How do we restore trust in not only the media, but in the process of exchanging reliable information on a mass scale without perverting the message or quality of content along the way?
Explore a photo gallery of a recent photo shoot with Little Skull Photography here in Sarasota themed around the idea of censorship and blind faith.
Disagreeing with you does not make me racist. A video response to the local social justice warriors who are slandering my name and attacking my credibility. Please share this message with them if you know them.
New media is driving a fundamental shift in how we communicate at scale, and we will soon have to make a choice about how to move forward as a society.
Learn everything you need to know about where we have been and where we are headed here at Raymmar.com.
Is America about to get the president it deserves?
Learn more about where we’re headed here at Raymmar.com
If you had asked me a few years back to attend the Annual Harvey Milk Festival, I would have looked at you a little weird. I would have told you that I think homosexuality is unnatural and that I wouldn’t be attending because I did not agree with the lifestyle.
Watch a short video from the most recent Harvey Milk Festival. Courtesy of Sarasota Underground.
I might have referenced a gay person that I was somewhat familiar with and claimed to not have a problem with their sexual preference, but deep down, there was a piece of my brain that made me feel really uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. The part of me that society has trained to feel that way, the part that hates the thought of two members of the same sex finding happiness inside of an intimate relationship with one another.
But that part of me is dying fast. And I can’t tell you that it is gone completely or that it ever will, but I have a whole new perspective on many things in life. And the amount of fucks I give about how people decide to explore their sexuality is quickly fading.
And honestly, what kind of world are we living in, where the things that happen in the privacy of of our own bedrooms, among two consenting adults, is anyone’s business other than that of the people who are in the room doing it. And more importantly, who the hell am I to tell anyone, where, when or how they should play with their private parts.
“But homosexuality is immoral and wrong!” Said some religious reader somewhere!
Oh yeah, says who? The bible? Your church? Your government?
Related article: Is everything you know about religion wrong?
Who the heck are they? And why have we let them into the most intimate parts of our private lives? Are we so incapable of ruling ourselves that we have deferred every one of our decisions to the approval of others?
Are we not just people living inside of small communities? Are we not all human? Do we not still preserve the right to think and act on our own? Have we lost the ability to mind our own business? Have we stopped managing our own lives and shifted towards the idea of collectively managing the lives of others, and in turn, lost control of everything?
And what kind of world are we building for our children? One where we are still free to think and act on our own? Or one that is managed by mandate? A world where our decisions are dictated to us? One that leaves us always worried about the opinions of someone else. Always letting someone tell us what to do, what to say, and how to say it.
So you see, I may not support the entire LGBTQ movement, but I wholeheartedly support my gay friends. I support their right to believe in whatever they believe in. I support their right to gather, and celebrate and have sex with whoever they want… As long as it’s not with me.
Because what right do I have to claim free speech, if I am not willing to support those who speak freely?
What right do I have to talk about liberty if those are around me are not encouraged to live freely. And what right do I have to tell you, or anyone for that matter, how to live your life?
Because that is equality.
Because that is the level playing field that America was supposed to be. Not this doctored up version of democracy that is starting to feel more and more like fascism.
So I am supporting the Harvey Milk Festival and my friends who help pull it off every year. With my words and with my wallet, and I would ask you to consider doing the same. Mostly because they need it, but more importantly, because America needs more people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, even if that means defending someone else’s right to do something you might not completely agree with.
You hate it. Every time you have to go in on a Saturday or stay late on a weekday. Every time you have to work a few extra hours to get the job done. You are “so much better than all of this!”
You’re not perfect but life is hard and others wouldn’t understand what you’re going through. I mean, your story is different. You are hurting inside, more than I could ever imagine.
If only the world could see… they’d have to understand… Wouldn’t they?
You want that great schedule and kick ass career, but just can’t seem to get your ass in gear.
You deserve a raise. You feel undervalued. But you continue to give the world nothing to appreciate.
You keep spinning your wheels while repressing the superhero inside of you.
