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3 posts from June 7, 2014

June 07, 2014

Tracking Rick Scott's every move, liberal group says he's 'gift that keeps on giving'

Everywhere Gov. Rick Scott goes, they go.

With high-definition Canon video cameras, the political operatives have traveled tens of thousands of miles in the past year, recording every Scott speech, event and interaction with reporters, feeding it to The Vault, a colossal database housed in an office building in Washington.

The two full-time staffers for American Bridge don't everconfront Scott,but they have complicated life for the Republican seeking re-election in November, amplifying his propensity to evade questions, generating news coverage with their video clips and backing up state Democrats who will be outspent by Scott and the GOP.

"Tracking" is not a new phenomenon in politics yetthe liberalAmerican Bridge is injecting it with steroids— 42 staffers in 38 states have traveled more than 487,000 miles this election cycle — and carving a new trail in opposition research.

The effort represents another turn in the fast-moving trend of outside groups and money in elections.

"Florida is a place where we like to work," American Bridge president Brad Woodhouse, a blunt-talking operative with glasses and close-cropped graying hair, said from his Washington office. "Rick Scott's been the gift that keeps on giving." More from Alex Leary of Tampa Bay Times, @LearyReports here.

Scientists race to save coral doomed by PortMiami dredging


Miami scientists scrambled this week to rescue a crop of unusually hardy coral from an unlikely underwater garden at the bottom of one of the world’s busiest shipping channels.

The coral, which may hold clues about how sea life adapts to climate change, is growing in Government Cut. The channel, created more than a century ago, leads to PortMiami and is undergoing a $205 million dredging project — scheduled to begin Saturday — to deepen the sea floor by about 10 feet in time for a wave of new monster cargo ships cruising through an expanded Panama Canal starting in 2015.

Endangered coral and larger coral have already been removed by a team hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the dredging work.

But the remaining coral, deemed “corals of opportunity” in Corps lingo, can be retrieved with a permit. The problem, scientists say, is they only had 12 days between when the permits were issued last month and the start of dredging, not nearly enough time to save the unusual colonies thriving in Government Cut.

“There are just thousands of corals out there, so it’s really a mammoth task,” said Andrew Baker, a University of Miami professor and coral biologist who researches the effects of warming oceans and acidification on coral. “This could be the seed population for climate-tolerant corals, and we’re wiping them out by literally blowing them up.”

More here.

Miami VA chief of staff surrendered NY medical license


One year before he was appointed senior executive physician for the Miami VA Healthcare System in 2010, Vincent A. DeGennaro surrendered his medical license in New York, stemming from a disciplinary finding in a Florida case of a patient who died under his care at a Fort Lauderdale hospital.

According to the complaint filed with the Florida Board of Medicine, DeGennaro botched a number of his responsibilities while treating a patient for severe abdominal pain at Holy Cross Hospital in January 2003 — including failing to follow up and misinterpreting X-rays of the patient, failing to respond to the patient’s symptoms and complaints, failing to act on the urgent need for surgery and failing to recognize that the patient had a torn large intestine.

DeGennaro, who remains licensed to practice medicine in Florida, could not be reached at his home in Pompano Beach, where a recorded greeting says messages will not be returned. He also could not be reached through the Miami VA’s public affairs office, which issued a statement in response to interview requests.

“The Professional Standards Board (PSB) here at the Miami VA Healthcare System … found that this action had no bearing on his practice at the Miami VAHS,” Shane Suzuki, public affairs officer for the Miami VA, wrote in the statement. “In addition, the PSB also found that no further action was warranted.’’

More here.