Saturday, November 30, 2013

Florida Police Arrest, Jail, Harass Innocent Black Man 258 Times

#75 from the My Stupid State series

Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in 4 years, on average more than once a week. He has been arrested 62 times for trespassing: at the store he WORKS AT!

The store's owner, Alex Saleh, had enough of the racial profiling of his employees and customers. He installed 15 surveillance cameras--not to protect his store from criminals (he has never been robbed) but because of the cops' non-stop harassment of Sampson and others. The Miami Herald has a series of clips from these videos that show how blatant they are. You'll see Earl Sampson just taking out the garbage, and as soon as he gets back in the store, he is pulled out forcibly by the cop and arrested.

Even though the store owner is there and repeatedly tells the cops he is an employee, they arrest him anyway.

I said, 'I'm the owner, let him go. I work here.' The officer said, 'Yeah right.'

Most of us have never been stopped and searched by police, let alone hundreds of times. Miami Gardens Police Chief Matthew Boyd needs to be fired. There is no way he didn't know about this. The cops need to be fired and sued. I am glad the store owner and his attorneys are filing a civil suit. Being a former cop myself, this type of behavior fills me with rage. They are harassing the very people they need to be protecting.

The store owner is a brave man for standing up for the rights of his customers and employees. According to the Huffington Post, he has been repeatedly threatened and harassed by the Miami Gardens PD since this story broke. I know there are some in my state who would disagree with me, but the fact of the matter is being a minority is not a crime. Even if you are from Florida.

12:58 PM PT: Local News Report:

6:38 PM PT: The police chief will be stepping down

McDonald's Tells Workers To Sell Xmas Presents To Pay Bills

A month ago McDonald's executives were raked over the coals for fighting tooth and nail to not raise their employees pay, despite record profits and outrageous executive salaries, for telling employees on their McResource Line that they were poor enough to apply for food stamps and possibly Medicaid. I guess the first clue that you are not paying your employees enough is that your company even has a "resource line" for impoverished employees. But to be fair, if I was an overpaid, entitled executive making 8 million instead of 7 bucks, I might be a little tone deaf too. What I cannot understand is that after such an obvious PR fiasco, why on earth would executives decide to sign off on even MORE "helpful" advice to their poverty-stricken workers on that site? Yet that is exactly what they did, with helpful nuggets like:
"Sing away stress"
A clever way to stretch out food for your family...
"Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full"
...and quit your bitching...
"Quit Complaining
Stress hormone levels rise by 15% after 10 minutes of complaining"
(We told you to get food stamps and sing!! What else do you want!?) But this is my favorite. Did mommy splurge and buy her kid toys for Christmas?
" whatever it takes to dig out from your Holiday debt. You may also want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem as appealing as they did. Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash."
I'm lovin' it!! The quotes came from this new video, which shows screen captures of the McResource Line. (The video puts them to a pretty catchy tune). Watch and share the video, and then sign the petition at

Merry Xmas Y'all!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Make Black Friday A Federal Holiday One Week Before Thanksgiving

In this country, the day after Thanksgiving is often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. When I was growing up, the department store Thanksgiving Day parades that always included Santa at the end marked the official start of said season. Back then, no store wanted to be accused of starting Christmas season advertising before then. Obviously today, that code of etiquette is very quaint. I challenge you to go into any mall in early November and not see Christmas decorations. Normally, stores decorate during the first week of November with only the merchandizing of Halloween preventing them from appearing even earlier.

But very recently there has been a much more important issue than early holiday decorations.

Black Friday sort of snowballed into an unofficial holiday. The day after Thanksgiving was always the start of the shopping season, but smart merchants decided to capitalize on that by offering "door busters"--a few insane deals that only a few customers could get but would result in a frenzy of shopping. This meant that customers would line up in front of their stores hours earlier for these deals. This phenomenon caught on across the country.

