In the Alternative Universe, this has so far been a whirlwind week for the 45th President of the United States, Willard Mitt Romney: True to campaign pledge, he dismantled Obamacare within hours of his swearing-in on Monday, then went on to open up more public land to drilling, aborted Planned Parenthood funding, pared back the corporate income tax rate, repealed the Davis-Bacon Act, offended the nation’s biggest creditor by officially declaring and sanctioning China as an unfair trade partner, and frosted relations even further with our “No. 1 geopolitical foe” by tweaking Russia with his truculent attitude.
And then on Tuesday…
But I digress. This isn’t about Mitt, who observed Inauguration Day from his bathroom, mouthing remnants of the inaugural address he had hoped to deliver while standing at the bathroom sink in his bathrobe and slippers.
No, this is about another bonehead with tunnel vision as it relates to man’s best friend (Speaking of tunnel vision: Romney may literally have driven through a tunnel with his dog, Seamus, strapped in a dog carrier atop the family station wagon during their now infamous summer road trip.).
This is about a bonehead closer to home.
The Tampa Bay Times broke this item last week: Slick Rick’s dog Reagan had mysteriously disappeared from the Governor’s Mansion where he was last seen shortly after taking up residence there with his master in January 2011.
Where, oh where, has the little dog gone? Oh, where, oh where could he be? asked the Times.
Reagan, a Labrador retriever, was a “rescue dog” adopted by the Scotts shortly after Rick secured the GOP nomination in 2010. The public, in a contest, got the chance to name the dog. The name was in homage to Ronald Reagan.
But President Reagan never dumbly bumbled into a quagmire involving a missing dog as has Governor Slicky.
Reports surfaced that the dog “scared the living daylights” out of people at the mansion. A kitchen employee threatened to quit. A photographer became frightened by his barking. Reagan may have even bit someone.
Rick’s campaign communications director, who now works for the state GOP, got all peeved and perturbed by two Times reporters who dared to ask him about the dog’s fate, even denying, when questioned, that he had killed Reagan.
He shot back in an email that he recognized “the potential for a PR nightmare if the Tampa Bay Times doesn’t receive a photo of Reagan next to today’s copy of the Tampa Bay Times. So take it to the bank I’m getting you every bit of info I can lay my hands on.”
The next day, though, he wussed out and dumped the matter on the guv’s new communications director. She told the reporters she was “far too busy” to search for an answer to their inquiry.
Mrs. Scott’s spokesman also declined to clear up the Reagan mystery.
How’s that for communications? The Rick Scott brand, that is. These people know successful communications practices about as well as a pig knows how to fly.
When the matter came to my attention, thanks to my colleague Frank Maradiaga, I hit upon a few theories of my own –
– Slicky surreptitiously left the mutt behind during a trade mission to China, where it promptly wound up as some Beijing take-out’s dinner special.
– The dog, subjected to Ricky’s mandatory drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients, flunked. Don’t ask me how, but perhaps it was the vet’s distemper shot, or the ring worm pills, that skewered his test. Nevertheless, the dog got the boot once Rick learned the results.
– This Reagan was a Democrat. Well, he had Democratic tendencies, so the Scott people thought. He cozied up to one too many Democratic legislators who came to call on the governor. When told to fetch the paper, he fetched only papers that leaned Democratic while ignoring papers whose editorial boards favored Republicans.
– It wasn’t the dog that bit anyone. It was Rick who bit the dog. (Well, he looks like he just might be capable of that, you think?)
Then the other day, we learned the truth. We think.
Reagan, banished after biting an employee who had moved his water bowl, was returned to the Collier County groomer in Naples who had given him to the Scotts. He is now known as Pluto and lives on a horse ranch. Or so the still-unconfirmed reports claim.
Nevertheless, a horse ranch has got to be a much tamer and saner environment than being among the jackasses at the Governor’s Mansion.
“The family decided that the best decision for the dog and all those who visit (the Governor’s Mansion) would be to have the grooming business find Reagan a more appropriate home with less people and activity,” Rick’s spokeswoman – the same one who earlier had no time for such a frivolous matter – said.
“It was a hard choice that sometimes pet owners have to make,” she added.
It may have been hard on Rick, but I’m betting there’s one dog somewhere in Collier County tonight who will sleep better in his doghouse knowing he doesn’t have to put up with Rick Scott anymore.
