Saturday, March 31, 2007

Game of Pricks

Game of Pricks is one of Robert Pollards' most personal songs. He wrote the song about the break up of his marriage. His rock n roll lifestyle was becoming too much for his wife. When she married him he was a school teacher. Guided By Voices was just a music project Pollard and his friends did on the side. Then Jim Deal and Thurston Moore heard GBV songs and started talking about them in the music press. The rest is history.

I've waited too long to have you
Hide in the back of me
I've cheated so long I wonder
How you keep track of me?

Guided By Voices - Game of Pricks mp3

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Can Hillary Clinton Win Florida?

Tally has an interesting post about what it would take for Hillary to win to White House. Tally points to a James Carville and Mark Penn op-ed on how Hillary can win the states John Kerry won. Keep in mind that Carville is a paid Clintonite. It also isn't that convincing. I hate to break it to Carville, but people believe that Hillay's support of any issue (the Iraq war, anti-flag burning and anti-video game violence) is strickly cynical.

What is more interesting is interview Carville did. He listed the Southern states he thinks Hillary could win.

Carville puts Arkansas, Florida, and Virginia in Tier 1, with Louisiana and Tennessee in Tier 2. That makes sense in terms of ranking, but I pressed him to pick the one state he thought Hillary was most likely to flip, if she were to win only one. He picked Florida. Though I'd agree with his ordinal rankings, I'm not sure she can win any of them. But yes, Florida is the most likely.

Tally points out that Hillary has to do well in the I-4 corridor. She doesn't stand a chance in the panhandle. This part of Tally's post bothers me.

But, if some good candidates (like Rod Smith) can be recruited, and the FDP and DCCC can coordinate the campaigns so that they’re effective, and Hillary can divert enough money to them to get the message out, then it’s possible some of the Republican congressmen can be defeated as well.

The top of the ballot is supposed to lift the other candidates. Not the other way around. It certainly is good to have strong candidates on the lower parts of the ballot. I would certainly love to see Rod Smith run again. But he isn't going to get Hillary into the White House.

It would be interesting to see how many women voters Hillary could get. That would certainly help her cause.

John Edwards would be a stronger candidate in Florida during the general election. He is the perfect Democratic candidate to run in the South. Barack Obama is hard to gauge since there has never been a candidate like him. He is certainly a better a better speaker and has less baggage than Hillary.

I need more polling data. I like to see how Hillary is doing with women and I-4 voters. Tally's post does break down what Hillary needs to win Florida. I'm still not completely convinced.

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Joe Redner's South Tampa Problem

This Tampa Tribune article points out how badly Joe Redner blew the Tampa City Council runoff.

Any chance Joe Redner had of winning Tuesday's runoff election depended on strong support from south Tampa.

It never came.

South Tampa precincts tended to favor Redner over incumbent Gwen Miller in the first election this month, when four other candidates were in the race. On Tuesday, according to a precinct analysis, a sizable number of voters who supported those other candidates backed Miller rather than Redner.

Redner had no GOTV campaign or election day presence of volunteers holding signs or driving enderly voters to the polls. When a candidate loses districts he should of won it's proof he is a disaster. The worse part is Redner plans on running again.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Alberto Gonzoles Watch

Kyle Sampson said that Alberto Gonzales was aware of the firings of U.S. Attorneys.

Asked by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, about Mr. Gonzales’s statements at a March 13 news conference that he had not participated in any discussions about the dismissals, Mr. Sampson replied, “I don’t think the attorney general’s statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate.”

Chuck Schumer got Sampson to admit that he discussed the firings with Gonzales "at least five."

The blame goes back on Gonzales and Harriet Miers.

"The decision-makers in this case were the attorney general and the counsel to the president," he said, in what may become the day's sound bite.

The White House needs to fire Gonzales before he testifies.

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Sara Taylor Resigns

Sara Taylor was involved in the email trail to help promote of Karl Rove aide Tim Griffin. Taylor is also a Rove aide. Kyle Sampson pointed the finger at her during his testimony.

"That e-mail was based on an assumption," Sampson answered. "I knew that Sara Taylor and Scott Jennings had expressed interest in promoting Mr. Griffin for appointment to be U.S. attorney, and I assumed, because they reported to Karl Rove, that he was interested in that."

Taylor resigned today. The official reason is Taylor has planned to leave for quite some time. That maybe true. The fact that a subpoena is looming isn't going to compell Bushie to ask her to stay.

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Responsible Economics

Mr. G is a horrible economic illiterate. He just recites Republican talking points over and over again. The Democratic House plan gives a $250,000 exception for a commercial property worth $1,000,000. They have made adjustments to the homestead exception.

Leaves $25,000 homestead exemption. Applies second exemption on the next $50,000 of value. Exemption would equal 50 percent of the median value of the assessed value of a single-family home in each county.

The Democrats also places caps on county spending. They have also put a sales tax on the table. (Which I don't like.)

Mr. G goes off further.

Democrats are missing a key component of the discussion; the fact that the property tax system is broken. Why? Because for whatever reason they are convinced that property taxes are the ultimate form of taxation. Look, I'm not totally sold on the sales tax idea, either. But it is better than a property tax scheme. Think we can do better? Fine, let's look at other options, but attempting to prolong the failing property tax schedule is not an option. Maybe it would be in states where property values are not an volatile as Florida, but property in our state is always going to be expensive and will continue to grow in value. Florida is awesome. People want to be here. People want a piece of the action. We need a tax structure that doesn't slam residents because we live in such a desirable state.

Democrats, it is time to let this one go, it's no good for you. I know you love property taxes. I know you've been together for a long time and it is a comfortable relationship.

No jackass. I don't love property taxes. I have been writing about how Jeb Bush has shifted the tax burden onto counties. Both Democrats and Republicans are looking for alternatives to property taxes for school spending. The amount Florida currently spends on schools in a national joke. The very rich inflate the value of their property (for possible resell) and pay less on property taxes.

My concern is that Florida's economy is built on growth. The value of property is going up. That will lead residents to move and new ones not come. Property taxes need to be dealt with. The state's growth will suffer if it doesn't. The postitive is public officials will have to figure out other ways to draw tax revenue besides new residents.

My complaint is schools, roads and first responders cost money. Mr. G just goes on his pro-tax cut spiel wihout thinking about the consequences. That is fiscally irresponsible. It is fair to ask how things will get paid for. Florida is required to meet the class size amendment. Building new classrooms cost money. Regardless of how one feel about taxes.

Personally, I don't understand why groceries have a sales tax, but a sky box in a sports arena doesn't.

People, Mr. G is the guy who wrote that Martin Anderson died of sickle cell trait. No one believes that. Except those who have a twisted ideology.

Taking the elimination of property taxes out of the Republicans' plan. Taxpayers save more with Democrats or the Governor's plan.

Update Mr. G responds to my post.

You claim that taxpayers save more under the democrat plan. Wrong.

The Tampa Tribune is a strongly conservative newspaper. (They endorsed Nixon twice.) They looked at the Governor's and Democrat's and Republican's House plans. People in the Tampa area will save more under the Democratic plan.

