Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shakespalin Redux

Sarah Palin butchers the English again.

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Word 'Uterus' Can Not Be Used on Florida House Floor

Republicans in the Florida legislature Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, was making a point about how the so-called less government Republicans have no problem legislating the rights of women's reproductive system. Yet, these same Republicans strip regulations for their corporate interests. Randolph used the word "uterus" during his House floor speech. The mock police rushed out to protect sensitive ears. What is the politically correct term for uterus. Seriously.

House GOP spokeswoman Katie Betta said this.

House GOP spokeswoman Katie Betta: "The Speaker has been clear about his expectations for conduct on the House for during debate. At one point during the debate, he mentioned to the entire House that members of both parties needed to be mindful of decorum during debate.

"Additionally, the Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery."

Betta would have us believe adults would be offended by the word uterus. Has anyone meant a teen that was offended by the word uterus. The only person who was offended was Speaker Dean Cannon. Apparently, Cannon didn't like Randolph pointing out Republicans hypocrisy on regulations. Cannon decided to act like a baby who just came of of a place that would offend the Speaker's ears.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rubio Wants Bipartisan Resolution for Force Against Qaddafi

Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Mitch McConnell. Rubio is asking for a bipartisan resolution for the use of force against the Libyan government. Rubio wants to Senate to back the removal of Muammar Qaddafi. Rubio campaigned on hawkish foreign policy views. This isn't really surprising.

MR Letter Urging Removal of Qaddafi - March 302011

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Hillary Clinton Gallup Poll

Hillary Clinton's favorability rating is at 66 percent in a Gallup poll.

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Privatization of FLA Prisons Failed Before & Will Again

A $66.5 billion budget proposal to privatize prisons is moving forward in the Florida House Appropriations Committee. Republicans have once claimed that privatization would be the gateway to taxpayers saving. These days, Republicans say government is evil and the private sector is righteous. Never-mind that these same Republicans receive a government paycheck.

It is hard for Republicans to say that privatization will either save money or work more effectually? The privatization mandate started by Gov. Jeb Bush yielded no examples of fiscal conservatism.

The Department of Children & Families found that privatization led to child abuse. Bush's former Corrections Secretary Jim Crosby pleaded guilty to receiving kickback money from contractors.

Crosby's downfall came after a particularly difficult 2005.

The rollout of Bush's most ambitious single contract, handing over all state personnel functions to private company Convergys, went terribly.

The company repeatedly stumbled in cutting paychecks for state employees or accurately providing employee benefits.

Compounding the controversy were allegations that a Convergys' subcontractor shipped state employees' personal information to India for data processing.

Is this what Republicans consider the virtues how how the free market work better than government. There is also Ray Samson inserting an earmark to award a prison contract to Xe Services LLC. The company was formerly known as Blackwater. Even Republicans aren't singing the praises of the company investigating for the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians.

Bush's own inspector general Bill Monroe could not find if privatization saved taxpayers. The Bush administration kept horrible records of private contracts. Former efficiency expert Ruth Sykes said Bush ruled by fear and would not heed warning about the contracts.

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

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

A state audit could not find any savings from privatization under Bush. It would seem prisons and other government departments did not work more efficiently under privatization. What was found that companies that awarded campaigns contributions to Republicans got Florida government contracts. It was also a nice way for Bush to make government union members lose their jobs.

I was once open to privatization. Anyone who has stood in line at the Department of Motor Vehicle or the post office knows government isn't perfect. The problem is Republicans have no interest in overseeing their own policies and place politics above governing. This is why the GOP's policy proposals always fail. There have been too many examples of incompetence and campaign-financing greed. Republicans don't deserve the benefit of the doubt on privatization.

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Quote of Day

"Ninety-five percent of all Americans shop at Wal-mart at least once a year. When those Americans go shop there, they don’t say, ‘Gosh, I’m going to pay for that product because they have the best pension plan, or the best health care insurance or the nicest boss.’ They go based on price."

Gov. Rick Scott, telling Department of Corrections how the prison system should be run like Wal-Mart. Translation: state workers should expect poor pay, no benefits and lousy working conditions. Just like Wal-Mart.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


These days I generally despise Soul Asylum. I do think this is a lyrically amazing song about America's gutter punk drug culture.

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Miguel Diaz de la Portilla Put to the Malarky Test


Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell puts Florida state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portia's statement that changing the legal limit campaign contributions from $500 to 10,000 is pure "malarkey."

Details of the bill.

* Up to $10,000 to a candidate for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, or any political committee supporting or opposing only such candidates. The bill maintains that candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor are considered a single candidate for the purpose of this section.

* Up to $5,000 to a candidate for statewide office other than Governor and Lieutenant Governor, or any political committee supporting or opposing only such candidates (such as a candidate for Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, or Commissioner of Agriculture).

* Up to $2,500 to a candidate for legislative or multicounty office, or any political committee supporting or opposing only such candidates.

* Up to $1,000 to a candidate for countywide office or any election conducted on a less than countywide basis; a candidate for county court judge or circuit judge; a candidate for retention as a judge of a district court of appeal or as a justice of the Supreme Court; or any political committee supporting or opposing only such candidates.

Unsurprisingly, lobbyists aren't happy about being shakedown for more money.

I realize that campaigns are more expensive. I am opening to a higher contribution limit. What bothers me is Portilla's B.S. sales pitch. He should have the decency to sell his bill on its merits.

We are talking about a guy who is a former lobbyist and whose brother, Alex specializes in running dirty campaigns. Alex has also been been accused of stalking his ex-wife. You will be happy to know that Alex has ambitions of running for Congress.

Side note: The Orlando Sentinel video uses a picture of Alex. Maxwell meant to use a photo of Miguel. It is so hard to keep track of which brother is more ethically-challenged.

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FDP, the Sunshine Law & Rick Scott

The Florida Democratic Party is accusing Gov. Rick Scott of not abiding to Florida's Sunshine laws. Eric Jotkoff, of the FDP, requested documents relating to the redistricting. Jotkoff has failed to receive any requested documents. Attorney Mark Herron sent Gov. Scott this letter. Herron informs Scott that if Jotkoff doesn't receive the document by April's Fool Day (I kid you not), the FDP will take the governor to court.

The Honorable Rick Scott


PL 05, The Capitol

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

RE: FDP Public Records Request of January 27, 2011

Dear Governor Scott:

On January 27, 2011, Eric Jotkoff, on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), made the following request for public records:

Pursuant to Florida Statute 119.01(1), Florida Statutes, as member of the general public I am requesting that the Office of the Governor and any agency or agent acting under the direction of the Office of the Governor, as well as from the Gubernatorial transition, comply with its duty to provide access to public agency records, as afforded by Florida law pertaining to any and all of the following records related to Amendments 5 & 6 (commonly known as the Fair Districts Amendments), from November 3, 2010 to today, including the following:

- All documents including but not limited to all memos, emails, and correspondence relating to Amendments 5 & 6 including but not limited to Governor Scott’s decision to withdraw the application for preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice.

