Sunday, July 31, 2011

Demanding Civil Rights from the Florida Redistricting Commission

Sen. Don Gaetz Chairman of the Florida 2011 redistricting hearing committee
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos
Sen.Thad Altman
Rep. Rich Workman
Rep. Steve Crisifuli
Rep.  John Tobia

Dear Senator Gaetz, et al:
·         I ask you to show cause for why I wasn’t permitted  my prescribed three minutes time to finish my comments during the redistricting hearings at our Brevard County Commission Chambers, July 28, 2011.
·         I also ask that you explain the overwhelming show of law enforcement (AKA ‘force’) in order to suppress my civil rights under Amendment I of the U.S. Constitution.
·         I also ask that I be permitted to address you again, start to finish, for the three minute period, uninterrupted, provided I stay to topic and refine my message.

These terms seem more than reasonable given how you treated me.
My treatment at your heavy hands seems to mark a relative low-point in state partisan politics. Not a major low point, just a minor one; a cruddy little one that didn’t need to happen. Three officers and another unknown man in a suit to escort one citizen away from a microphone?
(My portion begins at 25:25)
Suffice it to say this hints to similar treatment of other citizens in the future which is why I take the time here. Better to nip this in the bud now.
With budget cuts, the removal of one road patrol officer affects an entire force. Everyone shifts to cover. This is a fact I am aware of in my former capacity of a news reporter. It is a fact you are aware of in your capacity as a public official, or should be.
By the way, were you all aware that serious accidents were recorded on Northbound I-95 in Jacksonville while two members of the highway patrol were tasked to baby sit this meeting from the terrible likes of me? Do the families of those injured by speeding motorists know where two members of the highway patrol were that morning?
The founding fathers were forced to shout louder with every assault on their liberties.  We were taught this in public school.  Many of us feel certain history will be among the first subjects to go the way of the dinosaur in the new corporate/voucher model some of you voted on with very little thought as to consequence. And we know the reason for that can be found in teachable moments just like this one.
As a former newspaper reporter I can tell you I have never witnessed such an event in all my time covering Brevard and Indian River County Commission meetings and hundreds of city council meetings. Never once have I seen a non-violent, non-cursing, flabby obviously harmless citizen removed to the back of the room so quickly and expeditiously for the impertinence of satire or meandering off-topic, as you say, Senator Gaetz.
”Junta, Pol Pot, joke,” When did these words become so dangerous to the legislative process? Since when is a three-minute time limit – and I wasn’t even there yet – the basis of a near-arrest? Pol Pot, after your treatment of me, IS relevant. I am amazed at how MUCH relevance he has! That a mere metaphor could illicit this sort of response (one Pol might have appreciated) is astounding.
The public expression of no-confidence in this or any process is feedback that is vital to the historic record. Let us agree it is not yours to decide by which editorial standards they may be deleted from the record, provided the expressions are not obscene or threatening. Let the market decide if you’ve earned the comments. Let history judge them.
The urge to purge our rancor at elected bodies, particularly those remaining ever-unavailable, who also seem bent on the destructive fascist course, does not diminish simply because the similar terms were said on previous days.
Disgust, and distrust are valid well-earned sentiments. Like love, these can come back to you when the collective cynicism of your elected body spawned them in our hearts. You should accept and learn from them. To rage at raindrops for their number is equally logical as begrudging honest rancor, no matter the volume or flavor in the expression thereof.
Your choice in applying force, menace, and in equal measure, the choice of some of you to sit idly by ignoring its application, is destructive to the public trust.
With the exception of Senator Gaetz, you all, listed here, are from Brevard County. Making you, technically, my neighbors! This further dilutes the meaning of a word which has been stretched threadbare by politicians.
You favored, or at least didn’t interrupt, those fawning presenters who had precious little to add in the way of substance.
When does one go to a meeting merely to slather praise on the moderators and nothing more? Was this entire event merely for the expression of gratitude at your expensive, imperious presence?  Nothing submitted for view in a “transparent format” is still nothing. Still a null-set.
What an absurd event you all seemed to demand from us per show of force. Amid the kissing of small confused children and urging them to speak as well, there were NO maps to go off of.
You are legally obligated to provide a forum for “feedback” on the redistricting plan. There must be “feed” first, for there to be “back” second, as any electrician or guitar player will tell you. The topic was apparently, “redistricting exists;  it happens.” And…? With this amorphous cloud as the framework how is “Pol Pot” precisely off topic any more than Ponce de Leon? I could say “gerbils”, and be equally on or off topic.
What a colossal “dog ate my homework” moment.  And to think there are 26 of these meetings in all!
What a disservice we do as citizens of democratic society NOT to give you a ration of chips for this nonsense. We would be shirking our duty NOT to give you the business, as it were, even just a little bit.
I should be given the chance to once again speak before the redistricting committee. I have something important to say. Data, actual facts,  that I never got to.
 My personal observations shared here, I vow to leave out.  I know you’ll thank me for it.
I will sharpen the message, if it pleases Your Lordships. I will practice and rehearse again so that it clips the wire under three minutes. I will bend my comments, and tailor them to your topic of voting districts, and the upcoming elections. I will not use the words Pol or Pot.
But in the end, I have a right to be heard by the commission, not shouted down, not tripped up in mid sentence before my time is up; not escorted away from the microphone as though I were a dangerous lunatic.
It is my right as a citizen of this state and this country.