You know it’s in there. You feel it stirring. Trying to shine, dying to be seen.
Waiting for the moment you decide to let it out. When you finally let go of all that self doubt.
But don’t believe the lies. They just aren’t true. Whatever you are in this world, is up to no one but you.
— Raymmar Tirado (@RayTirado) March 24, 2015
“Oh and, I just talked to your boss… he said your raise is effective just as soon as you are!”
P.s. You’re fired! – With cause.
Highlight any text in this article to share it directly.
So now what? Where will you turn? Will you go back to work and continue to yearn?
Or come out on your own, and show the whole world you’ve actually grown.
Because education is great, but don’t let it fool you, out on the street, the real world will school you!
— Raymmar Tirado (@RayTirado) March 24, 2015
You want things you are unwilling to give. To set yourself free, to let yourself live.
Stuck in a box, a corner of life. Stuck on repeat. Stuck on strife.
Tell me you hate it, keep on complaining, show me your tears, I’m patiently waiting.
— Raymmar Tirado (@RayTirado) March 24, 2015
To show you the way, to gain your trust. To give you knowledge and a new type of lust.
Not one for sex or selfish desire, but one of accomplishment, one to aspire!
I’ll push you to work, but not for the machine. And I’ll help you accomplish your wildest dream!
I’ll show you that you are the thing, standing in between you and succeed.
You and your stubborn reluctance to feed. On all that’s around you, on all that you need.
But soon you will starve and then you will see, the lessons of life, the lessons you need.
To get you through, to help you exceed. To be the best you-to-the-world you could possibly be.
Nothing more that what you need, Let me in, I’m just planting the seed.
So water away, and together we’ll see, that we all have the tools, to set ourselves free!
Did you enjoy this post? I’d love it if you shared it with a friend!
Dear god, what did I get myself into?
If you don’t know, about 11 days ago, I committed to 30 consecutive days of sharing my thoughts publicly.
What was I thinking?
I’m starting to wonder that myself right about now.
I never considered the fact that I might run out of things to write about. Maybe I should have planned ahead, or had a few articles ready on the fly. Maybe I should have prepared for moments like this. For the moments when nothing makes sense. When the only thought going through my head is “Go lay in bed!” For moments when I must not only fight the world, but must also fight myself. To create, to live, to smile.
It’s not that I’m at a loss for words. There are always plenty of words running through my head. But if I were to put them out to the world in their raw form, none of you would be able to understand them. None of you would be able to deal with the havoc that they are so capable of wreaking.
Instead I must massage and manipulate those thoughts. I must mold them so that you can read them and enjoy them as an interesting story. As beautiful allegory.
I wonder if any of you could last a day inside of my head?
I wonder if I could last a day inside of yours?
I wonder what it will be like when we are able to experience each other so intimately. Maybe that will be the 22nd century orgasm. The ability to jump into someones brain in a way that was never before possible. Combining your emotional experiences with those of another through the blending of technological and chemical processes. An experience that will surely make sexual relationships obsolete. After all, we’ll probably be ordering perfect babies online by then.
What the hell are you even talking about Raymmar?
Just random thoughts, a few of the many that come to me through the course of any given day.
By the way, is it day 11 or day 12 of this challenge? Who even knows?
Wait what? It’s your challenge, you should know!
Shit, it’s not even half way through and it seems all I have left are fractions of thoughts. Thoughts about business mixed in with thoughts about bills. Thoughts about paying them and about trying to get by until the next time they come back around. Just a few of the random thoughts that I always deal with as a fledgling entrepreneur who keeps his brain out on public display.
The thoughts of a guy who keeps it real in his writing as well as the world he lives in. Something that has proven to be more costly than initially anticipated. So much for the freedom to be free. Turns out it’s pretty expensive to be free.
This website and some of my thoughts, have cost me A LOT of money in consulting contracts over the last year and a half.
