Friday, April 29, 2011

What are your 91 Extra Employees Doing, Rick?

Finger Shadows!
Everyone loves a tale of blatant hypocrisy. So the common man would have to enjoy the fact that the governor, who allegedly wants to reduce the size of government and “create more private sector jobs, not government jobs”, added 91 employees to his own staff in the proposed budget, bringing the number of employees working for his office up to more than 420 people at total projected cost of more than $638 million for running his office.
That’s adding over $340 million to his own budget compared to his “wasteful” predecessor Charlie Crist! An increase in his office budget of 116 percent! The largest percent increase in any part of the state’s “smaller government, more private sector jobs budget” came in the form of additions to his offices!
Here’s where you learn all about Rick Scott

. It’s not just say one thing, do something else for yourself. It’s do all of that in plain sight, and when someone says something about it, ignore them, change the subject, mumble some mush-mouthy reply, or say nothing, and run out of the room. Here he was giving us the informational finger during his budget unveiling, and he apparently thought no one would take him up on it and actually read it.
Well he was nearly right. Major media ignored this. No one mentions this now. It’s forgotten. No one has asked precisely what it is that these 91 new employees are doing, and what their qualifications are? Mostly because the media is brain dead when it comes to math. And spread sheets are complicated, after all.
But do you know who else didn’t challenge him on these absurd cuts when stacked against the outlandish increase to his own budget? The same people screaming “hell yeah” in his little rally, there, every time he talked about shit-canning someone working for “big government.”
Apparently a tri-cornered hat renders a thinking person incapable of reading a spread sheet, too. Because if the new governor had been a black liberal and he tried to pull this crap? You can bet there’d be hell to pay.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Education Must Die

What you see is a graphic representation of today's political battle between the GOP on the far right, and the democrats, on the far left. It is also why education is being murdered.

Before we go any further, for the sake of this political argument, there are really four Americas, right now, not two. Four. The haves and the have nots, intersected by the democrats, and the republicans.

There are democrats who have, represented in quadrant D., and there are democrats who have not, in quadrant C. So too, there are republicans who have, in quadrant A and those republicans who have not in quadrant B.

The top side of the political parties are supported by those in the lower half. C does the grunt work for D. It buys their movies, watches MSNBC, it buys their records, votes them into office, pays their union dues, organizes their voter registrations. D cannot hold sway, nor be enriched, nor enter office without C.

So too, A cannot exist without B to vote them into power, attend their rallies and wave signs , pay their medical bills to their doctors, drive their cars, buy their cars, buy their gas, run their factories, use their banks, watch their programs on FOX. The difference in A's case is also, many in A are also enriched by C. But not as many in D are enriched by B which supports nearly to exclusion of D, only A.

Those in C also are getting smart enough to see that unless some things change, the power/dollar will persist in quadrant A. A has the power to bribe D, more than the reverse. A has the resources in the current paradigm, oil, the big one. If C gets its way, this would change with new energy. Removing Fossil fuels from the equation would take a big chunk of that power/dollar away from A.

Energy as in physics is the name of the game.

A couple things that jump out at me right away, indicating the truth of this simple graph. One, the center of the graph represents political inertness, no choice, no participation. It is also, unfortunately where many of us are drawn to.

We lack the time energy and altruism of the lower left hand corner of C. We lack the funding of the upper right hand corner of either A or D. In D's case, if we hit the lotto, or publish a book, or a record, or win American Idol, we might end up there, but that takes effort, and a whole lot of luck.

And most of us lack the time and the energy and the anger required to live in the bottom right hand corner of B. There seems to be an anger/disillusionment gradient, call it an age gradient, running from C to B. As you age, your altruism fades and is replaced by anger unless you do something about it, move up! If you don't you slide along the bottom of the page, your altruism gets its head bashed in, you hate everything and you end up angry as hell in the tea party, blaming everyone on the left side of the page.

That anger, replaced by faith, belief, moral certitude might propel you up, with the help of education to cross the mid dollar barrier into the power quadrant of the left side in D.

But the higher you get in D, the more your altruism becomes an abstract or an academic pursuit. Your animal needs are met, and you look down a bit on those cute young people in C who are - "little engine that could"-ing along - working their way up into your neighborhood.

Consequently you find yourself surprised with actual groundswell protests in Michigan and Wisconsin that actually worked! You realize that unless you keep your ear to the ground your position will slip back down into C and you will be replaced.

