Sunday, October 26, 2014

Having trouble voting in Florida? Call this number...

Colorado Station Busts Megyn Kelly for Outright Lying; FoxNews Offers No Correction

What bobblehead Megyn Kelly did was literally make this up:

On her Fox News show this week, Megyn Kelly drew viewer attention to possible voter fraud in Colorado over a law that she said “literally allows residents to print ballots from their home computers, then encourages them to turn ballots over to collectors.”

She used air quotes to say "collectors". Worse, she opened by saying that this was a scheme by Democrats to do away with "traditional polling places". She added, with a smirk, "what could go wrong?"

And this is Why Fox News and their rightwing supporters are the only ones left who try to say it is anything other than a sleazy, ideologoical sham posing as a news agency.

Megyn Kelly outright lied: Colorado citizens cannot print their ballots and give them to "collectors". One simple phonecall to any elections supervisor or Sec. of State office would have told her that, if there was any fact checking going on at Fox.

The only people who can print out ballots are active military personnel serving overseas, which as Rachel Maddow pointed out in a blistering response, they could always do even before the vote-by-mail law passed:

Neither Fox News nor Megyn Kelly offered a correction. They never do. So Colorado 9News anchor, Kyle Clark, had to draw a rebuke since Fox News refused to recall a blatant lie:

“We normally reserve our truth test for political ads, but that claim is misleading.”

Can anyone here name a "news" outlet that would blatantly lie and then continue to lie even after being called out on it? There are none--because Fox has never been one. Legitimate journalists try to get to the truth, Fox (and friends) tries to make up the truth to suit their rightwing objectives.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rick Scott sends white supporters to harass black voters

Nice, Rick:

What began Saturday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale as an early voting rally for Charlie Crist turned into a shouting match, featuring the former governor’s supporters squaring off against those backing his opponent Rick Scott.

Crist’s bus pulled into the parking lot of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at about noon Saturday and was greeted by a crowd of supporters, mostly black Democrats. Also on hand were Scott supporters, mostly white, carrying “shame on you” signs. Scott’s group included one person barking into a megaphone.

He had to harass them this weekend, because Rick Scott eliminated early voting the Sunday before election day for the sole reason of preventing black Churches from organizing poll drives.

You know, Rick Scott has spent the last four years suppressing the African-American vote, fiercely defended George Zimmerman while refused any changes to our "Stand Your Ground" law, cut completely state support for our black colleges, refused to appoint minority judges, and even told black legislators they had a sixth-grade education. You'd really think he's done enough to show his contempt.

But you don't know Rick.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Twelve Foundational Falsehoods of the Scott Campaign

 This is an update to a list I made earlier. Pass it around and make sure everyone knows what Scott's campaign is based on.

Lie: Charlie Crist was responsible for the loss of over 800,000 jobs in Florida.

Fact: Those jobs were lost because of a nationwide recession that resulted in jobs being lost in EVERY state -- and which no one could, or did, do anything about.

Scott’s campaigners have said that Crist “oversaw” the last economic crisis (e.g., Crist “oversaw massive spikes in unemployment”). But Crist clearly had no control over, and had nothing to do with, a nationwide economic crisis that mostly had to do with a bursting real estate bubble and bad loan crisis. 

Scott has also absurdly claimed that Florida should not have lost jobs during the last recession, citing things like the lack of state income tax. None of the factors he cites would have had any bearing on the causes of the recession, which affected states that had no income tax. Scott was clearly making that claim up.

Scott has now invented a jingle about Crist being "powerless for the jobless." But the fact is that if he had been  in charge in 2008-9, he would have been able to do nothing more helpful. He has never answered questions about what Crist could have done to stop the loss of 800,000 jobs.  

A new attack ad asks why Florida lost the second most jobs of any state in the nation. It seems rather obvious that the state with the third largest population would be likely to rank second in job loss, especially when its economy depends heavily on tourism (and other people having money).

During the third debate, he was asked this question and gave a misleading answer explaining how he thinks Crist could have REPLACED the lost jobs, not how Crist could have prevented their loss in the first place. But his answers are part of the second great falsehood of the Scott campaign.