- All documents including but not limited to all memos, emails, and correspondence regarding the use of taxpayer money on efforts to obstruct, delay or prevent Amendments 5 & 6 from being implemented after nearly 63% of Floridians voted to enshrine these amendments in the Florida Constitution.

- All documents including but not limited to all memos, emails, and correspondence regarding the appointment of Secretary of State Kurt Browning including but not limited to how this appointment would affect the implementation of Amendments 5 & 6.

I request that the information I seek be provided in electronic format via an electronic file, in lieu of hard copies.

On February 15, 2011, this request for public records was also forwarded to the Department of State, in accordance with Mr. Jotkoff’s understanding of the policy of the Governor’s Office that he needed separately to request these documents from the Department of State.

As of this date, the requested public records have not been provided to Mr; Jotkoff as required by Article I, Section 24, Florida Constitution, and Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. This request for public records has been pending in your office for two months and has been pending in the Department of State for six weeks.

On behalf of Mr. Jotkoff, it is requested that these public records be made available to Mr. Jotkoff by the noon on Friday, April 1, 2011. In the event that your office and the Department of State fail to do, please be advised that the FDP will pursue legal action to obtain these public records as provided by law.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know.


Mark Herron

Update: the documents will be released. The FDP won after threatening legal action.

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Joel Award: Judy Biggert

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

"I would urge my colleagues to support — oppose this amendment. And stop talking about jobs, let’s focus on the substance of these amendments."

Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), urging lawmakers to stop talking about the lack of new jobs.

On Feb. 25, 2010, Biggert was asking "where are the jobs" when she was attacking Democratic economic policies and endorsing Republican proposals. Shockingly: Biggert was against mark-to-market accounting. Biggert fails to say in what manner she opposes the use of mark to market. Is Biggert aware all banks use mark-to-market accounting practices? I'm guessing Biggert used mark-to-marketing in her statement because Enron used it to inflate their revenue. Biggert is implying that Democrats support Enron.

If Biggert is really against mark-to-market then she can propose legislation to ban all financial institutions from using the accounting practice. I doubt Biggert will ever do such a thing. It is also silly for Congress to start legislating accounting. There is nothing wrong with mark-to-market. Enron being an energy company wasn't suppose to use mark-to-market. Enron CFO Andrew Fastow used mark-to-market to falsely show profits that didn't exist. Fastow was embezzling pension fund money to himself. The SEC complaint makes fun wonky reading. Fastow is currently residing in prison.

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Rick Scott's Double Standard on Drug Privacy

Previous legal rulings have stated that the state government cannot mandatory force state workers to be drug tested. Gov. Rick Scott is going to disregard the law. People collecting unemployment will be forced to pay for their own drug tests.

Young Turks host Cenk Uygur made a strong case that Scott is merely targeting state workers and the unemployed, in order to demonize them. Uygur points out that Scott refuses to support a drug database.

"I don't support the database," Scott said at a news conference. "I believe it's an invasion of privacy."

Scott has no problems invading the privacy of poor people and state workers. However, drugs used by white collar people deserve to have their privacy protected. Not flip-flopping much, are we governor?

There is also a question of if Scott's medical clinic company Solantic will benefit. Scott promised to place his financal holdings into a blind trust. Instead, he gave his Solantic stock to his wife. The media is finally calling Scott on this shady deal.

“As I’ve told you, I’m not involved in that company,” Scott said, refusing to directly answer whether he would consider prohibiting the state from contracting with the firm.

A blind trust would mean there would be no way for Scott to have control over his financial properties. The same can't be said by Scott giving Solantic stock to his wife.

Update: the ACLU is preparing to file legal action against Scott's drug testing policy.

"There's federal, U.S. Supreme Court standards on all of this. I don't think the governor got very good legal advice on this thing," Simon said.

He noted that Scott has staunchly opposed a statewide computer database that would track prescriptions of Vicodin, Percocet and other dangerous narcotics, on grounds that it could intrude on privacy rights.

"That could only come from a person who is very, very selective in their principles," Simon said.

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Rick Scott Makes 8 Worst Governors List

Alternet released its list of the eight worst governors in America. As a Floridian, I am proud to say Rick Scott made the list.

1. He rejected $2.4 billion in stimulus money to build a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando.

2. He wants to slash $4 billion in spending while cutting taxes for millionaires.

3. He tried to use state funds to build golf courses in state parks while cutting education by 10 percent and corporate taxes by 5 percent.

4. He's requiring 600,000 government workers (including police officers, teachers, firefighters, judges, and retirees) to contribute 5 percent to their retirement.

5. He just lopped off $2,300 a year in teacher salary to give massive tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.

He's also not a fan of black people. He proposed eliminating state support for two HBCUs (Historically black colleges and universities). He's shutting down a state agency that assists minority businesses, and he refuses to appoint an African American to any significant position in his administration.

Several employees of Solantic have accused Scott of practicing racism, in his hiring practices. Scott ran the blatantly racist ad titled "Obama's Mosque." President Obama does not own a mosque or worship the Islamic faith. A person wouldn't know that from watching Scott's campaign ad. Scott implied that anyone that worshipped the Islamic faith supported terrorism. Scott offended the black caucus by saying they all grew up in the projects with uneducation parents.

"I grew up probably in the same situation as you guys," Scott said to the group of 20 Democrats. "I started school in public housing. My dad had a sixth-grade education."

Scott's pathetic attempt at empathy came off as insensitive, as Fuzzy Zoeller's infamous "fried chicken" comment.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

What Eviction Looks Like

Bob Norman interviews Scarlett Rabalais. She chained herself to a poll after she was evicted from her motel. Rabalais is the owner of Ask Me Inn on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

All of that is gone now. Rabalais this morning was sitting on the side of her property by the sidewalk, chained to a power pole support wire. She and her motel guests were being evicted by Landmark Bank after it foreclosed on her, leaving her hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

​Rabalais -- who held a sign with the words "Landmark Bank Is a Liar" -- says the bank not only refused to work with her but also manipulated her into losing the property. I've left a message for comment from Landmark Bank Vice President Peyton LaCaria that has yet to be returned.

Out of her complicated legal battles, Rabalais owes Landmark Bank $950,000. This is depressing and happening across Florida.

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Republican Hypocrisy on Campaign Money

Fort Lauderdale police officers came out with a video asking Floridians to help stop SB 830. The bill's purpose to to financially destroy unions.

Labor and Employment; Prohibits a state agency from deducting from employee wages the dues, uniform assessments, fines, penalties, or special assessments of an employee organization or contributions made for purposes of political activity. Prohibits a county, municipality, or other local governmental entity from deducting from employee wages the dues, uniform assessments, fines, penalties, or special assessments of an employee organization or contributions made for purposes of political activity, etc.

Unions negotiate better wages and working conditions for their members. So for Republicans to merely label politicial organizations is a simplification.