Unless too, you are like President Obama. You've moved to the right of D, and your dollars are up, so much so you are very nearly seduced over the line, into quadrant A.

Now the extreme right side of the page could also be thought to represent the gradient of energy. You can stay and die in lower B, or get greedy and start climbing up toward the upper right of A.

It should be noted that D doesn't resent so much the movement of C people up into D. But, for some reason, those in A don't want anyone else moving into their quadrant, and in fact would easily and without a backward glance kick several people, classes out. They sure as hell, don't view bottom right of B as anything but an expendable resource. They will pretend, but they don't view them as equals. Sadly, those in lower right B adore, worship and would do anything, anything for upper right A. Anything. Include drop a nuke on everyone in C and D.

Other interesting factors. You will note there is a problem currently in that many who are on the middle right side, fire, police, military people, are educated enough that they see the right side, upper quadrant of A is actually leaving them behind, betraying them in terms of disregarding their basic needs. As they slip below the mid line, they become seduced and more aligned with the left side of the page.

The center of the page is somewhat of a vortex. The flip side of that is those in the upper right hand corner of C feel ill served by the silly pretentiousness of D, especially when their leaders, such as Barrack Obama, are so easily pulled, bribed, seduced by A.So they rotate towatd B or lower left hand A if they can find a slot there.

The problem from the perspective of A is one of attrition. People in the upper left side of D tend to live a long time. Witness Jack Nicholson despite the smoking, drinking etc. People in the lower left hand corner are young, their life expectancy is long.

It's this troublesome problem with the lower right hand corner of B. Those people die. And from the perspective of A that's okay, as they should since A upper right hand corner wants more of the $/power for itself, and then the lower right of B serves its purpose and is spun out, who needs them. Remember A is accustomed to viewing things from a balance sheet. There's nothing personal in it. Just business.

Well now, who is A going to get to replace these dwindling ranks of B, lower right? I wonder who that might be.

Where are the teachers in this diagram? Well, right now, they are down in left hand corner of the left hand side, for who is more altruistic than a teacher, or more creative, or has more imagination? You almost can't see them. Well, heck, you can't make them out anymore we've almost erased them.

This group is so altruistic in fact they would sacrifice anything, anything for their students. They would do anything, including sending one of their students all the way up to the right hand side of the page to the very top of A if they thought it would help THE WHOLE PAGE having brought a little bit of what makes side C lower left hand corner, great: those things being imagination, love, faith, creativity, and hope.

But, alas, as it is, the powers in A want none of that. They only want support from below to fill in the gaps from the dying soldiers from B lower right. Soldiers. That's all they want. Angry, bitter soldiers who are willing to worship them, for nothing, just vote them in, pay for their gas, fund their rockets and bombs, fight their wars and prop them up. That's all they want.

It's these teachers who keep buoying people up into the other quadrants namely upper C and D! That has to stop from their perspective. Not good. They can't sweep the board, they can't eliminate the threat of new energy, if that keeps happening. And they can't replenish the necessary ranks of B lower right with teachers gumming up the works. No teacher worth a damn is telling their kids to aspire to become a bitter angry, old, unsuccessful tea party member who is nothing more than a pawn to the system of slavery. The teachers say "oh hell no, anything but that!"

Public school teachers are the worst because, you can't harangue the principal to fire them since taxes pay tuition not your bribes and donations.

If the Kochs and others in A, (Boehner, Ryan, McConnell, Murdoch, Ailes, etc.) can get rid of the teachers, hope becomes fear in lower left of C, altruism becomes self interest, love becomes anger, anger anger, at being maneuvered into, then trapped into lower B.

The ranks of B swell. The mid-line keeps rising out of everyone's reach, until there is no more C, no more D. Only a small sliver of A with the powerful elite in it, on top of a whole lot of B going nowhere, but to an early grave.

This is why, from the viewpoint of upper, A right hand corner, education must die.

