Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Daily Show on Laura Bush

View this on LiveDigital

The Daily Show does their take on Laura Bush's "one bombing a day" comment.

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Florida Felons Will Get Faster Review Process

Good for Attorney General Bill McCollum. I still have problems with the way Florida handles the voting rights of felons. That said, McCollum's ideas are a step in the right direction.

These backlogs are unacceptable. The key of getting rid of them and moving the clemency process at a faster pace is providing the Parole Commission with sufficient staff to get their investigations and reports completed on all the applicants right away, and for the Clemency Board to hold more frequent hearings until the backlog is worked off. The Chairman of the Parole Commission has advised me ten additional temporary personal the Parole Commission could do its investigations and complete the reports to eliminate the backlogs within a year. At that point the Chairman and the Clemency Board staff believe that, with rare exceptions, no other applicant would have wait more than a year for restoration for restoration with or without a hearing.

To eliminate the backlog of civil rights restoration applications, to strengthen the list under the Clemency Board rules of those felons convicted of extremely serious crimes who are required to have a hearing, to prevent the revolving door effect of granting civil rights only then to revoke them because of a new conviction for career criminals, and to provide the Parole Commission with the resources to do its principal task of shepherding the successful re-entry of criminal offenders into our society after their sentences are completed, as well as support the Clemency Board, I propose the following:

1) Each member of the Cabinet commit two personnel or FTE slots to the Parole
Commission for one year to assist in working off the backlog, and at least two
other personnel and/or FTE slots be loaned for a year to the Parole Commission
for this purpose by the Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement, and/or the Department of Juvenile Justice. This would provide the
necessary temporary personnel without the need for legislative or budgetary

2) Schedule meetings of the Clemency Board monthly, or more frequently if
necessary, until the backlog is worked off;

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The Crist and Pearlman Connection

Via Florida Politics: The New York Post reports that Charlie Crist received nearly $11,000 in illegal campaign donations from Lou Pearlman. The article also claims Crist rode for free on Pearlman's private plane. Crist also did not reimpurse Pearlman for the costs of fundraisers at Pearlman's Orlando home.

Pearlman is the founder of Trans Continental Records. The boy bands the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync were on the label. Pearlman was being investigated in Florida for a Ponzi scheme. He used forgered FDIC documents to convince people to invest in a overly-high yield savings program. Banks and investors filed lawsuits. News reports estimate Pearlman has embezzled $500,000,000.

People could not take money out of the Employee Investment Savings Account. What is even stranger is that Trans Continental Airlines would pitch an employment program to the public.

"I'm sick about it," said Dorothy Richards of Holiday, who invested $142,000 17 months ago in an "Employee Investment Savings Account" sold by Trans Continental. She's been trying for the past five months to get her money back.

"I've sent registered letters. I've called their hotline. An attorney wrote a letter. I've done everything," she said. Most of the time no one called back, she said, but recently she spoke with Pearlman and is hoping her luck will change.

The Florida Attorney General's office was investigating Pearlman when Crist was running for Governor. Chist's office has no comment on the Post story.

Steve Stanton Fired

Largo city commissioners vote to fire city manager Steve Stanton because of the controversy surrounding his plans to get a sex change. The St Petersburg Times has a video of Stanton giving a moving speech of what he has been through the past week. He never showed bitterness, spoke highly of Largo and city officials. After Stanton's speech, the city commission voted 5-2 to end his employment.

Update: Pastor Ron Saunders made this comment before before the vote.

"If Jesus was here tonight, I can guarantee you he'd want him terminated."

I wonder if Saunders' track record is better than Pat Robertson's claims of knowing where God is going to send hurricanes.

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Mitt Shines

The Heretik has made a great Mitt Romney photoshop.


Late Nite MP3

This is my favorite Ted Leo & The Pharmacists song.

Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone? mp3

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fiction and Fact


"Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, uh, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everyone.

Laura Bush on Larry King Live.


The Brookings Institution reports that there was an average of 185 insurgent and militia attacks a day in November of 2006. You can't deal with a problem until you face reality. Laura Bush is saying that people shouldn't believe what people read or see in the news about Iraq. It's rare to find aninstance when this administration didn't choose a fantasy-based narrative over problem solving. I'm waiting for Rockey Vaccarella to drive his FEMA trailer from Baghdad and tell the President how great things are going.


Steve Stanton Targeted For Being Transexual

City Manager Steve Stanton maybe fired because he announced he plans on getting a sex change. Conservatives have emailed city commissioners about Stanton's sex change.

Richard Elmhurst, Against City Manager
"As a resident of Largo for over 40 years, I'm very disturbed that our city manager is planning a sex change. In my view this would be disruptive to Steve Stanton's ability to conduct city business."

How exactly will Stanton's sex change be disruptive? I haven't heard anyone question his qualifications. Stanton will have to take medical leave and return as a woman. People go on medical leave all the time. He should be able to perform his job at the same level when he returns. Stanton has a solid reputation for his work.

The City Council planned to consider a resolution Tuesday to fire the city's top official less than a week after he announced plans to pursue a sex change operation.

Largo City Manager Steve Stanton, 48, who built a solid reputation as a forceful and energetic leader in 14 years on the job, confirmed rumors last week that he was a transsexual. He planned to keep his $140,000-a-year job as he undergoes the gender reassignment process.

But on Monday, City Councilwoman Mary Gray Black proposed Stanton be put on paid leave while the city begins the process of firing him. She said Stanton's surprise announcement "caused stress, turmoil, distraction and work disruption" in the city.

Steve Stanton is the one getting the sex change, but the Mary Gray Black acts she is going under the knife. Yes, I can just feel her stress and turmoil. I hate to think what would happen to her if Stanton pulled his back.

The man behind the campaign to get Stanton fired is Pastor Charlie Martin of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. Martin argues that the religious freedoms of Christians will be trampled if they have to call Steve by his future female name Susan.

"Do we want what's controversial or do we want what's best for Largo?" said Martin, whose church includes many members from Largo.

Spoken by the man creating the controversy and who is more the happy to give the media negative quotes.

Stanton told several city officials he trusted about his plans. This wasn't something that Stanton decided to suddenly throw at the city. Stanton saw how an ordinance to protect gays and transgenders went down in flames. Stanton was scared of people finding out. The reason so many gays and transgenders stay in the closet is because of close-minded people like Pastor Charlie Martin.

Side note: Tommy fucked up another call. He's the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, Tommy.

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House Speaker Marco Rubio is having a hard time selling his sales tax increase. He described working class people living off "other people's leftover money." Rubio is pumping the long discredited trickle down economics theory. Rubio's statement proves how much of an economic illiterate he is. How are citizens going to have more disposable income with an increased sales tax? People will not due their patriotic duty of shopping of merchandise cost more. Trickle down economics reminds me of this passage from the New Testament.

Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

What the sales tax increase will do to the poor and working class is offer less crumbs.

He who denied Lazarus crumbs is now denied Lazarus' comfort.

Two callers to the Jim Defede Show took exception with Rubio's comment.

