YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: not-so-great Scott, Rubio's CPAC blowback, blaming the banks

GUESS IT ISN’T WORKING? RICK SCOTT IS TAKING A HIT EVEN FROM HIS OWN PARTY: “The state of Gov. Rick Scott’s poll numbers is . . . sorry. On Tuesday, as Scott kicked off the Legislature’s 60-day lawmaking session, he gave the annual state of the state speech, a campaign-like preview filled with job-creation statistics. But many of Scott’s fellow Republicans were paying attention to a different set of numbers: a raft of poll data-points that make the GOP queasy because it shows Democrat Charlie Crist has broad support across Florida right now. The highlights: 34 percentage points — the margin Crist beats Scott by in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, according to one business interest’s statewide survey. This margin is 12 points greater than Democrat Alex Sink’s in the 2010 governor’s race. If she had earned Crist’s poll numbers in just these two counties, Sink would have won. 10 percentage points — the margin Crist beats Scott by in another business interest’s statewide poll. 8 percentage points — the margin Crist beats Scott by in two other business interests’ statewide polls. 7 percentage points — the margin Crist beats Scott by in a fourth business interest’s statewide poll. 6 percentage points — the margin Crist beats Scott by in a poll of Republican-controlled state House districts across Florida.” (via Tampa Bay Times)


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NOPE, REALLY, REALLY NOT WORKING. UNLESS YOU’RE RAND PAUL?: “If Marco Rubio is hoping to become president on the strength of his popularity within his own base, he has a lot of work to do. Rubio finished in a surprisngly distant 7th place in the annual straw poll taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past weekend.In the poll, Kentucky's Rand Paul finished first with 31 percent, according to results that the Tampa Bay Times had this piece, followed by Ted Cruz (11 percent), Dr. Ben Carson (9), Chris Christie (8) and Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Scott Walker (both 7). Rubio had 6 percent. I've long thought Rubio's presidential aspirations were delusions of grandeur. Forget his short track record in Washington. He has too much baggage as a former legislator to survive vetting from his own party on a national stage. (Everything from wild credit-card spending and double-billing taxpayers for plane flights to proposing the biggest sales-tax increase in the history of Florida as part of a property-tax swap idea that bombed. Such things will make many conservatives nervous.) Still, the CPAC results (called everything from a "collapse" to "the biggest loser") were the result of Rubio's recent work on the national stage -- and suggest that his attempts to play both sides on issues like immigration are winning over neither.” (via Orlando Sentinel) 


REMEMBER THAT THING ABOUT HOW YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO TRUST YOUR PHARMACIST? NOT SO MUCH: “Emergency contraception is supposed to be available over-the-counter for teen girls, but research shows many still face barriers to obtaining it. Dr. Tracey Wilkinson is a pediatrician and the lead author of the study, which posed a couple of simple questions to more than 900 pharmacies across the country. ‘Do you have emergency contraception, and if I'm 17 can you get it?, she asked. "The most recent study showed and discussed some of our conversations with the pharmacy staff and showed some real glaring problems with access for adolescents when it comes to this medication." Wilkinson said some of the recurring misinformation included pharmacy staff saying a prescription was needed or that a parent had to be along with a teen, neither of which is true. In addition, some pharmacy workers said they didn't feel comfortable dispensing emergency contraception, citing personal beliefs. With the misinformation and barriers, Wilkinson advises all women of reproductive age to get the medication before they need it.” (via Public News Service) 


GREAT READ ON HOW BANKS BECAME A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING ENTERPRISE (WHEN NOT HIRING STRIPPERS): “Among my favorite anecdotes of the mortgage-industry decadence that preceded the global financial crisis is the one about Ameriquest’s wind machine. A motivational tool for managers, it made its appearance in the late ’90s at an executive conference at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Hotel, where the future subprime leader hooked up a powerful fan to a plastic tent. Inside, exuberant branch managers jumped around amid a cascade of cash, allowed to keep as many swirling bills as they could grab. That was how it went at mortgage-firm retreats: Here, a money-grabbing contest; there, a round of ritual chanting—‘The power of yes! The power of yes!’—at a 2004 Washington Mutual gathering that was like the high ceremony of some bizarre money cult. Before long such incentivizing was part of the daily culture, if not official policy. Countrywide, for example, had a marketing program called the “High-Speed Swim Lane” that linked the bonuses of sales reps working in football-field-sized call centers to the volume of loans they originated. Compressing the programs initials—and cutting to the chase—employees nicknamed it ‘The Hustle.’ Mere excess was never enough for these companies. Though we’re all aware, by now, of the crookedness that infected the mortgage business last decade, the particulars are still striking. Did you know, for instance, that WMC Mortgage Corporation, owned by General Electric, hired former strippers and an ex-porn actress to entice brokers into selling their mortgages, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity? Or that Wells Fargo gave its mortgage stars all-expense-paid vacations to Cancun and the Bahamas and treated them to private performances by Aerosmith, the Eagles, and Elton John? Or that New Century sent top loan sales reps to Porsche driving school? The upshot is clear enough: With Wall Street’s demand for mortgages unending and some loan producers managing to book up to 70 loans per day, the system didn’t just crash. It was brought down.” (via New Republic)



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