Lie: Rick Scott is responsible for the return of over 600,000 jobs in Florida.

Fact: Economists predicted that Florida would recover 1 million jobs by 2017 no matter who was elected governor. Scott has just sat by and warmed a chair while it happened.
When he has tried to bring jobs by his own actions, his failure rate so far is 96%. Scott offered tax incentives to a number of companies to come here, but of the approximately 40,000 jobs that were supposed to come from this, only 4% have materialized. Some of the companies offered incentives have even gone out of business.

During the third debate, Crist pointed this out, and Scott replied that these jobs took time to develop. This may be true, but as long as it has taken, if Crist had done the same thing in 2009, we would still be waiting for the jobs even now, and the Scott campaign would no doubt be using it as an example of how Crist's policies were a failure. 

In addition, Scott has religiously attended ceremonies to announce when companies offered these incentives (like Colt Manufacturing) have agreed to take them, and used them as campaign props. Why doesn't he wait until the jobs are actually here before touting it as an achievement of his administration?

Lie: Rick Scott denying saying he would bring 1.7 million jobs to the state by 2017. 

Fact: Scott had campaigned on bringing 700,000 jobs to the state by 2017. He was confronted with the fact that economists predicted 1 million jobs for the state by 2017, no matter who was governor. In response, he said he meant 700,000 jobs ON TOP OF what was predicted. He is recorded twice saying this on camera. He later denied he said it.

Lie: Rick Scott turned a "deficit" under Crist into a surplus.

Fact: Florida's constitution requires a balanaced budget, so there can be no "surplus" or "deficit". Scott is misusing terms. What he refers to as a "surplus" is an actual revenue overage. His so-called "deficit" is actually a projected revenue shortfall. Using the terms this way, in his last year, Charlie Crist had a $433 million "surplus" and a $3.6 billion "deficit" at the same time!

Lie: Rick Scott cut taxes 40 times for families.

Fact: Scott reaches this number dishonestly: By counting the same yearly sales tax holidays multiple times, including those that were in existence before he took office; by counting tax credits (which still require a person to spend money on something else); and by elminiating future scheduled increases in certain fees (so the person still pays money!). Most of the "cuts" are also for businesses, not families, such as one that gave breaks on repairs to planes over a certain weight.

Lie: Rick Scott saved the state pension fund by taking 3% from state workers' pay.

Fact: Florida's pension fund was alrwady one of the healthiest in the world and didn't need "saving". The money also did not go into the retirement fund, but back into the state budget.

Lie: Charlie Crist instituted an automatic 15% tuition hike.

Fact: While Crist did sign a law allowing tuition increases (which was approved by the mostly Republican Legislature, mostly the same people now there under Scott), the increase was not automatic, and did not have to be 15%. 

To make matters worse, Scott himself signed a 15% tuition increase into law in his first year in office.

Lie: Charlie Crist has been part of 3 political parties in 3 years.

Fact: This claim now even appears in a recent attack ad and is used to imply that Crist has no core values. But Crist has been part of only two parties in three years -- Republican and Democrat. The third "party" is not a party, or an ideology: It refers to when Crist ran as an Independent for U.S. Senate. That simply meant he was running apart from any sponsorship of any political party. During that run he was still a registered Republican.
Once that is settled, Crist is no more a "flip flopper" than countless other politicians who have switched parties, including two major Republican heroes who switched from being Democrats in what could just as easily be said to be self-advantageous conditions: Ronald Reagan, and Pam Bondi.

Lie: Charlie Crist "ran away" from the mess he created by running for the U.S. Senate instead of a second term as governor.

Fact: Three questions reveal the falsehood behind this claim.

First, how is it "running away" from a state's problems to run for U.S. Senate representing that state? 

Second, given that the problems of that time were nationwide (even worldwide) in scope, wouldn't running for U. S. Senate be a case of running TOWARDS problems rather than away from them?

Third, if Crist "ran away" by running for U. S. Senate, then so did Marco Rubio, who, although he had term-limited out of his former office, could have easily run for some other state office. In fact, Rubio could even have run for governor of Florida.

