Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rush Limbaugh Arrested


Rush Limbaugh was arrested Friday on prescription drug charges, law enforcement officials said.

Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant issued by the State Attorney's Office, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.

Limbaugh's arrest report is online. His bond was for $3,000. His lawyer, Roy Black, is saying this is a settlement agreement. What he is talking about is that Limbaugh was told by the Judge to turn himself in at a certain time. Depending on the deal, if Limbaugh successfully completes treatment then he has no more probation (or what's called paper.) If he is a first time offender he can arrange a deal for no points on his record.

This is how the legal paperwork will look Monday.

Mr. Limbaugh will continue in treatment with the doctor he has seen for the past two and one half years.

After Mr. Limbaugh completes an additional 18 months of treatment, the State Attorney has agreed to drop the charge.

Mr. Limbaugh has agreed to make a $30,000 payment to the State of Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation.

Like Josh Marshall's reader pointed out - it's a plea bargain. Highly-paid defense lawyers don't become highly paid for using those kind of terms.

I find Rush's show more boring than maddening. I'm not going to mock the man's addiction. I will point out he has made several harsh comments about drug abusers in the past. I certainly don't expect him to take back those statements. He wouldn't be Rush Limbaugh if he wasn't putting down people he perceived as inferior to him.

Update: From the mouth of Rush: "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. … And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

Readers: tell me what you think about Linbaugh's arrest. Like you don't have an opinion on this? Bullshit. Tell me what you think.

Blogger Down

My spidey powers sense blog burnout. When bloggers reconfigure their frontpage with a picture and no posts that means hiatus time.

Quote of The Day

I would argue you are creating a potential vested right for anyone and any kind of school, as long as we have a religious voucher program in Florida, to qualify for this. We could see something less conventional like the Church of Satan.

Ron Klein on school vouchers.

There actually is a Church of Satan. They show their evilness by pimping T-shirts.

National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart was buried, in Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, without a Wiccan pentagram. Stewart's widow and former commander are lobbying to change that. What maybe an acceptable form of worship to one group is an issue of serious religious devotion to another. Personally, I like to see how the Catholics and Baptists get along if there was no separation of church and state.

Hammer Wins One

Marion Hammer scored her first victory this session for the NRA. She got the Florida Senate to pass a bill that would let tackle and bait shops provide voter registration cards. I didn't have a problem with Hammer's proposals. That is because I thought this would be voluntary. The bill makes it legally mandatory for shops voter registration forms.

Hammer's early version of the bill (she maybe a lobbyist, but she wrote it) would fine bait shops. There is nothing about this bill that strikes me as conservative. This is the state government forcing Mom & Pop shops to register people to vote. Conservative principles disappear when the mighty NRA money machine comes knocking.

Jeb Bush will mostly like sign the bill. His spokesman Russell Schweiss said, ""He tends to support policies which would broaden opportunities for voters to register." The man deserves an Oscar for saying that with a straight face. See here and here for what I have written about Jeb blocking people from voting.

Related: NRA v. Business

Term Limits Off Ballot

The Florida Senate voted 26-14 to take 12 year term limits off the ballot. The current limit for the Senate is eight. I wrote quick thoughts about term limits in the Buzz comments.

Why exactly is term limits a good thing? Johnnie Byrd quickly being put into the House Speaker position. What did he do to earn it? Besides making a lot of backroom promises he broke.

I noticed the majority of people who support term limits don't follow politics. It's something that popular. Just think about how you would feel about Randall Terry or Ronda Storms as a Senate leader. It's possible.

There is one silver lining. Lobbyists pushed for the ballot and lost.

"If you're a lobbyist, and you've got a lot of money invested in (a lawmaker), you want to keep him around for 12 years instead of eight," Posey said.

Don't you love lobbyists? For the record: term limits haven't kept money out of Florida politics. The state ranks fifth in campaign fundraising.

Gonzales Hammered by 6th Grader


Even the cakewalk photo-ops are turning into a nightmare for the White House.

A 12-year-old at the other end of the table had a question. "What do you think about the war?" he asked.

Gonzales put down his hamburger. "One thing you have to remember is that sometimes people have to die so we can all live in freedom. That's always been the case."

"I think they should end the war," Maurice said.

"You know what, I think everybody wants the war to end as soon as possible," Gonzales said. "I really do. Nobody wants young American soldiers to die, including the president."

"If the president made us go to war with Iraq, why doesn't he go over there and fight the war?" Christian May asked.

An aide to the Attorney General asked "suggested" to a reporter to leave so the two could talk privately. Translation: my guy is getting killed by a 12 year-old. I need to get the press out of her ASAP. Even Scott McClellan didn't have to deal with this level of humiliation.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Nuclear Power In Florida

The Miami Herald reports that of the members Florida House and Senate think Floridians should pay for nuclear power plants before they are built. This is the political equivalent of asking the voters to bend over and squeal like a pig.

Power companies could hit customers with higher bills to underwrite the cost of building nuclear power plants even before the facilities are built, under a major energy bill on track for approval in the Legislature in the next few days.

The bill, expected to be debated in the House and Senate on Monday, signals a major shift in energy policy in the state, which has always required power companies to pay for their power plants before they charge consumers higher rates to pay for them.

It gets worse. The bill would make it harder, for local governments, to halt construction of of power plants in their communities.

Senate President Tom Lee is pitching this bill as conservation. That doesn't pass the laugh test. The one silver lining is the bill would create an energy commission to find alternative sources of fuel.

''Not going to happen. If it's in the bill, it will kill the bill,'' Bush said, prompting the Senate to delay a vote until Monday to give its leaders time to try to overcome the governor's objections.

The silver lining will soon disappear. Jeb shows he has no interest in alternative sources of energy. This bill is a big fuck you to the people of Florida.

Darfur Genocide Petition

Taz is asking people to sign the the H.O.P.E. petition to urge George W. Bush and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to stop the genocide in Darfur. Women have been raped. Babies are being slaughtered. The government has kept food and water from the refugee camps. Marine Captain Brian Steidle has seen the horrors first hand.

"Every single day you go out to see another burned village, and more dead bodies," he said. "And the children - you see 6-month-old babies that have been shot, and 3-year-old kids with their faces smashed in with rifle butts. And you just have to stand there and write your reports."

Steindle has put photos he has taken online and informed the public of the horrors he has seen.

The first photograph I took in Darfur was of a tiny child, Mihad Hamid. She was only a year old when I found her. Her mother had attempted to escape an onslaught from helicopter gunships and Janjaweed marauders that had descended upon her village of Alliet in October 2004. Carrying her daughter in a cloth wrapped around her waist, as is common in Sudan, Mihad's terrified mother had run from her attackers. But a bullet had rung out through the dry air, slicing through Mihad's flesh and puncturing her lungs. When I discovered the child, she was nestled in her mother's lap, wheezing in a valiant effort to breathe. With watery eyes, her mother lifted Mihad for me to examine.

Most Sudanese villagers assume that a khawadja -- a foreigner -- must be a doctor. And my frantic efforts to signal to her to lay her struggling daughter back down only convinced her that I had medical advice to dispense. It broke my heart to be able to offer her only a prayer and a glance of compassion, as I captured this casualty with my camera and notepad. I pledged, with the linguistic help of our team's Chadian mediator, that we would alert the aid organizations poised to respond.

I urge you to sign the petition.

