Monday, April 11, 2016

Thin Skinned

After Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) got a lesson in speaking truth to power last week, he told the press that the reason he didn’t engage with the person was because “you can’t talk to people like that.”

No, what you do is release your PAC on them.

All it does is prove that Rick Scott is a thin-skinned whiny asshole who’s idea of political discourse is to punch down.

So why isn’t he running for president?  Maybe it’s because we already have enough candidates who do that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rick Scott Hates Women

Well, yes, I know that’s a dramatic headline, but what other conclusion can you come to when you read this?

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed a law on Friday that cut state funding to clinics that perform abortions.

State funding of abortion was already prohibited in Florida, but the law signed by the Republican governor also cut off funding for preventive services at clinics that also provide abortions.

The law appeared to be aimed at Planned Parenthood, which said on Friday that it could mean the end of birth control, cancer screenings, tests for diseases and other services for thousands of low-income women in Florida.

The organization said in a statement that it serves more than 67,000 patients in the state each year, and that many of them rely on public funding to pay for their health care.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement that the new law seemed “designed to rip health care away from those most at risk.”

Mr. Scott signed the law along with 67 other bills addressing a variety of topics, including medical marijuana and the composition of a highway commission in Miami-Dade County.

But he did not specifically comment on the abortion law, which has been controversial. In a news release, his office tersely said it “revises regulations for licensed abortion clinics.” The law also requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital or for the clinic to have a transfer agreement there.

To be completely fair, Planned Parenthood does not limit its services exclusively to women.  It provides health services to men as well, and yes, men do need to avail themselves of breast cancer screening.  So to say that by signing a bill that takes away funding from Planned Parenthood is part of Mr. Scott’s hatred of women is unfair.  He apparently hates all poor people, regardless of gender.

The rule on admitting privileges is on the books in several other states, mostly notably Texas, where it is already under review by the Supreme Court.  The article does not say whether or not the Florida Legislature has allocated funds to pay the legal cost of the inevitable lawsuits that will arise out of this new law, but I’m sure that Gov. Scott will find some way to pay for it; probably by cutting more money from public education.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tourist Trap

Here’s a novel way to address terrorism:

“Not only do I believe that President Obama should immediately return to America, I am inviting him today to come to Florida and address the concerns of American tourists considering travel to Europe,” Scott said in a statement released Thursday.

[…]

In his statement, Scott explained that “as the tourism capital of America,” Florida would be “the perfect place” to give an address alleviating the fears of Americans who plan to travel to Europe.

And pick up a dozen grapefruit in a lovely gift package while he’s here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Elegy For Rubiomentum

Jeb Lund has an obituary for the Marco Rubio campaign.

…What the Rubio campaign needed everyone to forget was that — to anyone who doesn’t live off political news, to anyone not inured to the blocked toilet that is Florida politics — Marco Rubio sounded like either a moron or a crook.

All that might have been enough to overlook if there had been any ideas behind Rubiomentum. But Rubio was a Reagan Republican in the same way that all other Republicans are Reagan Republicans: 95 percent of what he believes hasn’t been updated since 1981. As to the remaining five percent, any time something new came out of his mouth, half the journalists covering him wanted to run around to the side of the stage to catch a glimpse of the puppeteer from the Heritage Foundation with an arm shoulder-deep up his ass.

Even the rare new ideas were insanely atavistic. Only Rubio could write an atrocious book with the word “innovate” on practically every page and decide to solve the college debt crisis with ideas fresh from the Renaissance. Why not, he argued, pair students of promise with an investor class who would pay for their academic apprenticeships in exchange for a fixed period of work after graduation? Sounds great! Rubio was into EDM: Maybe you could become the court DJ for the Archbishop of Salzburg or Emperor Joseph. Just don’t play too many beats. There are only so many beats the royal ear can hear.

