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7 posts from November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013

Rick Scott's health care adviser predicts odds of Medicaid expansion 'very low'


“My name is Alan Levine. I'm a conservative," the head of Health Management Associates introduced himself Thursday to a group of healthcare journalists in Doral. Who better than the Republican party healthcare guru to forecast the state's chances of expanding Medicaid? 

"Very low," was Levine's take on those chances, and, on further prodding, "less than 30 percent."

Timing is one of the biggest reasons for his low vote of likelihood. With upcoming elections and the fumbles of the Affordable Care Act's launch, Republicans think they have the upper political hand to stay their course of resistance to Medicaid expansion, even if it means forfeiting billions of federal funds and hurts the poor.

Continue reading "Rick Scott's health care adviser predicts odds of Medicaid expansion 'very low'" »

Q-poll shows how President Obama, seen as untrustworthy, hurts Democrats in FL


Florida voters are souring on President Obama and his signature healthcare law — and it’s hurting Democrats in the state, a new poll indicates.

The president’s job-approval numbers are near an all-time low — 40 percent approve, 57 percent don’t — and a majority of Florida voters now view him as being untrustworthy, the Quinnipiac University poll released Friday showed.

Obama’s waning support is probably weighing down Democrats from Charlie Crist to Hillary Clinton, who are now seeing stiffer competition from Republicans, said Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown.

“Politics is a team sport,” Brown said. “Obama’s the blue team captain and he’s not doing well. So it’s no surprise the president’s teammates are not doing well, either.”

Continue reading "Q-poll shows how President Obama, seen as untrustworthy, hurts Democrats in FL" »

Feds circling tainted Sweetwater police department

@msanchezMIA @BrendaMedinar @jayhweaver

The way those who have been arrested in Sweetwater tell it, cops in this small city targeted low-level criminals, people with little credibility and no resources to defend themselves.

“I know my brother isn’t innocent,” said Leslie Anne Torres, who is trying to recover the three vehicles and other belongings Sweetwater police seized from her brother after a credit-card fraud arrest. “But if the police go to your house and steal your things, then they ain’t no better than my brother.”

Federal authorities are investigating accounts like this one in a widening criminal probe of problems in the Sweetwater Police Department that range from excessive use of force to the unreasonable seizure of suspects’ vehicles.

So far, the FBI has arrested just a single detective on separate fraud charges, though he is also suspected of playing a central role in the larger alleged abuses of power. Two other detectives face possible charges for brutality and theft.

Others have also been tainted by the scandal, including an officer-turned-city-commissioner who was once responsible for the evidence room where thousands of dollars in cash went missing, and a commander who supervised the detectives accused of the most egregious offenses.

More here.

Store video catches Miami Gardens cops in the act


Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years.

He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times.

Despite his long rap sheet, Sampson, 28, has never been convicted of anything more serious than possession of marijuana.

Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing.

Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens.

But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.

So how can he be trespassing when he works there?

It’s a question the store’s owner, Alex Saleh, 36, has been asking for more than a year as he watched Sampson, his other employees and his customers, day after day, being stopped and frisked by Miami Gardens police. Most of them, like Sampson, are poor and black.

And, like Sampson, many of them have been cited for minor infractions, sometimes as often as three times in the same day.

Saleh was so troubled by what he saw that he decided to install video cameras in his store. Not to protect himself from criminals, because he says he has never been robbed. He installed the cameras — 15 of them — he said, to protect him and his customers from police.

More here.

Rick Scott: Florida is top travel destination. Truth-O-Meter: Mais non!

by @amysherman1

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is our salesman-in-chief when it comes to recruiting tourists. His office blasted a press release chock full of statistics about tourism in Florida that made us nod off like a lazy tourist on the beach -- until we came across this phrase:

"As we move toward our third consecutive year of record tourism growth, it is clear why the Sunshine State remains the top travel destination across the world," stated the Nov. 15 press release.

The "top travel destination across the world"? Is the home state of Mickey Mouse kicking the derriere of tourist hot spots like France? We went on a virtual trip to find out. Read the full report from PolitiFact.

Superintendent takes name off Scott's L.G. short list

One of four public officials under consideration to be Gov. Rick Scott's next lieutenant governor has withdrawn his name from consideration.

St. Johns County school superintendent Joseph Joyner, the only educator on Scott's list, said that quitting his job to serve as L.G. would "render me ineffective." Now there's a succinct job description for the office of lieutenant governor if ever there was one.

In a memo to his staff, he said Scott was "extremely gracious" in accepting his decision. Joyner's withdrawal was first reported by the Florida Times-Union. He's one of four people that the Times/Herald reported were being  considered to replace Jennifer Carroll. The others are Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman and Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger.

Here is the important text of Joyner's letter:

"Dear Colleagues, "I wanted to communicate with you first regarding the lieutenant governor position. Please feel free to share with your staff.

"The priorities in my life are now, and always have been, faith, family and personal/professional -- in that order. Although my selfish nature often belies these priorities, I strive to adhere to this value system. To that end, the life and work decisions I make are not simply personal desire, they are deeply spiritual in nature. My family is incredibly important to me. I enjoy being there for them and spending time with them ...

"I believe very strongly that I made a promise to the St. Johns County School District several years ago while the School Board made a commitment to me in the form of a long-term contract. While it may sound corny or old fashioned, that promise is in the form of a contract that I signed and intend to honor. I spoke to Gov. Scott earlier today and asked to be removed from consideration for lieutenant governor. I have found Gov. Scott to be a sincere man of his word, one who understands the importance of commitment and demonstrates this throughout Florida. He was extremely gracious.

"While I am humbled and honored to have been considered, this decision would reverse the priorities in my life and ultimately render me ineffective ... I appreciate your belief and trust in me and I look forward to many more years together. Sincerely, Joe"

-- Steve Bousquet

Q-Poll: Hillary reigns in FL, Jeb matches up best, Obama seen as more dishonest


Quinnipiac University:

Hillary Clinton sweeps a Democratic primary with 70 percent, followed by Vice President Joseph Biden at 9 percent and no other candidate above 4 percent. Ten percent are undecided.

Head to head, Clinton gets 47 percent to former FL Gov. Bush’s 45 percent. She tops other Republicans:

45 – 41 percent over NJ Gov. Chris Christie;

50 – 43 percent over Sen. Marco Rubio;

51 – 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;

50 – 42 percent over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin;

52 – 36 percent over Cruz.

Florida voters say 56 – 39 percent that Clinton would make a good president, the best score of any candidate, followed by Christie at 45 – 35 percent, with Bush at a split 46 – 44 percent.  All other candidates get negative scores, including Rubio with 39 – 47 percent. 

President Obama's job-approval rating is bottoming out, with 40 percent approving and 57 percent disapproving. Obama's all-time law was in Sept. 2011: 39-57.

Perhaps worse for the president, he's not viewed as honest by a majority of Floridians. Asked if the president is honest and trustworthy, 44 percent said yes and 51 percent said no.

More here