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Mitch Perry Report for 6.1.15 — Waiting for the Big One

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Happy June 1, the beginning of Hurricane season. So cue up the the stories about how we are or are not ready for a major storm. Journalism can be so predictable sometimes…

Much more importantly is the fact that though Florida hasn’t been hard hit by a weather event in a decade,  a recent national report showed that Florida’s average homeowner premium of more than $2,000 a year is twice the national average, as reported by the AP’s Gary Fineout.

Speaking of natural disasters, I took in the new summer Hollywood blockbuster San Andreas over the weekend, which is actually good fun, if seeing the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco tear apart is your idea of fun. The film brings back the heyday of the great American disaster films from the 1970s. I’m thinking in particular of my favorite, 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure. Gene Hackman’s character was so heroic in that Irwin Allen flick — in San Andreas, Dwayne Johnson plays the heroic part  (which really lays it on heavy about family ties), and he’s actually pretty damned impressive.  Some of the lines uttered by Paul Giamatti as the intense seismologist are unintended bits (but not unappreciated) of comedy, but I think some people saying this movie is in poor taste because of the disaster in Nepal are missing the point.

Growing up in California, I leaned about the perils of living on the San Andreas faultline very young,  as seismologists have predicted for decades that there is going to be The Big One at some point. The message of San Andreas is, if you’re in the middle of an earthquake, hope that you’ve got someone as cool and resourceful as The Rock saving your ass, otherwise you’re pretty screwed.

I also saw Cameron Crowe’s Aloha, which isn’t as bad as some say but also isn’t vintage Crowe.

In political news, Bob Schieffer signed off yesterday as the host of Face The Nation. In his last one-on-one interview, Schieffer showed why he’ll be missed, as he challenged Jeb Bush on the absurdity of him not officially being a presidential candidate yet. (The reason being that individual campaign contributions are limited to $2,700, whereas  people can give unlimited funds to a Super PAC like Bush’s Right to Rise).

BUSH: “I, look, I hope, I hope I run, to be honest with you … I’d like to run, but I haven’t made the decision.”

SCHIEFER: “Well, what would have to happen between now and then to convince you not to run?”

BUSH: “Who knows. Who knows … I’ve learned not to answer a lot of hypothetical questions.”

SCHIEFER: “You’re probably going to run.”

BUSH: “I hope so. I hope, I hope I’m a candidate in the near future.”

This is totally absurd, we all know (as is the notion that Scott Walker is also not really a candidate now but is still “testing the waters”).

Last week, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 called on the the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Bush’s non-campaign. Democracy 21’s Fred Wertheimer wrote in March that “Presidential candidates and their individual-candidate super PACs must be held accountable for any brazen violations of the campaign finance laws during the 2016 presidential election. The next president should not start off his or her presidency as a massive law breaker.”

In other news…

The special session kicks off in Tallahassee. One thing not on the agenda yet but may pop up is what to do with ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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