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Archive for the ‘Rick Scott’ Category

 

Take This Door And Shove It?

 

Well, he DID say “these doors are open.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, the self-proclaimed “open door policy” man and champion of tightening everyone’s belt but his own, has a brand new website! (And no, I don’t mean the new Mike Haridopolos Fan Site Florida Senate website.) It’s quite fitting for the guy who seems to aspire to personify the smarmiest character ever played by his lookalike William Devane.

No, the website DirtyHari.org is completely devoted to “opening the doors” to Haridopolos in all his hypocritical glory, and chronicles everything from those “silly” overlooked financial disclosures right down to every last measure  he voted to ban and subsequently sidestepped.

The new site was launched yesterday by Progress Florida and Florida Watch Action:

The site serves as an exposé “devoted to holding Senate President Mike Haridopolos accountable to the people of Florida, not just the banks, utilities, oil companies, HMO’s, big developers, and other corporate special interests who bankrolled his state senate campaign and rise to leadership.”

In conjunction with the site release, today at 11:00 AM members of Organize Now delivered hand sanitizer to attendees of a $10,000 a plate “private strategy meeting” in Orlando where Haridopolos was discussing his candidacy for the US Senate election in 2012 with wealthy supporters.  “Our message is simple: Sen. Haridopolos needs to clean up his act,” said Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director of Progress Florida.

That “sanitized” private strategy meeting reportedly raised $1 million for the U. S. Senate campaign that Haridopolos jumped into in less time than it took to remove those office doors after he was sworn in as Florida Senate President, the job which, according to Saint Petersblog,  Haridopolos told the crowd was his “political priority at least through the spring.” Just the type of statement you would expect from one of the elected officials who seek to thwart the will of the Florida voters who have the nerve to demand fair elections. Surely voters didn’t expect him to actually DO the job he was elected to?

If ever we needed to restore a little “Sunshine” to Florida’s ethically challenged backdoor politics it’s now when we have Gov. who ignores the people AND the press, and a Senate President with only part-term priorities who rips down office doors for the cameras, then holds his meetings privately in the president’s box at football games, the Governor’s mansion, and who knows where else?

Haridopolos didn’t want those office doors?

If he wasn’t “unhinged” before, he certainly is now.

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In the wake of the ruling yesterday by Florida Judge Roger Vinson against the Affordable Care Act as “unconstitutional,” the Republican Party is absolutely beside itself with joy and cheering that the health care law is now all but defeated. Nothing to see here, move along. But as they happily bow at the feet of the health insurance companies and the lobbyists that they serve, let’s put some of this into the perspective of reality for a moment.

Yes, the ruling was troubling for those who were going to benefit from it with affordable health care that has eluded their grasp for so long. Yes, the ruling is just what the health insurance companies ordered over the recommendations of actual doctors, which is also the point. But is the Affordable Care Act really “over” as many are running victory laps are predicting? No, not necessarily. I will defer to those with more expertise on the many details of the ruling and the law like Ezra Klein does so well here.

But there’s one little thing I would like to point out here. After the ruling came out yesterday every Republican official in Florida was racing to be the first to declare the ACA a defeat and the true death panels, the health insurance companies and the Republicans who carry out their wishes, the clear winners. From our newly elected Gov. Rick “Who was Never Charged With Medicare Fraud” Scott, right down to every local Tea Bagger wannabe GOP involved in government in any way, they all rushed to crow about the ruling.

One in particular gave me pause. Newly elected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. In her news release declaring victory, she said this:

“Today’s ruling by Judge Vinson is an important victory for every person who believes in the freedoms granted to us by our Constitution,” said Attorney General Bondi. “This proves that the federal government requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is in fact unconstitutional. In addition, the bipartisan effort from Attorneys General across the country shows the federal government that we will not back down from protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

Really? This proves that the federal government requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is in fact unconstitutional.” Actually it “proves” no such thing. (Perhaps we should ask for proof of Bondi’s law degree.) What it “proves” is that one more Republican judge ruled against it. Two Democratic judges also upheld the ACA. Yet Bondi needs no more proof than this one ruling. She’s good! Thanks for playing!
That aside, it also shows that the The Family Research Council and the religious right found a judge who agrees with them so much that he used some of the very language in that ruling that they use. What a coincidence, huh?
Even beyond that, it appears that groups like The Family Research Council (also branded as a hate group by the SPLC, mind you) can have great influence on judges. Furthermore, it also appears that the religious right and The Tea Party and their corporate funders with big pockets also have “great influence”  in elections, thanks to that other court ruling: Citizens United.
Of course, there’s no “proof” of that, it just looks that way.  But hey, what do I know? I’m no Attorney General.