David Kearns

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Florida Highway Patrol Used to Squash Free Speech at Redistricting Hearings

VIERA- Today I(we/Rick Scott Watch) was the third speaker at the State of Florida redistricting hearing held at the Brevard County Government Complex. We were each allotted 3 minutes. I was removed from the podium at about 1 minute 30 seconds.

"Public testimony, free and unrestricted" said Rep. Rich Workman. My representative in the Florida House. He did not rise to my defense when two Florida Highway Patrol Officers and a Brevard County Sheriff's Deputy escorted me away from the mic and to the back of the room. Not a whimper.

The words that seemed to give greatest offense to the powers were "junta" and "joke" Neither of these words were curse words. I did not raise them loudly. I didn't menace, threaten or otherwise harm anyone. 

Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville who chairs the meeting, didn't like the words. That was obvious.

I knew something was up before the meeting started when a burley moustachioed fellow approached the row where I was sitting to hassle a woman who had the words "where are the maps?" on a little sheet of paper taped to her t-shirt.

He was going to ask her to remove this highly offensive sign. Indeed I found myself horrified by these brutal words and to think of the affrontery of a matronly grandmother figure, (all of five foot six, 90 pounds were she soaking wet) for wearing such a sign! In an obvious attempt to intimidate a six foot four man in a grey suit who surely weighed more than two hundred pounds. He looked into my eyes and thought better of it and "let" her keep her sign on. Nice grey eyed fellow the size of a silverback gorilla "let" the woman keep her little homemade sign.

When I got up, I started by asking the committee to raise their hands if they were republican. Three quarters of the 26 did. Less than a handful copped to being democrat. Then I pointed out the fact that by definition the committee wasn't "non-partisan" as I had looked the word up, and by composition it was obviously partisan.

I then said that I looked up another word while I was fooling with Google: Junta. A group who seize government. I said the republican party in control of our legislature meets the definition of it. I also said that at no time in history has a junta ever voluntarily given up power. And never, never have they written rules to make things fair for those outside the junta. The document that makes sure juntas don't happen, only one in history has ever so clearly been written, is the United States Constitution, from which springs the State of Florida Constitution.

I then made a point, or maybe slightly before this, that paid staffers out front told me the committee didn't have time to make a proposed map of the redistricting because the feds didn't give Florida the census data until "the last minute". "Blame the feds again, seems to be a common refrain with this group" said I. I noted that on the one hand the committee says it doesn't have demographic data, on the other, it makes the demographic data available on their own website. That the case, within ten years, there should be some sort of map to go off.

It's taken me all of five minutes to write this, I certainly wasn't going over my time of three to say it.

