Yesterday, I wondered just how venal and despicable our politicians and plutocrats will be allowed to get before they trigger an inevitable revolt.
Rick Scott, the obscenely rich and demonstrably corrupt Governor of Florida, is evidently trying to push those limits.
The Miami Herald obtained thousands of pages of health department documents under the state’s public records law, including nearly 800 emails and hundreds of memos and reports that detailed the state’s plan to “restructure” CMS. They show that the elimination of children from CMS was the result of a plan to slash spending on sick kids at a time when Florida had a $635.4 million surplus. For the legislative session that begins next month, Gov. Rick Scott has proposed $1 billion in new tax cuts. The spending plan would eliminate an additional 718 health department positions. […]
The parents of one Palm Beach County infant learned on the eve of a critical craniofacial surgery that their 6-month-old son had been “screened out” of CMS. The little boy is profoundly disabled, records show, having been born deaf, without eyes, and with a disfiguring cleft palate. The child’s mother called CMS in preparation for the surgery, only to be told “the screening is showing ‘NO,’ so they would not do anything.”
A post at DailyKos explained the program and summed up the situation:
This program—for Medicaid-qualified children and for those whose parents make too much for Medicaid coverage but not enough for private insurance—provides more intervention with specialists and care devised for kids with special medical needs. Some of the activities of the CMS, like “providing care coordinators to help parents access therapy and medication, and organizing one-stop clinics for kids with sickle cell disease, HIV or cleft palates,” just doesn’t happen with Medicaid.
But there was too much need in the state for the program. It was getting too many enrollees and it became too expensive to treat these kids, so the state had some options. Not having $1 billion in new tax cuts was not among the options. Dropping 9,000 kids was what they settled on.
Rick Scott’s priorities. Excuse me while I take a long shower….
According to Business Insider, Florida Governor Rick Scott has “pulled a Mitch” at Florida State University, appointing Trustees who then (what a coincidence!) appointed his campaign manager and crony as president.
According to The Times-Union, the state senator’s final interview with the FSU Board of Trustees Tuesday “came despite opposition to Thrasher from faculty and students expressing concern about the school’s reputation and the need for the next leader to have stellar academic credentials.”
Jennifer Proffitt, the president of the FSU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, told The Times-Union that “It’s clear [Thrasher] does not have the qualifications to lead a research university.”
Thrasher is a former Florida house speaker and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. He graduated from FSU for both his undergraduate and law degrees.
The Times-Union reports that Thrasher had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of students and faculty last week at an open forum. Of the close to 700 responses collected after the talk, 11% gave Thrasher ‘good’ grades, while 87% gave him ‘not good’ or ‘below average’ marks,” according to The Times-Union.
Another criticism of Thrasher is his close connections to many of the FSU trustees — most were appointed by Florida governor Rick Scott, whose campaign for re-election is managed by Thrasher. (emphasis mine)
The justification for placing politicians in these positions is that they will be good fundraisers. It is evidently irrelevant that they do not share the values of the academy–or even understand the mission of a research university. They are spectacularly unfit for the job of protecting scholarly inquiry and academic freedom.
Sic transit intellectual integrity and institutional credibility.
Okay–no big post today. Today is fingernail-biting/pundit-watching/whatever-happens-it’s- finally-over day. There will be time to chew over the results later.
A friend sent me an email with a small medallion attached; it said “Stay calm and trust Nate Silver.” Good advice–if not for the nagging concerns raised by the widespread efforts at voter suppression and intimidation. I can’t help contrasting two governors: Andrew Cuomo in New York, and Rick Scott in Florida. In the wake of storm Sandy, Cuomo has issued an executive order allowing New Yorkers to vote at any polling place. They just need to submit an affidavit that they are registered, and that the storm damaged their usual voting site. In contrast, Florida Governor Rick Scott has “purged” voter rolls of thousands of properly registered citizens, mostly minorities, and closed down early voting sites.
I hope the response to Scott and the others, like Ohio Secretary of State Husted, is a greater determination to exercise the franchise they are trying so hard to deny to the “wrong kind” of voters.
We’ll know later tonight.
We took our grandchildren to the Newseum today, and I would recommend it to anyone contemplating a trip to DC. It is a fabulous museum–not at all a dusty repository of newsprint, but an interactive, living testament to the practice of journalism. For our 8 and 10 year olds, there were numerous “games” and short films that buried instruction in entertainment–snapshots of the past as seen through the eyes of those who covered the events.
One of the short films focused on the Freedom Riders, the Birmingham boycott and Selma. Our grandchildren were shocked and uncomprehending, and we had a long talk about the treatment of African-Americans, segregation and the Ku Klux Klan.
The film clip also showed President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act. The voice-over explained that in many Southern states, ways had been found to keep black people from voting, necessitating a federal law securing their right to cast their ballots.
All I could think of was how contemporary this sounded.
Indiana passed one of the first so-called “Voter ID” laws, justified by a need to reduce a non-existent “voter fraud,” but actually intended to suppress the vote of the poor and minority citizens who vote disproportionately for Democrats. Other states have followed suit. Most recently–and most brazenly–Governor Rick Scott of Florida ordered a draconian “purge” of that swing state’s voter rolls–so draconian, and so indiscriminate (hundreds of eligible voters found themselves summarily removed from the rolls), that the state’s county election officials–Republican and Democrat alike–refused to implement it, and the U.S. Justice Department has sued to halt it.
States may not be able to employ the Poll Tax any more, but these measures have proved to be very serviceable substitutes.
I thought about that while I was assuring my grandchildren that the law signed by President Johnson secured the right to vote for all our citizens. What I didn’t have the heart to tell them was that when you close a door that is being used by dishonorable people, they’re likely to find an open window to wriggle through.
Jefferson was sure right about one thing: eternal vigilance really is the price of liberty.
Linda Greenhouse’s column in this morning’s New York Times discusses an absolutely appalling policy being applied in Florida. It is aimed at illegal immigration, but I hesitate to classify it as an immigration policy, because it is aimed squarely at young citizens whose parents lack documentation. The state refuses to authorize residential tuition rates for these young resident citizens who enroll at Florida’s public colleges.
It’s as if Worf, from Star Trek the Next Generation, is making policy in Florida. Klingons, as you may (or may not) recall, believe that “dishonor” passes from parent to child. Several episodes of the series drew their dramatic impact from the viewers’ sense of the terrible injustice of holding Worf responsible for crimes his father was alleged to have committed.
Klingons are fictional. Rick Scott, the criminal who is governor of Florida (I use the word deliberately; his company defrauded Medicare of billions) unfortunately is not.
As Greenhouse notes, the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids punishing children for the crimes of their parents.
““Corruption of blood” was a familiar feature of the common law in England. A person found guilty of treason and certain other crimes would be barred from passing his estate on to his children, who would thus inherit nothing but the corrupted blood line. The framers of the United States Constitution considered and forcefully rejected the concept. Article III, the judiciary article, contains this sentence: “The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attained.” As James Madison expressed the thought more directly at the time, the purpose was to prevent Congress “from extending the consequences of guilt beyond the person of its author.”
There are two questions here, both pertinent: Where was Florida’s Attorney General while officials were deciding to implement a policy so clearly at odds with what the Constitution requires? And perhaps more importantly, what happened to these policymakers’ human decency?