Barack Obama

Gruters, horses brag on session; Eskamani gets angry

Subtlety apparently wasn’t the goal in videos featuring lawmakers from opposite sides of the aisle, pushed out after the 2019 legislative session wrapped.

Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who’s also the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, got a majestic, campaign-style video featuring a lot of horses and a basso voiceover.

Meanwhile, Orlando Democrat Rep. Anna Eskamani, Florida’s answer to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, went her own route.

Eskamani recruited her twin sister, Ida, to act as her “Anger Interpreter” in a video inspired by comedy duo Key and Peele’s ‘Luther the anger translator.’

In a follow-up tweet, Eskamani, who’s known throughout the Capitol for what seems to be a perpetual smile, made it clear that the video was all in good fun.

“Want to make sure y’all know that we made this video with nothing but love & gratitude for our colleagues and to the legislative process. I do my best to always present as my authentic self, and w/out laughter we have nothing.  ❤️”

For those not in the know, Luther made a political splash in 2015, when he gave some assistance to then-President Barack Obama during the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

So, you don’t have to look it up, here’s the Obama version.

 

By Jim Turner and The Dara.

Weed that boosted Obama from Waikiki to White House coming to Florida soon?

originalChoom may or may  not be opening up in the Sunshine State anytime soon, but these guys get some points for chutzpah if for nothing else.

Canada-based Choom Holdings Inc. makes much of its connection to former President Barack Obama, but more about that later.

Choom, whose CEO is named “Chris Bogart” (we kid you not), announced Monday it intends to enter Florida’s medical marijuana market, as part of its “strategy to become a multi-state operator,” through its wholly owned subsidiary, Choom USA Holdings Inc.

Choom, which trades on the Canadian Stock Exchange, signed a letter of intent to purchase a 95% equity interest in “a Florida-based vertically-integrated cannabis applicant,” according to a press release.

The release doesn’t identify the name of the “applicant,” which is clearly not one of the state’s 14 licensed medical marijuana treatment centers, or the amount of the transaction.

The Florida company “is progressing on its Master License application to operate up to 25 retail locations with potential for more as the number of registered patients increase, as well as, a micro-processing and cultivation facility for medical purposes,” the release says.

It goes on:

Upon completing the transaction, Choom will use its medical brand, Clarity Medical Centres, to create a network of branded Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.  Florida’s medical marijuana program has over 190,000 qualified patients, up from approximately 168,000 at the start of 2019, making it the largest medical marijuana market in the United States.  Florida has recently allowed the use of smokable medical marijuana products, potentially opening the program to a considerably larger audience.

“We are very excited to be expanding into Florida and to bring Choom’s medical brand into that market.  Florida’s medical marijuana program is a very attractive opportunity for us seeing that it allows for vertically-integrated operations and it has been a market we’ve had our sights on for a while now.” states Chris Bogart, President & CEO of Choom. “This investment aligns with our strategy of becoming a multi-state operator in the US and helps us to bolster our growth targets. Florida is home to over 21 million residents and has shown impressive year over year growth on the number of registered patients with a large portion of the market being relatively uncaptured.”

Now for the Obama bit:

The company’s website boasts that the onetime president was an integral member of the “Choom Gang” back in Honolulu, where he graduated from high school in 1979.

Obama was part of a group of buddies who “loved to choom the pakalolo,” or smoke weed, according to the website:

Not only was Obama a member of the Choom Gang, he was the group’s trendsetter—coining a number of their toking terms and protocols, including “roof hits” (the practice of sucking every last whiff of smoke lingering by the roof after hot-boxing a car), “total absorption” (holding in one’s hit for as long as possible, or suffering a one-toke penalty for premature exhalation), and the infamous “interception,” where he’d break rotation to steal an extra hit. In fact, Obama even thanked The Choom Gang “for all the good times” in his high school yearbook!

But here’s our favorite part:

“Yes, that same sweet, sticky sensimilla that led Obama from Waikiki to the White House will be coming to a Choom™ store near you.”

Choom’s pitch veers from the less flamboyant advertising for medical pot, but, hey, they’re hitching their star to a president who also happens to be a super-cool cultural icon.

Choom may claim to be all about “cultivating good times with good friends,” but one Florida cannabis industry expert isn’t buying their come-on.

“It doesn’t appear the subject of this press release involves acquiring an actual asset,” our pro told us. “It appears to be pure speculation in an attempt to bolster their stock.”

 

WATCH IT: Gillum concedes, again

Following a machine recount that failed to move him closer to becoming governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum conceded — for the second time — to Republican Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis’ 33,683-vote edge over Gillum was the closest general-election victory in a governor’s race in modern history in Florida.

