Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tallahassee Regime Defies Same Sex Marriage Ruling: Threatens Jailing Clerks!

People who love to wrap themselves in the Constitution sure don't mind using it as toilet paper.

Two weeks ago, a good day was had in Florida. A Federal judge ruled that Florida's stupid ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

That's a word conservatives love to use, but only with legal executive orders or lawful bills that become law which they don't like. When it's something that truly is "unconstitutional", but permitted them to discriminate, they defend it no matter how reprehensible.

Rick Scott's personal, extraordinarily corrupt Attorney General went bananas over the ruling. Wasn't she and Rick in charge of everything? They have already spent a small fortune in taxpayer money fighting same-sex marriage and lost every time. Immediately after the ruling, Pam "I have friends who are gay so it's all cool" Bondi tried to demand a request for an extended stay on the now illegal ban and was instantly shot down by a Florida Judicial Court judge.

Undeterred, Bondi has now filed an "emergency stay" with the US Supreme Court. Given their past rulings, that will fail miserably too but Pam Bondi is left grasping at straws. (UPDATE: SCOTUS denied the stay 7-2)

It's over. The fat lady is singing. Aging bigots are the only ones left cheering Bondi on with this quixotic quest, and now she has nowhere to go. Legal experts have already weighed in saying that because the law was ruled unconstitutional, county clerks of court can start issuing marriage licenses when the stay expires after midnight on January 6.

However, this being Florida, and in true GOP fashion, the Tallahassee teabags who run our government are going to be dicks about this all the way to the end.

In what can only be described as appalling, the Tallahassee-based lawfirm, Greenburg Tauring, which represents the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, sent out a memo designed to intimate all 67 Clerks of Court saying that anyone who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple will be "committing a misdemeanor" punishable up to one year in jail.

This has got to be the most tortured legal logic I've ever heard. The memo argued that even though the Federal court ruled the state law was unconstitutional, it only applies to one county "where the original ruling was made".


Lemme get this right. A state law is ruled unconstitutional, but the decision by the Circuit Court was meant for just one county and not all the others because....well, we're Florida. Oh, and we'll arrest you for not following this discarded law.

This is the kind of extreme stupid that makes our state so famous:

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, called the prospect of clerks being arrested ludicrous.

"Are local officials seriously preparing to arrest and criminally charge county clerks for enforcing a federal judge's order? That's preposterous."

"When a federal judge declares a law unconstitutional, all public officials should cease enforcing that law. Period," he said in a written statement.

Attorneys are justifiably outraged. Attorney Sasha Westerman-Keuning said criminal prosecutions would indeed be a real abuse of power, but unfortunately, that never stopped anyone here before.

Besides, if the goal of the memo was to intimidate, it has worked beautifully. Osceola County had planned to allow the Kissimmee clerk's office to open one minute after midnight to allow couples in, but after the memo was released they cancelled.

My advice? Every same-sex couple that wants to get married in Florida should be at Washington County's Clerk Office on Tuesday morning, January 6: 1293 Jackson Ave Ste 100, Chipley, FL 32428. You will have to drive through Tallahassee so make sure your car is decked out in streamers, cans, and a nice big "Getting Married" sign --- with the added words "get used to it, Pam".

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Corrections: The Rick Scott Barometer

The burning question for 2015 has been, which Rick Scott did Florida's benighted voters re-elect? 

Did they re-elect Tea Party Rick Scott, the one who cuts funds for disabled children and education? Or did they re-elect Happy Face Scott, who put those funds back?

As I've said before, while I think we need to watch out for Tea Party Rick Scott returning, I think that we'll see Happy Face Scott, thanks to the national GOP, which needs Florida badly for the 2016 Presidential election. The fact that Jeb Bush is taking steps to run for President in 2016 makes this even more likely: How embarrassing would it be for him to run, and not win Florida?

The good news (maybe) is that we now have a barometer to help us figure out which Rick Scott was re-elected. That barometer is Julie Jones, Scott's newly selected head of the Florida Department of Corrections.

The fact that Scott selected her so soon after the resignation of Michael Crews is itself nothing short of parting-the-Red-Sea miraculous. Remember, Scott was the one who took nine stinking months to select a new lieutenant governor, and left hundreds of lower appointment positions unfilled. Scott is never in a hurry to replace people, and that he brought Jones in so quickly is a point in favor of the return of Happy Face Scott.