Lie: Charlie Crist raised taxes over 2 billion dollars.

Fact: The lie here is not so much that Crist didn't approve tax increases, because he did. The lie is one of leaving out an important fact: These tax increases were first approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature that served with Crist. If Scott points a finger at Crist over this, he also points a finger at his GOP colleagues, including many who still serve in the Legislature to this day. He also points a finger at himself, since Scott did not move to repeal the most popular tax increase (on motor vehicles registrations) until after three years in office. So did we need the money (in which case, Crist was right to raise taxes), or not (in which case, Scott was wrong to keep it going so long)?

Lie: Crist increased the state debt by several billion dollars.

Fact: Here again the problem is one of important information left out. The debt in question was actually bond debt, which is used to fund long term projects. This amount owed by the state did go up under Crist, and did go down under Scott.

However, as with the tax increases, all of this must first have been approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature under Crist. That means Scott is again pointing a finger not just at Crist, but at his own colleagues. In addition, Scott fails to report that bond debt had been going steadily up for decades. It even went up under Bush.  Finally, he fails to report that we still have over 20 billion in bond debt.

Lie: Crist was bankrupting Florida.

Fact: Scott said this in the third debate, and it is a ridiculous claim. Florida is required to have a balanced budget, by law. And again, the Legislature holds the purse strings, which means if this were true, Scott is also blaming his GOP colleagues.

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.

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.


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.

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:

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.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Real Reason Behind Rick Scott's Debate Tantrum

#144 of My Stupid State

There are enough articles of the sheer stupidity of Rick Scott storming off a debate over a fan. Even the moderators called it "trivial" and "bizarre".

To be clear, the rules said no electronic devices, which means tablets, iphones, or wired transmitters (ala Bush's first debate with Kerry). It does not mean items like a watch or, worse, a freaking FAN: items that do not transmit/receive information.

Bottom line: after a ton of boos, along with a few good zingers Crist mocked him with, Rick Scott was shamed into coming out.

Even more bizarre than refusing to debate Crist over a fan was Rick Scott's bizarre response that he never did refuse to debate over a fan ---after he did just that.

Watch his brief "justification" here. You really can't appreciate how awkward and unprepared Rick Scott was unless you watch it. If you don't have youtube, be thankful. It's painful.

And that, my friends, is the true reason why Rick Scott did what he did.

He can't answer tough questions. He really can't. He is terrible at it. People who call him out for the incredibly horrible things he has done literally frightens him. That is why he is the only governor to deem budget signing ceremonies "private" and holds them in GOP bastions, like the Villages, so he doesn't have to face protestors. It's why he actually ran away from a citizen-journalist.

Petty? Yes. Stupid? Definitely. But FL DEMS, call this for what this REALLY is--Rick Scott was trying to weasel out of answering tough questions because that is what he does!

When he does have to face the media, it is always a spectacle. There is not one non-rightwing interview he has done that hasn't ended badly. National and state reporters pull their hair out. Watch this brief clip below to see what I mean. He was asked the same direct question four times. (If this clip is auto playing, I apologize):

Or this one (the reporter wouldn't let up):

Or this insulting condition he put on this Latina reporter:

CNN's Soledad almost lost it over his demeaning dodging of questions over gun violence:

CNN's Ali Velshi really did.

Scott won't even answer questions under oath.

"Is that a xerox of your signature?" "It looks like my signature, but............... what's your question?"

He is really that bad. There's many more examples, but you get the point. Rick Scott is neither a good politician or candidate. He hates having to answer questions by non-supporters and was obviously looking for a way out. He tried an utterly ridiculous Hail Mary pass that is turning out to be a disaster.

Scott has nothing to run on, but plenty to run from.

When he was finally shamed into coming out to debate, Scott had to defend his cutting $1.3 billion out of Florida schools during his first year as governor, his spiteful refusal to allow Medicaid expansion, his support of the Trayvon Martin verdict, and then got slammed by Crist over one of Rick Scott's largest donors--Duke Energy--which is gouging Floridians across the state.

