Friday, March 12, 2021

Batboy Versus Captain COVID, Round One

Resident Florida Senate GOP Medicare fraudster Rick Scott wants America's governors to return the $360 billion in aid to local and state governments in the Biden American Rescue Plan signed into law yesterday, and Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis is actually blaming Scott for not getting the Sunshine State more of the Democrats' filthy lucre.
In an open letter to governors and mayors, sent moments after the U.S. House on Wednesday approved the $1.9 trillion bill, Scott called it “massive, wasteful and non-targeted," urging states to follow his lead and send a message to Congress to “quit recklessly spending other people’s money.”

“By rejecting and returning any unneeded funds, as well as funds unrelated to COVID-19, you would be taking responsible action to avoid wasting scarce tax dollars,” he wrote. “After all, every dollar in this package is borrowed.”

Scott, a former governor of Florida, called his request “simple and common sense,” adding that money slated for state and local governments is “wholly unrelated to responding to the pandemic.”

Scott has a history of bucking federal funds. As governor, he refused to allow Florida to accept Obamacare-related money to expand Medicaid health care coverage.

His letter comes as polls show the legislation is extremely popular. A Morning Consult/Politico poll found 69% of U.S. voters said the "package is the right amount" or "doesn’t go far enough," including 54% of Republicans.

The latter includes, apparently, Scott's successor, Gov. DeSantis, who complained Florida should be getting a bigger piece of the pie.

While Scott was calling for rejection of the assistance, DeSantis announced he has big plans for the stimulus money. And he may well be blaming Scott, at least partly, for not getting Florida more of it.

“The Senate didn’t correct the fact that Florida is getting a lot less than what we would be entitled to on a per capita basis,” DeSantis, in an apparent jab at Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio, said Monday at a press conference.

The polarization on spending comes amid rumors that both DeSantis and Scott have eyes on the White House in 2024. At odds on numerous issues, DeSantis has for almost a year blamed Scott for the massive failures of the state's unemployment system, which was developed and implemented when Scott served as governor.
Now this is a fight I want to see more of. Rick Scott made billions in austerity cuts to the state's budget, including billions in health care system cuts (as a former hospital chain CEO, no less) and Ron DeSantis presided over 2 million COVID-19 cases and 32,000 dead.  These two villains actually make Jeb Bush look like a competent politician.

Floridians are of course the big loser, no matter who wins.

Cuomo's #MeToo Moment, Con't

New York Dem. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's days appear to be sharply numbered in office, now facing a possible criminal investigation related to sexual harassment accusations.

Albany Police Department officials said on Thursday that they had been notified by the New York State Police and the governor’s office about an alleged incident at the Executive Mansion involving Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a female aide that may have risen “to the level of a crime.” 
Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Albany police, said that the department had not received a formal complaint from the woman, who has not been identified, but that it had reached out to a lawyer for her.

This does not mean, Mr. Smith said, that the department has opened a criminal investigation, but it has offered its services to the alleged victim, “as we would do with any other report or incident.”

Albany police officials said they heard from the state police on Wednesday night after the publication of an article in The Times Union of Albany that detailed accusations leveled by an unidentified aide to the governor who accused Mr. Cuomo of groping her at the governor’s mansion, where he lives, late last year.

William Duffy, a spokesman for the State Police, confirmed the contact with the Albany department, saying it was “to facilitate a contact with the executive chamber regarding the alleged incident.”

Mr. Smith said that the deputy chief of police, Edward Donohue, who oversees the department’s criminal investigation unit, then spoke to the governor’s counsel.

The governor’s acting counsel, Beth Garvey, confirmed the conversation, saying that she had initiated the call and reported the allegations, after a lawyer for the female aide told the governor’s office that the aide did not want to file a report.

“As a matter of state policy, when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” Ms. Garvey said in a statement. “If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation.”

“In this case, the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” Ms. Garvey added.

While the police department’s actions are part of standard procedure, the situation underscored the potential criminal exposure Mr. Cuomo faces if the aide decided to pursue charges for unwanted touching.

The aide, who is younger than Mr. Cuomo, was summoned to the governor’s private residence on the second floor to assist him with a technical issue when Mr. Cuomo reached under her blouse and began touching her, The Times Union said.

On Wednesday, the governor denied any wrongdoing.

“I have never done anything like this,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement, adding that the report was “gut-wrenching.”

Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said that he would not “speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation,” citing an ongoing investigation overseen by the state attorney general, Letitia James.

“I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report,” Mr. Cuomo said

Earlier Thursday, a group of 59 Democratic state legislators demanded Cuomo’s resignation in the wake of the allegation at the Executive Mansion.

The top Democrat in the state Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie, said he would caucus with members Thursday to discuss “potential paths forward” in light of mounting allegations.

In New York, the Assembly is the legislative house that could move to impeach Cuomo, who has faced multiple allegations that he made the workplace an uncomfortable place for young women with sexually suggestive remarks and behavior, including unwanted touching and a kiss.

Nineteen senators and 40 Assembly members said in a letter Thursday that it was time for Cuomo to go.

“In light of the Governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the letter said. “It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.”
At this point, you can start the clock on his resignation decision.  Over/under is end of the month, and I'll take the under.


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