Fuck The Doomed

There’s this guy. Call him Jim. He has a condition. Take your pick: high blood pressure, diabetes, manic depression. All three can be managed by regular daily doses of prescription medication.
The guy functions normally with these pills, holds down a job, pays his bills, loves his family, sends his kids off to school with a little kiss every morning.
Now what? The economy comes along and takes a dump. He loses his job, loses his insurance, and now what? He can’t afford the medication.
Now what? He’s eventually going to have an event and end up in the emergency room.
It’s costing a ton of money and nobody’s paying it! He can’t get reinsured because he has a pre-existing condition. It’s a long involved process before he qualifies for Medicaid, if the bureaucratic thuggery of getting it is something he actually decides to endure.
What about that program called Medically Needy for someone like Jim?
Wrong answer. That program, that had been managing costs for 177,000 Floridians, went out the window in the heyday of “let’s kill it all” in 2011.
So who’s paying for this guy? We all are and costs are going up, exponentially eventually, as we all get fired if the economy doesn’t turn around.
The exercise isn’t an academic one. This isn’t something you look at on a spread sheet and go ‘wow, that’s interesting.’ This tragedy is being played out across the state, and the country as you read these words. Just ask a nurse.
As of April of 2011, the GOP plan in Florida, for this scenario was essentially “fuck the doomed.” (FTD).
Do you know what? FTD is actually a more expensive plan, definitely over the short run, than not-FTD.
People pointed this out repeatedly in protests all across the state, and do you know what the GOP governor and the GOP legislature said? Fuck them anyway! (FTA).
Both the house and the senate were looking at different ways to say it, as of April 26, 2011.
The idea behind fighting reform to healthcare, which is what Rick Scott is all about, is this: that guy named Jim is going die sooner. And then perhaps, if we are just as heartless as our governor (pretend here)we hope maybe the costs will start going down as more and more people die, in this inhumane fashion.
Fuck the doomed.
Pretend this is moral, in some perverse version of Wal-Mart Jesus, and pretend it will work this way. Pretend we allow a whole lot of people to flop around like fish on a dock for a while, and step over the bodies, and glut our emergency rooms, while this cruel die-off occurs. So that we can all move on with our lives.
Now let’s move down the layer cake to the less fortunate; the Medicaid recipient. Yes, if you are on kidney dialysis and your funding gets cut, you will die, very soon. And the two birds and one stone? Well, you’re going to die before you’re eligible for Medicare!
This would be the appropriate moment for the tea party reader to cheer. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
There. Feel better?
Now, what about the mentally ill? What about the version of Jim that has manic depression or a touch of schizophrenia?
Oh, by the way? How about those immediate rising health care costs to the hospitals with all these sick and dying people, coming in for their last flop at the emergency room? Who’s paying for that?
No? No answer? Hmmmm. Well, one again, we all are.
Oh, are we just standing around watching as people are lying down in the streets to die? How’s that for quality of life for all of us? Even if we don’t care about the human suffering of others, because Wal-Mart Jesus says it’s okay to turn away, what about us? Is there a downside? Oh, I don’t know, disease?
Food for thought.
Now back to the mentally ill. The ailment is in the brain which is starved for healing medication, and the brain begins to propel the otherwise healthy body into bizarre behaviors; sometimes these are criminal, sometimes violent.
Suddenly there are all these people walking around, doing inappropriate things. And they are everywhere.
Does it amaze you sometimes the physical strength of the mentally ill, the capacity to endure the elements, wind, rain, sun? Hell these folks can take just about anything that nature has to dish out. (Takes one to know one, as they say.)
So what do we do with them? They don’t need dialysis, they need cigarettes, beer, three hots and a cot. And failing the former two, they’ll do just about anything to find the latter.
Here’s a quote from the Orlando Sentinel

The Senate's budget proposal also makes deep cuts in mental health services that could set Florida's care back several decades, say advocates for the mentally ill.

Since we started the de-institutionalization efforts in the '50s and '60s, we have never seen anything like this," said Bob Sharpe, head of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health.

The Senate budget eliminates adult mental health and substance-abuse funding except that for crisis stabilization units, other crisis-related services and detox services.

Communities throughout Florida would lose funding for medication, psychiatric care, outpatient treatment, residential treatment, case management, prevention services, day treatment, housing and employment assistance.

