Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Second Great Secession?

Three days ago I was debating what we ought to do if something worse than a zombie apocalypse happened: What if Rick Scott wins re-election? One of the thoughts I had was that perhaps some part of the state of Florida should secede.

The next day, I saw this story.

That was so prescient I almost bought a lottery ticket.

No, not really. I have lived in this state for decades now, and for full disclosure, I have lived for an extended period in each of the three sectors of it -- North, Central, and South. Secession of some part of the state has always been on someone's mind. But if Scott wins again, that could be the straw that breaks the state's borders.

The article specifies global warming concerns as the reason for the proposal, but it really goes deeper than that. There are currently vast cultural and political divides between what I'll call Tea Party Florida and Progressive Florida. The line between the two runs roughly along I-4, although on the map I saw, divided by county lines, not the highway itself. (That means -- with apologies to  my gracious host here -- that Seminole County would be part of Tea Party Florida. Though, I gather from past posts that he wouldn't disagree with that assessment.)  Metro Orlando and Tampa would be in Progressive Florida. 

Under this scenario, Progressive Florida keeps most of the big money-making spots for the state. That seems appropriate because I find it attractive to stop the Tea Party apparatus in the state from spending our money to advance their agenda. (As the article says, Progressive Florida brings in 69% of the revenue.)

Tea Party Florida can still survive with the port of Jacksonville and the tourism hubs along the Gulf. But it'll be more like Alabama in terms of standing. (Rather appropriate, since when I lived in the Panhandle, so many people there called it "LA" -- lower Alabama.)

Of course there will also be certain pockets left that don't fit the new states. I'd gladly trade the Naples area to Tea Party Florida in exchange for the pockets of students in the university towns. But as a whole, the division would better represent the interests and well-being of both areas.

It's food for thought. If Scott wins, I might just throw my weight into this idea. Maybe I will even if Crist wins. As a native-born son of Florida, I've grown tired (as many have) of having decisions made for me by people far removed from my experiences and ideology. Tea Party Florida is an albatross on the neck of the rest of the state, and maybe it is past time to cut it free.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Memorable Moments from the Last Crist-Scott Debate

If you didn't watch the debate last night, you need to find a recording and watch it. It was pure gold.

In my opinion, the three most memorable (and thematic) moments were:

1) Scott pulled out one of his latest attack ad themes, that Crist grew up rich and was out of touch with everyday people. This seems like a pretty foolish tactic for someone like Scott who wipes his behind with a $100 bill every morning. But Crist twisted the knife into it by pointing out how his physician father, prior to his successes, helped the family survive by delivering  newspapers, and Crist pointedly told Scott to stop telling his (Crist's) story.

2) The exchange over Pam Bondi and the Marshall Gore execution delay. Okay, technically, this lasted too long to be a "moment" but it was absolutely picture perfect in showing not only that Scott didn't take his duties (or Bondi, hers) seriously, but also how Scott could not answer simple questions even if you put a thumb screw over his skull. Crist asked repeatedly if Scott knew that Bondi asked for the delay because it was for a campaign function, and Scott would only say over and over that Bondi had apologized. 

3) Scott also pulled out his attack ad theme of Crist's association with Scott Rothstein, the convicted schemer. This is another one that seems pretty foolish, since the entire Florida GOP was also pretty tight with Rothstein. But it led to the moderator asking Crist about it, and Crist gave an excellent answer: Look, none of us has a crystal ball, and we can't always know when people will go bad. For example...Jeb Bush had a prison chief who went bad and is now in federal prison. This was an absolutely solid retort, and effectively shut Scott's mouth because there was no way he could be critical of Jeb Bush, and no way he could defend himself, since Crist didn't (but could have) point to any number of people on Scott's staff who resigned because of scandal.

Something else memorable was the way Scott kept using Crist's first name. We expect debate opponents to address each other by name, but Scott kept using it over and over again, so many times that it seemed like some kind of fetish. It was downright creepy.

In close, to show I really am an "independent thinker" I'll note Crist's biggest shortcoming in the debate. He really didn't answer well when the moderator asked what he would say to a worker who lost their job because of a minimum wage increase. The moderator posed the question on behalf of a viewer who said that if the minimum wage went up, they'd have to let go of 1 of their 17 workers.