Now Sen. Gaetz of Niceville wanted me quiet. Mind you, this is MY county. This is MY government office. He's coming in and telling me he wants me to speed up, finish, and be quite and I am not even halfway there.

I remarked that if it's rules we should observe, there are video tapes of senators and representatives on Youtube voting for each other, two and three at a pop, up at the big house in Tallahassee: some of whom were sitting on that board, but I didn't want to point fingers or name names. So let's talk about the rules.

Continuing I remarked that there were three things relative to the redistricting hearings that spoke to bad faith: they were the time-line, the gag order, and the war chest.

The time line for the hearings, sans maps, leaves no time for the release of the information before 2012 for meaningful public comment. Confusion, of who is voting where, what the districts are and so forth. "making this hearing little more than a joke, and an expensive one at that," said I

By now the FHP folks and the deputy are surrounding me. They are standing between me and the panel, between me and the camera recording the meeting. Pointing toward the back of the room.

I managed to raise my voice and say that a Junta has taken over state government who, operating on behalf of the Koch brothers has set out to destroy public education. I also said Mike Haridopolos was given $858 per page to write a book that I can't read . I don't know why I added that last bit. There was Mike sitting there when I said it.

Much applause and some boos at this point.

I asked the officers if I had to leave the room they said no. I could remain if I remained quiet. 

I was permitted to remain inside my own county administration building, where all my tax money goes. Imagine a little tear in the corner of my eye here. And a smile, they said I could remain, if I stayed quiet.

I wasn't the only speaker who found fault with, what Space Coast Progressive Alliance, called "this farce." Their representative too was nearly sat down, or sat out. He gave a wonderful dissertation that dissected the whole group, the whole "process" that I wished I had written (as I was standing there with my cadre of officers).

I have to marvel though, at two FHP officers, and a sheriff's deputy spending all day at the Viera Government Complex waiting to escort those who don't say the right thing, precisely the right wa,y to the back of the room.

Is that a wise allocation of funds? I also have to say Sen. Gaetz is not a friend of either the Florida, nor the U.S. Constitution. Not at all. And I heard not a peep of protest out of the mouths of the allegedly democratic reps and senators in this group. I suppose if I had pulled my pants down below my hips and showed my underwear I would have rated more attention from Rep. Gary Siplin of Orlando. Not a peep.

Welcome to AmericaLITE; half the rights, twice the show of force as the real America, now with a minty dash of fascism thrown in, free of charge.

We've got problems folks. Democracy is on the way out, in Florida.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CNN Body Slams Rick Scott

"Why is this so difficult to understand?" demanded CNNs Ali Velshi. "Christine must have asked you this four different ways."

Velshi and his co-anchor, Christine Romans , were asking - f*cking begging - Florida's 45th governor to wrap his bald brain around one of the concepts of business "pay your bills." This is one of the basic tennants of macro and micro economics that holds everything together.

On the macro end, the US dollar is at the heart of the worldwide economy. If we don't make arrangements to pay our debts, our credit rating drops, the worldwide economy goes directly into the toilet. And the world is going to be pissed. (As much as tea mucus-plugs want to ignore the rest of the planet, it does exist.)

On the immediate micro end, at least from our national perspective, if we cut off the blood flowing to the muscle of the economy to the tune of 40 percent, markets in this country won't be able to sustain the blow either. It's the equivalent of curing a low grade fever by throwing yourself into the Bering Sea in December. Your heart stops.

No matter, our governor does what he always does: he lets logic glaze right off of him like motor oil sliding off a block of ice. And he starts spewing his dog vomit talking points, the same dog vomit he has been spewing in his campaigns against Bill McCollum and Alex Sink.

You know, go through the budget line by line. Stop spending, and fire some people.

Okay? You've borrowed money from the mafia and you've already spent it. Now the mafia is coming around to your business looking for the cash and the vig. What do you do?

You tell the wife "no Red Lobster tonight honey" and then you close the restaurant for the day until you do a complete self audit on all your expenses.

His arguments aren't even that good. We are making him sound more intelligent than he actually is.