Party All the Time

Hotline On Call reports Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) was partying with the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. The pictures show that the Congressman was seriously drunk. Sweeney’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Melissa Carlson, refuses to comment on the incident. I can't say I blame her.

Sweeney bragged, on his website, that "he was appointed head of the Rensselaer County DWI prevention program that, under his direction, became the most successful program of its type in New York State." Apparently, not everyone involved with the program paid heed to the warnings.

Your T-Shirt Here

Tommy, where is the Suitcase City shirt? I have ideas for the logo.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

DCCC Names 22 Most Promising Candidates

The DCCC has named the 22 most promising Democratic candidates. On that list is Florida's Ron Klein and Phyllis Busansky. The DCCC is pinning their hopes on Klein and Busanshy to help take back the House. But that will take commitment and activism. The Republican machine knows how to raise money. I am inploring you to donate to both candidates on ActBlue. I don't get nothing out of this. Except knowing that I took part in democracy. Not sat around and bitched.

Make your voices heard. Do you want more high gas prices and a lack of Congressional oversight on a President with horrible approval ratings?

Do you want an endless war in Iraq?

Do you want record-breaking spending?

Do you want America to continue to violate civil liberties?

If not then act now.

The Facts On the FCAT

The test scorers of Florida's FACT test must have a bachelor's degree, take training classes and be tested themselves. Florida State Senators Les Miller and Walter "Skip" Campbell discovered that the Florida Department of Education is using temps from Kelly Services. The Senators have filed a suit in the Leon County Circuit Court for a full disclosure. Miller and Campbell were told they are not allowed to know how the FCAT is graded because it is a "trade secret."

''Basic common sense would tell you that if I'm representing to the people of the state of Florida that I've got all these qualified people, I'd at least know what the qualifications are,'' Campbell told the newspaper.

"Common sense" and "education" are words not usually associated with Florida's poorly-rated system. The letter Les Miller received from the Department of Education made it clear there is no way of knowing if the test grader were qualified.

The letter said that "because the names or other identifiers of the graders are not needed for the management of the contract the Department does not require CTB/McGraw-Hill to provide this information."

I said it before. The Republican Party only cares about keeping the Christian conservative base happy. They want to see public schools fail. Ronald Reagan and the Contract of America Republicans wanted to do away with the Department of Education. Bill Bennett told former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt that he wanted public schools to fail and be replaced by private Christian schools. Bennett was Reagan's Secretary of Education.


The Bush administration has relented and released the names of 558 Guantanamo Bay detainees. Having the Associated Press file for disclosure, under the Freedom of Information Act, certainly didn't hurt.

There is other good news. 141 detainees will be released. The Red Cross reports Gitmo conditions have improved. It's amazing how this administration performs when they're held accountable. What spectacular results! Too bad Congress and the media were scared of these people for so long.

Sorry Charlie Website Update

Someone is going to a lot of trouble to make sure Sorry Charlie can't be traced back. I checked to see who the site was registered to. No such luck.

Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States

Registered through: (
Created on: 09-Apr-02
Expires on: 09-Apr-08
Last Updated on: 27-Mar-06

Administrative Contact:
Private, Registration
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599

Technical Contact:
Private, Registration
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599

Domain servers in listed order:

I see I was beat by the Tampa Tribune and they found out the same thing. The article does have one nugget.

Martinez said Gallagher has previously denounced anonymous political attacks but isn't going to call for whoever owns the site to shut it down.

The is the same stance President Bush took when John Kerry was getting swiftboated.

Republicans Vs Science

Embryonic stem cell research became an issue in the Florida Senate. 20 of the Senate's members voted for an amendment for $15 million in funding. A two-thirds vote was needed. I wasn't surprised that the amendment didn't pass. I'm amazed that the measure made it out of the Senate Health Care Committee and half the members voted yes.

If the amendment was attached to SB 468 - the Florida House already voted against tax dollars for stem cell research and Jeb Bush would have vetoed the bill. What seems to be happening is that the goal posts is moving in favor of stem cell research. The right-leaning presidential candidate Bill Frist supports stem cell research. After how Terri Schiavo blew up in the Republican's face, Christian conservatives are reframing the stem cell issue.

Catholic Conference lobbyist Michael Sheed told the Associated Press, "But this is not so much a religious objection, this is a human issue. It's about human beings and human dignity. A human embryo is a human being."

An embryo is an early stage of human life. Many on the left and right argue about when life begins. As George Carlin said, "It's been ongoing for million of years." That's a heavy discussion. The problem is politics is all about dumbing down the public. Try explaining that a petri dish is a person. That's simplistic, but effective. Republicans can try explaining why Nancy Reagan supports tax dollars for stem cell research. These people have been dishonest about Terri Schiavo's condition, Medicare, and AIDS. It's time Republicans start explaining how their positions are scientifically based. I bet they can't do it.

Allan Bense "50-50" On Senate Run

According to The Hill. Allan Bense is leaning toward running against Katherine Harris in the Republican Senate primary. Bense says he is "50-50" about his prospects of running. Bense will announce on May 5th if he's running.

Jeb Bush is so behind Katherine Harris.

“I know a lot of people are encouraging him to run,” Bush said. “He's a great leader and an extraordinary person, and he would be a great United States senator. But that's up to him he'll make up his mind.”

On an unrated note: what is Katherine Harris doing in this picture?

Catholic Church Changes Policy On Condoms

Now this is a shocker. The Vatican maybe reversing it's stance on condoms. Pope Benedict XVI has asked the church to prepare a document that would theologically allow Catholics with AIDS to use condoms. How the Church will get away with that, after years of condemming condom use, is beyond me. I'm happy that they changed their policy.

"Soon the Vatican will issue a document about the use of condoms by persons who have grave diseases, starting with AIDS," Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who is in charge of the Vatican's health care ministry, was quoted as saying in Sunday's La Repubblica newspaper.

"My department is carefully studying it, along with scientists and theologians entrusted with drawing up a document about the subject that will soon be made known," the Mexican cardinal said.

There is a God. Or maybe reality set in and the Catholic church realized that abstinence-only policies don't work.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away.

Hat tip to Pam Spaulding.

Linked to the American Prospect

My Allan Bense got linked by the American Prospect. Wayne Garcia disagrees with me about the Tarrance Group running a push poll. Nothing against Wayne, but the Tarrance Group's reputation speaks for itself. In Garcia's defense, this wasn't a phone bank poll.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bank of America Update

Update to Mulligan's post. It seems Rep. Don Brown and Charlie Crist have received donations from Bank of America.

Goodbye Jerk

Scott McClellan famously said that Karl Rove wasn't involved in the Valerie Plame leak.

"Those individuals -- I talked -- I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this."

Members of the press corp asked McClellan if President Bush would stand by his promise firing anyone involved in the Valerie Plame leak.

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate the question. I know you want to get to the bottom of this. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation. That's something that the people overseeing the investigation have expressed a preference that we follow. And that's why we're continuing to follow that approach and that policy.

Talk about dodging a question. The press corp procede to hand Scotty's ass back to him.

Video clip

Tags: President Bush, PlameGate, Karl Rove, Scott McClellan, white house press corp

Sorry Charlie Website

Thomas Croom found an anti-Charlie Crist site called Sorry Charlie. The secrets out. Yes, Charlie Crist is a liberal.

Seriously, the site is legal under free speech. It's nasty dirty politics. I can take a guess at who is behind the site. Since I have no evidence I won't speculate.

