Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Questions to Ask People Planning to Vote for Rick Scott

Pretty soon I'll be heading out online to buzz bomb some Florida county Republican Facebook pages, asking them to answer the questions below, which I've designed to get to the heart of the problems with Rick Scott.  But feel free to use them on anyone you know who might be convinced to either vote Democrat, or Libertarian, or at worst, stay home and not vote for Scott.


Rick Scott supporters, I have some questions for you.

1) Scott has made it a talking point of his campaign that he cut the auto tag fees raised by Charlie Crist (and the Legislature). In light of this I have two questions. First, why did Scott wait until 2014 to cut these fees? You see, his criticism of Crist makes no sense unless he thinks it was unnecessary for Crist to raise the fees. But if it was not necessary for Crist to raise the fees, then why didn’t Scott cut them in 2011, 2012, or 2013? It would have been no more necessary in those years than when Crist raised them. Second, the Legislature under Crist, which voted in the fee increases, is much the same body that serves there now, which is mostly Republican. So do you plan to vote out your legislator, too, if they were there to vote the fee increase in?

2) For some time, Rick Scott has been touting the lowering unemployment rate. However, he has refused to acknowledge questions when asked how much of that lowering rate is due to people leaving the workforce because they cannot find jobs. This month, when trying to explain why the unemployment rate went up (6.2 to 6.3%), Scott explained the increase by saying it was because more people were entering the workforce. My question is, why did he refuse to acknowledge workforce participation when the rate was going down, but acknowledge it as a factor when the rate is going up?

3) Scott has made it a talking point of his campaign that Crist “oversaw” a large jump in unemployment, bad economic performance, etc. and for this reason, we should not elect Crist. By this logic, why isn’t Rick Scott in jail because he “oversaw” what was the largest case of Medicare fraud in history?

4) Rick Scott has touted his sale of the state jets, and use of his own private jet for state business, as a cost saving measure. My question is, what does Scott expect the next governor (whether in 2015 or 2019) to do about a state jet? He obviously thinks one is needed for the state’s business, since he still uses his own. The new governor will have to buy a new jet, which will cost taxpayers more. Or will Scott be donating his personal jet to the next governor?

5) What does it say about Scott’s character that he has a personal friend managing his “blind” trust while he is governor – a trust that is supposed to prevent him from profiting off of his term as governor?

I would appreciate answers to these questions, as no one seems able to answer them. Thank you.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

One Place I Need You to Visit in Longwood, FL

My wife laments sometimes about the lack of minority authors in our library.

The owner of DARE books apparently had the same issue when he noticed the lack of books in his children’s school which reflected the experiences and the contributions of people of color, especially African-Americans. DARE Books was born. They provide books for all ages and all ethnicities, although they specialize in African American literature. They also welcome new authors to submit their books, as long as they fit the general criteria of being educational, informative, historical and family oriented.

We discovered the store existed when my wife and I visited the UCF book festival a few weeks ago. My wife was thrilled at their selection. If they don't have it, the owner has quite a few connections and can track down book for you.

We want to support this locally-owned African-American business. I am advertising for them at no cost.

The store is located at 245 N. U.S. Highway 17-92, Longwood, FL 32750 (407-673-3273). They are open for business from Monday to Friday, 10:00-6:00, and on Saturday, 11:00-5:30. Their website is on the left-hand column of the blog or you can go to .

Saturday, April 19, 2014

FL GOP: Puerto Rico is "foreign" and "a terrible basket case"

#CXVI of My Stupid State

It's sad that a newspaper columnist has to devote a column explaining to republicans that Puerto Rico is not a foreign, socialist country.

But this is the Florida GOP we are talking about.

The same GOP where not too long ago Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite called Puerto Ricans living here "foreign citizens." She was even offered a chance to correct her statement by the newspaper after being told that they were, in fact, US citizens. Her spokesperson got back and said she stood by her statement.

Just this past week, FL GOP Chair Lew Oliver was asked why Hispanics aren't joining the GOP. (Gee, I wonder). His response:

If you like a semi-socialist government where the highest aspiration is a nice secure government job, Puerto Rico is heaven on earth, PLUS nice weather! Sadly, it is also a terrible basket case.

No, it isn't. Its not socialist. They don't have a high-rate of government jobs. And 1 in 20 people in Florida are Puerto Ricans, you idiot.

