Carl Hiaasen: "Earlier this summer, a panel of low-wattage trolls known as the Legislative Budget Commission spurned $2.1 million of a federal grant designed to transition ill and elderly Floridians out of nursing facilities and back to their homes."
The program, which started under President George W. Bush, is designed to save states millions in Medicaid costs because residential care for older citizens is less expensive than long-term institutional care."This astoundingly stupid strategy of sending our U.S. tax dollars to other states is the hatchling of House Speaker Dean Cannon, cheered on by Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican zombies."
To that end, the feds offered Florida – which has one of the nation’s largest populations of seniors – almost $36 million in phased grants. No thanks, said geniuses like Rep. Rob Schenck of Spring Hill and Rep. Denise Grimsley of Sebring.
The money for moving sick and older residents back home was unnecessary, said Grimsley and Schenck, because state agencies already try to do that. That might come as a surprise to those with relatives in Florida nursing homes."We don’t need no stinkin’ U.S. tax dollars".
Even though no state funds were at stake, the members of the Legislative Budget Commission want you to believe that they rejected the $2.1 million seniors grant because of their staunch frugality. But guess what else they did at the same meeting?
They unanimously voted to hand out a total of $7.5 million to two business firms that were considering expanding operations in Florida or moving here. Here’s the best part: The lawmakers weren’t even given the names of the corporations — one was coded “Project Equis,” the other “Project Christmas.”
I’m totally serious. And these yahoos forked over the money anyway.
This is Florida’s so-called leadership in the year 2011. Screw the sick, poor and elderly, and grovel worshipfully before any half-assed company with a letterhead and a lobbyist.
Teabaggers swoon over Rubio
Mike Thomas asks if you "have you listened to the conservative commentators after Marco Rubio waxes poetic about the American dream, and the threat that President Barack Obama poses to it?"
They practically swoon."Rubio will be Republicans' veep choice".
They are like Bruno and Carrie Ann shouting 10! after a Hines Ward fox trot.
Except they shout: Vice president!
"Fierce battle for state’s Hispanic vote"
"Both parties are gearing up to to wage a fierce battle for the state’s Hispanic vote. For Democrats, the president’s reelection may ride on their success." "Battle brews for Florida’s Hispanic voters".
"Obama quietly revs up Florida"
"As Republican presidential candidates prepare to buzz into Central Florida for high-profile debates, speeches and a straw poll, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is quietly working under the radar here." "Obama quietly revs up Florida fundraising, organizing for 2012".
Florida Republicans chant "deregulation" mantra as "vulnerable residents were dying of abuse and neglect"
"While vulnerable residents were dying of abuse and neglect in ALFs, Florida lawmakers waged a campaign to slash state oversight of the state’s troubled homes."
the next three years, lawmakers rejected sweeping plans to toughen Florida’s ALF law — often at the urging of industry leaders — while stripping away enforcement powers that left hundreds of residents to fend for themselves in dangerous conditions.For example:
While frail residents were dying of abuse and neglect in ALFs across the state — nearly one a month — lawmakers pushed three dozen pieces of legislation since 2007 to cut crucial protections that had been in place for a generation.
The changes in Florida’s ALF law created even more gaps in a state enforcement system that was already failing to investigate dangerous practices and shut down the worst offenders.
• Lawmakers said state regulators no longer have to report abuses and deaths to the Legislature, instead allowing them to keep the cases secret."Lawmakers pushed to slash state oversight of Assisted Living Facilities".
• Even as homes were caught breaking the law — including caregivers beating residents, doping them with powerful tranquilizers and locking them in closets — lawmakers rejected a plan to crack down on rogue operators.
• Though abuse cases have risen over the past five years, lawmakers blocked efforts to heighten checks on bad homes — including inspections every 15 months — saying they were too expensive.
• As the state was finding hundreds of people languishing without proper care, lawmakers stripped the authority of inspectors to call doctors and get them removed — leaving the decision to ALF operators.
The moves to change the state’s historic ALF law — one of the oldest in the country — came as abuse and neglect cases were rising in ALFs.
Led by Florida’s largest industry group, a dozen lawmakers stepped forward in the past five years to create 36 pieces of legislation to remove regulations — including parts of the Residents’ Bill of Rights that guarantees safety and protection to vulnerable adults.