Why Does Randall Terry Hate the Poor

Randall Terry made a disastrous attempt at running for public office in 1998. He ran a serious of commercials condemming the government for bending backwards to help the poor. His harshest attacks was the federal government violating the Constitution to to make America a socialist welfare state during the depression. That doesn't pass the laugh test.

Terry's bigotry (and let's call it what it is) is certainly not the values of Jesus Christ. Terry professes to be Christian and on a mission for God. I'm reminded of what Jimmy Carter recently said about conservative evangelicals.

"I was teaching a Sunday school class two weeks ago," he recalled. "A girl, she was about 16 years old from Panama City, Fla., asked me about the differences between Democrats and Republicans.

"I asked her, 'Are you for peace, or do you want more war?' Then I asked her, 'Do you favor government helping the rich, or should it seek to help the poorest members of society? Do you want to preserve the environment, or do you want to destroy it? Do you believe this nation should engage in torture, or should we condemn it? Do you think each child today should start life responsible for $28,000 in [federal government] debt, or do you think we should be fiscally responsible?'

"I told her that if she answered all of those questions, that she believed in peace, aiding the poor and weak, saving the environment, opposing torture ... then I told her, 'You should be a Democrat.'"

Terry is running for the Florida State Senate. He has raised $22,299.81.

Related: Fun Facts About Randall Terry

I Still Don't Think Jan Schneider Can Win

The Colbert Report (video clip) has an interview with Jan Schneider. She has been having problems raising money for her campaign. Christine Jennings has the support of of DCCC and has been a better fundraiser. Schneider has only raised 122,514. Compare that to Republican Vernon Buchanan's $1,605,454. Even if Schneider won the primary - she would have a hard time winning the general election. That is why I am supporting Christine Jennings on ActBlue.

Sarasota Guy made a comment on a previous post I wrote about the district 13 race. I am aware that Joe Trippi supports Schneider and that she beat Jennings before. So what? Democrats wrote off the previous district 13 elections because no unknown Democrat is going to beat Katherine Harris in a red district. I am also not in awe of Trippi.

The netroots activists have to understand that they have a rare window of opportunity. If a Republican wins the seat (which is likely) then it will be hard for Democrats to knock out an incumbant. Jennings is running a more organized campaign. The netroots activists must decide if they want to win or do they want to keep having Republicans elected to office. If Schneider wins the primary I will be more than happy to support her. Will progressives do the same for Jennings or will they take their ball and go home? That is the same kind of mentality that had people voting for Nader in 2000. There is serious debate of where the country is headed. If the netroots think things will change with Republicans, in charge, then they are delusional.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In the bank's favor

If Rep. Don Brown (R-DeFuniak Springs, FL) gets his way the state of Florida will intercede in favor of a bank in a lawsuit.

The bank in question is Bank of America. A whistleblower lawsuit was filed against Bank of America claiming that the bank committed fraud against the state of Florida by not turning over unclaimed revenues to the state as directed in the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

The lawsuit claims that Bank of America executives violated the state law by not turning over unclaimed funds accumulated during routine inter-bank accounting errors. The state law that requires after 5 years the funds are to be turned over to the Department of Financial Services and the Department of Education.

According to the claim, instead of turning over the funds the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank used the funds for executive bonuses. The lawsuit also claims that this practice went on for a decade and possibly cost the state more than $100,000.

A representative for the Bank of America said that the funds in question accrued due to accounting adjustments based on a method agreed on between the Bank of America and presenting banks and didn’t fall under the requirements of the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

The lawsuit was filed last June. It was unsealed in January after the state of Florida decided not to intervene in the case.

Speaking for the Florida Attorney General, JoAnn Carrin said that the Attorney General’s office decided not to intervene because they felt that the lawyer for the whistleblower "would provide more than adequate representation for the case." The decision was not made because the AG’s office felt that the case lacked merit. In other words, the state can possibly benefit from someone else’s work without having to put forth any money on their own.

Recently, the Bank of America’s motion to dismiss the case was denied.

If the AG’s office felt the case was without merit they would have said so. The the judge ruling on the motion to dismiss felt the case was without merit (s)he would have ruled in Bank of America’s favor. Neither happened so lobbyist for the bank found a willing rube to help the bank out of this problem.

Yesterday, April 24th, Rep. Don Brown decided to be that rube. He decoded to help the Bank of America out by introducing an amendment that would excuse the bank from following the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act retroactively. Not to be outdone, a similar amendment is being considered by the Senate.

Brown’s amendment was attached to an unrelated bill. According to Brown, the amendment was designed to clarify existing law.

I’ve always found that it’s best to clarify an existing law by saying the the possible lawbreaker didn’t really break the law.

Of course, it’s also highly appropriate for the legislation to interfere in an on-going lawsuit by putting forth an amendment that benefits one mega bank.

If my tongue was even more firmly planted in my cheek I wouldn’t be able to use it to talk anymore, either.

I’m not writing this to put forth an opinion on the lawsuit itself.

Someday the state legislators will remember that they are there to represent the people of Florida, not the banks and corporations that work in Florida. The requirements of the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act seem pretty clear but I don’t know it word for word. Bank of America may be correct in their claim.

That does not justify, however, state legislators interfering in a lawsuit that has already been brought before the courts. Especially since they are doing so at the behests of a mega bank like Bank of America. Legislators are supposed to represent the people of Florida. They were not elected to represent a bank that is based in North Carolina.

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill containing Brown’s amendment this week.

Crossposted on Can't Keep Quiet!

Interrogation Room Suicide

This is why police officers search suspects.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Katherine Harris Excuses

It's no secret that Katherine Harris had dinner with Mitchell Wade at Citronelle. What is amazing is how she can't keep her story straight.

Harris, a Republican congresswoman from Longboat Key, said the meal at Citronelle in Georgetown was so pricey because contractor Mitchell Wade bought several expensive bottles of wine "which he took home with him uncorked." Citronelle maitre d' Jean-Jacques Retourne, however, said that would have violated the restaurant's liquor license. "You cannot take a bottle out."

That would have also violated the laws of logic. Fortunately, that doesn't apply to the Katherine Harris campaign. This woman will say anything to avoid responsibility.

Florida Economics 101

Many Floridians have grumbled about soaring prices. The complaints are different than the rosy stories they hear of a strong economy. Economics Professor Dave Denslow gives an excellent explanation on why Florida consumers feel strained.

Denslow said prices are falling for items like clothing and electronics, but the price of necessities like food and housing continues to climb.

"The pricing of (flat-panel) TVs is going down, but the price of gas is going up," Denslow said. "The increase in items we perceive as being necessary is what's going to be more salient in people's minds."

Plus, Denslow said, prices are increasing more in Florida than elsewhere in the country because of the booming housing market and because of hurricane-spurred increases in homeowners insurance.

Florida is getting more expensive to live in. A St. Petersburg Times article notes the state is progressively becoming too expensive for teachers, nurses, and police officers. These workers are essential for a community. Pinellas County is mulling over the idea of having teachers live in an old school. I'm not making this up.

Key West became so overpriced that no low wage workers could be found. Homeless people then feel those jobs. Much to the displeasure of Key West residents. No community can make it without a working class.

The bright news is now is a good time to buy that home entertainment center you always wanted.

Boot Camp Warning Signs

The Miami Herald reports that the infamous Panama city boot camp was not inspected during 2005. As a result, the use of physical force increased. The Herald reports that there were a "180 questionable use-of-force" beatings since 2003. This raises some disturbing questions about how Martin Anderson's death could have been prevented.

