WOW, BIG SUGAR IS EVEN SWEETER THAN REGULAR SUGAR: “Months before Florida Crystals Corp. won a no-bid contract to farm sugar on state-owned land, its top lobbyist and president met with Governor Rick Scott in the home of King Juan Carlos of Spain. They got access during a 2012 trade mission underwritten by corporations including the company, which is co-owner of the Domino Sugar brand. The trip, intended to recruit businesses to Florida, also provided a lobbying opportunity for those already in the state. After the meeting at the palace, Florida Crystals executives joined Scott at a reception they sponsored, featuring Spanish omelets and dry-cured ham. Governors increasingly are using corporate money to fund their excursions, often from businesses that stand to benefit from state decisions. While taxpayers traditionally paid for trade missions, at least 15 states have started collecting donations to cover costs, including six since 2010. Scott, a 61-year-old Republican, has tapped the private money most often, making 10 overseas visits in the past three years, twice the pace of his predecessor, according to public records. ‘It’s an opportunity that the vast majority of people and companies never get,’ said Hayden Dempsey, a Tallahassee lobbyist and former aide to the governor who went on the Spain trip. Scott, he said, was ‘very accessible.’ In the months after, Scott approved a 30-year lease extension that Florida Crystals sought on 8,700 acres of state land. He also signed a bill helping the company limit payments to clean up pollution near its South Florida farms.” (via Bloomberg)
IF I CAN’T CHANGE YOUR MIND:
TIME TO STOP HOLDING YOUR BREATH: “In case anyone was still wondering, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is taking himself out of contention as a possible candidate in the race for governor of Florida. Nelson's decision could free up money for likely Democratic nominee Charlie Crist. At least some of the state's top Democratic fundraisers and donors, who have been loyal to Nelson for years while Crist was still a Republican, have been holding off on getting involved in the governor's race because of the possibility that Nelson might enter. In the last couple of weeks, Nelson and top aides have called several of his key supporters to tell them he won't be a candidate. Most of those who got the calls won't talk about it on the record – they say they don't want to pre-empt Nelson's own public statements concerning his political plans. ‘It is my understanding that he has now ruled out running for governor due to the complexities and restraints of the campaign finance laws,’ said one of those key backers, Ormond Beach insurance executive Charles Lydecker. Lydecker didn't want to say how he got that message, but said it was ‘unambiguous.’ Nelson and his staff, meanwhile, say nothing has changed from his previous contention that he has “no plans and no intention” to try to switch from Washington to Tallahassee. ‘Nothing has changed,’ in fact, was Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin's comment on the reports of calls made by Nelson.” (via Tampa Tribune)
BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAITING LIST, JUST A FEELING OF IMPENDING FINANCIAL DOOM FOR CORPORATE MONSTERS: “This belongs in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category. The short version: Florida’s lawmakers are considering expanding a voucher-like tax credit program because, legislators keep saying, there is a huge waiting list of families who want to participate. It turns out that there is no waiting list. The long version: The Florida legislature has been considering legislation that would expand the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program, a voucher-like scheme that allows public money to be used for private school tuition but wouldn’t require much if anything in the way of accountability from schools that accept vouchers. (For example, the students wouldn’t have to take the high-stakes standardized tests required of public school students.) The Senate bill’s sponsor, Republican Bill Galvano of Bradenton, wound up pulling the bill after stories about the lack of accountability began to spread, and he cited the accountability measures as the reason for his action. He did not mention an embarrassing video that was uncovered in which Doug Tuthill, the president of Step Up for Students, which administers the tax credit program, talks about how much money his organization spends funding political campaigns.” (via Washington Post)
STOP TRYING TO MAKE NICE HEATHERS HAPPEN! FUCK ME GENTLY WITH A CHAINSAW!: “The cult of Heathers, the 1988 black comedy about two high school students who unintentionally make suicide popular, has grown so much in 25 years that it’s now gotten that ultimate niche-classic coronation: adaptation as a Broadway musical. Early notices for the stage production, which opens Monday—the anniversary of the film’s release in the U.S., where it flopped—says it “aims to strike a more hopeful, optimistic tone by the end” than the movie did. To which any diehard Heathers fan might answer something like, “fuck me gently with a chainsaw.” Optimism, see, has no place in Heathers’ appeal. The film is often mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Mean Girls and Clueless due to its subject matter and snappy dialogue, but Heathers features a dark streak unmatched by its descendants. Seen today, it deserves to be celebrated as an early, scathing critique of a culture that celebrates mediocrity and is indifferent to suffering.” (via The Atlantic)
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