Friday, December 18, 2009


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Hell Toupee

Back in the 1980s in Upstate New York, one of the UHF TV stations (23?) had a weekly "Bad Cinema" night.I believe it was literally called "Bad Cinema". They played the cheesiest old SciFi, horror, etc. One night they had a movie, can't remember the name of it, the plot being an island was haunted, and the townsfolk were heading out to get rid of the demons. An old farmer dude, or maybe he was a fisherman, says "You can't scare off demons with a shotgun!"

Lagniappe: Baby Snake Oil, He Licks Her

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG."

Howard Dean, in a Washington Post op-ed

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Bernie Sanders Not Voting For Current Health Care Bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Fox News' Neil Cavuto he cann not vote for the current Senate health care bill.

Cavuto: So they gain Joe Lieberman and lose you. That sounds like a wash.

That is exactly what it is.

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Pancakes Are More Than For Breakfast

CFO Alex Sink is demanding the resignation of Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos and her aide Kevin Thibault. The latter sent emails to Kopelousos with the code words "pancake," "pancakes" and "french toast." The two were not making plans to hit Denny's grand slam breakfast menu. The words refered to the CSX contract for the recently approved Sunrail deal. The Sunshine law requires all government business be conducted in the open. Kopelousos gave an explanation that doesn't pass the laugh test.

"There was nothing more, nothing less than just that," said Kopelousos, appointed by Crist in 2007. "We were not trying to circumvent any public records request. It was just a mere eye-catcher so I would look at the e-mail."

Sink sent an email out to supporters demanding the immediate removal of Kopelousos and Thibault.

Dear Friend,

Like many of you, I woke up Monday only to learn that Florida Department of Transportation officials -- including Transportation Secretary Kopelousos -- may have deliberately used code words like “pancakes” and “waffles” during the back-room crafting of commuter rail legislation in order to disguise their communications and avoid the scrutiny of public record requests.

Apparently, these government officials, YOUR government officials, may have decided "pancakes" aren't just for breakfast anymore -- but, instead, are a way to duck transparency and cover their actions.

It's not cute, nor clever. It is outrageous. We have to change the way that the people's business is done in Tallahassee. That means holding our state government accountable and ensuring that Florida officials are living up to our state’s name -- and reputation -- as The Sunshine State.

That's why I called on Governor Charlie Crist to investigate this violation of Florida's "Sunshine Law" and hold every government official involved in this scheme accountable.

If Secretary Kopelousos and her staff have been hiding their communications from the people of Florida, they should immediately resign. Floridians deserve better than the deceptive conduct that has become commonplace in Tallahassee.

It's time to let the sunshine in and hold the career politicians accountable. Please forward this email to everyone you know -- and make sure Tallahassee knows that we're watching.

Gov. Charlie Crist originally defended Kopelousos. After catching heat from Republican State Senator Paula Dockery, Crist asked the state's inspector general to investigate the emails. My experience is Florida ethics investigations tend to go nowhere. What works against Kopelousos is Crist, Sink and Dockery are running for office. Crist doesn't need the hassle and Sink and Dockery are running as reformers.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grayson Against Afghanistan Surge

Alan Grayson is breaking with President Barack Obama on Afghanistan.

“Isn’t it more important to make sure 47 million Americans can go see a doctor when they need to, than it is send our young men and women across an ocean and across a continent to fight who knows what,” he said in a press conference. “Isn’t it more important to spend our money on schools instead of bullets?”

I wonder how long it is until other Democrats started breaking ranks. I originally supported Gen. McChrystal additional troop request. Obama's confusing West Point speech changed my opinion. I don't believe Obama thinks Afghanistan is worth fighting for. The President sent troops for his political survival. It is hard to respect a man that places his re-election hopes above the lives of young men and women in uniform.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

My sincere apologies to bestiality supporters in Florida

The first time I ever heard about bestiality laws, or rather the lack of them, I was working at a small community newspaper outside of Phoenix, Ariz in the spring of 2006. I had just called a source and we were chatting on the line, when my colleague Tommy returned from a recent interview and the words "fucked a sheep" rang in my ear.

"What?" I blurted out, right in the middle of the phone call.

Tommy saw I was on the phone, but he didn't care. His face was red from laughter and tears were streaming from his eyes.

"I was just at --" his words broke up, because he was laughing so hard, "the home of the fire chief. He's been arrested, for, for ..."

He could barely finish.

" . . . fucking a sheep!"

And with that, the whole office stopped what they were doing with looks of shock and awe. I quickly ended my conversation and Tommy filled me in with all the gruesome details.

Read more »

St. Petersburg Homeless Image street newspaper debuts

If you traveled downtown at all this weekend, you may have spotted folks hawking an unfamiliar newspaper.

The St. Petersburg Homeless Image -- a forum for advocates, homeless and formerly homeless people, students and the general public -- made its debut this weekend on the streets of St. Pete. The paper includes articles on the homeless lawsuit against the city, St. Pete's designation as "Second Meanest City," a blistering attack on the St. Petersburg Times for their recent article against panhandling and passionate obits on recent street people who died.

The paper is the brainchild of G.W. Rolle, a formerly homeless man who serves on the county's Homeless Leadership Network. The project grew out of a need to provide accurate, passionate news and opinions to the people of St. Pete during an unusually hostile atmosphere toward the homeless. Plus, through a generous vendor program, the paper provides an economic opportunity to the city's homeless. They can sell the paper for a profit and, besides getting some extra cash, learn valuable job skills. Rolle told me it's a good alternative to panhandling.

