic television special.

But those days are over. Six months ago, he found a spot he liked, settled down and joined a family. While they hadn’t invited him, they welcomed him. Apparently some wildlife officials (who appear to have nothing else to do) are distressed about this. But the reporter won’t give out any names or addresses and the retired couple on whose property Mr. Monk has settled, aren’t telling either.

 The monkey is gentle with the sickly, old cat, sometimes picking her up and moving her to a sunnier spot on the patio. He loves Oreo cookies, twisting the tops off and licking the frosting.

He tolerates squirrels and raccoons who come after his fruit and nut dinners, softly backhanding them if they get too close.

“If he hears any rustle in the woods he will stare and grunt at it,” the husband said. “Then run over and up a tree to get a good look and make sure we aren’t being attacked by a lizard or turtle or butterfly.”

Mr. Monk, the husband said, has a home with the family for as long as he wishes.

Now isn’t that a nice news story?

Looks like my Congresscritter has had a little ‘work’ done

Vern used to look like this.

 

 

Then the chin went away and he looked like this.

 

Now his eyebrows seem to have been repositioned. Some people just don’t know when to stop.

From my paper this morning

Republican candidates proclaim Obama’ an economic failure, mistaking  slow growth for no growth or contraction. Or they’re just lying. Here are seven headlines from the front page of the Business section of my paper this morning:

  • Spending more, laying off fewer
  • Hiring and investment show companies plan to grow (National story). [boxed quote accompanying that story: “With big ticket spending rising and the labor market firming,  the economy is a lot better than some central bankers think.”]
  • Delayed a year, recovery is inevitable says Florida economist (Local story)
  • Lakewood Ranch makes sales list: ranked number 9 on national list with 301 new home sales in 2011 (Local story)
  • Survey of architects shows growth likely (Local story)
  • Another call center is moving to Bay area (Local story)
  • Caterpillar profit climbs 60 percent (National story)

Aren’t the candidates here in Florida? Maybe they should read the papers.

Climate zones, they are a’ changin’. I think it’s Al Gore’s fault

For a long time, the US Department of Agriculture has designated different planting ‘zones’ throughout the country as a guide for growers. Their ratings are based on ‘extreme minimum temperature’. Garden books and seed packets usually say in what zone a plant can flourish and in what zones it can’t. But it’s the agricultural industry itself, the largest consumer of such data, that must pay the closest attention to these ratings to assure successful crop yields.

So with this change, the USDA now joins the Pentagon and NASA in acknowledging that global warming is real and must be part of all strategic planning. (I don’t mention any international science organizations or UN agencies because our conservative brethren know them all to be anti-American.)

My area of SW Florida has always been 9(b) – but now it’s officially a 10(a) zone. The temperature variation is not large (we go from a 5 to 10 degree variation to a 10-15 degree variation), but the USDA sees it as permanent.

. . . entire states, such as Ohio, Nebraska and Texas, are now in warmer zones . . . it reflects the new reality.

They’ve moved 18 key cities from Fairbanks to Honolulu into warmer zones.

It’s great that the Federal government is catching up with what the plants themselves have known for years now, that the globe is warming” . . .  said [a] Stanford University biologist.

This is unlikely to be the last time they will have to adjust the zones. What’s most shocking to me is the speed of the temperature change – the data they used was collected from 1976-2005. That’s stunning.

(Also, here in zone 10a, we’ve been in drought for four of the last ten years. )

Blind man talking

From my paper this morning, this Letter to the Editor:

I stopped subscribing to the paper over a year ago except to purchase a Sunday paper for sports/movies, as the paper has moved way too far to the left to be credible anymore.

As the country is center right, your paper has continued to move further left. Hopefully a change in direction will be made to restore the paper’s credibility and for more balanced news.

The writer so disapproves of the  20 or so  inches of daily editorial opinion (which he doesn’t have to read) that he chooses to shut out the news and close himself off from the area’s primary source of local information.

Face, meet the Nose – before it’s gone.

Also this, from my paper’s web edition this morning – on the editorial page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there does remain the matter of those ‘liberal’ editorials. So I guess it’s all or nothing, as Rush says. Anyway,  it’s a small price to pay when you are striking blows for liberty. Or something.