Hillsborough County

$512.6 million: 2006 tax collections (general revenue)

$408.2 million: Under House GOP plan

$450.9 million: Under House Democratic plan

$461.4 million: Under Crist plan

Plant City

$9.0 million: 2006 tax collections

$6.3 million: Under House GOP plan

$8.0 million: Under House Democratic plan

$8.2 million: Under Crist plan


$172.6 million: 2006 tax collections

$123.2 million: Under House GOP plan

$151.9 million: Under House Democratic plan

$161.9 million: Under Crist plan

Temple Terrace

$7.3 million: 2006 tax collections

$6.2 million: Under House GOP plan

$6.4 million: Under House Democratic plan

$6.6 million: Under Crist plan

Odessa (Unincorporated)

Market value: $161,211

Save Our Homes benefit: 4 years

Taxable value: $109,763

Paid taxes to: 12 authorities

2006 tax bill: $2,416

House GOP plan:

Tax bill: $2,088

You save: $328

House Democratic plan:

Tax bill: $669

You save: $1,747

Crist proposal:

Tax bill: $1,865

You save: $551

Plant City

Market value: $210,202

Save Our Homes benefit: 6 years

Taxable value: $112,925

Paid taxes to: 9 authorities

2006 tax bill: $2,319

House GOP plan:

Tax bill: $1,980

You save: $339

House Democratic plan:

Tax bill: $690

You save: $1,629

Crist proposal:

Tax bill: $1,806

You save: $513


Market value: $311,447

Save Our Homes benefit: 4 years

Taxable value: $139,217

Paid taxes to: 11 authorities

2006 tax bill: $3,263

House GOP plan:

Tax bill: $2,740

You save: $523

House Democratic plan:

Tax bill: $3,263

You save: $0

Crist proposal:

Tax bill: $2,426

You save: $836

Temple Terrace

Market value: $208,894

Save Our Homes benefit: 5 years

Taxable value: $110,661

2006 tax bill: $2,351

House GOP plan:

Tax bill: $2,065

You save: $286

House Democratic plan:

Tax bill: $676

You save: $1,675

Crist proposal:

Tax bill: $1,820

You save: $531


Mr. G points to a Sun Sentinel article that homeowners under Save Our Homes can have their property tax increased up to 6 percent. Considering how unpopular Save Our Home is this is politically a bad idea for the Senate Democrats. Senate Republicans seem to be open to the idea.

Another round of property tax protests should quickly nix that idea.


Harry T. Moore

I wrote a post about how Harry T. Moore built the NAACP and civil rights movement in Florida from literally nothing. Moore and his wife Harriet were killed in 1951 when their house was bombed on the day of their 25th wedding anniversary and Christmas. the state of Florida bestowed a Great Floridian award to Moore. His daughter Evangeline received the award for her late father.

It's sad that it took 56 years after Moore's death for the state to recognize what many others already knew. Moore was a great Floridian.

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Write A Caption: John McCain

McCain Myspace Prank

More information on the image here.

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Monica Goodling Update

Monica Goodling is a graduate of Regent University. The school was founded by Pat Robertson. The school has close ties to the Bush administration. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft serves as a "Distinguished Professor of Law and Government." 150 graduates of Regent University currently serve in the current administration.

The Washington Post has a profile of Goodling.

Part of a generation of young religious conservatives who swept into the federal government after the election of President Bush in 2000, Goodling displayed unblinking devotion to the administration and expected others to do the same. When she started at Justice, "no job was too small for her," and as she moved rapidly up the ranks, none "was too large," Corallo said.

"She was the embodiment of a hardworking young conservative who believed strongly in the president and his mission," said David Ayres, former chief of staff to Bush's first attorney general, John D. Ashcroft.

This week, Goodling, 33, became the most prominent federal official to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before Congress since Lt. Col. Oliver L. North refused to answer questions -- until he received immunity -- during the 1986 Iran-contra hearings.

Goodling, now on an indefinite leave, most recently served as senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and as Justice's liaison to the White House. Her name appears on several e-mails about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are eager to ask her about those dismissals.

It is unheard of for a Justice Department official to refuse to testify to Congress. In fact, it is against their guide lines. The only reason Goodling is still on pay roll is because she is a loyal Bushie.

Goodling's lawyer John Dowd is using the Lewis "Scooter" Libby conviction as the reason Goodling took the fifth. I'm sure Dowd is not trying to suggest his client was involved in political payback to hurt someone's career. That is what both Libby and Goodling have that in common.

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Florida District 16 Candidates

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post ranks Florida's District 16 as one of the most vulnerable for Democrats. Tim Mahoney currently holds the Congressional seat. Possible candidates running against him are Gail Harrell, Palm Beach City council member Hal Valeche and Tom Rooney. The first two inspire little excitement. The third is the wild card.

Rooney is the grandson of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. He has served as President of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. The problem is he has zero name recognition. His name was floated as an opponent for Katherine Harris in the Republican Senate primary. The numbers were ugly.

If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
Katherine Harris 37%
Tommy Franks 30%
Mark Foley 5%
Allan Bense 4%
Tom Lee 4%
Ginny Brown-Waite 3%
Dave Weldon 3%
Daniel Webster 1%
Tom Rooney 1%
Undecided 12%

Republicans will certainly raise tons of cash for district 16. They already started a web site called "The Real Democrat Story." Notice the spelling?

Republicans are using the internet to create a spam chain letter.

The NRCC Web site claims that each of the targeted Democrats have amassed voting records “identical to San Francisco Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” the California Democrat who holds strongly liberal views in her own right. The site has examples of how members voted on key issues such as energy, jobs and health care.

The NRCC’s strategy is to use “viral” marketing, employing existing networks to spread information, to reach one million Republican and Democratic e-mail recipients, each of whom would be encouraged to forward the message to five friends.

Mahoney is fighting back.

According to a story in Thursday's Washington post, staffers at the General Services Administration participated in a Jan. 26 videoconference in which J. Scott Jennings, White House deputy director of political affairs, who works for Rove, briefed political appointees about plans to target 20 congressional Democrats in 2008.

"Recent e-mails prove that he was conducting an illegal campaigning scheme designed to influence federal bureaucrats in the workplace," Mahoney wrote in his fundraising pitch. "He has been making the rounds to these federal buildings in a crusade against the GOP's top targeted democrats for the 2008 cycle, like me!"

Contribute to Tim Mahoney.

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AutoAdmit Hits Me

I officially got on the bad side of AutoAdmit. They linked to my post Internet Stalking Is Real."

AutoAdmit poster Great Teacher Onizuka writes:

Wow. I know it's hard for outsiders to "get" xo humor, but how can anyone interpret that Chinesedude post as online stalking? Even if you're not familiar with the schtick it seems clear that he's making fun of the OP by calling him a loser too chickenshit to talk to girls like Jill in real life.

I wrote this post about Jill Filipovic's problems with the message board. She wrote about her bad experiences with the site at Feministe. I did some research and found this comment made by AutoAdmit user Chinesedude.

Wants to learn about girl, but is social outcast, so have to stalk her on internet.

I read that comment and found it creepy. I didn't see Jill mention this in any of her posts. I thought the comment was worth mentioning in a blog post. I ran it by her to see if it was okay. She said yes and now the AutoAdmit kiddies are bothered that I'm calling them on it. It must be a bitch having their own words quoted back to them.

Chris Clarke wrote about how the AutoAdmit members would put Jill's class schedule on the message board.

