Florida's Republicans have formed a circular firing squad and are cold poppin' caps in each others' asses. It's all quite entertaining, really. And it's happening locally and statewide. Fun for everyone!

Remember a while back when we told you about Orange County Republican Executive Committee chairman Lew Oliver's catfight with Deon Long, the Winter Park lawyer who came one disputed vote from dethroning Oliver last December `"Coup d'état," April 9`? This wildly popular column also told you when Oliver had Long tossed from the GOP — the optics of which aren't great, considering that Long is one of the state Republicans' precious few black faces. The bloodletting continues: As 580-AM WDBO reported last week, Oliver has now moved to oust loudmouthed critics Doug Guetzloe and Nick Egoroff. Oliver told WDBO that the two had violated party rules with a robocall touting Long.

This isn't the first time Oliver has gone after Guetzloe `see "The loyalty oath," April 10, 2003`, who hasn't always been a paragon of ethics. But it's hardly shocking that the anti-Oliver forces declined to roll over. On July 28, WFTV Channel 9 reported that OCREC member Keith Racine had filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement accusing Oliver of money-laundering and using campaign funds for his own pleasure. Oliver denied the charges, but it's hardly the kind of thing a guy barely clinging to power needs these days.

Oliver's ally, state GOP chairman Jim Greer, isn't winning any popularity contests either, particularly among conservatives (although, in fairness, he was just tapped to head the Republican National Committee's rules committee). "Greer is the single most disliked guy on the RNC," South Carolina GOP leader Katon Dawson told Republican house organ the Washington Times. And more recently, Brevard County party chairman Jason Steele accused Greer of attempting to "purge" the party of nonconformists and conducting a "witch hunt" of loyal conservatives. According to the St. Petersburg Times' The Buzz blog, Steele himself faces grievance charges, purportedly after announcing he wouldn't be endorsing candidates backed by the party machine (cough Charlie Crist cough).

Ever wonder what a C-Span reality show might look like? Neither did we, but hey, this could do it. Pass the popcorn!

Those tax-and-spend liberals in New York City have developed an innovative way to deal with the city's homeless: Send them somewhere else!

Since 2007, the Big Apple has dispatched 550 homeless families on airplanes all over the world, with the ostensible goal of reuniting them with their distant families. But let's be straight, it's cheaper to make them someone else's problem. According to The New York Times, it costs NYC some $36,000 a year to shelter and feed a homeless family, while it takes just $850 to fly them somewhere warm and inviting — like here.

Of those 550 families, at least 100 have been deposited in the Sunshine State. And if you think Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives a shit what happens next, you have better drugs than we do. In fact, NYC admits it does basically no follow-up.

So they send them here, a city that forbids them from congregating in parks, forbids church groups from feeding them in public, forbids them from sleeping on benches and generally does its level best to push them out of sight, out of mind. Which is basically what Bloomberg and Co. are doing, albeit much more effectively. New city motto: We're not even good at being mean!

The Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, recently named the "Best Local Member of the American Taliban" by this very newspaper, has turned his attention to the health-care reform debate. As usual, he's decided that if reform proves disadvantageous to big business or the religious right, then Jesus ain't for it.

In true wingnut fashion, Staver put out a press release full of disinformation and outright lies on the topic. (To be fair, he didn't even write the press release; he cobbled it together from the website FreeRepublic.com.) Here's a brief summary of his frothing: Big Brother is coming to dictate your coverage, stamp you with the mark of the beast, force you to have abortions and give all your information to ACORN.

But as usual, the truth and Staver aren't really on speaking terms. Let's fact-check a few of his points:

Staver: "Sect. 122, pg 29, lines 4-16 in the HC bill — YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!"

Fact: Yes, it is. And that rationing includes, at a minimum: hospitalization; outpatient hospital and outpatient clinic services, including emergency department services; professional services of physicians and other health professionals; services, equipment and supplies incident to the services of a physician's or a health professional's delivery of care in institutional settings, physicians' offices, patients' homes or place of residence, or other settings, as appropriate; prescription drugs; rehabilitative services; mental health and substance-use disorder services, etc. Sounds barbaric. And by the way, Mat, there is no line 16.

Staver: "Sect. 1308, pg. 489 — The Government will cover Marriage and Family therapy. They will insert Government into your marriage."

Fact: Only if you consider paying for the services of a licensed therapist "inserting." Aren't you sick of insurance companies "inserting" themselves into your car crashes?

Staver: "Sect. 1713: ‘Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.' Compulsory ABORTIONS?"

Fact: Interesting focus. The next two points in the bill refer to home visits by a nurse as a means of reducing child abuse and neglect, improving family stability, improving economic self-sufficiency and getting off public assistance. Which sounds compassionately conservative, if you know what we mean. And by the way, the word "abortion" is never mentioned.

For more evidence of Staver's fabrications, go to his release yourself. It's on his website, www.lc.org. Compare them to the bill in question, HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, then ask yourself this: Why is this man lying? And why exactly does Jesus hate universal health care?

The next time you think the Orlando city council has a monopoly on teh stoopidz, take a glance at Kissimmee, where city commissioner Art Otero has proven himself a complete moran.

The story begins on July 21 — pardon the late arrival; we usually don't care what happens in Kissimmee — when Otero proposed changing the city's logo to "In God We Trust." He wasn't trying to promote Our Lord and Savior to the city's heathens. This was about "patriotism." Because, you see, the president's a black guy and a socialist, and someone needs to stand up for Real American Values.

"This nation has been moving toward more liberal postures such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana," Otero proclaimed. "I'm against that way of thinking."

It looked like the city council would go along with him, despite the $200,000 price tag for changing the logo, which now depicts a bull and some palm trees. Mayor Jim Swan said he would pay half of the $250 cost of engraving the logo into the commission chambers' wooden seal. But then Hizzoner was deluged with e-mails ridiculing Otero, and lookie here, second thoughts. He determined that Otero's comments were "irresponsible." On July 28, the city commission rejected Otero's proposal 4-1. Sanity prevails!

Best line from the Sentinel story on this redneck soap opera: "Otero would not comment today, saying he does not trust the media but that he would pray for a Sentinel reporter."



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