Another point in favor is Jones herself, who has a reputation as a tough reformer. She's so hardcore on reform that even Mike Fasano likes her. (Fasano is one of the few Republicans in this state we can count on to be reasonable. He campaigned for Charlie Crist against Scott, and is one of those Republicans in the populist mold, who hearkens back to the time when Theodore Roosevelt represented the ideals of the GOP, with such progressive ideas [horrors!] as conserving the environment and standing up to big business interests.) Jones wants to do everything from which Scott has previously recoiled: Not just clean up corruption, but also increase community outreach and request more funding for corrections. Tea Party Scott would be especially reluctant to endorse the latter.

Watch corrections carefully. If Jones is allowed to clean up the messes Scott's neglect has caused (via his catspaw, Crews), then it's a sure sign we'll be seeing Happy Face Scott in charge through at least the 2016 Presidential election. On the other hand, if she ends up suppressed, or canned like Edwin Buss, Scott's first corrections secretary (who was also thought of as a reformer), we'll be seeing a return of Tea Party Scott. 

It's a good barometer. Keep your weather eye open.

Monday, December 15, 2014

F U Mark Cuban! You are a Coward!

mark cuban is a rightwing nut. He LOVES Ayn Rand and HATES Net Neutrality.

In typical bagger fashion, he loves to preach about how great 'merica and freedom all is... until it's difficult. With blatant hypocrisy, he gave an interview where he talked up the movie, "The Interview", because freedom. However, when the hyperbolic North Korean hacker group threatened us, he immediately pulled the premiere from his lame movie theater chain.

Seriously, the cognitive dissonance was eye-popping. He went from saying we can't live in fear (when asked about making the movie) to saying he pulled the movie completely out of fear.

I had no intention of watching the film originally, but I don't like people-especially a foreign enemy-telling me what I can and cannot watch. Fuck you. I would have seen it. The first amendment is not just a fucking platitude that you quote for political gamesmanship, which is what conservatives use it for. It quintessentially defines who we are as a nation. It's something Americans live for and many a soldier has died for.

You either believe in what we stand for or you don't. You either stand up to a bully (in this case, a pudgy megalomaniac from a backwards nation) or you cower. They demanded the movie be pulled because they didn't like it--Mark complied. That is the definition of a coward. That is the definition of a conservative. To them, the Constitution is only a document for misquoting to either attack Obama or use on homemade rally signs (along with the prerequisite misspelling).

If you don't think the Constitution is worth standing up for, Mark, then quit referencing it in your nutball tweets. I don't know what you are, Mark Cuban, but you shouldn't be calling yourself an American. You can, however, call yourself a coward.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

DAMMIT!! FL Dem "Strategists" Ensuring Our Loss in Next Gov. Race!

I really want to punch these people. Right in the face.

We already lost the governor's race to one of the worst people in political history--twice. Unlikable, criminal, and a colossal screw-up, Rick Scott should not of won. Yet he did, in an election that has had our lowest turnout in history. As I expected, our perpetually stupid state party took the wrong message from their defeat: AGAIN. Next time, they say, they'll run a conservative:

Former State Dem Chair Rod Smith:

"We simply cannot write off a quarter of a million votes, and have a chance," said Smith.

Translation: For all the talk by Democratic strategists about the importance of driving up turnout among Democrats in South Florida — especially minorities — Democrats will never be successful if they don't also improve their standing among voters in North Florida, especially white voters.

What makes more sense: getting Democrats to the polls or convincing teabaggers to vote for you? Dumbass.


Tampa Bay Mayor Bob Buckhorn, interviewed on Bay News 9 who said he "may already be the frontrunner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2018":

...we asked him why he did zero to help Crist this year and what Democrats need to do next time.

"Democrats have to have a candidate that can compete in areas other than the traditional Democratic areas. If you cannot compete, and if you don't have a compelling message, and if you aren't looked upon as someone who is pro-business, who is centrist, who is all about getting things done, north of Orlando you don't stand a chance," Buckhorn said.

You stupid. stupid. stupid people.

You think Alex Sink and Charlie Crist were raging liberals???

Alex Sink was the freaking president of Bank of America! Bank-friendly, wishy-washy, and a horrible campaigner: she embodied everything the FL Democratic Party looks for in a candidate. She campaigned more in the North than the Democratic base in the South. She was uncomfortable running in the minority areas of Miami. Enthusiasm was non-existent in an already tough midterm election, save for the drive to stop the worst fraudster in history from taking office. She failed. After her loss, she learned nothing and tried to get a Congressional seat earlier this year. Somehow, her Democratic strategists thought that attacking the president and running from ACA would be a winnable strategy. Not so much.