Jill Filopovic‘s name and class routines etc have been regularly posted to this board, and at least one of the pseudonymous board-members claims to be Jill Filipovic‘s classmate. Photos that Jill Filipovic posted (with full rights reserved) to an internet photo-storing and sharing site have also been posted to the sleazy discussion board without her permission. This is a horrendous invasion of Jill Filipovic‘s privacy, a violation of copyright law, and calls the ethics and character of the alleged law-students participating in these discussions on the discussion board into question.

That sounds like stalking to me.

Update: Anthony Ciolli of the AutoAdmit board showed me examples of Chinesedude making bizarre statements. I thought I post a part of his email

I saw your follow-up post about Chinesedude's post on AutoAdmit, and I
just want to clarify the matter further privately. As you might know,
on AutoAdmit people commonly create fake characters, usually for humor
purposes. "Chinesedude" was one of those fake characters, and his
shtick was to make fun of AutoAdmit posters for being losers who are all
brave and cocky and cool on the internet but are too cowardly and scared
to ever do any of those things in real life. Here are some examples of
his humor:

It's pretty clear that he's not saying that he wants to stalk Jill on
the internet, but that he's making fun of the guy who started the thread
by calling him a social outcast who is too scared to talk to Jill in
person and thus has to stalk her on the internet. In other words,
Chinesedude is completely *agreeing* with your position -- that stalking
Jill online is wrong, that the people who do stalk people like Jill
online are losers, etc. Maybe it's wrong to assume that someone who
isn't familiar with the site or the Chinesedude would get this, but if
you read the thread in the context of the Chinesedude shtick you'll see
that it's just absolutely ridiculous to think that Chinesedude is some
stalker. I agree with you on a lot of things, but it does everyone a
disservice to mischaracterize a post like you did on your blog (for one
thing, it immediately detracts from all the legitimate points you make).

That is part of the problem. Someone makes a cheeky statement and someone reads it the wrong way. I did talk with Jill about Chinesedude's comment and she is understandably less than thrilled. The problem with the internet is posts and comments can be interpreted in many different ways without knowing the true intent of the writer.

This is a different issue than people trying to find out Jill's class schedule online. That certainly is stalking.

AutoAdmit would probably be better off staying away from posts about female law students. Considering the recent controversy.

Update: here is something about Ciolli's politics.

Turns out Mr. Ciolli's delusions extend to the realm of politics. As a Penn law student pointed out to me, Mr. Ciolli is also "very dissappointed with Bush" since "he is FAR too left wing for my tastes." Wow! This may also explain why Mr. Ciolli thinks hosting a forum for racism, anti-semitism, and threats of rape and sexual assault is in good taste.


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Thursday, March 29, 2007

:: Mark your Calendars, but keep it secret! Loose lips and all that rot... ::

Hint: Leaving Iraq March 2008 (or, now and between the end of time...)

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McCain Planned to Join Democratic Party in 2001

The Hill breaks the story that John McCain was planning to leave the Republican Party in 2001. Reporter Bob Cusack got Tom Daschle and lobbyist Tom Downey on-record about meetings McCain had with Democrats to plan his departure from the GOP. McCain was sour about losing to Bush and the direction his party was going in.

Democrats didn't approach McCain. His chief political strategist John Weaver did; as a go-between man.

At the end of their March 31, 2001 lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Bethesda, Md., Downey said Weaver asked why Democrats hadn’t asked McCain to switch parties.

Downey, a well-connected lobbyist, said he was stunned.

“You’re really wondering?” Downey said he told Weaver. “What do you mean you’re wondering?”

“Well, if the right people asked him,” Weaver said, according to Downey, adding that he responded, “The calls will be made. Who do you want?” Weaver this week said he did have lunch with Downey that spring, pointing out that he and Downey “are very good friends.”

Downey then called Daschle.

“Within seconds” of arriving home from his lunch with Weaver, Downey said he was on the phone to the most powerful Democrats in town. One of the first calls he made was to then-Senate Minority Leader Daschle.

“I did take the call from Tom [Downey],” Daschle said in an interview. “It was Weaver’s comment” to Downey that started the McCain talks, he added.

Weaver caved and admitted that McCain talked to Democrats about joining the party. Weaver points out that McCain quickly rebuffed the offers. That differs from Daschle's story.

"Both Sen. Reid and I talked to [McCain] both individually and together," said Daschle.

John Edwards talked to McCain about joining the Democrats. An aide on the Edwards' campaign confirmed the story.

Michael Crowley of the New Republic said a source confirmed McCain's intention to defect is true. What's hysterical is the reason he changed his mind was Jim Jeffords left the GOP first and McCain knew his defection wouldn't make as big a news splash. What an ego.

McCain is fucked if this story gains traction. I'm not talking about the nomination. He never had a chance. He will have a hard enough time staying in politics. Retirement is looking good.

Update: Count on Power Line to find the silver lining in a damaging story about a Republican.

My guess is that after the 2000 election, McCain was understandably at odds with President Bush; like most Senators, he has friends on the other side of the aisle and probably did grumble to them about the Bush administration. In early 2001, the Democrats were desperate to convince a Republican to change parties, and McCain, as the loser to Bush in the 2000 primaries, was a natural choice.

With hindsight, the thought of McCain in the Democratic Party is ludicrous. Imagine a pro-life Joe Lieberman, and you're still only part way there. Given the way the Democrats have abandoned the war effort both in Iraq and globally, whatever grievances McCain has had against the Bush administration over the years are relatiely insignificant.

Will these reports hurt McCain with the Republican party's base? Probably not much. The base already doesn't consider him a very loyal Republican; that's the price you pay if you want the media to praise you as a "maverick." But the marginal impact of this story is no doubt small.

Democrats went after Lincoln Chafee and Jeffords. McCain's aide came to them. Ed Morrissey is skeptical about the story's validity, but adds:

If true, this would effectively end McCain's presidential bid. He already has trust issues with Republicans, and this will do nothing but cause them to reject him entirely. However, the people who sourced this story have plenty of motivation to derail McCain, including Edwards, who thinks he may run against McCain in the general election. The principals tell completely conflicting stories, and the nature of the issue almost ensures that no independent proof one way or the other could exist. I'm betting this is nonsense.

UPDATE: Allahpundit puts more credence in it than I do, making the good point that if it were just a smear, they would have waited until the general election to use it. However, the same would be true if the story is on the level. Why talk about this now in either case? It almost seems like someone couldn't wait to spill the beans -- and that does give some weight to the story.

Allahpundit correctly points out Romney's and Giuliani's people are going to work the phones and use this against McCain. The sooner the Maverick is out the faster they can grab his fundraisers and campaign staffers. How Power Line thinks this story won't have much of an impact on McCain is beyond me.

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MC Rove

Someone explain to me how this isn't worse when Stephen Colbert played the White House Correspondents Association dinner? Bush embarrassed himself before by joking how he couldn't find weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office. This angered the family of a fallen U.S. military serviceman. Ivan Medina. He served in Iraq and his twin brother was killed by a roadside bomb.

President Bush chose to, what he has done is just taken a bad situation and made it worse. He has lied about the weapons of mass destruction, and to cover up his tracks he is trying to make jokes about it. It's a disgrace to any soldier, and it's definitely a disgrace to any family member that lost a loved one out there, because he's making fun of something that he supposedly decided to go to war to, and he can't even back up now his own story, so now he's trying to make fun of it, saying oh, maybe it's the best way. And It's wrong.

Wayne Garcia remarks, "Saw the video on Today this morning; how embarrassing for David Gregory."