Crist didn't answer well, but here's what he could have said:

"In either scenario, I'd have to deliver bad news. In one I am telling as many as 17 people they will have to struggle to keep their heads above water. In the other I am telling one person they are out of a job. But with the first scenario, I have no good news to deliver to go with the bad news. In the second scenario, I do. First of all, I can tell as many as 16 people that their life will be better and they won't have to struggle as hard. But I can also tell that one person that even if they are out of a job now, they won't be for long, because it has been proven that economic growth has occurred in places where the minimum wage is raised. In fact, since some of those other 16 people would have been holding more than one job to make ends meet, some of them will probably be able to quit one of those extra jobs, and the one person without a job will have many opportunities to get one very quickly."

Anyone who votes for Scott at this point can only be doing so out of ignorance or because there's something in it for them (e.g., they're wealthy). The Bing survey results were hopeful last night: There was a 7% swing in Republicans from Scott to Crist, and a 6% swing with Independents. (Democrats remained the same, but they were already 97% in favor of Crist.)

As I passed a nearby poll station this morning, I saw a line of cars to get in to the place. I really hope that means this debate gave people their final impetus to dump the monster Rick Scott.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Florida 2014 Elections Endorsements from the Seminole Democrat

Go and bookmark this page on your mobile phone. Then go vote. NOW!

In Florida, early voting started Monday, October 20. The best place to find your early voting locations and/or the polling place on Nov. 4 is your LOCAL County's Supervisor of Elections website (click here). The best way would be to put all the information in one location but our Secretary of State under Rick Scott isn't much into helping you vote. (You can see what his focus is on the main elections website with voting fraud getting the bold treatment. After all, we've had 0 incidents of in-person voter fraud.)

The state races I give. For local races I can only do Seminole County. If somebody clues me in to an important local race or candidate, (see "contact us" button at top or use comments below), of course I'll research and include that. Special thanks to Howard Mass.

Remember, this is a progressive state blog that is in no way affiliated with the Seminole Co. Democratic Party. I even disagree with both of their Congressional choices (especially FL-7).

For races that are particularly important to me, I explain my rationale in the link with their name:

Governor/LT. Governor: CHARLIE CRIST (D)

U.S. Congress: In every district that has a Democrat, VOTE DEMOCRAT with three exceptions:

U.S. Congress District 7: Al Krulick (NPA) (not Republican John Mica or Democrat Wes Neuman)

U.S. Congress District 5: Glo Smith (R) (not Democrat Corrine Brown)

U.S. Congress District 53: Dean Kearns (NPA) (not Republican John Tobias or Democrat Santa Isabel Wright)

U.S. State Legislature and State Senate: VOTE the DEMOCRAT in every election. If there is no Democrat, vote NPA or third party (even Libertarian).

Attorney General: George Sheldon (D) (NOT PamBo)

Commissioner of Agriculture: Thad Hamilton (D)

Chief Financial Officer: Will Rankin (D)

Florida Constitutional Amendments:
Amendment 1: Conservation: Yes
Amendment 2: Medical Marijuana: Yes
Amendment 3: Lame Duck Governor Picks Judges: HELLS NO!


Court of Appeals Judges (Designated by YES or NO):
A word on District Court of Appeals Judges

FOR SEMINOLE COUNTY:

  • House District 29: Mike Clelland (D)
  • House District 30: Karen Castor Dentel (D)
  • House District 24: Franklin Perez (LPF) (not Republican Jason Brodeur)
  • Senate District 10: Walter Osborne (NPA)
  • School Board District 1: Rich Sloane
  • Circuit Judge Group 13: George Paulk
  • Circuit Judge Group 19: Mitch Krause
  • Circuit Judge Group 23: Nancy Maloney

Monday, October 20, 2014

Florida's Psychosis: Do You NOT Remember the Day When Rick Scott Showed He Was a Monster?

So... did we all forget this happened?

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities.

Though a range of state services face cuts from this year's Legislature, the governor invoked his emergency powers to order the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities to immediately roll back payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent — an amount providers say could put them out of business and threaten their clients' safety.

The cuts went into effect immediately. No provider was given notice. As the article says they learned from the headline the next morning.