The biggest joke of the Rubio campaign was its slogan, “A New American Century,” which is a hilarious reboot concept 15 years into a century. But the slogan also echoed the Project for the New American Century, the Bill Kristol think tank whose gameplan for the Middle East led us into Iraq and the flowering peace and political pluralism we see across the region today. Rubio didn’t disappoint. Between his book and his saber-rattling on the trail, America was poised to drop bombs on — or start firing from warships at — the South China Sea, Ukraine, Iran, Syria and whatever country he thinks ISIS is.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama was trying to destroy America with $17 trillion in debt. Rubio promised a tax plan that would add $8.2 trillion to it, because if $17 trillion is a mortal threat, then $25.2 trillion is a fucking clambake. Abortion? Forget it, go to hell, ladies, not even in cases of rape. Obamacare? Repeal and replace. Devolve everything to the states. Fix poverty by having people get married.

[…]

Over the course of his career, Rubio was slapped with the well-deserved label of someone not especially interested in his current job except as a vehicle for applying for the next one in between meeting rich people. He almost immediately ditched the West Miami Commission for the Florida House, then displayed a chronic absenteeism while there. This is not necessarily a liability in the party that rejects almost all government functionality as tyranny, and it was no obstacle to entering the U.S. Senate, where his work allergy metastasized into outright contempt for the concept. By October, 2015, one of Rubio’s core arguments for his candidacy was give me the most important job in the world because I don’t feel like doing my current one.

[…]

Rubio spent the last two weeks of his campaign apologizing for betraying his principles and the dignity of his office by mocking Donald Trump’s hair and dick. He claimed that he could no longer abide the unfair, classless street fight that Trump had reduced the discourse to, and merely got carried away. But it was bullshit. He was trying to shore up falling numbers. He’d never have apologized if it had worked.

His announcement that his campaign was over could not have been more fitting for what his campaign represented: A passionate delivery of an old idea everyone had already memorized, delivered instead as news. A few people listening had red eyes, as some internal mechanism in Rubio yanked down a lever to the Emotionally Uplifting Twaddle setting.

“I ask the American people: Do not give in to the fear. Do not give in to the frustration,” he said. “We can disagree about public policy, we can disagree about it vibrantly, passionately. But we are a hopeful people, and we have every right to be hopeful.”

It was a valediction of bullshit, as inexorable and damned as the rising Florida tide.

But don’t worry, folks; he’ll be back with another act when he gets tired of doing whatever he finds interesting and self-promoting at the moment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

That Left A Marco

Via Balloon Juice we see how well Marco Rubio did in the Florida primary yesterday:

Rubio's Florida 03-16-16That little patch of blue is Miami-Dade County, Mr. Rubio’s home turf.  The rest is Trumpland.  Ironically, the Florida GOP made the primary winner-take-all to help their hometown guys Jeb or Marco gain delegates.  But then along came the Orange-Crested Snowbird from New York…

Friday, March 11, 2016

Florida Man Embarrasses Himself On TV

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) did his best to make himself look like a fool and a racist on national TV.  He was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe yesterday and went down like a turd in a well to the point they had to cut off his mic.

Gov. Rick Scott 05-08-11When Joe Scarborough asked Scott if Florida Muslims hate America, Scott tried to skate by it by mumbling about his anti-Syrian refugee policy, but Joe pressed on, not caring about Scott’s claims that Florida is a melting pot. It didn’t take long before Mika, off camera told the studio to “wrap it” up and before you knew it, Scott’s interview was cut short.

BRZEZINSKI: No. No. Uh-uh. That’s not answering any questions.

As Gov. Scott tried to continue, Mika stopped him cold, saying she knows he’s a friend of Joe’s, but demanded he answer the question or “should we scoot?” Scott gave an uncomfortable laugh and the interview was terminated.

Got that?  He can’t answer a simple yes/no question.  No wonder even Republicans in Tallahassee are embarrassed by him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Short Takes

Report: U.S. bombs terrorist camp in Somalia; over 150 killed.

Bloomberg’s off the trail: Former NYC mayor rules out a presidential run.

Senate Republicans said the Budget Committee will delay considering the budget.

The Supreme Court overturned Alabama court ruling against gay adoption.

The Florida Legislature re-wrote the state’s death penalty law to conform to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Open Shut

Wow, the Florida Legislature does something sensible. Via Miami New Times:

Usually when the NRA and other gun groups say jump, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature says, “How high and how many guns should we carry when we do it?” But a few gun fantasies are just a bridge too far for even some Floridians.