Scott embarrassed himself several times: he accused Crist of not really being in favor of gay marriage (because he and fellow gay-basher Pam Bondi would be so much better?); he tried to talk about his "integrity" (which gave Crist a slam-dunk applause line about pleading the fifth 75 times after stealing billions in the largest Medicaid fraud case in US history); and then there was his closing remarks.

Many issues over Rick Scott's legacy were never brought up. Unfortunately, most of the issues that were discussed were lost to #fangate. If you google this debate, all you'll hear about is the first few minutes.

I really want Rick Scott to lose because of all he's done to us, but this is Florida, so I'll take what I can get. If the deciding factor is his tantrum he decided to throw over a small fan, so be it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The GOP Glue Baby

I suppose as children, some of you may have used this taunt:

"I'm rubber, you're glue! Everything you say bounces of me and sticks to YOU!"

That taunt would actually make a good slogan for the Charlie Crist campaign, as a response to Rick Scott's campaign. And if Scott fanatics ever figured this out, they'd possibly become rooted to whatever spot they are in, paralyzed with confusion, until the 2018 election.

It's like this: Nearly every Scott campaign talking critical of Crist also points a finger at the GOP-dominated Legislature that served with Crist.

Did Crist cause 800,000 jobs to be lost, as Scott implies? He didn't, but if he had, then we'd also have to blame the GOP Legislature, which passed into law the fiscal policy that Crist signed as Florida's chief executive.

Did Crist leave a deficit in Florida's budget? That claim involves a confusion of categories, but again, if he had done so, it would not have been possible without help from the GOP Legislature, which holds the purse strings.

Did Crist raise taxes? Yes, if you mean also, he signed into law tax increases the GOP Legislature approved.

Did Crist increase Florida's debt? That's also a confusion of categories, but it's again something that couldn't have happened without the GOP Legislature passing it to him with a wave and a smile.

Did Crist "raid" the budget stabilization fund? That fund is supposed to be "raided" when there's a budget shortfall. The GOP Legislature knew that, which is why they approved of it.

Did Crist raise tuition costs? Not without help from the GOP Legislature.

Did Crist pass a lot of wasteful state spending? That darned GOP Legislature sent it to his desk to be signed.

I could go on, but I'll close instead with the most delicious irony of all. Scott's flock is also on Crist's back for flipping over to the Democratic Party. Based on all of the above, they should be praising him for changing his allegiances. They should also be voting for Crist as a referendum against the failed economic policies of the failed GOP Legislature.

Tell this to your GOP friends and watch them go into catatonia.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 FL Constitutional Amendments: 1 & 2 Yes! 3 Hell No!

Amendment 1-Dedicated Funding to Acquire and Restore Florida Conservation and Recreation Lands:--YES!!!

Under Rick Scott, Florida has become the 2nd most polluted state in the union behind Ohio. The agencies charged with protection were stacked with Chamber of Commerce cronies who did the opposite, our springs are choked with slime thanks to Rick Scott's allowance of wastewater disposal, and we now have fracking in the Everglades. We can't count on our governor or his complicit right-wing legislature to do the right thing and protect our water and natural areas.... so we have to count on us.

Amendment 1 gives Florida voters a direct opportunity to keep drinking water clean, protect our rivers, lakes, and springs, restore natural resources, and protect our beaches: all without any increase in taxes! It takes 33 percent of an existing real estate tax and puts that money into environmental and drinking water protection INSTEAD of giving it to wealthy Rick Scott cronies. Pretty freaking clear folks--YES on this.

Amendment 2-Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions:--YES!

Think about the stupidity of what is going on in our state right now. If you are in serious pain at a hospital, you can be prescribed OPIUM! That happened to dying colleague I knew. Her pain was being treated with one of the harshest drugs because Marijuana was not allowed to be prescribed. Who in their right mind thinks that's okay???? Critically ill patients have died being denied cannabis treatment. There is no reason to deny this to terminally ill patients--and few people think so except our Attorney General, Pam Bondi, Rick Scott, and ideologically-warped politicians. They can only picture long-haired hippies getting high, not the actual grandmothers or toddlers being medically treated and saved by it.

