Unhinged Gaetz

Rick Scott. Remember when it couldn’t get much than worse than that? An HCA fraudster who refused federal money for a high-speed Orlando-Tampa rail connection. We’d be on “the hook,” although formal bids hadn’t yet been received.

Then came Ron DeSantis, from the Fox green room and Trump’s petting zoo to an agenda against all things “woke.” Indeed, it did get worse—from book-bans and COVID outliers to paying for border migrants to fly to other states.

And now, head’s up. Looks like Panhandle punk Matt Gaetz wants his goobernatorial shot. In an age of political outrage, anything is possible, if not downright likely. Including a ring leader for governor. For now, at least, the public has forgotten about those sexual misconduct allegations and campaign finance shenanigans, if not a Leo Gorcey Dead Ender caricature from hell.

Israeli Reality

You don’t have to be anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has an authoritarian side, and there’s nothing about de facto apartheid to rally around. A two-state solution has to happen.

But nothing–nothing–justifies the defense of Hamas-instigated horrifics perpetrated on civilians and their families, some of them American. Harvard-activist protests notwithstanding, this was no prison escape. Escapees don’t stop to rape, behead and take hostages.

As long as there is no two-state solution, there will be no solution—and no haven for the helpless and innocent.

OutHouse In Context

It’s not just the Electoral College that’s woefully out of date. We’ve just been reminded—thanks to Matt Gaetz—that’s there’s another anachronism bedeviling our democracy. It’s the rule that allows a single member of the House to force de facto-coup action on a resolution to remove the Speaker. Maybe single-member motion to vacate doesn’t sound as ill-advised and chaotic as it is: Just call it Gaetzgate.

Dem Notes

  • “We need to stop seeing each other as ”—President Joe Biden. It would also help, as the president was surely tempted to add, if the other side would quit acting like, well, enemies.
  • “There was an assault weapons ban at one time. It expired. Let’s renew it.”—VP Kamala Harris.
  • “We are prepared to compete, but we do not seek to ”—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led a recent congressional delegation to Shanghai, China.
  • The S. economy churned out 336,000 jobs in September, a sign of the job market’s strength. Unemployment is holding at 3.8 percent and wage growth is outpacing inflation. Normally these would be positive signs and assessed accordingly. Normally.
  • Now that the House Speaker chaos has played out, it’s up to the electorate to respond appropriately—and with enlightened democratic self-interest—in 2024. If so, the next House Speaker would be Hakeem Jeffries.
  • “My intention is to spoil (the election) for both of them.”—Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the likely impact of his independent presidential run on both President Biden and Donald Trump. Yes, he’s a conspiracist and an anti-vaxxer—but his name is Kennedy. He would have more effect on a Democratic candidate—not unlike Ralph Nader in 2000.
  • Team Biden-Harris recently announced that it had raised more than $71 million in the third quarter of 2023 and reported $91 million in cash on hand. The war chest is larger than that of the MAGA field combined.
  • Since announcing his Texas senate campaign, Democratic congressman Colin Allred, a former Tennessee Titans linebacker seen as Ted Cruz’s most likely opponent in 2024—has raised nearly $11 million since May. That was $2 million more than the incumbent Cruz reported in the same period. In 2018, Beto O’Rourke mounted a strong challenge to Cruz.
  • Where the Second Amendment and impeachment intersect. New Mexican Republicans are calling for the impeachment of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grishan. Her “impeachable” offense: She led the effort to suspend the right to carry guns at public parks and playgrounds, a suspension motivated by recent shooting around the state that have left children dead. Bottom line: Impeached for not allowing guns at public parks and playgrounds! Only an intentional misinterpretation of the 18th Century Second Amendment and a right-wing macho mindset “explains” this impeachment.
  • That was then: Early in his Congressional career, rabble-rousing GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was not averse to crossing the political aisle and actually worked with Jamie Raskin, the Maryland Democrat, on bipartisan legislation to protect press freedom. That was before Trump became his lodestar.


  • How about a 28th Amendment? When in legal/originalist doubt, revert to common sense.
  • “GOP Bless America”: Mike Pence’s favorite evangelical bumper sticker.
  • Iranian oxymoron: “morality police.”
  • Don’t irritate old people. The older they get, the less “life in prison” is a deterrent.
  • It’s weird being the same age as old people.
  • For those who love gardening: Plants are your soil mates.
  • The “Me Too” movement on college campuses: Any cheerleaders? Speaking of, aren’t they really cheer providers?
  • Some nicknames are better than others. Football analyst and ex-Buc Booger McFarland might agree.
  • Standards for congressional dress codes. OK. But what about Party-first, chaos-inducing behaviors?


  • Ron DiSastrous says no to any Palestinian refugees coming to Florida because they “are all anti-Semitic.” The only thing surprising is that he managed to say it before Trump did.

He has also proposed sanctions on Iran. He obviously needs some form of foreign policy bona fides beyond the Ukrainian “border dispute.”

