Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Billie Holiday - Am I Blue

The amount of soul Billie Holiday packs into this song is breathtaking.

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Jay Rockefeller On the Public Option

Sen. Jay Rockefeller talks to Keith Olbermann about his new public option amendment.

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Robert Gibbs Ducks Public Option Question

Chuck Todd asked Press Sec. Robert Gibbs about the failure to pass the public option in the Senate Finance Committee. Helen Thomas asked Gibbs was asked why isn't Obama "fighting" for the public option. Gibbs would only say that the President supports choice and competition. Gibbs would not promise the President demanding a public option.

Q Health care — yesterday the Senate Finance Committee voted down two different versions of the public option, and I don’t believe we’ve heard from the White House officially on how — is this — is the President disappointed that the Senate — that no public option has made it through Senate Finance Committee, since this is something that he’s –

MR. GIBBS: I would say — I would reiterate what the President said in front of the joint session of Congress — it’s a proposal he favors in getting choice and competition. We’re working with all in Congress to figure out how best to provide that choice and competition. You’ve got one bill right now that doesn’t include a public option; you have four bills that do. This is part of the legislative process in reconciling all these ideas.

Q So why doesn’t he fight for it?

MR. GIBBS: We’re fighting for choice and competition and –

Q But not the public option.

MR. GIBBS: — and trying to get — go ahead.

Q Max Baucus said his reason for voting against it is that he could count votes — sort of implying — I guess he was trying to imply that he’s supportive of the idea, but because it didn’t have the votes he didn’t want to vote for it in committee. Does the President share that sort of same mind-set as Senator Baucus, that you can be — you’re not going to get everything you want, so — he supports it, but if the votes aren’t there, the votes aren’t there?

MR. GIBBS: Again, the most important thing — and you’ve heard the President say this — the most important thing is choice in competition; that in the individual and small business insurance market, if you have a geographic region that’s dominated by only one entity, you tend not to have — you certainly don’t have choice and it tends not to breed competition. We will work with Congress to find the best option for how to do that.

Q But you’re not going to sign a bill that doesn’t have something that in your mind — take your state of Alabama example — if Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama has still got 90 percent of the market, then you’re not signing that bill?

MR. GIBBS: The President I think has made it extremely clear that without choice and competition you won’t have health reform. We will ensure that whatever is passed in health reform meets that obligation.

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Why John Derbyshire Is Sexist & Racist

Conservative columnist John Derbyshire argues to Alan Colmes that America would have been better if the women's suffrage movement failed. Derbyshire feels so strongly about this his book "We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism" has a section called “The Case Against Female Suffrage.”

DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I’ll say this – if it were to be, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep.

COLMES: We’d be a better country if women didn’t vote?

DERBYSHIRE: Probably. Don’t you think so?

COLMES: No, I do not think so whatsoever.

DERBYSHIRE: Come on Alan. Come clean here [laughing].

COLMES: We would be a better country? John Derbyshire making the statement, we would be a better country if women did not vote.

DERBYSHIRE: Yeah, probably.

Derbyshire is perfectly happy with restricting the liberties of half the population to further his conservative worldview.This isn't conjucture on my part. He literally admits so. Colmes asked Derbyshire if the Civil Right Act of 1964 should be repealed.

DERBYSHIRE: The 1964 Civil Rights Act? I think there is a case for repealing it.

COLMES: Why would you repeal that?

DERBYSHIRE: Because I think that you shouldn’t try to force people to be good.

Why build jails and convict dangerous criminals? We shouldn’t try to force people to be good. If we followed Derbyshire's illogical logic then people would be alllowed to commit crimes. If those crimes include lynching black males we can't force people to be good with federal civil rights laws. That would be silly.

Does anyone actually believe Derbyshire cares about the rights of women and minorities? In a National Review op-ed, Derbyshire gave away his belief white races are superior to blacks.

Name any universal characteristic of human nature, including cognitive and personality characteristics. Of all the observed variation in that characteristic, about half is caused by genetic differences. You may say that is only a half victory; but it is a complete shattering of the nurturist absolutism that ruled in the human sciences 40 years ago, and that is still the approved dogma in polite society, including polite political society, today.

Derbyshire is a supporter of the debunked book the Bell Curve. Authors Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray wrote that IQ is based on race. Professor Melvin Konner wrote a rebuttal to the book.

This book presented strong evidence that genes play a role in intelligence but linked it to the unsupported claim that genes explain the small but consistent black-white difference in IQ. The juxtaposition of good argument with a bad one seemed politically motivated, and persuasive refutations soon appeared. Actually, African-Americans have excelled in virtually every enriched environment they have been placed in, most of which they were previously barred from, and this in only the first decade or two of improved but still not equal opportunity. It is likely that the real curves for the two races will one day be superimposable on each other, but this may require decades of change and different environments for different people. Claims about genetic potential are meaningless except in light of this requirement.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting notes Herrnstein and Murray got most of the book's research from the neo Nazi Pioneer Fund. The Southern Poverty Law Center has PF on it's hate groups list. The disingenuous Derbyshire wrote the "book that should, if anything, appeal more to the bleeding-heart, how-can-we-lift-up-the-poor?, earnest social reformer of the political Left than to the flint-faced, I've-made-my-pile-now-you-go-and-make-yours elitist of the political Right."

Derbyshire goes on to pump white supremist propaganda of racial superiority.

Even more offensive to the political Left was the book's retailing of some facts, well-known among psychometrists of all political persuasions, about the different statistical profiles presented by different common-ancestry groups when given standardized psychometric tests en masse. Groups of Ashkenazi-Jewish ancestry present very high means; groups of East Asian ancestry somewhat lower means; groups of white European-gentile ancestry lower still; and groups of black-African ancestry much lower yet. (Other common-ancestry groups scatter around the map, with their means mostly falling mostly between the black African and white European-gentile values. There are also differences in the standard deviations — the "spreads" — of the distributions, though these attract less interest because they require more math to understand.)

None of this is controversial among researchers. The results have been replicated thousands of times, all over the world, with every imaginable kind of control in place, and every conceivable objection factored in. Hypotheses about the test results being false on various grounds were decisively refuted decades ago, though they linger on as urban legends. Are the statistical differences produced by class bias? No: If your test-takers are drawn only from a narrow family-income band, the statistical differences are still there. Are they biased by ignorance on points of cultural experience? No: as Herrnstein and Murray describe at length, the statistical differences in scores are "wider on items that appear to be culturally neutral than on items that appear to be culturally loaded. And so on. These differences in statistical profiles are, as a sociologist of my acquaintance once remarked, as well established as the orbit of the Moon. To deny them, you have to deny the validity of psychometry altogether, or take refuge in pseudoscientific "hidden variable" hocus-pocus like the currently trendy though scientifically hilarious "stereotype threat" theory.

