Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Florida Democratic Party Platform

The Florida Democratic Party has released it's platform. It gives a good idea of what Democrats are against. It fails to let Floridians know what they stand for. I'm all for beating up Republicans on gas prices and class-size. These are losers for the GOP and they deserve to get pounded. Democrats need to provide exciting ideas. I want to hear how they will deal with growth management. That is a huge issue facing Florida.

Mary Mulhern

Meet Mary Mulhern. She is running for District 1 of the Hillsborough County Commission. Listen to her WMNF interview. She makes good points about the commission spending too much time dealing with adult businesses because it's politically good for certain members. Mulhern points out that voters rather have the commission deal with growth management and schools.

Clinton Beats Bush In Poll


The American people spoke, in a CNN poll, and they like Bill Clinton better than George W. Bush.

On the economy, 63% to 26%
On solving the problems of ordinary Americans, 62% to 25%
On foreign affairs, 56% to 32%
On taxes, 51% to 35%
On handling natural disasters, 51% to 30%
On national security, 46% to 42%
On honesty, 46% to 41%

Checking Technorati, conservatives blogs stayed away from the CNN article. There is nothing in this poll that is surprising. Bush has no longer been able to sell his shtick to the American people. Bush's problem has been the same as his National Guard physical and business failures. The man has a knack for fucking up. Big time. At least he's consistent.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Putting the "Con" in Contrite

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Kevin at The American Street was kind enough to invite me to cross post at his group blog, so I'll be posting on Tuesdays. Check it out!

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

I Got Linked To PageOneQ

Hey kids. The Pat Robertson post I wrote at Why Are We Back In Iraq made the top 4 at PageOneQ.

I'm off to see the new X-Men movie. While I'm gone. Read Joel's thoughts about xenophobia.

Friday, May 26, 2006

If Tampa Gets the Republican Convention

This is what Tampa has to look forward to if the city gets the Republican convention. Which I don't think is going to happen.

Protesters overflowing hotel rooms could create tent cities in public parks if Tampa is awarded the 2008 Republican National Convention.

At least 1,500 law enforcement officers will be called upon to provide security.

Nearly two miles of barricades will be erected.

The homeless will be fighting for park space with protesters. The irony is hysterical. Let's not forget all the residents of Harbor Island having to fight roadblocks to enter and leave their homes.

Tampa crashed and burned trying to get the Olympics. Ed Turanchik's plan to transport people with "high-speed watercraft" was my favorite moment. I doubt that the nightmarish Ashley Plaza Hotel will be suitable for GOP delegates. Tampa is just not ready to host either of the conventions.

Bill O'Reilly the Fan Boy

"Anyway, Kelsey Grammar and Robert Duvall were at this dinner, and [they] both said, hey, Dixie Chicks and all—these people should just shut up."

Bill O'Reilly

As much as O'Reilly tries to be a conservative pundit. He can't hide his inner-fan boy. Case in point.

At the Time 100 party a few days before this interview, the Dixie Chicks performed "Not Ready to Make Nice." Afterward Ms. Maines recounted, the Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly — who has regularly denounced her, and whom she pointedly calls "despicable" — rushed over to greet them. "It's like, 'Just want to say that was great!' " Ms. Maines said. " 'I really like that new song.' "

"And I go, 'But two million tops, right?' And he goes, 'What?' And I said, 'I saw your show when you said we wouldn't sell more than two million, tops.' And he was like, 'Oh, ah, well, two million's pretty good these days, right?' And I was just like, 'Right, yeah. You were saying it in a positive way.' "

Ms. Robison interrupted, laughing. "That's what you call a no-spin zone."

Remember his interview with porn star Jenna Jameson ...

Jameson: You know, they automatically think, you're a porn star, you're nothing, you know?

O'Reilly: They think that you're a slut.

Jameson: Exactly.

O'Reilly: But doesn't it hurt your feelings when people judge you and call you "whore," "slut," things like that?