For years, most retailers would start this practice around 6am the day of Black Friday. But in the bid to be first, each year a major chain would open just a little earlier, until midnight was the norm. Then, in 2011, for the first time, Walmart began their Black Friday sales on the actual Thanksgiving Day. Walmart, never known to be a bastion of worker care, started at 10pm that day. There were outcries, but sure enough, others followed suit. Last year, Walmart moved it back to 8 p.m. and their competitors, like Kmart, Sears, and Toys "R" Us, opened around the same time on Thanksgiving Day.

And here we are in 2013, with most stores starting their Black Friday sales this afternoon or evening. Kmart, in fact, started at 6am this morning!! I have no doubt that Thanksgiving will be replaced by "Black Thursday", which is quickly becoming the norm. What this means is that merchant's employees are going to be slammed with customers on the one day meant to be with their families. This is not to mention the millions of people who are forgoing time with their families to take part in the traditional shopping frenzy.

The quaint notion that we have a day with our families and then shopping the next day is gone. The genie will never go back into the bottle--we cannot expect that stores in these fiercely economic competitive times to simply close their doors and wait until 6am Black Friday when all others have started. This holiday happened by accident--it was a day when most people had off for shopping and markets offered great deals, so it snowballed into something huge. Black Friday is now threatening to overtake a great American holiday set aside for giving thanks. But there is a solution I'd like to propose.

Let's agree to take Thanksgiving out of the equation entirely. I propose we move Black Friday to the Friday BEFORE Thanksgiving. Let's make Black Friday the official kickoff to the shopping season. The holiday decorations battle we already lost and conceded years ago... but now America's obsession with great bargains is threatening Thanksgiving itself and hurting workers, customers, and their families. So let's have a day where we can celebrate American capitalism, give the stores the boost they need, customers the deals they want, and workers the overtime they deserve but not have it cut into the Thanksgiving holiday.

How could this be done? Congress could declare the Friday before Thanksgiving "Black Friday". Ideally, they would give federal employees the day off, and I expect eventually the non-retail private sector would eventually follow suit. Even if the day isn't off, (and that is probably unlikely given that Election Day is more important and that day isn't off), just the formal declaration would take any weirdness of starting a week earlier and put all the major chains on the same page. The prospect of starting the shopping season one week earlier is something I'm certain they would JUMP at.

Sure, there will still be shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but the frenzy and craziness that threatens to consume Thanksgiving would have passed in the previous week.

Folks, I'm just brainstorming here. I do think its an idea worth considering. I'm curious to know what you think. Please leave a comment, or write your own solution.

Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

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Rick Scott Makes Voting Harder for His Former Rival's Election

I, (along with Rachel Maddow), have probably beaten to death all the conniving ways Rick Scott has used to make elections as hard and miserable for his opponents as possible. If you haven't heard his name associated with his infamous purges and suppression laws, then you just simply have never heard his name before. He was so bad that Ken Browning, our former SecState, resigned rather than purge thousands of innocent voters (which his replacement, Ken Detzner, gladly tried to do with 182,000 innocent Floridians).

Now a reasonable person would think that someone like Rick Scott, who knows his reelection is less than a year away, would at least attempt to appear reasonable, but teabag governors are like snakes in that they can't help their nature.

You see, due to the death of Rep. Bill Young (R), there's a special election coming up soon in Congressional District 13. This district has been pretty solid GOP for over a decade but has gotten less so: last year Obama won the district by one percentage point. Although a Democrat hasn't held this seat in years, the Dem candidate for this race has a great shot: Alex Sink. Sink is not only Scott's onetime gubernatorial opponent, she is also a personal rival of Rick Scott who has been a persistent critic since the election. As our former state CFO she has now had two elections as a statewide candidate. Sink is very well known, a prolific fundraiser, and personally still very popular: especially given the statewide buyer's remorse Floridians feel for deciding to roll the dice with the criminal.