The effort peaked this year, with legislators pressing 23 bills, including a plan by Sen. Rene Garcia — a powerful Hialeah Republican who chairs the Senate’s health committee — to overhaul ALF law.
The 37-year-old lawmaker, whose district includes more than 100 ALFs — including some of the most heavily fined homes in Miami-Dade — pushed to cut back penalties against caretakers and reduce the state’s power to close troubled homes.
"After all, he is black"
"Ladies and gentlemen, here he is, 'your boy,' that 'tar baby,' the president of the United Sates, Barack Obama ..."
Leonard Pitts Jr. warns that "these people don’t want to be friends. They don’t want to compromise for the greater good. They don’t want to solve problems unless by problems you mean his continued tenancy in that mansion on Pennsylvania Ave."
They have not been coy about this. Rush Limbaugh said it (“I hope he fails”) when Mrs. Obama was still picking out a dress for the inauguration. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in November that, in a time of war and recession, his number one goal is to deny Obama a second term."Yet somehow, the Obama brain trust, a term herein used advisedly, always seems caught off guard by the ferocity, velocity and fury of the response to him. They were surprised at the verbal and physical violence of the healthcare debate, surprised at the hardiness of the birther nonsense, surprised by the stiff defense of the Bush-era tax cuts."
It is time Obama quit being surprised by the predictable, time he understood this is not politics as usual, not Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill snarling at one another by day and having drinks by night, like that old cartoon where the sheepdog and the coyote punch a time clock to signal the beginning and end of their hostilities. It is not Bill Clinton living in a state of permanent investigation, nor even George W. Bush being called incompetent all day every day."GOP’s nasty ‘tar baby’ politics".
No, this is a new thing, repulsion at a visceral, indeed, mitochondrial, level. Obama’s denigrators are appalled by the newness of him, the liberality of him, the exoticness of him and, yes, and the blackness of him.
“Your boy?” Really?
Sure. Why not. Didn’t Rep. Lynn Westmoreland call him “uppity?” Didn’t the ex-mayor of Los Alamitos, Calif., send out an email showing the White House with a watermelon patch?
See, here’s the thing: If, as is frequently said, Obama represents America’s future, what do they represent?
You know the answer. Worse, they do, too.
And let's not forget Florida Republicans' delightful behavior: "Conservative Activist Forwards Racist Pic Showing Obama As Witch Doctor", "Rubio Won't Say Whether He'll Sever Ties With McKalip", "Raci[st] e-mails by Hillsborough GOP leaders", "Top Tampa GOP Figure Shares Joke About Killing Obama" and "GOP official resigns after sending raci[st] e-mail". See generally: "After All, He Is Black".
Here's a related discussion of the Florida media's inability to use the word "racist": "Calling a 'racist' a 'racist'". See also "Racist? You decide" and "Let's repeat: it was 'racist' not merely 'racial'" (scroll down)
"A third of Florida's delegation preferred default to compromise"
Scott Maxwell: "There aren't many adults left in Washington. But Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown might as well be wearing wear Pampers. Those two were among a third of the state's delegation who apparently preferred national default to compromise." "It's tough to sugarcoat Florida politicians' shenanigans".
"Pledge-signing robots and lap dogs for Grover Norquist"
Stephen Goldstein knows "these days it is politically correct to say both parties share the blame for running up the federal deficit and that they need to seek compromise, balance, fairness in any deal.
But I don't agree. On behalf of honest, decent, average Americans who struggle against the odds to overcome real obstacles to living full and productive lives, this is a time for raw revenge on a radical political minority and its enablers who are only out to consolidate their power and destroy a president."They have dishonored their oaths of office. They say they are only out to save the country from financial ruin, but they are pledge-signing robots and lap dogs for Grover Norquist."
Voters should unleash an uppercase Judgment Day in November 2012 on the tea party/Republican fringe that has abused its power."Life's perspectives: 3 incidents give strong message".
Rampant speculation about Florida's U.S. Senate primary race
"The exit of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos from the Republican U.S. Senate primary race should have brought clarity to the contest."
Instead the picture is muddier than ever."Hasner charms donors but not voters in Florida Republican Senate race".