"The working people are what built this country," said a caller named Cliff. "We didn't live off handouts, which is what he's suggesting. ... It's a typical Republican (attitude), looking down their noses at the average guy."

Robert, another caller, took issue with increasing the sales tax.

"Most working-class people are just struggling to survive and their solution is the most regressive form of tax there is? This is unbelievable. Trickle-down economics was disproven. ... I work my tail off every day just to make ends meet, and if they raise the sales tax, that's going to be coming directly out of every little bit that I earn. It's just going to make it even more expensive to live here, not less."

Economics Profeesor Jonathan Hamilton has the best quote.

"It's also going to trickle down to Mercedes dealers," said Jonathan Hamilton, chairman of the University of Florida's economics department. "Maybe Mr. Rubio has a very well-calculated story about where people are going to spend their tax savings. But to say they'll spend it on low-income workers is a stretch."

Rubio is off to a hell of a start. A lemon is a lemon. No matter how Rubio tries to pitch it.

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Outsourcing Review Panel

Charlie Crist is in full damage control mode with reviewing Florida's use of outsourcing. I say it is about time.

Alex Sink has appointed a seven member panel.

Sink appointed Steven Evans, 59, of Tallahassee, CEO of Florida TaxWatch and a retired IBM executive. Crist chose Timothy Yandell, 56, of Melbourne Beach, owner of inetUSA, and Akhil Agrawal, 39, of Miami Beach, president of American Medical Depot.

Campaign finance records show only Agrawal donated to either of their 2006 campaigns. He gave Crist $500 in 2005. The seven-member Council on Efficient Government will examine the performance of the outsourcing of most personnel, purchasing and accounting functions in three ventures by the Bush administration.


Revisionist Gannon

Lindsay Beyerstein writes a post about the conservative practice of scalping. I agree with her that the lefty blogosphere is much better at political activism. Conservatives consider political activism taking down Dan Rather and Eason Jordan.

I had a problem with this paragraph in her post.

I've heard Gannon/Guckert expose incorrectly cited as a left-wing scalp job. That wasn't a scalping. John Aravosis exposed a mole in the White House press corps. The mole lost his job when it was revealed that he was there illicitly.

There is another aspect about the Gannon/Gurkert flap that bothered me with Joseph Hovsep's comment.

I left this comment to address Lindsay and Hovsep's argument.

But I think the Gannon/Guckert scandal is a scalping. The focus was constantly on his sex work, constantly splashing his escort ad photos everywhere, especially Aravosis. The mole aspect was secondary.

Several Daily Kos bloggers and my friend Ron Brynaert found several cases of plagiarism on Gannon and Talon News' links to The sex stuff came later. Gannon would have disappeared for the same reasons as Ben Domenech. Talon News wasn't really a news site. Ron also caught instances of plaguirism with Robert Eberle.

I make a friendly disagreement with Lindsay over John Aravosis breaking the story. Someone leaked him pornagraphic pictures of James Gurkert. Many other bloggers did the leg work of spending hours researching and finding the plaguirism. The pictures (while sensationalistic) has nothing to do with Talon News and

What does this picture prove?

Jeff Gannon

The photo doesn't prove Gannon worked with a GOP outfit or was a plagiarist. James Gurkert did lie about his background. Which would explain the Jeff Gannon identity. He was no less a GOP shrill than Robert Eberle. People always latch onto the sex aspect of any scandal. Gannon was taking heat for his blatantly politically bias questions and ripping off wire news service stories before the infamous photos came out. John Aravosis did not break those stories. It is revisionist history to say he did.

Over to you Ron.

Side note: I like Lindsay and appreciate the support she has given this site. I also have nothing against John Aravosis.

Update: Lindsay updated her post and gave credit to other bloggers for the Gannon story. Good for her.

To The Pigheaded, Everything Looks Like Pork

Despite what you may have read and heard for the past, oh, several decades, Phyllis Schlafly wants you to know that American women are actually doing fine--there's no violence perpetrated against them at all, so move along, nothing to see here:

The WHO report asserts that one in three of the world's women, in some countries as many as 70 percent, experience violence in their lifetime, usually from their own partner, which is the rationale for calling it domestic violence. I'm surprised feminists don't claim 100 percent, because "violence" is broadly defined to include nonphysical "psychological and economic" actions.


You can bet that a primary purpose of International Violence Against Women Act money will be to lobby the U.S. Senate for ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women so that its U.N. monitoring committee can force U.S. compliance with feminist goals. That agenda includes everything from requiring unlimited abortion rights to rewriting schoolbooks to eliminate so-called "stereotypes" and gender-specific references.

Wow, Phyllis, paranoid much?

Curious as to what the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women could possibly have to do with unlimited abortion rights and schoolbook rewritings--indeed, with the dreaded "forced compliance with feminist goals" (more radical agendas emanating from the famous Feminazi Cooter, I bet!)--I decided to go to the source and read for myself what the United Nations is going on about as it begins the 51st session of the UN’s women’s commission this week (my bolds):

Much work remains to be done before goals of gender equality – and their resulting positive impact on primary-school enrolment, maternal mortality rates and women’s economic independence – are reached, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General told the opening of the 51st session of the UN’s women’s commission today.

“Most egregiously, violence against women and girls remains pervasive – perpetrated by family members, strangers and agents of the State in all regions of the world, in the public and private spheres, in peacetime and during conflict,” warned Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, the highest-ranking woman in the Organization.


“Let me…encourage the Commission to take bold steps to improve the lives of girls everywhere,” said Ms. Migiro, herself a mother of two girls. Several girls have been invited to share their experiences with the Commission during its session at UN Headquarters.

In 2005, Member States found that, at the 10-year mark of the landmark 2005 Beijing Platform for Action, an extensive blueprint for promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls, the goal of fully protecting girls had not been realized. Girls remained at high risk of being sexually abused and sexually exploited and trafficked for commercial purposes.


“Ending this pandemic will require our individual and collective commitment,” Ms. Migiro said, listing several possible ways to solve the problem. “It will require us to create an environment where such violence is not tolerated; to work for the full implementation of existing legal norms and policies; to make focused efforts to prosecute and punish perpetrators; to dedicate sufficient resources; and to fully involve men and boys in changing stereotypical attitudes and behaviour.

No mention of altering schoolbooks and building rows of abortion clinics. There are, however, plenty of initiatives in the UN's proposals that deserve the support of every nation, including the United States.

Schlafly, like all good conservative talking-point-spewers, wants people to worry about all the money--feminist pork, as she terms it--that America will be pouring into this dreadful, heartless effort to improve the lives of women and girls all over the world. And she points out that many of the countries who are discussing it have--*gasp*--horrible women's rights records themselves, as though that should disqualify them from trying to work toward gender equality:

All these countries are eligible to sit on the convention's monitoring committee of 23 "experts" who monitor "progress" and order compliance. All U.N. projects to improve the lot of women follow the feminist model: Break up the family, force women into the work force, and send kids to day care.