And no, Oliver has not been asked to resign. The Fl GOP is just happy he "apologized".

Pablo Pantoja, a native of Puerto Rico, was the RNC's Florida Hispanic Outreach Director. He quit last year and became a Democrat. His resignation explained it was due to all of the bigotry and intolerance he faced in his party. Florida Representative Anna Rivas Logan also switched not too long ago for the same reason.

To be fair, Rick Scott hasn't insulted Puerto Ricans directly. His campaign insults Mexicans. His policies insult all Latinos evenly.

The Florida GOP is unable to change. Unfortunately for them, Florida's electoral makeup doesn't have that problem.

NICE!! Charlie Crist Drops the Mike On Rick Scott Lackey (video)

Charlie gave a speech at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches. He slammed Rick Scott, saying that besides pandering to the fringe and his cronies, Scott is notorious for hiding from the public and the press.

So what does Rick Scott do? Hides from the public and press. He sent his Lt. rebut Charlie. Bad move.

At this point I'll remind everyone that the Florida Lt. Gov job is the most useless job on the planet. You have no responsibilities whatsoever but to sit in a chair and take over if the governor dies. And Rick Scott's last one somehow even managed to screw that up.

The new LG, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, wasn't picked for his quick wit and certainly is not part of Rick Scott's inner circle--he was a pander pick for his last name. (And that just can't fix the Hispanic bigotry in Scott's campaign. Or the FL GOP for that matter.)

After Charlie's speech, reporters were hovering around the LG to ask about it. Carlos was talking much smack until Crist came up from behind to greet him. As he walked away, reporters were shouting questions on all the garbage Carlos was spewing and asked him to respond.


"He's just gonna get to debate the lieutenant governor candidate,'' Crist said. ``Give me Scott.''





Another link that isn't youtube

Friday, April 18, 2014

The List Hits 210!

With a story I found today, the list of non-partisan reasons to boot Rick Scott has hit 210. To think I had thought it would be hard to reach even 77 of them when I first started the list.'

The story that made it hit 210 is worth quoting:

The administration of Gov. Rick Scott is making a unique legal argument when it comes to handing over public records: Get it from the employees, not us.

As part of a bitter ongoing legal battle, attorneys who work for the governor late last month declared that both current and former employees are the "custodians" of any text messages or emails done on personal accounts even if they cover state business.

The Scott administration and state agencies generally require that employees turn over emails and text messages from personal accounts if they covered state business. Past requests made by media organizations, including The Associated Press, as well as open-records advocates have shown various Scott administration employees using personal accounts to conduct state business.

Tallahassee attorney Steven Andrews, a persistent critic of Scott caught up in a land dispute with the state, last fall filed a series of public records lawsuits maintaining that Scott and other state officials weren't complying with the state's Sunshine Laws. Florida has some of the broadest public records laws in the nation.

In a court filing made in late March, Scott's assistant general counsel argued the administration had turned over thousands of relevant records but then added the office "does not have control over employees private accounts, and devices, and therefore, it does not search those accounts and devices for public records."

The filing then stated that both current and former employees are "the records custodians of public business contained on private accounts and devices."

That means that in order to obtain certain records the press and public would have to ask those employees directly and then potentially sue those state workers if they do not comply with the request.

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Rick Scott Facebook Page Experiment

I’ve spent about two weeks now at Rick Scott’s Facebook page doing word wars with the Scott supporters, and as I close out the experiment, I can say this: I have not seen so many thoughtless, angry, and ignorant people gathered in one place in a long time.

I mentioned last time about the false quote of Thomas Jefferson. In response to my pointing that out, one of Scott’s supporters said:

"Pretty sure you missed the point Indie. I happen to believe it to be a true statement and from the likes, so do many others and I don't think there has been a American Gov in my lifetime of 50 years where the people distrust the gov. as much as they do today. When the Gov excludes itself from the law, there is no law."

At last check that statement had gotten 19 likes.  What does that say? It says that to them, the facts don’t matter, as long as you “get the point.” As I said in reply to that Scott supporter:

"Whether it's true or not isn't the point. Scott posted this quote to celebrate Jefferson's birthday, not to celebrate the sentiments of the quote. The least he can do to honor the man properly is use a quote that's genuine. If he wants to celebrate the sentiment, he can do that anytime, and attribute it to the person who did say it (Barnhill). As it is, it reflects the thoughtlessness and carelessness with facts that so characterizes Scott and his regime. You speak of a government that excludes itself from the law -- it's not much better to have one that excludes itself from being responsible and accurate with facts. But maybe that's why Scott supporters don't blink when Scott affirms that the '300,000 people lost insurance' ad is correct in spite of the obvious fact that it is a lie."