Former Sen. George LeMieux, now the best-funded candidate, is suddenly aggressively attacking former state Rep. Adam Hasner as a phony conservative with a record of voting for tax and spending increases.
Hasner has started landing major GOP establishment support, but shows little sign of momentum among rank-and-file voters.
And a Quinnipiac poll last week found more than half the voters are undecided, but the front-runner is Mike McCalister, an obscure candidate most veterans of Florida politics wrote off as barely credible.
Meanwhile, speculation about another candidate jumping in, perhaps a very wealthy one, is rampant among Republican strategists in Florida.
"Consumer advocates contend that the costs don’t add up"
"Florida regulators will decide how much customers will pay next year for nuclear power plants that are still a decade away from construction, while consumer advocates contend that the costs don’t add up." "State leaders see nuclear power as inevitable to Florida’s energy future".
"When Scott tries to smile, it's just creepy"
Scott Maxwell writes that Ricky's "decided he's tired of playing the role of Voldemort in American politics. So to beef up his subterranean approval ratings, he redirected the "Reinventing Rick" tour to trying to make nice with the media he once loved to spurn. ... Here's the problem: When Scott tries to force a smile, it's just creepy."
Possible early states are "all states where Romney should do well"
A "look at some of the states talking about busting the national party's directive not to schedule a contest before March 6: Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Michigan. They're all states where Romney should do well, either because of his ties to the west and to Michigan, or his resources to organize Colorado caucuses and expensive TV ad buys in Florida, where he already has support." "Early Florida primary might be just fine by Mitt Romney".
Michael Peltier's "Weekly Roundup: Who Loves You, Baby?".
"Scott staff changes"
"More changes in Gov. Rick Scott's office: Special counsel Hayden Dempsey, who oversaw legislative affairs and was one of the few Tallahassee veterans to join the Scott administration early on, is leaving. Seen as a contender for chief of staff before Scott appointed Steve MacNamara, Dempsey hasn't announced his next job. The new legislative affairs director will be former lobbyist Jon Costello, who previously worked under Dempsey, and for the Scott campaign." "Scott staff changes".
Florida rights restoration "huge backlog"
"Under new rules Scott and the Cabinet adopted in March, [felons] must now wait seven years for a clemency hearing. A huge backlog of pending cases means it likely will take much longer for felons to regain the right to vote, serve on a jury or run for office." On top of that, "a series of budget cuts has reduced the pace of clemency case reviews to a slow trickle." "Backlog of felons awaiting rights restoration".
RPOFers luvin' the unemployment
"Bad Jobs Report Stirs Anti-Obama Fire in GOP 2012 Hopefuls, Florida Repubs".
So much for that
"Former [Dem] U.S. Congressman Tim Mahoney was arrested on a DUI charge after police said they found him sleeping in his parked car on a South Florida road early Saturday." "Former U.S. Congressman Tim Mahoney was arrested on a DUI charge after police said they found him sleeping in his parked car on a South Florida road early Saturday.".
"Stutter-stepping down the road to voter suppression"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida's secretary of state is stutter-stepping down the road to voter suppression, and his new tack means taxpayers will be billed even more for the state's attempt to weaken democracy."
In what he claims is an effort to get the state's unfairly restrictive new voter laws a "neutral evaluation," Secretary of State Kurt Browning has withdrawn them from consideration by the U.S. Department of Justice and placed them before a panel of federal judges in Washington. Federal law allows him either option, but this unusual change-up shows that Mr. Browning was worried about the laws' prospects if scrutinized by the feds."Billing voters to strip rights".
HCA investors in a dither
"Hospital corporation HCA warned investors in a Friday filing that reductions in Florida’s Medicaid program could cost the company $50 million over the next year." "HCA warns investors about the cost of Medicaid cuts".
"Would likely cause more problems than it would solve"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Scott suggested late last month that it's time Florida scrapped its requirement that motorists carry personal-injury protection, which pays medical benefits for injuries suffered in automobile crashes no matter who's at fault. The state would be better off if Scott instead worked with the Legislature to reform PIP, while keeping it mandatory. Making it optional or getting rid of PIP would likely cause more problems than it would solve." "Fix PIP, but don't kill the no-fault program".