Boot camp inspection are called quality assurance audits. They are mandated by law. Unfortunately, there is a loophole that allowed the Panama City boot camp to receive an excemption.

In the QA process, most programs are reviewed annually. However, programs that receive commendable or exceptional ratings are given deemed or special deemed status for two to three years during which they receive either no QA reviews or abbreviated reviews.

The next question is why was the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp receiving such commendable audits. An Oppana report gave recommendations to improve audits.

The department can improve and streamline its program monitoring and QA processes by

strengthening the correlation between QA scores and key outcomes such as escapes and injuries that can indicate management problems;

using a process for the security portion of the QA process similar to that used by the Juvenile Justice Educational Enhancement Program;

using a risk-based system of determining when to conduct monitoring visits;

incorporating performance outcomes into corrective actions plans; and,

strengthening the training and guidance it provides to program monitors.

Obviously, the audits failed to look at management problems. I would like to see how many injuries were caused by the increased use of force. The monitors failed to properly perform their duties. Was this because of training or were they merely avcting as a rubber stamp. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability noted:

Boot camps are typically established with goals such as deterring crime through punishment, reducing recidivism through offender rehabilitation, or reducing prison overcrowding. However, preliminary nationwide research on boot camps has raised questions as to whether boot camps accomplish these goals any better than other correctional programs.

The goals of boot camps have not been clearly stated by the Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile Justice, although it appears that Florida's boot camps have been primarily intended to affect offender behavior and to reduce recidivism.

Mike Marino of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice kiled any hope for further audits. John Criswell notice that facilities with high marks were having a death and a -mentally-retarded raped. The audits had more emphasis on paper work being properly filed than incident reports. Marino fired off a revealing email.

The next day, one DJJ quality assurance staffer, Mike Marino, defended the system in an e-mail: ``I don't think we can get away from the file reviews, as this is the main proof of something being done or not.''

In rated news: Nurse Kristin Anne Schmidt is under investigation. Anderson told her he couldn't breathe during exercises. Schmidt said, ""he appeared comfortable and in no respiratory distress." Schmidt watched Anderson's beating and did not intervene.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Florida Accident Claims Unpaid

The St. Petersburg Times reports that, since 2001, the Florida Legislature has paid only one accident claim bill. The Times reports that judges and juries ruled in favor of the accident victims. They are legally entitled to be paid. The catch is the Legislature has to approve of any claim over $200,000. The Legislature is stingy with that $4-billion budget surplus.

"We are having a difficult time coming to an agreement on which bills would be heard and the process through which they would be heard," Senate President Tom Lee.

Senator, these people are legally entitled to that money. What part of that is hard to understand?

Suitcase City

This is the kind of stuff that makes living in Suitcase City a nightmare.

TAMPA - An arsonist destroyed three cars and damaged a fourth early Thursday in a north Tampa neighborhood, setting the fires while the owners slept, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman Ray Yeakley said.

No one was hurt, but whoever set the fires apparently was intent on causing more damage. Gas caps had been removed from the burned cars and six other vehicles that did not catch fire, Yeakley said.

Sara Watts only had one payment left and Kaleena Moreno just got her car. Considering the area, these women probably don't have a lot of money. They may be living paycheck from paycheck. Now they will have to rely on Hartline to get to and from work. Hartline sucks big ones.

People's lives are ruined in so many ways from crime in Suitcase City. Try going down 15th Street between Fletcher Avenue and 131 Street. Crack dealers are all over the place. Things were bad in 2000 and they haven't gotten better.

The Defensive Get Defensive

I got online and saw this hit on my stats counter.

Michael Hussey (rhymes with…) over at Pushing Rope (rhymes with…) dropped my name at Blurbex. Mikey charged that progressive bloggers LIKE ME link to other liberal sites, connect with only like-minded opinions, piggy-back on other bandwagons and therefore blah blah blah. In other words, Homeboy called me a lazy, narrow-minded b*tch.

Kate is refering to a comment I made at Blurbex. Wayne Garcia called Peer Review "the best conservative blog in the state." Kate shot back, "Best conservative blog in the state? Quite a compliment. That's like saying, 'You don't sweat much. For a fat kid.' Garcia asked Kate if she had something against fat kids. I think Kate should just be happy with Garcia not bestowing the title of best Florida conservative blog to Right Wing Howler.

Here is what I said in the Blurbex comments.

As for Kate's comment on Peer Review, I think too many Florida progressive bloggers get locked into reading sites that reaffirm their opinions. I see bloggers link to posts from Think Progress, Daily Kos, Atrios and Americablog. The points I find troublesome is a). that these bloggers are solely relying on the opinions of others and not doing their own research b). Florida lefty bloggers aren't getting opinions from a different perspective.

For the record: I actually linked to a Peer Review post about a Tom Gallagher press release/email to supporters. Mr. C is right. It's bad.

Now many of you will note that I never used the words "lazy, narrow-minded b*tch." What you fail to understand is the power of truthiness. With truthiness, a person can state an opinion as fact without such bothersome things as evidence. Kate feels in her gut that what she writes is fact. Kate is guilty of of what is known as "dowdify." She is attributing a statement to me that I have never made about her person. I do feel that lefty and righty blogs are guily of relying too heavily on the A list blogs. Those A list blogs steal research and don't link back to investigative bloggers like my pal Ron Brynaert. He broke the plagiarism part of the Jeff Gannon/Talon News scandal. He now writes for Raw Story. Good for him.

My point is bloggers should do their own research. It will give a blogger a better understanding of issues and make one a better blogger. No one has to change their opinions or agree with me. Bloggers should be held to the same journalistic standards as the media. Get the facts right. If you make a mistake then post a correction. Bloggers who don't then have no credibility fact-checking the media.

John F wrote, this comment, over at Kate's blog.

Lemme guess, Mike is going to call me out next because I only link to Hockey Blogs, Tampa Bay sports blogs, and non-hockey, sports Tampa based bloggers on Boltsmag, right?

This is the guy who's wasted a load of Tommy's time by ranting about Sticks of Fire on his web site and causing a stir.

Methinks Mike is just trying to get more attention for his viewpoints -- and by doing that, he is attacking others so that his name will be dropped farther and wider... It'd be very nice if he just wrote content that won him approval of his peers -- not attacked his peers so people would show up at his blog to view the attacks.

John, I honestly don't read your site. I'm a Flyers fan and the Lightning are going to get crushed by the Ottawa Senators. The Lightning's goaltending sucks and the Senators have the best young offense players in the NHL. That's not a good combination.

You don't write a political blog. There isn't anything for me to agree or disagree with. If you write a post about raising the debt ceiling or soft money donations then that's a different story. I don't have a beef with you since I don't read your blog. I wasn't aware that Kate had a beef against me. I didn't read her blog until today.

As far as "my attacks" goes. That spawned from comments in other people's blog. I was asked several times in the very early days of Sticks of Fire to write on that blog. I turned it down because of reasons Tommy and I have agreed to keep offline. What I will say is that Tommy wanted me to write about Florida politics issues. My old blog was national politics and personal entries. I would send content over to Tommy because I knew he covered Tampa and Florida. This was material I didn't intend on writing. We talked about the Tampa Courthouse scandal. We both agreed it was an important story. We also agreed that the other person should write it. I eventually did. Tiny linked to the post. Tommy bugged me for months to write the post and he never so much as mentioned it on his blog. That certainly is his right. I fail to see why he wanted me to do a investigative post. Why even bother asking me?

