Sunday, April 19, 2015

Today is 20th Anniversary of OKC Bombing. Hannity Still Praises the Teabaggers as "Tim McVeigh Wannabees"

On 04/19/1995, a horrible civilian bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people and severely injured 680 more. The goddamned domestic terrorist, Tim McVeigh, didn't even care that a lot of the victims were children and babies at a DAY CARE!!!

Sean Hannity owes an apology to the families.

Hannity praised the tea partiers back in 2010 as being "Tim McVeigh Wannabees". They cheered. My soul died a little.


HANNITY: See, can I add one thing? I think we won the debate.

DREIER: We did win the debate.

HANNITY: When you think about the vast majorities that they have in Congress and they had to bribe, backroom deals, corruption, that’s all because the tea party movement, the people — all these Tim McVeigh wannabes here.


HANNITY: Guys, thank you for being here.

Hannity refuses to apologize but has never defended his actions. He hopes people will forget, which many have. (Just try to imagine if anyone on our side said something this stupid.)

Don't let up!!! On this 20th anniversary, DEMAND an apology for the victim's families:

His twitter

His facebook

Anywhere else...

Latest Corrections Barometer Reading: Low Pressure on the Wrongdoers

The Tampa Bay Times has a look at the calculated inaction by the Scott crony network concerning Florida's current prison crisis. The most telling lowlight: There is no plan to rework contracts with corrupt prison health providers until January 2016.

Why are these inept providers being allowed 7 more months of free ride to profit, while Florida's record inmate deaths continue to climb? You need only guess once:

"Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, said she blames Florida's weak contracts with the health care companies on the access their high-profile lobbyists have had to the governor and key lawmakers. Bill Rubin, the lobbyist for Wexford, worked for Scott when he was head of the hospital giant HCA and remains influential, and Brian Ballard, lobbyist for Corizon, was head of Scott's political finance committee." 

That wasn't very mysterious, was it? In fact, it's like one of those giant "L" symbols on the weather map!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Medicaid Expansion Paradox

I'm sure I don't need to fill readers of this blog in on the latest Rick Scott debacle involving his proposed lawsuit against the federal government over funding for hospital services for the poor. The drama is getting so thick, with Scott accusing the feds of "bullying" him and acting like mobsters, that in terms of Scott's performance, the only question is whether the comic value of Scott's performance will exceed the tragic consequences of his refusal to do the right thing. 

What I find remarkable, however, has been the long-standing reason that has been given by Scott (as well as the Florida House) for refusing the Medicaid expansion. I'll quote one of the leading nausea-producing sources on this subject, Americans for Prosperity:

"Medicaid will put an enormous financial burden on our state in the future. Expected costs have been all over the board ranging from $3 billion to more than $20 billion over the next ten years, but what is known is that Medicaid spending is expected to more than double by 2020 and Florida will be relying on the federal government to pay these costs, despite the inability of the federal government to pay its current bills. Don’t put this risk on the backs of Florida’s families."

Now for a moment, let's consider the structure of this appeal and peel back the logic. This is how it reads.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of poor Floridians are not receiving the medical care they need, because we have not accepted the Medicaid expansion.

The reason given for not accepting the Medicaid expansion is that the feds may not pay their bills for it, and it could end up "on the backs of Florida families." (We'll bypass the question of why poor people aren't also parts of "families" that have expenses on their own backs.)

But it seems obvious that if somehow, the feds stop paying the bills, all the Florida GOP will do is say, "We won't pay those bills either, or make [well off] Floridians pay for them." In other words, all they'd do is say that we'll just have to return to what the status quo was before the Medicaid expansion.

Do you see how it goes? Scott and his Tea Party allies are rejecting the Medicaid expansion on the basis that they are afraid it will end up so that things are exactly as they are right now for Florida's poor and medically needy.

We already know that you have to be particularly out of touch with reality to support Rick Scott. It helps, though, to have an example of why that's the case.

Photo: Longwood Bakery Gives Epic Response to Its Anti-Gay Harassers

Recall that Cut the Cake, Inc. in Longwood, Florida was receiving death threats, harassing calls, fake orders, fake reviews and threats of vandalism from conservatives all over the nation because they hung up on a nut (on April Fool's Day) who said he wanted an anti-gay message on a sheet cake.

The DKos community swung into action. A thousand people uprated their Facebook page to destroy the fake reviews (all who suddenly remembered on April 2 that they used them once and didn't like them). Real orders poured in. They raised well over their goal on a crowdfunding site to recoup the week they had to close over the threats.

And a whole new customer base showed up to purchase their products.

The icing on the cake (pun intended) was a masterpiece for two same-sex conservatives who will eventually embrace who they are and wish to celebrate their now LEGAL union in Florida:

 photo cake_zpsd9q4agly.jpg

Their facebook page is featuring it. Standing up to bullies never tasted so delicious!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Be kind and peaceful to each other

And don't eat recycled food.