The idea is nothing new. In 19 cities throughout the United States and Canada, "street newspapers" have proven effective in giving homeless people a "hand-up" instead of a "hand-out." Street newspapers even have a national umbrella organization backing them.

If you pick up a copy -- and you should -- you'll find a few articles written by myself and some homeless advocates across the county. The design and editing needs a little work, but the St. Petersburg Image is a good example of the kind of alternative journalism we need in St. Pete.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Poodle Bites, The Poodle Chews It.

Lagniappe: In case you missed it, the CBC has a three part radio show about Zappa, I Am All Day and Night: The Music of Frank Zappa. Tip of the hat to DarkBlack.

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Quote of the Day

"Plus there are the Republicans using procedures, parliamentary procedures, and offering all these amendments. Now the purpose -- I talked to Sen. McConnell about the purpose of the amendments. He said we're trying to flush out with these amendments, just who it is that really we have to focus on here. And the two names that he mentioned were Ben Nelson and Jim Webb in Virginia. Because there's something that Webb is not going along with the Democrats on, I forget specifically what it is. My point in mentioning all this is, that the Republicans in the Senate are using parliamentary procedures, they are offering all these amendments, not to make the bill better, but to flush out and to find out who it is that they really need to work with to stop this. That is their objective, to stop it."

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show

The Party of No strikes again. Republican don't care about health care. The only thing on their radar is the midterm elections and pleasing their corporate base.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jim Greer is Not Making Friends

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer is not endearing himself to conservatives. There is a Facebook group called "Is Jim Greer an alien?" Being mocked by the party's base is not a good sign. At issue is Greer actively supporting Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in the Republican Senate primary. Another issue is Greer's unwillingness to have transparency for the credit card expenses of former Florida House Speaker Ray Samson. Former RNC finance chairman Al Hoffman has taken issue with the latter. Lawson is asking Greer to resign.

Dear Jim,

As a former finance chairman of several gubernatorial campaigns, finance co-chair of two presidential campaigns, as well as finance chair of the Republican National Committee (twice) I am writing to express my opinion that It is time for you to resign.

It is time for you to resign in order to end the excessive, irresponsible, unethical, and perhaps illegal spending that has marked your administration and has moved the Republican Party from millions of dollars in surplus at the time you took office to millions of dollars in deficit by the end of this month.

It is time for you to resign in order to restore faith in the ability of the party to spend wisely and restore confidence in the many of our donor base who have withheld giving as long as you are at the helm, myself included.

It is time for you to resign in order for all Republican candidates to have a better chance for success in 2010, a critical election year. They simply cannot try to run viable campaigns at the same time they are bound by the yoke of trying to defend their party chairman's actions and off the wall statements.

It is time for you to resign in order to avoid a near certain disastrous public spectacle if the rest of the party leadership is forced to resort to removing you from office this coming year.

Finally, it is time for you to resign for your own best interests and more importantly, for the good of the party to have fresh and strong leadership that is above reproach

Al Hoffman

Greer is not going to resign. Gov. Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum are in difficult races. The Florida Republican status quo needs Greer right where he is at.

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Dodd Fact-Checks Republicans

Sen. Chris Dodd blasts Republicans for false claims that they were not included in the health care bill writing process. Dodd proves this by noting Sen. Mike Enzi wrote 41 amendments to the Senate bill. He notes the irony of Republicans wanting to help write a a public option health care bill. Republicans stating from the get go they would not vote for any bill containing the public option.

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Acoustic Habakookah

Lagniappe: The return of a holiday classic: Zombie Woof Parts One and Two

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Write A Caption

Boehner: Tiger, I like to introduce you to John Ensign.

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Metric Music Goodies

I can't get enough of Metric. I just recently discovered the band. I haven't been excited about a band in awhile.

Satellite Mind mp3

Help Me Alive mp3

Don't Think Twice It's Alright mp3

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Quote of the Day

"You know, look. The purpose of this [the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)] was to stabilize the financial sector, which it did. And then, the intention was that any unspent monies or any money that was returned to the taxpayers would go to deficit reduction. Since President Obama came to office, the federal deficit has grown by $1.46 trillion. That is 1,460 billions of dollars."

Karl Rove, on Fox and Friends

Boy that is a big whopper of a lie. The Congressional Budget Office reports the federal deficit was $1.2 billion on January 7,2009. The date was shortly before President Obama was sworn into office. I am less than thrilled with Obama's lack of fiscal conservatism. However, for Rove to blame Obama for the deficit takes brass balls.

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Fox News Isn't Good At Math

The graphics at Fox News News continues to be a source of humor. Fox News showed Rasmussen poll asking respondants if global warming scientists were rigging their research. Notice the poll numbers add up to 120 percent. Unsurprisingly, Media Matters reports Fox News falsely reported the poll numbers.

The actual poll numbers.

3* In order to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming, how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data?

35% Very likely
24% Somewhat likely
21% Not very likely
5% Not at all likely
15% Not sure

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Alan Grayson on Hardball

Rep. Alan Grayson goes on Hardball and says Dick Cheney should STFU. Literally. Grayson also talks about the changes in the health care bill. He wants all Americans to have access to the Medicare provider network.