Do you still believe Derbyshire doesn't have a problem with women and black men?

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David Vitter & ACORN

ACORN is being publicly denounced by Sen. David Vitter.

“It’s certainly not news to anyone that ACORN has been the subject of some controversy over the past year, and last year’s presidential election brought to light evidence of ACORN chapters engaging in fraudulent voter registration activities,” added Vitter. “They are currently under federal investigation, and this is simply not the sort of organization that should be funded by taxpayer dollars.”

I am not a fan of ACORN. That doesn't mean the attacks against ACORN haven't been outlandish. On the Senate floor, Vitter blames ACORN for the housing crisis. The Federal Reserve gave loans to Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorganChase and Wachovia. These lending institutions got into trouble for giving mortages to people that couldn't pay. The banks were selling credit default swaps (derivatives) to create more income. The banks were over-leveraging on derivatives that were often worthless. Banks would engage in increasingly predatory lending practice to bring in more revenue. Economist Tyler Cowen wrote, "As much as 70 percent of recent early payment defaults had fraudulent misrepresentations on their original loan applications, according to one recent study." For Vitter to say ACORN is responsible for the subprime crisis is irresponsible.

Progressives are having fun noting ACORN was caught in a fake prositution stig by conservative activists Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe. Vitter has his very real prostitution scandal. Melanie Sloan, Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, points out Vitter broke prositution laws in Washington, DC and Louisiana.

Andy Cobb makes a hysterical video about Vitter's obsession with ACORN. Pushing Rope pal Tina Dupuy appears in the video.

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Quote of the Day

"Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: drop dead."

Ginny Brown-Waite, on the House floor on July 21, 2009

Brown-Waite is notorious for makinpuerto ricansg bizarre quotes. For instance: she was under the impression Puerto Ricans are not United States citizens.

“Second, the bill sends hundreds of millions of dollars to people who do not pay federal income taxes, including residents of Puerto Rico and territories like Guam. I do not believe American taxpayer funds should be sent to foreign citizens who do not pay taxes. Americans want an economic stimulus for Dunnellon, Brooksville and Clermont, not for San Juan or Hagatna. As the legislation moves forward, it must be changed to ensure that only federal taxpaying American citizens receive rebate checks."

The Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans American citizenship. Brown-Waite would know that fact, if she was familiar with the invention known as Google.

My favorite Brown-Waite quote is her describing her relationship with K Street lobbyists.

“I have to go up to total strangers, ask them for money and get them to expect me to be there when they need me. What does that sound like to you?”

That is a question best left for Eliot Spitzer and David Vitter.

Hat tip to Ron Mills.

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Hello Elmo, Foe




Lagniappe:There will be NO discussion by the major media of the things Ronald Reagan promised and delivered to IRAN.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Black Keys - Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles

The Black Keys perform a Captain Beefheart cover.

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Crist on Morning Joe

Gov. Charlie Crist went on Morning Joe. Crist proclaims the real estate market has rebounded. Obviously, Crist missed the memo about Florida being second in the nation in foreclosures. The People's Governor will make up whatever narrative that best suits his worldview.

Crist stood by his statement that Obama will be a one-term president.

CRIST: Well, I see it because I think back in '76... when Jimmy Carter got elected. I think people were in a mood for change. Clearly, they were. We were coming off the Nixon years and Gerald Ford had inherited that. The people wanted a change from what they had seen before and they had elected then Go. Carter president.

I think the same thing existed last year, in our political climate. I think that people wanted change. Obviously, President Obama, to his credit, and to his campaign's credit, tapped into that in a very effective way and was elected. I think change is what people wanted. I don't think this kind of change is exactly what they expected. I think government has grown too much, too fast, too far and I think there is maybe a little buyer's remorse by some.

Crist runs on about the people wanting more freedom. Who exactly does Crist think Obama is locking behind doors? Crist just rambles on with Republican talking points.

Crist claims unemployment is coming down and that he lowered taxes. Unemployment went up during his term from 3.3 percent to 10.7 percent. Crist does not have a legacy to run on. Crist will create a new storyline and will drone on with conservative bumper sticker slogans.

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Quote of the Day

"It’s up to all of us to say these arguments advanced by Cheney and his acolytes are nonsense and that really what they’re doing is undermining our national security by delaying the date at which Guantanamo is closed."

Retired Brig. Gen. James Cullen

Hat tip to GottaLaff.

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Confessions of a Tooth Fairy

This is a video of an old Groundlings Theater skit. Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig and Melinda Hill play tooth fairies who are bad at their job.

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Tom Harkin on the Public Option

The Senate Finance Committee killed the public option. Tom Harkin tells Ed Schultz the final bill will have the public option.

HARKIN: I believe that when we merge these two bills, we will have a public option in there that we will take to the floor of the Senate and we're going to pass it.

SCHULTZ: Well, okay, so despite what happened in the Senate Finance Committee today, you think you've got the votes to get a public option coming out of the Senate? Cause I'm not so worried about the House anymore and I think the American people, I mean, this is gonna be reported, all the talking heads are gonna say, "Hey, public option is dead." I need to have some confidence tonight with you, Senator Harkin, that you think you can get these votes out of the Senate.

HARKIN: Well here's one thing I will guarantee you, Ed, and I will tell you again as I've told you before -- we will have a bill on the President's desk before Christmas and it will have a public option.

SCHULTZ: Well that's what the American people want to hear. Now ...

HARKIN: I know it and most of the doctors want it, 73% of the doctors polled want a public option, uh, sixty-some percent of the American people want a public option and the vast majority of Democrats, over fifty in the United States Senate, also want a public option.

SCHULTZ: Okay now, are you going to have to go reconciliation? You're not going to get sixty at this point are you?

HARKIN: Well, I wouldn't give up on that yet. I still think that we can get sixty votes to bring the bill on the floor of the Senate. And then we'll have amendments and then we'll have, probably have to have a cloture on the bill to bring it to a close. Now that will be the tough vote. I still believe that we can get the sixty votes for that.

SCHULTZ: Okay, what about ...