Memories . . . Citizens United: the early days

Was reminded of this bit of history at Hullabaloo today. (It’s from here.) Remember Alan Grayson, the one-term gajillionaire firebrand rabble-rouser Democratic FL Congressman? The one who regularly took to the floor of the House to chew up and spit out the special interests?  The one who caused thousands of lobbyists to develop gastro intestinal disease? Yeah, that one. (video below)

He was one of the first victims of an unrestricted opening of the spigots of corporate money in a congressional race. According to a Politico article late in the campaign in 2010, almost 20% of all of the independent expenditures in House races in the entire country were deployed against Alan. His district was flooded with an unrelenting radio and television smear campaign by the corporations who didn’t appreciate his hard work on behalf of consumers and workers. The average person in Orlando saw 70 negative ads against Grayson– $2 million of which was paid for by the Koch Brothers, $2 million by the health insurance industry and another million from the NRCC. The cash that flowed into the district from the Chamber of Commerce and Rove’s band of cutthroats was a direct response to Alan’s reform efforts on the House Financial Services Committee and because he was the most effective national Democratic spokesperson in Congress. The DCCC, of course, offered him no help whatsoever in defending his seat. [Dems didn’t want to fool with the banksters either – who would have financed their campaigns?)

Connie Mack ain’t no Connie Mack

So Connie Mack IV, son of a political dynasty here in FL, went on Sean Hannity’s show to throw his (somewhat soiled) hat into the ring, announcing he will vie for the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-sorta), former astronaut and straightest arrow in the quiver.

Mack previously announced he was not running, saying that it would take away from his ability to spend time with his two small children and his wife (who is herself a member of the House from the opposite end of the country, Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California).

(Ummm, that seems a little confusing. Where do these people live? What is the legal residence of this married couple? Aren’t our congress critters supposed to live in their District or State?)

Son of a respected former Senator, Mack hasn’t quite his Dad’s resume. He has, instead, a somewhat inglorious history:

    • Before trading on the name of your father (a U.S. senator) to begin your current career as a full-time servant of the people in 2001, the most meaningful employment you had was as a “special events coordinator” for a bunch of Hooters restaurants. Boiled down to its essence: You were the go-to guy for folks who wanted to have scantily clad waitresses appear at their events.
    •  you needed 6½ years to get an undergraduate degree in advertising, which you accomplished three months shy of your 26th birthday.
    • You had at least four physical confrontations in public between 1987 and 1992, including one that ended with you being arrested for fighting with an off-duty cop who was working as a bouncer at a Jacksonville nightclub, and another when you got into a fistfight with another driver while you were waiting for a drawbridge to go down in West Palm Beach.
    • Until you got elected to the Florida House, you didn’t even take the time to vote in some elections, even when your father was on the ballot and running for re-election to the Senate seat you now want.
    • Soon after getting to Washington, you ditched your Florida wife, the mother of your two young children, to marry celebrity U.S. Rep. Mary Bono, the former wife of Sonny Bono.

He’s got the important political advantage of name recognition, which is sometimes enough. People may think they’re voting for more of the good Connie Mack. They will be disappointed.

Free Lego Man!

Here in SW Florida, a serious civil liberties issue is brewing.  Ego Leonard (left) was enjoying an innocent afternoon on Siesta Key when a paranoid citizen dialed 911. And the fellow was taken into custody.

Ego’s a big fella – 8 feet tall and, um, husky, but that wasn’t enough to save himself from the grasp of Sheriff’s deputies. They grabbed him, and excused their outrategous act by saying he’s ‘property’. That’s nonsense of course – one might as well say corporations are people which we know is ridiculous.

The Sheriff’s office, claiming they don’t know who owns’ this ‘property’ now has him confined, possibly in chains!  Oh, the indignity, the humiliation.

Lego Man wears a t-shirt with a mysterious message. Even now linguists at universities around the country (none in Florida; our Governor won’t permit it) are poring over the enigmatic words “No Real Than You Are” trying to  discern their meaning (it does sound a bit like something from Stephen Colbert, does it not?).

And meanwhile, as this innocent fellow is in the crude custody of government, good civil libertarians (as well as those artsy types) continue the good fight. Lego Man will not be abandoned. Lego Man will be free!

Why I am going back to bed

I got two hours of sleep last night and I’m too old for that to be okay. So I was up much earlier than usual and at 6:00 am I turned on the TV for Morning Joe, which I rarely watch but what the hell else is on at 6am.

Cable box went out. I did the routine, unplugged, checked connections, gave it time, waited out the interminable Comcast reboot process. And the cable box went out.

Called Comcast. Spent 29 minutes (I timed it) on the phone (19 on hold). Their service reps are usually pretty good and even helpful, but the guy this morning must have been having a bad hair day. Eventually he sent a reset signal. And the cable box went out.  Need new box.This is the third time. All recordings will be lost. First service availability is Sunday; six days without service. Unacceptable. Comcast clearly hasn’t enough personnel to service their customers (and, I assume, really doesn’t care because in my area they’re all there is). I will rip the box from it’s hidey hole and carry it to Comcast. Where there will be a long line. I will try not to cry.

In my email this morning I find a dangerous dispute underway amongst my fellow Trustees (very local Endowment Trust). Beyond disagreement. This is not going to be pleasant and threatens to undo eight years of work. I will not think about it any more today. Tomorrow perhaps.