Update: Wrong video earlier. My bad.

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Quote of the Day

"How much is man really responsible for, how much happens naturally? It’s climate change – the climate has been changing for eons. It’s not global warming. It’s the climate. There are natural occurences that are taking place."

Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson

Bronson also told reporter Josh Hafenbrack he is a global warming "skeptic" and took a shot at Al Gore. Way to keep it classy, Chuck.


Obama's Welfare For the Health Care Industry

A new CBS poll shows President Barack Obama has a better approval rating on Afghanistan and the economy than for health care.

Obama Approval Poll Numbers

Overall - 50 percent
Afghanistan - 48 percent
Economy - 47 percent
Health care 42 percent

59 percent of Americans favor the public option. 29 percent of Americans oppose. Politically, it made no sense for Obama to oppose the public option. It makes more sense when one understands the White House refused to release the names of health care industry officials that had meetings at the White House. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to force the White House to release the list of names.

• February 4 (meeting with Tina Tchen)
• February 23 (meeting with president)
• March 5 (meeting with president)
• March 25 (meeting with Jennifer Cannistra)
• March 30 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)
• April 6 (meeting with Tina Tchen)
• May 22 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

J. James Rohack (President-elect, American Medical Ass'n.):

• March 25 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)
• June 22 (meeting with president)
• June 24 (meetings with Clare Gallagher and president)

William Weldon (Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson):

• May 12 (meeting with president)

Jeffrey B. Kindler (Chairman and CEO, Pfizer Inc.):

• March 5 (meeting with president)
• May 6 (meetings with Sarah Fenn and Elizabeth Bafford)
• June 2 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

Stephen J. Hemsley (President, CEO, Director, UnitedHealth Group, Inc.):

• May 15 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
• May 22 (meeting with Peter Orszag)
• July 14 (meeting with Aneesh Chopra)

Angela Braly (President, CEO, Director, WellPoint, Inc.):

• February 13 (meeting with president)

George Halvorson (Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan):

• March 27 (meeting with Keith Fontenot)
• June 5 (meeting with Peter Orszag)
• July 23 (meeting with Kathleen Sibelius)
• July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

Jay Gellert (President and CEO, Health Net, Inc.):

• February 10 (meeting with Tina Tchen)
• March 11 (meeting with Jennifer Cannistra)
• March 20 (meeting with Matt Flavin)
• July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

Thomas Priselac (President and CEO, Cedars-Sinai Health System):

• April 3 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)

Richard Clark (Chairman, President and CEO, Merck):

• March 24 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)

Wayne T. Smith (Chairman, President and CEO, Community Health Systems):

• June 4 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

Rick Smith (Sr. Vice President, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America):

• May 19 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
• June 2 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
• July 7 (meeting with Jim Messina)
• July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

Obama does not support a public option. The President does support very American being required to buy private health insurance. This will give the health insurance industry new custumers. The White House made an agreement with the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association to not allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug rates. Contrary to what the tea baggers believe, the only welfare Obama supports his for corporations.

Politico's Ben Smith received a letter from a heath care industry official. The health care industry is doing a victory lap.

"We WIN," the insider writes. "Administered by private insurance companies. No government funding. No government insurance competitor.”

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SunRail Funding

According to Sen. Bill Nelson, the federal government has agreed to give SunRail $40 million in funding. The House and Senate still has to finalize the deal. The White House supports the SunRail project.

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Rachel Maddow Interviews Bernie Sanders

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sen. Bernie Sanders tells Rachel Maddow the public option is dead. Sanders has reservations about the new proposal bering floated in the Senate. Unfortunately, no one is sure what is going to replace the public option.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Superchunk - Cool

This is Superchunk performing Cool at the Whiskey Go Go in 1992.

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Quote of the Day

"They’d all walk to the front of the House and, laughingly and jokingly, put their arms around each other’s shoulder like it was some kind of clownish fun. And they did this over and over to make sure every vote took half an hour. That’s how low things have gotten. I could give you countless examples just like that. They’re simply obstructionists and there’s nothing you can do about it."

Rep. Alan Grayson, on House Republicans intentionally forgetting their voting cards


Attack of the Tomatoes

I am not a Sarah Palin fan. That said, I do not condone people throwing tomatoes at political figures. It is an act of stupidity and could cause a violent situation. Palin wasn't hit. A police officer providing security was struck with a tomato.

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Is the Public Option Dead?

Josh Marshall reports the public option is dead.

The AP is reporting that the Senate Dems have come to a tentative deal, which drops the Public Option from the senate health care bill. What is in its place, if anything, is not clear.

The Associated Press lacks details about why the public option was dropped. What is clear is Majority Leader Harry Reid ruled ruled cloture to pass the public option with less than 60 votes. This is a tactical mistake. I understand the Senate health care bill would be debated and voted on in piece meal. I actually think that is a great idea.

The good news is Sen. Ben Nelson's anti-abortion amendment failed on a 54 to 45 vote. Nelson said the amendment's failure "makes it harder to be supportive." Like Nelson was actually going to vote for the public option. Nelson just wanted to get his amendment in.