HARKIN: But if we don't, Ed, if we don't, we're going to go to reconciliation. As I said to you, and as I say to the American people, we will have this bill on the President's desk by Christmas, one way or the other.

Reconciliation is only used on bills that involve the federal budget. Health care definately falls into that category. The question is will Harry Reid push for reconciliation? President Bill Clinton attempted to use reconciliation to pass health care reform. Sen. Robert Byrd stopped Clinton. The Byrd Rule was created to limit reconciliation only to deficit reduction.

* a provision that mitigates direct effects attributable to a second provision which changes outlays or revenue when the provisions together produce a net reduction in outlays;

* the provision will result in a substantial reduction in outlays or a substantial increase in revenues during fiscal years after the fiscal years covered by the reconciliation bill;

* the provision will likely reduce outlays or increase revenues based on actions that are not currently projected by CBO for scorekeeping purposes; or

* such provision will likely produce significant reduction in outlays or increase in revenues, but due to insufficient data such reduction or increase cannot be reliably estimated.

Republicans will be looking for potential ways a public option bill would violate the Byrd rule. If a violation is found then 60 votes will be needed to a filibuster.

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Obama Statue

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

This actually isn't a statue or wax figure of Barack Obama. The President posed for pictures with several people and never changed facial or body expressions. Truly disturbing.

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Nancy Pelosi Makes Public Option Stand

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just ran this tweet.

Photo: Americans Support A Public Option

The link reveals this image of polls showing support for the public option.

The House version of health care reform is what voters support. Which makes me wonder what planet Gov. Bobby Jindal is on?

JINDAL: Absolutely. Well, let`s start first of all -- Neil, across this country, I think the debate`s over. I think the American people have spoken loudly. they have said they don`t want a government- run plan that increases their taxes, that increases government spending.

Jindal willfilly deceives Fox News viewers about poll numbers and the cost of a public option insurance program. A Congressional Budget Report found the public option would save $110 billion over ten year. Jindal is not truly fiscally conservative. Jindal made an outlandish claim about tort reform savings.

Third, if we`re serious about driving down the cost of health care, let`s address the cost of defensive medicine. Frivolous lawsuits, one study says, could cost as much as $100 billion a year. I think it`s telling neither of these plans really have significant reforms.

A CBO report found tort reform would only provide 0.5 percent savings to health care. A 2004 CBO report gave a more generous 2 percent savings. The problem with Jindal's logic is there is no trigger to force insuers to lower premiums on doctors, if tort reform passes. The medical profession and insurers may get savings. That does not mean those savings will be passed on to patients.

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Why the Public Option Failed in the Senate

Sen. Bill Nelson voted against the Jay Rockefeller amendment. Nelson did vote for the watered down public option amendment authored by Chuck Schumer.

"It seems to me that this is very important that we have this competition. It has all safeguards in it ..." Nelson said.

The Schumer amendment failed 10 to 13. All the cynical outreach efforts by President Barack Obama to get Republican votes failed. I previously wrote the Obama and Baucus were crafting legislation that would mandate citizens buying private insurance and protect pharmaceutical industry profits. Lindsey Graham explained to Ezra Klein that Obama never pressed Congress on the public option.

You make people afraid of opposing you or you get them rewarded for helping you. There's no fear for opposing Obama's public option, and the reward is for opposing it. Right now, Republicans feel no political exposure from opposing the president's health-care initiative.

Obama reneged on his campaign promise to hold open meetings with insurers and the pharmaceutical industry. Health insurers will get more customers and drug prices will continue to escalate. It is up to Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House of Representitives to keep the public option alive.

Update: the Democrats whom voted against the Rockefeller amendment were Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, Tom Carper and Nelson.

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Max Baucus's Faulty 60 Vote Logical

Max Baucus just announced he won't for Chuck Schumer's public option amendment because it won't get 60 votes. It certainly won't get 60 votes if one of the members of the Democratic caucus votes against the amendment. That one Senator would be Mr. Baucus. Open Secrets lists Baucus's campaign contributions from the insurance industry at $558,075 and pharmaceutical companies at $507,313. These corporations are Baucus's true constituents.

Update: Baucus against Jay Rockefeller public option amendment.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Def Leppard - Nine Lives

Def Leppard is a shameless guilty pleasure of mine. People love bashing them but this is an infectious pop song. The chorus is absolutely killer.

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Michael Lehnert On Gitmo

In 2001, Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert was in charge of detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Lehnert attempted to have Marine security personel honor the Geneva Conventions. Former Se. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld opposed Lehnert's efforts. Lehnert told Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times Guantanamo Bay hurt America's international standing.

"I think we lost the moral high ground," Lehnert said. "For those who do not think much of the moral high ground, that is not that significant.

"But for those who think our standing in the international community is important, we need to stand for American values. You have to walk the walk, talk the talk."

Lehnert advocates for the immediate closing of Gitmo.

"I think we should close it down," he said. "I think the information we're getting is not worth the international beating we're taking."

No, it isn't. The recent arrest of Najibullah Zazi proves terrorism can be prevented without torture. The inhumane treatment of detainees at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib have been used by Al-Qaeda for recruitment. Creating more terrorists is a terrible tactic for terrorism prevention.

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Meet Kitty Werthmann

The conservative How To Take Back America Conference had the panel "How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists." Host Janet Porter wrote a glowing and surreal profile on speaker Kitty Werthmann, in the column "Austria in the '30s: Mirror to America." Porter paints a portrait of America that is far from reality. This is not surprising, Porter is a World Net Daily columnist.

The government takeover of the schools immediately replaced crucifixes with pictures of Hitler and Nazi flags. "All religious instruction was replaced with physical education," said Werthmann. No prayer was allowed. That all happened here decades ago. It is interesting, however, that Obama's speech to the captive audience in the government schools – complete with the essay assignment about how students could help him achieve his political goals – was replaced once the American people got wind of it. And speaking of government control of education, if the Senate agrees, all student loans will be government issued, according to a bill that passed the House last week.

Werthmann is even scarier than Porter. She is advocating the armed revolution against the Obama administration. What Werthmann is advocating is treason and the death of people she opposes. She is the last person whom should be comparing fellow Americans to Nazis.

If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. [...] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. [...] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.

Werthmann cites the Equal Rights Amendment as a sign of socialism. The Equal Rights amendment failed to get ratified in 1982. Obama wasn't even an elected official in the early eighties.

