By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"Mayor Buckhorn can shove his authoritarian zones up his ass," says a masked protester in one video. "When protest becomes illegal, there is no other option left but to fight."
Buckhorn says demonstrators have nothing to fear: "I've been very clear from the get-go that if you're coming here to protest, you're welcome. But if you step out of line and if you're coming here to cause mayhem, we are going to deal with you."
The mayor is a cheery man with bright, beady eyes dropped like blueberries onto a doughy face. In true American fashion, he'll be happy if he can survive August with maximum profit and minimum scandal.
"I'm agnostic until the convention is over. For me, it's not about red-state, blue-state. It's about green," Buckhorn admits, estimating the convention will bring Tampa more than $175 million.
Bipartisan bonhomie goes only so far, though. The Secret Service prohibits guns within the convention center, but in a state with more than a million concealed-weapons permits, Tampa will be swimming in sidearms. When Buckhorn asked the governor to ban concealed weapons temporarily in town during the convention, Scott scoffed.
"I'm not an anti-gun kind of guy. I've got guns. Up until probably six months ago, I had a concealed-weapons permit," Buckhorn boasts. "But to interject guns into a potentially combustible environment to me is absurd."
He says Scott's snarky response was probably written by the NRA. "He has his opinions about the Second Amendment and he isn't going to let the safety of the public or our police officers get in the way of it."
Scott's decision isn't popular in left-leaning Tampa, but it has gone down well in nearby, rabidly Republican Hillsborough County.
"Who's more likely to have a gun: a pinko commie liberal or a God-fearing Republican?" reasons Joseph Wendt, a Romney supporter in the area. "If you're a bunch of liberal activists going to protest a conservative event where people are legally allowed to carry guns, you better behave."
Buckhorn's stance hasn't exactly endeared him to progressives plotting to protest the convention, either. They decry his plan to put them in three "clean zones" located several blocks from the Times Forum. And they fear retaliation from the 4,000 heavily armed police officers — paid for by a $50 million Homeland Security grant — who will cordon off downtown.
"We're not going to do anything illegal," says Corey Uhl, head of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of South Florida. "But with the recent frameups of NATO protesters in Chicago, you never know what the government will do."
Others are arguably already breaking the law. A group called the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign rented the land behind an Army surplus store near the Forum. They spread mulch on the parking lot, set up a portable toilet, erected Pepto Bismol-pink tents, and called it "Romneyville." Local officials say the tents violate zoning laws, but protesters say they'll handcuff themselves to fences rather than leave.
"Republicans can't ignore us," says Bruce Wright, one of the campaign's organizers. "This is the future of the United States if things don't change."
Buckhorn's office has tried to contain the craziness by barring protesters from bringing props such as puppets and masks. But he will have his hands full with Code Pink's vagina costumes.
The outfits were inspired by an incident last year when a Democratic state rep joked that the only way for a Florida woman to avoid Republicans' invasive reproductive regulations was to "incorporate her uterus." Republicans scolded him for using the word on the House floor.
"These stupid old-boy white men want to legislate our vaginas," says Anita Stewart, a home health-care practitioner with a grandmotherly air. "They came out of a vagina and spend the rest of their lives trying to crawl back up in one, but they don't want to hear the word.
"We're not in the 17th century anymore," Stewart says. "Vagina!"
"Governor!" The shout spun Rick Scott away from his budget presentation and toward the press pool. "You benefit from hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars every year," asked a reporter he didn't recognize. "So would you be willing to pee into this cup to prove to Florida taxpayers that you're not on drugs, that you're not using that money for drugs?"
"I've done it plenty of times," Scott stuttered.
"Would you pass this forward to the governor?" the reporter said, handing another journalist an empty plastic piss cup.
Sadly, Scott didn't take a leak. But the governor had been punked. Two months later, the stunt aired on an episode of The Daily Show, lambasting Scott for his welfare drug testing.
It was the most visible victory yet for a native son bent on airing his home state's unparalleled craziness. "When I first came to Florida as a boy, I said to myself: One day I'm going to ask the governor of this state to give me a urine sample in the middle of a press conference," says Aasif Mandvi, the comedian-cum-satirist. "Finally my dream came true, and I can cross it off my bucket list."
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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