What is clear is President Barack Obama's lack of leadership on the public option. Mainly, the President and Rahm Emanuel have been trying to kill the public option. As much as people such as Kenneth Quinnell, want to have you believe the fantasy that Obama supported the public option. Obama told Senate Democrats he prefers a trigger. Obama spoke to Senate Democrats this weekend and didn't once mention the public option or Nelson's anti-abortion amendment. Obama is not conserned with protecting women reproductive rights or creating a competitive health care market. Obama wants a political victory and to increase business of the health insurance industry. The lobbying money from insurance companies will help Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Cenk Uygur blasts Obama for not lobbying for the public option. Is this the change Democratic voters were expecting?

Update: Jay Rockefeller confirms there will be no Medicaid expansion deal.

This afternoon, Jay Rockefeller said that the new proposal to expand Medicaid coverage for those who are 133% to 150% above the federal poverty line was dropped during a meeting of key legislators this morning. “I was sad this morning,” Rockefeller told me and a few other reporters. “We walked in, and it was 133[%] to 140[%], then it’s staying at 133... So we didn’t get anything.”

Kent Conrad said Governors did not want to pay funding into Medicaid. Considering the current economic situation that is understandable.

Update: the opt-out public option is gone. Medicare will be expanded for people 55 to 64 for people 133 percent above the poverty line. The idea is to reduce cost. We just added people to the Medicare rolls that can't afford health insurance. There are good arguments to add these people for medical and humanitarian reasons. The Senate is not addressing rising health care cost. That was the whole point of the debate. This is a victory for the health industry lobbyists.

I am not even going to waste my time discussing the trigger.

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Strangest Anti-Health Care Reform Ad Ever

Rev. Jess Jackson said, "You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man." A strange anti-health care ad has people looking into the camera saying, "I guess I am racist." The filmmaker responsible for the ad is Ray Griggs. The target of Griggs ad is white people that feel oppressed by black leaders, such as Jesse Jackson. The Democratic Party no longer pays attention to Jackson. The people that would respond to Griggs ad are not going to be seen in civil right marches singing We Shall Overcome.

The problem with the ad is anti-health care reform Americans are looking into the camera declaring themselves racists. I understand the statement is meant as sarcasm. (Barely.) Many others will not. Republicans publicly lament why black people do not join the GOP. Look no further than this ad. This ad will appeal to the most conservative Republican voters. The ad isn't going to make young Americans want to change their voter registration.

Side note: I understand the ad is not sponsored by the RNC. People can be against the health care reform bills in the House and Senate and not be racist. There can be an intelligent dialogue about the pros and con of health care reform. Unfortunately, conservatives have resorted to fearmongering. Tea Party protesters holding signs of President Obama cutting Uncle Sam's throat is racist and unacceptable.

Photo by Edward Favara

The conservative movement does not care if it is viewed as racists. Conservatives will argue the mainstram media is too PC. These true believers are attempting to purge moderate Republicans. The tea party movement cost the Republican Party a New York Congressional seat. Republicans astroturfed a movement they now can not control. The stupidity of it really should not amaze me.

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Florida Nurses Association Health Care Forum

The Florida Nurses Association will be hosting a health care forum for Florida House District 46 voters. The forum will be held on December 10, 2009.

The Florida Nurses Association District 46 is proud to announce a very important community event. On December 10th, 2009 District 46 will be hosting a public panel discussion forum that will discuss the proposed federal healthcare reform legislation, it’s impact on healthcare delivery and what it means for you!
This panel is a non-partisan panel of experts who will discuss the proposed legislation, educate the audience on the details of the proposed bills and discuss the potential impact of this important legislation.

The panel will provide important information on how you can influence the outcome of this legislation and become more politically active!

This event is open to all and is free of charge. Refreshments will be served.

The Florida Nurses Association held a December 1st forum with a panel that leaned anti-health care reform. Tea bagger Dr. David McKalip gain national exposure for sending a racist photshopped email of President Barack Obama, dressed as a with doctor. Shawn Foster came as a representative of Gus Bilirakis' office. Bilirakis voted against the House health care reform bill. Bill Newton spoke on bahalf of the American Consumer Council. The group has lobbied their supporters to push centrist Senate Democrats to support the health care bill.

I am not aware who will be at the December 10 forum. Here is the information on the event.

Date: Thursday, December 10, 2009

Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Location: Sunshine Center Multi Services Senior Center 330 5th St N Saint Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 893-7101

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SunRail Deal Passes

The Florida Senate passed the SunRail bill 27-10. The vote was not as close as expected. Gov. Charlie Crist did some rare lobbying on behalf of the bill. Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. George Lemieux issued a joint letter expressing their support. A major surprise was Republican lawmakers making a deal with AFL-CIO President Mike Williams to preserve union jobs.

“Our goal of stopping the displacement of federally-qualified railroad workers from Florida’s passenger and freight railroads will not be compromised as experienced rail workers will continue to maintain Florida’s railways,” Williams said.

South Florida's Tri-Rail will get state funding to keep it solvent. 13,000 riders use Tri-Rail daily. The rail is an asset but hasn't been able to make a profit.

My problems with the SunRail proposal is CSX is protected from liability. Florida is buying the track from CSX. So the state does bear responsibility. Sen. Paula Dockery made the best argument for why the CSX deal is one-sided.

"We are paying them," Dockery said, "10 times what their corridor is worth for the honor of owning that corridor. It's now our corridor. So they're introducing freight into our passenger rail corridor. They should be indemnifying us. Not the other way around."

