THE BILL OF GOODS THAT THE LEGISLATURE SOLD YOU ON OBAMACARE: “They lied to you. Not a big, bald-faced lie. Not a get-a-load-of-this lie. It was more of a sneaky lie. The kind of lie that sounds sincere when it's told, and doesn't register as the most dangerous of deceits until it is too late. In short, your state leaders lied when they told you they would come up with an alternative to Medicaid expansion. You remember that, right? Back when Gov. Rick Scott said he couldn't in good conscience deny health care to uninsured residents during the three years the federal government was footing the entire bill? Back when the Senate came up with a plan to use Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poorest of poor among us? Back when the House rejected federal funds of any kind? ‘If we're going to say 'no' to Medicaid expansion, let's say ‘yes' to something,'' Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said more than a year ago. ‘There's a desire to do the right thing and try to find a way to provide a safety net for this population that works,'' Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, said around the same time. ‘There's all kinds of things we can look at.’ ‘We will stand up to their inflexible plan and we'll work on our own solution, one that better reflects the needs and priorities of our state,' Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said in a speech some 13 months ago. Yet the House and Senate made it through the entire 2013 legislative session without a solution. And with the 2014 session soon to end, they'll be on a two-year useless streak. What's worse? This time, they didn't even try.” (via Tampa Bay Times)
WOULD (THEY) LIE TO YOU?
AN ORGY OF IMPROPRIETY!: “On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott saw his appointee to Orlando's toll-road agency get indicted and booked at the jail. It was a pathetic scene — and yet another stain on this mess of an agency that sucks up commuters' toll money and yet seems incapable of cleaning up its act. But the most pathetic thing about all of this was that it was so easily preventable. Rick Scott ignored call after call to remove now-indicted Scott Batterson from this board. And Batterson and his buddies ignored warning after warning that they were being watched. It was a brazen display of arrogance — as if the whole thing were a game to them. They defied the state attorney and dismissed the public. To avoid scandal and grand juries, these folks needed to focus on only two things: making driving easy and keeping tolls low. But for far too long, developers and politicians have treated the authority like a personal piggy bank. Developers try to score coveted interchanges near their property. Contractors try to score jobs based on cronyism rather than quality, low-cost bids. And the whole orgy of impropriety is surrounded by campaign donations for the politicians involved.” (via Orlando Sentinel)
THE SHAMING OF THE SUN: “At long last, the Koch brothers and their conservative allies in state government have found a new tax they can support. Naturally it’s a tax on something the country needs: solar energy panels. For the last few months, the Kochs and other big polluters have been spending heavily to fight incentives for renewable energy, which have been adopted by most states. They particularly dislike state laws that allow homeowners with solar panels to sell power they don’t need back to electric utilities. So they’ve been pushing legislatures to impose a surtax on this increasingly popular practice, hoping to make installing solar panels on houses less attractive. Oklahoma lawmakers recently approved such a surcharge at the behest of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative group that often dictates bills to Republican statehouses and receives financing from the utility industry and fossil-fuel producers, including the Kochs. As The Los Angeles Times reported recently, the Kochs and ALEC have made similar efforts in other states, though they were beaten back by solar advocates in Kansas and the surtax was reduced to $5 a month in Arizona. But the Big Carbon advocates aren’t giving up. The same group is trying to repeal or freeze Ohio’s requirement that 12.5 percent of the state’s electric power come from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2025. Twenty-nine states have established similar standards that call for 10 percent or more in renewable power. These states can now anticipate well-financed campaigns to eliminate these targets or scale them back.” (via New York Times)
BECAUSE KILLING THE NATIVES IS THE ONLY OPTION: “This month, after a bear attacked a Seminole County woman in her garage — the second such attack on a human in less than six months — Florida wildlife officials quickly killed seven bears they said appeared to be too aggressive and unafraid of people. The killings sparked a controversy in Central Florida. Some argued the bears should have been relocated someplace far from people. Others — including a dozen legislators — called for a return to the 1970s, when Florida allowed bear hunting, at least in "hot spots" with problem bears. In a way, Florida already has bear hunting, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission executive director Nick Wiley. It's just that the hunters are all biologists working for Wiley's agency. And the number of bears they kill each year keeps increasing, until last year the number hit 25. "We don't like doing that," Wiley said. "But that's the only tool we've got right now." They can't relocate the bears because there's no place left in Florida to do so safely. The bears they have tried to move keep returning to root around in garbage cans, tear screens off windows and smash through sheds looking for food.” (via Tampa Bay Times)