After her loss, my party gave up and said "F It, run a republican". So we ran Charlie Crist. Crist as is "centrist" as a politician can possibly be. He's run as a conservative, an independent, and a Democrat. No liberal activist has ever accused him of being a liberal.

So what's next, geniuses? Should we run Ted Cruz?

We did not lose over money. Scott ran ads 2-1. You will never match GOP funding-but you don't have to. What you DO have to do is run on a strong core message and stick to it. Most of all, you need a candidate who will RALLY THE BASE. That means running a GD progressive!

Try to run someone who will actually EXCITE our voters to the polls. Alan Grayson is such a person. He has the name recognition and the national presence to bring in necessary funds, and he will have an army of volunteers THROUGHOUT our state.

There are more Democrats than republicans, but they don't turn out for the Jim Davises, or Alex Sinks or the Charlie Crists. I PROMISE you the problem isn't having a candidate who will run from our platform and will be indistinguishable from the GOP candidate. In our leadership's small minds, this will make him "more acceptable" to white republicans, but they will vote for the candidate with the R beside his name anyway. WHO THE HELL CARES if they vote against our candidate hating him more or less?

I can go on about the failures of our leadership, but that's counterproductive. I would rather just have Alan Grayson run in the primary in 2018. I don't even care if the FL Dem leadership likes him or not--so far everyone they have opposed has been successful anyway.

Look, we tried it their way every single time. What's the definition of insanity again? Let's say this once, JUST ONCE, we try to run a Democrat. A Democrat that embodies our principles and fights for what he or she believes in.

And just see what happens.

Merry Christmas, Ramadan, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Tet, Festivus, whatever...

I heard about someone berating a Wal-Mart greeter because the swine had the audacity to wish the person a happy holiday season. (IT's MERRY CHRISTMAS! DAMMIT!)

The squakers at Fox News have managed to make a partisan issue even out of a holiday greeting. Corporations and strangers usually go with the generic "Happy Holidays" not because they secretly hate Christians and want to wage a "War on Christmas", but more likely to be considerate of all faiths, including those who don't celebrate the birth of our Christian savior.

I do say "Merry Christmas" to my Christian friends, and "Happy Hanukkah" to my Jewish friends. But I usually wish people a happy and safe holiday season who I don't know. It's the same reason I don't go up to strangers in April and say "Happy Passover!"

If anything, the strangers get more out of this than my Christian friends... I am wishing them to be festive the entire season from Christmas to New Years, instead of just one day.

I suppose to make Bill O'Reilly happy, instead of "Happy Holidays" his bosses could have the Wal-Mart greeter memorize the following instead:

Have a Merry Christmas
and/or a Contented Feast of the Immaculate Conception
or Happy Hanukkah
or Joyous Kwanzaa
or a Kickn' "Tet"
or a Blissful Bodhi Day
or a Cheerful Maunajiyaras
or Wonderful Festival of Lights
or a Blessed Ramadan
or a Good Winter Solstice
and/or a Joyful Canadian Boxing Day
and a Festive Festivus,
and a Happy New Year!

--oh, and welcome to Wal-Mart.

Or you could just do what Fox News actually does, and wish their viewers Happy Holidays. (Suck it, Bill)

Whatever your holiday, enjoy it. --from all of us at the Seminole Democrat in Sunny Florida

Today is National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Gun Violence

I'm not a politician, but I'm decreeing it because I can.

Two years ago today, children were slaughtered by a nut with an assault rifle that was designed to do the most damage in the shortest amount of time. According to a Newtown EMT on that day, that objective "was achieved."

The mother was NRA-certified gun nut who thought it was just dandy to let her deranged kid play with high-powered assault rifles.

The killer showed no mercy. Some of the teachers, whose entire profession is constantly mocked by conservatives, gave their lives for kids who were crying that they just wanted Christmas. Yet the NRA and their supporters told the parents, in some cases literally, to go to hell. No limits to anyone for any killing machine no matter how lethal. Background checks were somehow an "affront" to the Constitution or some bullshit.