In the same article this source estimated 140,000 mentally ill Floridians would lose their care and 5,000 staffers who help them would lose their jobs.
So what do we do with the sufferers, or as they are viewed in RILAB terms, “defective employees”? In this case the answer is very simple: we incarcerate them. You want to have a society, and not anarchy and chaos, you can do one of two things with the mentally ill, you can care for them, or you can jail them.
But you can’t not pay for them in one way or another, if you want to have order. You can’t cut their medications off, close their hospitals and not pay for their treatment while they’re in jail.
What, you want the jails to become defacto lunatic asylums?
They’re ill, remember? They can’t help it. They can’t just “stop doing that”. They may look normal, THEY’RE NOT! Oh, and by the way, Wal-Mart Jesus isn’t going to come in on a shaft of light and fix them. In 150 years of treating mental illness, the medical profession has yet to find one case of a floating Jesus saving the deranged in this fashion. Highly cost ineffective to lock someone up and just pray for them. Really doesn’t work.
If you don’t want chaos inside the jail: if you really don’t want to go fully Medieval on anyone who ever sets foot inside a jail for whatever infraction, accused or otherwise, you will have to have special wings for the mentally ill, and you will have to medicate them.
So part of the jail becomes an asylum?
And what’s great about this is, it’s more expensive to do it this way, not less, when it comes to the mentally ill.
Every $1 not spent on the mentally ill outside the prison becomes a fortune spent on them, inside the prison.
Here again from the same Orlando Sentinel article:

The Florida Council for Community Mental Health notes that the average cost of treating a mentally ill person on an outpatient basis is $1,551, while the cost of housing a mentally ill person in a state mental hospital is $112,000 a year.

And if you are a governor, or a legislator salivating at the prospect of cutting some deals, and getting some hand grease on the back end of a game called “privatize corrections” that just might suit you fine and dandy.
Now do you see where this is going?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pandemic of Stupidity

It's amazing. As a Floridian I get to learn of these absurdities from the New York Times rather than my local papers. The idea of turning our turnpike into corporate property - isn't it bad enough it was renamed after Ronald Reagan? - is such conservative porn. Of course we learned early on Governor Pink Slip wanted his clammy fingers all over the state lottery by virtue of the fact he and his minions wanted to dismantle Florida's Bright Futures Scholars program. Bright Futures was the reason the lotto was created in the first place. The program grants scholarships to students who earn excellent grades in Florida's schools. It one of the the reasons our universities are gaining national prominence. They have earned the reputation for responsible science (during the BP fiasco), and excellence in engineering and medicine, because the students entering are high-achieving and highly motivated; not the trust-fund, alcoholic party animals of yesterday.
The old corporate guard, conditioned to killing two or three birds with one stone, can't have that. They wish to break up our education system AND sell off the lotto.
To them government isn't a service to those who pay for it, but a honey pot for the criminal element to plunder after they rig the elections. Never before has that been so clearly evident than with the mysterious and suspect election of Rick Scott and his willing cadre of lackies and remorae.
A gnat farts louder than the shouts of our local media against some of these absolute pornifications of conservatism. We have seen everything imaginable from attempts to put golf resorts in state parks, to chucking he disabled to the tender mercies of the streets under executive order. The latter decision was made, ala Michael Corleone at a baptism, while the governor was attending a torch carry for Special Olympics.
King Ricky and his merry band of illigitimus are going to learn, you can only push an educated mass of people so far, and they will retaliate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Please don't take away my school lunch!
You've got to contact your state senators and representatives and demand that THEY DON'T CUT THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM!

School lunches for children? Really?

Rick Scott, Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos continue not to speak about this rumored proposal.

The idea would be to save millions, return that money to the state to fund the corporate tax breaks and incentives Rick Scott is demanding before he will sign the budget.

Remember, everything is still on the table. Scott has just held hostage the funding for the disabled. Are they looking at school lunches? You betcha.

The state could lay off some 10,000 cafeteria workers statewide in all school systems. Where would those savings go? Back to the state.

To do what? For corporate tax breaks and incentives.

Tea Party supporters are all for the move to do away with all school lunches, to every student from K-12, statewide.

A source who preferred not to be named said " why should I pay for your kid's lunch? I'm retired. I sent my kids to private school. I spent all my life working for GE. Why do I have to pay for your dirty little rat, to eat? Read some Ayn Rand, for Christ sakes! What are you, a damned communist?"

Tea Party supporters are also asking for mandatory drug testing for any child taking school lunch until a measure to do away with all public lunches can be voted on.

"We don't want to test everyone, just anyone taking what we consider public welfare," said state representative Bigglesworth.

"If you don't want to take a drug test, bag your lunch! It's just that simple."

State Senators are calling the program "Student Obesity Reform Act". " As yet there are no numbers for the state bill tracker.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Vouchers Are Junk Mail. Toss SB 1550 to Save Education

restrictions apply, see dealer for details.