It is clear to us now, Rick Scott is a puppet of the Koch Taliban: those people who are enemies of this country, who are bound and determined to crash the economy, and drag us into world-wide global military conflict.

They are all around us these days. They multiply like arm-gnawing zombies and they have taken over the government.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meeting with Hillsborough Elections Officials

Rick Scott Watch just spoke with Dr Earl Lennard, Hillsborough County elections supervisor, along with Tim Bobanic and Craig Latimer; Craig is chief of staff for the elections office Tim is the Director of information technology for the office located on North Fakenburg Road.

We were asking about the 38,000 rescanned votes on the evening of the general election in which Rick Scott became our governor elect.

It must be said Lennard was more than happy to meet with me without hesitation, showed me right into the office. Within a few minutes and a couple of questions he ushered me straight back to the room where the rescanning occured. He assured me that during the rescanning event - although he insisted it occured during the primary vote which gave the nomination to Scott over McCollum - the canvassing board was there to supervise, as were representitives from Dominion, voting machine vendor to the county, and a member of David Drury's staff, representing the voter systems and certifications division of the Florida Department of state

Although he did say that the canvassing board was minus a county commission chairman, but that seat was filled by a judge. So by strict letter, it wasn't exactly THE canvassing board that oversaw the rescanning event.

Mr Lennard and his staff said that one of the two Dominion machines used as the central vote tabulators malfunctioned This machine was also being used to "burn" the memory cards, ie download the voting software onto those cards. However, it malfunctioned in burning some of those cards, he said.

So, the votes on those cards from early voting didn't take, register, count. They had to open up the ballots and hand feed them back into a couple voting machines at the elections office.

Mr Lennard said - again assuring me this was during the primary and not the general election, which is incorrect - the canvassing board witnessed the event, as well as the media who were able to stand on the opposite side of a wall of windows - think of those pediatric wards where new fathers can see their babies - and watched everything.

Mr Lennard also said the entire operation was completed well before midnight. Okay, here's the link

Obviously he has the election wrong and time wrong and he frankly made me feel like I was losing my mind, for a minute as he insisted this all happened during the primary not the election.

Intersting points: Mr: Bobanic said that while Hillsborough/Dominion/Preimeier still are using GEMS software which was hacked and shown to have the capability of voting backwards, the software was updated in 2009.

Again the interview with these gentlemen lasted more than thirty minutes. They said that not all the memory cards were affected by the malfuctioning machine, only some of them

The machine was sent to Dominion voting systems for tests but to-date there are no answers from them, they said as to why or how the machine "malfunctioned".

Interesting findings from this interview: there are no Florida statutes mandating a standardized method to" rescan voter ballots". Each county comes up with its own proceedure for doing so, sends it off to department of state for review and approval.

That is to say, the law hasn't caught up with the technology, or flaws in the systems of electronic voting. Which as we have stated makes this" Rescanning" a loophole which could be exploited to steal an election.

"If there is some other way to handle a situation like this that is better, I am all for hearing about it," said Lennard.

Mr Lennard said his office has confidence in the machines by Dominion, however no system is 100 percent fool proof. He used the example of the first day of school (in that he was a super for public schools for many years) No system is foolproof.

He and his staff said the ballots are always either in custody of elections officials or kept under lock and key and 24 hour video survellaince

Another interesting fact: The software for the machines is sent down to the counties from the department of state in a CD. The department of state handles it, sending it to the elections offices. Vendor, DOS, elections supervisor. Three people run the election. One CD file controls it in every county. When there is a screw up, the vendor seems to have as much input to the review of the situation as the elections supervisor, the department of state and the canvassing board if not more so. Conceivably an operative in the department of state working with someone inside the voting machine company could screw up an election without the election supervisor or his staff knowing about it.

These officials seemingly had no knowlegde of the 2000 election flaws in GEMs software which counted votes backwards in the Gore v Bush race.

Mr Bobanic gave a quizzical stare when asked point blank whether the GEMS software had been fixed "it can't count votes backwards, or apply a negative vote total anymore can it?"

He made no answer concerning the "Hursti Hack" which demostrated the flaw and is now common knowlege among IT/electronic voting experts.