Amendment 3- Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies:--hells NO!!

Every single damn election we go through this. Rick Scott and the teaparty legislature have tried for years to kick off the three liberal Justices of the Florida State Supreme Court. They tried to break them off to a criminal court, they tried smearing them in the last election (using Koch money), and they created a phony scandal to remove them. The last election they tried a bizarre ballot attempt of having a Senate "sign-off" for Justices. That failed. So they tried this:

If Rick Scott LOSES this year's election, he gets to kick off the THREE LIBERAL JUSTICES on the Supreme Court and replace them with conservatives. This ballot is worded so that a governor can "replace" judges if his term ends at the same time as a Justice's. (Just so you are aware, the legislature already passed a bill that allows Rick Scott to kick off the three liberal Justices IF HE WINS, so this amendment just covers all the bases.)

Vote NO. Then tell your friends to do the same.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Rick Scott is the Anti-Crist!

The present governor's race has brought us a number of exercises in ironic typography. On popular forums like Facebook, it's not unusual to find that some have mistyped the name of Charlie Crist as Christ. This is probably most often due to an overzealous autocorrect feature, though it may also be a bit of unconscious mistyping. Still, it's ironic for more than one reason.

The first is that the error actually brings Crist's name back to its roots a step. As a son of Greek immigrants, he came from a family whose original surname was Cristodoulos, which means "slave of Christ".  They dropped the -odoulos in the process of acculturation.

Second, it sets up a metaphor in which we might dare to say that Rick Scott is, in fact, properly termed the anti-Crist. No, I don't mean that we should expect Scott to take over the world and begin wearing a 666, though I know some people who think he should. I mean that Scott and Crist represent two dynamically opposed personality types, such that each is the antipode of the other. 

The Tampa Bay Times referred to Scott as a politician without a heart. In contrast, you might describe Crist as a guy who is all heart. He loves to talk to people. He likes to do things like make random campaign stops at roadside barbeques. His current "kitchen table" tour is nothing less than what we'd expect of Crist -- while you could never envision Scott descending to eat at the table of any person who didn't also have caviar and champagne on hand.

I'm making this point for a reason, one that has to do with the current Scott campaign ad which makes light of Crist's flip-flops, whether on parties or positions. Many Scott supporters describe Crist in unflattering terms as a turncoat, or as someone who doesn't even know what he stands for, or what party he should belong to. (Let's get the extra ironic hypocrisy out of the way right now: Point out that some of their own heroes -- like Reagan, and yes, even Bondi -- flipped parties and beliefs, and they'll say they weren't turncoats; they just came to their senses. I should also point out for the record, as I did in an earlier post, that many Scott supporters, encouraged by the Scott's campiagn's purposeful lack of precision, mistakenly think "Independent" is a party, and so think Crist changed parties and ideologies twice!) 

But I don't think Crist is so much a flip-flopper as he is a person who is easily (maybe too easily at times) moved by the fluttering of his heart. He does have a solid core of belief: Namely, he wants the best for everyone. What has happened to him is that he has decided that Republican beliefs aren't best for everyone after all. But his core hasn't flipped an inch.

A lot is made of the "Obama hug" by Scott fanatics, and it was, I don't doubt (as Crist affirms in his biography), a turning point for Crist. To him, greeting someone with a hug, even someone with whom you were ideologically at odds, was just a normal thing to do. The savage response by his then-fellow Republicans, I can certainly believe got him thinking that maybe the party he was in wasn't such a humane place to be after all. 

No one should be shocked by this, nor by Crist's change of heart over such a short period. After all, many of Scott's supporters are fundamentalists who believe in conversions that not only change your spirituality all at once, but by extension, should immediately make you e.g., pro-life and otherwise politically conservative, if you were not already. It shouldn't be hard to accept that Crist also changed his thinking in antipodal ways on some issues, not in the least because (as he is at pains to point out) there were times when, as governor, some thought he wasn't Republican enough. In some cases he didn't have to flip; all he had to do was hop or step, or even stand still.