Tommy asked for political activists to send him material. This is surprising since I know Tommy has not responded to emails from the Kathy Castor campaign and Kenneth Quinnell of the Sunshine State Progressive Bloggers. Tommy wrote a long-winded post, defending his right to solicit activists, without explaining why he wanted activists' material. Now that takes talent. I wish he would state why he wanted activists emailing him. Tommy would be the first to admit that he is not a political activists. I suspect that Tommy wanted to compete with the local newspapers and get a potential scoop. The tiny problem with that is Tommy blows off emails from political activists.

My problem with Tommy writing about politics is the same as Ron Brynaurt had with Steve Gilliard. Except Tommy's language is squeaky clean. Tommy can post a picture (which is horrible) of Brian Blair and make a snarky comment. Tommy used to do some thoughtful writing during his blogspot days. That's what I like to see. I didn't mind his gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Strawbeery Festival when when he did great coverage of Tampa and Florida. Sticks was a must read blog for Floridians. That's what I like to see again.

For the record: Tommy thinks I'm far to the left. I'm actually a third-way Democrat. I have had disagreements with Blogwood. Norwood sent me a friendly email awhile ago. I read Norwood's site (when it was updated) even if I don't always agree with him. I had recent discussions with Tommy. Sticks readers seem to take this more personally than either me or Tommy. Kids, it's not like we're going to have a paper, rock, scissors challenge to the death. It you want to think so then more power to you. The Tommy and Michael feud has all the intensity of a Andy Kaufman & Jerry Lawler wrestling match.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Guy Tunnell Resigns

The heat from the recent Martin Anderson protests got to be too much. Guy Tunnell officially handed his resignation to Jeb Bush. It seems bizarre that Tunnell would talk to the St. Petersburg Times about his job and later in the day decide to resign.

Earlier in the day, Tunnell discussed his job with a St. Petersburg Times reporter, saying he was disturbed at all of the criticism he has received, but he did not indicate he had any immediate plan to resign.

Tunnell said he did not believe he had any problem with the governor, but he indicated he was ready for retirement after spending more than 30 years in law enforcement. He did not return calls Thursday night.

The Times, Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press could not get Tunnell to comment about his resignation. It seems strange that Tunnell would talk to the Times, decide to resign and then not grant interviews from the media all in the same day.

The Miami Herald gives a possible explanation for Tunnell's sudden departure.

Guy Tunnell abruptly ended his controversial run as head of Florida's Department of Law Enforcement on Thursday, days after sources said he made off-color remarks comparing black leaders who were to attend a Capitol rally to Osama bin Laden and Jesse James.

Tunnell submitted his resignation to Gov. Jeb Bush hours after The Miami Herald requested he comment on whether he likened U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to terrorist leader bin Laden and the Rev. Jesse Jackson to outlaw James during a meeting of Bush's agency heads Tuesday. One person in the room and another source who spoke with an agency head told The Miami Herald about his remarks.

This isn't the first time Tunnell has been accused off racism. Cindy Farr ran the Sundancer night club. Tunnell was accused of racially profiling the night club. Farr filed a lawsuit. The corporation Farr worked for dropped the suit. However, Judge Stephan P. Mickle wrote that Farr had legitimate grievances.

Tunnell also tried to withhold the release of the videotape showing Martin Anderson's beating.

"Ain't gonna happen," Tunnell wrote in an e-mail to FDLE staffers about the request.

Tunnell has been implication with corruption for years. Why was he appointed to the FDLE? Tunnell wasn't even on the list on candidates. How Tunnell leapfrogged over other candidates is a potential stories for an entrepreneuring reporter.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Quote Of the Day

Donald Rumsfeld on the Bill Cunningham Show.

Of course the implication that there was something wrong with the war plan is amusing almost because of the fact that the war plan’s fashioned by the combatant commanders and it’s reviewed in great detail by the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then it’s recommended to me and the President.

Classic Scotty

David Gregory calls out Scott McClellan. Gregory asks Scotty if the President has confidence in administration officials who handled Hurricane Katrina. Scotty says the President has "appreciates the great effort" of former FEMA head Michael Brown. Scotty then tells Gregory that he is playing the blame game. Gregory then opens a verbal can of ass whoop on Scotty.

Jeb Bush Email To Mark Ober

Jeb Bush wrote an email, about the Martin Anderson case, to State Attorney Mark Ober. This tidbit is interesting.

I have been informed that your predecessor on this case, Steve Meadows, State Attorney of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, may have deleted e-mails from January and February of this year from his office computer, which dates overlap with the events under the investigation by your office. As I am sure you are aware, these e-mails are public records as defined by Florida law, and public officials have a legal duty to retain such documents.

This story just gets bigger.

Martin Anderson Protests

Jeb Bush is feeling the heat from protests. Students have held a sit-in protest for two days for Bush's handling of the boot camp death of Martin Anderson.

College students holding vigil in the Capitol and members of the Legislature’s black caucus vowed to continue the peaceful demonstrations until certain demands are met, including the release of an autopsy report on Anderson’s death. They also want Bush to revoke the license of the medical examiner who performed the first autopsy, and they want an apology to the boy’s parents.

Mark Hollis's article states it's not certain if Bush will "offer any apologies" to Anderson's parents. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Update: it appears Mike attended the sit-in. The important question is was the FSU Cowgirl there.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports Bush has met with students.

The Courting of Wingnuts & Bigots

The Westboro Baptist Church has the website url They are planning to protest the military funeral of Randall L. Lamberson. Their reasoning is they believe the military supports gay rights. There have been protests by WBC across the country. They hold signs that say, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

Florida lawmakers are attempting to pass laws to shield military funerals from protests. They received a visit from members of WBC.

Megan Phelps-Roper addressed the senators as "Florida's Taliban masquerading as legislators" and said their attempts to hinder free speech was not only wrong, but making dead soldiers out to be false idols.

"God himself is America's enemy, and I myself fight against you with outstretched hand and with strong arm, in anger and in fury and great wrath," Phelps-Roper said. "My prayers are going to... carry the wrath of God to your lips and make you drink it. You will be moved and you will be mad."

I can not remember a time in my life when intolerance and wingnuttery were at these levels. President Bush, Karl Rove and the Republican Party are guilty of courting the worst of the public for political gain. To them it's nothing more than business. These fundamentalists and wingnuts believe this stuff. Courting the Michael Savage demgraphic is despicable and dangerous for a democracy. That is the lasting legacy of the Bush years.

Running From Terri Schiavo

The American people were strongly against the federal government's intervention into the Terri Schiavo tragedy. Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher are aware of this.

Charlie Crist: Had I been governor, I would have not done the same thing.

Tom Gallagher: These kinds of end-of-life matters do not belong in government, but when these kinds of situations come in front of me, I would always err on the side of life. I think that's what you must do when you don't know anything else.

Gallagher's statement was an oxymoron. Government doesn't belong in end-of-life matters unless Gallagher is Governor. I'm glad he's cleared that up.

The Blind Presidency

It's bad when Fox News' website can't spin President Bush's problems. Their own poll finds Bush's approval rating at 33 percent. Thomas Mann, of the Brookings Institution, said, "The president is in serious political trouble." The recent White House shakeup was window dressing meant to disguise more serious problems.