Mr Lennard was also asked about his current status as an elections supervisor In 2009 Sec Browning said Mr Lennard would serve only until the 2010 election. I asked him why he is still in office now He said he ran for his office "unopposed" and was elected, but will only serve until 2012 and will not seek reelection.

Overall impressions were there is nothing presented to me to indicate something suspicious DIDN'T happen in the Hillsborough County elections office during election night Nov 2, 2010.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rick Scott was giving us signals of his style before he was elected

Came across this one in my research. His meeting with CNN’s Kiran Chetry he was on point and on message back in September.
Here's the link from YouTube. You should try to catch this if you can.

Chetry: “Why would you want the job of CEO of Florida?”
Scott: “I lived the American dream.  I started out in public housing…My father was a truck driver and  back then truck drivers got laid off a lot.  I know what it’s like to be unemployed, having parents unemployed, and I’ve lived the American Dream.
“I want that same dream for my daughters, my son in law and everybody in Florida,” he said.[i]
Sometimes people can’t help but to answer honestly. This rare glimpse into the subconscious mind used to be called a “Freudian slip.”
His dream apparently is to stick it to everyone: so that every kid coming up now, can experience the spine-strengthening joy of having parents mostly unemployed, while the family is crammed together in low-income housing.
Oh the bliss of renting rather than owning, and living hand-to-mouth, while being shuffled along with the economic currents like a gypsy, by the whims of the wealthy and the powerful.
Such joy to provide such a childhood, for everybody else!
Ricky’s world is reminiscent of a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The peasantry is seen groveling in the mud as they self narrate happily, ”grovel, grovel, grovel; all day long.”
Why certainly it’s a plutocrat’s wet dream that we should all so happily grovel.
Yeah. Okay? Sounds like a dream alright, as wished upon us by the Chinese government bent on punishing us for our evil capitalist ways, that is.
Thanks but no thanks, Governor Rick. Or should we say GOVERNOR MAO!?
During the interview he was again asked about Columbia/HCA and Medicare Fraud.
Chetry, exhibiting the muted, corporate FOXLite kindness that is endearing itself ever-so, to the likes of Job Stewart, actually called Rick’s red-headed step child, Columbia/HCA “a little bit of baggage there.”
“A little bit of baggage”? Yeah? A “little?” Maybe you could get Uncle Ricky a pair of slippers and some warm cocoa too? Wouldn’t that be nice?
But he had obviously learned a valuable lesson from watching NFL: running out the clock.
It doesn’t matter that you don’t answer: just burn out the clock.
He has a canned response that lasts almost a full minute ready to go and all of us are now familiar with it. He now uses it everywhere.
Here’s why it works on television: In a morning show like this one, where news is pancaked between the Priceline adverts and the car commercials, Chetry has just six minutes to get these questions in.
So, Ricky runs out the clock. Nearly 20 percent of the interview, we listened to something that sounded like this:
 “Well, you know what I tell people is, when you’re the CEO of a company you have to take responsibility for everything that happens. That company made mistakes and so, I take responsibility. That’s the difference between a business person and a politician. A business person takes responsibility when things go poorly. You know you have to show up and fix things.”
It’s pure, brilliant gibberish. It means nothing. It certainly doesn’t mean “I take responsibility.” What he’s really saying is, “someone else did this.”
He’s doing the thing many masters of corporate-speak do, he’s “taking ownership,” (wink) otherwise known as “soft-owning” massive mistakes; that can cover fraud, tanking the economy, pollution, wrongful death, oil spills, you name it. It’s all the rage. CEOs everywhere are doing it these days, they are soft-owning it, paying the tab, nodding, and winking to congress, kicking the dog, leaving the light on, and walking away, buddy. Elvis has left the building.
Much the way BP’s CEO Tony Hayward “took ownership” of the BP oil spill. Remember?
“It’s not our accident but we take full responsibility. We will clean the spill,” he said back in May 2010.[ii]
Garbage. It also turned out to be a lie.
Rick’s learned from the best. And watching NFL on the weekends obviously taught him how to run out the clock.
Even though he ran his canned one-minute response covering Columbia/HCA, and said the one-second word “jobs” no less than 21 times in a six minute interview -  sometimes stringing the “jobs” together like a tail-gunner, as in “jobs, jobs, jobs…I build private sector jobs” - Chetry still had time for a couple more questions.
One was about a republican ad, ball-peeing Scott’s new competitor, Alex Sink.
The ad, which rated a “barely-true” by Politifact, said Alex Sink invested the state’s employee pension fund unwisely and “lost $24 billion.”
Reverberating Politifact’s findings, she said Sink was part of a team who made those investment decisions. Chetry didn’t even mention the fact that the market murdered all our pension funds and yet no one person was ever held to account.
Well and good enough for Rick to do the corporate thing and soft-own the mistakes of others, or Wall Street billionaires taking TARP, he wasn’t going to let Sink get away from her mistakes. He wasn’t going to her slip off this hook, as easily as he slipped off of his own, with a $300 million parachute.
Oh no! Her crimes were simply unforgiveable, and he said so.
“She was told by auditors multiple times the investments were way to risky,” he said. “That should never have happened. She’s the chief financial officer of the state. She’s responsible for this. She lost $24 billion of pension money for Floridians. That’s a big problem.”
What’s interesting here is, in this context, state workers are “Floridians.” But when it comes time to get rid of them they become hated “government jobs,” which have to be eliminated in order to “grow the economy.”
The mutable, slippery truth of Ricky-world.
Anyway, food for thought. Here's to hoping big media like CNN and MSNBC can open up more in the way of time slots to cover news sometime soon. I have often wondered why, if there are so many companies wanting to advertise, they can't just double the ad rates and open up more air time so there is some value to be gained from watching the news?
More food for thought.