Again with the paranoia! This time, Schlafly invokes the dreaded break-up-the-family and force-women-to-work anti-feminism chestnuts. As if Schlafly herself were not a working woman. As if mothers all over the world were not, by definition, working like maniacs, whether it's in an office, a house, a field, or a battlefield.

Then, Schlafly's pièce de résistance (warning: swallow your coffee before reading):

U.S. women are the most privileged class of people on the face of the earth. That's because we are the beneficiaries of the Judeo-Christian civilization, including the requirement in the Ten Commandments to honor mothers and the Christian religion that honors the Virgin Mary and respects women.

Ah, no. U.S. women may be among the luckiest women on earth, but they're certainly not the most privileged class of people to walk on its surface. According to the US Census Bureau, women in America are hampered by higher poverty rates and lower earnings than men. And, according to the National Organization for Women, women here are 10 times more likely than men to be victimized by someone known to them, and young women, women who are separated, divorced or single, low-income women and African-American women are the victims of violence and sexual assault in even more disproportionate numbers, as are gay women and men.

And as for this "privilege" of American women having come about courtesy of the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of American culture (not, as Schlafly implies, law), I'd remind her that both religions, along with some other ones, too, were practiced in the country for quite a long while before American women were even afforded the same right to vote as men--in 1920--and that this came about not through theocratic mandate, but rather, because the nation's feminists fought, and fought hard, for it.

Just as the nation's feminists today will continue to fight, and fight hard, for the rights of women and girls both here and abroad. To sneeringly belittle such efforts--to call them feminist pork--when there are towering slaughterhousefuls of Republican-supplied pork currently filling the coffers of war profiteers and disappearing by the billions--by the ton!--in Iraq...well, I'd say such anti-woman nastiness was unbecoming of a lady, but I suppose one has to consider the source.

Crossposted at litbrit's place.

All In the Family

Oh. My. God.

Just when you think you have heard it all, up pops news that brings us around full circle. The latest buzz is Al Sharpton’s shocking news that he has ancestral ties to Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

According to Mike Ward, a genealogist with, “Based on the paper trail, it seems pretty evident that the connection is there.” Now Sharpton is asking for a DNA test to confirm the findings that his great-grandfather, a slave, was owned by an ancestor of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond.

I'm drawing a blank. I don't know what to say about that.

Update: CNN has a video of Sharpton talking about the shock of finding out the news.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Best Singers of All Time Part 7

Nina Simone is one of the most influental and covered singers of the 20th century. Simone is impossible to define she has sung everything from Jewish traditional numbers to big band music. All Music Guide has a bio on this remarkable artist.

Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair mp3

Sinnerman mp3

Feeling Good mp3

:: Holy Shiite: Bush Administration betrays us all ::

This is a followup from a post I wrote on Sunday regarding Seymour Hershs' article in the New Yorker. After a deeper read and understanding of the implications of what he wrote, well, I was appalled then, now I'm absolutely sickened. It's Iran Contra all over again.  Surprising?  No. THE REDIRECTION: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

Check out the reaction on AlterNet

Our own government is supporting Al Qaida and others. Additionally, is Negraponte's change in position including supposition he moved for this very reason.

Bush supports betrays the troops.

Is it any wonder that more Americans trust Congress more than Bush? Or, that 2 out of 3 disagree with Bush's surge sending more troops to Iraq? And, this is a new low:

The poll also registered a new low on the question of whether the Iraq war was worth fighting. Thirty-four percent responded that it was, while 64 percent said it was not -- 51 percent strongly. On this question, 51 percent of military veterans and 53 percent of veteran households said they strongly believe that the war was not worth fighting.

It's great people are finally figuring this out. But, it should never have taken this long. Such waste. I'm going to be sick now.

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Jeb Ruled By Fear

Ruth Sykes was briefly Jeb Bush's efficiency expert. She quit when it became apparent that Bush would not heed her warnings about privatization.

Bush made Sykes his $95,000-a-year director of efficiency and enterprise development about two weeks after the Department of Management Services put out a "request for information" on privatizing personnel services. And get this: Sykes thought People First was headed for trouble!

The 20-year Air Force veteran, who retired in Niceville, also had this odd notion about trusting the troops.

"As I told the governor, people have the answers, your employees have the answers," she told me at the time. "They know where the waste is; they know where the problems are. They will help you if you let them, if they have the motivation to help."

What state employees had under Bush was fear. "You feel like you can't voice your opinion and be critical," Sykes said back then. "I felt like I was exposing things - 'This is a different way, consider this' - and this is what I was brought here to do."

Bush's inspector general Bill Monroe has been unable to prove outsourcing saved the taxpayers money.


Family Guy - Pat Robertson & Jerry Falwell

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars

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For those of you that are interested in the Central Park Redevelopment Plan.





On Saturday March 3, 2007 from 9:00 AM until Noon at True Holiness Church and Deliverance Center 3800 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33603, the Tampa Bay Human Rights Coalition, Inc. will conduct its next Town Hall Meeting.

Each committee chairperson for the Eight Pillars of the Community: Family, Education, Economics, Religion, Government, Legal, Media, and Cultural Awareness will be reporting. Each report will be based on the data gathered from the 2006 town hall meetings. After the reports, a session for questions and comments from the community participants will be held.

Reports updating the community regarding the two current projects of the Tampa Bay Human Rights Coalition will be provided.

The two projects are:
1. The review of the Central Park Redevelopment Plan and

2. The City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Contract Disparity Study

For the Central Park Redevelopment Plan:

1. Is the Tampa Housing Authority intentionally evicting residents to lower the number of families that will be allowed to move into the low income housing to be included in the Central Park Redevelopment Project?

2. A complete review of the letter of agreement between the Tampa Housing Authority and Bank of America Redevelopment Corporation.

For the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Contract Disparity Study:

1. A review of the proposed City of Tampa Ordinance and

2. An update of the efforts of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority



AT (813) 277-0464

With & Without Campassion

Shakes points to a video Brilliant at Breakfast has of the now famous Craig Ferguson monologue talking about why he won't make fun of Britney Spears. The reason is Ferguson has his own history of alcohol addiction.

I left this comment at Shakes.

I saw the Craig Ferguson videos. I've had several friends with drug abuse problems. It is a horrible thing to see.

Someone asked me how a principal could buy crack at school. I explained with his addiction to question is how could he not. That doesn't justify the action. The man's need for the drug overwhelmed all sense of reason. I'm willing to bet he actually told himself it was a good idea. Addiction will warp people's judgement.

Tommy Duncan was quick to solicit his instant judgement. He is less quick to throw stones at morally reprehensible things posted at his site. What Principal Anthony Giancola did is wrong and he certainly will never work in the education system again. I somehow doubt he planned on getting arrested. Rachel Moran continues to brag about her beat up the homeless post.

I'm not a social commentator. I'm a girl with a blog, like a billion other girls with blogs.

Pffft, sounds like someone's making me awfully important. :)

Ask yourself which one comes off as the more horrible human being.