Yesterday, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, announced that bills to allow “open carry” and another that would allow guns in Florida airports are dead.

[…]

Open-carry laws allow gun owners to basically walk around with guns on themselves and totally visible to the public. In some states, that right has led to bizarre sights, such as people toting around large, high-powered machine guns inside Target and Starbucks locations.

Florida’s proposed law would have allowed those who already have a concealed-carry license to openly carry their guns. Since Florida’s concealed-carry license laws apply to only handguns, open carry would still not have applied to larger guns.

“Open carry is not going to happen; it’s done,” Diaz de la Portilla told reporters yesterday, according to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau.

Diaz de la Portilla also killed a bill that would have allowed guns in airport terminals. Earlier this session, he dealt the same fate to a bill that would have allowed people to take their concealed weapons onto college campuses.

That’s it for this year, but I’m sure the NRA will keep trying.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Slippery Slope

Via the Tampa Times:

Florida lawmakers are moving forward with a near-total ban on abortions in the state, plus a second bill placing new requirements on doctors who perform abortions.

By an 8-3 vote Monday afternoon, a House criminal justice panel voted to advance the more sweeping legislation (HB 865), which would make performing an abortion or operating an abortion clinic a first-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Just hours earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated its longstanding ruling affirming women’s right to the procedure.

“The bill recognizes that both the mother and the baby are citizens of the state of Florida … and we are therefore compelled to protect their lives,” said Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, the bill’s sponsor.

He has put forward similar legislation for seven years, but it had never before been considered by a committee, the first step required to pass a bill into law, until Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, agreed to consider it Monday. Trujillo, the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, did not discuss the bill during debate and left the committee room afterward without commenting.

“The Legislature finds that all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at the earliest biological development of a fertilized human egg,” the bill says.

I don’t see any provision in the bill to pay for the lawsuits that will undoubtedly be filed to overturn this blatantly unconstitutional law if Gov. Scott signs it.  Which means the taxpayers of Florida will be on the hook for it.

Also, isn’t total control of women the first step down the road to Sharia law?  Are these legislators ready to embrace radical Islam?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Not What He Expected

Poor Marco Rubio.  He got some very rich people to buy him a Senate seat and now he’s bored with it.  He thinks there are too many rules and no one wants to rally behind him even though he’s young and hot.

Five years ago, Rubio arrived with a potential that thrilled Republicans. He was young, ambitious, charismatic, fluent in English and Spanish, and beloved by the establishment and the tea party.

But Rubio had arrived at one of the least ambitious moments in Senate history and saw many of his ideas fizzle. Democrats killed his debt-cutting plans. Republicans killed his immigration reform. The two parties actually came together to kill his AGREE Act, a small-bore, hands-across-the-aisle bill that Rubio had designed just to get a win on something.

Now, he’s done. “He hates it,” a longtime friend from Florida said, speaking anonymously to say what Rubio would not.

So his brilliant idea is to run for president because everyone knows it’s an easy job with lots of vacation time and cool toys like your very own airplane and a bad-ass pimped up Cadillac.

Well, I’m sorry that being a senator is a disappointment to him, but I’m happy to know that in a little over a year he will be out of a job and no longer a danger to the state of Florida.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Another Dispatch From Post-Racial America

Via TPM:

Politico reported that state Rep. Janet Adkins (R) made the suggestion regarding U.S. Rep. Corrinne Brown’s (D) district in a closed-door meeting of the North Florida Republican caucus.

“It’s a perfect storm,” Adkins said on the audio recording. “You draw it in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote.”

Adkins made sure there were no reporters in the room before she made her comments, according to the report.

Speaking of fashion, Janet, you look lovely in those flowing white robes, and the hood adds just the perfect touch of nostalgia for those old times there that are not forgotten.

Florida is undergoing redistricting because the lines drawn the last time were deemed to be in violation of the Florida constitution’s ban on making them blatantly partisan.  The legislature had to have a special session in August to try again, and they deadlocked.  Now it’s up to the court to do it right.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Short Takes

Iran nuclear talks go on past the deadline.