The language, the raw expression of emotion. The religious references, the political rants. All of it has upset potential clients enough to lead them elsewhere for services that I was best suited to deliver. Rejected based on open expressions and thought. Rejected for everything this country is supposed to be known for. For poking fun at the things that we are not supposed to talk about publicly. Things that we are supposed to think only for ourselves.
Because the narrative needs to be controlled in order to be effective. And it would upset the balance if too many of us actually figured it out at once. If enough of us realized that life is a game, and then actually started to play it. And learned that the rules of this world are not written in stone. They are written by men and made to be challenged.
Imagine if the whole world was willing to admit that they might be wrong. About something. About anything. About everything. Maybe even about themselves.
Imagine if we could understand that at the end of the day, we are all human. That we are all capable of excellence, yet equally capable of making mistakes. That none of us are perfect. And that just because someone want us to pretend to be that way, does not mean we have to.
So here is another day of my thoughts. As random a glimpse into the back of my brain as you’ll ever get. As I sit here, avoiding myself and exposing myself, all at the same time. Trying to connect you to a piece of yourself that we all recognize, but hate to admit. Like riding a moped to the grocery store. It might be fun until your friends see you, but then the explanation begins. Because there is always an explanation isn’t there?
Always a reason. And that reason is never us? But maybe it should be.
An in your face article that challenges you to consider the real reason our country is in turmoil. Who is really to blame?
This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or explore the other posts in this series.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson –
Highlight any text in this article to share it directly.
First of all, lets set some ground rules!
The word “fuck” is in the title of this article! So If you keep reading it and then decide to bitch at me for using it again later, then that’s on you. Don’t come crying to me in the comments or on social media about how inappropriate my use of the word is or how much it offends your sensibilities.
After all, If a couple f-bombs are all it takes to keep you away from what I am about to say, then imagine what other wonders of the world you are missing out on while hanging from that noose of naiveté.
That’s right, I said it! And you’ll be lucky to get one or two people throughout the course of your life who are willing to be as honest with you on a consistent basis as I am about to be.
The truth is that everything is not going to be alright. Things are not a-okay, and the world we live in is full of people who will fuck you over as soon as you give them a chance. People who will hand you a dollar bill to help you pay the rent while stealing your house from the guy who rents it to you.
People who care about nothing more than using you as their philandering whore. Who give you just enough to keep you happy, and feeling free. A type of 21st century slavery. Something that will leave generations to come as slaves to a silent master. And do you know why?
Because fuck you, that’s why!
Our country was founded by people who felt that freedom was part of a natural law. A right that should not be intruded upon by men. But the country they gave us has been overrun by people who have strategically played the system on both sides in order to control a game bigger than you might even be willing to consider. And they are doing it all right under our noses. Do you know why?
Because fuck you, that’s why.
The books have been cooked for a long time now and the real reason that things are not getting better is because as a species, we need to be pushed to the brink in order for us to break. Its a fundamental flaw of human nature. One that leads us to fall prey to the pied piper time and time again.
So I know these words might piss you off, but you know what… I don’t much care. And do you know why?
Because fuck you, that’s why.
For not seeing that the the people in control want you to hate me. For letting them make you think you do hate me. Not because of who I am, but because of the labels they have given us. For not seeing that they are in control of our education and the entire national conversation. Only letting us know what they want us to know and burring the rest with streams of misinformation in order to further confuse us.
For not seeing how easily humans are controlled on a mass scale. For not understanding the fundamental nature of our educational, religious, media and government institutions. For letting them pass off their own doctrine as that of the majority.
For going in to work each day and selling your soul to do something you hate. For not selling out to your passions and for not chasing your dreams. For not being willing to create an opportunity if your path is not clear. And for hating those who do.
For not playing more. For not spending more time laughing! For acting your age. For living life as if you were on a stage. Always on call, always taking the easy path to ensure you don’t fall.
For thinking you deserve something. For thinking that because you had something yesterday it’s still yours today, or that you won’t need to keep busting your ass in order to keep it. For not realizing that nothing is permanent in this life, and that the world will erase you as fast as you let it.
