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Jul 212011
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I think I’ll start a new reality show.  Shit My Congressman Says.  I think it’s a winner!

Or maybe start small, with a twitter account!  Unfortunately, someone already registered ShitMyRepSays… with no tweets. Ugh. I’ll keep working on it.

Perhaps we’ll just make it a regular feature on the show…

Allen West really does need some help.  The poor man is delusional.  Just yesterday, he told a Huffington Post reporter that he had just apologized to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for his vile and unprofessional actions after her somewhat run-of-the-mill floor speech calling him out on his stance on Medicare.  His spokeswoman then categorically denied that he apologized, saying she owes him an apology.  What are we in kindergarten?  Man up Mr. West.

Stephen Colbert showed his usual brilliance on this story last night…

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Congressional Partisan Rancor
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

It’s even worth sitting through the commercial to watch!

On my show this morning, I did talk about West, the debt ceiling nonsense, the Murdoch mess, and more with comedian John Fugelsang.

On a serious note,in the first hour of the show, I talked about the tragic assault on education in this country with Steve Edwards.

And Joshua Holland joined me to talk about his latest AlterNet piece, “Why the Wealthiest Americans are the Real Job Killers” and the bigger issue of the framing of political discourse in our country.

Although I end my Radio or Not broadcast week with my Thursday shows, I’ll be filling in for Randi Rhodes tomorrow and Monday… so be sure to tune in at any of Randi’s affiliate stations from 3-6pm ET..  Talk to you then!

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May 102011
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I’ve heard that some group is considering launching a “worst state government” contest.  Certainly, there are lots of contenders.  Wisconsin surely comes to mind, as Scott Walker apparently believes he was elected dictator rather than governor.  Of course, the Wisconsin state senate is full of lawmakers so disliked by the electorate for facilitating Walker’s union-busting plans, that paperwork has been filed to recall all 16 of them who are eligible for recall this year (those in their second year in office).

And then there’s Rick Snyder in Michigan, who also thinks his powers as governor allows him to kill democracy by firing entire city governments -elected by their citizens – and replacing them with “Emergency Financial Managers” appointed by Snyder to do his bidding!

Of course, we can’t forget about Arizona’s Jan “Show Me Your Papers Please” Brewer, Ohio’s John “I’m against labor too” Kasich and Indiana’s Mitch “I may still run for President and I also just limited teachers’ collective bargaining rights” Daniels.

I know there are others worthy of inclusion on the worst state government list, but I’ll have to point out the obvious.  Florida elected a guy who should be in jail instead of sitting in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee.

Rick “whose company committed the largest Medicare fraud against the United States, ever” Scott somehow pulled the wool over enough stupid Floridians to win the election (the slimmest in Florida’s gubernatorial election history) to have his way with Florida.  Scott’s agenda is every bit as heinous as the afore-mentioned governors, but in FloriDUH’s case, the criminal governor is aided and abetted by backwater Republican veto-proof majorities in both houses of Florida’s legislature.

The Florida legislature just concluded its 60-day 2011 session, and the results are even worse than I’d figured they’d be.  My friend and former colleague, CBS4′s Jim DeFede joined me on the show this morning to recap what these elected officials did to us.  Listen to the interview to hear the details…  Here is the AP’s wrap-up of the horrible legislation they passed: (Emphasis is mine, as are any italicized comments)

ABORTION

- Put on the November 2012 ballot a proposed constitutional amendment banning public funding of abortions -already prohibited by law – and exempting abortion from the Florida Constitution’s strong privacy right.   Thanks for the redundancy.

- Exclude abortion from policies obtained through insurance exchanges, which states must establish in 2014 under the federal health care overhaul, although separate abortion riders paid for by policyholders may be offered.  The insurance exchanges, which they’re trying to make sure never happen.  Thanks!

- Require women to undergo ultrasounds before getting an abortion although they can opt out of a requirement to view or listen to a description of the image.  You hateful bastards. You think making the decision to have an abortion is easy? So you pass a law to make women’s lives even harder. Nice.

- Make it more difficult for minors seeking abortions to get court waivers from Florida’s parental notification law.   Because it’s probably better to put a teenager in danger of being hurt by an abusive parent?