Werthmann is a member of the South Dakota Eagle Forum. The organization is part of the Christian Right and lobbied for pharmacists not having to refill birth control prescriptions.

Werthmann is selling the DVD "Freedom to Dictatorship in 5 Years." It is amazing how conservatives were silent during the Patriot Act but or enraged that women might get paid as much as men.

Update: the Taking Back America Conference only had 600 attendees.

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Quote of the Day

""We have expressed concern about the number of Venezuelan arms purchases.They outpace all other countries in South America... And certainly raise questions as to whether there is going to be an arms race in the region."

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

Is Clinton serious about an arms race with Venezuela or is this just tough rhetoric?

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Charlie Crist Claims He Increased Employment

I previously blogged about Charlie (one term Governor) Crist, at Republican Leadership Conference, insinuating Barack Obama would be a one term president Crist also told the huge whopper that he lowered unemployment and cut taxes.

Crist said Florida, much like Michigan, was plagued by high unemployment before he took over, cut spending, slashed taxes and focused on job creation. "Less taxing, less spending, less government, more freedom," Crist said. The conference continues through Sunday.

The Florida unemployment rate was 3.3 percent when Crist was sworn in. The unemployment rate remained at 3.3 percent in March of 2007. The current unemployment rate is 10.7. When Crist was running for Governor polls were conducted over how to best use the state's budget surplus. Florida is looking at a potential 2.3 billion deficit. CFO Alex Sink warned Florida is borrowing too much money to fund the budget.

"We are in trouble," Sink told the St Petersburg Times. "We're writing checks like crazy and the money isn't coming in."

Crist did not deliver on his promise to make property taxes did not drop "like a rock." Sales taxes and a 5.5 percent corporate flat tax makes Florida's tax system regressive. Crist refused to reform the system and instead raised fees and increased college tuition rates. Despite Crist's claims of being a fiscal conservative, taxpayers had to pay for Crist's lavish $430,000 Eurupean trip. Crist has created a fantasy legacy of achievements he never accomplished. There is no other way for him to explain his horrible first term.

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Alex Sink Clemency Board Letter

CFO Alex Sink wrote a letter to Charlie Crist urging him to convene the Clemency Board. Sink wants a review of 13 ex-offender whom might have been given restoration of their rights without proper review. Sink is pressing for the former offenders to have their rights (such as voting) stripped again.

September 28, 2009

The Honorable Charlie Crist

Governor, State of Florida

The Capitol, 400 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Dear Governor Crist:

At the September 24, 2009 clemency meeting, I raised the issue of the thirteen ex-offenders that were wrongfully granted restoration of their civil rights. These cases were brought to our attention as part of the Auditor General’s Operational Audit of the Parole Commission’s restoration of civil rights process. As noted in the report, these ex-offenders either did not meet clemency rule eligibility requirements or were evaluated at an inappropriate eligibility level by the parole commission staff.

While I am cognizant of the hard work of the Parole Commission and the enormous amount of cases they are processing in light of budgetary restrictions, I feel we have an obligation to correct these mistakes in a timely manner that have been brought to our attention. That is why I urge you to convene a meeting of the Clemency Board during the October 13 Cabinet meeting to take up corrective proposals.

Furthermore, I would request the Chairman of the Parole Commission report at the next scheduled Clemency Board meeting on December 10 on all corrective action the Parole Commission is implementing to ensure these errors will not continue to occur.

As each office begins their review of the circumstances regarding these particular cases, I wanted to lay out my recommendations on how the Clemency Board should handle this matter. Given that these thirteen cases fall within four categories, I have outlined my recommendations for corrective action within each of these categories below:

Cases Involving Disqualifying Offenses (3 cases): Three of the ex-offenders had disqualifying offenses, including aggravated battery and statutory rape. I recommend that these clemency orders be immediately rescinded.

Cases Involving Active Warrants for Arrest (3 cases): Three of the ex-offenders have active warrants, which is a disqualifying factor. The warrants involved a host of offenses, including trespassing, indecent exposure, theft and petit larceny. I recommend that these clemency orders be immediately rescinded.

Cases with Outstanding Restitution (5 cases): Five of the ex-offenders owed restitution as part of their sentence. I recommend that these five ex-offenders receive a letter from the Clemency Board acknowledging the Parole Commission’s mistake in granting restoration of civil rights and providing them 60 days to pay their outstanding restitution. Those that fail to pay their restitution within this 60-day window should have their clemency orders rescinded.

Cases Involving Those Currently Incarcerated (2 cases): Two of the thirteen ex-offenders are currently serving life sentences, therefore no action from the Clemency Board is necessary.

I feel it is important for the safety of our citizens and in the best interest of our state to reverse the error of giving rights to these thirteen ex-offenders who did not qualify, while at the same time recognizing the differing circumstances of these cases. I believe my recommendations allow for this, and hope that you will call a meeting of the Clemency Board on October 13 so that we are able to move these actions.

I continue to join with you in support of a second chance for those who qualify under the established rules and have paid their debt to society.


Alex Sink

cc: The Honorable Bill McCollum, Attorney General
The Honorable Charles Bronson, Commission of Agriculture

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Maybe Lieberman is Not Kidding

Politico reports Joe Lieberman is joking about running as a Republican in 2012. Lieberman thought about joining the Republican Senate Caucus after the 2008 elections. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could not offer a former Democrat a chairmanship. Conservatives do not like Lieberman on social issues. Lieberman and the GOP would be a weird marriage.

Lieberman may have to run as a Republican in 2012. A Quinnipiac poll finds Lieberman losing to Democtaic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal 58 percent to 30 percent. Those are horrible numbers for an incumbant. Lieberman has a favorable rating of only 18 percent with Democrats. Lieberman won't make it out of the Democratic primary.

The politically smart thing for Lieberman would have been joining the Republican caucus last year or doing some serious kissing up to the Democratic base. Liberman has never been known for being politically smart. Lieberman went from a vice-presidential candidate to becoming a man with no party. Way to go, Joe.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meet Speaker Dean Cannon

Incoming Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon is aggressively pushing for drilling off the coast of Florida. Cannon went as far as to tell Visit Florida, the state agency to promote tourism, that offshore drilling will not hinder tourism. If you really believe that then find ten people who went to to beach in Houston, Texas.

Board member Robert Skrob put a damper on Cannon's sale pitch.

An underwater pipeline owned by Shell leaked 58,000 gallons of crude oil. The spill occurred 30 miles off the Louisiana coast.