There is also the hypocrisy of Republicans attempting to restrict political contributions. Conservative columnist George Will and the Supreme Court have argued that political contributions. Republicans are suddenly against the free speech when the money goes elsewhere. Apparently, Republicans believe it should be illegal for unions to be able to set up a political contribution system. Yet, that is exactly what Republicans in the Florida legislature did with its leadership funds.

The passage of the so-called leadership funds bill, HB 1207, will strengthen the clout of legislative leaders, allow them to work outside the purview of the party and, for Republicans, outside the the influence of the governor. In 2012, all legislators must run in newly drawn districts. Proponents argue the measure will increase ``transparency'' because they would give citizens the opportunity to view campaign finance activity, which is currently obscured by party reporting.

Leadership funds were banned 21 years ago when Democrats, in charge of the Legislature then, were embarrassed by a perception of pay-to-play politics. Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, said that lawmakers are headed down that path again.

"People just want you to be honest with them,'' he said. "This bill isn’t about transparency...This is about winning elections.''

It is about the Republicans able to keep to caucus in line with the promise of campaign money. Unions giving money to Democrats hinders the Republican cause. What the union-busting and leadership fund bills have to do with creating jobs is beyond me.

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Quote of the Day

"It's approximately 500, of which . . . approximately 350 are combat deaths."

Paul Wolfowitz, in April of 2004.

Wolfwitz was asked how many U.S. military personnel died in Iraq. The actual causality count that day was 722 US troops. 521 in combat operations. As a Deputy Sec. of Defense, Wolfowitz didn't bother keep track of how many troops died in Iraq.

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Florida Primary Madness 2012 Version

In 2008, I ripped the Republican Party, Florida Democratic Party and the legislature were moving up the primary. Not only did it show bad judgement; it reinforced the national impression that Florida could not be trusted with federal elections. There was overwhelming bipartisan support in the Florida House and Senate to move up the primary. Both state parties moved up their primaries.

Former FDP chair Karen Thurman moved up the primary.

MIAMI, Fla.-Florida Democrats have embraced an early primary on Jan. 29 despite the national party's threat to penalize them by taking away half their delegates to the national convention.

Karen Thurman, the party chairwoman, and Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday that the leadership had voted unanimously to accept the date. The state party has to submit a plan to the Democratic National Committee by Friday

Nelson then cowardly blamed it on Republicans.

"It says Florida's earlier primary — set by the Republican Legislature and governor — would affect the sequence of contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina."

Charlie Crist and the Republicans in the legislature certainly deserve their share of blame. My problem is Democrats blaming Republicans for moving up their primaries. The final say on when the party's primary is held is by the state guidelines. Federal election laws make clear state parties must obey the election rules set by the national parties.

Reality is starting to hit Republicans. Republican Party of Florida chairman Dave Bitner is begging the RNC to not strip Florida of half its delegates.

“I’m trying to get them to change the penalties,” Bitner said in a interview last week in Charlotte County.

My guess is the veto proof Republican legislature will blame Democrats.

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Meet the New Boss & the Rising Dem Strategist Star

Bob Buckhorn and unoffical campaign manager Siobhan Harley ran a brilliant and muck free campaign. Buckhorn is going to have a massive influence on the entire Tampa Bay area, as the City of Tampa Mayor. Buckhorn has proposed the smartest policies I have heard from a Tampa area candidate. Buckhorn's proposals turned me from a cynic into a supporter of his candidacy.

Harley is an oppimistic progressive. If the Florida Democratic Party is smart they would recruit Harley to run as a candidate, after she graduates from college. The young lady has energy and charisma. Two things that are in short supply from Florida Democratic candidates.

I look forward to seeing Buckhorn and Harley reshaping Tampa politics and policy.

Update: Benjamin Kirby shares his thoughts on Harley.

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Vote For Blue Gal For Netroots Nation Scholarship

Blue Gal has been a great supporter of Pushing Rope It is time for us to show our support. Vote for Blue Gal for a Netroots Nation scholarship. Voting ends tonight.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pavement - Perfume-V

A live version of the Pavement indie classic Perfume V.

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Scott Powers Trapped in the Closet

The member of Joe Biden's who had Orlando Sentinel political reporter Scott Powers wait in a closet should be fired. The Biden staffer did not want Powers to mingle with the donors at a Bill Nelson fundraiser. The Biden staffer's over-zealousness into a PR disaster for Biden. To add insult to injury, Powers is scheduled to appear on Good Morning America to speak about the closet incident.

Gov. Rick Scott chased off the media from a Lincoln Day Dinner. Powers was selected as the pool reporter for the Nelson fundraiser. Translation: a pool reporter is the only media member selected for an elected. Both these actions are the result of Scott and Biden staffers not wanting the media record their bosses kissing the asses of powerful political contributors. Elected leaders are terrified that the Americans will realize both major parties do not govern for the needs of the America people. What these out of touch pols fail to understand is that people are already clued in.

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Joel Award: Sarah Palin

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

On Fox News, Sarah Palin said she wants the Libyan conflict ended quickly.

We better be in it to win it. 'Win it' means Qadhafi goes and America gets to get on out of there."

"It's not America's role not to be out and about nation building and telling other countries how to live."

Funny but Palin supports nation building in Iraq. It makes me wonder why Palin wants to NATO air-strikes stopped ASAP.

We should be clear, however, that fewer troops mean assuming more risk. Talk of an exit date also risks sending the wrong message. We should be in Afghanistan to win, not to set a timetable for withdrawal that signals a lack of resolve to our friends, and lets our enemies believe they can wait us out. As long as we’re in to win, and as long as troop level decisions are based on conditions on the ground and the advice of our military commanders, I support President Obama’s decision.

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Andrew Breitbart's Jesus Christ Pose

Andrew Breitbart does the Jesus Christ pose. Like the Son of God, Anne Frank, and Gandhi before him, Breitbart has suffered an unimaginable indignity. Breitbart's posts will no longer be on the front page of the Huffington Post.

Andrew Breitbart’s ad hominem attack on Van Jones in The Daily Caller — right down to calling him a “commie punk” and “a cop killer-supporting, racist, demagogic freak” — violates the tenets of debate and civil discourse we have strived for since the day we launched. As a result, we will no longer feature his posts on the front page. He is welcome to continue publishing his work on HuffPost provided it adheres to our editorial guidelines, as the two posts he published on HuffPost did — guidelines that include a strict prohibition on ad hominem attacks.

Arianna Huffington and Andrew Breitbart have a long history together. They hang around the same Hollywood circles. Huffington hired Breitbart to help build the HP web site when it was still a start-up. It isn't surprising that Huffington would feel comfortable with Breitbart. Unfortuately, no one who worked for Huffington had the courage to tell her that having Breitbart blog at the Huffington Post was the dumbest business move since New Coke.

I would have more sympathy for Breitbart if he didn't post a misleadingly edited video of Shirley Sherrod, that resulted in her termination. Breitbart's ACORN videos were also found to be bogus. Breitbart constantly plays the victim but never fesses up to his false character assassinations. Thou doth protest too much.