I remember the picture of the young disabled child that accompanied the story. She depended on the aides for basic tasks, like eating and bathing. The workers made minimum wage working around the clock--their pay literally couldn't be cut any less. No health insurance, no sick leave, no retirement, but tons and tons of love and patience. Florida's budget for the disabled was already at the bottom in the nation, but it wasn't enough for Rick Scott. He kicked them to the curb like his rescue puppy.

Rick Scott didn't show an ounce of heart or soul. After all, disabled kids could be dumped into adult nursing homes. Which they were. Pam Bondi would defend it. Evil.

Oh... and in case you think he just hates disabled, helpless children, that's not true. He showed that he hated disabled, helpless seniors that year as well.

Did he at least save any money? Nope. Their small budget was cut by a whopping 15%, which was only a few million. But Rick Scott combined this with 1.3 Billion in cuts to education. (This was, mind you, after he swore he wouldn't cut education, but as usual, no one calls him on this.) At least, you would think, that would go a long way helping somebody in Florida.

And it did.

2.5 BILLION IN TAX BREAKS FOR BIG, POWERFUL, WELL-CONNECTED CORPORATIONS.

Rick Scott's donors and friends weren't the only ones to cash in. So did Rick Scott.

Remember in 2010, when Rick Scott spent $75 million to get the governorship? Remember in 2013 when he introduced a state law that allowed elected officials to keep assets in a so-called "blind trust" instead of disclosing investments as required by Florida's Constitution? There is a reason Rick Scott failed to disclose how much he has made the past few years. He is now the wealthiest governor in history, raking in almost half a billion dollars: and "forgetting" to claim $340 million of it.

This original post was quite long documenting and linking travesty after travesty, and each time Rick Scott has profited off of our misery. But you know what, I'm TIRED OF IT! This post is ONE FREAKING EXAMPLE out of many.

I remember the outrage when it happened. Now it's never mentioned. NONE of these are. My state party is treating me to the same tired Medicaid scandal as back in 2010, even though Rick Scott's Medicaid privatization district scheme makes that scandal look like a Sunday drive. Rick Scott isn't just a horrible politician, he is a horrible person. Lest you think that I would say that about any GOP governor, I wouldn't--and haven't. I didn't say that about "JEB" (John Ellis Bush) or Tom Corbett or Rick Perry or whathaveyou. But I will say that about Rick Scott.

When the hell did this state become an abused spouse that tries to convince itself things weren't so bad?

You know what Florida, THIS IS AN INTERVENTION! Kick him out, or we're through here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Word on District Court of Appeals Judges

These judges are given a YES or NO vote to retain them. They should be nonpartisan but that doesn't always work out that way in Florida. The GOP is on a campaign to make them as far right as possible. Naturally, all of the fifth circuit court of appeals judges are GOP; nonetheless, I usually vote YES on retaining judges unless I hear something awful.

Whether I like the governor or not, the person holding that office is allowed to pick who they want. That being said, Wendy W. Berger and Frederic Rand Wallis were appointed by Rick Scott. Another one, C. Alan Lawson, was the one that the conservatives really wanted on the Supreme Court when Charlie Crist picked James Perry.

FL House District 53 - Vote David Kearns

Dave Kearns is like many of us in Florida.. absolutely fed up. He is so angry at Scott's antics he wrote a book entitled Rick Scott: Enemy of the State. Kearns is also responsible for bringing to light Rick Scott's Ditchgate, where he literally stranded families in the woods to avoid questions. David has been a former professional journalist and a teacher who wants what everyone in Florida wants: to bring sanity back to the Florida legislature and rehabilitate our state's horrible reputation.

There are thinking, feeling human beings in this state and our voices are being drowned out by the FOX noise machine, and well-funded reactionary republicans who have usurped out state's government.--David Kearns

His opponent, John Tobias, is a homophobe who mocks gays and, according to the Orlando Sentinel, makes "inappropriate comments about women." He only won by 2% points.

David Kearns is the independent in the race. I normally go for the Democrat, but in this case, I can't support the Democrat, Santa Isabel Wright, because of her passive campaign philosophy. You need someone who will get angry and fight. It's time to start pushing back.