It’s just the rest of us who still have to.
To join the dogs against Rick Scott Movement, go here.
HE WAS JUST DOING SOME EXTRA “INSPECTING” WORK IN HIS CAR – Word has come to the SunPost from a previously reliable source that a Miami Beach building department inspector got caught sneaking out of work in the afternoons to carry on an affair with a permit clerk and that the two have been spotted performing the horizontal inside a car in a city parking garage. It was a jealous girlfriend that squealed on him. Ouch! The interim city manager allegedly knows of the shenanigans; according to the source, no one involved has been suspended or fired. I’ve got an inquiry in to Kathie Brooks about this and will have any follow-up info, plus her response, next time.
A GUN CONTROL LAW WE SURE COULD USE – How about one to outlaw the NRA? Need a reason? Well, how ’bout for the crime of obnoxiousness? That alone, on their part, should rate a capital offense.
THAT NRA COMMERCIAL chastising “elitist hypocrite” Obama for providing Secret Service protection to his daughters while children of ordinary Americans are deprived of gun-packing security officers patrolling the nation’s schools (“Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”) is not only a low blow but misleading in its premise. Federal law – not presidential prerogative – authorizes the Secret Service protect a president’s children.
THE GUN RIGHTS WACKOS sure know the Second Amendment. They may not know anything else about the Constitution – not even how to spell it – but many of them can quote the passage to you, word for word. Not because they ever read the document, mind you. More likely because they learned to parrot some NRA big-wig they once heard utter it.
LET ‘EM HAVE all the guns they want. The focus should instead be on the ammo. The late senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, proposed legislation twenty years ago that would have raised the then-11% tax on handgun bullets to 50% in most cases.
Noting that the nation, then, had a 200-year supply of guns but just a 4-year supply of ammunition, Moynihan declared, “Guns don’t kill people; bullets do. It is time the federal government began taxing handgun ammunition used in crime out of existence.”
His plan, for example, would have jacked up the tax on a Winchester 9-mm hollow-tipped Black Talon cartridge 10,000%. The cost for a box of 20, which typically retailed for $24, would have been skyrocketed to $150,000.
Senator Moynihan, we could sure use more intelligent legislators like you in Congress now.
FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GEN. Ed Meese suggested that Obama could face impeachment over his proposed gun control measures. My question: Ed Meese is still alive?
SO WHAT IF SHE lip-synched? Beyoncé sounded awesome, regardless of whether it was live or if it was Memorex. Consider that had this been a Romney inauguration, we might have been treated to the strains of our national anthem as rendered by the vocal cords of 78-year-old GOP favorite Pat Boone, yanked out of the retirement home just for the occasion. Beyoncé – or Boone?
FROM A HERO TO A ZERO – Lance Armstrong ought to do time. In addition to being driven to utter bankruptcy by having to pay back all the millions he snookered out of sponsors, he ought to be sent to the clink. He has some audacity to say, as he told Oprah Winfrey, that he thinks he “deserves” a chance to compete again. Go away, you cheat, and never again pollute the sport of cycling, or any sport for that matter. Don’t even show up as a spectator in the stands. Just. Go. Away.
IT’S CALLED A REHEARSAL. MAYBE START HAVING THEM? – Local 10 morning anchorman Jason Martinez, introducing a report on Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown, mispronounced chiffon as “shif-un” before being corrected by co-anchor Kristi Krueger. He: “I never knew that before.” Minutes later, he got tongue-tied with donated, reading it “detonated.” On second thought, scratch the rehearsal idea; maybe a new anchor search would suffice.
DAVE BARRY’S RECENT, rare, front-page column about the Everglades python hunt reminded many of how much his humor is missed within the pages of the paper and how much better the Herald was when he was still a regular contributor.
IN CASE ANYONE HAD FORGOTTEN how bonkers “Crazy Joe” Carollo is, Fred Grimm’s brilliant Jan. 12 Herald column reminded us of just how loco is the new Doral city manager. On a related note, I now have a new-found respect for Xavier Suarez.
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME why these fresh-out-of-their-diapers social media CEO types all wear hoodies as business attire? When the Obama campaign’s chief technology guru Harper Reed was interviewed on the PBS Newshour the other night, all I could think was, “Dude, this is a national telecast. It’s not 2-for-1 Buffalo wings night at the local Hooters. Couldn’t you have dressed your best?” I recall reading that Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe closet is stocked with nothing but about twenty T-shirts – all gray – and that he wears the same style from day to day. I think the Yiddish term for one so fashionably-challenged is – uh, yeah, that’s right – schlump.