Update: Vox Populi left a comment at Sticks of Fire that took exception with Tommy's post. She wrote her own post about Giancola's arrest.

This is DISGUSTING on so many levels. How many people KNEW this man had a short-term drug problem and got together with the vaunted Tampa Police Dept. to set him up AMIDST CHILDREN and haul him out of school in hand-cuffs; in front of young people who admired him??

(Job security for the dubious 'crisis' teams who will go and counsel children who love this man for something that ABSOLUTELY could have been handled with some finesse!!!)

NOT ONE OF THESE people thought they might have approached this man and said, 'Look, we know you have a problem and need help; we are offering you a chance before we take legal action.' It's not like he was out robbing places !!

Tommy will just ignore Vox's post. I'm linking it so more people see it. People wonder why I pick on Tommy. Examples like this are why.

Update: Snuffeluffagus has a must-read post on Britney Spears.

Litbrit At New URL

Litbrit has moved. Update your bookmarks. Her blog is "THEE place for news in and about Tampa."

Pay Attention to Iowa

People are talking about the polling numbers between between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. What isn't being mentioned is John Edwards is pulling away in Iowa polls. Edwards was already ahead of Tom Vilsack. With Visack gone that clears the stage for Edwards.

The first three states are the Iowa caucas and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Edwards will win South Carolina. If Edwards doesn't make any major missteps he will win Iowa. Edwards will go 2 out of 3. John Kerry was badly behind in New Hampshire in 2004. He made a last ditch play to win Iowa and he pulled New Hampshire.

The short answer is Clinton and Obama need to make sure they win New Hampshire. If either of them go 0 for 3 then it is over.

Homeless Baby Girl

Homeless Baby Girl

From a Reno Gazette-Journal article:

They filled their cameras with photos of homeless infants and families. Some captured the friendships among the homeless. For others, their film showed isolation and exclusion.

In a rare opportunity, 40 homeless Reno citizens this week were given disposable cameras to document their lives as part of a recent city-sponsored program.

And what the 15 who returned the cameras captured on film, along with their personal stories, will be presented to the Nevada Legislature during a Monday hearing in front of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee.

In other news: Florida holds the distinction of being the most dangerous state for homeless people to live in.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lindsay Beyerstein Turned Down Edwards Campaign

File this under I'm not surprised.

Lindsay Beyerstein wrote a Salon article about how she was offered the John Edwards campaign blogging gig before Amanda Marcotte and Shakes. It makes sense. Lindsay has a high media profile. She writes articles and blogs at Alternet. She is one of the few lefty bloggers on both Atrios's and Daily Kos' blogrolls. Lindsay is star.

An Edwards staffer (whom Lindsay won't name) offered her the job. Lindsay proceeded to do everything in her power to convince him not to hire him.

"I'm probably not ... the person you want," I said, finally. "I mean, I'm on the record saying that abortion is good and that all drugs should be legalized, including heroin. Don't you think that might be a little embarrassing for the campaign?"

I can't think of many lefty bloggers that could run a campaign blog. Josh Marshall is the only one that comes to mind. He is about as noncontroversial as an A list progressive can get. Duncan Black would be chased out of the Edwards campaign by an angry mob. Tas of Loaded Mouth has gotten into major profanity-laced flame wars with Wizbang, Say Anything and Jeff Goldstein. He was shocked by how angry some of Amanda's posts came off. That is a good sign the Edwards campaign didn't read the Pandagon archives. Then again, the campaign didn't seem to care.

"The thing you have to realize about Amanda is that she's got real enemies," I said. "We've all got trolls, but Amanda gets a whole different level of abuse."

I told Bob this story to give him some idea of the kind of seething hatred the campaign might have to deal with: The first time I heard Amanda on the radio, an angry caller phoned up to say, "You're Amanda Marcotte, and you're a clerical worker at the University of Texas at Austin." He had his facts wrong, but his message was clear. He was trying to get Amanda fired while leaving some darker threat hanging in the air. The host had to cut him off. Since that incident, at least one of Amanda's trolls had called her then-employer and tried unsuccessfully to get her fired.

I tried to suggest that the campaign might not want high-profile bloggers. I thought it might be better off hiring a well-connected political operative with good connections in the blogosphere.

Lindsay makes a good point in the article on how conservatives use the internet as a trial balloon. They learned from the Monica Lewinsky scandal that if a story gains traction on the web they are safe to run with it. If the balloon pops then Matt Drudge or Glenn Reynolds takes one for the team. Michelle Malkin ran those horrying Hot Air videos. Bill Donahue followed after the Amanda attacks gained enough traction. The media runs with it because they need to fill air time. Repeat cycle when the next scandal comes around.

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Compassionate Conservatism: Iraq Edition

"My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Jesus Christ

Timothy Masters of Focus For the Family explains how James Dobson is living like Christ.

Where the Iraqi conflict itself is concerned, Dr. Dobson wants it known that his feelings on the subject are intense and deeply held. He realizes that there are many American Christians who do not share his point of view. Nevertheless, his own position is absolutely non-negotiable. As an adherent of the classic Augustinian "just war" theory, he is convinced that this is a case where the biblical and theological justifications for the use of force are fairly obvious. You may be right in asserting that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not "defensive" in the strictest and most narrowly defined sense of the term. However, viewed within the larger context of the global War on Terrorism, the defensive nature of America’s pre-emptive strike against Hussein seems indisputable. Please don’t misunderstand. Dr. Dobson doesn’t like war and killing any better than you do, but he believes that this may be one of those moments in history when we are forced to settle for a trade-off: the lives of the few in exchange for the lives of the many

Pat Robertson defends President Bush's Iraq policy.

We've won the war already, and for the Democrats to say we can't win it -- what kind of a statement is that? And furthermore, one of the fundamental principles we have in America is that the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces and attempts to undermine the commander in chief during time of war amounts to treason. I know we have an opportunity to express our points of view, but there is a time when we're engaged in a combat situation that carping criticism against the commander in chief just doesn't cut it.

Jerry Falwell sums up how he knows God feels about the Iraq war.

"God is pro-war."

Faith-healing con man Minister Benny Hinn is not about other conservative Cristians out war him.

"We are on God's side. This is not a war between Arabs and Jews. It's a war between God and the devil."

I'm sure I could go on and on if I wanted to. The point is these men are hypocrites. That's putting kindly. Saying that they are snake oil salesmen trying to profit off of others is more blunt. Robertson's Operation Blessing is a perfect example of a huckster in action.

Christian conservatives are now looking for their new President. They are underwhelmed by their choices. I'm actually in agreement with them. Sam Brownbeck and Mike Huckabee don't have a chance in hell.

Iraq is a Mess

"Democracy is messy."

Paul Bremer

How do you tell the Iraqis that this is democracy?

A suicide bomber triggered his explosive vest packed with ball bearings outside the School of Economy and Administration in east Baghdad.

Terrified parents converged on the scene searching for loved ones, some collapsing in horror at the sight of blood and human flesh splattered across the entrance of the building.