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Well, here’s something you don’t see every day, an “honest” Republican. So honest in fact that he’s leaving the Party, but not before he states his reasons in a column published in the Tallahassee Democrat. He’s former Florida Rep. Randy Ball of Miami, and former criminal justice adviser for former Gov. Charlie Crist who left before new Gov. Rick Scott had a chance to ask him to resign.

As for his reasons? Well, his words speak for themselves:

“Republican leaders live in a fairy land where everything good — sunshine and bright blue skies, leprechauns and laughing daffodils — is bestowed by the wise Republican king, while everything bad — mold, dark nights and dragons — is inflicted by the Democrats and their snow queen,” Ball writes. “The dark must be thrown back, the evil crushed. And Republicans in their gleaming armor are the ones to do it. By golly, we will not vote for a Mother’s Day resolution if a Democrat submits it!”

Not only would Republicans “not vote for a Mother’s Day resolution if  Democrat submits it,” they would even go so far as to redefine rape to restrict abortions which are already restricted under existing federal law (and convince at least one Democrat to go along with them.) Let’s hope those “wise Republican kings” never have to face the consequences of this law they want to impose on “Mom” and all women.

To Randy Ball, I’ve got to say this: good call.

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Gov. Rick Scott is sticking to his campaign promises for an Arizona style immigration policy even though other GOP officials in Florida say it would be very bad for business. Of course, Scott needn’t even rely on what other officials say. He need only look at what’s happened in Arizona to get a glimpse of what could be in Florida.

Nope. Scott doesn’t show signs of giving in, in spite of his claims to “run Florida like a business.” Unless he means to run it like he ran Columbia/HCA that is.

“Scott, who campaigned on the issue, said this morning that law enforcement officers should be able to ask for immigration documentation, including during routine traffic stops.

“The federal government needs to secure our borders. We need to have an overall immigration policy that is logical and that works and is fair to Americans and fair to people that want to come to our country that we invite to come to our country,” Scott told reporters this morning.

“At the same time, I also believe that if you’re in our country and you do something illegally, you should be able to be asked just like I get asked for my ID if I ever get a traffic ticket, they should be asked if they’re legal or not. I clearly don’t believe in racial profiling,” Scott said.”

In spite of his views, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, (R-Meritt Island) doesn’t favor the Arizona “papers please” style of immigration law, nor does Florida Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Putnam says not only would such a law be bad for business, but it would be really for tourism in Florida.

But hey, it’s not like Florida relies on tourism or anything to stay afloat…..

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"Ask Me Anything (In 140 characters or less)!"

Gov. Rick Scott claims that he wants to be open and transparent, in spite of criticism that he’s given very limited access to reporters, and in spite of the fact that he refused to talk to newspaper editorial boards during his campaign. Yesterday, when asked about that, he had this to say:

Scott shrugged off criticism from the media that his administration had ejected the press from public meetings, cherry-picked reporters from news organizations whose coverage he considers favorable and lagged in responses to public records requests.

On the campaign trail, Scott promised voters that his administration would be open and transparent, Orlando Sentinel editor Mark Russell reminded the new governor.

“What specifically is your plan to address this failure of a campaign promise?” Russell, speaking on behalf of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, asked.

“I do press conferences. I do gaggles. Anybody can come to those so everybody has access,” Scott responded, adding that his office is processing 30 public records requests. “I feel very comfortable that we’re very open.”

As for his being “open” with voters concerns? Apparently Scott’s idea of being “open to the public” is by them asking him questions through Twitter. He plans to hold a “Twitter Town-Hall” tonight at 7:00 P.M, claiming he’ll answer as many questions as possible. So, providing that lots of questions don’t overload and crash Twitter (which often happens) this may be your only chance for an answer over your concerns.

Hey, it could be worse! This way you avoid those pesky velvet rope lines the reporters are subject to in those press conferences!

So by all means, ask away!

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While we listen in on the second day of the Republicans in the House making their arguments in the charade of “repealing” the health care reform law passed last year, it’s important to point out one more development in the lawsuit filed originally by former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. The lawsuit argues that the law is unconstitutional. In his run for the Governor’s mansion McCollum ran largely on the promise of “protecting Floridians” from health care reform. Never mind the cost to taxpayers from that very lawsuit which threatened to take away reforms that were popular among Florida voters. 20 other states joined in the lawsuit, along with business interests with a stake in the fight. Of course, McCollum lost the election to someone even worse as far as health care laws are concerned, Rick Scott, formerly known from Columbia/HCA, of Medicare fraud fame. (Scott himself was never charged with a crime.)