"We don't see it (offshore drilling) as safe within 30 miles of the coast," said Skrob, executive director of the Tallahassee-based Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

If we are to take Cannon's proposal seriously (which we should not) then it would take five to ten years to build rigs and start production. The gas and crude oil would be sold all over the world. The gas would not be sold at the local service station and magically lower prices. Cannon isn't even talking about how to collect revenue from oil companies. It makes no sense to have offshore rigs and not place a tax on the industry. The Florida government would collect no revenue and be financial liable for any spill.

Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University found there are only 4 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Gulf of Mexico. 90 percent of Gulf of Mexico's oil has already been recovered. Other oil is too deep for drilling. What the companies want are the offshore leases. Companies can huckster people buying shares for speculative oil trading. Finding oil won't be necessary to make money.

Cannon's obsession with offshore drilling is noteworthy. Follow the Money shows Cannon is a lobbyist's best friend. Cannon raised $68,900 from individuals and $198,779 from institutions. Lobbyists paid for Cannon's seat. The Speaker can hardly say he was placed in his position by the people.

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Carrie Prejean's Jesus Christ Pose

I have avoided blogging about Carrie Prejean. I had to mention Prejean's gag-inducing speech at the Values Voters summit. She talked about "strong" during her infamous Miss USA moment. Prejean also informs us how proud she is of herself for being against gay marriage. My favorite moment she when Prejean accused her critics of practicing intolerance against her. Wow.

Prejean is hysterical. I am thrilled the Christian Right and the Republican Party of Florida is using her as a spokesperson. Prejean actually believes she is a martyr. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, "Little girl lost, she takes herself so seriously. She brags of her misery, she likes to live dangerously."

Carrie Prejean: I am so proud of the stance that I took. I am so proud of the answer I gave and God chose me for that moment. He chose me for that moment, because he knew that, not only would, I be the one to stick up for him and for the truth. But also he knew that I am strong enough to get through all of the junk that I have been through.

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The One Term Man

Gov. Charlie Crist spoke at the Republican Leadership Conference. Crist suggested President Barack Obama will be vulnerable in 2012.

“I think the people wanted a change. They wanted a change back in 1976. You remember? Richard Nixon had been president. That ended. Gerald Ford took over. The people decided they wanted a change. They got one-Jimmy Carter. Four years later, they took care of business-Ronald Reagan. It may happen again.”

If anyone knows about members of the executive branch serving one term, it is Charlie Crist. The Governor predicted that economic growth would make the state budget continue to grow. Florida is going through it's first population decline in 63 years.Florida is currently experiencing a difficult budget deficit.

Crist chooses a Senate run over a second term as Governor. He was in New York for a recent fundraiser. The has documented the number of days off Crist has taken. The truth is Crist is lazy and has no interest in doing the heavy lifting involved in turning Florida's economy around. Crist wants the (preceived) safety of a new job. Crist is so disengaged the Florida legislator ignored last his budget. Sen. J.D Alexander mocked Crist's disengagement with a sign on his office door.

``BUDGET CHAIRMAN'S WARNING. Please Remove All Standard Issue E.O.G. [Executive Office of the Governor] Rose Colored Glasses Prior to Entering Suite. Failure to do so May Cause Severe Economic Pain to the People of Florida.''

Only an unserious man would tell Floridians how great the Florida economy is during a recession.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I was against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nation-wide, and I still think that the American people should be able to play this out in debates. But me, Bill Clinton personally, I changed my position.

"I am no longer opposed to that," he added. "I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it."

"Bill Clinton, speaking to Anderson Coooper.

Hat tip to GottaLaff.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Woody the Cat loves water.

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Yes, it's racist

Our national discussion these days would seem to focus, to a large (and, I'd argue, important) degree, on racism and the scope to which it is undermining the debate over President Obama's policy proposals. Most salient among these--of late--is the president's ambitious and Herculean effort to reform America's healthcare system.

At both the national and local levels, and among left-leaning bloggers, even, we're seeing an awful lot of denial. In the Tampa area, for example, we have Creative Loafing blogger Catherine positing that that Not everyone who disagrees with President Obama is “racist”.

Now, on its face, this statement is true. In fact, you could expand that to an even broader observation: Not everyone who disagrees with Person X (where X="whichever sex, color, faith, or sexual orientation is pertinent to the discussion") is prejudiced against X. For example, I disagree with my own husband on a number of issues, but the last thing of which anyone could or would accuse me is being anti-Italian (and regular readers know this to be true, ahem).

But Catherine's next point--in the form of a question--indicates that she, like so many on the left (including President Clinton), is leaving the all-important issue of historical context out of the equation. Catherine writes:
What if white, country-boy Kanye West had interrupted African-American, R&B singer Taylor Swift? Would this switcheroo have changed public sentiment after their now-infamous interaction at the VMAs?
Switching the race of the interruptor and interruptee--without also noting the very different histories of the behavior of each race toward the other--renders this point kind of, well, pointless. For the sake of argument, let's simplify the comparison thus: as it actually transpired, a member of a historically oppressed class interrupted, and thus upstaged, a member of the oppressor class. If the scenario had instead involved a member of the oppressor class interrupting, and thus upstaging, a member of the oppressed class, could it have been interpreted as a racially-motivated act?

And the answer to that question is, yes. And it would be a justifiable yes. Not because of any knee-jerk reaction by people who, as Catherine puts it, "...cry racism, anti-Semitism, or some other form of hate-ism, take our ball, and go home", but rather, because it is impossible to disentangle hundreds of years of oppression from the equation, simply because we're all so damned open-minded and egalitarian these days, we white folks.

Listen, I disagree--vigorously--with President Obama about several policy matters, including his ongoing stance on upholding telecom immunity, for one thing. About not going after the war criminals responsible for, firstly, lying the nation into a war of choice and secondly, engaging in violation after violation of international law, particularly those conventions governing the treatment of prisoners of war. But I am not a racist by dint of my disagreeing with him, even if, given the chance, I would politely express my sentiments to the President himself (although I'd never, ever--not in a million years!--shout them out while he was speaking, much less while he was addressing a joint session of Congress in front of the world's cameras, for Heaven's sake, which restraint and good manners are all part of growing up and being British, and, as I've witnessed, generally considered part of being a good American citizen, too.)

But so much of the vitriol aimed at President Obama is laced through and through with the toxic sap of racism. And saying we "have come a long way" is little more than patting ourselves on the back. Because we haven't. Not really.

