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Rick Scott
  • Florida Shuts Down Lone TB Hospital Amid TB Outbreak

    Exciting news! The stay in God's waiting room got a little bit shorter, according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control.

    This time, the culprit is not a zombie cannibal who has taken the South Beach diet a step too far and begun eating the protein-laden faces of homeless people. Instead, the problem is tuberculosis, because why the hell not? We already have debtors' prisons and calls for the re-establishment of child labor, so an outbreak of consumption among our country's most vulnerable populations is a nice touch for the Dickensian theme park our politicians are hellbent on creating.

    According to the Palm Beach Post, the CDC issued a report alerting Florida health officials to the worst tuberculosis outbreak in 20 years, which has been linked to 13 deaths and 99 illnesses. The report came just days after Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation to downsize the state's Department of Health and shut down A.G. Holley State Hospital, the only T.B. hospital in Florida.

    It's all part of Scott's plan to make government small enough so that it could be drowned in a bathtub the consumptive mucous of Floridians exposed to an out-of-control drug resistant strain of T.B. Which explains why the response to the CDC report involved a speed up in the closure of the hospital…

    As health officials in Tallahassee turned their focus to restructuring, Dr. Robert Luo's 25-page report describing Jacksonville's outbreak — and the measures needed to contain it — went unseen by key decision makers around the state. At the health agency, an order went out that the TB hospital must be closed six months ahead of schedule.

    Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails. Yet only 253 people had been found and evaluated for TB infection, meaning Florida’s outbreak was, and is, far from contained.

    At least the rest of the country will be well prepared for similar contingencies…

    The recession has battered public health; across the country, local and state health departments have shed 52,200 jobs since 2009. Despite resources from the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act aiming to bolster the public health workforce, it has about 20 percent fewer workers than it did four years ago. Forty-one percent of local health departments expect to make even more cuts this year, according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

    Oh, good. We wouldn't want to anger the T.B. with any kind of government spending. I hear microbes hate that.

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Florida, Health, Health Care, Rick Scott
  • Mitt Romney Asks Rick Scott to Tone Down the Job Improvement Talk

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is a team player. He's clearly willing to do whatever it takes to deliver the Sunshine State's crucial 29 electoral votes to fellow Republican Mitt Romney. Even if he has to purge every last elderly Democratic war hero in the state.

    And, as it happens, Florida has some decent economic improvement numbers to crow about. And what better way to show that Republicans in the executive office know how to get things done? Seems like a no-brainer, right?

    Well, in a manner of speaking, yes

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state's jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

    What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

    Swinging positive numbers into a negative message shouldn't be all that hard a task. I mean, mathematics is hardly an exact science.

    Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Economy, Florida, Mitt Romney, Rick Scott
  • Quote Unquote: The Purge of Florida Continues

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott on his refusal to follow demands from the Department of Justice to cease a supposedly-illegal voter purge


    "Look, these elections sometimes are really close. We don’t want… non-U.S. citizens on voter rolls and voting. So I'm going to do my best to get it done as quickly as I can."


    Hmmmmm… Interesting. I wasn't aware that "non-U.S. citizen" was now an accepted euphemism for Democrat.

    Obviously, I knew it was just a matter of time.

    Tags: Department of Justice, Florida, Rick Scott, Voter Suppression
  • From the Pork Barrel: Less Safety, More Stupidity!

    * Mitt Romney hears Wisconsin voters loud and clear: Let our houses burn down!

    * A guy who was escorted away from a Romney event for screaming "Liar!" through a megaphone over and over again feels that he was disrespected by security guards.

    * Florida Gov. Rick Scott is less popular with everyday people than a professional basketball player. That's got to hurt!

    * Mitt Romney discovers charming new pastry thing called — and don't quote me on this — a doughnut?

    Tags: Basketball, Education, Florida, Law & Order, Mitt Romney, Pork Barrel, Rick Scott, Sports, Wisconsin
  • Rick Scott Executes Florida Innocence Commission

    For people who claim skepticism about the efficacy of government, many conservative Republicans are strangely optimistic about the effects legislation can have on the real world.

    Concerned about the effects of climate? North Carolina will put those liberal oceans in their place by requiring scientists to change the way they report sea level projections. Worried about the decaying moral fabric of civilization? Tennessee has the answer with its "don't say gay" initiative. There's almost no issue that can't be solved by aggressively ignoring it.

    One of Florida's problems appears to be the stunning regularity with which innocent people are convicted of capital crimes. Since 1973, 23 death row inmates have been exonerated in the state. Governor Rick Scott has a novel solution: Eliminate the judicially imposed Innocence Commission that has been active since 2009.

    The Commission costs $200,000 to operate, an appropriation that Scott recently vetoed

    It's a puzzling decision from the governor, a favorite among Tea Party activists and limited government advocates. In a state with a $70 billion budget, the commission's funding is minuscule. Even if Scott is unconcerned about his state's history of imprisoning innocent people, his veto could cost Florida taxpayers in the long run. A 2011 study of 85 wrongful convictions in Illinois found that convicting and imprisoning the wrong person cost taxpayers $214 million. The actual perpetrators of those crimes went on to commit dozens of additional felonies, including 14 murders. Assuming the costs are similar in Florida, if the commission prevents just one wrongful conviction, it would fund itself for 12.5 years.

    Sure, this sounds like a potentially expensive proposition, but can you really put a price tag on the moral lightness that comes with not knowing whether the state is putting innocent people to death?

    Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty Images

    Tags: Capital Punishment, Florida, Judiciary, Rick Scott