RJ Eskow is disheartened by Bush and Rove making fun of the White House's criminal activities.

The internet and blogosphere makes people pay more attention to the dinner. I remember even political junkies not giving a shit about the WCAD during the Clinton years. People certainly paid attention to what Clinton was doing. The Bushies have no tact. The only know how to sledgehammer opponents to death. It's hard for them for reptilians to be likable.

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Crooked Talk Express Backtracks

The Crooked Talk Express made a stop on John Roberts's show to deny that he ever said, "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee."

"Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that."

That's some straight talk.

Here is the transcript.

CNN’S JOHN ROBERTS: I wanted to talk to you about the situation in Iraq. Yesterday in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. I want to play this back for you. You had this to say about the situation there.

[McCAIN CLIP]: General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.

ROBERTS: Senator, did you mean to say that, that General Petraeus goes out every day in an unarmed humvee?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I mean that there are neighborhoods safe in Iraq and he does go out into Baghdad and the fact is there has been significant progress and people are stuck in a time warp of three months ago. Of course, it’s still dangerous. Of course it’s still very dangerous. We only have two of the five brigades there and we are already seeing significant progress.

ROBERTS: Because I checked with General Petraeus’s people overnight and they said he never goes out in anything less than an up-armored humvee. You also told Bill Bennett on his radio program on Monday. You said there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhood today yet retired General Barry McCaffrey said no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat reporter could walk the streets of Baghdad without heavily armed protection. We’ve got two different stories here. Who’s right?

McCAIN: Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that.

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It's About Freaking Time

Florida State Senator Tony Hill and Rep. Ed Homan have launched a contest to create a new state song. The current song Swanee River was created for a minstrel show. The performance was of a white man in black face. The song is about a slave wishing he was still working on the plantation.

Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.

All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, *how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!

Democrats hate the song and Republicans rather not talk about it. Naturally, Dennis Baxley wants to keep this the state song.

The Buzz reports Just Sing, Florida will start taking entries sometime in May.

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Kathy Castor On Walter Reed

Kathy Castor talks about the difficulty of finding out the medical status of Corey McGee. Castor was seving on the Hillsborogh County Commission. McGee's family and Castor knew he was in Walter Reed.

Castor said she and McGee’s family had a hard time trying to get a status report on McGee or even track him down. Castor, who wasn’t in Congress at the time, said she enlisted help from election officials, but found the bureaucracy incredibly difficult to navigate.

Castor’s speech came during the debate today on the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007, which is supposed to address many of the deficiencies uncovered by a Washington Post investigation earlier this year.
She said the legislation is critical to “erase the moral stain on our nation’s conscience.”

"Supporting our troops does not mean that you simply salute as you send them off to war, ask them to serve and sacrifice for our great country," said Castor. "But it also means that they are supported when they come home."

In related news: the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act passed 426-0. The White House said the bill was premature and Congress should wait for the task force findings on Walter Reed. It is amazing how the White House fights Congress on stupid stuff and keep controversies on the front page.

One of the best parts of the bill is for each wounded U.S. military personal to have independent medical advocate.

(a) Assignment of Independent Medical Advocate- Section 1222 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(d) Independent Medical Advocate for Members Before Medical Evaluation Boards- (1) The Secretary of each military department shall ensure, in the case of any member of the armed forces being considered by a medical evaluation board under that Secretary's supervision, that the member has access to a physician or other appropriate health care professional who is independent of the medical evaluation board.

`(2) The physician or other health care professional assigned to a member shall--

`(A) serve as an advocate for the best interests of the member; and

`(B) provide the member with advice and counsel regarding the medical condition of the member and the findings and recommendations of the medical evaluation board.'.

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:: Contracting for services ::

So, the whole idea of privatizing government services appears to have some serious holes in it.  Here's my idea:  Don't privatize those services.

Yesterday's notice, signed by Ingrid A.C.Kolb, the department's director of management, said Energy spent $1.07 billion in fiscal 2006 to reimburse 46 contractors for their employee pension and medical benefits. The reimbursement represented a 226 percent increase since fiscal 2000, the notice said.

The reimbursement covered benefits for about 100,000 contract workers and 100,000 retirees, dependents and beneficiaries, the department said. The benefit programs included 45 defined-benefit pension plans, 37 defined contribution plans, 23 life insurance plans, and about 260 medical benefit plans.

The department, which had a $23.6 billion budget in fiscal 2006, relies on the 46 contractors to manage and operate nuclear weapons plants, science labs and other facilities. Under the contracts, the companies may pass to the government the costs of pension, health, vacation and other employee benefits.


On average, the department said in the notice, pension benefits received by contract employees are higher than those provided federal and private-sector workers. Energy contract employees also pay less, on average, for their health-care benefits, compared with federal and private-sector workers, the department said.

Energy officials said they are seeking comments and recommendations from the public and interested parties on how to address the increasing benefit costs of the contract workforce. Comments may be sent by e-mail to The deadline is May 11.

The point being, benefits and pension are a part of salary and as a contractor, billed to the client. Example: Base Salary x profit factor x benefit factor x overhead factor = billed employee rate. See the difference from what is described above? Vast.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Off To Neverland

John McCain's recent performance on the Situation Room is so utterly divorced from reality. He is uttering nonsense to Wolf Blitzer that is simply not true. He actually expects the American people to believe that parts of Baghdad are safe enough for General Petraeus to travel in an unarmed Humvee.

BLITZER: If the situation a year from now, senator, is what it is basically today, what will that say to you?

MCCAIN: Well, it won't be. It won't be. It'll be either better or worse.

BLITZER: Well, what if it's worse?

MCCAIN: No military -- no military person...

BLITZER: What if it's worse?

MCCAIN: Then obviously we're going to have to examine a set of bad options. But I am confident it won't be. I am confident hell won't freeze over. I am confident we can succeed if we stay with this -- with this strategy. And if I'm wrong, we've got a lot more problems than anything that it does to my political reputation.

BLITZER: Here's what you told Bill Bennett on his radio show on Monday.


BLITZER: "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today."


BLITZER: "The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq."

You know, everything we hear, that if you leave the so-called green zone, the international zone, and you go outside of that secure area, relatively speaking, you're in trouble if you're an American.

MCCAIN: You know, that's why you ought to catch up on things, Wolf.

General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee. You want to -- I think you ought to catch up. You see, you are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don't get it through the filter of some of the media.

But I know for a fact of much of the success we're experiencing, including the ability of Americans in many parts -- not all. We've got a long, long way to go. We've only got two of the five brigades there -- to go into some neighborhoods in Baghdad in a secure fashion.

Hilarity ensues when Wolf Blitzer repeatly asks CNN Iraq correspondent Michael Ware if McCain's statements are true. Ware tells Blitzer he might have trouble hearing him because of the gun battle behind him.

BLITZER: Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, speaking here in THE SITUATION ROOM within the past hour.

Let's go live to Baghdad right now.

CNN's Michael Ware is standing by -- Michael, you've been there, what, for four years. You're walking around Baghdad on a daily basis.

Has there been this improvement that Senator McCain is speaking about?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'd certainly like to bring Senator McCain up to speed, if he ever gives me the opportunity. And if I have any difficulty hearing you right now, Wolf, that's because of the helicopter circling overhead and the gun battle that is blazing just a few blocks down the road.