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Kiss of the Wolf

Amazing video of a man and woman bonding with wolves.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wingnut of the Day: Ronda Storms

Ronda Storms has been known for her petty vindictiveness. The Florida Senate transpotation committee voted to end the requirement of people getting badges to enter public ports. Currently, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does the background checks and charges between $25 to 85 for state ID badges.

Sen. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville) made the case to keep the current ID policy.

"The program has been a cash cow" for FDLE, said state Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, a former longshoreman who has led much the effort in years past. He has co-sponsored a bill this year that will do away with the badges.

What was shocking was Storms behavior after the vote. Storms started singing.

"I think you can hear it. Do you hear it? Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah," she sang at the Senate Transportation Committee meeting. "It's coming from all the port people everywhere, and back in the back FDLE people are going boo, boo..."

"Tony [Hill], I'm surprised you're not dancing around."

Storms openly dissed FDLE police officers at a senate committee meeting. Storms continues to show contempt to people who do not share her narrow worldview.

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Ray Sansom: Man of Values Part II

I wrote a post called "Ray Sansom: Man of Values." I noted that Sansom's professed religious values didn't match his actions. The charges against Sansom have been dropped. Sansom immediately lays it on thick with his Christian spiel.

"God has sustained us," Sansom said after the case was dismissed. "We held strong with his grace."

Perhaps Sansom can explain how inserting a secret earmark to get a $110,000-a-year job was following the gospel. In return for the job, Samson gave Northwest Florida State College $750,000 in start up funds. Jay Odom, a longtime campaign contributor to Sansom, got a remodeled hanger.
Sansom did another secret earmark to Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater. The legislation would allow Xe to run privatized prisons in Florida. Fortunately, the legislation died.

The job Sansom received was was no-bid. Former Northwest Florida State College president Bob Richburg kept the meeting closed to the public. Richburg did not hold the meeting at NWFSC, instead at Florida State University. Florida Sunshine laws requires that the meeting for job opening, involving anelected official, have the minutes recorded. Richburg waited ten mouths to post the minutes.

Sansom spent $173,000 of the nonprofit Republican Party of Florida money, on lavish meals and tuxedo rentals. Sansom's crwedit card spending spree hardly follows the Christ parable of the Good Sararitan. Especial when Sansom his not spending someone else's money.

In my two years of covering Sansom, I haven't seen him do one thing that wasn't too his personnal benefit. Sansom's faith is no different than Jimmy Swagart or Jim Bakker professing a love of Jesus after publicly being caught in a scandal. If Sansom wants to make me believe he is a Christian then he can start by professing his ethical lapses. I doubt Sansom's values are strong enough for that kind of candor.

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Does Rick Scott Have a Blind Trust

Columnist Stephen Goldstein sent me a tweet. Goldstein has asked Gov. Rick Scott's office for the fourth time, if the governor has set up a blind trust. Goldstein has still not received a response.

Update: For the fourth time in over a month, I asked Gov. Scott's office if his vast financial holdings had been placed in a blind trust - if yes, the trustee's name; if no, if and when there would be a trust and who would manage it. I still have not received an answer.

But surely, all Floridians need to know if there any conflicts of interest from the governor's public policy decisions, especially in light of his tainted past.

For example: Does he still personally control his $62 million share in Solantic urgent care walk-in centers, his single largest investment - and is his opposition to Obama's health reform a way of protecting or increasing its value? As CEO, Scott might have thought he could stonewall such a question, but Gov. Scott owes the public an answer!

Scott's stake in Solantic in not managed by a blind trust. Scott's wife now manages the governor's Solantioc assets. Frances Scott can not be considered a neutral third party.

The problem is Scott's family still financial benefits on health care decisions as governor. For instance: Scott signed an executive order having state employees randomly drug tested. Scott supports legislation making mandatory for welfare recipients to be drug tested. Solantic provides drug testing as a service.

Another question is what did Scott's transition team lawyers, Enu Mainigi, James Fuller, and Richard Coates discuss with the Florida Commission on Ethics. There are no records of the meeting that took place on Dec. 7, 10 and 16.

Mainigi is an old friend of Scott. She has defended money launderers, and security fraud. Fuller worked on the Clintons tax returns. Fuller has represented accused tax criminals. Richard Coates has represented former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom. Why is Scott having white collar criminal lawyers visit the ethics commission? These attorneys usually don't appear unless the client thinks he is about to be indicted.

The question remains if Scott has a blind trust? Judging by his stonewalling and the legal team he has put togeter; I am skeptical.

Exactly what transpired between Mainigi, Fuller, Coates and the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Does Scott talk to his wife about business matters relating to Solantic? I don't see how it is not possible.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Why Solantic Should Not Handle State Drug Tests

Fun fact number one: Rick Scott is the co-founder and owner of Solantic; a chain of health care clinics in Florida.

Fun fact number 2: Solantic provides drug testing.

Fun fact number 3: Scott signed an executive order to have state employees randomly be drug tested. Scott also supports legislation that makes it mandatory for welfare recipients to be drug tested.

"Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salary are paid with taypayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace," Scott said. "Just as it is appropriate to screen those seeking taypayer assistance, it is also appropiate to screen government employees."

Joy-Ann Reid pointed out that state workers could provide Solantic with 170,000 more people to drug test yearly. That adds up to a handsome profit. It is troubling that Scott transferred his Solantic stocks to his wife. The proper way of handling ownership of Solantic was to have a blind trusthandle Scott's stocks. Scott's wife can not be seriously considered a neutral third party.

Several former employees of Solantic accused Scott of discrimantion, in hiring practices.

After the attacks on Sept. 11, Yarian says Scott phoned him and stated that he should be careful not to hire anyone of Middle Eastern descent because they might scare off customers. At the time, Yarian was willing to exercise the directive as part of the collective shock the country was going through.

Scott was also against the hiring of overweight or Hispanic health care workers. Scott wanted employees he deemed "mainstream." Yarian was fired after complaining about Scott's hiring directive to Karen Bowling. Yarian was later fired. Yarian won an $80,000 out-of-court settlement against Solantic.

Bowling admitted in a deposition that Yarian complained to her about Scott's discriminating hiring policy, in a deposition.

"He did express concerns that we -- that he didn't believe in the hiring practices, and how do you interpret what's presentable," she said. "And alluded to overweight people."

Other employees have won lawsuits against Solantic. Solantic was caught illegally using the medical licenses of two doctors. Solantic was forced to legally settle with Dr. P. Mark Glencross.

Dr. Randy Prokes accused Solantic of defrauding Medicare. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stepped in to investigate. It is unclear how the investigation has progressed.

Floridians should ask themselves do they trust their governor on health care issues. Speaking for myself, I am more willing to invest faith in a snake than our governor.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Why trying to take a cat for a walk is not a good idea.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sublime - Trenchtown Rock

My favorite Bob Marley cover. The late Bradley Nowell is able a wealth of emotion with just his voice and an electric guitar.

It is interesting to compare the Sublime cover to the Marley original.