For not recognizing that our society is still in its infancy. For not knowing that the American experiment was a gamble on mankind as a whole. That it was an all-in bet on whether or not man could rule themselves.
For not understanding the consequences of giving the government overarching rule and control of the means of production. For getting mad at lobbyist in Washington but allowing them to enter your house in high definition for hours a day in the form of entertainment and news. For being a hypocrite and not even knowing it.
For knowing and still standing by. For not participating in local elections. For not looking for something more than superficial. Fuck you for not seeing that our society has been designed to do exactly what is happening right now. For not seeing that the rug is about to be yanked out from underneath our feet and put us on all on our asses.
For thinking that we can give the same assholes who drove us into this collapse, the keys to the tow truck that is supposed to pull us out of it. For not seeing that Democrats and Republicans are both pieces of the same puzzle. A large game of chess that has been played on a global scale. One that will never end. One that will be played over and over again, everyone available for sacrifice. Other than the royalty that is.
So fuck you for all of that. For being a doormat. For lying there on the ground so flat. For watching idly by as the the world falls down. And for sitting quietly on the leash while continually being pulled around.
And fuck me too, for blaming you. Because if it’s true for you, then it’s true for me too. Because we all sit around and pretend like it’s not our fault, but in the end, who else is there?
So… What the fuck are we gonna do about it?
Click here to learn more about my 30 Days of Thought Challenge
We have all heard Einsteins definition of insanity (or was it a Chinese proverb?) as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It is something that people throw out via meme, tweet, t-shirt, bumper sticker etc. yet, almost every one of us continues to do the same thing day after day. We are after all, creatures of habit. And I am not the exception.
— Raymmar Tirado (@RayTirado) March 5, 2015
I like to talk shit about how the world works and bloviate about politics and philosophy, but I rarely take the time to look at myself. Sure I beat myself up here and there, but I rarely talk in depth about my real flaws or focus on the fact that I am often part of the problem, not of the solution.
Give me a website that is not converting and I can show you how to drive traffic, build engagement and increase conversions. It’s like optimizing digital products comes naturally to me, but ask me to fix myself and the blinders come on. My ego throws up a wall that stops me from objectively looking at what is really wrong. I raise the barriers and start to defend my behaviors. I get frustrated and of course, nothing changes. Then, like clockwork, I begin to hate myself for being so stubborn.
But today I am trying something different. Today is the first of my 30 Days of Thought Challenge, and I have decided to do something completely different today than I have done every day for the last 5+ years of my life. Starting with this post and the admission that I need to change myself before I can ask or guide others to change themselves.
That being said, not only am I starting a writing challenge, but I will also be working to change a few of my bad behaviors over the next 29 days as well. For instance, today I set and alarm for the first time in years, I woke up early and I even thought about eating a healthy lunch. See, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? But those are all surface issues and this is where I hit my first real barrier.
You see, I have been struggling with a few issues that I am not sure I’m ready to share just yet, but I have a sneaky suspicion that they may all come out during the course of this challenge. I intend to purge my mind, body and spirit over the next 30 days and I’m going to do it right here on this blog. So I hope you’ll join me because I am going to need your support in sticking with this thing.
If you do decide to join me on this quest, thenfeel free to share your 30 Days of Thought with me as we go along. Feel free to use the same format, and then share your thoughts in the comments of each article or send them via email to 30DOT@raymmar.com
You can also share with us on social media by tweeting @RayTirado and using the #30DOT in your posts!
That is all for today. See you fuckers tomorrow.
Just a note:
Most of my blog articles are super long and heady. This challenge is not about posting long, well articulated arguments about how the world works. This experiment is about sticking to a new set of behaviors over the next 30 days in order to try and change some of my stubborn habits. That being said, these posts may be all over the place. Think of them as unedited journal entires. There may be some typos here and there and sometimes they might be short, sometimes they might be super long. At the end of the day, I am just challenging myself to stick with it for 30 days and then look back from there.
