Tag Archives: Rick Scott

Maybe my most depressing Election Night ever was even worse than I expected. And a fantastic Esquire story about solving the mass shootings issue

GOPstomp

Well that sucked.

I went into Election Night last night with very low expectations, fully expecting the Republicans to take over the Senate, and probably win some governorships.

But the reality was so, so much worse than I expected. Just about every race that I was emotionally invested in, the candidate I supported lost. And it’s not just that: Just about ALL of the biggest horse’s asses who were running Tuesday night got re-elected, and some by much larger margins than I thought.

Rick Scott in Florida. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback in Kansas. Mitch McConnell. Joni Ernst, your new bat-shit crazy Senator from Iowa.

The list goes on and on. I think the only other time I was this depressed on Election Night was 2004, when W. Bush got re-elected and I had no idea how America (and me) was going to survive four more years of him.

So depressed. Just went in and kissed my 2-month-old son, that made me feel better.
Some final 2014 election thoughts as I sit here in the wee hours, with my ginger ale and bag of Tostitos multigrain chips (a truly outstanding snack we’ve just discovered in my house):

— I gotta start with Rick Scott.  I lived in Florida for 5 years, and was there in 2010 when he first got elected. I know Florida’s a crazy state, much more conservative than people realize, and I know the Democrats have put up two straight really terrible candidates against him. (Really? We couldn’t do better than ex-Republican governor Charlie Crist?)
But I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone voted for Rick Scott and elected him twice to run a state.
He was a miserable candidate, and an evil, greedy governor. Within three months of his first term he was the most unpopular governor in America. And yet he just got re-elected. I will remain baffled by that forever.

— That said, I know Rick Scott has zero chance nationally. But Scott Walker? He’s starting to scare me. Three election wins in four years (one was a recall), not much national political baggage, and he destroyed an opponent Tuesday who was tied in polls with him. He’s hugely anti-union, loved by the Tea Party, and governor of a blue state. Plus he’s bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers, so you know they’ll have his back in two years.
He’s got a great shot to get the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

— It kills me that once again, the Democratic candidates ran far, far away from the greatest legislative achiement their party has pulled off in decades: Affordable, universal health care. Did any of them take credit for it, or campaign on it? Why were they so scared to tout one of the few things that’s actually gotten done in Congress the last six years?

— Chris Matthews is always the most annoying part of Election coverage for me. I watch MSNBC of course, because I love Maddow and most of their other commentators, but Matthews comes off as so smug and arrogant, I just can’t stand him.

— Mitch McConnell is your new Senate Majority leader. A man who said in 2009 that his No. 1 legislative goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Yep, I have a great feeling bipartisanship and cooperation is about to ensue.

— Only bright spot Tuesday was that Scott Brown lost, this time in New Hampshire, after losing in Mass. in 2012. Best Tweet of the night said “Hey Scott Brown, Vermont has a Senate seat available in 2016!”

— I lied, there was one other bright spot: Voters in Oregon and Washington, D.C. approved pot legalization laws. Outstanding.

— OK, time for a mood-lifter. Take it away, Partridges…

Well, I feel better.

–Finally, the loss of the Senate doesn’t really bother me too much. Nothing was getting done on immigration, climate change, etc. in the next two years anyway. But the governorship dominance by the GOP really hurts, because sadly that’s where all the real legislation that affects people’s lives, longterm and short-term happens.

Politics sucks when your side gets slaughtered.

**Next up, I promised in Monday’s post to highlight another great piece of journalism I’ve read lately. Tom Junod of Esquire takes a look at a radical new way that a division of the FBI is looking to stop, or contain, the huge number of mass shootings that have gone on in America in recent years.

No, it’s sadly not about enforcing gun control laws or making it harder for people to get guns, because that’s never happening in the U.S. But it’s a strategy that’s really enlightening and fascinating to read about, basically learning to target “behavioral threats” in a different and more comprehensive way.
Junod does excellent reporting here, using one troubled kid who walked right up to the line of becoming a mass shooter and explains the psychology of what he thought back then.

Really great story here, I urge you to check it out.

A weekend at Camden Yards, my favorite ballpark. Florida decides to execute more people. And juggling around Iceland

oriolepark

I might get thrown out of New York by my fellow Yankees fans for saying this, but this weekend I got to spend time at my favorite all-time baseball stadium.
And it ain’t in the Bronx.
My father, a few of his friends and I sauntered down I-95 to Baltimore last Friday, for some male bonding, delicious crab cakes, and the Yankees-Orioles game the next day at Camden Yards.