I'm Glad the Democratic Establishment Isn't Backing Alan Grayson!

The Democratic establishment has aligned themselves with Mr. Patrick Murphy.

Rep. Patrick Murphy was a former conservative republican, like Charlie Crist. The difference? Patrick still has conservative ties.

ACA: He joined the GOP in their effort to destroy the ACA by voting to shift insurance costs to working people from wealthy corporate families. Because Sam Walton's family need the break, not the people who work for them.

Environment: I love getting lectures from establishment Dems that Murphy is an environmentalist who will fight climate change. Activists like Jill Silber Sheridan tell a different story. When she visited Rep. Murphy's office on several occasions about climate change and the Keystone pipeline, it fell on deaf ears. Murphy voted to approve the pipeline.

Minority Leader Pelosi: When the GOP voted against Nancy Pelosi, I expected that. I did NOT expect Murphy to stand with them and vote against her as well.

Wall Street: He voted to weaken provisions in the Dodd-Frank financial law. He is the quintessential "Wall St. Democrat"

Social Security and Medicare: He coauthored a letter with congressional Republicans that only promised to protect “current beneficiaries” of Medicare and Social Security. (To be fair, he never used the word "cuts" to SS/Medicare as some have said but did say "structural changes").

Certain Democrats believe the winning strategy is to run from their own party's successful platform that has turned the economy around and gave healthcare to millions. Unfortunately, these same Democrats are the ones in charge. They keep trying like hell to cram anointed, conservative candidates down our throats, and then berate their own base for speaking out against them. Teabaggers don't know how good they have it. The GOP establishment hates them but fears them. Our establishment just hates us. MUST READ: Robert Reich's problem with the current Democratic Party

Murphites are calling their critics all kinds of names on social media because they bought the line that we have to go after the mythical "fence sitter", instead of just motivating their base to turn out. For crying out loud, there are many more Dems in this state than GOP, like a half-million more, but they won't come out if they can't see a difference.

We've tried running former republicans or GOP-lite candidates in almost every statewide race for 17 years and have been repeatedly met with failure. Perhaps, just once, we can try a progressive candidate.

Alan Grayson is that candidate. The fact that the establishment hates him is a GOOD sign. I'd be terrified if the state party was backing my campaign in the primary. That never ends well. Alan will fight hard and, in return, will get motivated forces who will actually fight hard for him to win. Murphy will get little more than people showing up on election day to vote for Hillary.

Alan needs to get in the game NOW and start his campaign. I am asking everyone to contact him on his website and say that you will be all in if he decides to run.

Murphy has raised 750,000, mostly from PACs who are lining up behind him. Alan Grayson already has national recognition. He has a ton of devoted followers. He is a proven fundraiser who won in a district that is 40% Hispanic. Best of all, has gone head to head with the Kochs and WON!

Let me be clear. If Patrick Murphy wins the primary, he will have my full support. We desperately need to win the Senate back in 2016. He supports minimum wage laws, gay rights, fair elections and women's rights. Right there, that's four more things than any GOP candidate will support. If Murphy wins the primary, he will definitely get my vote. However, my time, energy, and sweat equity will go for progressive candidates I believe in.

I'm not alone.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lunar Eclipses? Thanks Obama!!* (*Seriously, they are BLAMING him!)

Somewhere, there might exist a leftwing looney toon who subscribes to bat**** conspiracy theories. The difference? None of these loons are in Congress, or the Senate. None of their websites have credentials to cover Congress, and certainly no potential Dem presidential candidate would ever allow them to interview him or her.

WorldNetDaily (WND) is a rightwing rag with less credibility than a supermarket tabloid. For all of their endless articles blaming Obama for everything and questioning his time travel abilities concerning his citizenship, they have jumped the shark by even their absurdly low standards.

WND recently published an article featuring conservative pastor Mark Blitz. Turns out the recent lunar eclipse was the fault of one President Obama. This is, unfortunately, not the first time they tied a lunar eclipse to Obama.

The first article coincided with the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse (also referred to as a "blood moon"). WND argued that the blood moon was actually a divine warning against Obama's evil executive actions.

Now, almost one year later, another WND article coincided with the April 4, 2015 blood moon. This time, the article stated that it was actually Obama's negotiation over Iran’s nuclear program that was “totally tied to these Blood Moons”.

As you can see, they can't make up their mind why Obama is to blame, just know that he is.

The conservative pastor they featured in the article also argued that the blood moons are coinciding pretty closely with major Jewish holidays. True, actually. If he had done even the smallest amount of research, he would know that is because the Jewish calendar is based on the LUNAR calendar rather than the 12-month solar calendar. But NO: a natural and predictable phenomenon that has occurred since our planet's birth is due to President Obama. That makes more sense.