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Rick Scott Hearts BP

Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid was appointed last year by then Gov. Charlie Crist to get a financial settlement from BP. Florida's tourism and environment was damaged from the Deep Horizon oil spill. Yerrid said Florida could financially gain from a settlement with BP.

"I think it would be in the billions of dollars," Yerrid said. "It would have a substantial, if not a mitigating effect on our deficit. The money is there, there's a $20 billion fund that isn't close to being exhausted, and my question is, what are we doing about it?".

Yerrid has noted been reappointed by Gov. Rick Scott. Yerrid has repeatedly tried to contact Scott.

"I received zero response," the Tampa attorney said. "Not a thank you, not a note telling me where to put the materials."

Yerrid and others worry that Scott may be turning his back on what could be billions of dollars at a time when the state is crunched for cash.

"Anytime wrongdoing occurs and you have a couple of billion dollars in damages that would greatly benefit our state and citizens, we should be getting that," Yerrid said. "There should be an urgency to collect money that is due to us to lighten our load."

Florida is facing a $3.5 billion deficit. Yerrid estimates the state could receive $2 billion from a financial settlement. Even the conservative Tampa Tribune editorial board has come to the conclusion that Scott cares more about protecting BP than Florida's beaches or the deficit. Scott is governing like the ideologue and corporate cut throat he has always been. The media should stop acting shocked.

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Michele Bachmann Forming Exploratory Committee

CNN reports Rep. Michele Bachmann will form an preidential exploratory committee. If Bachmann runs she will be the Republican Party's version of Dennis Kucinich. Like Kucinich, a portion of the party's base will be attracted to Bachmann's candidacy. The rest of the base will think Bachmann, either has no chance to win or is too weird for the presidency.

The problem with Bachmann and Kucinich is that they both serve in the House of Representative. James Garfield is the last sitting member of the House to be elected president. Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush served in the House. Nixon and Bush served as vice-presidents before assuming the presidency. The House is a horrible springboard for a presidential candidate.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Anti-Choicers Are Anti-Life

Fetal impairment

It refers to the existence of life-threatening or serious anatomical signs that will lead to either an impaired quality of life or at worst, lethal anatomical malformation which renders the fetus unable to survive outside a pregnant woman's body.

Don't think for a second Republicans in the Florida legislature are pro-life. Republicans in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee endangered the lives of women.

Committee members shot down an amendment filed by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, that tried to expand exemptions in the bill from cases when rape or incest is involved to cases where "fetal impairment" could occur.

Republicans on the committee said the term could justify an abortion in almost any case. Opponents said it needs to be there to protect the mother in other instances, but the term should not wear a concrete label because it deals with issues that are very personal.

"That is a condition that needs to be addressed with those physicians and the patient," said Suzie Prabhakaran, an OB/GYN and medical director at Planned Parenthood in Sarasota. "It's kind of a case that you know it when you see it."

The bill passed the committee, 6-4, with Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, joining Democrats in opposition. It has one more committee stop before reaching the full Senate floor for a vote.

Good for Sobel for attempting to add the amendment and Bennett (to my surprise) voting with Democrats. The short version is Republicans do not support publicly-funded insurance for abortions, even if the woman's life is in danger. Sen. Gwen Margolis summed up the vote.

"I can barely talk about it," said Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, visibly upset. "It's incredible to talk about. It's incredible that a bunch of guys are telling us what's right in our lives."

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Why Did Rick Scott Buy 2 Million Shares of

Florida social conservative Daid Caton made a big stick about gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott owning shares of the Hispanic social networking site

"That is what Rick Scott said just three months ago, not ten years. So Rick Scott must believe that profiting from his investment in a company that lures women into the porn industry and connects same-sex partners for relationships is also something ingrained in him from the Boy Scouts and church as "the right thing to do everyday."

Quepasa Corporation is the owner of The corporation's capital has shrunk by over 50 percent.

Once high-flying Quepasa Corporation (AMEX: QPSA), which runs a social networking site focused on the Hispanic community, has been decimated over the last month, losing 50% of its market cap between January 27 and March 4. Prior to that, however, QPSA's market cap had doubled in almost as short of a period. The initial move higher in the stock coincided with the hype surrounding the LinkedIn IPO as well as the ever increasing private market value of Facebook.

One of the board members of Quepasa Corporation is Alonso Ancira. In 1999, Ancira fled Mexico because of tax fraud charges. It turns out that Quepasa Corporation was funnelling money from Altos Hornos de Mexico and Mexicans & Americans Trading Together, Inc., to increase its quarterly earning reports. Ancira is the chairman of AHMSA and MATT.

The Security and Exchange Commision finding on Quepasa's revenue stream.

“Substantially all of our revenue has been generated from or arranged by AHMSA and MATT Inc., which are companies affiliated with Mr. Alonso Ancira, a director of Quepasa.”

Together, AHMSA and MATT controlled 40 percent of Quepasa Corp. Rick Scott's shares gave him 13.8 of Quepasa Corp. Scott started buying shares in Quepasa Corp in 2006. Scott spokesman Brian Burgess couldn't say if the governor still owned shares or if it was part of a blind trust.

"Mr. Scott will move his money into a blind trust and will remove himself from the decision-making when it comes to his investments," Scott spokesman Brian Burgess told WESH, though he admitted that he couldn't guarantee that the new fund wouldn't continue to invest in QuePasa or Playboy, for that matter.

Scott started investing in Quepasa Corp in 2006. Scott would have bought the stock dirt cheap. The stock became inflated because of Ancira transferring money from his other companies into Quepasa Corp. The question is did Scott sell his shares before the stock tanked. If Scott knew the stock would tank , in advance, then there are questions of insider trading.

The question is why would Scott buy 2 million shares of a Hispanic social networking site that wasn't popular with Hispanics. Ian Bezek made a table of the amongst Hispanic people in several countries. Bezek ranked the popularity of against other social network sites.

In Mexico, is the 74th most popular social network web site. Facebook is second. Myspace is 60th.

In Agentina, 469th most popular social network web site. Facebook is first. Myspace is 134th.

In the United States, is the 7669 most popular social network web site.

In short, isn't even a second tier social network. An important question are did Scott sell his shares before the stock tanked. If not, then did Scott set up a blind trust. Scott's office has been evasive about whether or not the governor has set up a blind trust.

Are we to believe that Scott would buy 2 million shares of an unpopular social network, without knowing the history of Ancira's tax troubles or the company's revenue stream? Color me skeptical.

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Rick Scott's Transparancy Problem

Gov. Rick Scott's explanation for not using e-mail doesn't pass the laugh test. Scott tells workers at the Department of Elder Affair that the best way to contact him is snail mail. Scott said he doesn't want to be "embarrassed."

"If you have any questions, don't hesitate to send me, I don't have e-mail," Scott said. "It's easier if I never get e-mailed. I get embarrassed by it that way. It's not as easy to communicate," Scott said. "Have a great day."