"They sold us out!" one man cried out, reflecting sentiment that an 11-day-old US and Iraqi security plan has failed to protect the city from those determined to foment sectarian war.

The White House doesn't understand that their talking points don't work on Iraqis. They see the daily horror of war. The Bushies slogan away with "mission accomplished" and "last throes." These people would be happy if they don't see loved ones blown beyond recognition.

The Sales Tax Shift

Carnival Corp reported a billion dollar profit in 2002.They paid no corporate taxes to Florida. The same holds true for Saddlebrook Resorts and Verizon Communications. Skyboxes in sport arenas are not taxed. An estimated $700 million in tax revenue is lost. Every Florida sports team receives a $2 million-a-year tax exception. The franchises are pushing for an extra $2 million. Cause it's hard being a pimp.

In 2003, Florida lost an estimated $1.2 billion in tax revenue. The corporate tax is only 5.5 percent of net income. 98 percent of companies avoided paying to tax.

Jeb Bush pushed for HIV patients to use cheaper drugs. Bush was angered when the state legislature used $500 million surplus for school funding. Florida ranked 49th in public school funding in 2005.

Now Marco Rubio's office has sent Peer Review their sales tax press release. There are a few things that bother me.

For the first time, Medicaid revenues would be placed within the revenue growth limitation.

This legislature isn't serious enough to deal with rising Medicaid expenses. What they would love to do is make cuts to the poor and privatize the system. That would be a disaster. It would be in total character. The telecommunications bill is a perfect example of how easily the legislature is swayed by lobbyists.

5. The constitutional amendment would also limit the continued rapid expansion of local government by containing millage to a rate that produces the same tax revenue as was generated in the previous year plus population growth and inflation, excluding new construction and annexation. The revenue cap may be exceeded through a unanimous vote of the governing body.

6. School districts would not see their budgets reduced under the House’s plan. The future growth of school district budgets from property tax revenues would be limited by the amendment, but state government could choose to put more state revenue into schools.

Counties decide millage. It is how properties are appraised to be taxed.

The property tax rate is often given as a percentage (amount of tax per hundred currency units of property value). It may also be expressed as a permille (amount of tax per thousand currency units of property value), which is also known as a millage rate or mill levy. (A mill is also one-thousandth of a dollar.) To calculate the property tax, the authority will multiply the assessed value of the property by the mill rate and then divide by 1,000. For example, a property with an assessed value of US$ 50,000 located in a municipality with a mill rate of 20 mills would have a property tax bill of US$ 1,000.00 per year

There are several bills in the legislature wanting the make sure the millage is not more than 3 percent of the Consumer Price Index. Rubio is pushing for abolishing property taxes. The voters must approve it. The chances are extremely good they will.

I wrote before that there would be a tax shift if the legislature deals with property taxes. Rubio picked the option that conservative think tanks have been preaching for years. Sales tax. The funny thing is Florida's main tax revenue is sales taxes and it's not cutting it.

The sales tax will go up 2.5 percent if voters abolish property taxes. Counties rely on property tax money to pay for schools, teachers, polices, firefighter, etc. Counties will raise sales taxes to make up the lost revenue. Lower income people will be hit the hardest. It certainly won't be Carnival Cruises making up the difference. There are enough sales tax loopholes for corporations to use.

The Iran Fetish

Sine.Qua.Non has already touched on the Seymour Hirsh article. I think it is interesting what is being said in conservative circles.

A Robert Gates advisor believes that President Bush could be impeached if an attack against Iran is launched. Anti-tax maniac Grover Norquist is more blunt.

"Everything the advocates of war said would happen hasn't happened," says the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, an influential conservative who backed the Iraq invasion. "And all the things the critics said would happen have happened. [The president's neoconservative advisers] are effectively saying, 'Invade Iran. Then everyone will see how smart we are.' But after you've lost x number of times at the roulette wheel, do you double-down?"

Bush does not have the political capital or military strength to wage war in a third country. Especially one next to Iraq. Bush does have political capital with one group of people. Yes, I'm talking about Freepers.

Impeaching Bush just takes a majority of the House. They could do that tonight.

To REMOVE him takes 2/3rds of the SENATE: 67 votes. They're nowhere close.

Fact is, the man can do anything he wants now, legal or not, and he's unremovable so long as 17 out of 49 Republican Senators don't defect.
Hell, he could strangle a reporter on national TV with his bare hands while doing a line of coke, and so long as 34 GOP Senators stonewalled, he'd be in office until the end!

That comment has compassionate conservatism and patriotism written all over it. Another Freeper shows his love for the Democratic process.

Congress should be impeached. They've known all along, since 9/11, that an attack on Iran might be necessary. Dubya said then that you were either for us or against us, that if you fed, supported or sheltered a terrorist, you were a terrorist. That we were coming for you.

Congress didn't have the guts to complain then. The country wanted blood. It took them six years of constant sniveling and carping by their treasonous media pals for them to muddy the waters enough to work up the courage to start talking about impeachment. Dubya should make some of them disappear just as he's attacking Iran. We have to go into Iran. We have no choice. We have to stop them.

Making political opponents disappear is the kind of thing done by dictators. The reason Bush supporters don't complain about torture or warrantless wiretapping is because they think it's great. How can anyone protest against something they heart? This is what is left of Bush's base. The Rockefeller Republicans and most libertarians have left a long time ago. The only supporters left are people who bitch about Michelle Malkin not winning a Pultizer Prize. (It's the liberal media against a truth teller.)

Play Find the Lobbyist

The St Petersburg Times has an interesting article on how difficult it is to look up lobbyists. Pages are scanned and not printed in text. Which makes it harder for a search engine to register. Lobbyists fees are filed under the firm they work for. There is no mention of the actual lobbyist in the report.

Lobbyists register by name - but fee reports are filed by law firm and alphabetized by the first name or initial of the law firm. Take lobbyist Ken Plante. You'll find his disclosure form under G. He works for Governmental Solutions LLC.

You would have to know that's where he works because there is no online index to look up what firm a lobbyist works for.

The system has been like this since 2005. I don't see the Florida legislature considering this a burning issue. We can expect outdated internet records on lobbyists for quite sometime. And people wonder why Florida has horrible voting machine problems. Government neglect is the answer to the former and latter.

Update: Lobbyists made an estimated $200 million in Florida in 2006.

:: An entire world at war .... ::

Could someone please introduce Bush to the theories and practice of Conflict Resolution?

Seymour Hersh on Iran, Syria, and the Middle East in the New Yorker gives us yet more reasons to get rid of Bush/Cheney. It seems like they are trying to create an entire world at war. Winner take all. Enslave to rest to corporations. Put all the people back into mystical religious servitude of the state controlled church.

Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration National Security Council official, told me that “there is nothing coincidental or ironic” about the new strategy with regard to Iraq. “The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when—if you look at the actual casualty numbers—the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude,” Leverett said. “This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them.”