BUT AT LEAST THEY DON’T WEAR THIS – Most of the armor worn by the Vatican’s Swiss Guard is at least a century old. Made when men were generally smaller than they are today, the armor just doesn’t fit well on today’s bulkier guards. So the Vatican has ordered 80 new sets of armor from Austrian blacksmiths, an order that will take 7 years to finish. Who else but a stuffy old church hierarchy, immersed in antiquated dogma and outdated rules, would still have a need for medieval armor? A Vatican woefully out of step with today’s world would do better to instead order straitjackets for the pope, the College of Cardinals, and the whole kit-and-caboodle bureaucracy that buttresses these old farts.
THREE SATURDAYS AGO, a family of 12 elephants in Kenya were slaughtered by a gang of poachers seeking their tusks. Considered the largest single mass shooting of elephants on record in that country, it preceded by ten days the seizure of 638 pieces of illegal elephant ivory at Kenya’s main port. And Hong Kong officials confiscated 779 tasks shortly after the new year, which National Geographic estimates is a loss of at least 600 elephants. I don’t know about you but I believe the time is long overdue for the following solution: Poachers should be executed. Would I rank some humans lower than animals? Of course, and so would you. If nothing else will stop poachers, shoot them. Hang them. Exterminate them. Period. The world needs elephants. It does not need poachers.
CLOSE CALLS – Lindy’s Sports’ preview of the 2012 NFL season made these predictions last summer, before season’s start. They came pretty darn close: The NFC championship would come down to San Francisco vs. Philadelphia (in actuality, San Fran vs. Atlanta). The AFC championship would be a match-up of Baltimore vs. Houston (in actuality, Baltimore vs. New England). And the Super Bowl, the magazine foresaw, would be a “Texas-sized party for [the Houston] Texans as they take down San Francisco.” Oh well.
GOATS IN TREES. Picture that concept in your mind. I didn’t have to picture it mentally – I saw for sale recently an actual 2013 wall calendar devoted to that very subject. The calendar has been put out annually since at least the 2010 edition. “People walking by can be expected to do a double-take, slow down and ask…is that a goat…in a tree?” attests one online reviewer. If you take away nothing else from this column today, you have learned that goats, indeed, can climb trees.
WHEN ONE CONSIDERS the length and breadth of Abigail Van Buren’s career as one of our preeminent advice columnists – 46 years, from 1956 to 2002 – how mind-boggling to grasp the countless tons of mail she received over the decades (I was the teenage author of one letter to her). She served as adviser, friend, consoler, listener, and hand-holder to so many readers and the myriad problems, difficulties, and dilemmas which they brought her. In tribute, here are three of her best:
Dear Abby: I know boys will be boys, but my ‘boy’ is seventy-three and he’s still chasing women. Any suggestions? – Annie
Dear Annie: Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.
Dear Abby: My wife sleeps in the raw. Then she showers, brushes her teeth and fixes our breakfast – still in the buff. We’re newlyweds and there are just the two of us, so I suppose there’s really nothing wrong with it. What do you think? – Ed
Dear Ed: It’s O.K. with me. But tell her to put on an apron when she’s frying bacon.
Dear Abby: What inspires you most to write? – Ted
Dear Ted: The Bureau of Internal Revenue.
THE ASS-WIPE TROPHY GOES TO…
“Crazy Joe” Carollo, who first proposed to the city of Doral the selection of the venerable Merritt Stierheim as its interim manager, then bad-mouthed him to city leaders, threw him under the bus, and kicked his carcass by the time he was through. Not only that, but Crazy Joe stole from Stierheim the credit for righting Miami’s miserable financial situation in the ’90s and trash-talked him on Spanish-language radio with some downright derogatory slander, including claiming Stierheim considered himself the “great white hope” to what ailed local Hispanic-majority municipalities like Miami and Doral.
Those straitjackets I prescribed for the Vatican? Got an extra one for Crazy Joe?
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
The first in a series of public meetings and workshops inviting community input on the development plans for the Miami Beach Convention Center kicks off on Tuesday evening, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. at the convention center. “This is your chance to shape the future,” City Hall declares.