So lessee... you have a winnable Dem candidate, a district losing its red hue, and worst of all, an election supervisor who actually does her f#%$ing job. Deborah Clark was preparing to send out thousands of absentee ballots to voters in the upcoming special election for this district. She had already reminded voters about the mail ballot dropoff locations and was prepared to staff them with employees-also willing to do their jobs and assist. She and other elections supervisors have done this for years.

Those of us who actually pay attention to Florida politics joked that Scott would try to do something underhanded. But we were wrong. It was pretty damn blatant:

Detzner issued an order to supervisors Monday, telling them they "should not solicit return of absentee ballots at any place other than a supervisor's office." The directive appeared to take dead aim at one supervisor, Deborah Clark in Pinellas, who aggressively promotes voting absentee and has a small network of remote drop-off locations to make it easier for people to turn in their absentee ballots.

District 13 uses more absentee ballots than any other district in the state.

And here we have a directive aimed at curbing participation for this one election. Who knew?

It gets better.

The Pasco County Supervisor of Elections, Brian Corley, was livid about this move. He called it "pathetic" and said that "the timing stinks right here." No one has ever had issues with having dropboxes. He and others demanded answers.

The response? Because Brian Corley wanted it.

Detzner issued a statement saying the directive was " a clarification of existing law that was initiated by questions from supervisors of elections". When asked by the Times/Herald what supervisors and what questions, they were pointed to an email from Brian Corley from September about an error in the language of the 2014 state voter registration guide.

But the two supervisors that Detzner’s office said asked for the directive, Corley and Chris Chambless of Clay County, both Republicans, both denied they had asked for it and said Detzner’s interpretation of the law is wrong.

“I was merely trying to bring to their attention an error in their (voter registration) guide,” said Pasco Supervisor Brian Corley. “Somehow that got twisted into me asking for an opinion.”

Corley was quick to respond.

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When you are being attacked by elections supervisors in your own party, you are doing something wrong. It is clear to anyone with half a brain what Scott is trying to do.

But Scott thinks we are dumb. After all, we did elect him in the first place.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SNL: "NEVER Come to Florida!"

How bad is it to be a law enforcement officer in Florida under Rick Scott's regime?

Bad enough to be the opening sketch for SNL last night.

"With George Zimmerman the subject of yet another police investigation, many are wondering why he is not in jail. Here to explain is FL police chief Mike Davis. Mr Davis, how are you doing?"

"Well, I'm a police officer in Florida, so lemme see, NOT GOOD!!!"

Saturday Night Live did a hilarious cold open last night which mocked George Zimmerman and our hapless police in the face of conservative policies. Take a look:

(If the embed is not working, click here).

Florida has one of the most lax concealed gun laws in the nation ( Zimmerman most likely still has his concealed gun permit). We also have laws that force employers to allow their employees to bring guns to work on their private property, Docs vs. Glocks, and a blanket ban on all city and county gun ordinances.

Then there's our infamous Stand Your Ground law you may have heard about, which was based on the American Legal Exchange Council (ALEC) model law that, as written, allowed Zimmerman to pursue and murder an unarmed Travoyn Martin in the first place. The law bans police from arresting people who use deadly force in public unless there is probable cause that they did not act in response to a "perceived threat", which can be pretty much anything. Hell, Zimmerman could have even sued the Sanford PD for being arrested in the first place.

Throw on top of this Rick Scott's gutting of FL police forces, you have the makings of a national parody of our state that is funny to the rest of the nation but a living nightmare for those of us who have to live here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Palin Asked for Her Alternative to ACA; She NAILS It!

To all you haters out there: You gotta hand it to Lady Blah-Blah. Going on the lamestream media to face the wrath of the liberal machine, surely she knew that she was going to be asked about her plans for an alternative to the program she has been railing against for months. And in typical Palin fashion, she studied hard and prepared a perfect response to the liberal, socialist/fascist health-care huggers.