Scott doesn't want to leave an electronic trail. Scott was the former CEO of Columbia/HCA. Scott's hospital chain was fined $1.7 billion by the Justice Department. Columbia/HCA pleaded guilty to to 14 counts of felonies. Scott's own board forced him to resign.

Scott's infamous deposition video illustrates how adversed the governor is to providing information.


Triangulation Man: Libya

In 2007, Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage asked candidate Triangulation Man when the president has the authority to call for military action against Iran. Our fearless hero made it clear any military action must be approved by Congress.

SAVAGE: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites -- a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

OBAMA: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

If there is one thing we learned about Triangulation Man is that he would never take the Republican Party position on domestic or foreign policy.

Bill Kristol

"No, we cannot leave Gaddafi in power," Kristol agreed. "And we won't leave Gaddafi in power."

"The immediate military mission, Admiral Mullen correctly described but the political goal is to remove Gaddafi and ultimately military assets will serve that political goal."

John McCain

“We can't risk allowing Qaddafi to massacre people from the air, both by helicopter and fixed-wing [aircraft]."

Our hero quickly moved to the right of center to please Republicans. Triangulation Man's efforts led to House Speaker John Boehner to publicly criticize the Libya policy.

“All of these concerns point to a fundamental question,” Mr. Boehner writes, “What is your benchmark for success in Libya?”

Mr. Boehner, who issued a short statement on Libya over the weekend, ratcheted up his criticism of Mr. Obama’s handling of operation as Democrats and Republicans continue to voice concerns about the cost of the mission and the president’s decision not to pursue approval from Congress before authorizing military force.

In his letter, Mr. Boehner writes that he is “troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission.”

Obama ordered the no-fly zones over Libya. Republicans now refuse to support the policy. Boehner is willing to sound like a peace activist to garner political points against Obama. Another sore point for Congress is Obama ordered the air-strikes without congressional approval. Polititifact ruled that Obama did a full flip flop from his 2007 position.

The use of military force against Libya should be argued on the merits of the operation. However, Obama's flip flop smacks as a president attempting to appear tough on foreign policy. Either Obama was telling voters what he thought they wanted to hear in 2007 or he has developed a contempt of Congress since becoming president. The politically smart thing would have been to force Congress to vote on the use of military force against Qaddafi. This would have forced Republicans and Democrats to take a position and own it. Apparently, Obama had little confidence that his powers of persuasion and military strategy would be approved. That does not inspire confidence.

Update: John Bolton was in Palm Beach, Florida today. Bolton was highly critical of Obama's handling of Libya. Anyone want to place bets on Bolton would have still criticized Obama, if the President didn't order the no-fly zones.

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RIP Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor died in the early hours of the morning. I will always remember her as Maggie the Cat.

Update: Taylor and Richard Burton doing battle in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rick Scott's Facebook Townhall Disaster

Sheree reports Gov. Rick Scott only answered twelve questions during his Facebook townhall meeting. Scott signed off claiming he was suffering technical problems. The more likely reason is the tough questions asked by Facebook users. Sheree reposted several of the best questions asked.

It is hysterical that Scott choked during a Facebook townhall meeting. We are talking about the same Rick Scott who sent his mother to speak in his place. Apparently, Scott felt the Boca Raton Republican Club was too tough of a crowd.

Side note: I want a Rick Scott mask for Halloween.

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Bob Buckhorn Wins Tampa Mayoral Race

Alex Leary of the St. Petersburg Times fires off this tweet.

Bob Buckhorn wins Tampa mayoral race.


Buckhorn is a policy wonk's dream as a mayor. I wish other areas of Florida would chose their elected leaders as wisely.

Update: Buckhorn blew out Rose Ferlita.

With 103 of 121 precincts counted – nearly 40,000 votes – across the city, Buckhorn has almost 63 percent of the vote, compared to Ferlita's 37 percent.

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The Rose Ferlita Machine

St. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler wrote that the race for Tampa's next Mayor will be decide on campaign organization. Troxler praised Rose Ferlita for finishing first. Today, Ferlita and opponent Bob Buckhorn face each other in a runoff election. Peter Schorsch took a photo of a member of Ferlita's mean green grassroots machine. Watch out. This guy is fierce.

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Quote of the Day

"I have no trust in the insurance companies, the property and casualty insurance companies. For years they've been telling the Legislature that if you pass that, or put this in the statute, that premiums will come down. We've seen that to be an absolute lie. There's no question but that the insurance companies will continue to raise their rates regardless of what the Legislature does."

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey

I am glad someone in the Florida legislature is finally calling the insurance industry on its bullshit.


Kendrick Meek Ethical Lapses Update

Failed U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek lavished his congressional staffers with bonuses before leaving office.

He paid his staff, on average, $220,000 through the first three quarters of 2010.

In the fourth quarter that number jumped to $440,000, thanks to what were, in effect, year-end bonuses for staffers.

Local taypayers aren't thrilled with the news.

"That's what they do, they're totally crooked, that's all there is to it," said Tom Foy of Tampa.

I am sure many of you have seen those sleazy instant check cashing places that overcharge people, who do not have enough money to open a bank account. Take a wild guess which senate candidate received the most campaign contributions from the industry. Hint: he is a self-described "moderate-progressive."

The correct answer is Kendrick Meek.

Former Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) was the largest recipient of payday loan campaign cash, receiving $53,900 from the payday industry in the 2010 election cycle, according to CREW.

I wonder if Meek used Amscot to cash the checks.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Nic Robertson Calls Out Fox News

CNN foreign correspondent Nic Robertson accuses Fox News of lying about the other networks coverage of Libya. Robertson said he sees the Fox News team "more at breakfast" than coverage the Libya story.

Silly journalist, Fox News doesn't do journalism. One of Fox News' host plays with puppets. Asking Fox News to do journalism is like asking Kevin Smith not to be a slacker.

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Wingnut of the Day

Florida state representative Kathleen Passidomo decides the best way to show compassion for an 11 year-old girl that was raped is by blaming the victim.

"There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute," Passidomo declared.

"And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students," she added.

I am not shocked that someone this insensitive could be elected to the Florida legislature. I am even less shocked that the Republican Party of Florida would help Passidomo gain elected office. There is no blowback for Passidomo and other Republicans from making wingnut comments. It isn't like the Florida Democratic Party isn't going to start winning elections and forcing the Florida Republican establishment to move to the center.

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Adam Hasner Soon to be In Senate Race

I have heard rumblings that Adam Hasner would run for the U.S. Senate. It appears that is correct.

Republican Hasner has opened a Senate exploratory committee with an assist from GOP superlawyer Cleta Mitchell, who has helped an array of conservative and tea party favorites including Rubio, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R.-S.C., and failed 2010 U.S.Senate candidates Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell.

Hasner also got a glowing write-up in The National Review last week, although not the cover treatment the conservative mag gave then-underdog Rubio in 2009.

Hasner, who is Jewish, spoke to a small Christian Coalition gathering Thursday night in suburban Lantana. While concentrating mainly on federal spending, he highlighted his opposition to abortion and said, "American prosperity, strong national security and our foundational Judeo-Christian values are interwoven and inseparable." He also invoked American exceptionalism and Ronald Reagan.