- Loosen limits on the spending of money to facilitate adoption that’s raised from “Choose Life” license plates including letting an advocacy group use 15 percent for administration and promotion. Seriously?

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

- Cut state maximum unemployment compensation benefits from 26 to 23 weeks if the jobless rate is at 10.5 percent or higher with the maximum dropping on a sliding scale to as few as 12 weeks when the unemployment rate falls to 5 percent or below. The benefit reduction would lower unemployment taxes paid by employers. And to those long-term unemployed and the over-50 crowd suffering from age discrimination, fuck you, you’re on your own. Go sleep on the beach… until the cops make you leave! hahahahaha

- Overhaul Florida’s property insurance laws in a bid to generate more competition through such provisions as letting insurers pass on to customers up to 15 percent of their reinsurance costs in addition to state-approved rate increases and setting deadlines of two years for filing sinkhole claims and three years for other damages including wind.  Let the insurance companies make more at the expense of the homeowners. Who are these legislators supposed to be representing? Oh, right. Silly me… The insurance industry whose lobbying money they so enjoy.

- Deregulate landline telephone service. Need I say anything more?

COURTS

- Put a state constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot that would require Senate confirmation of Florida Supreme Court justices and give lawmakers a say on court rules. It’s not enough that big money decides who sits in the legislature; now the legislature (and their owners) want to decide who sits on the Supreme Court!

- Make it more difficult for injured people to win product liability damages from auto makers and other manufacturers. Again, seriously?

- Overhaul medical malpractice lawsuits including a requirement that out-of-state doctors apply for a certificate to testify as experts and partial immunity from liability for doctors who volunteer to help high school and collegiate sports teams. “Overhaul” meaning make it so that if you’re hurt, you’re fucked, and not in a good way!

Set limits on lawsuits against nonprofit Florida teaching hospitals and their staffs.  Of course.

CRIME & PUNISHMENT

- Make it a felony to possess a stolen credit or debit card that was or should have been known to be stolen.

- Remove requirements for ex-convicts to have their civil rights restored before they can get occupational licenses.

- Make bestiality – sexual contact between humans and animals – a crime.  You really didn’t have anything more important to deal with?

- Reduce the penalty for “sexting” by minors so they no longer would be subject to child pornography charges and registration as sex offenders for electronically sending sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves.

- Require rape suspects to get tested for hepatitis, allow evidence of suspects’ past sex crimes to be used in court, require police to transport victims for medical treatment or have forensic evidence gathered and provide relocation assistance to victims.

DRUG ABUSE

- Crack down on “pill mills” that sell prescription painkillers to drug dealers and addicts through provisions that include stiffer penalties for doctors who overprescribe and tighter regulation of pharmacies. The bill retains a prescription tracking system that Gov. Rick Scott wanted to repeal but bans pharmaceutical companies from funding it.

- Make it a crime to possess a designer drug known as MDPV or “bath salts” with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

EDUCATION

- Establish a statewide teacher evaluation and merit pay system in 2014 and do away with tenure for new teachers hired after July 1.  This is a very dangerous precedent, as we don’t know what the “teacher evaluation and merit pay system” consists of.  This bill was also a giant Fuck You to the teachers union.

- Loosen class limits by allowing up to five students over the maximum after an annual head count and by exempting hundreds of courses from the requirements. Effectively overturning the class size amendment that was voted for overwhelmingly by the electorate in 2002.  How is that legal?

- Expand the McKay voucher program that lets disabled students attend private schools at public expense by adding children with lesser disabilities such as asthma and allergies. Gotta get more money for those private schools and expand the voucher program.  Cuz children with asthma and allergies need special special educational treatment, like those other disabled kids with autism and cerebral palsy… PS Public schools are evil.

- Transfer responsibility for lunches and other school nutrition from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture. Huh?

- Provide charter schools with more training and technical assistance while giving those rated high performing longer contracts and other benefits.  See comment on McKay voucher program.

- Let certain private school students join public school teams if the sport they want to play is not offered at their own school. Really? Won’t that cost the public schools more money?
- Require school districts to adopt dress codes that ban the wearing of clothing in a revealing or disruptive way.

- Expand virtual learning options and require high school students to complete at least one online course before graduating. It’s the wave of the future – for profit online “colleges”… hook ‘em in early!