It’s also a place where they really don’t want to hear contrary views. This comment is typical:

"What's with all the negative talk,if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all. I am voting to keep our Governor IN!"

Don’t disturb us, they say – we’re comfortable. The same person spoke up when I asked Scott supporters to defend Scott’s boneheaded plan (the words of Golf Week magazine there, not me) to put golf courses in state parks. They said:

"I am defending it Indie Thinker,there are people who like to play golf on vacation"

To which I said:

"So why can't they play it now? FL already has more golf courses than any other state. Why ruin state parks? And do you also defend the no bid contract for Nickalus?"

They didn’t answer, so I added this later:

"While you think that over, here's something else. (Don't forget to address the Golf Week criticisms of the plan, including that is it 'boneheaded'.) Your sole reason given to defend this plan is that "there are people who like to play golf on their vacation." Okay. According to stats, 5.1 million people a year come to Florida to play golf.Some just for golf, some as a sideline. But stats also show that FL state parks get visited by 25 million people a year. So by your own logic, instead of ripping up state parks to make more golf courses, we should be ripping up golf courses to make more state parks. Maybe you want to think a little harder about that one?"

Ignorance abounds there in other ways. More than one person criticized Charlie Crist for hopping between three political parties. It was news to them to be told that “Independent” is not a party.

But maybe the most fun I had was with a character named Rich. This guy set a great example for you grammarphobes; he spoke of “fee’s” increased under Crist’s governorship, and got so upset at me that he accused me of being on “Charlies” payroll.  It’s amazing how he can try so many times to use an apostrophe correctly, and get it wrong so many times.

Anyway,  it was with Rich that I had the most incredible talk, about the auto fees raised by Crist, which Scott just reversed as an election year stunt. I’d like to reprint the talk, but for some reason, it was erased. So I’ll paraphrase it by memory:

Indie: So why didn’t Scott reduce the fees in 2011, 2012, or 2013?

Rich: Why did Crist raise them???

Indie: You’re not answering my question. But to answer yours, he and the Legislature – mostly the same people now under Scott, by the way -- raised the fees because the recession caused a budget shortfall. Now tell me, why didn’t Scott reverse those in 2011-2013?

Rich:  Those Democrats in the Legislature probably stopped it!

Indie: No, Rich. The Republicans had a majority and could have done what they wanted. In fact, from 2011-2012 they had a supermajority, and were unstoppable. Now do you have any statements by Democrats who spoke out against lowering the fees?

Rich: Well, all I know is, Crist raised them, and Scott lowered them, that’s good enough for me! That raise in fees hurt poor people and single moms!

Indie: So what you’re telling me is that Scott and the Republican Legislature decided to keep screwing poor people and single moms for three years by charging a fee increase that we didn’t actually need when Crist signed it into law? Then again I ask, why didn’t Scott reverse it sooner?

Rich: Ask him yourself! I can’t read his mind!

It’s sad to say that this exchange was probably the most substantial one I had with any Scott supporter on his Facebook page.  I would provide links to news items explaining things, only to have them ignored. I asked the question about fees multiple times (including just today) and was ignored by virtually everyone but Rich.

It seems my work there is done for now. And if Scott gets another 4 years, our state will be done for good. It means that people like Rich will be the majority of citizens here who decide what things should be like -- and that's a scary thought.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The plane truth: Florida Gov. Rick Scott travels in wealth, stealth

Miami Herald:

Scott’s air travel reflects not only his wealth, but his preference for stealth. Despite his oft-stated support for transparency, Scott keeps his flight itineraries off tracking websites and even blacks out arrival and departure details on official schedules after the fact, citing the need for security.


Rick Scott's Facebook Page Uses Fake Thomas Jefferson Quote

While I think about my next post talking about my experiences on Rick Scott's Facebook page, I'll present this amusing note. On Rick Scott's Facebook page this morning, they posted this (which I'm saving in case they take it down):

The sentiment is a very good one. Unfortunately, Jefferson never said it or anything like it. I searched for it and found this which is by the people who run the Monticello historical site. It appears to have been said by someone else in 1914, and somehow ended up up credited to Jefferson -- as well as a couple of other people.

