By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Scott's two years in office have been a nightmare of GOP talking points turned reality. First, he pushed through a law requiring drug tests for welfare applicants, saying it was "unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction." Instead, taxpayers have subsidized $200,000 worth of tests, many of them conducted by a company owned by Scott's wife. Capitalism! (Oh, and so far, only 2 percent of the tests have come back positive.) Never mind the fact that the law is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.
Scott didn't stop there. He also required drug tests of every state employee (because society falls apart if the dudes at the DMV smoke a joint once in a while) and signed a truly bizarre law banning doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. He let local governments steamroll the Everglades and then rejected a $2.4 billion high-speed rail system between Orlando and Tampa (which was to be paid entirely by the feds and private businesses). Why? Because trains are communist, you pinko.
Scott's biggest priority in office, though, has echoed his Republican overlords' national plans: Suppress poor and minority voters. Last summer he signed a law slashing early voting from 14 days to eight and outlawing voting on the Sunday before the election — coincidentally, the day that black churchgoers usually drive en masse to vote for Democrats. The law made it more difficult for liberal-leaning students to update their addresses to get ballots, and it threatened voter registration groups with fines. Even the Boy Scouts of America took offense.
And Scott targeted Hispanics by ordering a purge of "potentially ineligible" voters from the rolls. It turned out that hundreds were perfectly legit citizens — including one guy who had survived combat in World War II.
You might think you're safe from this insanity in your East Village apartment or Los Angeles rancho, but the Republicans' Frankenstein-like experimentation in Florida is already beginning to spread. The most infamously insane idea to go viral is the Stand Your Ground law, at the heart of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman's defense for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Normally, in order to claim self-defense, someone is required to retreat from a threat before opening fire. But in 2005, Florida put the onus on prosecutors to show shooters' lives were not in danger. Soon the legislation quickly spread to 24 other states.
In Florida, Stand Your Ground has been used by drug dealers to escape murder charges, invoked by one guy after shooting a bear, and cited by a jogger who beat a Jack Russell terrier. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the law is unevenly enforced to favor whites over blacks and Hispanics. And researchers at Texas A&M University recently found it has increased homicides across the nation.
Sadly, Stand Your Ground isn't the only scourge Florida has unleashed upon the States. Decades of deregulation have made it the epicenter of the country's foreclosure crisis. That same blind faith in business has also turned it into a veritable Scam-istan, ruled by Ponzi schemers such as retiree-bilking Bernie Madoff, cricket-crazy R. Allen Stanford, golden-toilet-owning attorney Scott Rothstein, bogus University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro and dozens of others.
Meanwhile, poor residents have borne the brunt of steep budget cuts. Programs for mental health, substance abuse and the homeless have been slashed. So when "Miami Zombie" Rudy Eugene ate the face off of indigent Ronald Poppo a few months ago, Floridians weren't nearly as surprised as the rest of the nation.
Hunter Thompson would be similarly unfazed: "Civilization ends at the waterline," he once wrote. "Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top."
Oversize pink vaginas. Black Bloc anarchists. The bright-orange spurt of pepper spray into a crowd. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has Technicolor nightmares of what could go wrong at the RNC. The moderate Democrat didn't ask for his city to host the event. But if anything goes awry, it will be endlessly looped on television and YouTube, and he'll be blamed.
"Other than the Olympics, this will be the most-watched television event in the world this year," he says. "So yeah, hosting a convention in the middle of hurricane season in this economic and political environment leads to a little gray hair."
These are strange days for Tampa, and for America. Over the past decade, political polarization has turned the country into a powder keg. Buckhorn's job is to prevent tens of thousands of convention conservatives and left-leaning protesters from combusting on his streets. It won't be easy. If the nation has long been coming apart at the seams, Tampa could be the crotch that finally splits wide open.
Inside the convention center will be titans of industry, the billionaire Koch brothers, hordes of Tea Partiers in tricorne hats, Bill O'Reilly and Fox News freaks, Karl Rove with his Crossroads GPS super-PAColytes, and a few thousand fawning female Christian fundamentalists toting "Enraptured by Paul Ryan" signs.
On the other side of the picket line will be those resisting America's rightward shift: Code Pink matriarchs clad as papier-mâché vulvas, carbon-neutral nouveau hippies and the moldy leftovers of the Occupy movement. More than 15,000 protesters are expected. Videos threatening violence, supposedly by international hacker group Anonymous, have already been uploaded online.
The question is - Can half this country order the other have to the tongue of the wagon? A very real form of human bondage.
And even if it turns out that way, the formula does not work. It violates the Law of Self Interest. People will not devote ever more hours of labor every day and not receive the direct benefit of that labor. We are trending from avoidance to evasion and it will accelerate.
And to exacerbate the situation, we have reached the point where we have taxed Future wealth and income yet to be created to the extent it won't be - created. Again, it is the usurpation of the law of self-interest.
This ain't your Daddy's Depression. That debt wall is now so large it darkens the skies. And it's alive. It is growing upon itself. And the only thing that has any possibility of overtaking its rate of growth is growth. Growth in the the Gross Domestic Product. that's us, folks, not Wall Street. And that means small business. For it has always been the Great Unwashed that has tractored us all out of these recessions and depressions.
And that takes us back to square one.
It ain't magic and it is not a matter of rote faith, a Hail Mary, or a wing and a prayer.
We are in a very dark place, and this is just Purgatory. It can and will get a lot worse. Just look at the last century.
So yeah, we will be at each other's throats if we do not change course immediately.
The dogs are mewling and the birds are flying inland. Every natural sign is yelling, something bad is coming.
How is that Hope and Change going for you? 15 million more on food stamps and unemployed keep hoping for a change.