[i] “Rick Scott Interview AM” CNN Sept. 27, 2010

[ii] “BP CEO: Not our accident” The Raw Story May 3, 2010.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Casey's More Caylee's in Rick Scott's New Florida

It's time to politicize the Casey Anthony Trial here at Rick Scott Watch. It is. Sorry. It must be done.

If we think something this bad can happen during Charlie Crist's watch, imagine what is going to happen if we continue on the path Rick Scott is leading us down.

If you kill education, you get more kids without skills to handle life, sex, and babies. More Caseys.

The state provided the evidence and she was aquitted of murder. Fact. The state did a good job, but they didn't have enough evidence to convict her. Fact.

Bitch, moan, scream. Get angry at the jurors from Pinellas County.

Now come on back to earth for a minute. We have a justice system that DEMANDS an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to support the guilt of an accused party beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the deal, the raw freaking deal here in these United States since before there was a United States. Since John Adams got six guardsmen off of murder and massacre charges for standing their ground and doing their job at the Boston Massacre, back in the day. This is how we do it.

Don't stay mad at 12 good fellow citizens of our state who saw their duty and did it. Just grow up.

This story is why you can't run the state like a business. The job of a governor is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. To protect the little Caylees. Not say "sorry for you luck kid."

You stood outside. You carried your sign in support for that little child seeking justice for her. You can't save her now. But you might save another. 

1,800 workers were cut from the ranks of the Department of Children and Families in this budget our governor released at a Tea Party Enclave. These caseworkers step in and attempt to help families in crisis. Now they can't. They weren't necessary in Governor Rick's new Florida. That means more families like the Anthony's will slip through the cracks. More Caylee's, more Casey's coming down the pike. 

He cut as many as 1,690 from the state department of corrections, and we'll get to that when we talk about Gain Time.

Casey lied to the police four times in their hunt for little Caylee. Each lie delayed the police who already are understaffed and over-worked. Each lie, if the mother had been innocent, cost valuable time wherein they might have found that little girl sooner, in whatever state she was in.

Each lie represented a year's sentence for Casey after the verdicts were rendered. A year in jail for each count. She received a sentence today of four years. But time-served awaiting trial, as well all know, is three years. And now we have this animal called "Gain Time" as well that shaves off time from the end of her sentence. 