Scott and his supporters find Crist's changes of heart "flippin' unbelievable," and I can understand why. Tin men are well known for their inflexibility, after all.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Video: "I don’t want to have any voting registration happening on this campus!"

Here's something you will never, ever see on campus: a voting registration drive by College Republicans.

On the very day the NC state GOP was vowing to take their voter suppression initiatives to the Supreme Court, the following interaction happened between a group that just wanted to register voters and the head of the College Republicans at High Point University, Leigh Thomas.

The group was trying to get on campus to register students to vote. High Point requires any group to have a student liaison. The young GOP chairwoman was was having none of it:

“I’m just not sure if this is something I would want to have on this High Point University campus, the registration of voting [sic].”

“I don’t approve of it whatsoever—on a campus like High Point University,” she said. ”I don’t want to have any voting registration happening on this campus, with students.”

They tried telling her they just wanted to give blank registration forms to the students, but then she just told him what she really thought:

I just do not want to have people being registered to vote, whatsoever.”

Just as disgusting is the University's response, which actually tried to defend Leigh Thomas. Spokeswoman Pamela Haynes said that Thomas was only concerned about "the safety and security of our students".

This saddens me because this new generation of republicans thinks that this unpatriotic mindset is normal, and Leigh Thomas does represent the typical mindset of the modern Republican. It is the exact same mindset that Rick Scott used to deny college students convenient voting stations, along with refusing to allow college IDs as a form of voter identification. Students = thinking people = bad, so instead of examining our crappy policies we will instead make it more difficult to vote.

This is in stark contrast from my college days, when both parties were trying to register as many people as possible. It's now clear that the GOP of today has lost the public relations battle, so their new tactic is to make it as difficult and as inconvenient to vote as they can.

5:34 PM PT: To clarify a few questions asked me (ht expatgirl and Lonestarmike):

Q. Why couldn't they go through the College/Young Democrats?
A. This school doesn't have any. This is a right-wing Christian college that is one party only.

The group that wants to register the kids to vote, ironically, is a conservative group called "Turning Point USA". Republicans don't even trust registering students on a sheltered conservative campus!

Q. What gives her the right to stifle voting registration? Who can I complain to?
A. Trying to explain to a conservative why voting rights aren't just patriotic but critical for a Constitutional democracy to work will only fall on deaf ears. But be my guest:

Pamela Haynes:
Dr. Nido R. Qubein (the university President):
Leigh Thomas (young woman in video):

Q. Was she right about consent to being recorded?
A. NC is a one-party consent state, which means if two or more people are engaged in a conversation, it's ok to record it as long as one of the parties involved knows it's being recorded.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

"The Most Sexist Republican Ad of the Year"

The Crist campaign has given notice of this item, which TIME magazine designated with the phrase in the post title. 

The designation seems quite apt, but there's more that's even worse. And I don't just mean that it uses the usual twisted Scott talking points. If you check out the YouTube channel of the group that posted this, the College Republican National Committee, you'll find that they've made multiple versions of this, with just the names of the politicians switched. So you'll also find one for Scott Tea Party twins like Tom Corbett of PA, and Rick Snyder of MI, and so on.

So not only are they sexist, and not only do they present bad arguments for their candidate, they also can't even come up with an original ad for each candidate.

I have to ask, which college do these Republicans go to? Ringling Clown College?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

George Zimmerman's Family Tried To Get Reality TV Show

I just don't know how to unpack this:

In an in-depth interview in GQ, George Zimmerman's brother discloses that his family wanted to "rebrand" the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer after his murder acquittal and make him the star of a reality TV show..

"I learned a lot from watching 'Keeping up with the Kardashians,' " Robert Zimmerman Jr. told GQ in a story in its October editions.

Put aside, for the moment, the pure evil of trying to enjoy celebrity status for killing an unarmed child and just try to examine how detached from reality this all is.

Here's his pitch:

After the acquittal, the family tried to come up with a way to capitalize on George Zimmerman's notoriety, his brother told the magazine.