Senate President J.D. Alexander has land near the track that would dramatically increase with the new commutor line. Rep. Baxter Troutman asked made a big stick about Alexander having a conflict of interest. Troutman and Alexander are estranged cousins. So make your own judgement on what that feud is about. If anyone knows, feel free to drop a comment.

Interstate I-4 is a mess. A passanger rail from Tampa to Orlando makes sense. I didn't support the last SunRail deal. Unlike other progressives, I am not 100 percent sold on light rail as a tranportation fix. I understand the green and congestion arguments. The problem is light rail making a profit. Tri-Rail is a perfect example of a light rail program not able to stay financially solvent. The Florida Department of Tranportation is going to have to figure out a way to promote rail to the public.

If I was in the Florida Senate, I would have voted yes. The CSX deal isn't perfect but we need to look into a tranportation future and start dealing with gridlock.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Domestic Violence in Afghanistan

This is a horrifying video of a Afghan woman whom had her face and ear cut off by her husband. This same abusive man poured hot water on his child. There is absolutely no excuse for a man to do this to his wife and child. The Afghanistan culture is so back ass. I wish I knew how to stop this knid of violent behavior. Whether it is the Taliban or the United States controlling the provinces, the vicious cycle of violence against women and children continues.

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Rep. Michael Scionti Moves to Pentagon

Florida House Rep. Michael Scionti has accepted the position of deputy assistant secretary of defense. His official job title is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intergovernmental Affairs and Homeland Defense. Scionti will organize homeland security between the Defense Department and local governments.

“I am very excited. It’s a little bittersweet,” Scionti said. “I thoroughly have enjoyed representing District 58, and my constituency, their support and confidence in me, fills me with pride. And I know that this is another level of responsibility that I have been working toward, through my military career. This is a nice way of dovetailing both public service and military service for the betterment of our country, and for the betterment of our men and women serving in harm’s way.”

Scionti is an Army veteran and served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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No Deadline For Afghanistan Withdrawal

Sec. of Defense Robert Gates and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton told Bob Schieffer there is no absolute deadline to pull troops out of Afghanistan. Gates and Clinton do their best to spin. The fact is President Barack Obama said troops will start pulling out in July of 2011.

But taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We'll continue to advise and assist Afghanistan's security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government -- and, more importantly, to the Afghan people -- that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.

White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs told CBS News Chip Reid the july 2001 deadline was locked in. Troops would be coming home at the deadline. Clinton and Gates are publicly stating there is no guarantee of U.S. military personal coming back at that time.

SCHIEFFER: But Mr. Secretary, is there a deadline or is there not?

GATES: There isn’t a deadline. What we have is a specific date on which we will begin transferring responsibility for security district by district, province by province in Afghanistan to the Afghans. The process of that and the subsequent thinning of our forces will take place over a period of time and will happen and will be done based on conditions on the ground. And the decision on that will be made by our commanders in the field.

Clinton told Schieffer troops will come home based "on conditions on the ground."

SCHIEFFER: But does that mean, Madame Secretary, that American forces will still be there as we start… That they’re not going to start bringing the troops home? That we’ll just begin handing over responsibility?

CLINTON: No, it means that as we assess the conditions on the ground we will be transferring responsibility to the Afghans. And depending on the assessment at the time, that means some of our troops can begin coming home. I think that…

SCHIEFFER: Can begin coming home?

CLINTON: Absolutely, can begin coming home.

SCHIEFFER: But not will begin coming home?

The Obama administration is starting to sound like the Bush administration. I have been hawkish on Afghanistan and was hoping for an increase in Special Forces missions into Pakistan to hunt down al-Qaeda. There is no talk about capturing or killing Osama bin Laden or destroying al-Qaeda in their Pakistan hiding places. (Or wherever the hell they are.) Obama is esculating a war with a fantasy of President Karzai's corrupt government being able to create military and police forces. Karzai wants America in Afghanistan forever. The moment America leaves his corrupt regime will leave.

Obama is playing centrist politics with Afghanistan. He doesn't want to be accused of being weak by Republicans. Obama also wants to keep the anti-war Democratic base happy with a deadline. The only thing Obama has successfully done is piss off both sides. This is cynical politics at it's worse.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Pixies - Hey

The Pixies perform Hey on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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Joel Award: Charles Krauthammer

It is time to give out the Joel Award. The award goes any celebrity, pundit, blogger or politician that purposely contradicts himself or herself.

This 2004 comedy gem by Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is worth revisiting. Krauthammer's neoconservative declares President Bush's Afghanistan invasion a resounding success.

President Bush put in place a military campaign that did in two months what everyone had said was impossible: defeat an entrenched, fanatical, ruthless regime in a territory that had forced the great British and Soviet empires into ignominious retreat. Bush followed that by creating in less than three years a fledgling pro-American democracy in a land that had no history of democratic culture and was just emerging from 25 years of civil war.

In 2009, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai rigged the election to favor himself. Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali, is one of the most powerful heroin traffickers in the world. The Taliban presence is at it's strongest since the invasion. A 2007 International Council on Security and Development report found the Taliban controlled 54 percent of Afghanistan. Apparently, the Taliban didn't realize Krauthammer declared Bush the victor.

Krauthammer on President Barack Obama's West Point speech.

