YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Rick Scott's latest superlative, Fox's closet and botched mercy killings

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A WINNER FOR “THE DUMBEST POLITICIAN IN THE HISTORY OF ALL POLITICIANS”: “Say you're an embattled conservative governor in Florida. Say you want to go out and glad-hand with voters who hate Obamacare as much as you do. What's the stupidest place to do that? How about a senior center in South Florida, where Barack Obama won in 2012 by half a million votes? That was precisely the pooch that Scott, a millionaire former health care executive who famously "oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in the nation's history," decided to screw on Tuesday. He ended up chatting with 20 retirees in Boca Raton and found out that, hey, they mostly like their Medicare and, hey, they mostly like the Affordable Care Act, in no small part because, hey, older folks in Boca Raton mostly are Democrats who think Scott is the debbil. Scott is not the debbil. The debbil would know how to stage a political photo op without it blowing up in his face. Scott, who as governor has been bumbling his way through an incoherent policy miasma of tea party bile, business-lovin' deregulation, and conservative gun-caressing for almost four years now, is an unmitigated tone-deaf idiot who can't even figure out the optics of being a good Republican. Via the Sun-Sentinel: Scott visited a senior center Tuesday to warn about cuts he said Obamacare is forcing in a popular version of the Medicare health program and to collect their horror stories. What he found was a satisfied group with few complaints. The 20 seniors assembled for a roundtable with Scott at the Volen Center were largely content with their Medicare coverage and didn't have negative stories to recount. "I'm completely satisfied," Harvey Eisen, 92, a West Boca resident, told Scott.” (via Gawker)



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THERE’S A FOX IN THE HOLE: “Why hasn’t Shepard Smith come out yet? The affable Fox News anchor has a longtime boyfriend, ranks among Fox’s most senior talent, and lives in New York City. It could be, of course, that he’s just a very private person, or—as the Times argued in October—that public attitudes have changed and nobody cares if a famous figure is gay. Or it could be that, when Smith tried to come out last year, Fox silenced and punished him. In the summer of 2013, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their exchange, Shepard Smith approached Fox News president Roger Ailes about publicly coming out. The newly attached anchor was eager, at the time, to finally acknowledge his sexuality. “It’s time,” he told Ailes and other colleagues. “It’s time.” Instead, Ailes informed Smith that the network’s famously conservative audience would not tolerate a gay news anchor. Ailes’ answer was definitive: Smith could not say he’s gay. “This came up during contract negotiations,” a Fox insider told Gawker. “Shep wanted to and was ready to come out, and Roger just said no.’” (via Gawker)


THERE’S NOTHING REALLY FUNNY TO SAY ABOUT THIS. THE DEATH PENALTY IS ITS OWN THING, BUT SINCE WHEN DID WE GO BACK TO DULL GUILLOTINE BLADES IN THE FRENCH REVOLUTION?: “What was supposed to be the first of two executions here on Tuesday night was halted when the prisoner, Clayton D. Lockett, began to writhe and gasp after he had already been declared unconscious and called out “oh, man,” according to witnesses. The administering doctor intervened and discovered that “the line had blown,” said the director of corrections, Robert Patton, meaning that drugs were no longer flowing into Mr. Lockett’s vein. At 7:06 p.m., Mr. Patton said, Mr. Lockett died in the execution chamber, of a heart attack. Mr. Patton said the governor had agreed to his request for a stay of 14 days in the second execution scheduled for Tuesday night, that of Charles F. Warner. It was a chaotic and disastrous step in Oklahoma’s long effort to execute the two men, overcoming their objections that the state would not disclose the source of the drugs being used in a newly tried combination. According to Mr. Patton, it was the method of administration, not the drugs themselves, that failed, but it resulted in what witnesses called an agonizing scene. “This was botched, and it was difficult to watch,” said David Autry, one of Mr. Lockett’s lawyers. Dean Sanderford, another lawyer for Mr. Lockett, said, “It looked like torture.” A medical technician inserted the IV needle and then the the first drug, a sedative intended to knock the man out and forestall pain, was administered at 6:23 p.m. Ten minutes later, the doctor announced that Mr. Lockett was unconscious, and the team started to administer the next two drugs, a paralytic and one intended to make the heart stop. At that point, witnesses said, things began to go awry. Mr. Lockett’s body twitched, his foot shook and he mumbled, witnesses said. At 6:37 p.m., he tried to rise and exhaled loudly. At that point, prison officials pulled a curtain in front of the witnesses and the doctor discovered a “vein failure,” Mr. Patton said.” (via New York Times)


HEY, LET’S TAKE A BEAST OF BURDEN AND CORRUPTION AND MAKE IT EVEN LARGER AND MORE AMORPHOUS. EXPRESSWAY TO YOUR HEART!: “The Florida House agreed to go along with plans to merge Orlando’s scandal-plagued roadway authority in exchange for exempting Osceola County from much of the immediate cost-sharing. The House amended a Senate bill, SB 230, Tuesday to create a new Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) which would absorb the existing authorities in Orange, Lake and Seminole counties. Osceola would join in 2018, although compromise language would allow the county to keep revenue generated from its own toll roads – a concession that drew concerns from some Orlando lawmakers that Osceola would get benefits from regional planning but be “carved out” of the costs.The language creates a nine-member board, with Gov. Rick Scott appointing three, instead of a larger board that gave the governor more appointments. That plan lost all steam after one of Scott’s appointees to the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, Scott Batterson, was indicted by a grand jury last week on bribery charges. But although Osceola would have a voting member on the board, it wouldn’t have to join until after it had secured road-building plans, including for a project that could link Orlando’s airport to what could be the largest planned-development in the country at Deseret Ranches. “If Osceola County is not fully engaged in the regional transportation authority, why does it make sense for them to be a voting member?” Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando, said on the House floor. But Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud -- who negotiated the amendment with Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka and Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs -- said Saunders had it backwards. “We’re not being carved out of the Central Florida Expressway Authority. We’re being sucked in to the Central Florida Expressway Authority,” La Rosa said. Saunders also objected to only have two elected officials on the governing board -- the mayors of Orlando and Orange County. Although other elected officials could be appointed by the commission chairs for each county or the governor, nothing requires as much. “We have seen real problems with the fact that this board is not directly accountable to the people," Saunders said.” (via Orlando Sentinel)


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