Not when a Congressman shouts You lie...! (with the unspoken suffix "...boy" implied; otherwise, he'd have simply said "You're lying" or "That's a lie"), and that Congressman happens to be a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group which, in the last decade, has been led by radical neo-Confederate secessionists who defend slavery as "a benign institution"; and further, when that Congressman happens to have been one of only seven Republicans to go against his own party and vote to keep the Dixie Rebel flag flying over the South Carolina capitol.

Not when a conservative activist--someone who of course disagrees with President Obama, but is also a Florida neurosurgeon serving as a member of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates; an energetic opponent of health-care reform; and the founder of the anti-reform group Doctors For Patient Freedom--sends out an e-mail, to an entire mailing list, which contains a photoshopped picture of the President as a tribal witch doctor (complete with horns through the nostrils), along with the comment "Funny stuff".

And no, we haven't actually come very far at all in this whole getting-beyond-racism effort when a Republican mayor in California created, this spring, a similarly widely-disseminated e-mail in which there is a picture of the White House lawn covered with watermelons and vines and bearing the legend "No Easter egg hunt this year."

History--ancient and recent alike. Context. They matter.

But as is so often the case, the darling Stephen Colbert says it best:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Blackwashing
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

Also at litbrit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Katie Couric Asks Glenn Beck About 'White Culture' Statement

Katie Couric asks Glenn Beck what he means about Barack Obama and "white culture." Beck awkwardly tries to duck the question.

Glenn Beck: I'm not going to get into your (cross talk) game which we already are.

Katie Couric: No, no, no. We are actually... this is completely unedited. So, if you felt like you wanted to explain it you have all the time in the world.

Beck shakes his head and grunts.

Couric: No, don't want to go there.

Racists tend to shut the fuck up when they have to explain their coded tirades. Beck wasn't about to talk about "white culture" to a national audience. If Beck actually has convictions (which I'm uncertain about) if certainly isn't going to back them outside the safe confines of the conservative media.

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Mark Foley Television Interview

Former Congressman Mark Foley discusses his new radio show "Inside the Mind of Mark Foley." I see a reality show in Foley's future.

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Lily Allen - G.W.B. F*** You Very Much

lily allen - gwb fuck you very much[].mp3 -

Lily Allen expresses her feeling to George. W. Bush in song. Probably the only person she hates more is Perez Hilton.

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Sunshine Republicans

I really wonder if Log Cabin Republicans understand how much their own party hates them. The Republican Party does not believe gays and lesbians have the right to serve in the military or marry. That does not stop Log Cabin Republicans from backing a party that treats them with utter contempt.

The Sunshine Republicans have condemned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for expressing concern over the tone of the tea bagging protests.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. -- The Sunshine Republicans – GOProud strongly condemn the words of Nancy Pelosi last week invoking the assassination of Harvey Milk in the 1970s. Pelosi’s statement is unproductive to conversation and hyper-political. While wildly over-dramatizing the nature and spirit of Americans attending tea parties and town halls in non-violent protest, Pelosi’s own rhetoric insinuates that concerned Americans are both anti-gay and irresponsible. That is very dangerous language indeed from the speaker of the house.

Pelosi said, “I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. This balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance. I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw – I saw this myself in the late ‘70s in San Francisco, this kind of rhetoric was very frightening and it created a climate in which violence took place and so I wish that we would all again curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, understanding some of the ears it’s falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement.”

The speaker’s remarks appear to be based purely on politics. Despite her alleged concern over political rhetoric, Pelosi has a long history of supporting non-violent demonstration when her own leadership is not in question. The short memory of the speaker neglects to inform you that she herself has encouraged vigorous protest when politically convenient for her own gain. During the Bush Administration for example, Pelosi often encouraged dissenters to speak up.

At a town hall in her home district in January 2006, Pelosi greeted anti-war protestors by saying “I understand your anger” and “I am a big fan of disruptors. Nothing could be more American.” Anti-war protestors approached the stage where Pelosi was addressing the group and held their signs just below the congresswoman. They were warmly greeted, “I’m fan of disruptors&hellip people who make change.” She closed her town hall with reassuring sentiment: “Let’s not question each other’s patriotism when we have this very honest debate that our country expects and deserves.”

Flash forward to 2009. On April 15th, Pelosi described tax day tea parties as “Astroturf” and denied any real grassroots concern over the way government spends our money. Speaker Pelosi joined Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in August to call the continuing protests over a government takeover of health care “anti-American”. She has consistently supported public opposition to any ideas or policies contrary to her own, though she is quick to question the motives of those who speak out against her. Last week, Pelosi stooped to a new low by slyly insinuating that concerned, patriotic Americans might lash out violently against homosexuals as a way of channeling their frustrations.

Not only are the speaker’s words regrettable and completely unfair, they are also alarming examples of exactly the same type of dangerous rhetoric that she supposedly wants to see toned down. The Sunshine Republicans – GOProud call on Pelosi to take her own advice and accept responsibility for her words. We strongly urge her to retract her dangerous and unfounded implications immediately and ask that she clarify that nonviolent protest is a welcome, responsible, and patriotic way to show dissent in America.

The Republican Party of Florida backed the anti-gay marriage Amendment 2. Chris Broughton brought guns to a tea party protest and admits he wishes death on President Obama. Conservative pundit Joe Scarborough warned that Glenn Beck's rhetoric is dangerous.

“You cannot say that the President of the United States … hates all white people. You cannot call the President of the United States a racist. You cannot wallow in conspiracy theories — as [Beck] did for about a month — suggesting that FEMA might be setting up concentration camps and going on Fox & Friends and saying. ‘I can’t disprove it.’ … You can’t stir up that type of hatred … and then say, ‘Oh, I’m just a rodeo clown,’” said Scarborough on his program.

Pelosi was in San Francisco when Harvey Milk and George Moscone were assassinated. The Sunshine Republicans consider Pelosi's concerns "dangerous rhetoric" but say nothing about tea baggers calling the President a Nazi. I'm actually giving the Sunshine Republicans more publicity than they deserve. It amazes me they would attack a pro-gay Democrat to defend the Christian fundamentalists that make up the Tea Party movement.

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Write A Caption

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Why White House Is Fighting the Public Option

I am getting tired of Rahm Emanuel trying to kill the public option. Emanuel told the Wall Street Journal the public option wasn't necessary for a health care bill. Emanuel told Charlie Rose the Senate won't pass a bill with the public option. Translation: the White House doesn't support a public option. The White House would be more aggressive for a public option if President Obama really supported it.