Seriously. Article posits that the blood moons are actually divine warnings to the president because he is trying to promote peace in the Middle East. Science!:

“The moons are like flashing red warning lights at a heavenly intersection saying to Israel as well as the nations they will be crossing heavenly red lines, and if they do, they will understand as Pharaoh did on Passover night 3,500 years ago that the Creator backs up what He says.”

And yet, the GOP Congressmen treat WND as a legitimate news outlet. They are allowed to attend and ask stupid questions in presidential press conferences. Rand Paul sits down with them like any other news outlet and treats their conspiracy theories with merit. There are no standards of journalistic integrity with these people. But as long as they have millions of idiots who believe this nonsense, they will continue to believe they don't need any.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Even FL GOP Blasts JEB's Deadenders Who Are Still Screwing Over FL Schools

To say Bush was a horrible governor would be an understatement. Because of him we have the Stand Your Ground law, which has put every minority in this state in a gun nut's crosshairs. He illegally interfered with Terri Schiavo's wish that she not be a living potato. He ran the most dysfunctional Department of Children and Families in the nation and dismantled any form growth management in this state. Florida has deteriorated rapidly from 17 years of complete GOP rule, with Jeb and Scott being the worst offenders.

The failure that is rarely talked about, however, is John Ellis Bush's disastrous education policies that stemmed from his obsession over testing.

Out of the 180-day academic year, Miami-Dade County schools will administer standardized tests on EVERY DAY BUT EIGHT! This includes 18 exams required exclusively by Florida, five by the district, two federal, and dozens of assessments covering placement to state guidelines.

None of these include the standard tests that teachers are supposed to give.

Students, parents, reading teachers, principals, business and professional organizations, testing experts, consultants, and concerned citizens are so outraged that even the GOP, which at first strongly supported Jeb's million test march, now admits it was wrong. It has gotten so bad that severely disabled children are forced to take the test, even a child who is blind and missing most of his brain!

For crying out loud, even kids without disabilities who are doing well in school are also failing these state assessments. An Orange County school board member who holds several advanced degrees recently took one and barely passed. As someone who works in the field of learning, I know that tests need to go through reliability, validity and validation. Clearly, none of this is taking place. The problem is obviously the test, not the kids.

All of this testing madness, which has spread like a cancer nationwide, came about because of JEB's ideological obsession along with typical Bush family ignorance. The outrage finally led to some sort of relief--not fixing the tests themselves but at least reducing the number of tests taken. The bill would scrap a law requiring school districts to come up with end-of-course tests in classes where the state doesn't administer such exams; cap at 5 percent the share of students' time that can be spent on testing; and reduce from 50 percent to a third the portion of a teacher's evaluation tied to student performance.

But the bill no longer includes language that would have allowed students who do well on the SAT, ACT or tests in high-level classes like Advanced Placement courses to skip the corresponding statewide standardized tests. The reason? Jeb Bush's ironically named Foundation for Florida's Future. These dead-enders oppose any and all changes to the tests. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, withdrew that amendment after a blistering speech aimed at Jeb Bush's foundation. Others GOP members had plenty to say:

"Obviously, the testing has gotten out of control. ... I want to have a non-subjective measure, so we can know exactly how our kids are doing," Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

"I think we've lost our way and we need to find it again," said Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville, another former Senate president who has backed education reform.

Gaetz, who chairs the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee, vowed to spend his final year in the Senate on a mission "to bring some order out of chaos."

Sen. Alan Hays, a conservative Republican from Umatilla, said lawmakers had the best intentions but went too far.

"It is sad that today, many of our teachers and even administrators are simply waiting to earn their retirement checks because our well-intentioned but misguided policies have taken the joy out of teaching," Hays said.

What can make this worse? The analysis also says that all four testing companies have donated to the JEB's Foundation for Excellence in Education. The foundation is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC.

Two days ago, against all odds, the GOP House approved the bill.

Teachers are justifiably upset that they can't get more of a fix. But this is Florida, folks. If you want change, try showing up at the polls, no matter how hard they make it.

Unfortunately, JEB is understandably not happy with this bill since one of his "selling points" is that he was the "education governor", and he is whispering in Rick's ear.

Rick Scott, for his part, has not indicated whether he would sign it. He has ZERO incentive to do the right thing but every incentive to do the wrong thing. The only possible reason he would sign it is if he cared even remotely about the welfare of Floridian children.

Given the examples here, here, here, and here, you might not want to hold your breath.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Are You a Better Spender Than Rick Scott?

The tragic re-election of Rick Scott is more than 4 months in the past, but for reasons so far known best to him, Scott is still in campaign mode. One of his latest slogans, designed to promote his recent call for yet more tax cuts, is: "Floridians can spend their money better than the government can."