 Concerning SB 1550, senate bill 1550 vouchers for the masses.
Likely you’re going to find a piece of trash in your mailbox today. It’s a coupon for $2000 off a brand new car. You know damned well it’s not worth the glossy paper it’s printed on.
That’s a voucher. The dealership just handed you a choice. You can come in, walk the lot, and choose the color.
Go ahead. Play the movie. Next you’re sitting down with some guy who smokes too much, wears too much of the wrong cologne. His comb over is a sad little affair that barely covers the plugs. He gives you an inflated price for the car. He offers financing that puts you on the debt Hamster wheel whereby in one year, you're upside down on that car for the next four .
Another example. You sit on the airplane. You’ve paid $700 to fly across the country. The guy in the next seat might have paid $500, or might have paid $180 on Expedia. Now, are you going to ask him if he’s paying less than you? Of course not, and the airline depends on that.
SB 1550 “School Vouchers for Everyone” as it is being called – and they might as well go ahead and tag a “Yay!” on the end it – is designed to give you that worthless coupon to pay for your child’s education………….”yay!”
Nightmare? Oh yes. This is the way they destroy public education. On the one hand they make public education insufferable through standardized testing. Notice every year the testing hysteria gets more ridiculous.
This year my middle child takes her math test on a computer. And there aren’t enough computers. So, we know what that means. Right. They compare notes. Oh well. Ooops.
The hysteria has become the central focus of the academic year. It crescendos until this week. My youngest child just took his bicycle out for a ride last night. He didn’t get back until 9 p.m. We didn’t say anything to him. He’s been mopey, depressed. We think it’s FCAT sickness.
A corporate education.
Hard core conservatives are fans of “Who Moved My Cheese” the runaway best seller. Bosses across America found it as a snide yet sickeningly polite, cocktail-party way, to tell their employees to go screw themselves if they didn’t like the way things were going.
You really should give it a read. As a former teacher at a private school, we were forced to not only read it, but read it to our students aloud, lest, they too did not like the way things were going.
In it, the rats grow accustomed to finding the cheese at a particular spot in the maze. Then those who designed the maze and keep the rats in it, (gasp) move the cheese! The rats who don’t scurry fast enough and try to find the cheese, die. Get it? “If you don’t like it, tough, move on! You rat!”
And this is what they are doing to your kids, your family, and you. It’s getting increasingly insupportable sending your children to public school these days. Are you surprised? You been watching it, and dealing with it. Haven’t you noticed them moving the cheese? First standardize test the hell out of those rats. Then they pit the teachers against the parents. Next they pit the principals against the teachers. Now, pit the teachers against the school board. And when the school board doesn’t mouth a word of protest and they have served their purpose? Defund the school board and remove all their power. (SB 7234 and SB 90, respectively)
Through it all, the tension is getting to the teachers, who are taking it out on the kids. I know of one example of a 30 teacher without the first blemish on his record. He snapped on a student and was suspended in late March. You try working somewhere for 30 years without the first misstep. I’d trust this guy with my children. In fact, I have. This guy has chaperoned my child on a cross-country flight and back for a school function. He was set to do so again when this happened. This is the sort of guy who has been changing students’ lives, for 30 years, in my county’s toughest school.
Now where were we? Oh yeah. The cheese.  The car dealership, etc. The rats.
During the committee vote yesterday the biggest concern voiced was all about the money, (AATM).
Say this SB 1550 becomes law. You “get” $3000 per rat, per year, to send your rat to the maze of your “choice”. Which is also a convenient way of putting God back where he doesn’t belong, in place of Mr. Darwin.
Core conservatives might know all about Darwin. They understand if you boot a guy with Down syndrome onto the road after you’ve defunded his state run program, nature will deal with him. They just don’t want you, or your children, to understand Mr. Darwin. See? Darwin was a secret that got “out of the bag” back in the….whenever’s. And now they want to put him back, and frankly, replace him with Walmart Jesus.
"Kids! Meet your new science teacher!"
Now, these private corps which run the various farms, or ignorance mazes, what are they going to do? They are going to inflate their prices so they can gank you for more, actual money, on top of your little voucher ticket, there.
Will you actually see the money?
Get real.
No. Remember? It’s a “voucher! A choice!................yay!” Better stated it is air, a promise, from people who don’t particularly care about you, or your….rat.
Children. That’s how they think of their children. Yours are “rats” remember?  Let’s speak to that.
They don’t want their children learning with your rats, any more than they want to share first class with you on the plane, nor even admit to you they paid half price for their air fare. I mean, good luck taking a survey on the airplane to get a picture of true price.
Bless Mother of Strictness
So too. If you want your child to attend Sacred Heart of the Passive Aggressive down the street and you walk over there with your little “voucher” (did you hear them sniff it at? I did? Now imagine how they treat your kid, er, your rat) what’s to stop the kindly Sister Mary administrator from upping the price to you, while keeping it on the down-low with those who have been (and this is how they will couch it) who have been “paying full price” all along?
The beauty of this “system” from the hard core conservative angle is divide and conquer. Chaos , confusion, shuffle, inequity, conflict.
"Keepin' your f&ckin' rats in the basement!"
They don’t want people to be educated. They don’t want your rat. Don’t you get it?
The problem is, unions don’t particularly care about this bill. Notice the unions haven’t been making too much noise about it, since it doesn’t have anything to do with teacher pay, pensions etc. No. This is one that you the parent, or the grandparent are going to have to come out and fight on. You.
This is the big one for those who want to see public education remain in Florida.  This isn’t a union busting bill this is a human busting bill, a child busting bill a future busting bill.
We need ideas for protests for this bill. And we need them now. All are welcome.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Play the Rick Scott Word Game!