Volunteer or contribute at "668 Dunbarton Circle Ne Palm Bay Florida 32905" making check to "The Committee to Elect David Kearns". He accepts nothing greater than $1000 per donation.

http://www.davidakearns.com/

Important: Vote Al Krulick (NPA) NOT THE DEMOCRAT Against John Mica (FL-7)

Note: This is a Florida Progressive blog and has no affiliation with the Seminole County Democratic Party

I sometimes wonder why we have a party in this state. It is no wonder that John Mica thought he could (and did) go from being a moderate to full-on teabagger since 2010.

Wes Neuman, the Democrat in the race for FL-7, in what I can only describe as monumental laziness or cowardice, quit his race in Congressional District FL-7 against GOP incumbent John Mica. He confirmed that he quit to the Orlando Sentinel a few days ago.

He told no one. The dumbass just walked away after deciding to quit campaigning awhile ago. Democrats in this district deserve a hell of a lot better than that.

He should have told his party, his supporters, and pulled his name of the ballot when there was time.

I can forgive my party for putting up a loser, but if someone doesn't want the job, walks away, and gives a big FU to everyone: WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STILL SUPPORTING HIM??

The party endorsements still say to vote Wes Neuman. The FL Dems are saying he is the candidate as long as he doesn't withdraw. That is garbage! There is another person on the ballot. Al Krulick is an independent, but a registered Democrat who has volunteered for the party and is a true fighter. He is for fair wage, fair elections, and single-payer.

Al Krulick should at least have been able to count on last minute support from my party since he is the only one left fighting for us in this campaign and the only possible shot we have!

There are much longer shots in other Congressional districts, but the Dems are giving what for against their GOP opponents. At the very least, they are making them answer for some of their heinous behavior and forcing the GOP to spend resources they'd rather not. Democrat and Vietnam Vet Jeff Miller in FL-1 is fighting on a shoestring, and KARL FREAKING ROVE had to open an office in that district to help fend him off from rightwinger Jeff Miller.

But James Bryan is a real candidate. I get Wes Neuman. I get a party that tells me to vote for him.

This kind of garbage is why a state full of Democrats has a legislature more right-wing than Oklahoma.

If you are in District 7, vote Al Krulick.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Demand the FAN!

Let me second our host's post of yesterday by suggesting that we all write to WJXT (the station co-sponsoring the next debate) and asking that they rescind their own "anti-fan" rule:

http://www.news4jax.com/seen-on-4/contact-us/475454

I wrote to the Administration email as follows:
 
I see that in the upcoming debate between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, a rule has been implemented forbidding fans. This is absurd and unnecessary and should be rescinded. A small fan will in no way interfere with the broadcast.


And indeed it won't. Organizers of the last debate claimed that fans caused a "hum" during the broadcast. Well, I sure didn't hear one in the last two debates, and Crist had his fan on both times. So tell them to cut the bull and let Crist have his fan!

Friday, October 17, 2014

FAIL: Republican Debate Sponsor Changed the Rules In Attempt to Embarrass Crist

The original version of the rules, (which is the one I saw), said candidates "may not bring electronic devices, visual aids or notes." Again, very clearly this was aimed at devices that could receive information during a debate.

Ridings, a debate sponsor who turns out to have ties to Rick Scott, said the word "fans" was added by his group and Leadership Florida. According to the Tampa Bay Times, when asked if Scott's campaign also requested it, Ridings said he didn't know.

Yeah, right. Who else would add something so stupid? What Ridings didn't know was that Scott would try to use this as a pretext to allow him to get out of the debate. The article goes on to say that Crist never agreed to the change, and notated that on his agreement. Even the shady debate sponsors, who put out a press release blaming Crist at the behest of Scott's campaign, admitted to accepting Crist's agreement (along with the fact that this was trivial).

As bad as that was, this tidbit from the article was most telling:

Scott's advisers urged Wendy Walker of Leadership Florida and Dean Ridings of the Florida Press Association to end the debate before it started. But the host station, Miami's WFOR, refused to pull the plug.
Scott's own debate advisor, Mr. Brett O'Donnell, tried to use this to cancel the entire debate over the fan. It failed, because anyone with one functioning brain cell, even Rick Scott supporters, don't believe that Scott refused to come out over a 1-foot, 10 dollar fan.

I don't blame O'Donnell for trying because he knows more than anyone that his candidate cannot answer questions. (This is now painfully obvious to everyone who stuck around to watch the actual debate.)