On Bush/Cheney’s certain war with Iran:

Still, the Pentagon is continuing intensive planning for a possible bombing attack on Iran, a process that began last year, at the direction of the President. In recent months, the former intelligence official told me, a special planning group has been established in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged with creating a contingency bombing plan for Iran that can be implemented, upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours.

In the past month, I was told by an Air Force adviser on targeting and the Pentagon consultant on terrorism, the Iran planning group has been handed a new assignment: to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq. Previously, the focus had been on the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities and possible regime change.

Two carrier strike groups—the Eisenhower and the Stennis—are now in the Arabian Sea. One plan is for them to be relieved early in the spring, but there is worry within the military that they may be ordered to stay in the area after the new carriers arrive, according to several sources. (Among other concerns, war games have shown that the carriers could be vulnerable to swarming tactics involving large numbers of small boats, a technique that the Iranians have practiced in the past; carriers have limited maneuverability in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, off Iran’s southern coast.) The former senior intelligence official said that the current contingency plans allow for an attack order this spring. He added, however, that senior officers on the Joint Chiefs were counting on the White House’s not being “foolish enough to do this in the face of Iraq, and the problems it would give the Republicans in 2008.

the fool.jpg

Ofcourse, they are foolish enough.

On Saudi Arabia & the Palestinians:

Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, depicted the Saudis’ coöperation with the White House as a significant breakthrough. “The Saudis understand that if they want the Administration to make a more generous political offer to the Palestinians they have to persuade the Arab states to make a more generous offer to the Israelis,” Clawson told me. The new diplomatic approach, he added, “shows a real degree of effort and sophistication as well as a deftness of touch not always associated with this Administration. Who’s running the greater risk—we or the Saudis? At a time when America’s standing in the Middle East is extremely low, the Saudis are actually embracing us. We should count our blessings.”

The Pentagon consultant had a different view. He said that the Administration had turned to Bandar as a “fallback,” because it had realized that the failing war in Iraq could leave the Middle East “up for grabs.”

No shit.

I have to go clean up for the family birthday parties, including my own.

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The McMaverick with Fries

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John McCain, from the Crooks and Liars archives

Psuedo-Faith GOP Base doesn't want Johnny-Cakes McCain.

Check out the John McCain link in this Huggy Bear Post

What's wrong with sucking up to everybody? ( Hat tip to PBD)

Who Stole the Strawberries?

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

CODEPINK Protests Vern Buchanan

Vern Buchanan is getting a warm welcome to Congress from District 13 residents.

For the second day in a row, anti-war demonstrators took to the street corner in front of Rep. Vern Buchanan’s Sarasota office.

A day after held a rally calling for a troop withdrawal, CODEPINK took their turn in opposing the war in Iraq. The group, a women-initiated peace movement, said they wanted to show Buchanan that thousands of people in the district want the troops to come home.

Many of the protesters on Friday were the same people who had been on the corner on Thursday with MoveOn.Org.

But as the name CODEPINK suggests, the group of more than 40 protesters mostly wore pink clothes and chanted phrases like: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bush and Cheney have to go.”

Buchanan voted against the nonbinding resolution against the surge.

John Edwards on Health Care

This is a good speech. Employees being able to take their health care program from job to job is very desirable. Edwards addresses the administrative cost of health care. If he can cut that by 30 to 40 percent he will be the best domestic Franklin President since Roosevelt.

Republicans will hate Edwards' proposal. Heath care is a big business. They will tell their base this is socialized medicine. My attitude is taypayers keep paying more to get less. If any corporation ran their business like the federal government ran Medicare they would go bankrupt. Republicans know universal health care is bad for the party.

Four months earlier, in December 1993, Republican strategiest and writer William Kristol, a Chief of Staff to former Vice President Dan Quayle and Chariman of the Project for the Republican Future, had sent a memorandum to Republican congressional leaders urging them to kill health care reform. The plan, he wrote in the memo, is a “serious political threat to the Republican party,” and its demise would be “a monumental setback for the President.” He wasn’t objecting to the plan on its merits; he was applying partisan political logic. He instructed Republicans to not negotiate on the bill or to compromise. The only good strategy, according to Kristol, was to kill the plan outright. The memo didn’t mention the millions of Americans without insurance.

People are going to look back and realize how horrible Kristol was for America.

THEE place for news in and about Tampa

I got linked and mentioned by name in the Star Tribune. I wonder if I should now call Pushing Rope "THEE place for news in and about Tampa."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Compassionate Conservatism: KidCare

In 2004, Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature halted enrollment into KidCare. The list of children on the waiting list quickly grew. Today it is 700,000. A recorded voice on the KidCare help line told listeners, ""It is not possible to tell you where your child is on the wait list or how soon he or she will be enrolled."

Bush refused to use money from the federal economic stimulus package to help fund KidCare. The result did the opposite of saving money. Florida lost $20 million in federal matching funds. There was a willing effort not to serve poor children.

Some Republicans have admitted it was a mistake a few years ago when the GOP-controlled Legislature intentionally made it harder to enroll by requiring more documentation.

The Legislature also stopped spending money on active outreach -- having caseworkers go into communities to try to make sure families know about KidCare.

''If you don't know about the program, how will you be able to participate?'' asked Rep. Joyce Cusack, D-DeLand.

Miss Cusack, that was the whole point. Conservatives view government medical programs as socialism. It doesn't matter if many children with life threatening illnesses were denied doctor visits. Ideology is so much more important. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities refused to give Kevin Estinfil thermal blankets worth $360. They would rather spend thousands of taypayer dollars fighting in court. Kevin can not regulate his body temperature. He freezes without the blanket. But conservative principles must be maintained.

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Democrats Plan to Challenge War Resolution

The nonbinding resolution is being filibustered in the Senate. Democrats are taking a different approach.

Washington - The White House plans to fight against any attempt by the Democratic-controlled Senate to revoke the 2002 authorization of the use of force in Iraq, a spokesman said Friday.

The Washington Post reported Democrats want to pass a narrower resolution that would set a goal of withdrawing combat troops by March 2008 and limiting US involvement to training Iraqi forces and border patrols.

The authors of the proposal are Joe Biden and Carl Levin. The original mission was to remove Saddam Hussein and find weapons of mass destruction. All reasonable people can agree that part of the mission has been completed. Allow me to refresh your memory.

Mission Accomplished

What is likely to happen with the Biden/Levin proposal is Republicans will filibuster it. What Harry Reid should have done is used the nuclear option on the nonbinding resolution. The reason Republicans are filibusting is because they don't want to go on-record support Bush. The nuclear option would have killed what little discipline Karl Rove held over the GOP caucas.

The Bush Bounce

Maybe this is what David Broder was talking about when he predicted Bush making a Clinton-like comeback. An American Research Group poll shows Bush's job approval rating bouced to 39 percent. The numbers bounced a whole 4 percent from January.

Job Approval - 39 percent
Handling of the economy - 40 percent

With numbers like that, we can get rid of the thirty-second amendment and grant Rockey Vaccarella's wish.