"I think the Senate's been clear what the prospects [are]," Emanuel said. "That doesn't mean in the House, they're not gonna come to the table and demand it."

Emanuel's political instincts are horrible. The latest New York Times/CBS News Poll has voters favoring the public option at 65 percent. Sen. Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several Congressional Democrats made it clear there will be no bill without the public option. To make matters more embarrassing: Sen. Sherrod Brown quickly refuted Emanuel.

Emanuel is "wrong, because of this: Not every Democrat right now would prefer the public option in the Senate ... but no Democrat in the end is going to vote against a procedural question to kill the health care bill," he said.

"The 60 Democrats will stay together on procedural questions and then, on final passage, some may vote against it because it's got a public option. But I don't see that," he said. Brown added that at least 50 Democrats in the Senate support the public option.

The poll numbers and congressional votes are against Obama signing a bill without a public option. To understand why the administration is taking such a bizarre course is because Obama wants a bill that is friendly to the health care industry. The White House held private meetings with health industry CEOs. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics sued and the White House made the log public. Health insurance CEOs Karen Ignagni, of America's Health Insurance Plans and Stephen J. Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group Inc had several meetings with the White House. Health insurance companies managed to get the White House to agree that all Americans are mandated to have coverage. This would increased customers for the industry. Bill Tauzin, of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America got the White House to agree to veto any legislation that would give Medicare the power to negotiate prices or import drugs from Canada. Obama was gifing the health insurance and pharmaceutical with increased profits. This explains why the White House is pushing against poll numbers and Congressional Democrats.

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Separated at Birth

PourMeCoffee notices Andrew Sullivan's uncanny resemblance to a famous celebrity.

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Quote of the Day

"Glenn Beck for President! Joe Wilson for VP!"

rd1776, on Twitter

Conservatives alienated mainstream voters in the public sphere. They now can use Twitter to make insane statements.

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Obama Crushing Potential Republican Hopefuls

The latest Public Policy Polling reveals President Barack Obama crushes the most promising 2012 Republican challengers. Former Gov. Jeb Bush polls a point below Sarah Palin. Polls have a margin of error and Palin's unfavorability is higher than Bush's. Polling at Palin's level is still embarrassing. Bush has his work cut out for him, if he plans to run.

General Election Matchups:
Obama 53 - Palin 38
Obama 50 - J. Bush 37
Obama 48 - Huckabee 41
Obama 48 - Romney 39

Favorability Ratings:
Palin 37 / 55
Huckabee 38 / 36
J. Bush 22 / 45
Romney 33 / 38

The tea bagger movement is not big enough to make a serious dent into Obama's political strength. Tea baggers are angry but they do not have the discipline to register new Republican voters and articulate policy ideas to a mainstream audience. The movement is small and is beginning to alienate mainstream voters.

Marco Rubio has hitched his political prospects on the tea baggers and conservative bloggers. Unsurprisingly, his fundraising has sucked. Erick Erickson of told The Hill he has not been able to raise money for Rubio and Chuck DeVore, Michael Williams and Pat Toomey.

No sense in being coy about it. We’re not meeting our goal. In fact, the fundraising for these four sucks.

I know cash is tight, but unless conservatives are willing to step up to the plate, we’re not going to get these guys elected and, frankly, the establishment of the Republican Party will keep ignoring us.

Let’s be honest. One of the reasons the left is so head over heels in love with the online left is because of the moonbat ability to turn on the cash. Even Ron Paul’s followers do better than conservatives.

Yes, yes, we can go to the polls in droves, etc., but cash is king in politics. And if we want to be taken seriously, we need to step up to the plate. I know that hacks some of you off. Every time I write stuff like this I get dozens of angry emails from people suffering due to Barack Obama’s economy. I get it. But you need to get it too — you want to change the Republican Party and have a seat at the table, you’ve got to launch a coup against the establishment. And the best way to do that at the present time is support these candidates who are running against the establishment.

Right now, we’ve got 15 days left and we’re no where close to meeting the $250,000.00 goal. If you can’t give, consider at least putting up the widget on your own site or asking other sites to host the widget too.

It is not the method of fundraising. It is the candidates and their message.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joe Scarborough Calls Out Glenn Beck

Joe Scarborough rightfully calls Glenn Beck out for spreading hate. Scarborough is asking other conservatives to condem Beck. Michael Barnicle predicts Beck will eventually crash and burn.

Scarborough contends Beck can't call Barack Obama a racist and then use "rodeo clown" as a defense. Beck may consider himself an entertainer, but he is responsible for his statements and the 9-12 Project.

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ACORN: the Radio Play

Ana Maie Cox did a radio play of the ACORN sting operation. The The actors are intentionally miscast. Ana Marie Cox plays the pimp. Rick Klein is the prostitute. Christina Bellantoni is the ACORN loan officer.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Telemarketer Crist

Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald got special access to Charlie Crist and report the Governor's relentless fundraising pace. Crist will wake sleeping potential donors and call on federal holidays. Crist raised $4.3 million in the first 50 days of his Senate campaign.

Crist is a political race horse. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush had that knack. They had tunnel vision on the goal of winning and an incredible ability to build their political networks. Crist is absolutely killing Marco Rubio in fundraising.

Rubio is attempting to do the conseervative version of the grassroot fundraising created on progressive blogs. The failure of this approach is the Republican Party is built from the top on down. Republican voters aren't as engaged in online political activism. Rubio has outraised Crist online $140,000 to $51,885. Rubio is still getting killed. Open Secrets shows Rubio has only received $17,610 in PAC money. Crist has $255,404 in PAC fundraising. The GOP establishment is writing off Rubio for dead. Stray poll victories aren't going to buy Rubio commercials in the Florida market.

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Glenn Beck's Early Journalism Training

Glenn Beck's early career consisted of hosting Moring Zoo radio shows and doing promotional videos with a chimpanzee. His co-host Tim Hattrick (seen in the video) had this to say about Beck.

"It was impossible to talk to him about anything without reference to how to bring it into the show. I never once saw any evidence that he could turn it off. In that sense he was a one-dimensional person. But he was great at being a grandstanding, pompous idiot and shaking the brushes for attention."


Are their any people in radio that like each other? Seriously. There is something about radio that attracts the most dysfunctional human beings.

