Saturday, March 28, 2015

FL Legislator's "Revenge" Bill Goes After Children Allowing ALL Discrimination! (Take That Indiana!)

#161 of My Stupid State

The Florida wingnuts just can't freaking stand not being in the spotlight. They couldn't give us ONE day for Indiana to take the heat off with their inane hate bill. We always have to be #1 in bigoted buffoonery.

OK, here we go:

40 years ago, this state passed a gay adoption ban. When it was recently, (and finally), challenged in Court, the only so-called "expert" the GOP politicians could find (and pay) to defend it turned out to be a self-hating, male hooker. Yes, that happened. Somehow, the GOP lost the case.

Fast forward this week. Because the GOP lost that case, one of our dumbest state legislators, Rep. Jason Brodeur, proposed legislation that he is literally calling a "revenge" bill that plays with children's lives.

Jason Brodeur is a name I've mentioned before. He is my own legislator and already infamous for proposing that psychiatrists/docotrs be fined 5 million for asking someone if they have a gun in the house.

Now he has created legislation that will allow taxpayer-funded private agencies to deny kids parents for practically any reason. I give you PCB HHSC 15-03, the Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies:

...adoption services conscience protection within s. 409.175, F.S., to allow private child-placing agencies to object to performing, assisting in, recommending, consenting to, or participating in the placement of a child if a placement violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.

The bill also protects the licensure, grants, contracts, and ability to participate in government programs for those agencies that object to performing adoption services required for the placement of a child if that placement violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.

It was pushed through House Committee on Thursday.

Lest you think this is just an LGBT issue, the answer is NO. ANYONE in a PRIVATE adoption agency can discriminate: ethnic, racial, political affiliation, religious difference--all banned.

  • A Jewish family can be denied a child because they don't accept our Savior.

  • An interracial couple can be banned because some racists sincerely believe that God intended eternal separation of the races because he put them on different continents.

  • A Vegan can be banned because that goes against a sincerely held religious belief that animals were created in this world to act as a source of food.

  • Did you vote for Obama? BANNED! That goes against a deeply held moral conviction of not allowing new Democrats to be raised. Besides, healthcare access is a sin in the Catholic Church according to some a$$*****.

  • Non-fundamentalist? I don't care if this kid EVER gets a family: only those willing to indoctrinate will be considered. Bible. Can't touch this.

  • And don't get me started on an atheist family. The only thing worse would be a loving gay couple.

By the way, this works the other way too. Brodeur was forced to admit that a private adoption agency who had a moral conviction to gun owners could deny a couple a child. As usual, he didn't think this through. No one who pushed it through committee did.

You don't like this? Tough. Not only would this be legal, Florida taxpayers would be forced to subsidize this discrimination!

What is even more appalling is how the Florida Catholic Conference got behind this stupid bill. I thought they opposed abortion and were pro-adoption? There are already PLENTY of obstacles in the adoption system, so why are they making it even more difficult? It is morally reprehensible and a sin.

If you bastards were caught in my agency I'd never let anyone adopt you, but that would be cruel, spiteful and hateful. Who do you think I am, Jason Brodeur?

Contact Your Florida Legislator and ask them to spend time fixing Florida's many, many, many problems.... and quick F***ing over kids with "revenge" bills who are suffering enough.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rick Scott's SuperPAC Raises 700K, Even Though He Can't Run Again

Nothing shady going on here. Just taking a half million form the Chamber of Commerce and several industry political money machines. One of the Chamber's PAC, ironically named Florida Jobs Pac, only has three contributors: Publix, Disney, and our power company, Florida Power and Light. That last one really cheeses me because we have no say in who our power company is, how bad they treat us, or how much they can gouge us. FPL literally gives money to those who are supposed to be protecting us from high rates, so they can raise our rates, and in turn give the money to Rick Scott.

As shameful as that is, at least it was an election year last year. What is going on in March 2015? Is Rick running for a 3rd term? Nope, just special interests giving large amounts so money to a lame duck governor to remind him that he still runs the state. Amendment 1 is big in the news (mostly because Scott and the GOP are ignoring it) so let's run an ad on something else. Big Sugar, which stands to lose needed land they legally promised the state, won't mind throwing a few more bucks Rick's way so he can talk about how great the minimum wage job growth has been here.

There is no break from seeing Rick Scott's mug in the four months since the election ended. The money is wasted on shameless self-promotion: long commercials where he touts his made-up accomplishments and pretends to be good governor. At least his ads when he was running were entertaining. Here's a few good ones....

Monday, March 23, 2015

John Oliver Features My Stupid State Destroying Lives Over Municipal Violations

Municipal violations are extremely minor offenses, for not wearing a seatbelt to failing to vaccinate your ferret. Several cities make a fortune off of these off of the backs of the poorest amongst us because they cannot afford the fines, so private companies step in to rape them for 1000 times more than they owe.