HEY GANG! Let's all play the Rick Scott Tea Party Word Game! Yay!

"Let's get to work!" = "I mean, YOU get to work, while me and my buddies exploit you like cheap Chinese labor."

“Vouchers” = “a shell game in which I am taking something away from you (public schools, medicare etc.), and giving you a worthless coupon in its place.”

“Choices”= “vouchers.”

“It would be a huge mistake to raise taxes” = ”I am now threatening you. I am holding something else hostage here (funding for care for the elderly or disabled) and I will kill this, if you move to tax me, anything.”

“We are creating opportunities” = “….for ourselves and our chamber buddies. Everyone else can suck it.”

“Anything we can do to promote the environment and preserve it.” = “C’mon, the business environment. Screw nature. Get real.”

“We love our military families”= “And we’re not afraid to exploit them for political profit.”

“Run it like a business!” = “For ourselves and our chamber buddies. Everyone else can go suck it.”

“This is a great opportunity!” = “For me.”

“I have no interest in that business so this isn’t a conflict of interest.” = “Gee I hope you’re stupid enough to believe that, and I have moved fast enough to dodge an ethics complaint not to mention a federal investigation, if there is one.”

"I am fulfilling my campaign promises" = "especially the one I made to myself to get even more wealthy at your expense. Yay!"

"Student success"= "when the unions are all dead and the kids are rendered numb, illiterate, and ignorant from all the bubble sheets. In fact, it will only be really successful when all they know how to do is fill in the oval....for our candidate."

"Opportunities" = "I am about to screw someone over and I am very nearly gratified from even thinking about it!"

"Fairness" = "When everyone who isn't us, just shuts the f.. up and takes it, no matter how bad it sucks. Ya! Go us!"

"I'm the governor for all Floridians" = "if they are intolerant, live in gated communities; play golf yet have a chemical aversion to strong sunshine, nature and manual labor;  vote republican, claim to love Jesus ( though they know him not), and (this is the most important part) hate Obama with a visceral passion!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rick Scott's Project Mayhem

Rick Scott visited with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities yesterday. I see on 8B of Florida Today an article wherein Scott says, essentially, ‘I’ll reverse cuts on this agency if the legislature can come up with a $174 million patch to plug the budget hole.’ The photo shows Scott at the lectern in front of a man in a wheel chair, Bryan Vaughn, director of the agency.

I am reminded of two things. The first was an old National Lampoon Magazine cover “If You Don't Buy this Magazine We Will Kill this Dog”.
The second thing I am reminded of is a scene from the movie Fight Club; where Brad Pitt careens a car wildly to and fro, while Edward Norton begs him to put his hands back on the wheel. Do you remember the scene?

"Just Let Go" from Rock Sexton on Vimeo.
Rick Scott’s “Project Mayhem” also demands that we not ask questions as he careens the ship of state wildly back and forth.
From his perspective, holding the dog hostage – the dog being the disabled – enables him to force the legislature into making more cuts.
And if he gets his way, the majority of those will likely come from education.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Poor Poor Mike Thomas: the latest media mop-man for Koch

The Orlando Sentinel is to be much pitied for the difficult position it occupies these days as one of the last remaining newspapers in the state with any balls whatsoever.