The Confederate flag in front of the South Carolina statehouse will come down at 10:00 a.m. today.

France steps up for Greece in Eurozone debt negotiations.

F.B.I. chief says ISIS-inspired plots for attacks on 4th of July were foiled.

Florida Supreme Court throws out Congressional redistricting map; eight districts to be re-drawn.

The Tigers best the Twins 4-2.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Perils Of Obstruction

When the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare could not require states to set up exchanges, a lot of Republican governors, including Rick Scott of Florida, chortled with glee.  They were sure that this was the death knell of the evil law.

It’s not exactly working out that way.

Tonight the Wall Street Journal has a fascinating look something we may soon hear a lot more about in a very rushed and chaotic fashion. Last month, an outfit called the Milbank Memorial Fund (as best I can tell a relatively non-ideological foundation focused on health care policy) held a secret one day meeting in Chicago for officials from states who may suddenly find their citizens cut off from Obamacare health care insurance subsidies because of the new GOP challenge to the law.

The verdict. Basically that they’re screwed.

There’s simply no way for states to set up exchanges in time for this year – just at the purest technical level, setting aside whatever politics are involved. And that’s setting aside a lot because Republican controlled state legislatures in particular are staunchly against budging in favor of facilitating the functioning of the law. Governors – even GOP governors – tend to be a bit more pragmatic since they face state-wide electorates and are most likely to bear the brunt of any backlash.

Republican state legislatures seem likely to sit back and let the agony happen. At least for a good long time.

The Florida legislature has gone into special session in order to work out their differences over the state budget that they couldn’t resolve during the regular session, and those differences are all centered around health insurance.  Everything in the state budget, from education funding to Everglades restoration, hinges on this special session budget negotiations.  Despite attempts to make nice, so far there is no sign that the Republicans will accept one red cent of federal money to offset the costs to hospitals of paying for people with no insurance.

If the Supreme Court goes nuts and rules against exchanges, a lot of states are going to look back at the good old days when they were merely learning a physics lesson.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Even For Him

Gov. Rick Scott isn’t above using his dearly departed mother to con the federal government into approving his plan for privatizing Medicaid.

…the Florida Republican only supported Medicaid expansion as part of “a quid pro quo” to get a waiver from the Obama administration for Medicaid privatization.

Scott may have publicly claimed in 2013 that his position was about his “conscience” and deceased mother, but according to the governor’s new version of events, the rhetoric wasn’t actually sincere – his previous position was a calculated move to gain approval for his privatization plan.

He’s done more flip-flops on Medicaid expansion than the killer whales at Sea World, but when he uses his dead mother as the bait, it’s a new low.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Nerve

Tim Nickens in the Tampa Bay Times on our gutsy governor:

Gov. Rick Scott 05-08-11The governor’s audacity is impressive, his shamelessness is without limits and his disregard for public perception remains strong.

This is the guy who helped build the nation’s largest hospital chain, Columbia/HCA. He was the CEO whose empire made $1.5 billion in profit in 1996, awarded big bonuses to top executives and ruthlessly pressured low-performing hospitals to generate more revenue.

And now in the midst of a political stalemate over health care for low-income Floridians, the governor wants to create a commission to investigate hospital profits and health care costs.

This is the former hospital executive who resigned as the Justice Department investigated his company. That company later pleaded guilty to felony charges and paid a record fine for Medicare fraud.

And now the governor says Medicaid is a flawed program and the federal government cannot be trusted.

This is the wealthy lawyer who moved to Florida just seven years before he ran for the state’s highest office. He financed his hostile takeover of the state in 2010 with more than $70 million from his tainted health care fortune, and he threw in millions more at the last minute in 2014 when it appeared he might not win re-election.

And now the governor does not want to provide 800,000 low-income Floridians health coverage and is going after hospitals that support accepting federal Medicaid expansion dollars.

So give Scott credit.

As my mother used to say in a certain tone of voice, that takes some nerve.