ROCKEY: And I just wish the President could have another term in office. You know, I wish you had another four years, man. If we had this President for another four years, I think it’d be great.

Sticks of Fire Whining

I love it when Tommy Duncan's passive aggressive tendencies come out. He is bitching about the St Petersberg Times sending him an exclusive about a man wanting a sex change. How dare the Times brag about their scoop. Especially, when it's Tommy's job to brag about scoops in his "Ready For the Cherry" post.

Sticks of Fire is quickly becoming THEE place for news in and about Tampa. Thanks to the helpful readers and contributors here, we were able to scoop both dailies twice within a week.

Tommy's complaint about the story is it's not important news. He goes on to give a list of stories he deems of greater importance. That would explain why Tommy dedicates so much time to blogging about such important stories about strippers. Kate staying on the topic of Tampa by writing about her plastic surgery. Tim posting his Craiglist-style ad. Plus, the worst restaurant reviews I have ever read.

Tommy is criticizing the Times for sins he commits daily on his blog. This is his funniest post since his "there’s a hurricane coming, and these bloggers want you to be aware of Glenn Freakin’ Beck" post.

I used to get mad at Tommy for not using Sticks of Fire to discuss more topical issues. I now love it. It's like the writers of The Onion decided to do a parody of blogs.

The truth is Tommy is just a secretary. Bill Sharpe is the money man who keeps a lower profile. Tommy could not get local candidates to meet in a forum. Sharpe can.

PTSD Being Mishandled

Litbrit has a must-read post on how the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense are trying to bury facts of how many sevice man and women have post traumatic stress disorder.

Litbrit's post reminded me of the Veterans Administration using the cartoon The Epic of Gilgamesh. A Groucho Marx-sounding doctor tells Gilgamesh that "simple things, like exercise, sleep, hygiene and a few less lattes in the morning" will cure PTSD. The VA have taken the video and transcript offline. The bad publicity generated from the Huffington Post will make a government organization go into damage control.

Creative Loafing ran good stories on here and here on Tampa area vets dealing with PTSD. It is inspiring to hear about the good work Steve Fletcher are doing.

Like the hospitals, Taylor´s program could use more funds and more staff. But he´s determined to help vets, no matter what comes down from above.

¨They could cut our budget,¨ says Fletcher, who often carries a double load of clients, ¨and we would still be doing the work. Because you´ve got dedication out here. Money doesn´t affect us that much -- we´d use our own money to reach out to these guys.¨

Reginald Jones: 'I Support Racially Exclusive Organizations.'

Via Florida Politics: this falls into the too stupid not to be true category. Reginald Jones is an African American speaking at the Institute for Conservative Studies. The think tank is located on the Florida State University campus.

Who is Reginald Jones? That is a good question. I can't find a Wikipedia entry on him. I will venture to say that he is not a superstar in conservative circles. He does tour the b list conservative speaking circuit.

Nationally-known entertainer, entrepreneur and lecturer Reginald Jones will speak on "Betrayal: Sold Out by the Civil Rights Movement" at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Stetson University. His presentation, which is sponsored by Stetson’s College Republicans, will be in the Stetson Room of the Carlton Union Building, 131 E. Minnesota Ave. The talk is free and open to the public.

"Nationally-known entertainer"? I still have no idea what Jones is known for.

Jones will speak on "Betrayal: Sold Out by the Civil Rights Movement" at ICS. The hypocrisy is the think tank has offered a caucasian-only scholarship.

“I don't know why it's such a big deal,” he said. “I support racially exclusive organizations. You have the right to associate with who you will and disassociate with who you will.”

Mr. Jones, the Ku Klux Klan is a racially exclusive organization. Do you support them? The civil rights movement fought against the racial exclusiveness of Jim Crow laws. The conservative movement fought to keep Jim Crow in place. William Buckley was one of them.

If that is true, the South will not hinder the Negro from voting--why should it, if the Negro vote, like the women's, merely swells the volume, but does not affect the ratio, of the vote? In some parts of the South, the White community merely intends to prevail on any issue on which there is corporate disagreement between Negro and White. The White community will take whatever measures are necessary to make certain that it has its way.

What are the issues? Is school integration one? The NAACP and others insist that the Negroes as a unit want integrated schools. Others disagree, contending that most Negroes approve the social sepaation of the races. What if the NAACP is correct, and the matter comes to a vote in a community in which Negroes predominate? The Negroes would, according to democratic processes, win the election; but that is the kind of situation the White community will not permit. The White community will not count the marginal Negro vote. The man who didn't count it will be hauled up before a jury, he will plead not guilty, and the jury, upon deliberation, will find him not guilty. A federal judge, in a similar situation, might find the defendant guilty, a judgment which would affirm the law and conform with the relevant political abstractions, but whose consequences might be violent and anarchistic.

No one who supports racial exclusiveness should be taken seriously on civil rights. Jones is not being invited to speak because conservatives want to bridge their differences with the Left on civil rights. They want a black man to reforce their beliefs. This makes conservatives feel better the next time the fearmonger on gays and immigration. Just like they did on the civil rights movement.

Quote of the Day

"Some say the property-tax relief plan unveiled Wednesday by the leadership of the Florida House of Representatives is a bad idea. That kind of response doesn't give it credit. It is a harmonic convergence of bad ideas."

Mark Lane

Today's Specials

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Friday Funnies at The Undeniable Liberal's place.

Yank in London is wondering about Alberto Gonzales.

The Hmong didn't hijack our country.

Subliminal Radio is Jammin' on The One.

Member of Republican Inner Circle is funding terrorists?

Depleted Uranium isn't going away.

The Newshog looks at the latest on Iraq plans

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Liz Campbell For District 3

Liz Campbell is running for the Florida House district 3 seat. She is a great story of how the netroots has donated thousands of dollars to help her fledgling campaign. Daily Kos has raised $4850.

Liz Campbell's grassroots campaign is catching fire. Thanks to your generous support, Liz has been able to run radio ads and send out mailers in the special election for State House District #3 and has closed the race to a virtual tie.

Party polling shows Campbell, a retired Navy Chief and community activist, down by only three points, 41-38, to her Republican opponent with a week to go (Election Day is Feb. 27). Campbell and her opponent - a career politician - have near identical name recognition in the district. Once viewed as nearly an impossible seat to win, this race will now come down to turnout.

Florida Democrats are now backing Campbell's campaign after seeing the netroots fundraising support. This is a chance to help Florida turn blue.

Contribute to Liz Campbell

Spot Which Is Conservative Punditry & RNC Talking Points

Have you ever noticed how the message on conservative websites is exactly the same as the Republican National Committee? Here is a pop quiz. Which quote came from the RNC and which from a pro-Republican website?

Quote 1

"Today the Democrats in the House of Representatives align themselves with al-Qaeda and all those who would seek to see America and democracy loose in Iraq."

Quote 2

"As we take on this new struggle, America faces a critical question: will we elect leaders who recognize we’re at war and want to use every tool to win it, or politicians who would surrender important tools we need to win."

