Timing, as always, is everything. Just as we have a deadly COVID surge and GOPsters equating vaccine passports and mandatory mask-wearing (especially among vulnerable students) with diminished freedoms, we have a governor whose top priority is fundraising and political ambition. “Flori-duh” under the fine-threatening Ron DeSantis is in a doubling-down spiral. To misparaphrase Patrick Henry, Give me disingenuously-defined “liberty” and give me self-inflicted “death.”
Most recent Exhibit A: Gov. DeSantis speaking to a Pasco-red, Saddlebrook Resort crowd at the annual Reagan Day fundraiser in Wesley Chapel. “Vaccine,” the life-saver that isn’t saving as many Florida lives as it should and could, never came up. But crowd-pleasing, red-meat cheap shots about “woke” universities, “regime-controlled media” and President Joe Biden sure as hell did. “If Joe Biden is trying to destroy the livelihoods of our people, I will fight back,” exhorted DeSantis. “We’ve got a lot going wrong in our country … but we’ve got a lot going right in the state of Florida.” Actually, we’ve got a lot going wrong and right wing in the state of Florida.
- Tally Ho’s: For the 2022 legislation session in Tallahassee, there’s a proposal to make school board elections partisan. Just what nobody needs: Even more partisan politics. Florida’s Constitution currently says county school board members must be elected in nonpartisan races. If the proposal (HJR 35) is approved, it would be on the ballot next November. Yet more Tally meddling in local government. It’s more than the counterproductive countermanding of school district mask mandates that protect students.
Also, partisan school board elections—even though everybody knows who’s a D and who’s an R—would disenfranchise some voters because of Florida’s closed primary system. The NPAs would be shut out of primaries. School board races should remain as non-partisan as possible. No surprise that that’s not a Tallahassee priority.
- Back in 1963 the NFL suspended Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, two of the league’s premier, highest-profile players, for betting on games and associating with known gamblers. In 1976, former Commissioner Pete Rozelle said that “Legalized gambling on sporting events is destructive of the sports themselves and in the long run injurious to the public.” Here’s Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 2012 take on the biggest threats to the game’s integrity: “Gambling would be No. 1 on my list.” That was then. This is not.
In April, the NFL announced its first sportsbook partnerships—multi-year agreements with Caesars Entertainment, Draft Kings and Fan Duel as the league’s “official betting partners.” Then more recently the NFL announced that FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet and Wynn-BET became approved sportsbook operators for the 2021 season. Call it the new normal, pragmatic business decisions or a blatantly hypocritical sell out.