No one expected Obama to do a Henry V or a Churchill. But Obama could not even manage a George W. Bush, who, at an infinitely lower ebb in power and popularity, opposed by the political and foreign policy establishments and dealing with a war effort in far more dire straits, announced his surge -- Iraq 2007 -- with outright rejection of withdrawal or retreat. His implacability was widely decried at home as stubbornness, but heard loudly in Iraq by those fighting for and against us as unflinching -- and salutary -- determination.

What about Bush's handling of Afghanistan in 2007. Krauthammer is suffering from selective memory loss. He declared mission accomplished in Afghanistan. For Afghanistan's sake Obama should avoid doing a Bush.

Krauthammer should be ignored on foreign policy matters. He argued for the Iraq invasion on the basis of weapons of mass destruction. His neocon heart supports torture. Do neocons, such as Krauthammer get to decide who is a terrorist? The neocons' track record wasn't so great on WMDs. How many innocent people will have to be tortured to satisfy Krauthammer's thirst for blood? If there are innocent people tortured don't expect, people like Krauthammer, to turn themselves in to the authorities. They might be tortured by the oppressive justice system they wished to create.

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Is This Change?

Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner has funneled repaid bailout through AIG to pay Goldman Sach's naked credit default swaps. Repaid bailout money was suppose to be given to community banks to loan out to small businesses.

The President increased the Defense Department budget by 4 percent.

The White House has been against Sen. Chris Dodd's attempts to reform the Federal Reserve. The current administration desperately wants to protect the status quo of the financial and insurance sectors that caused the recession.

So must for "change." I know we are in a economic crisi but it would be nice if Obama pretended to care about spending. Actual caring is another matter.

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Obama Talks to Senate Democrats

President Barack Obama urged Senate Democrats to finish work on the health care bill. The President met with Democrats near the Senate floor. Obama did not address controversial issues, such as the House Stupak-Pitts anti-abortion amendment or using cloture. Obama's talk was a pep rally speech that didn't affect Democrats on the liberal or conservative ends. Sen. Roland Burris reiterated he will only support a bill with the public option.

"My position has not changed at all," said Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL). "I've compromised from a single payer, to a strong public option with Medicare plus five, to now a negotiated bill with an opt out. So I've made my moves."

Sen. Ben Nelson will continue, in his attempts, to kill the health care bill.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told reporters Obama's presentation was only persuasive to those who have already decided to vote for the bill. "I think he was...for those who have made a decision to be supportive, I think he was persuasive," Nelson said.

Nelson's stance his to support his base: lobbyists. reveals Nelson has benefitted from the generosity of insurance companies and the health care industries.

Insurance - $1,258,299

Health Professionals - $452,045

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products - $288,583

Nelson is using the House's Stupak-Pitts amendment as a devisive wedge to kill the health care bill. The Hyde amendment already makes federal funds for abortion illegal. What Nelson is pushing for is force health insurers to drop abortion coverage. Insurance companies paticipating in the health care exchanges do not want to worry about being in violation of federal laws. It is easier for health insurance companies to drop abortion coverage. Nelson has always been anti-abortion. Nelson didn't voice his concerns about abortion coverage until after the Stupak-Pitts amendment was placed in the House bill.

Ezra Klein argues the public option is not necessary for the health care bill.

Do we allow a health care bill that will not allow Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry for lower drug prices? The government is forbidden from making the same kind of deals Wal-Mart makes with the pharmaceutical companies.

Do we want a bill that would discourage health insurance companies from providing private coverage for abortions? Let alone the restrictions put on publicly financed abortions.

Do we want a bill that would mandate every American buying health insurance but no public option or exchanges to control costs?

My answer to these questions is a resounding no.

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A Spy in the House of Love


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Orrin Hatch Doesn't Like Reading

Orrin Hatch doesn't like the Senate health care bill because it is too long. Would Hatch be happier if CliffsNotes came out with their edition of the health care bill.

HATCH: It's 2074 pages long! It's enough to make you barf!

I feel the same way about Hatch's extremely whiny ass voice.

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Scott Rothstein: Self-Paid Man

Scott Rothstein paid himself $35.7 million in 2008. Rothstein was recently indicted for running a Ponzi scheme. Included in the charges are mail fraud, wire fraud, and several charges to money laundering. Rothstein's associates were also rewarded hamesomely for their illegal activities.

• Rothstein, CEO: $35.7 million in 2008, $10.5 million through Halloween.

• Stuart Rosenfeldt, president: $6 million in 2008, $850,000 through Halloween.

• Russell Adler, vice president: $890,000 in 2008, $850,000 through Halloween.

• Grant Smith, assistant managing shareholder: $335,000 in 2008, $330,000 in 2009.

• David Boden, general counsel: $640,000 in 2008, $380,000 through Halloween.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Zappadan 2009 Link Button

Clicking on the cartoon should take you to Fried Green al-Qaedas, where Mr. Hoback is doing the Zappadan 2009 round-up. Feel free to swipe this cartoon for a link button at your own site.

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Friday, December 04, 2009


The First Miracle of Zappadan here at the Zencomix Studio...I bought this Bic X-Fine 0.5 mm ballpoint pen at The National Bookstore in Baguio, Philippines 5 and 1/2 years ago for 19 pisos, or about 40 cents. I've tried in vain to find similar ballpoint pens since then, but they don't make 'em like that anymore.

