Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Corrections Barometer Forecasts Foul Weather

In an earlier post here I said we ought to keep an eye on how Rick Scott handles the crises in the Department of Corrections to see whether we would be getting Happy Face Rick Scott, or the same old Tea Party Scott. After the hiring of reformer Julie Jones as head of corrections, it looked a lot like we'd be getting Happy Face Scott.

It didn't take long for Tea Party Rick Scott to come roaring back from the grave, though.

Jones clearly admitted before legislators something that had never been admitted so openly before: that private prison vendors (favored by Scott and his business cronies) pick and choose the best inmates. The next day, testifying again, Jones retracted that statement, apparently having been re-educated.

Then Scott submitted his budget for corrections. Jones had had a wish list which meant a much bigger corrections budget. How much came true? Well, Scott suggested about $51 million more for the budget, but here's where that went:

Money to investigate increasing inmate deaths - $0.

Money for filling staff vacancies - $17.5 million. Some, but nowhere near what Jones wanted.

Money for raises for correctional officers - $0.

Money for the private vendors that took over health services, and have been in the news lately for not doing it properly - $7.9 million.

Money for security cameras - $1.7 million.

Money for construction and repair costs - $15 million.

I think we get the picture. Tea Party Scott is back with a vengeance, giving away tax dollars to his corporate friends while continuing to neglect the safety and welfare of the human beings that serve us in their dangerous jobs behind bars, as well as the health and safety of the incarcerated.

So what's next, now that this barometer leans Tea Party Scott? Sadly, unless the Legislature changes any of this, we may see more violence, more inmate deaths, riots, gang takeovers in the prisons, and worse before anyone wakes up. The question is whether it will happen before or after the 2016 Presidential election. If it happens before, then Scott may well have just handed Democrats the White House in 2016.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

FL Black Man Beat Up for Lawfully Carrying Gun: Zero Con Outrage

One thing you get used to in Florida in recent years is seeing people with guns walking around. Admittedly, they are mostly out-of-shape white dudes. However, this week, a 62-year old black man walked into Walmart. A white, middle-aged man saw the black man and spotted a holstered gun. He freaked out and screamed "He's got a gun!", then proceeded to tackle him. The white man punched him, held him down, then put him in a chokehold--all the while thinking he was a hero.

Problem was the old black man, Mr. Clarence Daniels, had a permit, as he repeatedly screamed as he was being choked by Mr. Michael Foster. The poor guy was just trying to buy coffee creamer.

Now just imagine if the races were reversed here. Imagine if an elderly white man with a gun was tackled by a black man. Two likely outcomes:

1. This would be a huge story on Fox News with many talking heads warning our 2nd amendment rights were in danger,
2. More hysteria from conservative media about black "thugs", and
3. Most likely, the black guy would have been killed.

Of course, since the guy who committed the assault was white and the law-abiding citizen was black, I haven't heard one peep about this from conservative media. No condemnation of the attack, and no outrage from gun nut groups. After all, Mr. Foster was only reacting to the minority hysteria that they all generate about scary black people. No chance if he was your typical fat, white redneck that he would have been tackled and choked.

Florida has the highest number of concealed weapons permits in the nation. Rick Scott and Adam Putnam held a celebratory press conference when Florida became the first in the nation to surpass one million. It was one day before the Sandy Hook massacre.

I'm all for a law-abiding citizen to own a handgun, but this should disprove the NRA talking about that walking around with one automatically makes you safe. In this case, the "bad guy", Mr. Foster, was able to wrest it away from Mr. Daniels pretty easily. If I was the victim here, I'd give serious consideration to pepper-spray instead.

This could have ended in mortal tragedy very quickly. If the victim was a lot quicker, he could have killed Mr. Foster; or, Mr. Daniels could have been killed by Mr. Foster by his own gun--both cases would have been legal under Florida's Stand Your Ground law since both could claim they feared the other.

Of course, in those hypothetical scenarios, my money wouldn't be on the white guy going to jail.

GOP State Senator Argues He Can Legally Drive Drunk

No, this is not an Onion headline. This is the argument that is currently being made by KY State Senator Brandon Smith, who is, ironically, the chair of the Transportation committee. He was recklessly driving 20 miles over the speed limit while intoxicated (.088 on a preliminary breath test).

Smith was quite distraught over this, and by this I don't mean the DUI itself but the fact that he was arrested at all. His attorney is using an obscure law that was written in the 1800s to get his client off that says:

"The members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses".

In other words, as long as Smith doesn't commit a serious crime, he can pretty much do anything he wants while the General Assembly is in session. Since the dumbass got wasted on the opening day of the KY legislature, Jan. 6, he could get off scott-free.

The law was written in the 1890s, the days of the old West, to keep unscrupulous people from preventing legislators from passing laws. It assuredly had nothing to do with shielding a disingenuous lawmaker from drinking and driving--especially since cars hadn't been invented yet.

If the judge applies the law, then I would think that he would simply be tried after the session. I really doubt that this law can be the magic bullet that Smith thinks it is to allow lawmakers to drive drunk, shoplift, or expose themselves.

However, other "experts" disagree with me and think he may end up getting off completely. Even so, Smith has infuriated his constituents--even his conservative ones, by not owning up to his actions. No one likes seeing privileged people getting away with crime (unless you live in Florida).