Ah, Camden Yards. I hadn’t been there since I went to a few games when I was at college in Delaware in the mid-1990s, when it had just opened. But the place hasn’t lost any of its charm, in my opinion.

From the atmosphere in and around the stadium, the sightlines from the seats, the gorgeous brick buildings behind the center field fence, everything at Camden Yards is just perfect. I’ve been to Wrigley and Fenway Park, but Camden Yards, to me, is the best place I’ve been.

I got to eat some of Boog Powell’s famous barbecue (as good as advertised), met some very friendly people, and enjoyed being a visiting fan in a hostile park (though the place was probably 40 percent filled with Yankees fans).

Camden Yards, of course, began the whole boom of teams building old-style stadiums, and there are a ton of beauties opened since the Orioles’ field, including PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

But to me, Camden Yards just has it all. Unfortunately for us, the home fans left very happy Saturday night, as my Yanks got pummeled, 11-3.

Still, even with the result, it was a fantastic weekend, just to be in a terrific locale like Camden Yards.
If you’re a baseball fan and have never been, put it on your Bucket List. It’s that good.

**Next, something you just don’t see every day. A man doing some awesome juggling while tooling around Iceland. This was mesmerizing to me…

**Finally, heard this rather disturbing story about the state I lived in for a while, the crazy but always entertaining state of Florida.

Governor Rick Scott, who is to leadership what Wile E. Coyote was to masculinity, has signed what’s called the “Timely Justice Act.” What this act does is reduce the amount of time a person convicted and sentenced to the death penalty can appeal the act.
Let me just hit you with a few chilling facts that will help you see what an incredibly stupid and cruel law this is.
In the last 40 years in Florida, 77 people have been executed. In that same time period, 24 death-row inmates have been exonerated and given either new trials or freed.
Twenty-four.

So that means that in 40 years, one out of every three individuals on death row have been wrongly sentenced to death.
And yet faced with those numbers,  Rick Scott wants to speed up the number of executions (his office laughingly declares that there won’t be a rise in executions because of this law).
People like me who oppose the death penalty always say that “what if an innocent person is killed by the state?”

In Florida, it may have already happened. And Rick Scott just wants to keep pulling that switch.

Fla. Gov Rick Scott putting your tax dollars to waste! My namesake writes a great profile of Obama. And the worst idea for a proposal, ever

It’s almost too easy criticizing Florida governor Rick Scott some days.
The man is so inept, so incompetent, so wrong on so many issues, that I have no doubt he is well on his way to being one of the worst governors in the history of America.

To add to the long litany of mistakes Mr. Scott has made, I give you this story from this week. Back in April state data reported on the results of Scott’s grand, much-needed plan to require drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits. As it turned out, it didn’t save any money (it actually cost the state an extra $45,ooo) and it saw 2.6 percent of welfare applicants fail the drug test.

Yep, ole’ Rick sure fixed that problem but quick.

Now comes word of the results of one of Scott’s other “brilliant,” necessary ideas, where he vowed to crack down and eliminate from Florida’s voting rolls all those illegal aliens who are casting fraudulent votes in the state’s elections.

The results of this fabulous use of state time and money? They caught one guy. One freaking guy, a Canadian, is all that’s been caught, tried and convicted in Florida for pretending to be an American and voting in two of our elections.

Sigh. Rick Scott was a joke when he ran for governor, and he’s a joke now. But it’s not funny; the man is doing serious damage to a state with millions of citizens who don’t deserve his kind of bumbling “leadership.”

**I’ve said many times before, to anyone who would listen, that if I have to share my name with a much more famous writer, I’m glad it’s a really talented scribe whose success is because of his skill, not because he writes trashy stories.

Michael Lewis, who of course wrote “Moneyball” and “The Blind Side” and many, many other books and articles, got a unique opportunity for a Vanity Fair story: he spent eight months hanging out with the President of the United States.

He got to see Barack Obama in unguarded moments, when he was just shooting the bull, and he got to watch Obama play basketball, hang out on Air Force One (did you know it was big enough to carry a casket? One of the many things I learned), and talk about the excruciatingly difficult decision of whether to send troops into Libya last year.

It’s a very long story but one that gives great insights into Obama. Whether you love him or hate him, I guarantee you’ll come away from this piece feeling like you know him a lot better. Check it out here., and here is an interview Lewis did with Rachel Maddow about the piece.