Gain Time is a little mathmatical guizmo that cuts days off your sentence for being good, and solitary confinement provides few opportunities to be bad. We know it's true. The t.v. lawyer said so. Orange County Corrections is a crowded place. Crowded  also has to do with a ratio of officers to inmates. That's where the gain time comes in. They have to keep that ratio at a manageble level otherwise, riots and chaos rule the day. You get 11 days, nearly half a month in Gain Time, for every month served without any issues in Orange County Corrections.

So Casey gets out next week.

Listen, Karma does not forget. She always comes calling. She may be late but she's never sleepy. Forget Casey, put your hands down, put your weapons down. Karma will sort her out, if there is sorting to be done.

What of the next Caylee?

Here's the deal. We just now spoke of overworked detectives, crowded prisons, lack of evidence, lack of man hours. We spoke of reduced caseworkers to the Department of Children and Families.

In His Majesty's hybridized version of America, where cash is king, where losers walk, where corporations pay no property taxes ever; where necessary state workers get fired the way fish mongers throw mullet, where staffing reductions force fewer corrections officers to control more inmates; where the Gain Time is so high, every day served equals two days off your sentence; what do you think this is coming to?

More Caylees. Hundreds more. So many more we will look back on this and smile fondly when we got so worked up over the death of one small child; where we will laugh at how naive we were back then when we cared about little human beings. Back during the early days of Rick Scott's rule.

The signs you carry for Caylee must be forged anew. You must re-write the signs. We must put a stop to Rick Scott and his criminal goon squad and their dangerous cuts to our services. You must  keep up, get fed up, stand up, and act up.

Rather than let corporations off Scott-free from the shared burden of plugging the budget holes, rather than firing more cops, more corrections officers, more teachers, more salary reductions to those who provide crucial services, we have to re-introduce some sanity into the equation.

"No more teachers, no more cops; take the taxes from the top."

Get used to saying that. That's how you "keep up". Protest. That's how you "stand up" and "act up."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Florida LOOTO and Bright Futures Scholars

Lotto sales are way up, surpassing $4 Billion in fiscal 2011. This is expected in a down market. Lotto, cigarettes and beer. That's what a nervous mass of people who are about to lose their damn jobs buy. It's no great mystery.

Nevermind logic, reason, and even empirical evidence. A couple of months ago, major papers began shilling for the garbage story that our lotto system was broken and so, we need to revamp the lotto-funded Bright Futures Scholars Program or get rid of it. As in YESTERDAY! Fire drill! Fire drill! Everybody panic! KILL KILL KILL, SLASH SLASH!

Witness this little gem April 3, in the Miami Herald. Without the benefit of the first shred of data, the writer of this piece of awful suggested that lotto sales were flat. And so, as night follows day, we must must must (don't you get it? We MUST) scrap the Bright Futures Scholars program. Or tweak it, to make sure it's "going to the right people". i.e. the poorest of the poor, where apparently there are no scholarships. Of course the contract entered into between students and state has long been a simple one. You do the work, you get the grades, you get the scholarship. Easy.

Here is another piece of dog-vomit from Miami Herald on the subject that alleges "lotto proceeds have not kept pace" with needs of the scholarship fund. Again, no evidence in the form of those wonderful things called facts and figures to support this assertion.

Lynn, chairs the higher education appropriations subcommittee. In March, you may recall Lynn suggested that Florida's Prepaid College Plan - this isn't a "handout" either! This is where people 'prepay' into a tuition fund!! - be suspended. Drawing from a vast reservoiur of anti-knowledge, she postulated that the program may become insolvent since it was tied to the stock market. Only, dundering Dora didn't do the first bit of research on the matter before opening her gob, because IT ISN'T!! AT ALL! Not one red cent is attached to the stock market!!! No, No, no.

"Oh fidddle de dee," said she and promptly coitus interrupted her attempted fornication of the public, when this rock of salience was thrown at her iron-cast head. Leave it to a garden-clubbing, Lincoln Day Dining, Maritini Party, silver haired, intolerant former beauty queen with an "I hate you" smile, to toss this off so casually without offering the first explanation for her own stupidity. AND DID WE MENTION SHE CHAIRS higher education APPROPRIATIONS subcommittee?

