If it were anybody else's slightly overbitten mug of equine complacency, we might feel bad about such a rat-tat-tat succession of bad-luck shots aimed at one man in just two weeks: political sure-thing status suddenly reduced to vague uncertainty by a bald unknown, a one-two punch of legal defeats with further political implications, public records catching a supposed pillar of justice in a big gay web of lies. But this is Republican Party reptile Bill McCollum we're talking about here — the combover king of hate — so we'll save our sympathies for the next windbag caught in a shit storm, thank you.
First, and probably least importantly, scary health care magnate Rick Scott's vanity television spending spree ("I bet you're wondering, ‘Where have I seen that handsome bald guy before?'" Nope.) appears to be working its head wax on the dull gubernatorial stakes, with Scott's polling up to 24 percent (from nothing!) among likely Republican voters, perilously close to McCollum's sinking 38 percent. Halfway to obscurity, then.
But the big (at least to us) McCollum news last week came when our hero was twice denied by the courts in his attempts to not pay for his litigious mistakes while acting as attorney general. You'll recall that McCollum was averse to making up for the state's mistakes when it prosecuted Bradenton Group Inc. 15 years ago for "illegally" operating a chain of bingo halls in Florida (see "A losing card," March 10). McCollum huffed and puffed and refused to pay judgments in the — now dead — defendant's favor. In doing so, those payments have grown to a hefty sum of $7 million. On May 12, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled unanimously against McCollum's attempts to overturn the financial judgments, effectively shutting down the attorney general's argument that he was immune to such petty things as paying for his mistakes. Then, as expected, on May 18 circuit judge Lawrence Johnston issued a final judgment ordering McCollum to go ahead and make out those invoices totaling $7 million and hand them over to, ahem, his main Democratic gubernatorial rival, state chief financial officer Alex Sink. That is, unless he wants to throw it back to the courts and lose again. Is it worth the gamble?
Probably not, considering that McCollum has now been inextricably linked to the fuzzy gay science of joke-of-the-year George Rekers. Since recently pulled public records reveal that McCollum in fact forced the issue of Rekers being a paid expert witness in the state's still-pending gay adoption case, he may want to lay low. Just don't tell that to Equality Florida. The gay group launched a "we want our money back" petition drive on May 20 in an attempt to get poor McCollum to refund taxpayers the $120,000 he paid Rekers to make his gay-hating case. Yeah, McCollum still has a chance… in hell.
Remember the Orlandamo! Central Floridians, get ready for a reasonable facsimile of a new holiday!
Cinco de Mayo, or "May 5" for those living in Arizona, celebrates the day in 1862 that a Mexican army smashed a French force twice its size near Puebla, a startling victory that many historians credit for keeping the French from intervening in the American Civil War to aid the Confederacy. Cinco celebrations are popping up all over the country, and this year Mayor Buddy Dyer spent an hour or so at City Hall watching Mexican dancers and singers, and scarfing Mexican food.
This was too much for Tom Pastore of Orlando, a frequent online grump about most things government does. He sent an e-mail May 10 to the city and county, huffing that they have no gosh-darn business using taxpayer-owned facilities and money for such frivolity. To be fair, the local festivities were "sponsored by the Consulate of Mexico," so it doesn't look like any of Tom's tax money actually paid for it, even if they occupied public floor space.
Nevertheless, Señor Pastore demands to know why anyone here is honoring an event that happened "a mere 26 years after Mexico slaughtered American Pioneers seeking independence for Texas (from Mexico), as they fought in a Missionary compound called ‘The Alamo' … honorable people simply fighting for their Freedom, and the right to become part of these United States.??!!!" Well, not really. But whatever.
In remembrance of this great event in not-quite-American history, Thomas Pastore asks local governments to hold some celebration of the Alamo next March 6. "It borders on Treason" if they don't, he says, though it's not clear which country they'd be betraying.
Orange County spokesperson Steve Triggs says he wrote back to Pastore noting that the county didn't celebrate Cinco de Mayo and so probably won't take note of the Alamo either. The county gets loads of requests for various proclamations and resolutions, but if it didn't turn most down, then half of the county commission's meetings would be spent reading them out, Triggs says. But city spokesperson Cassandra Lafser confirms that Orlando's big sombreros got Pastore's message — and at first glance, they think it's a great idea.
They're taking time to craft a "definitive response," but in general the city just loves getting proposals to issue this proclamation or that, Lafser says. Most such ideas get approved, and this one seems like "a very honorable request," she says, so why not?
The only question, so far as we can tell, is what Buddy will get for the celebratory lunch. Pie Alamode?
You know who's been feeling left out, lately? Florida. In the ongoing battle of "which Southern U.S. state is crazier," Arizona has gotten off to a seemingly insurmountable lead this year. But then, on May 21 Texas threw its sweat-ringed 10-gallon hat into the ring with the decision to revise Texas schools' history textbooks to reflect more 'Mer'can values like capitalism, Republicanism and Christianity. Oh, and also to de-emphasize the impact of slavery. That's a whole lotta crazy to follow.
Never fear, Floridians: Dr. Richard Swier is here. Mr. Swier is a retired Army lieutenant colonel with an impressive education. He's also the editor of Red County Sarasota, an online journal of right-wing concerns … and the guy's on a roll. Merely a day after making some fringe waves by declaring that the BP oil-spill disaster only serves to point out BP's success — "BP struck black gold!" he says — Swier described, in kinda-sorta detail, the charge he intends to lead "to Gov. Crist's desk in Tallahassee" in response to what he feels are liberally biased textbooks in Sarasota.
He points to the Florida edition of World History: Patterns of Interaction, which sounds totally borrrring, as wrapping Islamo-fascist propaganda in blankets of tolerance. Here's a shocker: Swier has a big, big problem with the chapter entitled Muslim World. For example, he points out, page 267 "lists the five pillars of Islam as faith, prayer, alms, fasting and pilgrimage. It leaves out Jihad." That's because it's not recognized as a pillar, but let's move on. "`Page` 286 states, ‘Christians regard Jesus as the Son of God,'" Swier complains. "Regard is a false term. Christians ‘know' Jesus is the Son of God is the proper description." We're sure they do. Swier also points out that one of the Christianity pages features a picture of an Ethiopian Christian Orthodox priest in "Muslim-style garb" and not a more appropriate photo of whatever Pope hasn't just died or been disgraced. Of course, there's only one logical solution to this liberal agenda: send the textbooks to Mexico where they email@example.com