In a world where genetic modification is on its way to becoming the norm, are we really going to sit and scream at the TV because a guy gave into the temptation to do everything possible to become the god that we all propped him up to be?
Alex Rodriguez finally admits to using steroids.
Yet another major headline from the professional sporting world. Another news cycle spent talking about the use of performance enhancing drugs instead of the real issues that ail our country. But let’s be honest. Do we really even care anymore?
After all, we are talking about the business of entertaining masses? The “purity of sport” argument has long since passed (at least in the professional arena) and now, all we are left with are large corporate machines that only care about selling tickets, driving advertising revenue, and presenting the allure of exclusivity.
Sure the athletes need training and talent, but if a technology exists that can make you better at what you do, then why wouldn’t you use it?
If your goal is to be the strongest, fastest, most home run hitting dude in the world then why wouldn’t you find every tool known to man to make that a reality.
the steroids didn’t make him a great ball player, they just amplified the skills he already had. I could take all the steroids in the world but if you put me at the plate and throw me a 90mph fast ball, the only thing I’m going to do is get the hell out of the way.
These athletes already have such an advantage in training, equipment, medical care, etc that the concept of restricting their access to a performance enhancing drug is like telling a diabetic that they can use insulin but not the pump that automatically regulates its flow into the body.
We let these athletes use injections to limit swelling and speed up the recovery process, even in the middle of a game. They study themselves in labs to focus on heart rates, breathing, and perfecting their techniques. Peak performance is presented as the only acceptable outcome and then we have the audacity to get mad when someone finds a shortcut to better performance.
How hypocritical of all of us.
Who among us is not looking for an advantage to do better in this game called life right now? We have become a society of cheaters, and as much as we want to pretend that we’re all goody two-shoes and living a perfect life, we are all guilty of looking for shortcuts at one point or another. We actually glorify it in business, politics and education, but god forbid we see it in sports.
In a world where genetic modification is on its way to becoming the norm, are we really going to sit and scream at the TV because a guy gave into the temptation to do everything possible to become the god that we all propped him up to be?
At the very least, we should be willing to be honest with ourselves about the hypocrisy of all of it.
We told Hollywood actors that they were no longer allowed to be in another movie if they have undergone plastic surgery. Or what if we told all the magazine publishers that they are no longer allowed to Photoshop the images that they use inside of their publications.
Maybe next we’ll try to tell college kids who take Adderall that their test scores are invalid or the pregnant mother that she has to suffer through the pain of child birth because the epidural would artificially dull the pain. I know, let’s tell the banks that they can no longer lend money to anyone who doesn’t already have the same amount sitting in the bank as collateral. That way no one can gain an unfair financial advantage in the world.
It would be absurd to present any of these arguments on a massive scale and you might even get laughed off the map for doing so, but every one of these things is an artificial enhancement to our ability to perform . Not all narcotics but each of them important drugs on which our society is wholly dependent.
We love drugs. Especially the ones we’re not allowed to have.
We love the erotic drugs of pornography and hedonism, and we spend more money on legal drugs (coffee, cigarettes and prescriptions etc.) than any other country on the planet. We have statewide battles to legalize drugs from plants that grow naturally all around us and everywhere you look, people are gorging on something that is intended to either make them perform better or at the very least, feel better about themselves.
We live in a world where superficial is really all that matters to most of us, so why should we get upset when someone skirts the system to bring the best version of themselves to the surface?
Aren’t we all addicted to something?
Whether it’s technology, relationships, food, alcohol, or any of the other things we rely on to distract us from ourselves. We love it when our performance is enhanced. We love things that make us faster and allow us to do more with less.
Isn’t that the holy grail of life? Business? To gain a competitive advantage? To find something to set yourself apart from everyone else? Something that makes you better, more appealing and ultimately gives you some level of power over others.
Why then do we all pretend to be so outraged when we find out that one of our heroes is just like us? That he too is human and that in spite of everything we made him out to be, he turned out to be just another man.
Is it that we are disappointed to find out that even our heroes are fallible?