Kathryn Jean Lopez gave Hasner a postive write-up on The Corner blog. Hasner told Lopez that America is "inseparable" from its "Judeo-Christian roots." The comment either is pandering to the Christian Right or contempt for America's history of the separation between church and state. Hasner also supports reforms in entitlement spending. Translation: cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

Hasner entering the Republican senate primary should knock George LeMieux. There is no way LeMieux can win the primary with his history with Charlie Crist. This is a Hasner and Mike Haridopolos race. The latter has been mocked by both and Gail Collins of the New York Times. Hasner is the frontrunner. The question remains if Connie Mack will get in the race or keep his safe Senate seat.

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A Postcard from Quantico

At the demonstration at Quantico, Virginia yesterday, peaceful protesters and supporters of the imprisoned (but as-yet untried) American citizen PFC Bradley Manning were met by a wide array of heavily-armed personnel.

Lisa Simeone participated in the demonstration and sends along this photo, taken by a fellow protester. It shows riot police arresting Daniel Ellsberg, of the Pentagon Papers, who is 80 years old--and for whom this arrest was his 83rd--and Ann Wright, a gray-haired grandmother and former career military colonel who resigned in 2003 when the US invaded Iraq.

Riot police.

There were also heavily-armed personnel everywhere, automatic rifles, police on horseback, you name it. Because of all those pacifists doing their peaceful, Constitution-respecting First Amendment thing and protesting the unconstitutional treatment of an imprisoned but as-yet untried (and therefore, under the law, still innocent) American citizen, Bradley Manning.


Also at litbrit.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Peace protesters arrested at White House; Chris Hedges speaks: War promises to give us an long as we go along with the myth"

This is award-winning author and war correspondent Chris Hedges, speaking at a peace rally in front of the White House Saturday that marked the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war.

I hope you'll take a moment to listen to this beautiful, thought-provoking speech, and that you'll share it, too. Rarely have I heard the clear, obvious truths--about not only war itself, but the culture that continues to fuel its very existence--so eloquently expressed.

And here is footage of the protesters marching and getting arrested yesterday. These included civilians as well as veterans of numerous wars--Americans who have experienced war first-hand and who now work to promote the cause of its opposites: Peace. Life. The building of things as opposed to the tearing down of them. You'll note they are peaceful and respectful, as are the police who begin quietly handcuffing (and arresting) everyone at the White House fence, including my heroic friend, co-blogger, and role model in standing up for what is right, Lisa Simeone (seen at about the 2:27 mark, to the right of the screen and wearing a leopard-print trench coat and sunglasses; when this was filmed, Lisa had not yet been apprehended).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beauty for a Saturday afternoon: Federico Mompou; Preludio from the Suite Compostelana

Frederico Mompou is one of my favorite composers. This Preludio is part of the Suite Compostelana, which he created in 1962 for fellow Spaniard Andres Segovia. Guitarist Thomas Rouw's obvious talents, and his faithfulness to Mompou's complex but nonetheless weightless--almost airborne--progressions, really honor this exquisite piece.

Bon Weekend, everyone.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bad Karaoke of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing

I guarantee that this guy didn't get laid after performing this awe-inspiringly bad rendition of Sexual Healing.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Triangulation Man: Independent Voters

President Barack Obama is using the political strategy of triangulation to court independent voters for the 2012 election. The strategy means ignore the progressive base and support policies such as extending the Bush tax cuts. Let's see how Obama is doing with independent voters in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Obama's approval among independent voters who he will need for his 2012 re-election drive took a sharp dive, to 37 percent from 47 percent, the poll found.

It is going to get worse when Republican presidential candidates hit the campaign trail and hammer Obama's economic policies.

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Quote of the Day

"I support unions and I support the idea that everybody pay their fair share."

Stephen King, author and former teacher.

King participated at a Awake the State rally in Sarasota. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Awake the State protesters outnumbered tea partiers 10 to 1.

Bonus quote from King.

"Maybe my next horror novel will star Rick Scott," King told the cheering crowd.

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HBO to Air Game Change

This is an interesting choice. Julianne Moore will play Sarah Palin in the film version of "Game Change." The book was Mark Halperin's and John Heilemann's gossipy reporting of the 2008 presidential election. HBO will air the film version. No word on if the book will be a miniseries a feature length film.

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Van Morrison - Saint Dominics Preview

My all-time favorite Van Morrison song.

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Quote of the Day

With all of current our problems, anyone that would hurt Obama's chances of reelection is simply stupid—or a plant.

Shoq, popular progressive on Twitter.

It is so bad that Obama apologists are resorting to conspiracy theories. This goes back to my post that Obama apologists are resorting to the "less horrible" than the Republicans argument. I don't want a president that is less horrible. I want an actual leader that will deal with the problems facing America.

Apparently, Shoq got called out on his nutty tweet. His backtrack is horrible.

Not because they're a plant. But because they're foolish, naive, idealistic, and cultural suicidal. We are fighting for our survival.

People in Sudan and the WWII concentration camps were fighting for their survival. America is facing tough challenges but let's keep things in perspective. Apparantly, Shoq can't because he goes back into conspiracy land.

@pushingrope LOL You think it's conspiracy theory that the right has left tweeters and operatives? Really?

Someone has been taking the drug called Charlie Sheen.

Seriously, if people have to choose less horrible and vote for Obama then so be it. I am certainly not endorsing the horrible policies and potential candidates of the Republican Party. In fact: just the opposite. However, we live in a democracy. We have a right to voice disapproval when we disagree with him. The truth is Obama's re-election hopes hinge more on the economy then what people write on Twitter.

It is interesting that the Obama apologists are sounding like tea baggers. Wow.

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Michelle Rhee: Fibs & Firings

Gov. Rick Scott considers Michelle Rhee an education guru. This video highlights Rhee's misstatements and verbal guffaws. Rhee has actually said many of the things in the video in real life. Sad.

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Meet Mark Wilson: FL Chamber of Commerce President

Florida Chamber of Commerce president Mark Wilson made the claim that unions were busing in protesters from around the country.

"We've see the images on television: government unions from around America staging protests in Wisconsin," chamber president Mark Wilson says in a radio ad that began airing March 3, 2011. "They're not fighting for ordinary citizens, but grappling for power and money. Unfortunately, Florida is next on the union bosses' hit list. They're busing protesters to Central Florida right now to harass your courageous representatives."

Politifact rating this claim a pants on fire lie. Florida unions are not busing in protesters. Progress Florida and Susan Smith are organizing the Awake the State rallies and I doubt they could buy pizza for the protesters. This may come as a shock to Mr. Wilson but progressive activism doesn't pay as well as being the president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

What I was struck most was by this portion of Wilson's statement.

"They're not fighting for ordinary citizens, but grappling for power and money."