If you don't pay, you can be jailed or have your license taken away. An astonishing 64% of offenders have lost their jobs because they can't drive.

Of course, Florida is featured (6:15). An idiot Sheriff's deputy is bragging (in costume) of all the licenses he took: despite the fact that 88% were due, not to reckless drivers, but people who couldn't pay their fines.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Video: FL Senators Try (and Fail) to Get Rick Scott's FDE Director to Say "Climate Change"

This was kind of mean.

They know Bryan Koon, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency, will be canned if he says those words. It is the worst-kept secret in Tallahassee that Rick Scott threatened anyone in his administration if they simply say the words "climate change".

This Orwellian ban has already punished several state employees. One was ordered to undergo a mental health exam for refusing to not say the forbidden term. Another was suspended. The "words that shall not be spoken" were excised from all official reports--including a report that awkwardly was about climate change impacts.

Employees cannot to use the phrases ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming,’ 'sea level rise,' or ‘sustainability,’ attorney Christopher Byrd, who worked with the department's Office of General Counsel from 2008 to 2013, confirmed to Reuters.

They are given euphemisms to use instead. For example, the term you use for "Sea Level Rise" is "Coastal Resiliency".

The fear amongst the scientists (who Scott literally despises) and officials regarding this is never more apparent than when Bryan Koon was testifying before a Senate committee.

Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, asked him about the federal requirements for planning for climate change.

Koon replied that he was aware of "language to that effect".

Even Senator Jack Latvala, the republican who chaired the committee, joined in on the fun and asked "what were those words"? v Knowing Koon couldn't say the words "climate change", Jeff chimed in suggesting the term "atmospheric redeployment".

Jeff taunted Koon one last time by asking him to say the forbidden term.

Koon responded with "the issue you mentioned earlier".

The exchange can be seen here, starting at the 89:15 mark. Hopefully, someone more tech savvy will make a youtube of just the ending portion. (Dear Lord, don't watch the whole thing, it will bore you to tears. Just jump to the 89:15 mark.)

Even given this outrageous spectacle, Rick Scott still denies he banned any words. I guess everyone in his administration got together on their own and decided they wouldn't say a scientifically accurate term.

Sadly, Miami, according to the National Climate Assessment, is the city most vulnerable to damage from rising sea levels.

I'm sorry, I meant to say "Coastal Resiliency".

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rick Scott Spending Hundreds of Thousands Of Taxpayer Money on Lawyer Fees

This could have all been avoided if more people freaking decided to show up on election day.

Rick Scott's illicit removal of the top law enforcement commissioner with no public vote means a dozen of taxpayer-funded lawyers that are charging up to $400 EACH HOUR. On top of that, if Scott and his Cabinet lose, which is likely, all of the first amendment groups and media outlets suing would be entitled to have their fees and costs recouped.

Scott and Cabinet members have in-house counsel but are allowed under our stupid state to hire expensive outside attorneys while in office for actions "made in the course of duty".

This is hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have gone to save the rape crisis centers that Rick cut. Or money that could have gone to our suffering roads, schools, or heck, even donated to an animal shelter that takes in abandoned dogs---like Rick Scott's puppy.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Tale of Three States: Kansas, California, and Florida

Robert Reich recently pointed out that if you listen to rightwing groups like the Tax Foundation, you would think California is a horrible place for business. These groups rank it in the top 10 worst due to "high cost" and "burdensome environmental regulations". However, these same groups rank Sam Brownback's Kansas as one of the best.

Here's the problem with that:

Kansas is collapsing. In four short years, since the tea party takeover, Kansas has had three credit downgrades along with a billion-dollar budget deficit. They are struggling to fund basic services and their education system is hanging on by a thread, with cutbacks making it almost dead last in teacher quality, pay, student spending and pupil-teacher ratio. It's so bad that REPUBLICAN state Sen. Wint Winter Jr. said Brownback's tax cuts have been a "train wreck".

Yet while the Sunflower state is falling apart, the Eureka State is CRUSHING it.

By any metric you use, California has become the best state in the union for investors. A great Democratic governor (Jerry Brown) and a Democratic-led legislature turned California around in four short years from a 27 billion dollar deficit disaster into a surplus and, according to Bloomberg, an absolute mecca for corporations! California companies in the S&P 500 have delivered returns of 134 percent! (No other state comes close.) These same companies outperformed the S&P 500 by a margin of 23%; and CA tech company sales account for 52% of all the tech sales in America.

So how can California have some of the highest business taxes and regulations in America, and yet be the most successful? The answer is simple. California invested in itself!