Are we incapable of admitting to ourselves that when we turn on the TV to watch a professional sporting event, we are tuning into the modern day version of the Roman Coliseum? Are we scared to admit that we have an unhealthy dependence on this drug called entertainment?
Furthermore, if we’re going to keep living with this societal addiction, then why not give in and let it be the best of all addictions? Why not lift the ban and watch someone hit a 700 foot home run? Why not let them run faster, jump higher, hit each other harder and score more points? Wouldn’t that be ultimately more entertaining?
I say go ahead, show me your surgically modified, genetically altered, steroid injected, best version of yourself. Why not hide the parts of your that are real? Why wouldn’t you show off the parts that you make perfect for public consumption. After all, the cool kids are already doing it.
And if we’re all going to keep pretending to be better than we actually are, then why shouldn’t everyone else have the same opportunity? Even a professional athlete.
The next species of human – A Ted talk by Juan Enriquez
I like to talk about a lot of different things here on Raymmar.com and everyone loves a good Ted Talk. Juan Enriquez opens briefly with some of the monetary perils we face and then dives into some really interesting new sciences about the human body, evolution and the progression of our species.
He talks about engineering bacteria to act as a kidney, taking the part of wine (resveratrol) that is good for you, and mixing it into beer and adding an extra wing to a chicken. Grow extra teeth, Learn more about regenerative cells that can rebuild ears and bladders for themselves, and learn about cells that can create things from nothing and build other human parts.
Pretty wild ride and some great food for thought.
Some more crazy ideas you can find in this video:
- Mechanical ears
- Mechanical eyes
- Seeing in infrared
- Robotic advancement
- Overlapping human species
- Insert DNA and have it boot up as a different species
- Radio Shack of DNA and other molecular structures
Share your thoughts about the video in the comments below.
In this podcast, I talk with John Lyon who is a researcher for one of the top financial research firms in the country. His research and advice helps direct the people who manage billions upon billions of investment dollars and I wanted to ask him a few questions about the current fiscal climate and where he sees the future of the monetary system as a whole. We also get into China and the monetary moves they are making and dive into a concept I am calling open source sales. Something I think could completely change the world of sales as we know it. But if you think this is just going to be another boring talk about those little green pieces of paper that we call money, then you must have lost your mind, because after all, this, is Raymmar Radio! So kick back, and let’s get this shit started!
Resources mentioned in this podcast:
Sticks and stones my ass. Words hurt like hell and they have the power to destroy. They can control you, drive you, push and pull you. Words are all things and words are nothing. Everything is a word, and according to Urban Dictionary, so is this but…
What exactly is a word?
If you Google the word “word,” you get this:
noun – 1. a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.
And if you dig a little deeper, (all the way down to the next result) you find this definition:
: a sound or combination of sounds that has a meaning and is spoken or written
: a brief remark or conversation : something that a person says
Getting closer but words are stronger than that
Words are the foundation of everything we do; of everything we are. They are the mechanism by which you are currently reading my thoughts, and they are the core components of communication in any real sense.
There is no other way to describe in detail, the events of any particular moment in time, without diving into the words of some other individuals reality. And even if you could, how would you describe it without words?
Sure there are pictures and video, but the world captured inside of them must also rely upon words.
Words are the purpose of art.
Art is the visual expression of the words inside of an artists head. The visual representation of emotion. Interpretations designed to spark thought. Thoughts that can drive words from your mind to your mouth. From pen to paper.
A writer must paint with no brush and shoot video with no camera. They must reach through the eyes of a reader using these silly arrangements of letters that we call words, and those words must appeal to intellect, as well as emotion. They must move the audience with substance, not simply with style.
Words are pictures that develop right in front of the readers eyes. A painting that is perpetually being painted. A writers canvas is the reader’s brain and his medium is the combined thoughts and ideas of each individual reader themselves. Impossible to be completely understood unless the message is received in context and in its entirety.