Jameson: No, I've never had anybody call me a whore or a slut to my face.

O'Reilly: To your face.

Jameson: To my face.

O'Reilly: You know they say it behind your back.

Besides O'Reilly's bizaree obsession with the word slut, he is also a huge Jameson fan.

August 2002: Jameson spars with Bill O'Reilly about the business of pornography on The O'Reilly Factor. After the interview, he requests copies of some of her films.

I heard that he got shot down down by Jameson. (Which is nothing new for him.) That should answer his slut question.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Great Moments In Conservative Blogging

The Instapundit archives are the gift that keeps on giving. Case in point is Reynolds' analysis on the breakdown of order, in Iraq, after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Some people think the looting is bad, but I think that a certain amount is good. It reinforces in people's minds that Saddam is gone, and that he was unpopular.

The looting was so good that pricelessartifacts were destroyed. "The violence, if unchecked, may spread to reprisal attacks against people," Amnesty International warned. Explosives that have been used against U.S. military were stolen during this time.

Good call, Instapundit.

Reynolds goes on to say the anti-war crowd was defending (Saddam Hussein's) torture. That is a dishonest argument. Who are these anti-war people that are pro-torture? It certainly isn't a vast majority. There are war-bloggers who defend torture. Reynolds complained that Guantanamo Bay detainees were overfed.

Pot meet kettle. Kettle meet pot.

Is There A Gorilla Doctor In the House

This picture is priceless.

Judge John Renke III Removed From Bench

Getting a whooping 90% of your campaign contributions from your father is a big no-no when the total is $95,800. That's just a tad bit over the $500 limit. Judge John Renke III has been removed from the bench by the Florida Supreme Court.

We conclude that there is clear and convincing evidence in support of the findings of fact of the JQC on all charges. For the reasons stated above, John Renke III is hereby removed as a judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, effective upon this opinion becoming final. We direct that Renke pay the costs of these proceedings. See In re Hapner, 737 So. 2d 1075, 1077 (Fla. 1999). We remand this case to the JQC for a determination of the amount of such costs.

I'm sure Renke's dad can pay the bill.

Nancy Pelosi Asks William Jefferson To Resign

I'm glad Nancy Pelosi did the right thing and made William Jefferson resign. Jefferson does a disservice to blacks saying this is discrimination. When the FBI finds $100,000 in your freezer the Minority Leader of the House has good reason for asking you to resign from the Ways and Means Committee.

Update: This is surreal. President Bush ordered records sealed that were taken by the FBI from Jefferson's office. Hastert and Pelosi issued a joint statement demanding the return of records "unconstitutionally seized."

Jesus Appoints Charlie Crist Governor

The Florida Governor's race is over. Jesus has appointed Charlie Crist.

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier said that before the dream he did not know Crist, nor had Crist made known his plans to run for governor.

"The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said 'There's something I want you to know,'" said Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach. "'Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida.'"

What people don't seem to know is Dozier was appointed to by Governor Jeb Bush to the Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. It doesn't hurt that Dozier has called Jeb "the greatest governor ever." Dozier defines his version of Christianity.

"We must teach Christians that they should vote for political candidates that follow the biblical positions on the political issues," says O'Neal Dozier, who founded the Worldwide Christian Center in 1985 in Pompano Beach. He instructs conference-goers: "The major political issues that you should teach the biblical positions on are abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, income tax of citizens, affirmative action, right to bear arms, and public school prayer."

Dozier's Jesus is a gun-toting, execution-style messiah. Someone should ask Charlie Crist if he agrees with Dozier's version of Jesus.

Will County Mayor Petition Pass Legal Test?

I see a the same potential legal problem for the County Mayor petition as the Committee of Fair Elections ballot amendment.


A nonpartisan Mayor doesn't even pass the laugh test. The legal test I also question. The Florida State Supreme Court did not buy the Committee of Fair Elections assertison that a redistricting panel would be nonpartisan.

