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COLUMN

Happytown

Cover boy Rick Scott rolls into town in a Walmart shopping cart (we roll our eyes), the Republican machine rolls in the dirt of activist profiling and a bunch of trucker mustaches roll through the convention center. We're on a roll, here

Photo: Dave Plotkin, License: N/A

Dave Plotkin


“Oh, I hope I look OK,” fretted the adorable twenty-something cashier who checked him out, gently touching her perfectly coiffed hair. “I didn’t know this was happening until the very last minute. Now everybody’s going to see me on TV!”

We asked her what the governor’s total school-supply bill rang up to, and she told us it was $197.23 – there you go, public education, don’t say Rick Scott never gave you anything! You are officially rich.

But you ain’t smart yet! At leastnot according to the sneaky Republicans wary of them damn liberals that so frequently upset the decorum of their town-hall belly-scratching meetings in the local schoolhouse. Last week, a memo leaked from the Congressional offices of U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., that was cleverly referred to as “homework” for Republican attendeesto learn them on the finer points of dealing with complicated liberal word problems. All of which is a fine bit of inside baseball for nervous wonks until you consider that each of the “types” of liberal activists highlighted as troublesome was an actual liberal activist from Central Florida – or, more specifically, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster’s 8th district. Among those targeted were Walmart-Scott-shopping beardoTimothy Murray of Organize Now, Organize Now President Tamecka Pierce and go-to TV media liberal Michael Cantone, who is also political director of Organize Now – none of whom even look like they’re from Arkansas.

Of course, none of this is funny, especially if you’re a liberal making next to nothing financially as a community organizer, and there are hints that the national Republican Party is in fact profiling you in a way that isn’t dissimilar to the way pro-life groups target abortion doctors or how former Alaskan governors fond of crosshair graphics profile other politicians. Also, who the hell is paying for this covert classification of types?

“Citizens everywhere should be concerned as to whether or not taxpayer dollars and resources were used to profile fellow Americans in an attempt to silence their voices and what role Congressional offices or campaigns played in disseminating state-sponsored intimidation of private citizens,” Cantone rattled off a mouthful in a press release. They should also be concerned that Republicans are this stupid.

But can they drive trucks? On Aug. 11, wary of the political stick shift, we headed down to the Orange County Convention Center and encountered an army of mustaches, beer bellies and astoundingly clean semi trucks. The occasion was the 70th National Truck Driving Championships, landing in Orlando for the first time in three-quarters of a century. It was there that exactly 483 of the finest semi-truck drivers from around the country (culled from about 5,000 who competed at the state level in previous months) were vying for the vaunted Golden Belt Buckle(no joke) through a series of grueling “skills tests,” as well as a white-knuckle written exam.

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