March 30, 2011- Not to pick on the Sunshine State, where I was reared and the 2000 election was sorta decided, but it's always been the crazy-news nexus of the universe…and that was before last year's elections, which handed legislative supermajorities and every state cabinet office over to the GOP—including the governorship, to tea party-friendly (and common-sense-challenged) Gov. Rick Scott. In recent weeks, we've detailed the hilarity that ensues when tea partiers decide to dismantle the protections of government that had been assembled by Democrats and Republicans alike in this, the fourth-largest state in the union. Included in the fun:
■an inane winding-down of the public-school system;
■a Medicaid coup that will benefit the governor's business interests;
■mandatory drug testing that also will benefit the governor's business interests, assuming it's not ruled unconstitutional;
■the governor going against law-enforcement officers to ban a database that prevents drug fraud;
■the GOP plotting to rule over the Florida legislature until at least 2018;
■the governor having trouble counting past nine, while shafting state employees;
■said governor professing his undying love of Wal-Mart, again and again and again;
■and, of course, GOP legislators standing up for truth, justice, and the inalienable right of homeowners to avoid inspections on their septic tanks.
But wait! There's more! Here's a roundup of the latest Tallahassee terror from just the past three days. If we have time, this will probably become a regular feature. There should be no shortage of down-South silliness, at least until the 2012 elections.
1) The anti-government, anti-tax GOP has finally found a solution to its budget woes: Hike up the cost of state education! College tuition will likely rise 15 percent next year (again), the maximum permitted by law. But reducing access to public colleges for the worst-off students may not be enough to kill off the state's deficit woes, so other steps will need to be taken, like:
2) Killing off tenure for college professors! It took all of a few minutes Tuesday for a state House committee to approve a measure that would force all professors into one-year renewable contracts and leave them vulnerable to firing for "poor performance," however that's defined. (We guess it has something to do with how much pro-union email you forward.)