Mann doesn't see Bush making policy changes. Bush is locked on staying the course. That rhetoric adverts attention from the fact Bush knows nothing about his own policies. Former Sec of Treasury Paul O'Neill described Bush as "a blind man" leading an administration "full of deaf people". The bad thing for the Republican Party is they can't talk sense into the man. The cover of Rolling Stone says it all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

White House Shakeup

Looks like I was right about Scott McClellan.

Scott McClellan has also announced his resignation as the president's press secretary, as Mr Bush attempts to freshen his image and revive his low poll ratings.

The article reports that Karl Rove will be demoted. That gives Rove more time to sell out the Vice President's office to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Rove certainly doesn't want to be indicted for his role in leaking Valerie Plame's CIA employment.

Bloggers everywhere will be saddened to see Scotty go. He has provided so much comedy material. Much of which came from Scotty parroting talking points for Lewis "Scooter" Libby. David Corn reports that Libby's defense is to pass accountability ("hey, I'm just obeying orders") to Cheney.

What we have is the President and Vice-President's office circling the wagons against each other. The bad poll numbers and midterm elections only worsen matters. These people who believed they were so rightious can't even trust each other. These ideologues thought they were so smart and now wonder how they got into this Valerie Plame mess. These smear campaigns against political enemies worked so well for them in the past.

The Joseph Wilson op-ed wasn't going to stop the Iraq invasion. The reason Cheney and Rove had such a fascination with Wilson is because they are petty men who will grind a grudge into the ground. Most Americans don't know are care who Wilson is. Cheney and Rove cared who Wilson's wife was and went after her. Even the Corleone family didn't go after the wives.

Five Eight At the New World Brewery

Stacy Mathis did a great service by posting this clip of Five Eight's recent appearance at the New World Brewery. Enjoy.

Hammered Again

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer continues to strike out in Florida.

Two Pinellas senators objected Tuesday to a bill that would require all outlets that sell fishing and hunting licenses to offer customers voter registration cards. The bill, a priority of the National Rifle Association, will be debated today by the full House, where passage is expected. The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee put off a vote on the bill after the Pinellas objections, and after a spokesman for election supervisors said the bill wasn't needed.

I don't have a problem with game and fishing businesses providing voter registration cards. Hammer believes that she will add more NRA members by doing this. That maybe true. The bill is running into resistance from State Senators Dennis Jones (R-Treasure Island) and Nan Rich (D-Weston).

Hammer pushed too hard in the past. She wanted citizens to be allowed to bring firearms onto private businesses. That not going to happen with the business lobby and private property rights.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rasmussen Poll April 14, 2006

Here is the latest Rasmussen poll on the Florida Senate race.

57% - Bill Nelson

27% - Katherine Harris

Hat tip to FLA Politics.

It's Good To Be VP

Dick Cheney got a $1.9 Million tax refund this year.

In other news: Illinois residents can expect to wait 12 weeks for their tax refunds.

Xenu Lives

Rolling Stone has a long article on Scientology. A portion of the story focuses on the Clearwater base.

In July 2004, The St. Petersburg Times dubbed Clearwater, a community of 108,000 people, "Scientology's Town." On the newspaper's front page was a photograph of Scientology's newest building, a vast, white, Mediterranean Revival-style edifice known within Scientology circles as the "Super Power" building. Occupying a full square block of downtown, this structure, which has been under construction since 1998, is billed as the single largest Scientology church in the world. When it is finally completed -- presumably in late 2006, at an estimated final cost of $50 million -- it will have 889 rooms on six floors, an indoor sculpture garden and a large Scientology museum. The crowning touch will be a two-story, illuminated Scientology cross that, perched atop the building's highest tower, will shine over the city of Clearwater like a beacon.

There is also hilarious stuff about Xenu the evil galactic warlord. Many former Scientologists have posted the Xenu leaflet online. It's fantastic.

Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu. Xenu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.

Now Xenu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were overpopulated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.

Xenu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).

According to Scientology, Xenu is currently imprisoned in a force field. Scientologists have to drop a few hundred grand to find out the big secret about Xenu. Talk about getting punked.

Pam Iorio Hearts Firefighters

Mayor Pam Iorio proposed to spend $12.2-million to build 4 new fire stations. Iorio has done a lot of other thing to make firefighters happy. Iorio let firefighters use city computers for union purposes and lobby Tallahassee in uniform. Both are rule violations. Iorio was also accused of dipping into the retirement pension.

Former fire Chief Pete Botto says the mayor helped current firefighters take money from his pension benefits but it is hard to convince people she did something wrong.

Pete Botto, Former Tampa Fire Chief:
“She comes across so well, when she does something so wrong, people have a tendency to side with her.”

The Mayor blew her stack when Mike Deeson questioned (video link) about the allegation.

Iorio was cleared by the Florida Commission on Ethics. It's nice that every story has a happy ending.

Who Is On the Way Out of White House

The buzz is that Scott McClellan is on the way out as White House Press Secretary. The new guy maybe Dan Senor. The parisan in me hates to see Scotty go. No one could do such a good job of making the White House look bad on a day to day basis. Scotty's piss poor attitude and lack of chrisma made a fearful press corp turn on him. The Helen Thomas smackdown has now become a daily ritual that Scotty must endure.

Classic Scotty.

SCOTT McCLELLAN Well, the people in this room know that I'm someone that can be trusted.

HELEN THOMAS: How do you know that?

SCOTT McCLELLAN You can look at comments that people in this room have made.

HELEN THOMAS: Have you taken a poll on this? (Laughter.)

In other news: Donald Rumsfeld continues to have rationale people call for his resignation. Democrats think Rumsfeld is incompetent. Republicans don't want to be forced to defend Rummy. Bush is one of the few who view the guy as an asset.

Unsafe Sex Education

The Department of Health & Human Services has released their requirements for receiving funding to teach abstinence-only sex education. The curriculum must teach that there is no sexual activity "of genital contact or sexual stimulation between two persons including, but not limited to, sexual intercourse." DHHS is ruling out foreplay.

Teachers must also emphasize that any form of premarital sex or foreplay may lead to "depression and suicide" from "relationship failure, especially if sexual intimacy was experienced before marriage."

A choice section is this.

Abstinence education curriculum must teach young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability to sexual advances.

Just say no.

DHHS defines marriage as "one man and one woman." All gay and lebians are just going to have to abstain from sex or wait until the end of days.

Is there anything normal or healthy about a 30 year-old adult who abstains from sex? Only if you want a child to grow into aStar Trek convention veteran and believe that Kevin Smith is a brilliant filmmaker. Tenns need to learn how to handle relationships and sex. That is part of the maturing experience. That's why teens need to have interaction with the opposite sex. No bogus sex-ed program is going to stop that.

Unwanted pregnancies and STDs are serious issues. Too bad DHHS don't treat the issue with that respect. The abstinence-only education programs were designed to keep the Christian fundamentalist base happy. The same people who scream outrage over Tinky Winky, but were silent about Jeff Gannon and Jimmy Swaggart. "Doctor" Bill Frist refused to state if AIDS can be transmitting through tears or sweat.

Stephanopoulos: You’re a doctor. Do you think tears and sweat can transmit HIV”
Frist: I don’t know…I can tell you..
Stephanopoulos: You don’t know?
Frist: I can tell you things like, like..condoms..
Stephanopoulos: … You believe that tears and sweat might be able to transmit aids?

