SPOILER ALERT: The following column is about to state something nice about an elected official. The author of the column is beside himself with bumfuzzlement at finding himself in this rare predicament. But the author remains confident this awkward mood will soon pass. And so let's get this over with.
A couple of weeks ago this space took Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman to task (and rightfully so) for her vote to keep the much maligned revisionist-history Confederate memorial in its place near the entrance of the old county courthouse....
This didn't take long, did it?
If you want to get elected to office in Florida, a politician is obligated to grovel before the great and powerful National Rifle Association, which views Tallahassee as a wholly owned subsidiary of its interests.
So Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, went on an NRA boot-licking tour a few days ago. He noted what a swell idea it is to permit gun owners to carry their little friends on college campuses, as well as endorsing proposals to allow the open carry of weapons in public places....
Perhaps when President Donald Trump's dubiously titled Commission on Election Integrity wraps up its vital work ferreting out nonexistent voter fraud, it can turn its attention to other jobs, like tracking down who killed Cock Robin, the truth behind the moon landing hoax and the faux horror of the elusive "Bowling Green Massacre."
Somehow Trump convinced himself that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 elections, a claim that has been debunked countless times. This is probably the inevitable result when the president of the United States spends too much time communing with his imaginary friend, Mr. Jingle Pants....
'I'm confused about all this health care stuff."
"Take a number, Bunky. How can I help?"
"Let me see if I understand this. Recent surveys show most Americans support the existing Affordable Care Act. But the Republicans want to gut it and replace it with their own bill that would reduce coverage, increase premiums and essentially toss as many as 15 million people off the Medicaid rolls. And they call that progress?"...
There's crime and then there is really, really sleazy crime.
And that brings us to Frank Pannullo, who will have the next two years sitting in a federal clink to ponder what a complete, dreadful, horrible human being he is. And if there is any miscarriage of justice here it is that Pannulo isn't facing even more jail time.
But we will have to accept the fairness of our system of punishment where we find it....
It was probably just a hint that this celebration was not entirely embraced by the citizenry when many advertisements in the local media invited consumers to shop until they dropped in recognition of the "20th Anniversary."
The 20th anniversary of what? In the United States, stores lure customers in honor of the Fourth of July, or Memorial Day, or Labor Day, or Presidents Day. Not here....
For starters, we can agree that if he decides to enter next year's gubernatorial sweepstakes, Republican Sen. Jack Latvala Clearwater, who is the Yosemite Sam of Tallahassee, would liven things up on the stump.
Let's hope he enters the race — if for no other reason than for entertainment value. After all, Latvala would be squaring off in the Republican primary against ever-cautious Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and possibly Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O'Lakes, who seems to want to upend the state's open government laws and turn Tallahassee into a secretive Scottish Rite Freemason lodge....
I was raised in a football household. Growing up in Akron, Ohio, on Sundays we worshipped the Good Lord and then the Cleveland Browns, though not necessarily in that order. My mother knew more about the NFL than 99 percent of men.
I played football. I broke my nose several times. Badges of honor to bleed for St. Vincent High School. As a 17-year-old kid writing for my high school newspaper, the very first person I ever interviewed was the Browns Hall of Fame receiver Paul Warfield. I was awestruck. I still am....
'Senator McConnell, you wanted to see me, your magnificence?"
"Yes, I did, senator. You see, I have this little problem that I could really use your help in resolving."
"Anything for you, My Leader Among Leaders."
"We have this minor issue with our Better Care Reconciliation Act."
"And what is that, sir?"
"It seems nobody wants to vote for it. I'm seeing so many defections from Republican senators, this thing is starting to look like a Cuban baseball team visiting Miami."...
For a brief, fleeting moment the Hillsborough County Commission had a golden opportunity to simply do the right thing, the decent thing, the dignified thing.
So, of course, they blew it. This is Hillsborough County after all, where intellectual honesty goes to die.
This should have been a no-brainer, which may explain why four county commissioners, Sandra Murman, Victor Crist, Ken Hagan and Stacy White, all put political ambition ahead of civic goodwill....
Just a few words about the … ahem … Pelosi problem.
This should be a time of unfettered glee for Democrats looking toward the 2018 midterm elections and especially the 2020 presidential campaign.
After all, the nation is led by an unconstrained, undisciplined, uncomprehending tweeter in chief who by several estimates has managed to tell more than 600 lies since assuming office. And now President Donald Trump could be on the verge of denying health care to as many as 24 million Americans — many of whom constitute his political base....
What a pile-driving juggernaut of an employee is Felix Santoya. Why, the man is a relentless worker over at the Port of Tampa, logging 726 hours of dedicated labor doing whatever it is he is supposed to be doing. The diligent member of the International Longshoremen's Association earned enough time on the job to qualify for holiday pay, pension benefits and increased seniority.
That's Felix Santoya for you. Work, work, work....
Do you think this probably falls under the category of — awkward?
Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, along with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, were in Orlando falling all over themselves in touting a school bill that further undermines the state's public education system while treating charter schools as if they were the enlightened second coming of Mr. Chips.
Corcoran even managed to wag a scornful finger (feel free to pick which digit) in the general direction of the Hillsborough County School District, which is in the midst of a daunting financial pinch, citing "bloat, inefficiency and gross overspending. Their problem is their management."...
We should probably give some thought to recasting the U.S. Senate as the world's most secretive body, an institution that has grown so sunshine-averse it makes North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly look like the Brigadoon City Council.
Spoiler alert: If you are older, or poor and have one of those pre-existing conditions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his gang of cat-stroking co-conspirators are about to reduce your health care options to a used Band-Aid and a mustard plaster poultice to treat tumors....
'If everyone will stand at attention when the Wizard of the West Wing arrives we will begin this first full Cabinet meeting on time. As you know, you've all been given your talking points expressing deep, unfettered adoration of the 45th president of the United States. And just to up the ante, the best groveler will receive a coveted door prize of a case of aged Trump steaks. Hark! The Dear Leader approaches."...