Also in my email this morning: Verizon tells me I’ve exceeded my monthly contract allowance on my cell and minutes are now being charged at a rate I’d rather not know about. But! But! “My account” at their website says no, no, not at all. Usage is in fact down. I must deal with Verizon. Which is best done in person and is possible because there’s a friendly store nearby. But I’m pissed anyway.

Am meeting my brother and his wife for lunch. Haven’t seen them since May, during which time I’ve lost quite a bit of weight which has made me feel great and look good! But we all know about odd family dynamics, right? When I got up this morning, I found that I’ve gained 20 pounds since last night.

And then. And then. Dear Elvis, and then I picked up my morning paper.

  • U.N. says Afghans torture detainees

KABUL, Afghanistan — Detainees are hung by their hands and beaten with cables, and in some cases their genitals are twisted until the prisoners lose consciousness at sites run by the Afghan intelligence service and the Afghan National Police, according to a United Nations report released here on Monday.

  • Gov. Scott targets university funding – not a disaster in itself; like most things it all ‘depends’. But:

Scott said that Rick Perry — the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate — planted higher education reform in the Florida governor’s mind when the two met shortly after Scott’s election.

“He said, ‘I’ve got this plan in Texas, you ought to look at it,’” Scott recalled.

Perry was referring to the “Seven Breakthrough Solutions” policy paper created by Texas businessman Jeff Sandefer. A successful entrepreneur and energy investor, Sandefer also taught business classes part-time at the University of Texas until the school began hiring more full-time tenured professors.

Sandefer became an outspoken critic of state universities, particularly the system for promoting faculty. Tenure, critics say, places too much emphasis on research. To be promoted, faculty must publish original work. As a result, they spend less time in the classroom and often delegate teaching to graduate students.

(Ahhh. Inspiration from a State with the worst education record in the country. Way to go gov.)

  • Foreign plants and insects have slipped undetected into the US since 9/11, as customs agents were re-assigned to anti-terrorism, causing in some cases, devastating damage. It’s cost hundreds of millions – especially in CA and FL – in lost crops and higher grocery prices.

I don’t expect tomorrow will be any better.

Not hippies. Not anarchists. People.

While most media focuses on the dirty f*cking hippies, here’s the emerging face of Occupy Wall Street as it spreads around the country. This is from Thursday, here in SW Florida (another is scheduled for Monday, the 10th).

London is gearing up for the 15th. That one is expected to pretty big. Some promotional posters (h/t David):

Carroll for President

POSTED BY ORHAN

To hell with Michele Bachmann–Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll makes Bachmann look like a God-hating commie. Finally someone has the guts to call out the media for promoting “The Da Vinci Code”, which is “exactly what dictators and socialist rulers did.” Not to mention the political leaders that give scientists the stage “to push their evolution.”

FL 13 is just bursting with pride

My very own congressman, Vern Buchanan (R), has made yet another ‘most corrupt’ list. And this time he’s Number Two! (Vern is often under investigation right here at home too.)

This from The Street, the investment newsletter:

2011’s Most Corrupt

  • Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.)
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fl.)
  • Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)
  • Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.)
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.)
  • Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)
  • Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Oh.)
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
  • Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.

Let’s see if Tallahassee has an answer

Pandering to the gun lobby

New Florida legislation to ban all local government gun control laws should raise a question for voters: Did we elect legislators to protect the gun lobby or to represent Floridians?

Anybody know a way to send these guys back to the 19th century?

Once again, my state makes me proud.

According to a link-I’ve-lost (it may have been somewhere at Think Progress):

Thousands of unmarried couples who are living together in Florida may be surprised to learn that they are actually breaking the law. Under outdated and rarely enforced state laws that have been on the books since the late 1800s, “cohabitation” is actually a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by $500 or up to 60 days in jail. The same penalty applies to adultery – which one Florida woman tried to have enforced for her cheating husband in 2006.

The Sun Sentinel reports that one Florida Republican is commendably trying to repeal these irrelevant laws — only to be met with mass opposition from his fellow Republicans including Gov. Rick Scott (R).

Federal judge (temporarilly) dashes plan to screw Florida voters yet again

Very good news for Floridians. Two Florida Congress critters had challenged a voter approved redistricting plan and it just got shot down by a federal judge. (for now anyway)

MIAMI — A federal judge today upheld Florida’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that aims to ban gerrymandering in the drawing of congressional districts.

But two Florida members of Congress who challenged the “Fair Districts” amendment said they are prepared to appeal the matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court . . .

Although the Florida legislature ultimately draws the congressional boundaries under the new law, the plaintiffs argued that the voter-imposed rules dilute the legislature’s authority.