The GOP in Kentucky are amateurs. If you want to make it so that lawmakers can get away with misdemeanors, like taking bribes or shooting up a neighborhood, just legalize it. That's how we roll in the Sunshine State, anyways.

Is Happy Face Scott On the Way Out?

Our gracious host here broke the late news about the newest Scott scandal, so I won't steal his thunder. But I'd like to note what this will mean in the broader picture (especially if Scott ends up resigning in disgrace), and if, as I have said, a deal was brokered between him and lead GOP Presidential candidates like Christie and Jindal to be on his best behavior, in exchange for their campaign props.

Democrats, my advice as an independent voter: We have numerous recorded quotes from those GOP candidates during the campaign, saying how Scott was an honest man, a good man, a man of integrity.

Collect those quotes now and get ready to use them. Because they will be a gold mine when any one of those GOP candidates is on the stump in 2018.

That's all I'll say, other than that I have decided to remove my former blog (Rick Scott Must Go), for a couple of reasons. One is that I plan to do something else with the material soon. The other is that this blog has become my home for this sort of thing now, and it will serve to streamline some of my activities.

If I go quiet for a bit, it's because I'm working on something.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rick Scott's FDLE scandal blows open, demands probe

Scott Maxwell:

If someone accused Rick Scott of being a liar who abused the power of his office, I wouldn't normally call that big news..

I might just call it Tuesday.

Scott, after all, is one of the least popular governors in Florida history. And he's been dogged by critics since the day he stepped in office.

But the latest accusations against Scott aren't coming from longtime critics. They're coming from one of Florida's top law-enforcement officials — a respected veteran who worked closely with the governor for the past four years.

And that, my friends, is a big deal ... and why Scott now has a full-fledged scandal on his hands.

Read More

Naturally, AG Pam Bondi won't be anywhere to be found. If it's not about taking a bribe or fighting gay marriage, she's not interested.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What's the opposite of zero tolerance?

Remember when Rick Scott's top fundraiser, Miguel Fernandez, quit over two senior staffers who mocked Mexican accents?

Remember how afterwards the Rick Scott campaign smeared Miguel ruthlessly and Rick Scott himself personally defended the two racist staffers? Rick said they were doing a "great job". Rick Scott's campaign director, Curt Anderson, called Mike a "renegade donor", writing "bizarre emails", and slammed his resignation as "immaterial foolishness". Then Scott's campaign manager, Melissa Sellers, called him a liar.

Well, I guess it all worked out in the end and all of them finally got what was coming to them: Big, Fat Bonus Checks! Gawd, I hate this place.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rick Scott Barometer #2: Sunny Skies or Fair Weather?

In my earlier post I pointed out that Corrections will be a good barometer for whether we'll have Tea Party Scott or Happy Face Scott for the next two years. Will he allow reform, or choke it in the cradle? We now have a second barometer, though it is one we knew was coming: Education.

Keep in mind the genesis of this: Scott promised record per-student funding for Florida education, not as his own idea, but as a "yeah, me too" to Charlie Crist's demand that cuts to education be restored.

But will it make it through the Legislative sausage grinder unscathed?

And how will he pay for this increase, while supposedly cutting taxes at the same time?

In this case, watch carefully what the Legislature (GOP-dominated) does to Scott's proposal. If they disfigure it (not simply minor changes), see how he reacts. Will he demand that they do what he asks? Or will he give it the Medicaid expansion treatment, and remain silent?

Scott put himself between a rock and a hard place with this promise. But remember, if he makes good on it, it isn't because he cares about Florida. It's because he made a deal with the GOP Presidential hopefuls who campaigned for him (and even repeated his campaign lies) to behave himself so that the GOP could (they hope) capture Florida in 2016.

Will the barometer show that Scott is only be education's "fair weather" friend? Wait and see.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If Darwin was right, we wouldn't be here...

So Florida...

a giant cockroach-choking-hazard-infested, Hooters-dining, reptile-abusing, Everglades-draining, election-ruining, stripper-motorboating, b*llsweat-Senate-genitalia-shaped, 24-hour mugshot factory.

And you're basically telling me you won't perform weddings for gay couples to "preserve the sanctity" of your courthouses for these people...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So Rick Scott Wants To Run For President....

Oh Dear God WHY?

[Rick Scott] is a hugely divisive, charisma-free governor with a sketchy past, all of which might be overcome by his biggest asset: a vast personal fortune, which in American politics can fix just about any candidate's problems.

I honestly think he believes he can do this. Here's a man who should be serving time instead of office; and waking up every day in amazement of how much he gets away with-- and how little people in this state actually care. (I wake up every morning wondering the same thing.)

I really hope he goes for it. I do. I'd love for him to piss away his personal fortune that he amassed scamming people and selling favors. Also, maybe if he runs for president, someone will actually point out all the horrible things he's done to us as governor (unlike last time).

Of course, I am assuming the rest of America isn't as apathetic as Florida is towards our political leaders. Not only should I not underestimate America's apathy; I should also never underestimate how low the GOP will set the bar for their leadership positions.

Keep in mind I never thought "Gov. Rick Scott" would ever be a possibility either.