The tears are for the teens that are being programmed to be ignorant.

HB 119

The split agongst Florida Republicans on immigration continues. Juan Zapata was born in Peru. He is sponsoring HB 119.

But some immigrant children aren't as lucky as he was, Zapata said. So he wants to give children of illegal immigrants a chance at success by charging them in-state tuition.

"This really is a bill about access and about kids who have done nothing wrong being able to earn a college education," Zapata said. "These are very bright students, some of them are at the top of their class."

Allan Bense Push Polling

Push polling is a long running dirty political tactic. Push polls are disguised to look like legitimate polling practices. A classic example is push polling that was done in South Carolina in 2000. Pollers called and asked if they would vote for John McCain if he had a black baby. Another push poll was the Texas governor's race. Pollers called and asked voters how they felt about Ann Richards being a lesbian. She's not, but that didn't stop the push polling.

"When political researchers put a survey into the field, they do so using recognized scientific techniques to find out what the public is thinking or feeling," said Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group. "When political researchers put a survey into the field, they do so using recognized scientific techniques to find out what the public is thinking or feeling. 'Push polls' on the other hand, are meant to inform the electorate with no accountability."

It's a shame that Goeas doesn't want to comment to the Tampa Tribune on a recent push poll for Allan Bense. The poll was run by the Tarrance Group and had questions slanted against Bill Nelson.

He said he was asked whether he knew that Nelson "opposed renewing the Patriot Act, which is designed to protect America from terrorism," and opposed the Bush administration tax cuts. He also was asked whether he knew Bense is "a unifier, that he saved taxpayers money."

The Terrance Group is a Republican polling company. I know because their meta tag saids so in a Google search and their political client list is all GOP.

Tampa lawyer Michael Steinberg sued Tarrance Group for push polling. Tarrance Group was also accused of push polling by candidate Brian Schweitzer. The Katherine Harris campaign used Tarrance Group for positive push polling. If Harris can get postive polling numbers then they must be fudged. Goeas is a former Harris campaign staffer.

Bush Q and A

Bush is so desperate that he is resorting to Q and A sessions with the public. The problem is Bush is totally unaware of his own policies. Watch him shamelessly duck a question about private contractors in Iraq.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Safana Jawad Detainment Video

Safana Jawad talks to WMNF abot her 48 hour detainment. She arrived at Tampa International Airport and was placed in custody. The Homeland Security Department refuses to comment on the reason. Jawad came to Tampa to visit her son H. K. He resides in Clearwater. Jawad did not get the opportunity to see him and she is back in Europe.

Update: Name of minor edited from post.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

More Excuses On Florida Education From Republicans

A new website called Florida Wants Smaller Class Sizes has an online petition. Republicans say that there is not enough money to fund class-size reductions. Even though tax revenue will grow by $960 million in the next fiscal year. Another excuse was Jim King saying, "In Duval, for example, we have to build over 20 schools in two years." Then there was the new excuse of just not wanting to spend the money for new classrooms.

"The governor put $1.9 billion, roughly, in his budget for class-size reduction," said Senate President Tom Lee. "You couldn't spend that kind of money for class-size reduction in this state over a five-year period, probably. There just isn't the construction capacity. There's not the planning system in place. There's not the school sites ready to receive that level of spending."

That must be the first time I've heard a member of the Florida legislator state he can't find ways to spend money. Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami said, "That's sort of a silly argument. You wouldn't use it for prisons. We shouldn't use it for educating children." Florida didn't seem to have a problem building 84 new prisons. That's not counting the empty juvenile prisons in Martin County, Key West, and Okeechobee County. It seems there is a greater emphasis to imprisoning children than educating them.

The increase in class-size spending would allow Florida to meet it's constitional requirement of providing high quality education. The state failed to meet constitutional requirements in 2005. Florida ranked an impressive 48th in per-pupil spending. The Florida legislature's response was to repel this amendment. The reason being was so tax dollars could still be spent on school vouchers. The voucher program is so unpopular with parents that only 700 students participate. Republicans also refuse to have voucher students take the FCAT test. One test certainly doesn't fit all.

Public education is a disaster in Florida. Parents want class-size reductions and a "high-quality" education. Why do Republicans think their education proposals are a winner? Most of the voucher students go to religious schools and the GOP is determined to keep the base happy. No matter how much damage is done to education. There decisions are using politics to form policy. Not the other way around.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

County Mayor Petition

Tommy Duncan notes that I don't support Mary Ann Stiles' county Mayor proposal. She hasn't said anything to sell me on the idea. If she does then I'll change my mind.

A major reason for for Stiles pushing this is her run-ins with the County Commission as a lobbyist. Stiles was a lobbyist for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. The Commission shunned her and created a group to study Hartline. The personal back story is worth noting.

Stiles petition was originally written without term limits for county mayor. The petition had to be revised.

I believe a county mayor would be voted in if it makes the ballot. I'm wondering what executive powers the Mayor will have. Another question is how the Commission's role will change. This is wonkish stuff. But it matters. The Mayor will be the cammander-in-chief of Tampa.

The Job For You

Are you looking for a new job? I know a company that's hiring.

Personal Information Online

If you are living in Florida and concerned about your private information being online then read this article.

The Social Security numbers, driver's license information and bank account details belonging to potentially millions of current and former residents of Florida are available to anyone on the Internet because sensitive information has not been redacted from public records being posted on county Web sites.

Although questions about the availability of personal data online initially focused on Broward County, an official there stressed today that all counties in Florida are subject to the same state law. A spot check of other county Web sites today confirmed that sensitive data is easily available through public property records.

A statue to take all citizen private information offline takes effect in 2007. The problem is counties photocopied old records without taking off indiviuals personal information. You can get this information removed by contacting the county you reside in. Just be patient and persistent.

Media General First Quarter Losses

There is a reason why the Washington Post is expanding their media empire by buying Slate. It is the same reason the St. Petersburg Times is increasing readership in Hillsborough County. People consider those newspapers good sources of information. Conservative newspapers that are more concerned about shrilling for the Republicans, like the New York Post and Washington Times, can not generate a profit. See here and here. Which brings us to the Tampa Tribune's parent corporation Media General.

Media General Inc., owner of the Tampa Tribune, reported net income for the first quarter of 2006 of $6.7 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with income of $9.3 million, or 39 cents a share, before an accounting change, in the first quarter of 2005.

Including the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle, related to valuing acquired intangible assets other than goodwill, the company reported a net loss of $316.2 million in the 2005 first quarter.

Marshall N. Morton tries to spin Media General's first quarter. The fact remains bussiness do not want to see their worth go down.

Biological Father Bill

From the Tallahassee Democrat:

The House Justice Council committee passed a bill Monday that would let a man end his child-support obligation if he proves he's not the biological father.

The bill will now go to the House floor. The Senate is moving on a similar bill.

Matt Welch wrote a good piece in Reason on how his friend Tony Pierce and others were mistaken and forced to pay child support. Many states wouldn't force mothers to take DNA tests. In Tony Pierce's case, he was mistaken for another Anthony Pierce. The states main interest is the all mighty buck.

Since Congress first got into the child support business in 1975, the cornerstone philosophy has been to orient everything toward "the best interest of the child," which in practice has meant ensuring that the kid receives money. Now that the states also have a financial incentive -- they pocket a cut of child support payments, earn performance rewards from the federal government, and enjoy the savings from reduced welfare rolls --

Now if you are a biological father or made a legal commitment to raise a child then those men should pay. I'm wondering if the Florida bill will effect the latter. What the state shouldn't do is abuse their power for federal money.