By cutting education, infrastructure development, and other vital social services, Kansas squandered the billions of dollars into paying for very wealthy people's tax cuts on the zombie alter of the failed cult known as "trickle-down economics". California, on the other hand, asked that its corporations contribute fairly and used the tax money to invest heavily in infrastructure, higher education, and research and development. Companies flocked to California and scored big. Also, as Reich points out, the environmental regulations not only didn't hurt the economy, they EXPANDED it. Companies were driven to fuel innovation in the fast-growing field of renewable energy. Furthermore, California didn't demonize immigrants, they welcomed them and gave undocumented immigrants driver's licenses.

California is once again leading the way.

Rick Scott, of course, is aggressively trying to follow the disastrous Brownback model. He's very lucky that our state has a lot of natural resources, great climate, and tourist attractions that help sustain us during disaster (like a hurricane or the current tea party legislature). However, he has done his damnest to hurt us.

Scott pledged over $266,000,000.00 in tax breaks and incentives for the promise of 45,258 jobs, a large portion of which went to minimum wage jobs with annual salaries that don't even break the poverty line.

Public transportation is a complete joke in this state, and our roads are infamously clogged (unless you want to pay thousands in the extremely corrupted tolling agencies). Rick Scott cut over a billion in education spending and has led the attack on higher education. Scientists are held in very low regard by our state government. Our health care needs are huge, but thanks to Scott and the GOP refusing all subsidies for Medicaid, a a Florida citizen with kids needs to make UNDER $3200 A YEAR to qualify. Our pollution laws have been gutted, and our state is the most vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Who the hell wants that? The people with skills you need for your company will go where they will be appreciated. Companies want to go somewhere that at least invests in basic infrastructure: a place where corporate employees can access public transportation and send their kids to receive reasonable k-12 education. Companies want access to a highly skilled labor force, not one where the citizens earn bottom-barrel wages (because that's the overwhelming majority of jobs we have available here). They want a state where they can partner with top schools: Florida's universities our not known for their academic standards as much as they are for their football teams.

Also, since we now have legalized homicide with Stand Your Ground, anyone can claim they had a "reasonable fear" and shoot you in the face even if you are unarmed and minding your own business. OF COURSE you don't want to live here. I DON'T want to live here either. And unless you are starting a company that just wants to exploit cheap labor, you aren't going to move here either no matter how low our tax rate is. It is the same reason I don't choose to live in a dilapidated condo on Orange Blossom Trail. It would save me a lot of money and I wouldn't have to deal with homeowner's association rules and fees, but there is something to be said about quality of life.

I am told by my brainwashed conservative friends that California is terrible, but I don't see boarded up storefronts in San Francisco. I see everyone with a living wage and healthcare. I see carefree and happy, which are two words that are never used to describe Kansas--and since 2010, Florida.

We Need to Push for Guns in the FL State House

Last year, Georgia passed the "guns everywhere" bill, which allowed guns pretty much everywhere: schools, bars, airports, and churches.

The one place they banned guns? The goddamned state legislature. Proving that they didn't buy into their own BS.

We are facing a similar situation with our tea party legislature. As a first step, they are currently on track to forcing our safe college campuses to allow firearms. Like GA, the FL GOP-controlled legislature doesn't want any firearms allowed in their state house.

Screw that. If this passes, we need to go for a Constitutional Amendment that says firearms should be permitted in the State House with no restrictions. Dems will vote for it, and the gun nuts that infect the GOP will go for it. I would LOVE for the GOPers who oppose this to fight against it. What are they going to say? It's unsafe? It's stupid? Please, continue....

Who's with me?

Friday, March 13, 2015

FL House Panel Approves Guns on College Campuses

"It would allow for a tremendous peace of mind for parents to know that there is somebody at the school site who is trained and can actually be there to respond if, God forbid, one of these events happened," said Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami.

In the gun nut mind, a "bad guy" with a gun starts his killing spree somewhere on campus. Say, the library. All of the "good guys" with guns whip out their semi-automatics and fire back at him, Matrix-style. Perhaps delivering the kill shot with a witty line, "Time to check out". BLAM!

Reality: Gun violence is extremely rare on college campuses, due in no small part to colleges being gunfree zones. The last college homicide in Florida was 11 years ago. Sadly, outside of college campuses, gun violence has increased in cities all across Florida. The homicide rate skyrocketed since the passage of Stand Your Ground.

Reality: Several "good guys" with guns firing at a "bad guy" would likely be shot by police, who would have no way of knowing which one is the assailant.

Reality: In an environment where immature youths are not exactly known for making the best decisions with drugs and alcohol, perhaps it's not the best idea to add firearms into the mix.

Even John Thrasher, Koch-appointed FSU president and right-wing extremist, says this is a bad idea. He changed his tune when one of his friend's daughters was shot accidentally at a fraternity party.

Personal tragedy should not have to befall every lawmaker to stop recklessly supporting bills that only serve to spawn more violence.

Unfortunately, if this bill becomes law, the chance of that happening becomes more and more likely.