Greeting, Wonketteers. Are you ready to take a well-deserved break from your buttsechs gay marriage orgies and sojourn with me down to Your Very Favorite Land of Snakes and Swamps, a dystopian hellscape that not even Wes Anderson could make adorable? Sure you are! Let’s get to it.

We shall begin with that little fella up top there, the New Guinea flatworm, considered one of the most invasive species out there. Per science:

“The discovery of this species in mainland America should be considered very bad news for biodiversity,” Professor Jean-Lou Justine, from the Institute of Systematics, Evolution, Biodiversity, who led the study, tells IFLScience. “It is a predator of land snails and of many other soil invertebrates. It can endanger existing populations of rare and threatened endemic snails.”

In other words, very bad. And these very bad things have only just recently been discovered in the United States. Would you care to guess where?

Correct! Aren’t you a smart little reader-person. Don’t worry, we won’t keep it all to ourselves for very long.

Although it's only popped up in Florida so far, its highly invasive nature means it could represent a serious threat to other states, too. […] The adults are able to survive in pots or on plants. In Florida, where gardens are often attended by professionals, movements of the flatworm from garden to garden – together with soil, compost, rooted plants, potted plants and garden waste – will likely disseminate the invasive species further. Researchers suggest that this has already happened, since the species has been found in several gardens in Miami.

And Now, Flesh-Eating Bacteria!

Florida’s health officials, which is an oxymoron that we will leave alone for a while, would like all of us to relax just a little about this flesh-eating bacteria thing that’s going around.

Health officials in Florida made efforts to assure the public that Vibrio is not as exaggeratingly threatening as it seems. From late May to early June, fear has clouded the state when news about the flesh-eating Vibrio vulnificus bacterium spread out. However, the Florida Health Department says that the wide media coverage published inaccuracies which have caused a great deal of concern among Floridians. One concern was regarding the safety of the beaches related to previous cases involving the bacteria.

Oh absolutely, no doubt, the beaches are safe, tourists. You can trust the government that relies entirely on you spending your money here to be absolutely certain of that. As long as you don’t eat seafood and stay out of the water:

One can get Vibrio usually by (1) eating raw or undercooked oysters and other shellfish, and (2) exposing open wounds, cuts and scratches to brackish and salt water.

And what could be prompting concern, which is not legitimate, according to state officials? Well, headlines like this, for starters: Man dies from flesh-eating bacteria after swimming in Florida, no health warning issued

A Florida man died June 16 after contracting flesh-eating bacteria, but the state health department has yet to issue a warning, his family claims. Cason Yeager, 26, of Lake County, Fla., contracted vibrio vulnificus after swimming about two miles south of Pine Island Beach, according to his mother, Karen Yeager.

Yep, nothing to see here, move along. And bring the kids!

And Now for Our Favorite Tapeworm

Speaking of flesh-eating creatures from the rotting bowels of the seventh hell, let’s visit with our Sith lord of a governor, He Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken. Remember when Ol’ Ricky was all, the gubmint gonna make me do Medicaid for the poors, why doesn’t Obama just give me all the monies to give to my rich friends instead, NO FAIR, and the White House was like, whatever, dude and Satan’s favorite baldheaded henchman was like I’m going to court, waaaaaaah!

Well, well, well:

Gov. Rick Scott is withdrawing his lawsuit alleging the Obama administration was “coercing” him to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act by ending a separate voluntary Medicaid program.

The Low Income Pool pays hospitals and health care providers for care for poor and uninsured patients who often don’t pay. It was slated to end Tuesday, but federal officials last month gave tentative approval to extend the program for two more years, though with steep cuts.

You will be shocked to learn that the state of Florida has no plans to expand Medicaid, not now, not ever, and the million or so poors who will die early of entirely preventable diseases can just go ahead and choke on their freedom fries, the end.

It’s all about fiscal responsibility, duh:

LIP is paid for mostly through local and federal revenues, so the use of state funds means Florida taxpayers now pay twice for the same services. Senate Republicans wanted to draw more federal dollars and resolve the LIP funding issue by expanding Medicaid eligibility and offering coverage on a state-run exchange. But House Republicans balked, declaring Medicaid a broken system with poor health outcomes.