Really, Rick?

I don't think Rick Scott actually believes that slogan, not even for a moment. And I'll tell you why.

His latest proposed "tax cut" is to our telecommunications tax -- the tax that appears on our bills for cable television and the like. The total tax savings for each bill will amount to a whopping (hold on to your seat) forty-three dollars per year.

Hmm. Now I can get that "fast food for a family of four" meal I've been putting off for so long!

But seriously, folks. If Rick really DOES believe that we can spend the money better than he can, why stop there, with a measly forty-three dollars?

Florida charges something like 15 cents per gallon for a gasoline tax. If we can spend our money better than Rick can, why doesn't he give us that back, too?

We also have a 6% sales tax rate. If we can spend our money better than Rick can, how about he reduces that to a 0% tax rate?

Come to think of it, though it wasn't exactly a tax, Rick also took 3% of all pay from state workers, and others under the Florida Retirement System, to allegedly fund their pensions. If they know better how to spend their money than he does, what did he take it for? He ought to give it all back. (Wait...scratch that. Since their salaries come from state taxes, that means they won't have any salaries. Never mind!)

And surely Rick doesn't think that ONLY Floridians are that smart. I'm sure he thinks tourists are as smart as we are. So why doesn't he just go ahead and cancel out that hotel occupancy tax?

I mean, think about it. If Rick is right, then all he has to do is cancel each and every state tax we have, and immediately, all we highly responsible and decent citizens will line up in droves to voluntarily donate our hard-earned and better-spent money to fund things like roads, bridges, prisons, highway patrols, help for the poor and needy, salaries for hard-working servants of the state, and even the environment. It's a win-win situation. Then, we can be sure that Rick will never again spend our money on things like drug testing for welfare recipients, incompetent prison medical service providers, and defending himself in court because of things like drug testing for welfare recipients and the hiring of incompetent prison medical service providers.

Come to think of it...when he says we can spend our money better than he can, maybe he's got a point.


HELP! Longwood Bakery Getting Death Threats for Refusing to Make Anti-Gay Cake!

Recommended diary on DailyKos

Cut the Cake is a longstanding business in the Longwood community outside Orlando run by the ultra-polite Sharon Haller.

Joshua Feuerstein is a disgusting bigot (who should not be trying to rock a fauxhawk) and a former televangelist whose favorite part of the Bible is apparently where Jesus preaches against gay wedding cakes.

What follows is despicable:

Joshua made a hateful Youtube video. Essentially, he taped himself making a call to Haller's bakery so we can "see what discrimination REALLY is".

He asked if she would make a cake with a hateful message on it against equality in marriage. Haller told the Orlando Sentinel that she thought it was an April Fool's Day prank, said no and hung up.

Joshua's nasty followers decided that in some-FREAKING-way this meant THEY were being "discriminated" against. Joshua not only posted their information but demanded his followers do what Jesus would apparently do: harass the living daylights out of the poor baker. They did. In fact, they left 100s of threatening messages because somehow THEY were "under attack".

Let this sink in for a minute. A bakery that DID NOT put a bigoted message on a cake is accused of discrimination against the bigots. It's mad-hatter logic. It's like the Klan accusing blacks of discrimination for not letting them burn a cross in your yard.

Joshua's call was not only horrible, but illegal as well. In Florida, you cannot record a phone conversation without consent from the other party. It is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The FBI is now also involved because she has received death threats.

Ironically, I somehow doubt that the people calling up and threatening this poor woman have led good "christian" lives: no doubt many are divorced, had premarital sex, or committed adultery. All of which Jesus condemned. DO you know what He never said one word about in the Bible? Homosexuality. That right folks, eat that up along with your bigot cake: Jesus never said ONE word about it.

If it is the ultimate sin, do you not think he would have bothered to mention it at least once? However, He was so bothered by excess wealth and greed that he preached against that in every single book of the New Testament--something most of you bigots have no problem with. But it's the gays who deserve your wrath, along with bakers who would simply prefer not to participate in spreading your hate.

I am asking the community to please counter-act the hurtful messages Sharon's bakery has received on Facebook:

She is also fighting for survival since the hatemongers have made it their mission to destroy her business. Dana Loesch generated half a million for a hateful pizza parlor in Indiana, so we can at least send some a few bucks to someone who is being physically threatened for not wanting to participate in hate:

On Welfare in Kansas? Don't Take a Cruise with the Money!

As I said a while back (and as our host also confirmed) when you're feeling down about the state of Florida, you can always be glad you're not in Kansas. The latest example of why is a bill that prevents recipients of welfare from getting more than $25 a day at a time, and also forbids them from spending their welfare money on cruises.

I suppose my next question is....which cruise ships dock anywhere in Kansas?