WHEN THE TERMS “BLIND TRUST” AND “RICK SCOTT” TAKE ON A DIFFERENT MEANING THAN THE OBVIOUS: “An investment in a French oil services company that drills in Florida poses a conflict of interest for Gov. Rick Scott, according to a complaint filed with the Commission on Ethics on Tuesday by a Broward County activist. In the complaint, John Lundin alleges that Scott’s past $135,000 investment in Schlumberger LTD., once held in a blind trust, is grounds for a broader investigation into Scott’s portfolio. Lundin said he filed the complaint after reading about Scott’s investment in Schlumberger in the Times/Herald on Sunday. “Gov. Scott’s blind trust does not exempt him from complying with State of Florida ethics laws for financial conflicts of interest,” said Lundin, 60, who now lives in Hollywood. After becoming governor, Scott set up a blind trust for his extensive investments in 2011. It revealed his stake in Schlumberger LTD, the world’s largest oil services company that is currently involved in oil drilling in Collier County, near the Everglades. Scott and the Cabinet oversee the Department of Environmental Protection, which regulates oil drilling in Florida. Scott's release Monday of his tax returns showed he no longer owns interest in the company. Lundin said that Scott should have instructed his brokerage firm, C.L. King & Associates, to divest his portfolio of any financial investments that he oversees through the DEP. ‘Gov. Scott failed to do this, which is a financial conflict of interest,’ Lundin states in the complaint.” (via Tampa Bay Times)
TEXAS HATES (GAY) FATHERS. SURPRISE: “It’s heartbreaking to think that a state has erased the parents of children and put a family in legal jeopardy, simply because of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. But that’s what happened to a gay couple in Texas after what they described as the ‘magical’ birth of their twin boys. Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs are the proud fathers of Lucas and Ethan, who were born in April, after they'd connected with a surrogate mom, CharLynn. Each of the men is a biological father to one of the babies. But, because Texas has a ban on gay marriage (it was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge last February, but the decision was stayed pending appeal), and because a judge can use his or her own discretion in these cases, neither of the men is currently on the birth certificates of either of the boys, nor have they been able to co-adopt each other’s biological child. Only the surrogate mother — who has no biological relationship to the boys, since embryos were transferred to her — is on the birth certificates. In essence, the men are not legally defined as the parents of their own children. And though they have DNA tests for proof, they’re worried, particularly if something were to happen to one of them while the other still has not been able to co-adopt the other’s biological child. ‘As of right now in Texas two men cannot be on the birth certificate,’ Jason Hanna explained in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress. ‘So our attorney followed the letter of the law. We petitioned the court. We had DNA testing there [in court] and petitioned the judge to ultimately remove the surrogate mother from the birth certificate, who has no biological ties to the boys. We would like each biological dad to be placed on the birth certificate of our own son, and then ultimately proceed to the second-parent adoption. The entire petition was denied.’” (via Huffington Post)
TELL YOUR MOTHER TO STOP BELIEVING IN DR. OZ. THERE IS NO YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO SKINNY JEANS: “‘I can’t figure this out,’ Senator Claire McCaskill prompted Mehmet Oz yesterday, from halfway across a capacious hearing room. Her tone implied that, at least to some degree, she had figured it out. That was the reason her subcommittee summoned Oz to Washington. ‘I get that you do a lot of good on your show. I understand that you give a lot of great information about health in a way that’s easily understandable. You’re very talented, you’re obviously very bright, and you’ve been trained in science-based medicine.’ Accolades piled up until a buckling of decorum was imminent. ‘Now, here are three statements you made on your show.’ McCaskill read Oz’s words from past segments of The Dr. Oz Show back to him with a clinical formality that underscored their absurdity: ‘You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they’ve found the magic weight loss cure for every body type: It’s green coffee extract.’ ‘I've got the number-one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat: It's raspberry ketone.’ ‘Garcinia cambogia: It may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.’ McCaskill continued, as if reproaching a child. ‘I don't know why you need to say this stuff, because you know it's not true. Why—when you have this amazing megaphone and this amazing ability to communicate—would you cheapen your show by saying things like that?’ ‘If I could disagree about whether they work or not,’ Oz contested, speaking quickly but betraying more diffidence than his face seems used to bearing, ‘and I'll move on to the issue of the words that I used.’” (via The Atlantic)
THEY DON’T LIKE TO BE CALLED THAT ANYMORE (HINT: THEY NEVER DID): “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration because the NFL team’s name is ‘disparaging to Native Americans.’ The case, the second of its kind, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. A 1992 suit had been thrown out on a technicality because some of the plaintiffs had waited too long after turning 18 years old to file the suit. The appeals board ruled Wednesday that the term had been considered offensive by at least 30 percent of Native Americans since at least the 1960s, and its decision canceled six trademark registrations made since then. Federal trademark law prohibits registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or ‘bring them into contempt or disrepute.’ ‘The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,’ said Jesse Witten, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. ‘We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.’” (via Raw Story)
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