In a Facebook video posted Saturday evening, Gillum, accompanied by his wife, R. Jai, thanked supporters and conceded, as he did on election night, the race to his opponent.

 

 

“We said that we would fight until the last vote is counted. Obviously, we are now closing out the hand recount phase in two of the statewide races,” Gillum said, adding that he wanted to make sure that “as long as it was a legally cast vote, we wanted those votes to be counted.”

Gillum’s  announcement came hours before a 12 p.m. deadline for a manual recount in the races for U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner.

“Now that we are rounding that process out, R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida,” Gillum said.

The contest between Desantis, who had the backing of President Donald Trump, and Gillum, who was trying to make history as the Florida’s first black governor, was one of the most closely watched governor’s races in the nation. Gillum drew the support of progressive billionaires, including George Soros and Tom Steyer, and former President Barack Obama joined him on the campaign trail days before the Nov. 6 election.

Trump, who had repeatedly blasted Gillum on Twitter prior to the election and who called the Tallahassee mayor a “stone-cold thief,” showed the Democrat some presidential love, at least by Trump standards, following the release of the video.

 

“This election may be beyond us,” Gillum said, pausing and looking at his wife.

“Although nobody wanted to be governor more than me, this was not just about an election cycle,” Gillum, wearing an orange FAMU jacket, said. “This was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up again in our government, in our state, in our communities.”

Despite losing the election, the 39-year-old Democrat made it clear his political career isn’t over.

“We know that this fight continues,” Gillum said.  “More than 4 million of you decided that you wanted a different direction for the state of Florida. We want you to know that we see you, that we hear you, and that your voices will continue to power us as we still stand on the front lines, right alongside you, to make this a state that works for all of us.”

 

Philip “I’m like Lincoln” Levine takes to airwaves to promote Obamacare

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a Democrat who recently announced his formal entrée into the race for governor, is hitching his wagon to President Barack Obama and his signature health care reform, the Affordable Care Act.

Levine launched a “five-week, six-figure” statewide radio campaign this week to encourage Floridians to sign up for the health care benefits before the open enrollment period runs out on Dec. 15, according to a press release issued by his campaign this morning.

In the ads, in both English and Spanish, Levine praises Obama and likens himself to another president.

“Like Thomas Jefferson, I believe that here in America, we do have inalienable rights to liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness. I’m adding one more – the right to health care,” he says.

Triple-shot of storms prompt Nelson, other Dems to seek DACA extension

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and more than three dozen other Senate Democrats are asking President Donald Trump‘s administration to extend an Oct. 5 deadline for “Dreamers” to renew their status, due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“These major hurricanes significantly disrupted day to day living and operations in these states and territories,” the lawmakers, led by Nelson and two others, wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke today. “It would be appropriate for the government to extend the October 5, 2017 deadline nationwide to allow individuals adequate time to meet the government’s recent request.”

Trump and his administration announced earlier this month that the president intends to do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, a policy launched by President Barack Obama aimed at allowing undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country.

The Trump policy would allow some “Dreamers” currently enrolled in DACA to apply for renewal.

“Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are still working to recover and will be for some time,” the lawmakers wrote. “An extension of the deadline would provide DACA recipients more time to collect the $495 application fee and gather the necessary documents to accurately complete the renewal application.”

Florida, where Hurricane Irma knocked out power for two-thirds of the state and resulted in historic flooding on both coasts, is home to an estimated 30,000 Dreamers.

 

Scott on DACA: “I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents”

President Donald Trump is expected to reveal whether he will end DACA, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program launched by President Barack Obama, on Tuesday.

The program allows undocumented individuals who entered the country before their 16th birthday to remain in the U.S. for two years.

Trump campaigned on a hard-line anti-immigration stance, but it’s unclear whether he plans to scrap the program or amend it.

In a statement released Friday evening, Gov. Rick Scott said that Obama was “wrong to address the Dreamers issue by Executive Order.”

But, the governor added, “I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents.

Scott is considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year, in a state where Hispanic voters can make or break elections.

Here’s Scott’s full statement:

“President Obama was wrong to address the Dreamers issue by Executive Order. He should have done it in conjunction with Congress, which is how we make laws in our democracy. But this issue must be addressed. I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents.

These kids must be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and Congress must act on this immediately. I am encouraged by the approach Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Senator Thom Tillis are working on to address this problem.

I want to be very clear: I oppose illegal immigration, and everything else that is illegal. We must secure our borders and the federal government is irresponsible in not doing so. Every single bit of immigration policy becomes much simpler once we secure our borders and put an end to illegal immigration. We must also not allow so-called sanctuary cities to defy our nation’s laws and we must vigorously vet every potential immigrant. Failing to do that is irresponsible.”