Aug 15 2012

Florida Governor Rick Scott Lost Access to Welfare Urine, Going After State Workers’ Instead

I posted last September about Florida Governor (R) Rick Scott who pushed a bill through the Florida Legislature which required all welfare recipients to be drug tested. He gained Republican support for the proposed law by insisting that poor people on welfare are using tax payers to fund their drug use.

Scott is a conservative Republican billionaire who used $73 million of his own money and the support of the Tea Party to win his governorship.

The scandal here is that there was a clear conflict of interest for Scott, in that he is co-founder of a chain of drug testing clinics and he would benefit financially from the law. And, when 98 percent of the welfare recipients passed the test at a cost of $178 million to tax payers, there was no legislative move to end the testing.


In October, 2011, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven issued an injunction halting the drug testing, finding that a welfare applicant represented by the ACLU who challenged the law would likely win his case on constitutional grounds.

So what does Scott do? No longer profiting from poor folks, he switches his focus to working class government employees by issuing an executive order mandating drug testing for all 85,000 of them.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled on Wednesday that suspicionless drug testing for state workers violated the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

Scott said he would appeal the decision.

Of course, his appeal will be paid for by the very taxpayers whose constitutional rights he wants to trample.

So. Friggin. Absurd.

Why has this guy not been recalled?


Florida Governor Rick Scott was so sure people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population, he insisted anyone receiving help from the Department of Children and Families be tested.

Under the sponsorship of Republican state Senator Steve Oelrich, a bill was presented to the Florida Legislature that Oelrich said was, “all about trying to break the cycle of drug dependency and using taxpayer dollars to buy illegal drugs.” The bill passed over objections from Democrats.

In July, 2011, the state began implementing the policy that requires all applicants for temporary cash assistance to pass four drug tests per year, which the applicant must pay for, before any funds can be disbursed to them. If the applicant tests negative for drugs, they are reimbursed for the test. If the result is positive, they are barred from the program.

The results: 98% passed.

The cost to the State of Florida: $178 million annually.

OK, so Rick Scott appears to have been publicly embarrassed after supporting a failed policy that is estimated to cost $5 for every $1 it saves. But, there’s more to the story.

Of course.

This is the same Rick Scott that was forced out of his CEO position at health care giant Columbia/HCA just before the company admitted to 14 felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million in welfare fraud restitution. This is the same Rick Scott who somehow (his friendship with George W. Bush, perhaps?) avoided any criminal prosecution in the federal indictment against Columbia/HCA, a company Scott co-founded and led. This is the same Rick Scott who then co-founded Solantic, a chain of urgent care centers that provide drug testing for the workforce.

In his support of the drug testing bill Scott said it is “unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction.” Apparently it is not unfair for them to subsidize shady politicians and their business partners.

Scott is a conservative Republican billionaire who used $73 million of his own money and the support of the tea party to win his governorship.

Dec 31 2011

Conservative Bloggers Call First Lady ‘Fat Cakes Michelle,’ Criticize Her Fashion Choices

Ever on the hunt for something disparaging to say about the first family, conservative bloggers have criticized President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for various aspects of their 17-day vacation in Hawaii–including the first lady’s fashion choices.

“While Obama sits back in DC making sure Congress passes the payroll tax holiday bill, Michelle Obama and her kids decided to begin their ultra-expensive, ultra-lavish, tax payer funded 17 day Hawaii vacation. Fat Cakes Michelle just couldn’t wait another day or two for business to wrap up in DC.,” according to the right-wing website “fireandreamitchell.”

In addition to criticism of the timing, destination and cost, Michelle Obama is also taking heat for a dress she wore to Christmas day church services at the Kaneohe Bay Marine Base.

According to ABC News, Mrs. Obama was photographed in a striped white sundress by French-born, U.S.-based designer Sophie Theallet, with an estimated price tag of $2,000.

“Some see the first lady’s penchant for expensive labels at odds with her reputation as a bargain shopper who frequents J. Crew and Target,” ABC News reported.

One comment about the First Lady on the Naked DC website read: “She claims to be a champion of the poor and a fellow bargain shopper, but yet, here she is, sporting a dress that no unemployed American can afford.”

Of course, it wasn’t reported that Mrs. Obama wore that same dress to an official ceremony in Accra, Ghana back in July 2009, and wore it again that same year during the family’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.

The first lady appears to not only have a good eye for fashion, she’s also not averse to wearing and being  photographed several times in the same outfit.

I give her mad props for providing a great example of how to stretch a dollar–well, two thousand of them, that is.

by Kathleen Cross for

Jul 26 2011

Restaurant Servers Want a Tip? Serve Black Customers Better

According to a recent poll by The Root on attitudes and habits regarding tipping, African Americans are much more likely than whites to tip as a “reward for good service.”

These findings were among a number of differences in tipping habits across cultural lines revealed in The Root‘s online survey.

The vast majority (89 percent) of all respondents indicated that they tipped “all the time,” with 11 percent responding “most of the time.”

But when it came to whether there were ever reasons not to leave a tip, clear differences could be found along racial lines. A large percentage (upward of 40 percent) of both blacks and whites agreed that “rude,” “incompetent” or “horrible” service was an acceptable reason not to tip.

Whites were much more forgiving of bad service. Forty-nine percent said they would “always tip” no matter how bad the food or service. Only 37 percent of blacks said that they felt the same way, while 50 percent indicated that there would be no tip for waitstaff whom they regarded as rude or inept.

Jerome Rabow, a professor of sociology who lectures on race and ethnic relations at UCLA and California State University, Northridge, says that black restaurant patrons may be justified in their greater propensity to tip only when they feel they’ve received service that warrants it. Based on his own experience waiting tables as a young man and the anecdotal evidence gleaned from his students who are waiters today, Rabow believes that before black patrons can prove otherwise, they are often perceived by waiters as poor tippers, and, in turn, often receive substandard service, such as being ignored or overlooked, receiving meals after diners who arrive later or being greeted brusquely by waitstaff.

If this data collected by The Root is accurate, the lack of tipping on the part of black patrons is part of a vicious cycle food servers can break by dismissing the stereotype and providing black patrons with excellent service. –kathleen cross