@Sarge Keep that thought,soon you will get your voucher for H/C about 6k short, but hey they love you,LOL
Judging by his repeated references, Michael Miller either has a secret fetish for guns, or an irrational fear of them, not sure which...
@CREATIVEVIRTUOS I am a little confused by the title on this article....this has nothing to do with strippers!
The GOP’s 2012 convention theme will be, “We Did Build This!” — which is amusing since the Republican National Committee convention will actually be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is publicly-owned and is managed with taxpayer funds. The media center for the RNC Convention is the Tampa Convention Center, which is also publicly-owned, and was built with $140 million in taxpayer funds.
The GI bill and massive road construction were federal programs that aided the parents of today's white suburban citizens, yet they insist upon excoriating African-Americans for being "dependent upon the government for assistance". Republican trash talk and race-baiting is feeding this ignorance.
The Romney-Ryan-Akin team has forbidden the press from asking any questions about Medicare, reproductive rights, or tax returns.
I'll take the Romney-Ryan-Akin ticket anyday over the Obama-Biden-Marx ticket.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Instead of a convention they should just hand out fliers, that is more info than you will get from Hatefest 2012
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz In reading your comments through out, I am not convinced you a radical Democrat, but a true idiot.
@holmantx They did not build S................................,without others money
@holmantx Their convention is being held in an arena built by the government.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And there it is - your sickness in full Monty. Shouting it out in public for all to see.
I can only hope that your brethren continue to extol the virtues of the collective over the individual at every turn. That the People through the Public Servant are the true definition of American Exceptionalism.
What you assert is worse than the notion of trying to explain the benefits of legitimate rape. At least Akin apologized.
You remain in a state of pristine cluelessness.
@holmantx "Todd Akin has fallen behind Sen. Claire McCaskill by double digits in the Missouri Senate race, according to a Rasmussen automated phone poll released Thursday." --POLITICO
Read it and weep, boyfriend.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz and yet another one!
Pious ignorance and proud of it.
you go girl.
@holmantx Hee hee. Latest Rasmussen poll has Claire McCaskill up by ten points. Now who's the sick one?
The University of Colorado analysis is out. This analysis is unique in its predictive ability. The model correctly predicted all Presidential elections since 1980.
The most recent University of Colorado (UC) analysis has Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 Presidential election according to political science professors Kenneth Bickers of UC Boulder and Michael Berry of UC Denver. The predictions were presented in a press release on August 22, 2012, and will appear in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association this month and be updated in September.
“According to their analysis President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.”
GOD is very angry at the republicans for their immense hatred of everyone. HE is sending Hurricane Isaac into Tampa to shut down their convention.
Here on the 'ol D-O blogs, most of us just have to treat these threads not as a narrow lane built and policed by a Liberal cop, but as an opportunity to express an opinion why this street and this cop exist in the first place.
Can ya dig it? So here goes:
Romney's one of the good guys on the planet. He was a Governor, a highly successful businessman, and can obviously take a punch, and counter-punch. He can carry the right and will capture the center and disaffected Democrats. He will beat the President. After all, this election will be a plebiscite on Obama's record and where he's dragging the soul of this country.
Romney is the nominee and the next President because he is the most qualified, possesses the most experience, and exhibits the most Leadership. He knows how to lead. He will stand down the regulatory agencies and will not veto what the next Congress must do - which is set a course to balance the budget, repeal Obamacare, and cut spending to restore our credibility so that we will pay our debts without monetizing it. And, of course, you refuse to recognize what I just said however, our national salvation depends upon it - including the wagon riders.
This writer and the morons who mouth the same old braindead slurs would never vote for Romney yet we are treated to a continuous stream of perfumed slants and strawman blog after strawman blog that DO serve a purpose in your world. And that purpose is to provide a platform for you to express displeasure, imply all manner of insult and invective . . . anything but defend the consequences of collectivism. I'm just trying to reach out and explain why self-selecting elitism is such a vacant enterprise. You are engaging in self-righteous masturbation.
What's clear to everyone else is that the the ones you think you speak for are not ideologues like you. Your rank and file are mercenary and practical. In the big scheme of things Romney and Ryan, as flawed as they are, represent a solution to at least sustain the benefits. They won't vote for Romney . . . they just won't vote in the numbers they did in 2008. A sufficient chunk of your troops will remain on the couch. All because you yammered when your leadership should have let the economic horses run. You could have had Obamacare had you fixed the economy first. Instead, you have women cheering a rapist who will be the keynote speaker at your convention.
You don't have any (recognized) idea what I'm talking about. But your rank and file do, for they know how the egg is laid. So . . . You cannot be allowed to sit in your addiction and continue to deny why these Republicans and the TEA Party movement are on the national scene in the first place. Mine is but an early intervention. And help is on the way.
Let it not be a shock when the adults take over for awhile. Just go get in the back seat with Grandma whilst Dad fixes the engine you so royally screwed up.
And don't touch anything!
All true - but will you also be publishing an equally scathing (and entertaining) expose on the Democrats?
@Sotiredofitall why don't you get right on that and write your own article, then.
@Sotiredofitall I was wondering the same thing....
@Sotiredofitall FOX takes care of that every minute of every day.
Richard Nixon. Out of the many, many republican dirt-bags to come down the pike, Nixon was the one... number one.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And Nixon was proven to be a "dirt bag" doing what, exactly?
He can't touch 0bama, my dear.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz #1 that you knew about, honey.
By the way, MSNBC = FOX. Huffingtonpost = FOX.
It's all crap, and if you are a side-taker, then you are The Problem.
boy, Nixon was #1, and time has not softened this countries disdain for him.
... and who could forget that elephantine bird-brain Veep of his, Spiro Agnew, who coined such alliterative gems as, "nattering nabobs of negativism".
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