Columnist Scott Maxwell was good enough to find out a few things about the governor: That he was behind a push to get golf resorts placed in our state parks, and that he also had Harry and Hermione in a cave beneath the capitol building.

I made that last part up. Sometimes, especially these days, we need reminders on what is true and what is horror fiction. The lines having become so blurred by the surreality of it all.

In any event, OS of course gets slammed by the regular crowd of chandelier-danglers employed by Rick Scott and the Koch stasi. You've seen their posts, as they toss bottles and fling poo at the news organization for summoning the temerity.

The end-run of course, is to be expected. Mike Thomas was their water boy this morning, and we'll get to him.

Last week the Koch stasi were more than happy to use Miami Herald's columnist Jackie Bueno Sosa for their propaganda. She's a Cuban American who wrote that the Bright Futures Scholarship program has become sort of an entitlement.

(Pssst!She means a program for undeserving losers who are spawn of lozers, whiners and so on when they say that phrase, "entitlement program,") And so, says she, it needs to be "tweaked" by which she means, "phased out slowly."

And you have to admire the way she managed to race-card her argument, to get all of us at each other. What better way to destroy a program than begin the racial litmus test, and then refine that bad boy over and over until they're holding up skin-tone swatch cards to each candidate, until someone rules the whole thing discriminatory.

What does her being a Cuban American have to do with it? Well, my dear, she was born in Veradero, Cuba. She is the recipient of an entitlement program called "political refugee" status by virtue of her birth. The bitter irony of course, is lost on those who demagogue.

Right? Because all the sudden "bright futures" was the problem. Yeah! That must be it! It was soooo right in front of our face, the whole time! Leave off that the program is funded by the damned Florida Lottery and changing it will not impact the deficit one bit. And they'll be after the lottery next. You'll soon hear them decry the "inefficiency of it." By now you know the drill.

Never mind. Armed with a chicken head, and an agenda, likely prodded by uber righters in the South Florida political sphere, Marco Rubio included, she did her bit for Koch.

Enter poor, poor, haggard Mike Thomas. (Jayzus, Mike. Get a better pic going there, will ya? Do you want people to view you as the Danny Treanor of newsprint?)

In his column Mike strains to seem the voice of reason in the mix, more than what he obviously has become; the coat-hanging conduit of the Koch message. That being: that Florida schools are bad, and that reform has a long way to go, and that it might not be a bad deal to privatize everything since recess was invented 120 years ago.

Or something of this nature.

Recess is horror fiction. He actually meant summer vacation. It was invented so that kids could help the harvest. So it must die, we suppose. Or is he saying that "summer vacation," like legislation preventing oral sex, is a throwback to an age of ignorance and so, for this reason, we must scorch earth the entire system, as Rick Scott would have it.

Mike ignores the fact that destroying the level playing field,free of economic predestination, you know, the one Florida has created and is now raising our university system and a k-12 system to national prominence? is what the Koch/plutocrat agenda is all about. "Kill that baby, fast! Before the slaves free themselves!"

Mike plays the good "deutsche volk" pre-1936 in ignoring facts, trends, and obvious fanged hatred for an entire class of people; that being, everyone earning less than $1 million a year.

He ignores the fact that "give parents more options" and the voucher system is a goddamn shell game designed to lift public education out of the hands of those who "don't deserve it" They being the unwashed masses of Americans who work for a living rather than exploit for a living. And there is a difference, no matter what today's version of the republican party tries to tell you.

Poor, poor Mike. Whatever are we to do with him?

And the very end of the article, Mike adds a simpering caveat and nod to those masses of course; lest he be accused of not covering all bases. Quoting him here.

No, I do not trust their parents to choose wisely. We just saw a prime example at the troubled Imani Elementary Charter Academy in Pine Hills. Kids are being drawn from higher-performing public schools into lower-performing alternatives.

Florida has become a national leader in school reform, with many states copying what we've done. Let's not blow it now.

This is not a new tactic of course. It is rife in the corporate media: say a thing ever so softly and limply so than no one really hears you. Strain to pretend you are maintaining "balance" in your coverage.

Even opinion is monitored for "balance" these days. Do you love it?