He wanted to make George the star of his own reality show, perhaps something similar to "Candid Camera," where an unsuspecting person taking a self-defense class might discover at the end of the show that George Zimmerman also was in the class.

I usually say something snarky by now, bit I can't. The sheer and utter depravity knocks the wind out of me. Not being the least bit bothered with taking this kid's life, even if in their diseased-ridden minds you think it was justified, makes me realize that there truly are people on this planet beyond any hope.

Usually, when I argue with a teabagger, (and it's ALWAYS a teabagger), I barely contain my anger at the bigoted justifications of this psychopaths actions. I always ask them if they think it normal that he keeps getting arrested (beating up his wife, pulling a gun on his father-in-law, and just last week threatened to shoot a driver in a fit of road rage).

I have little doubt that Zimmerman will snap again and kill someone else very soon. Maybe then CNN will stop paying for his damn spending sprees and perhaps gun shops in Florida will stop having him sign autographs. (Oh, PS...go fuck yourself Arms Room of Orlando)...

Maybe then, the family will quit trying to "cash in" on this delusional individual.

But I doubt it...

Did Charlie Crist Cause the Recession?

One of the most difficult things to get through the head of a Rick Scott fanatic is this Charlie Crist did not cause a worldwide recession.

That Crist did so is a fundamental talking point of the Scott campaign, although they don't put it that way, as even that would be too obviously bunk for most of the Scott flock. Instead, the Scott campaign repeatedly stresses that "828,000 jobs were lost under Crist." They don't say Crist caused it; they just leave the phrase hanging in the right way to foster the conclusion.

So I've asked members of the Scott flock repeatedly: "What did Crist do to cause a worldwide recession?" The answers, as you'll anticipate, are both tragic and funny at the same time, and speak volumes for how low-information Scott voters can be.

Answer 1: "Crist didn't cause the recession he did nothing to stop it!"

True, he did nothing to stop it. Just like Rick Scott did nothing to stop a freight train that was barrelling down on him the other day. No state governor can do anything to "stop" a worldwide recession. Every state lost jobs in this last recession. Even the steady Dakotas, whose unemployment rates need to be seen with a microscope, lost jobs: North Dakota went from 2.9% to 4.2%; South Dakota from 2.6% to 5.3%. I mention the Dakotas specifically because one member of Scott's flock actually suggested that the Dakotas didn't lose any jobs. (If you think that's bad, I also had one tell me that the recession only affected Florida.)

Again, no state governor could or did do a thing about this economic juggernaut. So saying "Crist did nothing to stop it" is ridiculous.

Answer 2: "Crist contributed to the recession! Look at this article!"

One Scott flocker has started posting this anonymous, unsourced article from a place called "woodwardlaw" that fingers Crist for not stopping mortgage fraud in attorney 2004. Of course, logically, this also means Jeb Bush and Bill McCollum are to blame for the recession too. And it also doesn't explain how Crist was responsible for job loss in the other 49 states.

But it doesn't matter, because even then the article doesn't actually live up to the headline blaming Crist. It says Crist was warned by a leading mortgage broker who wrote a report about mortgage fraud -- at Crist's request. Then it doesn't mention Crist by name again, except to note that they think he pretended to be "surprised" by reports of mortgage fraud.

But in the allegedly supporting video evidence, the party blamed for inaction is the Office of Financial Regulation and its officials. Crist appears in the video, sitting next to Alex Sink as she testifies, but he says nothing at all.  He appears concerned, nods his head understandingly, but does not appear at all "surprised".

The office of Attorney General is named a few more times, and while the article claims the office did "nothing" it also claims that it assigned a biased investigator. No documentation is offered for these claims. And no connection is made to the later recession, which wasn't even about mortgage fraud of the sort described by the video (in which people's houses were stolen by devious means).

Let's be honest here. As even the conservative magazine Forbes tells us, no politician caused the recession. It was caused by private banks gettting greedy. It was a "perfect storm" of factors in which government had only a following role. Neither Clinton nor Bush nor Obama nor Crist had a thing to do with that. But Rick Scott's campaign, and those who blindly follow it, are not interested in being honest -- are they?