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Fatal flaw in new jail: feds are in charge

If you read Joel Addington’s in-depth look at the financial picture surrounding Baker County’s new jail two weeks ago, then his opinion piece last week on the county commission’s funding woes, you might have scratched your head.

Essentially Mr. Addington pointed out in the first instance that prospects of an operating surplus at the new jail flowing into the coffers of the county commission are bleak.

Then he opined that a dreaded operating deficit in this coming year’s county budget may not be as dire as in recent years when Baker County’s $11 million cash surplus was sucked down to its present $3 million.

The main culprit, of course, has been the cost of housing county prisoners at the new jail. Their numbers steadily rise, and county taxpayers are on the hook for the $85 a day boarding fee per inmate, the same as the non-profit running the jail gets for ICE inmates.

That could reach $100 a day soon, and kick in the same obligation for local inmates.

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Naps, text ‘screamers’ and GPS

As you know, my mind works in mysterious ways, though most people just think of it as bizarre. Here are some of the things rattling around in there lately.

• When I was a kid, I hated to take a nap. Some of the biggest arguments with my mother were over the need for me to nap. I take it all back, Mom — I now love naps. I feel the same way about certain foods. I hated broccoli when I was a kid and often had to sit at the table and stare at it on my plate when I could have been off playing. Now it’s my favorite vegetable.

Nothing is quite so bad as that moment during an argument when you realize you’ve been wrong all along. I get that a lot.

I don’t understand social media all that much but I do know that TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS SUPPOSED TO MEAN YOU’RE SCREAMING. So why do some people “scream” all the time online? Do they scream all the time in their daily life as well? Maybe they are just screaming in their heads.

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Sequestration: fear mongering and bad theatre

It’s all political theater — and bad theater at that.

The idea that Washington, both the legislative and executive branches, expect the taxpaying public to take them seriously when they drone on about the necessity of “cutting spending” is absurd on its face.

These are the people who, over the past 100 years (next month) since Woodrow Wilson was elected president, have brought us to where our federal agencies spend at least a trillion dollars more every year than the government takes in.

And now they’re out there this week braying about how $85 billion in spending cuts next fiscal year will be the death of us all. That’s $85 billion in a $3.8 trillion budget, $1 trillion of which we’ll have to borrow from the Chinese or other sources purchasing our treasury bills backed by money that the federal government is printing and pumping into the market.

Get that?

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Show me the money: GOP’s outsourcing of state government

Over the last decade or so the state has become an incubator of sorts for the conservative government policy commonly called outsourcing.

Steered by the Florida Legislature and three consecutive Republican governors, Florida has been turning over more and more state functions to private entities, arguing they can deliver the services just as effectively as state employees, but for less money.

The legislature’s regular session doesn’t start until March 5 but it’s clear already that the GOP-controlled House and Senate chambers are poised to stay the course; giving more public school money to for-profit charter schools, putting more of the state’s Medicaid recipients and the associated state and federal funding into the hands of private health insurers and outsourcing more operations within the state prison and mental health systems.

It would appear that if there’s any private entity inside or outside Florida willing, for a small fee of course, to assume what has historically been a state function, the state is more than happy to make a deal.

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