To get a point that fine, you have to buy a gel ink or marker type pen, and I find them inferior for some of my needs.This pen not only drew a fine line, but you could manipulate the darkness of the line by changing the pressure you apply to the paper. You can't really do that with the marker or gel inks. This Extra fine X-Fine pen served me well over the years, but it gave up its last breath of ink in the service of drawing The Ghost of Frank Zappa's Hair. R.I.P old friend...


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Marco Rubio Sunrail Flip Flop

Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio used to be for Sunrail. That was before stimulus money was going to be used for Sunrail. Rubio couldn't resist an opportunity to bash President Barack Obama for political gain. Rubio released a statement announcing his stance against Sunrail.

In a statement from his campaign today: "We should be wary of all the promises floating around Tallahassee about how much this latest round of government spending will create lasting jobs and prosperity. Rail projects have merit as transportation and infrastructure policy. But selling SunRail as a job issue, as Charlie Crist, has chosen to do, is a stretch. If the nearly $800 billion Obama-Crist stimulus plan didn't create the jobs they promised, how can we believe a new train system is going to live up to its promises?

"In addition, I disagree with Governor Crist's claim that he doesn't care where the money come from to pay for this project. I care a lot, because it's coming from borrowed and printed money that is ultimately coming from my children and their generation."

Rubio used fearmongering to make the baseless claim that Obama and Gov. Charlie Crist support homeless sex offenders. As Florida House Speaker, Rubio supported bills being published in English and Spanish. Rubio changed his position when he became a Senate candidate. Rubio doesn't have conservative principles. He is a politician enslaved to poll numbers and conservative talking points.

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Friday Cat Blogging

A young girl petting her pet lynx. If you listen carefully you cat hear the cat purring.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009


NARAL has launched an 30 second ad urging voters to voice their dissent against the anti-abortion Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House health care bill. There is a petition pro-choice voters can sign. The signatures will be delivered to Democratic Senators.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

X - See How We Are

See How We Are (LP Version) - X

A remember absolutely being blown away the first time I heard this song. Joe Doe wrote the song Bruce Springsteen has spent his whole career attempting to write. Doe conveyed the feeling of lost and misery many Americans feel. This is one of my all-time favorite songs.

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Phone Sex With Charlie Crist

Post On Politics reports a Charlie Crist answering machine voice message refers calls to a phone sex chat line. The refered numbers was suppose to be for Kidcare. Parents were greeted with this exciting message.

“Hey there, sexy guy. Welcome to an exciting new way to go live, one on one, with hot, horny girls waiting right now to talk to you.”

Audio is below:

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Jane Hamsher On Health Care Bill

The Young Turks interviews Jane Hamsher about the difficulties getting the health care bill through the Senate. Senators Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln have promised to filibuster. Rahm Emanuel has pressured Harry Reid to dump the public option for the trigger. Republicans don't habve the power to stop a health care bill. The problem is corporatist Democrats and a neoliberal President.

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Obama Firm On Afghanistan Deadline

CBS News' Chip Reid reports President Barack Obama is going to stay firm on the July 2011 for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.

I asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs if senators were incorrect calling the date a "target."

After the briefing, Gibbs went to the president for clarification. Gibbs then called me to his office to relate what the president said. The president told him it IS locked in – there is no flexibility. Troops WILL start coming home in July 2011. Period. It's etched in stone. Gibbs said he even had the chisel.

I do not see Obama being able to keep that promise. The Hamid Karzai government is corrupt. Former Deputy Special Representative Peter Galbraith says he was ordered to cover up the fixed election.

“At other critical stages in the election process,” he wrote in The Washington Post, “I was similarly ordered not to pursue the issue of fraud.

The New York Times reports Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghanistan's president, is a major player in the heroin trade. Afghanistan's CIA station chief attempted to have President Karzai move his brother out of the country to no avail.

The current number of Afghan born troops is 90,000. The police force is 93,000. Police jobs are auctioned off. High ranking police officers use their positions to enrich themselves. Afghanistan is ranked as the second most corrupt country in the world. There is no realistic way for Afghanistan to reach the benchmarks Obama has set.

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Republicans Heart Nuclear Waste

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. 111 House Republicans voted against The Radioactive Import Deterrence Act. The bill bans the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from granting licences to corporations to import nuclear waste into America. House Republican firmly support using American soil as the nuclear waste dumping ground of the world. Seriously, are Congressional Republicans smoking crack.

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Heat On Blanche Lincoln

Howard Dean floats the idea of Democrats running a primary opponent against Sen. Blanche Lincoln. She loudly said she plans on filibustering the health care bill. Another good reason for Democrats to run a primary opponent is to keep the seat. Lincoln's polling numbers are bad.

SCHULTZ: What do you say to progressive groups that want to put a progressive candidate up against Blanche Lincoln in a primary down in Arkansas? Is that a fool’s errand? Does that have merit, in your opinion?

DEAN: I think it does. The Democrats are pretty progressives. We’ve done some polling in Arkansas, Democracy for America, which I consult for. The majority of people in Arkansas and especially the majority of Democrats, want a public option.


SCHULTZ: Blanche Lincoln is polling behind. There are nine possible candidates on the Republican side in Arkansas. Blanche Lincoln is behind every single one of them in a poll. Wouldn’t it be good money spent on the part of the Democrats to go in there and get somebody who’s really going to do something about health care reform? Wouldn’t that be a good dollar to spend?