Is Baghdad any safer?

Sectarian violence -- one particular type of violence -- is down. But none of the American generals here on the ground have anything like Senator McCain's confidence.

I mean, Senator McCain's credibility now on Iraq, which has been so solid to this point, has now been left out hanging to dry.

To suggest that there's any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I'd love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll.

And to think that General David Petraeus travels this city in an unarmed Humvee. I mean in the hour since Senator McCain has said this, I've spoken to some military sources and there was laughter down the line. I mean, certainly, the general travels in a Humvee. There's multiple Humvees around it, heavily armed. There's attack helicopters, predator drones, sniper teams, all sorts of layers of protection.

So, no, Senator McCain is way off base on this one -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael, stand by.

There's a development on the floor of the Senate that we want to go

Blitzer goes back to Ware.

BLITZER: We're going to stay on top of the ramifications of this.

But I want to go back to Baghdad right now. CNN's Michael Ware is on the scene for us, as he has been for the past four years.

Michael, when Senator McCain says that there are at least some areas of Baghdad where people can walk around and -- whether it's General Petraeus, the U.S. military commander, or others, are there at least some areas where you could emerge outside of the Green Zone, the international zone, where people can go out, go to a coffee shop, go to a restaurant, and simply take a stroll?

WARE: I can answer this very quickly, Wolf. No. No way on earth can a westerner, particularly an American, stroll any street of this capital of more than five million people.

I mean, if al Qaeda doesn't get wind of you, or if one of the Sunni insurgent groups don't descend upon you, or if someone doesn't tip off a Shia militia, then the nearest criminal gang is just going to see dollar signs and scoop you up. Honestly, Wolf, you'd barely last 20 minutes out there.

I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.

I don't know who is more hysterical? Does Blitzer know of any journalists in Baghdad that go out for coffee. Wolf must think Starbucks has set up shop in Iraq.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars for the video.

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Joel Award Winner of the Week

We announce the first Joel Award winner. The award is given to a person making dishonest flip-flopping statements. The winner this week is Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman on Mar 27, 2007.

"It is clear that for the first time in a long time, there is reason for cautious optimism about Iraq."

Is Lieberman saying he wasn't optimistic those other times he made statements about Iraq? He was telling us the summer of last year things were going great.

July 6, 2006

I am confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year we will being to draw down significant numbers of American troops and by the end of next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home.

Lieberman was for withdrawing troops before he was against it.

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Quote of the Day

"We say in the book about Karl Rove, who I respect and enjoy . . . I enjoy his company . . . Maybe he did the things he's accused of, but to have this guy's image portrayed and defined by things that are accusations that are unproven, we say in the book is really outrageous."

ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin to Hugh Hewitt.

Curse you, liberal media!

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For the Record

It appears Stogie has started the blog Little Havana Stogie. For some reason I am listed as a contributor. I have no involvement with the web site.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gonzales Has No Supporters

It's really bad when the Prince of Darkness states that Republicans aren't going to fight to save Alberto Gonzales. Robert Novak quotes an anonymous Republican.

"Gonzales never has developed a base of support for himself up here," a House Republican leader told me. But this is less a Gonzales problem than a Bush problem. With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.

It's always good to take Novak with a grain of salt. It's still is disturbing to read a conservative columnist say Gonzales is more hated by Congressional Republicans than Donald Rumsfeld. The op-ed notes that Republicans are finally realizing that Bush always asks them to make political sacrifices, but will never go to the mat for them. Only took them six years to figure that out.

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Chicago Police Brutality

Prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge against Anthony Abbate. The Chicago police officer was caught caught on videotape assaulting bartender Karolina Obrycka. Abbate still faces a felony charge.

"We reviewed it (and) we think this crime was a felony," said John Gorman, spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.

If convicted, Abbate faces up to five years in prison, Gorman said.

Reports indicate that law enforcement and the state attorney's office are looking into if Abbate and another man attempted to bride and intimidate Obrycka and the owner of Jesse's Shortstop Inn Tavern; so they would not report the crime. It appears Abbate is strongly supported by the Chicago Police Department.

Cline said that he has ordered an investigation into allegations that officers helped Abbate enter and leave the court building Tuesday so he didn't have to face the media outside.

Cline said he was moving to demote the watch commander that allowed police officers to block the public's access to an area Abbate used to leave the court house without being viewed by the media.

There is an internet story that Abbate was not the only CPD officer in Jesse's Shortstop Inn Tavern. If true, then why didn't the other officers come to the aid of Obrycka. This story is reeking of police corruption. Is it any wonder that Obrycka is afraid of the police.

"She has literally nightmares about what happened and she's very afraid of the police," he said. "She's fearful of the police and she's fearful of this guy coming back to her house."

The CPD needs to be torn up from top to bottom.

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Ann Althouse's Meltdown On BloggerheadsTV

Ann Althouse feels she is viciously attacked over crudely remarking on Jessica Valenti's breasts and comparing her to Monica Lewinsky. She goes off on Garance Franke-Ruta on BloggingheadsTV.

Franke-Ruta: I’m not really aware of anything until this whole Jessica Valenti breast controversy, um ... so, I know that there was some grudges and hostility that came out of that ...

Althouse: Well, um ...

Franke-Ruta: I mean, that's the blogosphere. It's a tough place. Apparently, it's an extremely tough place. You know, one of the best things I --

Althouse: I'm not complaining about the fact that I have to be tough and fight back, because I will, I will stand my ground, I don't accept your -- [crosstalk] -- wait a minute, wait a minute [pointing] -- I don't accept your saying the Jessica Valenti breast controversy. I consider that an insult. -- You know, I'm on the verge of hanging up with you for bringing it up that way.

Here is what Althouse wrote about Jessica.

I wanted to elevate a discussion from the comments section of a post from Wednesday, you know the one with the photo of the Daou-wrangled bloggers posing in front of Bill Clinton? The first commenter, Goesh, picks up on my prompt -- "Let's just array these bloggers... randomly" -- and wisecracks: "Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?"

Althouse has a bizzare idea of elevating a discussion. Titling a post "Let's Take a Closer Look at Those Breasts" certainly is not aiming for a civil discussion.

Let's not forget how she went after women that have been harrassed on AutoAdmit.

Too beautiful to appear in public? Too hot to be hired? Come on! What rational employer would deny you a job because idiots chatted about you on line in a way that made if obvious that the only thing you did was look good?

One of those people that have been harrassed on the site is Jill of Feministe. Althouse has a serious hatred for attractive women. Then she hates being called on it. Somehow we should feel sorry for her for picking online fights and then crying wolf. Sorry Ann, but you make a shrill martyr.

Shakes and Ezra Klein have more.

Jessica Valenti responds:

Yeah, her character was assassinated. Excuse me while I cry a fucking river.

I couldn't have said it better.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

Update: Ann Althouse writes about her BloggingheadsTV performance.

ANOTHER UPDATE: So a huge swarm of lefty bloggers in unison declared me to be an absolute witch for getting angry for one minute when Garance -- the woman who began the dialogue by owning up to the technique of "seeming like you don't know what you're doing" -- sprung a touchy old subject on me. What does it all mean? I think either: 1. ordinary human emotion frightens bloggers out of their wits or 2. the lefty bloggers are demonstrating my point that they are vicious and nasty. Of course, I think it's #2. I really find it too hard to believe that they are so numb or robotic that anger seems bizarre and insane. I could be wrong, but I think that's terribly sad. Or are you thinking: Ooh! Sadness! How crazy! No, no, you guys are just boring politicos -- still ready to do anything to defend your man Bill Clinton and to say whatever you must to deny that he set feminism at least 20 years.