Quote 3

"Now Feingold and other Democrats want to censure the President. Publicly reprimanding President Bush for pursuing suspected members of al Qaeda."

Quote 4

"Al Qaeda'a happiness at the election results was confirmed by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, in an audio tape released earlier today."

Quote 5

"Robert Caldwell pens an editorial labeling Democrats as the "Party of Defeat" after last Friday's non-binding resolution on the war in Iraq. Caldwell points out that after years of trying to paint themselves as being strong on national security, their true colors once again show through."

Quote 6

"John Howard knows who Al Qaeda will be rooting for in '08."


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Dumbest Promotion Idea

Checkers is running the insanely stupid Rapcat promotion. Checkers has take out bags that cats can wear. Anyone whom has owned a cat knows that kitty is going to go in a claw frenzy if forced to wear a takeout bag. It especially is not a good idea in the Tampa area.

Checkers is encouraging customers to dress up their cats with the bag, which is designed to look like a basketball jersey. But officials of Hillsborough County Animal Services warn that putting an unwilling cat into a "Rapcat" bag could be considered felony animal cruelty.

I have no idea how Checkers thinks bag clothing is going to sell more burgers. This is assinine beyond words.

Florida Outsourcing

Charlie Crist has appointed Alex Sink, Jim Zingale and Holly Benson to review Florida's outsourcing contracts.

Crist appointed Sink and three other state officials to the new "council on efficient government," which was created by the 2006 Legislature. The council's first task will be a review of three large and troubled "outsourcing" projects left by Gov. Jeb Bush — the "People First" privatization of personnel services with Convergys, the MyFloridaMarketplace purchasing contract with Accenture and the Project Aspire contract that was until recently handled by BearingPoint.

"The review will serve as a starting point for evaluating how to reap the most value from the system, whether privatization has merit — if it does, we should use it, if it doesn't, we should not," Crist said at a news conference with Sink.

Jeb Bush's own inspector general Bill Monroe has been unable to prove that outsourcing has saved the taxpayers money.

The outsourcing has also been filled with corruption. Accenture made the felon list that had to be scrapped because of incompetence. It is easy to see why they got the contract.

Before the 2002 election, Accenture gave $25,000 to Florida Republicans and none to Democrats, according to a Florida Division of Election records.

The review of the outsourcing is a good start. I applaud Crist and Sink for doing it.


The Real Mitt Romney

This is a video of Mitt Romney is a 1994 debate with Senator Ted Kennedy. Romney talks about how believes gays should have the right to join the Boy Scouts. Romney also voices support for Roe v. Wade. Romney sounds more like Paul Wellstone than the social conservative he is portraying himself to be these days.

:: Conspiracy & Complicity in the Bush Administration ::

Explicit cause to remove the entire Bush Administration from office (as if what has previously occurred isn't enough!):

Last week the National Security Archive in Washington posted the U. S. war plan—the set of briefing slides used by Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Tommy Franks to brief President Bush on “Polo Step,” CENTCOM’s Iraq invasion scheme. The PowerPoint slides were prepared for a series of presidential meetings held from December 2001 to August 2002. The slides summarized CENTCOM’s buildup and maneuver concepts for Bush’s deliberations. Bush backed Franks’ concept of “adjusting” Iraqi defenses by executing what amounted to a covert offensive air campaign. They would use forces already in the Persian Gulf region for the ostensible purpose of enforcing no-fly zones created after the first Gulf War. has previously covered this operation (“The War Before the War ,” June 24, 2005), but the new evidence establishes an explicit link between the aerial offensive and the Iraq war plans.

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The Modern Lovers

Modern Lovers

Here are a couple of underground rock nuggets most people have probably never heard. Both songs are from the Modern Lovers debut album.

Side note: Girls seriously dig Jonathan Richman. They treat him like he is Justin Timberlake. Go figure.

Pablo Picasso mp3

Girl Friend mp3

Easy Street

Easy Street is a documentary on the St Petersburg homeless. The movie will show at Studio at 620 on February 24th at 7:00 PM.

Documentary on St. Pete Homeless
This Saturday 7:00 PM at the studio at 620 at 620 1st Ave S.
Refreshments provided
Easy Street (Back by popular demand!)
Meet St. Petersburg's chronically homeless in this documentary film.
Date & Time: 02/24/07 @ 7:00 pm
Admission: $5

Watch the video

Hat tip to Bartlett Park.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Britain Announce Withdrawal Plan

Juan Cole puts Tony Blair's mission accomplished nonsense to rest.

This is a rout, there should be no mistake. The fractious Shiite militias and tribes of Iraq's South have made it impossible for the British to stay. They already left Sadr-controlled Maysan province, as well as sleepy Muthanna. They moved the British consulate to the airport because they couldn't protect it in Basra. They are taking mortar and rocket fire at their bases every night. Raiding militia HQs has not resulted in any permanent change in the situation. Basra is dominated by 4 paramilitaries, who are fighting turf wars with one another and with the Iraqi government over oil smuggling rights.

Blair is not leaving Basra because the British mission has been accomplished. He is leaving because he has concluded that it cannot be, and that if he tries any further it will completely sink the Labor Party, perhaps for decades to come.

I mentioned that fighting is still intense in Basra. Blair is pulling a Nixon. Declare victory and bug out.

"Do I think it was a good thing?" John McCain said of the British pullout. "No, I wish they would stay longer."

The Coalition of the Willing is getting smaller.

Help Us Help Ourselves

Feministe will be hosting Help Us Help Ourselves on March 1st. The idea was created by Lauren. She explains it here.

The goal is for bloggers to write helpful tips that make life easier. You can submit your entries at Feministe.

Here Comes the Sales Tax

So much for the discussion. Speaker Marco Rubio is opening pitching the idea of abolishing property taxes. They will be replaced by sales taxes.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Following through on their 100 Ideas efforts, House Speaker Marco Rubio, Chairman Ray Sansom, and other House leaders this morning unveiled a comprehensive property tax relief proposal designed to cut Floridians’ property tax bills by nearly 20 percent this year. In addition to reducing property tax bills by nearly one-fifth, the House leaders’ relief plan caps the rate of revenue growth for both state and local government at reasonable levels and gives voters the option of abolishing property taxes on homestead properties and replacing it with a modest increase in the sales tax.

Alex Sink pointed out the need for Florida to have an internet tax. Wayne Garcia touched on the internet tax issue. Several states are involved in the Streamlined Sales Tax Initiative. Their goal is to have Congress alter the Internet Tax Freedom Act. The law currently states it is "protecting electronic commerce from discriminatory State and local taxes."

Florida has to figure out something. The dying housing boom is creating less tax revenue. Florida needs to decrease property taxes to feed the endless growth problems. Florida then tries to lure more new residents for tax revenue. Which creates more growth problems.

The state needs sound growth management and a stable tax system. That isn't going to happen with conservative tax cutting ideology. That is what created the need for counties to raise property taxes. The state was underfunding counties during rapid growth.