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Charlie Crist Promotes Fast Food Jobs

Gov. Charlie Crist promotes low wage Burger King jobs as the way to restart Florida's economy.

``They provide an awful lot of jobs for people in Florida and that's really the point,'' Crist said after meeting with top executives. ``It's the economy, economy, economy, and any time I have the opportunity to visit a great Florida company that's international in scope and that really represents Miami and provides jobs . . .I'm very grateful.''

The Crist explains explains everything that is wrong with Republicans concepts of the economy. Education and job training offers people the opportunity to move forward. Fast food jobs are the bottom of the economic shithole.

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Tom Delay On Dancing With the Stars

Ladies, you will have to fan yourselves off after seeing Tom Delay (literally) shake his ass on Dancing With the Stars.

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Roy Blunt Monkey Joke At Values Voters Summit

Congressman Roy Blunt spoke at the Values Voter Summit. Blunt decided to show his values by comparing Democrats to monkeys. Blunt explained the "monkey problem" the British had in India. I don't know if Blunt intended his metaphor to be racist. Blunt has been in politics long enough to know a monkey joke in the ear of the Obama presidency isn't the most astute thing to do politically.

You know, you can't control everything there is in life that you'd like to control. Supposedly, at the turn of the 19th Century, the end of the 19th Century - the beginning of the 20th Century, there was a group of British occupiers in a very lush, very quiet, very peaceful, very uneventful part of India. And this group of British soldiers who were occupying that part of India decided they'd carve a golf course put of the jungle of India. And there was really not that much else to do.

So for over a year, this was the biggest event, getting this golf course created. And they got the golf course done and almost from the day the first ball was hit on this golf course something happened they didn't anticipate. Monkeys would come running out of the jungle [faint audience laughter] and they'd grab the golf balls. And if it was in the fairway they might throw it in the rough. And [if] it was in the rough they might throw it... they might throw it back at you! And I could go into great and long detail about how many things they did to try and eliminate the 'monkey problem.' But they never got it done, so finally this golf course and this golf course only, they passed a rule and the rule was - you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it. [audience laughter swells] And that is the rule in Washington all the time. You know... [clapping from audience]

You know the world is turned upside down when Al Franken is in the United States Senate and Tom Delay is going on "Dancing With the Stars" - that's when you know that things have changed in ways that you would have never anticipated."

Read more at: Transcript of Blunt's opening remarks.

"You know, you can't control everything there is in life that you'd like to control. Supposedly, at the turn of the 19th Century, the end of the 19th Century - the beginning of the 20th Century, there was a group of British occupiers in a very lush, very quiet, very peaceful, very uneventful part of India. And this group of British soldiers who were occupying that part of India decided they'd carve a golf course put of the jungle of India. And there was really not that much else to do.

So for over a year, this was the biggest event, getting this golf course created. And they got the golf course done and almost from the day the first ball was hit on this golf course something happened they didn't anticipate. Monkeys would come running out of the jungle [faint audience laughter] and they'd grab the golf balls. And if it was in the fairway they might throw it in the rough. And [if] it was in the rough they might throw it... they might throw it back at you! And I could go into great and long detail about how many things they did to try and eliminate the 'monkey problem.' But they never got it done, so finally this golf course and this golf course only, they passed a rule and the rule was - you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it. [audience laughter swells] And that is the rule in Washington all the time. You know... [clapping from audience]

You know the world is turned upside down when Al Franken is in the United States Senate and Tom Delay is going on "Dancing With the Stars" - that's when you know that things have changed in ways that you would have never anticipated."

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Obama's Climate Change Speech at United Nations

Obama doesn't specifically outline policy in his United Nations speech. Obama states he will work with G20 nations to limit greenhouse emissions. Obama mentions the cap and trade bill that is moving at a snail's pace in the Senate. A better alternative to cap and trade is greater regulation on companies that cause excessive greenhouse emissions. The current cap and trade bill will not cut greenhouse gases enough.

Economist Martin Feldstein explains it would be cheaper for corporations to buy permits than to switch over the greener technology. Corporations that go over approved CO2 levels would pass on the cost to cumsumers. Current power generators create CO2 at record levels. Harsher laws, fines and regulation are needed to make corporations greener. The pro-business Obama is unlikely to back such a bill. The Waxman/Markey bill American Clean Energy and Security Act will hurt consumers and do little to curb CO2 emissions.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen's bill the Cap and Dividend Act of 2009 directly addresses the cost of cap and trade. The bill will require the Treasury Department to create the Healthy Climate Trust Fund. The fund will handle fines and expenses. The program will have a website and the Treasury Secretary must report to Congress on it's progress. There is oversight and a mechanism to handle cap and trade finances. Van Hollen's bill needs to be part of the discussion.

Transcript of Obama's speech.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Public Option Alive

President Barack Obama has never previously said the public option must be in the health care bill. Senator Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have promised the public option in the bill. Obama's Joint Session of Congress speech left progressives wondering if the public option was being abandoned.

"The public option -- the public option is only a means to that end," the President said. "And we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal."

Administration officials implied a health care bill without the public option would be acceptable.

Rahm Emanuel's comments to the Wall Street Journal created a progressive backlash.

WASHINGTON -- It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said.

"The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest," he said in an interview. "The goal is non-negotiable; the path is" negotiable.

Kathleen Sebelius and Robert Gibbs made similar comments on the Sunday talk shows. The White House held private meetings with health industries companies and refused to make the visitor logs public. Obama attempted to have Tom Daschle appointed as Health and Human Services secretary. Daschle is a paid advisor for UnitedHealth and Tennessee Hospital Association. He has also worked as a lobbyist. Daschle has been going to the White House in attempts to steer Obama from the public option. To make matters worst: a memo of the deal the White House and Max Baucus struck with the pharmaceutical industry has been leaked to Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim.

The Baucus bill has been greeted with contempt. Senator Jay Rockefeller said he won't support the Baucus mark up.

"There are only about 4 to 7 [Co-ops] that exist [nationwide]. And I’m very skeptical… of starting up a system that doesn’t work."

Rep. Anthony Weiner called the bill "dead on arrival."

President Obama has had a sudden change of heart. The Hill reports Obama gave a near endorsement of the public option.

"I absolutely do not believe that it's dead," Obama told Univision. "I think that it's something that we can still include as part of a comprehensive reform effort."

Blogger Jesse Livermore predicted in August that the Baucus bill would fail. I agree that the bill will pass by reconciliation.

Side note: Health care industry officials that met privately with the White House.

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