I don't feel the need to protect Bill Clinton. He is a married man. He engaged in a sexual relationship with someone that wasn't his wife. He lied under oath about it and was went through an inpeachment trial in the Senate.

What is wrong was Althouse making a cheap shot about another female blogger's breasts. If she was a man she would be accused of making a sexist statement.

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Tampa City Council Runoff Results

All the precincts have been counted in the dictricts 1 and 7 Tampa City Council races. It's bad news for Joe Redner.

District 1

Gwen Miller - 56.47 percent
Joe Redner - 43.53 percent

District 7

Joseph Caetano - 59.54 percent
Frank Margarella - 40.46 percent

Okay gang. Question for the comments. Did you want to see Redner win or are you glad that he is not going to serve on City Council. It seems like he blew his momentum by offering people free admission to Mons Venus if they voted.

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Democratic Candidates On Health Care

American Progress has posted a video of democratic presidential candidates discussing the need for universal health care.

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Alberto VO-5

Image Hosted by

"The Boy In The Bubble"!
It was a slow day
and the sun was beating
on the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
a shattering of shop windows
The Bomb in the baby carriage
was wired to the radio...

Staccato signals of constant information
A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires...

I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard
Bonedigger Bonedigger...

If You be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Condi
And Condi when you call me
You can call me Al!

Diamonds on the soles of Ken Lay's Shoes,baby...

I saw a Werewolf drinking KoolAid at Trader Dick's...his hair was PERFECT!

Once upon a time, Watergate was a conspiracy theory...

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Monday, March 26, 2007

:: loose nukes & true patriots ::

This is so on target, it's hard to believe it's set up as comedic satire...damned sad, but nonetheless true.

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Alberto Flip Flops

Norman Horowitz runs down the contradictory quotes made by Alberto Gonzales.


CIA and NYPD Spying On Protest Groups

Lindsay Beyerstein informs us that the NYPD Billionaires For Bush and the Men (and Women) in Black Bloc during the Republican National Convention. What a waste of taxpayers money.

“Activists are showing a well-organized network made up of anti-Bush sentiment; the mixing of music and political rhetoric indicates sophisticated organizing skills with a specific agenda,” said the report, dated Oct. 9, 2003. “Police departments in above listed areas have been contacted regarding this event.”


Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represents seven of the 1,806 people arrested during the convention, said the Police Department stepped beyond the law in its covert surveillance program.

“The police have no authority to spy on lawful political activity, and this wide-ranging N.Y.P.D. program was wrong and illegal,” Mr. Dunn said. “In the coming weeks, the city will be required to disclose to us many more details about its preconvention surveillance of groups and activists, and many will be shocked by the breadth of the Police Department’s political surveillance operation.”

What is more troubling is the CIA worked with the NYPD to collect intelligence on protest groups. This reeks of the Hoover FBI days of government intrusiveness.

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Documentary on Yunis Khatayer Abbas

Director Michael Tucker made the superb documentary Gunner Palace. He is made another movie about Iraq. This time dealing with the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

Yunis Khatayer Abbas was a freelance journalist and cameraman when the war broke out. He was detained by U.S. soldiers because he believed to be a part plan to assassinate British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In one scene, the Iraqi recalled laughing when eventually being told by American interrogators he was being held captive over suspicions he plotted to attack Blair.

"What he was charged with was so absurd," said Tucker, who uses footage of Abbas being captured by soldiers after he accompanied them on the raid. "It just shows how poorly the intelligence system works."

Abu Ghraib guard said the conditions didn't get better after the infamous photos became public.

"It was like no matter what happened there as long as we didn't stack people and make pyramids (of them) we were doing a great job," said Thompson, who returned from Iraq to Ohio two years ago and went back to civilian life.

All that mattered was how Abu Ghraib was preceived. It was never a matter of making the standards meet Geneva Conventions' codes.

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Monica Goodling Takes Fifth

Alberto Gonzales senior council Monica Goodling will not testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is invoking the fifth amendment.

"I have decided to follow my lawyer's advice and respectfully invoke my constitutional right, because the above-described circumstances present a perilous environment in which to testify," Goodling says.

Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) called the Attorney General's office, for the third time, to complain about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Kyle Sampson, William Moschella and Monica Goodling talked with Domenici about Iglesias.

Goodling has enlisted the legal services of John M. Dowd and Jeffery M. King of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. King has defended clients using the fifth amendment defense. They issued a press release.

We represent Ms. Monica Goodling, Council to the Attorney General and White House Liaison. We were advised today by council to the Committee on the Judiciary that the Committee seeks Ms. Goodling's testimony with respect to the Committee's inquiry into the firings of United States Attorneys.

Please be advised that Ms. Goodling will, opon our advise, assert her fifth amendment privilege as to any and all questions related to that subject matter...

Patrick Leahy responds to Goodling taking the fifth.

“It is disappointing that Ms. Goodling has decided to withhold her important testimony from the Committee as it pursues its investigation into this matter, but everybody has the constitutional right not to incriminate themselves with regard to criminal conduct.

“The American people are left to wonder what conduct is at the base of Ms. Goodling’s concern that she may incriminate herself in connection with criminal charges if she appears before the Committee under oath.“

The administration is blaming Goodling for not properly informing Gonzales of the U.S. Attorney purge. The latest document dump proves Gonzales was aware of the firings.

The hour-long November meeting in the attorney general's conference room included Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty and four other senior Justice officials, including the Gonzales aide who coordinated the firings, then-Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson, records show.

Documents detailing the previously undisclosed meeting appear to conflict with remarks by Gonzales at a March 13 news conference in which he portrayed himself as a CEO who had delegated to Sampson responsibility for the particulars of firing eight U.S. attorneys.

The White House would have been better just releasing all the document in the beginning and getting the story off the front page. Instead they gave the finger to Congress and chose to get caught putting false statements in the media. Wiretapping and Abu Ghraib were far more serious offenses. The White House decided to fight Congress over U.S. Attorneys that the President has the right to fire at any time. The purging reeks of corruption and intimidating U.S. Attorneys to take cases for partisan reasons. This was still a story they could have gotten off the front page if their political instincts weren't Nixonian.

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Charlie Crist Hearts Jim Norman

This has to be the first time I can remember anyone telling Jim Norman he has a good idea. We should mark this day. It's going to be a long time before a another prominent public figure admits he likes a Norman plan.

Governor Charlie Crist praised Jim Norman's spending cap initiative at the Florida State Fair Governor's Day Luncheon.

"Jim, God bless you for capping the taxes in Hillsborough County," Crist said, thanking him for his leadership.

He said afterward that he thinks the spending cap commissioners imposed on themselves last week at Norman's urging complements his proposals, which would reduce revenue to governments around the state.

"I think they go together," Crist said.

Kenneth Quinnell hates Norman's initiative. Ideologically, I don't have a problem with the concept in theory. I'm a lefty who wants to see government more fiscally responsible. Norman is a county commissioner that used a budget surplus to build an unneeded $40 million sports park. He is hardly a fiscal conservative.