Writing is a form of art where each observer is required to participate actively in order for its true impact to be felt. The reader must give in and allow the author access to their brain. Leaving them completely exposed, if only briefly, to the mind of another man.
Words are the DNA of language. They are the root of commerce, the basis for human interaction, and most definitely the ruler of every religion.
Put words in an old enough book and they become history. A snapshot from another world, a moment captured in time and displayed for anyone to explore.
Words are the ultimate level playing field.
Words allow you to travel through time, and are entrusted with recording history. They are the sum knowledge of our entire species, and are a requisite to educate and inform societies. It is the responsibility of words to fill the pages on the scripts of life.
Words, or the lack thereof, are the root of every battle between good and evil.
Those who can use words to captivate audiences and project their visions clearly are the ones that get to shape the futures of the world we live in.
They are the visionaries and the entrepreneurs, the psychologists and the sociologists. Words are the engineers and architects, the designers and the developers, the you’s and the me’s. Words are everything and we should all have them as friends.
You should learn to play with them regularly. Because the more time you spend with words, the more power those words will give you in return.
You should learn to respect and revere them. Listen, read, and hear them. You should find a way to explore new things because each new experience leads to new words, which then become stories, that then become you.
But what do I know, after all, these are only words.
Our government is like a fat, rich, spoiled child, who has never been told no.
Propped up on an oversized throne; Under armed guard, in a gun free zone.
Feasting on a buffet of corporate interest, drunk on free money and fucking every warm hole he can find.
Mom’s too busy getting high to notice that the house is on fire and the kids are fast asleep.
Apparently someone unplugged the smoke detector because it was making a weird noise.
Oh well… maybe just one more bump.
After all, who’s gonna know?
We’ll just hope for change tomorrow.
A few of Sarasota’s most active Young Republicans got together over dinner for an impromptu question and answer session with Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jeff Atwater. Oh, and I asked him what he thought about the potential increase in revenue that might result from the legalization of medical marijuana.
Meet The Conservative Hippie – Featured post
Who is Jeff Atwater?
Glad you asked. Ok, not necessarily glad (I didn’t know a whole lot about him before dinner either) but in the sense that you care enough to be reading this article to find out, I am glad. Mostly because politics is not very popular subject for the 20-30 somethings across the state of Florida, especially here in Sarasota, a town where the average age hovers somewhere between dying and death itself.
Jeff Atwater has served as the Chief Financial Officer for the State of Florida since he was elected in November of 2010 and sworn into office on January 4, 2011. He got started in politics as the Vice-Mayor of his hometown (North Palm Beach) in 1993. He would later be elected to the Florida House of Representatives (2000) and then to the Florida Senate (2002), where he was unanimously selected to serve as Senate President (2008).
What does Florida’s CFO do?
Florida’s CFO oversees the state’s accounting and auditing functions and unclaimed property, monitors the investment of state funds and manages the deferred compensation program and risk management program for the state.
Insurance consumer service is handled by the CFO, and the office is responsible for the licensing and oversight of insurance agents and agencies, as well as funeral homes and cemeteries.
Insurance fraud investigation also is overseen by the CFO, as well as ensuring businesses have workers’ compensation coverage in place for employees and helping injured workers with benefit payments and re-employment.
Setting the scene
It was all pretty laid back and quite intimate. With only 8 of us in attendance, including Atwater and his travel aide, there was plenty of time for us to ask questions and get to know Jeff and what he stands for. It was a much better setting than the more formal and infinitely more expensive political engagements that this town is known for.
Stating the obvious
The one thing I hate about dealing with any politician is that you always have to deal with some level of a politically correct front. You always get to see them from behind their public persona, and while I understand it, I despise it.
I hate that they have to run around worried about actually showing the world their real personality because of how someone might spin the slightest misstep and take it completely out of context. If only we could get past this political correctness and instead find some political honesty with the American people then I think we might actually be able to get a few things done around here.
That being said, I liked what Jeff had to say so I thought I would share it with you and let you decide for yourself.
