Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rick Scott's Cuts To Mental Healthcare Have Led to ACTUAL Zombiism

In a terrifying real-life headline from CBS News, "Miami Police Shoot, Kill Man Eating Another Man’s Face". The article quotes sources describing the most grizzly scene one can imagine - a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway is chewing on the flesh of another naked man's face in broad daylight.

Police made multiple attempts to stop the horrific scene before resorting to gunfire whereupon they shot and killed the apparent "Zombie", thus saving his victim who is currently being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The wounds suffered by the victim of the attack are apparently not superficial either - one source says "the man had virtually no face and was unrecognizable".

One must pause when reading a story like this and wonder, first, whether such a story could be true. (I checked the URL to make sure I wasn't reading The Onion or some other farce.) The next thing that a person must wonder is "What causes this sort of thing?"

In an attempt to explain that latter question, I'll direct you to the fields of mental health and politics. Governor Rick Scott is infamous for, among other things, his budget cuts to the healthcare system in Florida. Cuts to programs such as ADAP (the state/federal cooperative program to subsidize the cost of HIV/AIDS medication) have real life consequences and many patients were left unable to afford life-saving medication. Those cuts were only shocking and frightening to people who know and love someone who has HIV... or at least they should have been. But as we can see now, the beginning effects of life without adequate mental healthcare can have truly disastrous consequences for the general public. Shock and awe, indeed.

Here are just a small few of the $142 Million line-item cuts that Governor Rick Scott personally made to the State budget back in April:

  • University of Miami brain and spinal research: -$400,000
  • Florida Medical Schools Quality Network: -$3,000,000
  • Inpatient hospital reimbursement ceiling exemption for community hospitals: -$2,006,000
  • Florida Council Against Sexual Violence to fund rape crisis centers: -$1,500,000
  • New Horizons Community Mental Health Center: -$100,000
  • Seminole Behavioral Health: -$350,000
  • Psychiatric medication assistance: -$500,000
  • Recovery House Central Florida: -$1,560,000
  • Alzheimer’s Family Care Center of Broward County: -$250,000
  • Mt. Sinai Brain Bank: -$100,000
  • McKnight Brain Institute Brain Tumor Registry: -$500,000
  • Sarasota Fetal Alcohol Clinic: -$100,000
  • Autism Center of Miami: -$100,000
  • WestCare substance abuse treatment program: -$150,000

Anyone who reads national news headlines can tell you that Florida is NOT the state that one should cut funding for mental health services in... Our headlines are a source of national embarrassment - everything from psychotic moms killing their babies to family Thanksgiving day shoot-outs. We have headless bodies washing ashore in Fort Lauderdale and kids partying on ecstasy with the bodies of their murdered parents in Port Saint Lucie.

Republicans these days are largely all on board with cuts to any program that is funded by taxes. Miami's Republican Mayor, Tomas Regalado, rarely protests the drain that Tallahassee has placed under his city. When questioned about how Republicans view things in the larger scheme, he gives answers that leave little hope for humanity. He says things like: "Miami is what the United States will look like in 25 years from now... and there's nothing we can do about it."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Personal Thank You to The President of the United States of America

Dear President Obama,

It is with great pride and sincere gratitude that I write these words.  I began campaigning for you in the Summer of 2008 knowing that you were far and away more tolerant and equality-minded than your opponent John McCain.  Like you, I thought that America was not quite ready to embrace gay marriage and I often explained to my friends and fellow activists that your administration was one that we could count on but shouldn't "expect too much from".
Yesterday, you proved me wrong about the latter half of that statement. You've proven to the LGBT community that we can not only "hope for change" but shoot for the stars!  You could have just as easily taken the politically expedient route of holding Same-Sex Marriage back like a carrot on a string.  You could have withheld your verbal support as incentive for LGBT persons to elect you to a 2nd term and in today's political climate, it would work.  But instead, you chose to do the more politically risky thing because it is also the most honorable thing.
For this bold, meaningful support on your behalf, I say Thank You.  I don't think I'm being excessive in saying that you have done more to advance my civil equality in this country than any other President I've had the experience of living under. 
In closing, I pledge my support not only for your re-election to a 2nd term, but also to elect a Democratic Congress that will help you to achieve your vision of America... a vision I know we share.

- Sincerely,
Jarrett Terrill
Fort Lauderdale, Florida