Since Newtown there have been 100 school shootings. This is a uniquely American problem. Other nations that allow citizens to carry guns don't have this problem. This is a direct result from a vocal minority being allowed to suppress any sensible legislation, and have politicians cower in their shadow. This despite poll after poll showing upwards of 85% of people favoring sensible gun laws, and the NRA being defeated roundly in every ballot initiative this past election (in what was the most red election in history).

I want today to be a day of remembrance, for the lives that were lost and what could have been if Americans didn't allow evil entities to use fear/hate to manipulate them or apathy to turn a blind eye.

All of the children killed to this point deserve better, plus the ones that will be killed inevitably tomorrow.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Two Down... (No, Make That Three)

Rick Scott hasn't even officially started his second term yet, but already, he's down one cabinet position. This time it was his head of Corrections, Michael Crews. Though it was billed as a retirement, it seems kind of funny that it happened just as a collection of scandals closed in on Scott's crew member. You know, things like inmate gangs led by prison guards taking over a prison in the Pandhandle, multiple inmate deaths like this one at the hands of sadistic guards, a health care privatization scheme that has a couple of corporate donors of Scott's doing things like treating bone cancer with ibuprofen, a whistleblower suit against Crews and Scott....just another ho hum day for the Scott administration.

Less publicized was the departure of Herschel Vinyard of DEP, who never met a polluter he didn't like. 

And now, just a day after I first wrote this...Scott's DOT secretary resigned, also under a cloud of scandal.

So if you thought Scott's second term would be cleaner than the first, it looks like you were wrong. Instead we can expect more of the same, as Scott guts state agencies to fund corporate tax breaks for corporations like Colt Manufacturing that still haven't brought jobs here after nearly 4 years. (In fact, get this....something I just discovered while writing it looks like Colt is in danger of going belly-up. Now that was a great investment of your tax dollars, wasn't it?)

It would be nice to bring something good out of all of this musical chairs in Scott's cabinet, but about the only thing I can suggest is that maybe we place some odds for who's likely to hit the dirt next. 

Maybe we should start a roulette wheel with all of the Scott's cabinet members on it and spin it to see who resigns next.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Will Return...

There have been more posts this year than any other. Myself and Indie took a well-deserved break after the election. The posts won't be as frequent--sometimes this year I was posting twice a day--but I promise at least once a week for the upcoming year. We aren't going anywhere....

Our banner among the state blogs of DKos...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One More Reason to Be Happy? You're Not in KANSAS!

I don't mean to make light of other people who are in greater misery (and are apparently even stupider) than we are in Florida. But if you're ever feeling down, you can always have a look at the state where the Tea Party program is being executed to its fullest -- and that's in Kansas, under Governor (and former United States Senator) Sam Brownback.

When Rick Scott was simultaneously cutting taxes and budgets early in his first term, the hue and cry became so great that he turned generous on us and restored many of the worst cuts. I happen to believe that is in part because he is a man without principles. Sam Brownback, in contrast, seems to have some degree of principle in him, and despite hue and cry in his own state when the damages piled up, he stuck to his guns.

The result? You can see it reported in papers from the area. Kansas is going into a deep revenue hole, and as a result will have to severely cut government services at some point in the near future -- including vital projects related to infrastructure, and education. Like Florida, Kansas has a balanced budget requirement, so there's no way for them to get around it. Brownback has said he refuses to consider reversing past tax cuts, or cancelling future tax cuts that are part of his plan, even though his utopian vision of businesses flocking to Kansas with more jobs has yet to come to pass

In fact, Kansas is a very, very good example of how tax breaks for businesses don't lead to jobs, even moreso here than in Florida. Wichita, Kansas is  the home of the industrialist Koch brothers, who have enough cash to wipe their rear ends with $10,000 bills every day. They also have more than enough money to start new businesses in Kansas that could employ every single unemployed Kansan for years to come, even if they never turned a profit. But as our blog host has remarked more than once, there's no reason for a business to hire anyone unless they need to. They sure won't hire someone just so they can give them a job and pay for, you know, unimportant stuff like food and shelter.

One more thing about Kansas to make you feel better about Florida. Opposition to Brownback in Kansas was even greater than opposition to Scott in Florida. In fact, opposition to Brownback was downright bi-partisan. So how did Kansas voters respond to this rare display of unity? Why, they re-elected Brownback of course -- and by an even larger margin (50% to 46.1%) than Floridians re-elected Scott.

Now don't you feel a WHOLE lot better?