Well don't you know nasty pants is going after Bright Futures now. Under the guise of protecting it, the idea would be to increase the requirements. And of course, she will be back next year to bump those up again. All these changes of course, without the first shred of evidence that they are necessary.

As we speak, and in response to the agenda-driven, self-derived story of Bright Futures should be curbed, tabled, tweak, screwed, studies are now being undertaken to "get to the bottom" of the question "does Bright Futures work?"

Work? Define "work" i.e. to function properly? They can't and they won't. Because it isn't about "working". This is about class warfare. It's about looting the lotto. Soon to be called The Florida LOOTO. Guess who will do the looting? The Florida Legislature and Rick Scott.

Rick Scott and the legislature pulled two, quick, crisis managment fast ones on the students of Florida with the administration of this program. They reduced the pay-out per credit hour from $120 to $108. Then they went "oh, but wait, we haven't hurt the students and parents of Florida enough with that move. We need to find another rusty oyster fork to stick in their eye." And so they raised the cost of state tuition.

You pay your water bill every month. Without fail. "No no. Not good enough. To penalize you for doing that, we will cut the flow rate in half, and triple the price of the water. There. How's that feel? Oh, we also had the meter reader poison your dog while he was in your yard. M'kay?"

The deal was, a program designed to send the MAXIMUM through-put possible TO THE STUDENTS OF FLORIDA. This is WHY we voted on having a lotto in the state in the first place. "Pink Slip" Rick might not recall this because he was too busy bilking seniors and veterans benefits from Tricare and Medicare when all this happened. But, I was living here when Lotto was voted on. And the concern then was, technically lotto is gambling and we had laws against it. Legislators agreed that in this one special case, when the aim was to serve the students and hard-working families of Florida - a "right to fire your ass anytime they feel like it" state - with a program that offered a "bright future" to those willing, able and motivated students WHO WORKED FOR IT.

No no. You're missing the point. The point of Ricky-World, is to shut off opportunities of those same hard working familes to send their kids to college, and to stamp out motivation in public education, to kill initiative and drive of young enterprising students in public schools who might just work themselves out of the grind their parents spent their whole lives just to keep their heads above water here, while sending their kids to school, athletic events, and providing an enriching environment where HOMEWORK and STUDY were encouraged.

Remember THIS PROGRAM IS FUNDED BY LOTTO MONEY. It isn't a HAND-OUT from TAXES as the popular myth goes.

Now, you have to really look at it: Lotto sales go up! But they've cut the supply of the money to the muscle all of it was supposed to go to. They provide a third twist to the valve by upping the requirements. They provided not one shred of data that lotto funding was tight in the first place, that lotto sales were down. Once again! It's not tied to revenue from taxes! It's tied to people trying something, hell, ANYTHING, to save themselves financially from this mess republicans and greed heads on Wall Street created in the first place!

No. Not one shred of data that lotto wasn't working and now we have evidence that the exact opposite is true.

So, where is that extra money from these shaving going to go? What will that money be doing now that it ISN'T being directed to the very place it was designed to go in the first place?

Who knows? And the bought-and-paid-for media isn't going to ask.

In sum, we have bald-faced evidence that this program of plundering the lotto is nothing more than another example of attacking and killing the hopes and dreams of middle and poorer economic class working Floridians, and robbing the coffers of the state for whatever nefarious purposes these cretinous leeches - naming names now: Rick Scott, Dean Cannon, Mikey Haridopolos, John Thrasher, Evelyn Lynn - deem fit.

A criminal corporate cabal is in control of your government here in Florida. Their mission is to kill the hopes of your children, enrich themselves while driving as many of us from the state as possible.

You are to be replaced with mechanical golf ball washers, greens, and fairways. You and your children are no longer welcome here. Personae non gratti. You're no longer deemed worthy to stand in your own state.

Bright Futures Must die, so that the rich can plunder our lucrative state lotto.

Now what the hell are you going to do about it?