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1/6/2010

Columns > Happytown

Happytown

 

So, if you were a grumpy attorney general with terminally equine facial features and you were running for governor of this great state despite a charisma deficiency, what would you do when faced with comprehensive federal health care reform as an imminent reality? If you were Bill McCollum (and, seriously, we are glad you’re not) you would throw a temper tantrum aimed at gathering support from Florida’s ample idiot base, something scripted and rooted in constitutional malarkey, preferably delivered from a soap box on the back of a locomotive caboose.

On Dec. 29, while the rest of us were scraping the bottom of barrels for a sip of anything pleasantly noxious, McCollum – realizing that sepia-toned cabooses are hard to come by post-Christmas – settled for a series of e-mails announcing his frustration with the health care reform all that partisan bickering hath brought us.

“The health care legislation moving through Congress is troubling for several reasons, including its big government approach, its tremendous cost to taxpayers, and ultimately its mandates on Floridians,” he prattled. “Most concerning is the individual mandate that a person must pay a fine or tax if he or she does not obtain federally required health care insurance.”

See, this is the part where McCollum dons his populism top hat, turning a blind eye to the fact that the health insurance companies supporting Republicans are getting your money one way or another, whether you like it or not. Yes, the mandate sucks. But you know what sucks more? Millions of people dying.

“Upon initial review, this appears to be contrary to the freedoms we, as Americans, have enjoyed for the past 233 years,” he continues. Hello, slavery! “The mandate is especially troubling to Floridians who are guaranteed through the Florida Constitution to have ‘the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into [their] private life.’” That’s a convenient one to trot out when you’re consistently on the wrong side of civil liberties, Bill.

McCollum has enlisted – read “e-mailed” – his secret-handshake-Freemason-fraternity of attorneys general in order to evaluate whether any of this “living tax” crap is actionable, and blah, blah, blah, because this is what the talking TV box told him that people want him to do. He whinnied when he was supposed to. We stopped to notice. Life went on. Now can we make something new happen this year? Please?

Sometimes the sardine-paste-and-Pop-Rocks blend of broken local news oozes its way into the cracks of the staid political machine and, with a splash of Jesus juice, converts a relatively trivial civic development into a cocktail we just can’t put down. Such is the case of Republican Craig Alan McCarthy’s Dec. 21 election filing to challenge incumbent Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, for the honor of sitting in Tallahassee’s District 36 House seat.

You might recall that Randolph only had one challenger in his 2008 bid to retain his title, and that that challenger, Steve Villard, was a crazy turncoat who, upon running out of his handwritten ransom-note-style political signs, actually nailed T-shirts to tree trunks. McCarthy, however, inserts a whole different breed of crazy into the mix. Beyond his name recognition – “I have here in my hand a list of 205 [people] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department” (not him!) – McCarthy comes to the fray with a CV that includes power roles in Florida tabloid fodder feeders like trying to keep Terri Schiavo alive in ’05 and, more recently, representing the family of Christianized Facebook orphan Rifqa Bary.

The latter afforded the Orlando attorney and West Point grad an opportunity to become a media whore on Fox and Friends and compose a holy confessional op-ed for the St. Pete Times on Sept. 20. It was in that piece that we found out just how Christian McCarthy is.

“I found the Lord and became born again at the age of 5 and was raised in an evangelical tradition and environment,” he wrote. “With the exception of my live appearance on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends last month, I have made my faith as a Christian clear to every journalist who has interviewed me about this case.”

Jesus!

From there, nearly every paragraph contains some variation of “I’m a Christian,” even though for the one month he was involved in the Bary case he was representing Rifqa’s Muslim parents. Very tolerant of you, sir.

What does this mean for Randolph, or, for that matter, reason? We can’t tell yet, as McCarthy has yet to officially launch any manner of platform. But if his previous statements are anything to go on – fun bits like “Please recognize that the Lord is not so powerless as to need people to hide information, to embellish facts, or to give false witness in order to advance Christ’s kingdom” – it’s set to be one hell of a ride.

Speaking of Ms. Rifqa Bary, which we haven’t been lately because after she was sent packing to Ohio in October, the whole situation came down to infighting among staffers of a church that holds services at a mall, we got an urgent call on the Happytown™ tip line from our friends (!) at the Liberty Counsel the other day. They called to let us know that Blake Lorenz, formerly a pastor at Global Revolution Church, did everything right, naturally. According to an affidavit filed with an Ohio court, Lorenz basically dialed the phone until his fingers bled trying to get someone, anyone, to pay attention to the runaway teen.

“I contacted 11 attorneys, two police officers, one judge and the Department of Children and Families within a two-week period of Rifqa Bary’s arrival in Florida and not once was I told that I had broken any law,” he states in the affidavit. Lorenz is represented in court by Liberty Counsel lawyer Mat Staver.

All of which is contrary to the story proffered by Lorenz’s Global Revolution colleague, Brian Smith, who filed his own affidavit in Ohio stating that Lorenz was told he was breaking the law by not telling authorities he was sheltering Bary. Smith said Lorenz wouldn’t make the call because DCF would just return the girl to her parents in Ohio. Bary, as you may recall, told anyone who would listen that she would be killed as a Muslim turncoat upon return to the Buckeye State.

In related news, there isn’t much going on at the Global Revolution website these days.

happytown@orlandoweekly.com
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