DEAN: Well, you know, there are some people talking about running in the primary down there. I’ve heard the lieutenant governor is thinking about running. And he’s just organized a whole series of huge clinics, free clinics. You know, that could happen.

Look, you have to stick with your base. If you don’t stick with your base, you can’t win elections. That’s what happened in Virginia and New Jersey this year, is the core people that got Barack Obama elected to the presidency didn’t show up for the gubernatorial candidates.

Part of the reason health care reform numbers are so bad in Arkansas is Lincoln and Sen. Mark Pryor have been trashing the public option. It makes sense for Arkansas voters to be against the public option.

Arkansas is the state where health reform advocate President Bill Clinton came from. Obviously, Lincoln and Pryor do not possess Clinton's political skills and charisma. Lincoln wants to be all things to all voters. She becomes indecisive and and lacks leadership skills. Lincoln promised to filibuster healthcare. She allowed the health care bill to reach the floor. Why allow the bill to be debated if she promises to vote against the Senate bill. It pretty pathetic posturing. Voters see through the grandstanding. That is why Lincoln's numbers are down.

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Democratic Governors Association v. Bill McCollum

Post On Politics reports the Democratic Governors Association will spend $1 million against Republican Bill McCollum. Translation: the DGA sees Alex Sink as a strong candidate and McCollum as beatable.

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Harlem Gospel Choir Pulls Out of Glenn Beck Performance

The Harlem Gospel Choir pulled out of appearing in a simulcast film rendition of Glenn Beck's book The Christmas Sweater - A Return to Redemption. The Choir said they the decision was made for financial reasons. James Rucker, executive director of Color for Change told the New York Daily News he informed the Choir of Beck's past controversial statements.

Rucker said the choir's director, Allen Bailey, was hesitant at first.

"They said they didn't know about Glenn Beck," Rucker said. "Their first reaction was, 'Maybe he's a redeemed man.'"

Rucker sent the choir excerpts from some of Beck's shows, including one where he said President Obama "has a deep-seated hatred for white people."

Beck has lost advertisers for his accusation that President Barack Obama is a racist. I said before that Beck makes no financial sense for Fox News. New Corp owner Rupert Murdoch shares Beck's insane belief that Obama is a racist. I wonder if Beck and Murdoch believe Obama hates his own white mother. I like to see the media ask them that question.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Scott Rothstein Indicted

Lawyer and lobbyist Scott Rothstein donated $175,000 to the Republican Party of Florida. Rothstein lived a jet set livestyle financed from a Ponzi scheme he was running. Rothstein has been indicted by federal authorities for wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.

Rothstein and his co-conspirators created bogus bank documents, computer records and promissory notes. Rothstein would talk people into giving loans for a high return of interest. The money was used for Rothstein's lavish lifestyle and to "provide gratuities to high ranking members of police agencies." Translation: brides.

Federal Charges Against Scott Rothstein, December 1, 2009

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Maurice Clemmons Shot Dead

Maurice Clemmons was suspected of murdering four police officers in Washington. Clemmons was shot fleeing a stolen car.

Thoughts: there isn't any word about Clemmons firing shots at the officer that killed him. Clemmons was running away. There was no way in hell, I thought local law enforcement would bring in Clemmons alive. This was street justice against a horrible human being. I certainly will not mourn Clemmons passing. However, I don't want rogue police officers on the streets.

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Emergency Abortion Funding For Florida Women

Many poor women lack the access to a safe abortion and can not financially support a child. I decided to make a list of Florida organizations that help economiccally disadvantage women gain access to abortions. Women outside of Florida can check the National Network For Abortion Funds web site.

Central Florida Women's Emergency Fund

City: Orlando
Zip Code: 32853
Contact Name: Penny
Contact Phone:407/242-2718
Contact Email:
Eligibility: Residents of Central Florida.
Financial assistance: Abortion
Other services: Information and referral
Services provided by volunteers: None

Emergency Medical Assistance Inc.

City: Palm Beach Gardens
Zip Code: 33420-3552
Contact Name: EMA
Contact Phone: 561-271-5164
Contact Email:
Eligibility: Residents of or women receiving abortions in Palm Beach County, FL. Some other assistance available for collaborative funding. Will not fund before 10 weeks.
Financial assistance: Abortion, lodging, transportation, meals, contraception
Services provided by volunteers: None

Women's Emergency Network

Fund Name: Women's Emergency Network
City: Miami
Zip Code: 33156
Contact Name: Rotating volunteers
Contact Phone: 305-446-4615
Contact Fax: 786-279-2321
Contact Email:
Eligibility: Women obtaining abortions in Dade, Broward, & Monroe Counties. Occasional collaborative funding elsewhere in FL.
Financial assistance: Abortion, EC (when finances allow)
Other services: Information and referral, client advocacy and education, options counseling
Services provided by volunteers: None

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Quote of the Day

"What I can't figure out is why so may good-looking women hang around baseball and basketball. Is it because, you know, people always say that, like, black guys have big dicks?"

Tiger Woods, from Charles P. Pierce's must read 1997 Esquire article.


Tropic of Cancer

With apologies to Henry Miller, Anais Nin, and Jim Morrison.

Lagniappe: Crusader Axe of The Lost Causes

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