Today we learned that six more states have joined the lawsuit challenging the health care legislation that Republicans claim they want to “repeal and replace.” Or as some have said, actually “repeal and forget.” That’s now a total of 26 states jumping on the lawsuit bandwagon: Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine.

Not exactly surprising, many state officials who joined the lawsuit may have pretty good reasons for doing so. Like their Republican colleagues in the House who, as I write are grandstanding in their effort for “repeal,” they are big beneficiaries of campaign contributions from, wait for it….the health care industry!

From The Center For Public Integrity:

The state officials who joined together to file a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform have collectively received at least $5 million in campaign contributions from the health industry over the course of their political careers, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.

Using data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the Center found that top recipients of industry money include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has received more than $1 million from health care professionals since 1996, and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who took in at least $970,163 from the industry starting in 1992, when he was a state senator, until he left the governor’s office this week. Other major recipients involved in the lawsuit include former Pennsylvania Attorney General and newly-elected Governor Tom Corbett, who has received about $830,000, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, with more than $770,000.

The money has flowed from a variety of interests ranging from hospitals and drug companies to health care insurers and doctors. Many oppose the mandate in the new law requiring Americans to buy health care coverage.

Florida Attorney General, Republican Pam Bondi has now continued with the lawsuit, saying she is taking up the fight “in the interests of families.” As those six states joined the lawsuit, Bondi said “It sends a strong message that more than half of the states consider the health care law unconstitutional and are willing to fight it in court. “I look forward to continuing to defend Florida’s families and businesses against this unconstitutional law and upholding the Constitution.”

In the interest of families? Bondi has also received campaign contributions from the health care industry:

Pam Bondi, who succeeded McCollum as attorney general and will take up his cause in the lawsuit, received about $75,000 from the industry, some $64,000 of which came from health professionals. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this month, she said “our lawsuit, together with a similar lawsuit filed by Virginia’s attorney general, has exposed the health-care law’s threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional structure that the Founders designed as a means of protecting that liberty.”

As far the claim that the law is unconstitutional? Not necessarily according to The Center For American Progress, who issued a statement Tuesday signed by more than 125 legal scholars saying the law is constitutional.

As the Republicans in the House pull their “repeal Obamacare” stunt in front of the cameras for political gain, it’s pretty clear they’re acting on behalf of the health insurance companies they meet with behind closed doors who help them craft their arguments. Just like their colleagues in the House, state officials who have joined Bondi’s lawsuit have their own agendas as well.

Agendas so far to the tune of $5 million.

h/t Progress Florida

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ARIZONA SHOOTINGS UPDATE:

Good News For Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Doctors at Tucson’s University Medical Center have removed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from a ventilator, and she is breathing on her own. Doctors haven’t said anything about whether Rep. Giffords can speak.

Despite Shootings, Tucson Gun Show Goes On

New York Times Profile Of Jared L. Loughner

FLORIDA NEWS:

More Guns! Less Restrictions!

In the wake of the shootings in Tucson, and another at Florida State University last week where a drunk student accidentally killed his girlfriend’s sister with an AK-47, Florida lawmakers are about to propose changes in firearm restrictions. “They want more people to have the right to carry them in the open and fewer government restrictions.” What could possibly go wrong….?

Bob Graham Urges Gov. Rick Scott To Demand Oil Drilling Safety Reforms

Cuba is preparing to drill the wells off its north coast, using a Russian oil drilling firm “which frankly does not have a world standard safety record,” Graham told the Economic Club of Florida.

Tampa International Airport Eligible For Flights To Cuba

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Tampa International Airport will be eligible to restore direct flights to Cuba, fulfilling a longstanding goal of local Cuban Americans forced to rely on Miami’s airport because of federal restrictions.

Republican and darling of the Tea Party, Sen. Marco Rubio, opposes the new changes.

Planner Says It Would Be A Mistake For Gov. Rick Scott Not To Proceed With High-Speed Rail In Florida

“You Lie!”

Sen. Mike Fasano says that Florida 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Paul Hawkes “lied” when faced with tough questions about the brand new $50 million dollar “Taj Mahal” courthouse in Tallahassee.

Former Lobbyist And State Legislator David Bitner Elected As New Florida GOP Chair

New RNC Chairman Reince Priebus To Clean Up 2012 GOP Tampa Convention Mess

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