Just kidding.

Warning: you may need to play it several times to attempt to decipher the incoherent, rambling Palin gibberish session. But as you learned in English class, the more words you use in a sentence, the more intelligent you sound.

I give you Palin, unedited.

Matt Lauer: "What are we hearing from the Tea Party in terms of an absolute, realistic plan that can be an alternative to Obamacare?"

Without even thinking, Palin sprung into action:

Said Palin: "The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health-care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there's more competition, there's less tort reform threat, there's less trajectory of the cost increases, and those plans have been proposed over and over again. And what thwarts those plans? It's the far left. It's President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship links to reform health care."

Got that?

Matt Lauer, clearly not interested in deciphering any of that and not wanting to make her feel bad, simply said "L-L-Let's move on. Let's talk about Chris Christie? Boy, he had a massive win!"

Really, it was a softball interview and Matt Lauer was an embarrassment. You can't appreciate how bad he was until you listen to him immediately after she said that ball of stupid. She has had months to think of a coherent response to what an alternative would be (and its not like she has had any real work to do). A REAL journalist would have called her out on what she said: "What plans are you talking about that have been proposed over and over? How is the ACA not free market?"

Or just "I'm sorry, I didn't understand any of that. What?"

But asking for clarification wouldn't be fair to her fans. After all, this isn't a real news program, its a talk show interview. So let's move on to an easy question. And don't you have a book to plug?

In fact, don't waste your time on the whole interview. The today show is a joke. Just enjoy 1:37-2:31. You will pine for the intellect of Quayle and Bush.

Because as bad as our leaders can be, I am proud to say that at the very least they can put a coherent sentence together.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Rick Scott: Friend of Hispanics

Crossposted on DailyKos

Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News attempted to showcase Rick Scott's Hispanic outreach and smear his potential rival, Charlie Crist. The first argument went along the assinine line that Hispanics were peeved that Charlie tried to "undermine" (re: beat in an election) his two rivals in the 2010 Senate election. His two rivals being a black man (Kendrick Meeks) and an Hispanic man (Marco Rubio), which meant that trying to win the election "smacked of racial insensitivity". The article then moves on to say Rick Scott's Hispanic judicial appointments were on par with Crist, and when Scott passed over qualified Hispanics he had him some good reasons. Oh, and Scott plans to have a super-duper outreach to the millions of Hispanics in Florida.

Scott has always maintained with conviction that he is proud of Florida's Hispanic community, admires its spirit and sense of loyalty, and values its contribution.

"He's not flashy, he's quiet about it," said an aide to a Hispanic House member, "but when you're around Rick Scott enough you know he's pro-Hispanic all the way. He listens to us and he gets a lot of his ideas from us. I think his term has been like a partnership with the Hispanic community.

So there you have it. Rick Scott. Friend of Hispanics.

Case closed.

Now I'm just a blogger. I don't have the journalistic credentials like Ms. Smith. But if it pleases the Court, I would like to introduce a little balance in the article with five qualifying rebuttal points using a tool those of us in the blogging industry call "the Google". If you will allow me:

1. Friend of Hispanics, Rick Scott, Vetoes Driver's License Bill For NO REASON!

Even in our wacky, teabag conservative legislature, the state senate passed a bill that would have allowed children of undocumented aliens to obtain temporary Florida driver's licenses 36-0. The even teabaggier House passed it 115-2. It was a slam dunk.

Yet Scott Vetoed It.

He never gave a reason. It passed with such a margin that it would be overridden, and yet he vetoed it just to be a dick.

Said state sen. Soto: “Simply unconscionable, it’s a[n] .... anti-Hispanic move."

2. FoH Rick Scott Tried to Purge THOUSANDS of Hispanic Voters

Such is the case in Florida. Of the 180,000 potential noncitizens identified for purging in 2012, less than 0.02% were actually ineligible. Nearly 60 percent of those included in the initial list were Hispanic – meanwhile, Hispanic voters make up only 13 percent of Florida’s electorate.