The fact is, those who have taken over our governor's mansion, and our legislature, are not kind hearted people who are on a mission to "save the children". They are mean spirited enemies of public education.

How else to explain the move to eliminate the pre-paid college plan by Sen. Evyln Lynn R-Ormond Beach? By the way, Lynn, who oddly opined the program was insolvent since the stock market is going haywire, (it isn't and it doesn't: just plain wrong and likely disingenuous garbage she just flat made up) is also the chair of the higher education funding subcommittee.

And how do you explain a Senate Bill (SB 7234) to eliminate school board pay, put forward by Sen. Stephen Wise R-Jacksonville, who also chairs the senate education subcommittee?

They appoint themselves to committees, chair those committees and then begin dismantling those things the committee funds or oversees. That's an agenda at work, right in front of our eyes, Mike. The list of such coordinated blasphemies to education runs a mile long in this senate.

Mike Thomas's column, sadly, as he has become a shade of his former self, is only the latest in the trend that contorts, strains and stretches to call dead-from-the-neck-up journalism "balance in coverage" and objectivity.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sun Tzu Coup d'tat on you

We've come to the conclusion that what our political leaders are perpetuating is nothing short of a traitor's take-over, a coup d'tat on the United States of America.

As individuals, legislators and governors may not realize precisely the part each of them play in this take over. Greed has done the work in rubbing out their collective conscience and sense of civic duty. Though they can summon the concepts, when pressed to do so at cocktail parties.

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese warlord, is familiar to many of the pro-capital operators in D.C. and Tallahassee. Every wanna-be warrior - from Wall Street financier to your warrior politician - likely has a copy of Sun's sayings in a little tome entitled The Art of War.

Though brutal and heartless in battle, Sun was an avid practitioner of the bloodless coup; the surrender without violence. In his book, the perfect warrior was one who, through fear, intimidation, overwhelming show of force, or through intrigue and deception, orchestrated the collapse of his enemy without the first sword drawn.

Theres no argument anymore that this is precisely what is happening here in the United States. It is the latter variety of bloodless coup, of course; where the enemy uses our own weaknesses against us. The flaw in our system is greed which motivates ourselves and our politicians.

Gordon Gekko had it that "greed works, greed is good." And in the Reagan eighties we all believed it.

The Rick Scotts of politics are motivated by deals. We take his latest statement "the state will not do business with Solantic" Scott's personal shareholdings within which, have been transfered to his wife. Because, that makes it all better. Somehow, his wife holding the title to these, eliminates his conflict of interest in statewide drug testing contracts for all state workers, that he strangely, and with Machiavellian coincidence, began pushing for a scant three weeks into office.

Of course, we are not children. We know that if he privatizes prisons, turning them into corporate properties - imagine the back-room deals for that transition, alone - the state isn't involved. The corporation - in the new Corporation=Godhead mantra - is able to do as it pleases, and so reward the governor's wife by choosing Solantic for all its testing needs.

You're okay with this because you're too tired to give a shit anymore. You're too worn down.

Now what? Eliminate school boards. Eliminate county commissions. (SB 90) Why? Because we are in a financial emergency, aren't we?

Here's another, similar leap of logic. I am going to kill your mother, and your baby brother.

"Heavens! Why?" you say.

Well to prevent them from a more painful death by tsunami, of course, or all that radiation. There have been tsunamis recently and we're expecting more radiation. Don't you watch television? What's wrong with you?

Still, you are too tired to do anything but mumble protest and go back to watching Dancing with the Stars, and Jersey Shore, for a time, anyway. Just like the credit bubble allowed us to tap into our home equity to purchase drinks and vacations. For a time, until the bubble popped, and we discovered we had been whipsawed like a scatterbrained day-trader.

All part of the coup.

Rick Scott and his tea fellows - those senators and representatives who repeatedly lift skirt for Koch - think they are merely tapping into the system for their own gain. But their greed is being used against them. They are destroying your country for profit. But the strings are being pulled from ever further behind the scenes.

The Kochs? Most certainly. But even they are pawn-traitors.

Who is behind the bloodless coup? Who is pulling the strings, ultimately.

My mind keeps going back to Sun Tzu.

You have 2 billion Chinese who need more room and resources in order to survive. You have the fact the Chinese government owns the note on all this debt, just as they continue to fund our wars which just as illogically continue to bleed us dry.

You do the math.