Ungaro’s ruling deals with Amendment 6, approved by 62.9 percent of voters in November, which sets guidelines for congressional redistricting. A companion amendment dealing with state House and Senate redistricting passed with 62.6 percent support and has not been challenged.

The legislature must draw new districts in time for the 2012 elections to reflect 2010 census data. The process in Florida and other states has historically been dominated by partisanship and political considerations. But Amendment 6 states that districts cannot be drawn to favor incumbents or political parties and must be compact and adhere to existing city, county and geographical boundaries “where feasible.”

Rain, rain, come to stay . . . please

This year we had lots of rain in June and early July, which was so welcome. SW Florida has been in drought for a few years now. We worry about the integrity of the aquifers and salt intrusion. Only a good wet summer can fix things.

But now it’s stopped and there’s no sign of new rain in the seven day forecast. Lake Okeechobee is still very low, as are many of our rivers. So the worry is back. A nice mild tropical storm parked here for a few days would be perfect. But that’s not in the forecast either.

For those of us who stay in Florida through the summer, these afternoon rains are our private joy. They’re dangerous and romantic and I love them. They build in the east and slowly darken my sky. In the distance, I might hear a hint of thunder. (Is it thunder? I hope it’s thunder!) If I’m home I scurry out to the lanai. It’s exciting and the anticipation is keen; sometimes I find my fingers crossed.

If the rain does come it could be a violent squall or maybe just a polite shower. But whichever, it breaks the heat of the day; the temperature can briefly drop as much as ten degrees, promising a cooler evening to come.

But right now it doesn’t seem to want to come and it’s dry out there. I have my fingers crossed.

Making Florida safe for Democrats again

My governor, Rick Scott, is hitting new lows in approval and has gone from 22% disapproval to 57% in just six months. Good work gov. Brings to mind some oldies but goodies. My favorite line? “I’m not sure what ‘market’ means.”

For those who don’t know, Columbia HCA, founded by Scott and of which he was the CEO, had to pay the largest civil criminal fine in US history for massive Medicare fraud.

Florida Republicans hate trains unless Dagny Taggart builds them

These work just fine!

Jeb Bush and now Gov. Voldemort – along with our friggin’ insance  legislature – share a scorn for the wishes of the electorate.

Around the time he got his brother elected President, Jeb discarded the results of a voter referendum in which over 60% of the voters demanded creation of a light rail project between Tampa and Orlando. Jep said  “pshaw”. Pshaw he said.

So lobbyists were chosen (financed by who the hell knows),and a multi multi million dollar advertising campaign was launched; they appealed to the segment of the electorate who have the memory of gopher turtles and could be counted on to rise up to stop a gobmint takeover of our nonexistent rails system. It worked and they got a repeal on the next ballot. It worked and bye bye rail.

Now cometh Voldemort with a legislature even more insane than the earlier one. When, as our share of the 2010 stimulus, the Feds offered a few hundred million to start building some in-State rail (and create thousands of jobs in the process), the Gov said – in one of his first acts as governor –  pshaw: give it to someone else, we don’t take charity here. So Congress gave it to Ohio. (Even John Kasich knew a good deal when he saw one.)

The leg ‘s new target is an amendment approved in 2010 by 63% of the voters to reform the completely corrupted re-districting process.

Of course money is pouring in again to turn this one around.

UPDATE: I wrote more about the redistricting effort here. (I actually forgot!)

Fair redistricting? It is to laugh

Florida or Weiner's weiner?

Last year, Florida approved by 63% an amendment to bring sanity to our completely corrupted re-districting. This isn’t sitting well with the State legislature. They’ve filed a suit to stop it from being implemented. If they succeed, Voldemort is ready, nay anxious, to sign.

In a recent editorial, the Sarasota Herald Tribune notes what gerrymandering has wrought:

No wonder Florida has the least competitive legislative elections in the country — tied for last place with California and Massachusetts — according to the National Institute of Money in State Politics.

The Florida Times-Union reported last fall that in the past 10 years, 505 incumbent Florida legislators had run for re-election. Only 10 of them lost

. . . even basic standards are apparently too much for the Legislature to bear. In a historically tight budget year, the state House and state Senate set aside tens of millions of dollars to defend against legal challenges to its redistricting process.

The lawmakers’ chief opposition will be the millions of Florida voters who decided last year that there must be a better way.

So goes life in this vibrant democracy. Not.

Sunday funny: Sheriff cuffs Bank of America

Really. In Collier County Florida.

Instead of Bank of America foreclosing on some Florida homeowner, the homeowners had sheriff’s deputies foreclose on the bank.

It started five months ago when Bank of America filed foreclosure papers on the home of a couple, who didn’t owe a dime on their home.

Vodpod videos no longer available.