Only about 60 were legitimate out of Scott's initial 182,000 purges. Keep in mind millions of Floridians voted.

And Sick Rott has promised to try again in 2014.

3. Study Showed that Florida Hispanics Waited in Longest Lines To Vote Thanks to FoH Rick Scott

Scott signed a sweeping voter suppression act during his first full year as governor. Many polling places throughout South Florida were eliminated, along with early-voting days. A study by the Advancement Project found that out of all the ethnic groups, it was Hispanic voters who waited the longest. In Miami-Dade, the average time was 73 minutes. There were reports of people waiting up to EIGHT freaking hours to vote. Other highlights from the study showed that Hispanic voters were more likely to have to use a provisional ballot and almost twice as likely to have those ballots rejected.

4. FoH Scott Supported AZ-Style Anti-Brown Bill... That Exempted Caucasians!

GOP chairman of the House Judiciary committee, William Snyder, proposed a law that would allow police to harass people "suspected" of being here illegally yet specifically exempt Canadians and Western Europeans to ensure only the appropriate "brown-people" minority would be targeted. (This was the closest to saying "leave Whitey alone" and get away with it). He even admitted it wasn't about "rule of law" or "jobs" but was worried about what was happening to our country.

This law was too bigoted for even for the Florida legislature, but Rick Scott not only supported it, he embraced it and promised to sign it if it made it to his desk.

5. Spent Tax Money to Fight Latino Resident Citizens from Claiming In-State Tuition!

Our tax dollars went to defend what the judge correctly described as a "blatantly unconstitutional" policy to deny American citizens the right to in-state tuition unless their parents could prove legal residency. The US District Court judge even lectured the state for trying to take their rights away. But that didn't stop Rick Scott. Its not his money.

Mind you I am only bringing up points specific to the Hispanic community. The attacks on healthcare, education, the environment, the middle class, etc. etc., no doubt affect the Hispanic community as well everyone else and are reason enough alone to know that Rick Scott is not your friend. But the fact that he goes out of his way to piss on a particular minority group cannot be glossed over with token appointments and a few ads.

But I'm just a blogger. What do I know.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Rick Scott Decries Gov. Waste While Taking 800K for "Decadent" Mansion Upgrades

Crossposted to Daily Kos

Florida Executive Asshat Rick Scott announced this week he would seek to cut $100 million in "government waste". To a rich criminal like Rick Scott, "government waste" means things that rich people don't need, such as the millions he cut in children's medical services, which devastated struggling families with special-needs kids. Or the billions in education. Or health care.

But here is one thing that isn't wasteful. His F*%*ING HOUSE.

Never mind Sick Rott already has a private mansion paid for by his millions in Medicare fraud. No, he needs a gaudy upgrade to the Florida Governors Mansion, and hasn't footed any of the bill:

Since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2010, more than $800,000 has gone toward upgrades to his decadent Greek Revival mansion, including cleaning oriental rugs, refinishing the floors and maintaining the grounds, the Associated Press reports.

Some of that money did come from lobbyists and corporate donors, of course, but the overwhelming majority came from the taxpayers.

His spokesman pointed out that Charlie Crist spent money on renovations as well. To be fair, he did: $27 thousand during his entire term. And Jebbie made security upgrades when he served during 9/11.

But Scott's wife, Ann, fancies herself an interior designer and had run her own design company with her husband's ill-gotten moolah before they got into the Teabag racket. An itemized list for the mansion included almost 40K for new furniture, pillows, drapes, gaudy as hell and expensive wallpaper, rugs, floors, and paint.

This did not include the $2000 mirror for Ann's private bathroom.

How a mirror can cost 2K is as mind boggling as how anyone would think they needed one. It's in the damn bathroom for crying out loud!

But just like Trump, no amount of money can buy class.