**Finally, I spend some time on Wide World of Stuff highlighting romantic, sweet, unique marriage proposals, because I love them and I’m a hopeless sap.

Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum:  This guy. A Russian man named Alexey Bykov really wanted to marry his girlfriend, Irena Kolokov. But he wasn’t sure how to pop the question.
So he hired a writer, a director, movie stuntmen and makeup artists to stage a car crash, and instructed Irena to meet him at the scene.

When she showed up, she found Alexey covered in fake blood.

“When I arrived there were mangled cars everywhere, ambulances, smoke and carnage…a paramedic told me he was dead and I just broke down in tears,” Kolokov told Orange News.

The tears, apparently, were good enough for Byokov, who sprang to his feet and proposed–fake blood, bandages, and all.

I mean … dude! You couldn’t have just taken her out to a nice restaurant or popped the question at a ballgame or something?
Alexey my friend, the bar has been set high (or low).

Personally, if I’m Irena, I’m expecting Alexey to start a fake war on their wedding day.

The original basketball “Dream Team,” in their own words. The joy of buying a parking space in New York. And The Daily Show mocks Fla. governor.

A tip of the cap today to the late Henry Hill, who died Tuesday night. Hill was the basis for Ray Liotta’s character in “Goodfellas,” which is the best mob movie ever made (and yes, I’ve seen “The Godfather.” It’s a fantastic movie. “Goodfellas” is better. Here’s hoping wherever Hill eats his next meal in the afterlife, the chef doesn’t use too many onions. 

I did something I never thought I’d do on Wednesday. But I guess it officially makes me a real New York City resident.

I bought a parking space. Yep, in a couple of weeks it’ll all be mine: a wonderful 12 feet by 20 feet piece of concrete, with one line on each side letting the whole freaking world know that THIS space belongs to me.
It’s always sounded crazy to me, buying a parking space. It seemed so silly; purchasing a hunk of ground when my whole life I’ve always found free spots.

But you know, I’m moving to Manhattan, I’ve got a car, and, well, it’s next to impossible to regularly find a legal parking space near my new apartment-building home.
And so I talked to a guy, got a great Groupon deal on a monthly rental, and here we are. (Hey, at least I didn’t have to pay what this guy is asking for a spot.)

So I now own a space. I feel like such a grown-up. I think I’ll just drive around and park in it for hours on my first day. Or maybe I’ll run outside on the street and yell at those  poor schlubs trying to find a legal spot “Hey buddy, can’t find a spot? Sucks for you, I got one right here!”

Nah.

**So there’s been a whole ton of hype lately about the 20th anniversary of the greatest basketball team ever assembled, the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team.
It was the first time NBA players were allowed to play in the Olympics, and there’ll never be a better collection of hoops talent: Magic. Bird. Michael. Charles Barkley. Patrick Ewing. Karl Malone. And so on.
Their games were a joke, so lopsided were they. Their opponents were in awe, and the basketball they played was so beautiful.

The NBA TV channel did a fabulous documentary on the team last night (it re-airs  Friday at 10:30 p.m., and a bunch more times after that), the gifted SI writer Jack McCallum has written a book about the squad, and my old colleague at SLAM magazine, Lang Whitaker, has penned this terrific oral history of the squad. There are some fantastic stories in here, about the day a team of college players whupped the Dream Team, about the egos that clashed at the beginning, and other good stuff.
Definitely a great read about a team that was truly the greatest ever.

**Finally today, I ranted a few weeks ago about the awful governor of Florida, Rick Scott, and his attempts to purge voters from the rolls in the state. Fortunately, we have The Daily Show and John Oliver on the case. Enjoy the hilarity here.

A 91-year-old vet thrown off Florida voter rolls. Maybe the best baseball catch ever. And the single guy with a unique way of getting dating feedback

It’s not exactly breaking news that single guys will do just about anything to improve their chances to get women.
But very few have ever taken it as far as this guy I heard about on NPR’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” this week. My new hero Michael Stoler is a 24-year-old guy from Philadelphia who was having trouble figuring out why he wasn’t having success with women.
So he created a date questionairre that he began emailing women he’d gone out with, asking them if they’d be helpful and tell him what he’s doing wrong or right.

Hey, it’s hard for us men to figure out what the hell you women want. Of course, predictably, our man Mike hasn’t gotten the best responses.

“Mike dresses like an old man and wears suspenders more than he should,” one woman said. Another woman said he had the manners of a 5-year-old.