Well, he can’t take all the credit.  The voters elected him twice.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tallahassee Tantrum

Your tax dollars at work, fellow Floridians.

Florida’s Legislature collapsed into chaos Tuesday as the House unilaterally ended the annual session with more than three days left, leaving dozens of major bills dead and escalating tensions between the House and Senate over their health care stalemate.

The state Senate responded by remaining in session for two more hours and announcing plans to return Wednesday, an attempt to send the message that they are willing to work through the impasse that has bitterly divided Republicans, and frayed emotions.

“Nobody won today,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, after the Senate adjourned for the day. “Nobody won. Taxpayers lost. It’s an unfortunate turn of events.”

“Unfortunate turn of events” describes dropping cigar ash into the deviled eggs at a wedding reception.  This kind of infantile behavior is proof that this crowd can’t be trusted with uncapped Sharpies.

There’s no guarantee anything will be accomplished in the special session that will have to be called after everyone’s had their time-out, and there’s a whole bloc of wingnuts who think that this is the best of all possible outcomes.

One of my co-workers wondered how those idiots ever got elected, to which I replied, “Well, somebody voted for them,” although with Florida elections, you can never be quite sure.

Jim Morin:

Morin 04-30-15

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Indefensible

I have yet to hear a reason for Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Republican legislators’ refusal to expand Medicaid that isn’t based on bullshit, lies, and a cynical hint of racism tossed in for good measure.  What we get are the usual suspects: it’s a federal mandate and therefore it is evil; it’s a government hand-out to the poor who already get enough freebies (if they did, then why are they still poor?); and you can’t trust You-Know-Who because he’s a secretly gay Kenyan Muslim socialist.

Jon Cohn has a good piece in Huffington Post that sums it up.

To put it another way, expanding Medicaid in Florida would likely require a net investment by state taxpayers that, over the course of a decade, would work out to less than a half-billion dollars a year. That’s without accounting for any additional growth and tax revenues that the huge infusion of federal dollars might provide. That’s also without accounting for the more than $1 billion a year in that, without expanding Medicaid, Florida would probably have to scrounge up in order to help hospitals defray the cost of charity care.

In short, if the numbers were lopsided in favor of expanding Medicaid before, they are even more lopsided now. And it’s not as if anybody is arguing seriously that those grants are a superior way of financing care for the poor. If anything, the opposite is true — and it’s one reason the editorial page of the Tampa Bay Times called Scott’s position “indefensible.” Other editorial pages, civic organizations, and business groups across the state have made similar statements.

[…]

Of course, conservative fervor to block or repeal the Affordable Care Act has always seemed a bit disconnected from reality, given that the law consists almost entirely of pieces that existed, without such fuss, long before Obamacare came along. The lone exception is the “individual mandate,” the requirement that people carry insurance or pay a fee. And that’s an idea that plenty of conservatives tolerated — and some even supported — less than a decade ago. In fact, it was a conservative expert at the Heritage Foundation who many historians credit with the idea.

No, the level of hostility to Obamacare makes very little sense — unless it’s about something beyond the policy particulars. It could be the fact that Democrats finally accomplished something big, for the first time in several decades, thereby expanding the welfare state at a time when conservatives thought they were on their way to shrinking it. Or it could be the idea that, on net, the Affordable Care Act transfers resources away from richer, whiter people to poorer, darker people. Or it could be the fact that “Obamacare” contains the word “Obama,” whose legitimacy as president at least some conservatives just can’t accept.

Who knows? The only thing certain is that, in Florida, turning down Medicaid has even weaker logic than it did before — except for officials obsessed with Obamacare or determined to please the people who are. Rick Scott may belong in either category and he might just belong in both.

I suspect that a good deal of the opposition comes from the fact that it’s Obamacare, which as we all know is the death-knell of Freedom.  So it’s better that poor people die for the sake of some Tea Partiers’ idea of freedom?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lessons Learned

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is suing the Obama administration for not giving them money for hospitals because Scott refuses to accept money to pay for poor peoples’ insurance.

That must have been some of the accounting and financial lessons Mr. Scott learned when he was running Columbia/HCA and was fined $1.7 billion for ripping off Medicare.