  • The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are approximately 10,000 Palestinians in Florida.
  • Speaking of GOPster presidential candidates and foreign affairs familiarity, none have a better handle than Nikki Haley, America’s former United Nations ambassador.
  • Political priorities update: Gov. DiSastrous is calling lawmakers back to Tally this month to — pass further sanctions against Not to deal with the property-insurance- premium crisis or, say, rethink proposals that gut diversity, equity and inclusion programs in public universities.
  • “He’ll do whatever he has to do to stay in the ”—Perry Thurston, former Democratic senator and Minority Leader, in reference to Congressman Matt Gaetz.

Tampa Bay

  • The implications of chaotic Washington politics ripple across America, as Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor recently underscored. “Speaker (Michael) Johnson’s record is very concerning for my Tampa Bay neighbors as he has voted to gut Social Security and Medicare, criminalize abortion, repeal marriage equality and abandon our allies. Johnson was intimately involved in the effort to throw out fairly cast votes in the 2020 election, which should be disqualifying to serve as Speaker.”

Media Matters

  • “The best advice for avoiding (Israeli-Hamas) misinformation, is to simply avoid social media. … The second-best advice is to follow a curated list of experts about what’s happening.”—Alex Mahadevan, director of the Poynter Institute’s digital media literacy initiative MediaWise.
  • “There’s a good place to find trusted news on line: actual news websites.”—Dave Lee, Bloomberg.
  • “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”—SCOTUS Justice Hugo Black at the time of the Pentagon Papers.
  • It’s no surprise that network television ratings have been heading south in recent years. Netflix, Hulu et al have everything to do with it. But there’s one demographic exception to stream-at-your-leisure viewers: people over 60. “At CBS, we love older viewers,” notes Radha Subramanyam, the chief research officer at CBS. “They watch a lot of television. And advertisers love them because they have tons and tons of spending power.”
  • SNL cold openings: And we thought the writers’ strike was over.
  • Media monopolies: The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are moving ahead with anti-trust suits against big tech. That includes Google and Amazon.
  • Dozens of states, including Florida, are suing Meta Platform Inc. for designing features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children—and further contribute to a youth mental health crisis. But adults are still on their own.
  • Fox News: The monetizing of anger.
  • R&R Hall of Fame: Still no Chubby Checker.

Sports Shorts

  • The minimum MLB salary for 2024 is $740,000.
  • New York Yankees president Randy Levine recently criticized the “whining” Rays and Marlins for their reliance on revenue sharing. Wonder what Levine would say to a salary cap—as we have in the other major pro sports. It’s a way of preventing the wealthiest franchises from beating their competition by simply outspending them. Or would that be a bit too egalitarian? Or is this just Levine ranting because all that Yankee money notwithstanding, his team had another disappointing season in the shadow of the low-payroll Rays.
  • I miss Champa Bay.
  • Tampa Bay Tech alum Michael Penix, the University of Washington quarterback, is among top Heisman Trophy favorites.
  • The AP men’s preseason basketball poll has one Florida school in its top 10: not UF or FSU—but The Owls made it to the Final Four last year.
  • Saturday is college football day. Only ongoing downside: having to endure AllState and Progressive commercials.
  • Decals on helmets. Keep it at the motivational, high school level–no matter what Michigan or Ohio State think. Unless they want to remove decals for bad plays.

Trumpster Diving

  • OutHouse Speaker? Among our constitutional anomalies is the one that doesn’t require the Speaker of the House to actually be a member of said House. As a result, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia advocated the drafting of Donald Trump to be Speaker of the current House. Seriously.
  • “Remember when Kevin McCarthy was the future of his party? Along with Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor?”—Charlie Sykes, The Bulwark.
  • Madness in individuals is something rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”—Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Some are suggesting an “Unfit to Serve” national-alert tour by disaffected former Trump insiders. It would include the high-profile likes of John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster, Mark Esper and William Barr. The purpose would be nothing less than an effort to help save the country from a dangerously chaotic Trump sequel.
  • “A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law. … God help us.”—Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
  • “A wannabe dictator.” How Trump was characterized by recently retired Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • “White domestic terrorism is part of the MAGA brand, and that comes from the ”—Elie Mystal, The Nation.
  • “Trump is widely viewed as the leader of our party.”—Ohio Republican Rep. Warren Davidson, the whip of the House Freedom Caucus.
  • Trump’s de facto Political Action Committee (Save America) has paid more than $37 million to lawyers, representing their client on his personal issues ranging from fraud to insurrection.
  • “On almost no policy.” According to new House Speaker Michael Johnson, this is what he and President Biden “agree” on.
  • Nostalgia for John Boehner
  • It should be unfathomable that Trump’s essence—an unethical, immoral, racist, misogynistic, uninformed, divisive, narcissistic danger to democracy—is a selling point to his cult followers. But it’s not. No more than followers of the Rev. Jim Jones opting for the Kool-Aid over common sense and self-interest.
  • Trump ally Roger Stone: “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”