Caps on spending means limiting growth. Ruskin residents were against the zoning of 360 waterfront homes. Norman approved the plan. He also received $6,000 of campaign contributions from the developers. Norman does not have the discipline to properly handle the people's money. Regardless of whether there is spending caps.

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SB 1458

Arthenia Joyner is pushing SB 1458. The bill would make attacks on the homeless a hate crime.

An act relating to assault or battery on homeless persons; amending s. 775.085, F.S.; reclassifying offenses evidencing prejudice based on the homeless status of the victim; providing a definition; creating s. 784.0815, F.S.; providing a definition; providing a minimum sentence and other penalties for a person convicted of an aggravated assault or aggravated battery upon a homeless person; providing an effective date.

I'm skeptical the bill will go very far in the conseevative Senate. Republicans shy away from hate crime legislation. Which is amusing. Considering they make Draconian laws for nonviolent offenses.

The real reason Republicans don't support hate crime legislation is it goes counter to their Southern strategy. The GOP base is strongly xenophobic. Republicans are against gay marriage and affirmative action because it keeps their base happy. The problem is xenaphobia doesn't have the punch it once did. Immigration was an issue that siphoned voters away from Republicans during the midterms.

The bill would require proof that prejudice was the cause of the assault against a homeless person. Physically beating another person is still a crime. Regardless of whether the bill is passed. What would happen if the bill became law is that homeless assaults would carry a stiffer penalty. A National Coalition for the Homeless report ranked Florida as the most dangerous state for homeless people to live.

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Florida This Week

Florida This Week is my favorite political talk show. The show is intelligent and people don't scream at each other like insane idiots. Topics are the Martin Anderson settlement, local elections, Sarasota voting machines. and SB 1458. The panelists are Eric Deggans, Jeremy Wallace, Sara Romeo and David Hurley.

The most jaw-dropping comment is Hurley trying to maintain that the 18,000 undervotes in Sarasota County was because of voter apathy. Lorei asked Hurley why the other counties voting in the congressional race didn't have the same level of undervoting. Hurley says he doesn't know. The short answer is Hurley would rather amuse voter apathy than deal with the possibility that Florida is using faulty voting machines. The actual answer is a Republican won and that is all Hurley cares about.

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The Disappointer's Radio Address

The Decider Disappointer talks tough in his radio address.

One of the most urgent legislative priorities is to fund our troops fighting the war on terror. I've asked Congress to pass an emergency war spending bill that gives our troops what they need, without strings and without delay. Instead, a narrow majority in the House of Representatives decided yesterday to make a political statement. The emergency war spending bill they voted for would cut the number of troops below the level our military commanders say they need to accomplish the mission. It would set an artificial timetable for withdrawal that would allow the enemy to wait us out. And it would require an army of lawyers to meet the conditions imposed by politicians in Washington who are substituting their own judgment for that of our generals in Iraq. I have made it clear that I will veto any such bill, and it is clear that my veto would be sustained.

President Bush has only used the veto once. That was for stem cell research. I'm sure he would veto the House bill. The problem is this man went a whole term without stamping a veto. Democrats are no longer scared by the veto threat and a man that has a below 40 percent approval rating. He knows the bill will never reach his desk since Senate Republicans are filibustering it to death. The Disappointer is posturing like he has Reagan or Clinton approval ratings.

Bush has always played to the 30 percent hardcore conservative base. That earned Bush a nice 33 percent approval rating last month. Conservative bloggers thinks Bush's problem is he is not far enough to the right. Apparently, two conservative Supreme Court judges, wars in two Muslim countries, an isolationist foreign policy, anti-gay marriage amendment and tax cuts for the wealthiest were not enough for the Peer Review crowd. Bush's problem is Americans realized he is not the compassionate moderate he portrayed himself to be in 2000.

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Tom Waits Sunday

These are two songs and a spoken word piece Tom Waits performed on Storytellers.

Ol' 55 mp3

Get Behind the Mule mp3

What's He Building mp3

Sine.Qua.Non has more Tom Waits goodies at her blog.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

:: Naked Brunch: Katie Couric is a Stupid Bitch ::

[Seriously late.  Better late than never in any case.] 

Went out for brunch today and had an extravaganza of food, that was delicious, and annoyingly, promptly fell asleep for most of the afternoon. Just in time for....... dinner.

Come on, join the fun ... batter the pacifist.

This TIDE doesn't wash your stains out..... and it's a disgrace.  (Why in the hell would they watch list Cat Stevens anyway?)

Elizabeth Edwards is an extraordinary woman.  Newsweek has a couple of articles regarding how the news of Elizabeth Edwards cancer had affected the campaign as well as one regarding the integration of the personal into politics.

The Consigliere. (Or, loyalty and sacrifice at any cost, is everything.)

You must go see Zoey!!! She is indeed precious. Ripley's Decompression Chamber begins in about twenty minutes and lasts until the midnight hour. Always a delight.

The Rude One: "Congress Has No Oversight Responsibility Over the White House"

The Poor Man Institute: Off their proverbial rocker I & II

Josh Marshall: Firing Practice

Shakespeare's Sister: Check out their movie review of "300"

Pushing Rope: Alberto & E-mails

P!: Dangerous Nation I

In spite of raging against the policies and actions of a government run by obvious war criminals and fascist multi-national corporations intent on destroying our nation and others in the name of "open borders", "democracy", and "free trade" by means of total, endless war, it is abundantly clear that radical voices in favor of fundamental paradigm change are still a woeful minority, distinctly disconnected and marginalized. In short, it's pretty damn lonely out here.........

Subliminal Radio is seriously ON tonight. Yum! Like waking up to a seriously erotic, rythmic and sensual dream and finding out that it's real.

Norwegianity on Mythology

Jesus' General: The Texas Spermatazoan-American Purchasing Act of 2007

James Wolcott on Vanity Fair: Madame DeFarge

Interrobang: Interrobang's Quick Guide to Not Making an Ass of Yourself on the Internet

62%!!! Sixty-two percent!!!

Well......I just received an offer I can't refuse....and, I simply must accept....later all. Have a good night.

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Politico Headline

Politico F*^ked Up

Shouldn't the Politico have waited until the Edwards family made the official announcement?

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More Justice Department Emails

Email from Kyle Sampson to Harriet Miers and William Kelley.

The email below, and the attached document, reflect a plan by DOJ to replace several US Attorneys. By statute, US Attorneys serve for four year terms, which are commonly (but not always) extended by inaction -- in practice, they serve until replaced. They serve at the pleasure of the President, but often have very strong home-state political juice, including with their Senators. Before executing this plan, we wanted to give your offices a heads up and seek input on changes that might reduce the profile or political fallout. Thanks.

Harriet/Bill, please see the attached. Please note (1) the plan, by its terms, would
commence this week; (2) I have consulted with the DAG, but not yet informed others who would need to be brought into the loop, including Acting Associate AG Bill Mercer, EOUSA Director Mike Battle, and AGAC Chair Johnny Sutton (nor have I informed anyone in Karl's shop, another pre-execution necessity I would recommend); and (3) I am concerned that to execute this plan properly we must all be on the same page and be steeled to withstand any political upheaval that might result (see Step 3); if we start caving to complaining U.S. Attorneys or Senators then we shouldn't do it -- it'll be more trouble than it is worth.