It's not a big thing, sure. But it sure illustrates the incompetence that lies at the heart of Scott and his campaign.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Watch Florida Gov Rick Scott get video busted for his misleading Obamacare ads

H/t HoundDog

Janie Campbell describes Florida political ambush reporting at its finest in Watch Rick Scott Pretend He Hasn't Been Busted For Misleading Obamacare Ads. The Youtube video is below. Be sure to watch past the first 20 or so seconds, the section we're interested in is the second question.

This video shows local television reporters asking Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) about one of his election ads which falsely implies that 300,000 people in Florida have lost their health insurance because of Obamacae, he declares the ad is accurate.

Let's watch this beast in his native habitat:

"Clearly, the ad's accurate," Scott told reporters gathered outside a senior center in Miami on Wednesday.

"But it's not, governor!" insisted one reporter, who pointed out that the Blue Cross-run agency at the center of the claim had already debunked the numbers. A second reporter continued to question the assertion, which has been factchecked by newspapers across the state and discredited. Scott, however, remained unmoved before being "quickly ushered away by his media aide," according to CBS


FL Legislature Gives Utilities $1.5 Billion ...For NO Reason

Right after the Florida NRA, the most powerful force in Tally are the four energy companies. We pay a very high utility rate so we can give them a high rate of return on investment and regulation. In return, Florida law gives them a guaranteed monopoly.

I know that doesn't seem fair but that's what $18 million in utility donations buys you in Tally. (And that will no doubt rise thanks to the John Roberts Court.) There is now one lobbyist for every two legislators. Don't worry, they can afford them. After all, you are paying.

Duke Energy, one of the worst, was allowed to jack up rates exponentially to pay for a $1.5 billion dollar nuclear power plant. This included a built-in $150 million dollar profit.

Then they decided not to build it.

Did Tally make them give back the money?

Of course not. In fact, lawmakers refused to allow customers to know about the extra fees on their utility bills to pay for the ghost nuclear plant.

To add insult to injury, a utility spokesman said they are pushing to hide this massive fee from customers because they just don't want to know.

"Customers are not clamoring for this,'' he said. "They want to hear about utility poles in their neighborhood or other things."

Its much like when I sold my car to somebody and then decided not to give him the car, but told him he had to pay me in monthly installments anyway because I need to do stuff around the house. Oh, and I can't be bothered with itemizing this charge on a bill because f**k you.

Tally legislators and the utilities know that they can get away with pretty much anything.

90% of Florida voters support a constitutional amendment on getting a solar power tax break. We are the freaking "sunshine state" for cryin out loud.

Well, the Florida House isn't interested. (Its not about suppressing votes or abortion--which is what really matters to us I guess.) The electric power monopolies in this state hate, hate, hate that amendment. Since they have money to blow (thanks to us) they were able to kill it.

Integrity Florida put it best: “Increasingly, the Florida Legislature sets its agenda and policy outcomes based on the needs of large political donors.”

Our Founding Fathers would be so proud.

Hey Comedy Central, consider giving Aasif Mandvi a show to replace Colbert

I bring this up because if Aasif was white, non-Muslim, and didn't have an "odd" name, he'd be leading the pack because what he is is FREAKING HILARIOUS.

Not to mention witty, quick on his feet, and creative.

He was promoted to a regular correspondent on the Daily Show in 2007. If you are like me, you always perk up and smile when Jon introduces a segment with Aasif. You know its going to be really good.

The best segment I've ever seen on that program was his bit on third-word healthcare. The twist of that story, along with the 15 seconds of silence after he got the Fox business analyst to realize he insulted America, has got to rank as one of the best gotcha moments on TV.

Most of his stuff is pure gold. Americablog author John Aravosis, who also calls Aasif his favorite, rolled over laughing with his take on the Indian Miss America. I bust a gut at his fracking bit with the stupid free pizza. Even RedState featured his report on San Fran's ridiculous McDonald's Happy Meal ban.

I should have been furious at the North Carolina GOP executive's very racist rant about "lazy blacks", but Aasif played it perfectly and somehow made me laugh. (The guy was later forced to resign.)

I could go on, but the point is he is good. Damn good. His comic timing, quick wit under pressure, and his affable personality are all traits that would make him a comedic star to a broader audience.

If only Comedy Central would give him a shot.