ENVIRONMENT

- Roll back the state’s ability to control sprawl and development, leaving it mostly in the hands of local government. Because we haven’t yet destroyed enough of the everglades and Florida’s beaches.

- Make it more difficult to challenge development or mining in wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areasI honestly cannot believe what I’m reading.  Destroy the wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas.  Who gives a shit about the planet and our state while there’s money to be made exploiting it!

GOVERNMENT

- Spend $69.7 billion during the budget year starting July 1 – a reduction of nearly $4 billion from the current year.

- Require teachers, state workers and many local government employees to pay 3 percent of their salaries into the Florida Retirement System, now fully funded by taxpayers.

- Put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot that would cap state revenue with allowances for growth in population and inflation. In other words, make sure the state is as broke as it is now, even if we have millions more living here in the future.  Because we’re in such great shape now?

- Put new limits on voting including shorter hours for early balloting. Because the early voters tend to vote Democratic.

- Exempt photos, video and audio recordings of deaths from the state’s public records law.

- Put a state constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot to repeal Florida’s ban on using public funds to aid churches and other religious organizations while adding a provision saying people couldn’t be barred from public programs because they’ve chosen to receive those benefits from religious organizations. FloriDUH apparently doesn’t realize that the US Constitution provides for the separation of church and state!. Hopefully the people will get it and vote against this amendment.

- Require welfare applicants to take drug tests and pay for them out of their own pockets although they’d get reimbursed if they pass. Benefits would be denied for at least six months to those who fail. Does that include the corporate welfare that’s paid with our taxpayer money? It should!

GUNS

- Prohibit doctors from asking patients about gun ownership.

- Bar local governments from passing gun laws stricter than the state’s.  If you can got shot in one city in Florida, gosh darn, you can get shot in ANY city in Florida!

- Decriminalize the accidental showing of a concealed fire arm by a person licensed to carry such a weapon.

HEALTH & SAFETY

- Revamps Florida’s Medicaid system for nearly 3 million low-income and disabled people by putting it in the hands of private companies and hospital networks as a cost-cutting move subject to federal approval. Revamps=Decimates! Privatized Medicaid – adding a profit motive, increasing costs, bureaucracy, making it completely less efficient, more expensive.

- Put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot that would prohibit government requirements to purchase health insurance as in the national health care overhaul. Many legal experts say the federal law still would prevail.  Fuck you.

- Prohibit by law requirements that people purchase health insurance as in the federal health care overhaul.  And as Cee-Lo Green says, “fuck her too.”

TAXES

- Put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot to reduce property taxes for homeowners and businesses alike along with an additional exemption for people who have not owned a house for at least three years.  So, they’re cutting the budget – especially huge cuts from education – so they can give property owners, businesses, and non-property owners tax cuts? Because we’re in such great shape financially here in Florida? Oh..wait….

- Put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot that would expand a homestead property tax exemption for combat-disabled veterans by lifting a requirement they must have lived in Florida before enlisting.

- Cut the corporate income tax $30 million a year by increasing the exemption from $5,000 to $25,000, which would save each company $1,100.  And yet another tax cut for the big corporate tax dodgers.  Isn’t that nice?

I hope you’re angry now. I mean, REALLY ANGRY now.  If so, get out to an Awake  the State rally, happening today all over Florida.  Just go to www.awakethestate.com, and find the rally closest to you, and make your displeasure known.

Here in South Florida, people will gather at Stranahan Park, 10 East Broward Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale from 5-7pm.  (Alison has a doctors appointment at 5:15.  If by some miracle we’re out in time, we’ll get there.  But my family is the one thing that takes precedence over speaking out against this tyrannical government.)

On the show this morning, I spoke with Ray Seaman of Progress Florida, the guy who came up with the idea for Awake the State!  I hope it spreads to every state in the nation, as we all need to be involved in what happens to our communities, states, and country.

Also on the show, being Tuesday, Gotta Laff joined in from The Political Carnival.  Here are some of the stories we talk about today:

VIDEO- BLUNT: Obama Got Osama

Gov. Scott Walker declares Women’s Health Week in Wisconsin. Not kidding.