We'll stand by for a green light from you. Upon the green light, we'll (1) circulate the below plan to the list of folks in Step 3 (and ask that you circulate it to Karl's shop), (2) confirm that Kelley is making the Senator/Bush political lead calls, and (3) get Battle making the calls t o the USAs. Let us know.

Email from Catherine Martin to Tasia Scolinos.

Its only six US attorneys (there are 94) and I think most of them will resign quietly - they don't get anything out of making it public they were asked to leave in terms of future job prospects. I don't see it as being a national story - especially if it phases in over a few months. Any concerns on your end?

Email from Kyle Sampson to Harriet Miers and William Kelley.

The email below, and the attached document, reflect a plan by DOJ to replace several US Attorneys. By statute, US Attorneys serve for four year terms, which are commonly (but not always) extended by inaction -- in practice, they serve until replaced. They serve at the pleasure of the President, but often have very strong home-state political juice, including with their Senators.

Before executing this plan, we wanted to give your offices a heads up and seek input on changes that might reduce the profile or political fallout. Thanks.

Email from Catherine Martin to Tasia Scolinos.

Paul Charlton (D. Ariz.)
Carol Lam (S .D. Cal.)
Margaret Chiara (W.D. Mich.)
Dan Bogden (D. Nev. 1
John McKay (W.D. Wash.)
David Iglesias (D.N.M.)

The one common link here is that three of them are along the southern border so you could make the connection that DOJ is unhappy with the immigration prosecution numbers in those districts.

Email from Tasia Scolinos to Catherine Martin.

Its only six US attorneys (there are 94) and I think most of them will resign quietly - they don't get anything out of making it public they were asked to leave in terms of future job prospects. I don't see it as being a national story - especially if it phases in over a few months. Any concerns on your end?

There was a clear coordination between the Justice Department and the White House. As well as an attempt not to have the firings traced back to Karl Rove.

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Chicago Bartender Bribed After Beating By Cop

The story of off-duty Chicago cop Anthony Abbate beating bartender Karolina Obrycka just got sleazier. Obrycka says she was offered a bribe if she would remain silent about the beating.

"Another individual came in moments after the attack and attempted to offer the victim money in order for her not to prosecute the defendant," Cook County Assistant State's Atty. David Navarro said.

Further, Ekl alleged that police gave Abbate special treatment because he was a fellow officer.

"They were not treating him the same way they would treat any other citizen," he said.

Police are investigating this issue, department News Affairs Deputy Director Monique Bond said.

Obrycka's attorney Terry Ekl allages the owner of Jesse's Shortstop Inn Tavern, the bar of the attack, was told drugs would be planted on the establishment if Obrycka pressed charges.

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Daily Show On Bush U.S. Attorneys Controversy

President George W. Bush has a reasonable proposal for Congress.

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Adam Putnam On Alberto Gonzales

Adam Putnam is the latest Republican who refuses to give Alberto Gonzale a vote of confidence.

GOP House Conference Chairman Adam Putnam is one of many who believes that Alberto Gonzales is "rapidly reaching the point where he can't serve the President or leffectively lead the Justice Department." The young conservative Florida member also explains that there is a hangover owing to how Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation was handled that is not helping the AG. "Clearly some of the reluctance on the part of congressional Republicans to go to the mat for [AG] Gonzales is a consequence of having their fingers burned once in the Rumsfeld debacle."

Republicans are getting tired of the White House bullying them to stay on message and politically having their heads handed to them. Many GOPer blame Rumsfeld for losing the midterm elections. That glosses over their own failures. I will grant them that Rummy certainly didn't help their cause.

Congressional Republican don't have the stomach to battle over Gonzales. They have their sites set on 2008. They know Gonzo is someone Democrats can beat them over the heads with.

Bush could care less. He is more concerned with keeping his consigliere. In his mind he his a martyr fighting forces of evil. The problem is the people he is combative with is Americans in both political parties.


Republican aides told Roll Call they are letting the White House fight their own battles.

For instance, before this week’s talk of subpoenas and resignations, Republican Senators were basking in their victory last week to prevent Democrats from winning a simple majority of support on their proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq.

“We are not throwing ourselves on the grenade for them anymore,” said the leadership staffer. “There’s now an attitude of ‘you created this mess, you’ve got to get yourself out of it.’”

One case in point, Republicans said, was Tuesday’s overwhelming Senate vote to limit the attorney general’s authority to appoint interim U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. The 94-2 vote underscored GOP dissatisfaction not only with the issue itself, but the way in which the White House has tried to manage what’s become a public relations nightmare, several GOP aides said.

“That vote was proof positive that ‘we’re carrying no more of your water,’” said yet another Senate Republican aide, adding: “We just hope they leave without doing any more damage.”

National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg has had enough of Gonzales.

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Florida House Attempts to Outsource Tolls

A perfect example of the pickle the Florida Legislature have gotten themselves into with year-after-year tax cuts is their latest hair-brained scheme. HB 7033 proposes that paying private companies to run toll booths would actually raise revenue for transportation expenses.

Public-private transportation facilities.--The Legislature hereby finds and declares that there is a public need for rapid construction of safe and efficient transportation facilities for the purpose of travel within the state. It is the intent of the Legislature to strengthen the state's transportation system by providing the department with innovative financing techniques, including, but not limited to, public-private partnerships, toll facility leases, and user fees. In response to increased congestion, population, and market demands, and that it is in the public's interest to provide for the construction of additional safe, convenient, and economical transportation facilities.


(a) With the exception of the Florida Turnpike System, the department may leas existing toll facilities through public-private partnerships. If the agreement for leasing an existing toll facility does not include provisions for additional capacity, the project and the provisions of the agreement must be approved by the Legislature. The public-private partnership agreement must ensure that the toll facility is properly operated, maintained, and renewed in accordance with department
99 standards.

(b) The department may develop new toll facilities or increase capacity on existing toll facilities through public-private partnerships. The public-private partnership agreement must ensure that the toll facility is properly operated, maintained, and renewed in accordance with department standards.

(c) The amount of toll or fare revenues shall be regulated by the department pursuant to s. 338.165(3). The regulations governing the future increase of toll or fare revenues shall be included in the public-private partnership agreement.

(d) The department shall include provisions in the public-private partnership agreement that ensure a portion of excess revenues from tolled projects are returned to the department over the life of the public-private partnership agreement. In 113 the case of a lease of an existing toll facility, the department shall receive a portion of funds upon closing on the agreements and shall also include provisions in the agreement to receive payment of a portion of excess revenues over the life of the public-private partnership.

Paying private companies to run toll booths and receiving only a "pontion" of the revenue does not sound like a money-making deal. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge would have been affected by this bill. The Herald Tribune reports that the bill appears to be dead this year. What is interesting is the bill would add more expenses to the Florida Department of Transportation.

A House bill (HB 7033) that would let existing toll facilities, like the Skyway Bridge, be leased to private companies. The companies would pay the state an upfront fee and then recoup their investment by raising tolls on the facilities over the term of a 50-year, or longer, lease. The legislation would also provide more incentives to private companies to build new toll facilities.

A bill that would lift the cap on bonds issued by the Florida Turnpike System from $4.5 billion to $9 billion. It would add another $900 million in turnpike projects to the DOT's five-year construction program.

This bill is pork that is meant to provide a financial windfall for private companies. I wrote before that outsourcing hasn't saved Florida money. That was never the point of HB 7033. It was just the sales pitch.

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