Our dumb state Vol. 8
Attack of the banana cream Republicans
Published: August 18, 2011
Perhaps Dorworth, who was caught red-fingered fiddling with his iPad at a public hearing on redistricting just last month, just wasn’t paying attention. He and his peers in the Seminole County Republican delegation have more pressing things to worry about, according to his Facebook account. They have a ping-pong league.
As history reminds us, Florida has long been a drip pan for both the “I don’t care anymore” retirement impulse of aged escapists and the scruples-free opportunism of entrepreneurs attracted to both low regulation and relative consumer stupidity (see: senior citizens). Through some 30 years of accelerated fermentation – blame the combating sea breezes, if you must – that phenomenon has morphed into a political juggernaut rife with misinformation. That’s why most Tea Party barbeques are haunted by the rickety ghosts of blue hairs living, ironically, on the public dime via fixed incomes and Medicare.
So it only makes sense that when the Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers!) clan got it into their minds to push their “school choice” manifesto this year into the dangling scrotum of Florida’s failing education system, those lining up to absorb the message weren’t struggling parents with immediate concerns about public education, but rather the olds who make no bones about the fact that they don’t think they ought to fork over cash to pay for your kids’ education. Their scratchy bellows were loud enough to overpower the far more logical concerns of the antichrist public school lobby, despite numerous reports in nearly every Florida market that charter schools were basically the new entrepreneurial strip malls, only with less regulation and more potential danger for the future of the state’s kids. This year, the legislature completely overlooked the state’s 3,000 public schools when it came time to distribute $55 million from the Public Education Capital Outlay program, instead dishing out all of that to the 350 ramshackle charter schools that Gov. Rick Scott suggests will save the state from itself. The olds don’t care about the future.
But will they care about their own? In a state that boasts more seniors than seashells, the legislature agreed to gut nursing home facility spending by $187.5 million, turn away $2.1 million in federal grants intended to transition the elderly from nursing homes to their own homes and $36 million in phased grants to assist the process. In return, the state offered $2.1 billion in Medicare funding cuts for the facilities during the next 10 years. Aw, who cares. They’ll be dead by then, right?
OUT ON BONDI
Nobody expected too much from Attorney General Pam Bondi. The photogenic blonde – whose no-nonsense, no-prisoners (all prisoners?) take on justice facilitated her leap from the fair balance of a talking head on FOX News to Tallahassee’s most powerful legal office – seemed a fair match for the ill-tempered 2010 election cycle. She wanted to crack down on pill mills! She supported the blockage of Obamacare! She’s hot! What more could Florida ask for?
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