Trumpapalooza

VIDEO: Condoleezza Rice, Hypocridiot-O’-The-Day

Wisconsin Republicans know they’re in trouble, rush agenda

Tweet: “Hang Obama’s body from Lady Liberty? Ground Zero?”

VIDEO- Rachel Maddow documents heartbreaking consequences of NRA influence

New euphemism for torture: “The interview process”

While GOP presidential contenders debated, John Boehner was out drinking

Another day, another drunk Tim Pawlenty staffer with legal problems

Tomorrow on the show – concerned citizens will take to the streets of New York City on Thursday! Find out about the On May 12 coalition and march! Plus, are you ready for the rapture? According to a giant billboard I saw in Ft. Lauderdale the other day, the rapture is scheduled for May 21, 2011 around 6pm (this, according to Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping, who predicts the world will then end on Oct.21). The group who put up the billboard, FLASH (Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists) are therefore holding a Rapture Party that afternoon. Atheist Bob will join me tomorrow to talk all about it.

And we’ll see whatever else the day brings. Talk to you then, Radio or Not!

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Apr 202011
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A date that means different things to different people.

April 20, 1889 Adolph Hitler was born.

April 20, 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, starting the largest environmental disaster in US history.

April 20 is also known as “Weed Day” as pot smokers around the world celebrate 420 (whether 4:20 or 4/20) as a time to indulge.

I also mistakenly thought that today was Earth Day. But as I went to find just how many years Earth Day has officially been with us, I found that it is not today, but rather on April 22.  Duh. I know I knew that somewhere back in time.

Regardless, it is Green Week on NBC/Universal/Comcast/GE – just in case you didn’t hear them remind you of it every five minutes.

Just in time for today’s observance, Jason Leopold writes at Truthout: “BP Still Being Awarded Lucrative Government Contracts.“  Tomorrow, I’ll speak with Greg Palast, who also has a few things to say about BP and their “safety” record in his “BP’s Secret Deepwater Blowout“.

We went a bit off the date topic in the first hour today with Kenneth Bernstein, better known to many Daily Kos readers as TeacherKen.  He is a teacher, and is one of my fellow Netroots Nation DFA Scholarship winners.  Since we met during the competition, I’ve wanted to have him on my how.  His school is on spring break this week, so he had some time to join me this morning to talk about public education, charter schools, unions, budgets and the need for a national board for professional teaching standards.

How ever you choose to celebrate, happy 4/20 day…

And Thanks BP….

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Mar 262010
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I know the big fucking deal signing happened on Tuesday, but it was actually last night that the House had the final vote on the final health care reform reconciliation bill that President Obama will finally sign into law early next week. It still blows my mind that the wingnuts talk about “ramming” it through, after more than a year of debating, fighting, town hall meetings and back and forth bickering. Now it’s up to us to stay on top of our elected officials to make sure they live up to their pledges to make it better!

I ran out last night after the show to go see Lewis Black perform at the Hard Rock here in Hollywood, FL… thus the reason for the delay in posting this blog and podcast!

On last night’s show, we talked about the disturbing trend of threats and violent acts toward Democrats who voted in favor of health care reform, and the disgusting comments by the leaders on the right who are basically blaming us because we’re talking about it!

As for Eric Cantor’s claim that he’s been the victim of threats because he’s Jewish(!), and that a gun shot had been fired through his office window…well, it’s been debunked!  Apparently a random shot was fired into the air (certainly not a good thing), and it came down into the window of an office in a building in which Cantor’s campaign leases.

I was joined on last night’s show by Florida State Senator Dan Gelber (D-MB), who’s running for Attorney General. Our current AG, Bill McCollum (who’s running for Governor) has spearheaded the effort on behalf of 12 state Attorneys General to challenge the Health Care Act on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional.  Gelber introduced an amendment to derail McCollum and keep him from spending FL taxpayer dollars on this frivolous lawsuit.

While I had him on the phone, I asked him to shed some light on the Marco Rubio/Charlie Crist match-up. Dan has an extensive history with both of them, as he served as Florida House Minority Leader while Rubio was the Speaker.  And there’s more… Yes, I live in Flori-DUH, where the Senate yesterday passed a truly heinous piece of education legislation that will do away with tenure and base teachers’ pay on their students performance in the state standardized tests.

We finished the week with laughs about the events of the week with the wonderful John Fugelsang!

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