But Mike said he’s gotten a few new dates out of the publicity his “surveys” have gotten. So you know, it’s all good.

Not sure I’d ever have had the chutzpah (or the creepiness) to do what Mike did. But hey, a guy’s gotta try something new when it’s not working with the ladies.

**I have not seen every baseball catch in the history of the world. But there can’t have been more than five or six better than the effort turned in by Derrick Salberg of Lower Columbia (Wash.) College. Check out this incredible catch in the last inning of a game his team lead by two runs.

This catch saved the game. And will be a story Salberg tells for the rest of his life.

**Finally, the state of Florida, under the “leadership” of America’s worst governor, Rick Scott, has been trying for years now to throw voters off the rolls for completely invalid reasons. Politicians try to eliminate voters for one simple reason: They don’t like how those people would vote (and geez, what a surprise, it’s usually poor people and minorities whose voting eligibility is challenged)

But man, in the words of Balki from “Perfect Strangers,” Rick Scott has really stepped in something good this time.  Bill Internicola is a 91-year-old World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received a Bronze Star.

But he received a notice a few weeks ago telling him he wasn’t a U.S. citizen and therefore couldn’t vote.

His response? “Are you crazy?”

It’s disgusting what Scott is doing in Florida. But we don’t get outraged about this stuff anymore, because it’s so common.

Florida GOP doesn’t want teachers helping kids register to vote. A tribute to the Kobra Kai sensai. And a ridiculous wedding lawsuit

You know what the biggest fear of the Republican party is? No, not a weekend alone with Carson Kressley and Cam from “Modern Family.”

It’s voting. They don’t want people to vote. For a generation now, they’ve tried to make it really, really hard for U.S. citizens to vote. They’re just basically scared of the “wrong people” voting. You know, like African-Americans, Hispanics, and any other minority that doesn’t normally vote Republican.

Oh, they throw around words like “voter fraud” and try to make you think that the whole country is Chicago under Richard Daley, and votes are being stolen left and right.
But really, they’re just scared. And they’re making it harder and harder for honest, decent citizens like Jill Cicciarelli of New Smyrna Beach High School in Florida to get kids excited about voting and politics.

If you haven’t heard, Cicciarelli may owe her state, currently being run into the ground by Governor Rick Scott, thousands of dollars. Cicciarelli broke the law recently. She had the nerve to register students at New Smyrna Beach without first getting a registration license, and then she didn’t turn the ballots in under the brand-new deadline of 48 HOURS after the registrations were filled out.

This is all part of a larger pattern in Florida and other states; reduce early voting days, make it harder and harder for people who have moved to vote, etc.

It’s disgusting and despicable that Cicciarelli and other Fla. teachers have “broken the law” by trying to get young people excited about their future.

Truly pathetic. But not at all surprising.

**On a happier note, I love any video that has to do with “The Karate Kid.” Here’s a tribute to Kobra Kai sensai John Kreese, and the numerous facial expressions he makes during the All Valley Karate Tournament. The man got robbed of an Oscar, I tell you. Sweep the leg!

**Finally a truly ridiculous lawsuit. A man named Todd Remis is suing a New York photography studio for not properly documenting his 2003 wedding. He waited six years to file the suit, he and his wife are now divorced (she lives in Latvia now), but Remis wants the studio to pay $48,000 so he can re-create the wedding and re-shoot the last 15 minutes of the reception, which he says the photographers missed.

I mean, I don’t even know what to say. Except if this is the kind of guy Remis is, I have no trouble believing he’s divorced.

The NRA’s winning streak continues. Nadal goes down on clay, stunningly. And an awesome Frisbee trick-shot artist

You know what depresses me? Not much. I’m the most optimistic person I know.
But the NRA and its stranglehold over America depresses me.
My smart and funny friend April Hall pointed me toward this story. The National Rifle Association has decided that pediatricians, those evil, horrible ENORMOUS threats to the gun owning population of America, must be stopped.
Yep, they’ve gotten the Florida legislature (always a bastion of liberalism, this is the body that just allowed gay adoption last year) to craft a bill, likely to be signed by our idiot Gov., Rick Scott, that bans pediatricians from asking new parents if they have guns at home, and if they’re stored safely.
Which is a question doctors have asked new parents for ages.
And what, exactly, is the harm in the family doctor reminding parents to store guns safely? Well, clearly that’s a moral stance the docs are taking. Clearly they’re showing their disapproval for guns by having the chutzpah to ask owners to be responsible!

We can’t have that now, America, can we? How dare those doctors tell us what to do with our pistols and our rifles???

