Uprisings: Wake up!

Uprisings gay lgbt

From the glorious parade of middle-brow legislators doing their best to seem optimistic and “bipartisan,” all the way to the noted Sine Die hanky-drop and relative middle-brow sweat (hopefully wiped with said hanky) of the indecencies and failures that will come in the next 60 days, the Florida Legislature’s dance with policy and chest-beating promises is here. Once again, lathering it up to be a portrait of depression wrapped in a blanket and framed with bad intentions. As if a harbinger were needed, lobbyists and lawmakers canoodled on the night before the deluge, Jan. 11, at the headquarters of Associated Industries of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott and his series of failures were there, glad-handing those who are not so much citizens as Citizens United (meaning, we are all the Borg) and making certain that regulations would be shot in the face, because, hell, we gotta stand our ground.

By now, you’re aware that our own monogramed confederacy of dunces is just about as reliable as the U.S. Congress: a litany of whack-a-mole hammers coming down on progressive politics while the money rains, rains and rains down on the businesses that choose to pay their workers next to nothing while making them work while sick. It’s a tail-chase. It’s a joke. It isn’t funny anymore.

UpRisingsRickScottCopyGov. Scott, who never met a modicum of reason that he intended to stuff in his jacket pocket and reference someday, is currently making headlines for his overhaul of the state’s corporate tax structure – and not in the way that it should. Thus, Associated Industries parties and photo-ops are leading his homecoming party. The notion is, of course (everybody genuflect to Ronald Reagan right now), that if we cut $1 billion from corporate income tax funds and inject $250 million in incentives to businesses, the rising tide won’t drown all of those who actually live here. Instead, we’ll get rafts, like the ones you rent at the municipal swimming pool in the middle of a broken suburban daydream. We all know this is false, even Scott knows it’s false, but this is Florida’s mantra and we’re sticking to it: more money for businesses, less money for citizens.

This week doesn’t come without its conscientious objectors, though. Organize Now, the folks behind exposing Orange County’s “textgate” and rallying for a decent wage for fast-food workers, are alive, well and ready for the fight.

“Tuesday begins the most dangerous 60 days in Florida,” Organize Now director Stephanie Porta says in an emailed statement. “The working majority, the sick, and the needy will have targets on their backs as the legislature will be in full target practice mode. From expanding ‘Stand Your Ground’, to destroying public records laws, expanding tax credits for giant corporations, and attacking immigrants—the message is clear—our legislature cares more about profits than people.

Elsewhere in this issue, you can read more details about LGBT-specific legislation that is being targeted by the Human Rights Campaign, including attempts that range from bad (allowing churches to refuse gay marriages, even though they already have that right) to good (making it illegal for workplaces to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s LGBT status).

Across the state, groups gathered on Tuesday (our press day, so forgive us if we aren’t there right now) to light the spark under the hearts of activists who are interested in human rights across the spectrum: unions, farmworkers, Hispanics. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it is only the beginning.

Make this 60 days your best 60 days and stay on top of the issues, call your legislator, visit Tallahassee, make some noise. We’re all in this together. It’s our parade, too.

UpRising_DanFioriniFraming the future
St. Petersburg-based Tyrone Frame and Mirror owner Dan Fiorini threw his hat in the ring for a seat in the Florida Legislature last week. The Democrat, who is challenging former city councilman Wengay Newton in District 70 has some bona fides that his opponent can’t claim – he was legislative aide to state Rep. Helen L. Spivey, D-Crystal River, and that’s a heavy job, because, basically you do all the research and running around.

“Now is not the time for on-the-job training,” Fiorini said in a press release. “I have the background and experience necessary to be an effective voice for the people of District 70”

He’s also worked directly with the U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon and in urban planning, among other occupations. Because of the latter, he is deeply concerned about the environment.

“My urban planning background gives me a unique perspective,” he says in his presser. “As an environmentalist, I am concerned about oil drilling. The preservation of Tampa Bay is paramount as it is the lifeblood of our tourism industry.”

UpRising_PoeWe now know about Poe
This column dipped its toes into the political leap of former Florida Democratic Party Chair Bob Poe into the Congressional pool a few months ago, but on Jan. 7, he made it official. Bob Poe is going to be in a pool fight with former Orlando police chief Val Demings and state Sen. Geraldine Thompson (among others) for Orlando’s District 10. Things could get interesting there, as the district, which was just recently finalized via a nasty redistricting battle, includes minority neighborhoods like Pine Hills and Eatonville.

That doesn’t seem to be bothering Poe at the moment though. In a statement, he reminded the media and supporters that “My first job was pumping gas at Johnson’s Pine Hills Gulf Station on West Colonial drive here in Orlando.”

It also helps that Poe knows his way around the political process like few others in the biz, most recently working for the Charlie Crist gubernatorial campaign. He was, as they say, the bright spot. And he pumps gas!

UpRising_KimDavisOh, sit down
Because 15 minutes don’t register on watches that don’t work anymore, everybody’s favorite Halloween costume – and Kentucky clerk of courts – Kim Davis received an embossed (we’re guessing) invite to President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address, which was held on Tuesday (again, it’s a press day, so we don’t know if she fell down or screamed “liar!” … we can only hope). She’ll be sitting next to her attorney, the guy who is missing a “t,” Mat Staver of the glorious hate group called the Liberty Counsel. Davis, we all know, made an ass of herself by refusing to marry same-sex couples even after the U.S. Supreme Court mandated that same-sex marriage was the law of the land. Word is that the terrible twosome was invited by a couple of Republican congressman. Whodathunkit? On a happier note, Jim Obergefell, he of the famous gay marriage case that changed our world, will be sitting in the First Lady’s box. Must be nicer up there.

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