Gulfport Progressives Meetup

Pinellas Progressives will have a meetup on April 24. Click the link for more information.

Voting Audit In Pinellas County

Pinellas County is having a voting machine problems because a computer technician didn't put enough space on the harddrive. The Voting Integrity Alliance of Tampa Bay have raised concerns about the Clearwater a paper trail. There are others who wonder if computer technicians has state-approved computer code for Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor and Largo.

"It's absurd to have an audit and not try to determine whether votes were recorded correctly to begin with" said Pamela Haengel, director of the Voting Integrity Alliance of Tampa Bay, which backs the use of paper ballots. "I think that we deserve better."

It gets even more absurd.

"There are no auditing standards for Florida elections," said David Drury. "We are on a learning curve here."

This is the first audit of it's kind since the 2000 election. Talk about progress.

Tom Gallagher Press Release

Conservative blogger Mr. C has posted Tom Gallagher's latest press release. He thinks it's bad. I agree. Bragging about getting endorsements from "100 Social Conservative Leaders" is not the same as Charlie Crist telling Floridians how much money he's raised. Gallagher is painting himself as unelectable. Whoever is writing these press releases is doing a bad job. It's still light years better than Katherine Harris' recent missive.

Update: the Tampa Tribune has a breakdown of Crist and Gallagher's fundraising.


We made it to La Trinidad after much delay....They lost our luggage, but maybe it will be here tomorrow...

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Greg Newbold Speaks Out

Retired Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold speaks out against the Bush administration policy failures in Iraq.

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.

Read the whole article while it's still online. Time puts their stories under paid subscription quickly.

Vargo loses

Incumbent Orlando City Commissioner Vicki Vargo lost her runoff battle with challenger Robert Stuart today. At the time I wrote this, Stuart had 58% of the vote and Vargo only had 42%.

It just goes to show that if you ignore your constituents for too long, they will gladly vote for someone else.

I'm thrilled that Vicious Vicki Vargo will no longer be representing my district on the Orlando City Commission.

Crossposted on Can't Keep Quiet!

Email Is Troubling

Jeb Bush on the email exchange between Guy Tunnell and Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. Tunnell told McKeithen that he had no interest of releasing the videotape of Martin Anderson's bootcamp beating.

"E-mail is a very difficult thing," Bush said. "It's a means of public communication and on matters that relate to investigations I think making sure that people stay focused and disciplined on these things protects the folks that are being investigated and is also more respectful for the people who are grieving."

Email certainly is troubling. Turns out Bush's chief of staff, Mark Kaplan, was trying to get Tunnell to withhold the video. I can't wait for Jeb Bush's next quote on the issue.

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Gary Siplin Jumps the Fence

WFTV has a video of Florida State Senator Gary Siplin jumping the fence to avoid being filmed. Siplin was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges of grand theft and misuse of public employees.

Siplin jumped the fence. I'm betting his career just jumped the shark.

Update: the Associated Press reports that Siplin paid staffer state money while she was on vacation. It's not stated in the artice, but the staffer is mostly likely Naomi Cooper or Sarah Caraballo.

Katherine Harris Call On William Buckley

The editors of the National Review have implored Katherine Harris to end her campaign.

But now Harris believes she has a legitimate chance against Nelson. Her belief is almost surely mistaken. Polls routinely show her behind by more than 20 points. It is not unusual for a challenger to trail an incumbent at this point in an election cycle, in large part because challengers need time to introduce themselves to voters. Yet Harris needs no introduction: She is already well known, and many Floridians simply refuse to support her. In February, a GOP poll of likely voters found her to have a favorable rating of just 35 percent and an unfavorable rating of 45 percent. Those numbers are fatal.

Harris' response was to ask National Review founder William F. Buckley to stump for her.

Bill, come campaign with us in Florida some weekend. See the hope Florida voters share with me and catch our vision. The weather is beautiful and it would do you some good to get out of Washington, D.C. to hear what real voters say about Katherine Harris.

Bill will see Harris at staged-events where she doesn't have to answer questions from journalists and "real voters." Harris fails to understand that she needs to do more than speak at Dr. Dale's planned Christian Right events. Harris needs to talk to the over-20-percent that plans to vote for Nelson. Just to get even in the polls.

The National Review and Katherine Harris continue to pass of the lie that Bill Nelson has a liberal voting record. The Harris letter states, "... yet the incumbent’s voting record was rated more liberal than Hillary Clinton’s by the respected bipartisan National Journal last year." The National Journal placed Nelson on their list of Senators with centrist voting records. Stuff like that is why "real voters" don't trust Harris and the National Review is not considered a serious news magazine.

Readers, what do you think will be the next disaster from the Harris campaign? I say locusts. That would fit the Christian theme of her campaign. Give me your best Harris disaster idea.

Ann Coulter's Voting Application

Brad Blog has Ann Coulter's voter application. For those who haven't followed the story, Coulter voted in the wrong district. I chalk up her actions to her usual stupidity. I don't believe there was a conspiracy, on her part, to vote in the wrong district. The problem is she hasn't been honest about her actions. Trying to get rid of stalkers is understandable. That doesn't make her excempt from the law. Voting in the wrong district is a third-degree felony. I seriously doubt Coulter will do jail time.

I wonder what's wrong with people who seek out Ann Coulter. Were this people barred from Star Trek conventions and need a new purpose in life? She's a woman who's done nothing, but make money coarsening discourse. When she's gone there will be someone else to replace her. Her kind are quickly forgotten when they fade from the spotlight.

Baseball Fans Don't Like Dick Cheney

Crooks and Liars has a video of Dick Cheney getting booed when he threw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game. This isn't the first time Cheney receved boos at a baseball game.

Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.

Someone needs to get Cheney season tickets.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Immigration Protests

The protests against the awful House bill have started.

On Monday, protesters demonstrated in cities across South Florida, waving U.S. and others national flags. Many held signs with messages such as: "It is not about politics. It is about human beings. Stop being selfish," and, "We are hard working people. Give us a chance."

Police estimated more than 5,000 people marched in the Fort Myers, with many demonstrators taking buses in from the farming town of Immokalee. Across the peninsula, another 5,000 people marched in the working class coastal city of Lake Worth, about 60 miles north of Miami.

The immigration base will work with the brain dead of the Republican base. Most sensible people would rather hear about how Republicans will make their lives better. A shrinking middle class and confusing Medicaid program aren't big selling points. Immigration is an election year issue. Members of both parties have been (that means you, Diane Feinstein) guilty of pandering for the brain dead vote. No one seems to be discussing what kind of economic impact losing illegal immigrants will do to Florida's economy.

The House bill and Bill Frist's proposal have been splitting up the Republican Party. Jeb Bush spoke out against his own party on the issue.

"The cumulative effect of some politicians pounding their chests about immigration is hurtful to both of us," he wrote, referring to himself and his brother. "I fear they do so for current political gain at the expense of thoughtful policy over the long term."

Vilmar has taken time out from post Mary Carey photos to pound anti-immigration posts. I wrote in his comments, "Vilmar, say the words with me. The GOP is turning Hispanic votes away. What to do. Feed the inner-wingnut or win the midterm elections. Decisions. Decisions." Hispanics are the fasting growing group. Republicans alienate them at their own peril.