That begs the question: what is Mr Wilson fighting for. Excuse me but when did the president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce become a working class hero. Remember these comments Wilson made to the St. Petersburg Times after the Chamber was successful in funding the 2010 Florida Republican victories.

"If we don't have a good three or four years … then we've blown it," Wilson said during a legislative briefing before 50 area business leaders in Tampa on Tuesday morning. "This is our time in the business community to do what we do best."

It doesn't sound like Mr. Wilson is fighting for Tom Joad. Wilson is fighting to cut (the already low) state corporate tax and make employees pay a bigger portion into unemployment insurance. Wilson wants to pass on a tax increase to working class people to pay for a tax cut in unemployment taxes to corporations. I ask again, whose interest is Mr. Wilson fighting for.

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Why Birtherism Equals Racism

The Tea Party Nation continues to be ground zero for questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship. What makes matters worse is the post is titled "Birth in a Nation." I find it hard to believe blogger Charlie Earl was not making a reference to the D. W. Griffith film Birth of A Nation. The movie was originally titled The Clansman. If you are not familiar with the film, the Klu Klux Klan are portrayed as heroes. Here is a gag-inducing scene of the KKK riding to the rescue.

The birther movement is nothing more than racism. I don't recall any conservatives questioning John McCain's citizenship status because he was born on a Naval base in Panama. There shouldn't be any question. McCain is a citizen and so is Obama. Unless some evil socialist-Marxist-communist movement placed notification of Obama's birth in Hawaiian newspapers shortly after he was born.

Read more »

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Homeless Children in Florida

60 Minutes did a story on homeless children in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott proposed to eliminating the Office of Homelessness. The problem is only going to get worse in the next four years.

Update: After I watched this 60 Minutes video, I realize Rick Scott's proposal to eliminate homeless services funding to pay for corporate tax cuts is to key to Florida's prosperity. Let's not ask what Jesus would do. Ask what Rick Scott would do.

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Jimi Hendrix - Killing Floor

Jimi Hendrix does an absolutely mind-blowing rendition of the Howlin' Wolf blues classic. Hendrix's guitar tone on this song perfection.

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Jon Stewart on Conservative Attacks on Teachers

Jon Stewart highlights how Republican pundits accuse teachers of being fat cats but refuse to ask Wall Street to sacrifice.

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Awake the State Rally on Tuesday

This Tuesday, there will be an Awake the State rally at Lykes Gaslight Park. Several Tampa area unions are sponsors of the event.


Corner of Kennedy Blvd and Willow St
(Next to Wal~Mart Dist: 1mi)

RALLY AT 5 PM Lykes Gaslight Park
Downtown Tampa, corner of Kennedy Blvd. and Tampa St.

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Mike Haridopolos' U.S. Senate Hopes Are Done

There is no way that Mike Haridopolos will become a United States Senator. Haridopolos was admonished by his own Florida Senate Rules Committee. The Commission of Ethics found Haridopolos failed to disclose property and mortgages on financial disclosure forms. The latest scandal is Haridopolos getting paid $152,000 to write "Florida Legislative History and Processes" for Brevard Community College.

Haridopolos was a political science instructor at BCC in 2003. Haridopolos was contracted by for BCC president Thomas Gamble to write a text book. Only one copy of the book has been printed. The book contains no footnotes. Current school officials say the deal is unusual. It isn't so unusual when you consider that Haridopolos placed $3.1 million in earmarks in the state budget for Brevard Community College. Former Florida House speakers Ray Sansom and Marco Rubio had ethically questionable jobs that appear to be obtained through their political positions. It is becoming a right of passage for Florida house speakers to get into an ethics scandal involving a school of higher learning.

What makes matters worse for Haridopolos is he has become a punchline for the New York Times and Gail Collins mocks Haridopolos'

Other reviewers fixated on another insider tip: “A cellphone will be essential.” Although I am kind of partial to: “Most importantly, a candidate should avoid wasting money on useless novelty items such as wooden nickels.”

Or wooden prose. webmaster Erick Erickson promoted this post by Bloggy Bayou to the front page.

My advice to Florida Republicans: Do not elect this man. His book deal stinks, all he has done in his life is run for the next highest political office and he spends way too much time on combing his hair. Let’s face it: He belongs in the “Charlie Crist and John Edwards Hair Club For Men” school of politics.

Look for the Florida Republican establishment to beg Connie Mack to run. If not then Bill Nelson continues to be the luckiest Democratic senator. Many Democrats would give their right arm to have opponents as weak as Bill McCollum, Katherine Harris, and now possibly Haridopolos.

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How Manning Handling Eroding Progressive Support

Note to fellow progressives: Blogfather Kevin Hayden said he isn't voting for Obama in 2012. Obama seems so concerned with the 3 percent of undecided voters who don't follow daily politics. What is Obama going to do if he loses the base. The Republican Party has a built in base with the Tea Party.

Hayden took exception with Obama on the treatment of Bradley Manning. The latter is accused of supplying classified information to Wikileaks. Manning's attorney, David Coombs, told blogger Jane Hamsher that Manning is being stripped down.

On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike. Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from Maximum custody and POI. As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of “exemplary” as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning. In response to PFC Manning’s question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were “absurd” and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC’s Manning’s sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk. PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk Watch. This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider’s recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have. In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as “low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for … closer clinical observation.” In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning’s statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by “a psychiatric condition.”

While the commander needed the Brig psychiatrist’s recommendation to place PFC Manning on Suicide Risk Watch, no such recommendation was needed in order to increase his restrictions under POI Watch. The conditions of POI Watch require only psychiatric input, but ultimately remain the decision of the commander.

Given these circumstances, the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night for an indefinite period of time is clearly punitive in nature. There is no mental health justification for the decision. There is no basis in logic for this decision. PFC Manning is under 24 hour surveillance, with guards never being more than a few feet away from his cell. PFC Manning is permitted to have his underwear and clothing during the day, with no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period. Moreover, if Brig officials were genuinely concerned about PFC Manning using either his underwear or flip-flops to harm himself (despite the recommendation of the Brig’s psychiatrist) they could undoubtedly provide him with clothing that would not, in their view, present a risk of self-harm. Indeed, Brig officials have provided him other items such as tear-resistant blankets and a mattress with a built-in pillow due to their purported concerns.

I don't know if the allegations are true. However, I think it is fair to have a healthy dose of skepticism after the U.S. military's past disasters with the handling of detainees. The best case scenario is the the Obama administration has let the detainment of Manning become a PR disaster. This is an administration that came into office vowing to clean up the detainment abuses that ran rampant in the Bush administration.

The Wikileaks provided valuable information into how the United States government works. America has a Fourth estate. If we do not have access into the inner-workings of our government then our democracy fails. At the same time, we are a nation of laws. Manning is accountable to military laws, if he is found guilty of revealing classified information. The same holds true for Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes. Sec. of DEfense Robert Gates should investigate the allegations against Barnes.

Politically, whose vote does Obama feel he is going to gain from the handling of Manning. Is the stripping down detainees vote the new NASCAR dad?

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