You know what has poor health incomes? Not being able to see a doctor for years on end.

Also from the Fiscal Responsibility Desk: Florida gives its governor a line-item veto, which means he can go through the budget line by line and cross out the things he doesn’t like. Turns out, Rick Scott, being the grinch who stole the governor’s mansion, doesn’t like ALL THE THINGS.

Moving with surprising speed and secrecy, Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $461 million from the state budget Tuesday, enraging fellow Republicans for wiping out their priorities with the stroke of a pen.

Notice that Rick Scott didn’t do this last year, when he was running for reelection. Nope, having firmly entrenched for another four years by a plurality of our state’s dumbest olds, he is now free to starve children at will.

Many other lawmakers stocked the budget with projects, but Scott spiked them, too, for water and sewer improvements, libraries, museums, softball fields, industrial parks, after-school programs and grants to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Goodwill Industries, Junior Achievement, Special Olympics and United Cerebral Palsy.

Miami-Dade legislators are especially adept at getting state money, but Scott vetoed many of their projects as well. He erased $1 million for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, $300,000 for a Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach and $250,000 to combat Medicaid fraud in Miami-Dade.

Scott came under fire from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for killing a $2,000 pay raise for state firefighters who earn an average salary of $27,475 a year.

The bumper sticker is still operative:

And Now, Headlines

Headline 1: Florida deputy charged in Taco Bell road rage case involving a gun and a burrito

A Florida corrections officer pulled a gun on a couple who he said cut him off leaving a restaurant parking lot and tossed a burrito at his car. Thomas Thompson, a Lake County detention deputy, was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and improper exhibition of a firearm in connection with the road rage incident, reported WPXI-TV.

A married couple told police they were leaving a Taco Bell restaurant Monday in Mount Dora when a vehicle pulled alongside them flashing “fake-sounding police sirens.” The driver, later identified as the 45-year-old Thompson, said he was a police officer, pointed a pistol at the couple, and told them they had run two stop signs.

The man, Charles Newcomb, drove away, but he said Thompson followed them while swerving and threatening to shoot them. Newcomb said he threw a burrito at Thompson’s car and pulled into a pharmacy parking lot to call 911.

Headline 2: Rolling rally for Confederate flag

Hundreds of Confederate flags made their way from Brandon to Tampa just before sunset Friday night, driven by supporters who say that those who may be offended, have it wrong.

"There is no reason it should hurt your feelings. It is part of our history," said Alex Abbott of Apollo Beach.

"I am not here support anything other than love, peace, harmony," said one participant, who did not want to provide her name. "I am here to support the South."

"We are not racists," insisted another.

And yet somehow, we couldn’t spot an African-American in the picture. Weird. Guess we need to get our eyes checked.

More Confederate Flag News, Why Not

South Carolina, while being a backwater shithole of the first order, is still well behind Florida in at least one aspect of redneck dipshittery: We have the world’s biggest Confederate flags, and you other faux-Southerners, with your stars-and-bars belt buckles and Skynyrd swag, can bow down:

Here in Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said there's not much city leaders can do about a large Confederate flag that flies high above Interstate 4 near I-75 […] The flag is the largest Confederate flag in the world and it's part of a Confederate memorial on private property, which complies with county codes. And the owner said when he built it he would not give in to critics. "If it takes pain and controversy to create a dialog for southerners to be understood and appreciated as being a vital part of community, so be it," said Marion Lambert.

Dept. of What Could Go Wrong

We’re going to leave you with an idea that could really, truly only have sprung to life in the mind of Florida Man.

Proposed Daytona Beach gun range considers serving alcohol

A Volusia County business owner wants to combine a shooting range with a restaurant that serves alcohol, which has some worried about customer safety.

Some.

Well, that it’s for this week, Florida. Maybe next week we’ll bring back the plague. Meanwhile, back to your regularly scheduled buttsechs gay marriage orgies!

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