According to JeffAtwater.com, his initiatives have helped Florida insurance consumers recover almost 53 million dollars in 2012 and 2013 combined (among other things) and a couple of his programs have actually increased the overall transparency in the way his office examines and issues contracts with outside vendors.
“I asked to look at them (contracts) and told my staff that there was no way I would sign them” said Jeff, as he explained the fact that 60%+ of the state budget gets spent on outside vendors and apparently before him, “no one was looking too closely at what was in those contracts.”
It seemed that for a while, there were a number of vendors who enjoyed a relationship with the state that was lacking any real accountability for any of the cash that the state was dishing out in these contracts. Something Jeff set out to change early on as CFO.
Jeff’s stance on fraud has been consistent through his entire term and he has been the main driver on a number of transparency initiatives. The Financial Accountability Contract Tracking System (FACTS) has made a summary for each of those contracts available online. This allows the public to see what, who and for how much, each of those outside vendors is billing the state. In addition to making the contracts transparent he is also working to pass legislation that would require the contracts to be bid out on a regular basis ensuring that the tax payer is getting the best bang for their buck.
MyFloridaCFO.com also lists a number of other transparency measures, one of which allows you to punch in your estimated income and see how much you can expect to pay in state taxes as well as where that money is going inside of the government.
I asked Jeff if he was scared (referring to the upcoming election) and he replied “Not of a good contest.”
He continued by explaining that he was a man of principles and that he would stand by them and not feel bad if that lead to a loss. Not exactly the traditional “winners mantra” but maybe that is a little of what we need more of in this country. Someone who is willing to stick by their guns regardless of an election outcome.
It is a little hard to even take the competition seriously though, as this excerpt from the Will Rankin for CFO 2014 website makes clear:
“But already you have to wonder about the success of a campaign against a seasoned and well-funded pol like Atwater. Still, compared to the last Democrat running for the office, Allie Braswell, Rankin doesn’t look as if he’ll embarrass the party.” – Read entire article
I guess if not being embarrassed is what you are going for, then good for them; but honestly, none of this really matters.
When you are talking about a race like this, “it is hard to separate yourself from the top of the ticket” explained Jeff, as we continued talking about the upcoming election. By that he meant that more people would be looking at the Governors race and then voting down the party line.
Understanding your responsibility as an informed citizen – Featured post
With former Republican Governor Charlie Christ (who is now a democrat), running neck and neck with incumbent Rick Scott in the upcoming gubernatorial election, Jeff seems to think that this race will be more about highlighting the difference between the two political parties.
The sheer fact that Charlie Christ is even in the running right now after abandoning ship on his political party leaves me wondering about the reasoning ability of the Florida electorate as a whole.
How bad things must be that we would be willing to reelect someone like Christ (especially knowing he is a political turncoat), instead of pushing to at least bring someone new into the mix. The Democratic party should be ashamed of themselves.
You mean to tell me there was no one better to run against Scott then a washed out Republican Governor who decided to switch sides when it was politically expedient? Are you so desperate to win that you would play to the populist agenda rather than introduce us to someone new? Is there no one out there that could have at least hidden behind the concept of fresh ideas?
NOPE! Instead, the political washing machine will keep cycling through the same candidates, each of them taking turns washing each others back and protecting each others power.
As for Jeff? I didn’t really get a sense of urgency over the upcoming election but you never know what is going to happen in politics. Heck, maybe they’ll even try to bring Jeb back to save us all? Whats that? He’s in line for the next Presidential nomination. God (If he exists) save us all.
– The end –
But what about the weed question?
I didn’t figure you’d let me get away with that, especially since I teased it in the beginning, so here you go.
After dinner I asked Jeff what, if any, plans they had for the increase in tax revenue that might come from the legalization of medical Marijuana in the state of Florida. His answer was unequivocally “No comment” (albeit while laughing) which I kind of expected. I am not sure that the initiative will even pass, although it does seem to be well supported.
What did you think the acting CFO would say to a question like this? Especially on an issue that his party is running directly against. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in November.