It’s disgusting how much sway the NRA has on our laws. Forget about having the Republicans in their pocket, as they have for generations. They’ve got 95 percent of the Dems in their pocket, too.
There is no single more powerful group in America, I truly believe that.
And every politician is too damn spineless to stand up to them. So the NRA runs roughshod over state legislatures and the Congress.
Makes me sick to my damn stomach.

**Novak Djokovic is playing tennis on another planet right now.
And he keeps knocking down barriers that the rest of us think will stop him.
The latest came on Sunday. “Nole,” as he is called, was playing on clay, in Spain, against the pride of the country, Rafael Nadal.
It’s kinda like going up against Superman on Krypton.
But Djokovic didn’t just beat Nadal, snapping the Spaniard’s 37-match win streak on clay. He physically punished him, winning 7-5, 6-4 for Djokovic’s absurd 32nd straight win this season.
As someone who’s watched this rivalry for years, it’s astonishing to watch Djokovic push Nadal around the court. He crushed Nadal in the winners dept. (27-17), and really was never in danger of losing the match.
That’s 3 straight wins for Djokovic over Rafa.

I thought this quote was stunning; Nadal was asked after the match about whether he thought his No. 1 world ranking was in danger this year.
“The No. 1 ranking is not in danger — it’s finished,” Nadal said. “Let’s not lie to ourselves, that’s the reality.”
Man, I cannot wait for the French Open to start in 2 weeks.

Course, Rafa did have the shot of the year in the match Sunday. Check out this insane between the legs lob winner:

**Finally, some cool Frisbee action for your Monday. This is from a kid at the University of Florida named Brodie Smith.
He’s apparently some sort of Frisbee savant. Check out all these sick trick shots he makes; my favorites are the ones at :45 and at 1:58: (the latter one took only six tries, Smith says)

Rick Scott joins the “I hate teachers” movement. A great “Big Bang”line. And the man who loves Julia Roberts a little too much

While much of America’s political attention has been focused on the nutso Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (and kudos to you, sir, for finally admitting with your secret little voting cabal the other night that the union-busting you’re doing has bubkes to do with the budget issus of your state), there’s a guy in my neck of the woods who’s equally dangerous.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida, a man who I still can’t believe was actually elected, has just rail-roaded through a bill that will even more tie teacher’s salaries and job security to test scores.
Scott is killing tenure for new teachers, who are always the most at-risk for being laid-off, anyway, and planning to spend billions to create new tests and standards.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Gov. Scott, you and so many others don’t get it. You CANNOT educate children by scaring the bejeezus out of their teachers., who work with a sword over their head if Johnny doesn’t do well enough on your standardized test.
You cannot educate children by demanding they learn and recite fact after fact, just to please the fat cats in the statehouse. You cannot spend billions of dollars that the state needs for other pressing problems making up fancy new standardized tests.
I’ve said it once on this blog, I’ve said it a dozen times: Yes, we need better ways to evaluate teachers, and allow principals the power to fire bad ones and promote good ones.
But demanding better test scores at the barrel of a gun is so, so the wrong way to do it.

**I could blog about “The Big Bang Theory” every day, that’s how damn funny it is.
But when a line makes me spit out the food I was eating, because I’m laughing so hard, I feel compelled to share.
From Thursday night’s episode, as Sheldon desperately tried to figure out a magic trick Howard was doing:
Penny: (ditzy blonde on show) “Big deal. Not knowing is part of the fun.”
Sheldon: Not knowing is part of the fun? What’s that, the motto of your community college?”

So good.

**Finally, this gentleman hasn’t learned the fine line between being a fan and being really, really creepy. Me, I’ve always loved Heather Locklear (don’t judge me.) But would I ever tattoo 82 pictures of her all over my body, as my man Miljenko Bukovic, a man from Chile, has with his crush, Julia Roberts? Probably not.
I am fascinated by this. EIGHTY-TWO tattoos? Don’t you think after, like, 46 some of his friends were like “Milo, brother, we loved “Pretty Woman” and “Mystic Pizza”, too, but don’t you think that’s enough with the permanent ink on your body? I mean, have you SEEN this Scarlett Johansson chick? She’s pretty hot, too.”
I’m guessing the only person who encourages Milo to keep going with the Roberts-obsessive behavior is his tattoo artist.
I’m guessing Milo’s tattoo artist has put a new roof on his house, and gotten a flat-screen TV out of all this.

Ah, I love crazy people.