The sponsor asserts that the terms are neither misleading nor editorializing, but an accurate statement of the nature of the redistricting commission. The sponsor contends that both the commission and its method of creation fall within the definition of nonpartisan because the commission members will not be influenced by or associated with one political party, will not be subject to oversight or control by the Legislature, legislative leadership or any political party, and will not be required to seek election or reelection to the commission.

While the commission itself may operate in an independent, nonpartisan fashion, the method of selecting the commission members is decidedly partisan.

I think the County Commission can legally fight the wording. The recent Florida Florida Supreme Court decision provides a good precedent.

Over to you Tommy. The whole County Mayor debate is really starting to bore the shit out of me.

Gays Not Allowed To Fight the War On Terror

Bush onced compared the war on terror to WWII. The President said of gays, "But one thing we cannot lose sight of is that we’re talking about human beings, decent human beings that need to be treated with respect." The LA Times reports about the President's respect for gays and seriousness he takes the war on terrorism.

The number of military members discharged under the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals rose by 11% last year, the first increase since 2001, officials said Wednesday.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, said 726 service members were discharged under the policy during the 2005 budget year that ended Sept. 30. That compares with 653 discharges the year before. She released the figures after a gay rights group said it had obtained the statistics on its own.

Hat tip to Steve Benen

More Quinnipiac Poll Madness

Here is the Quinnipiac University Poll from May 24, 2006 on the Florida Governor's race.

Jim Davis leads Charlie Crist 40 - 37 percent. 20 percent are still undecided.

Jim Davis leads Rod Smith Rod Smith 38 - 17 percent. 41 percent are still undecided.

Rod Smith loses to both Crist and Tom Gallagher in the general election.

Scotty McClellan spending more time with his family

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Democrats Can Win Florida Governor Mansion

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that Jim Davis leads Rod Smith 38-17 percent. What is even more interesting is that in a match with Charlie Crist - Rod Smith wins and Jim Davis loses. Screven Watson, Smith's advisor, made a great quote about Davis.

Screven Watson, an adviser to Smith, pitched the choice as "breath of fresh air versus more of the same" and likened Davis to the Democrats' 1998 nominee, Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay. "If Rod Smith weren't in this race, you'd have people saying just what they were saying about Buddy in '98: "Nice man, would make a good governor, and we're going to lose by 10 points.' "

Another Buddy MacKay is not what Democrats need.

Katherine Harris is dragging down Florida Republicans in this year's race. The Quinnipiac poll also shows that President Bush is hurting Charlie Crist and Tom Tom Gallagher. Crist has the biggest name recognition and talk of inevitably. He is not pulling away from the lesser known Davis and Smith.

U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, both Democrats, are running strong, though four of five registered voters didn't know enough about either one to offer a positive or negative opinion, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Nobody knows who the gubernatorial candidates are," Brown said. "That's pretty remarkable."

Let's stop the myth that Charlie Crist is unbeatable. Personally, I can't stand is flip-flopping on abortion.

Side note: Smith just received an endorsement from the Central Florida AFL-CIO.

Wingnuts Turning On Republicans In House

When the unofficial RNC blog RedState is linking to snarky Ebay items like GOP Spine Insertion (Get House Leadership the Help They Need) then you know the Republicans are in trouble.

Veto Hazard Mitigation for Coastal Redevelopment bill

HB 1359, also known as the Hazard Mitigation for Coastal Redevelopment bill is a bad bill. Anyone who paid attention to the 2005 hurricane season could tell you that.

Just what does the bill do?

The current state and local regulations are currently set up to discourage increased coastal development in Florida. If these regulations weren't in place you wouldn't be able to see the ocean for the condos blocking your view all along Florida's coast.

The new law will allow a developer to get around the regulations one of two ways. One way allows developers to show that people will still be able to evacuate to shelters in under 12 hours and out of the county in 16 hours. The second way helps out the developers that can't show that people will be able to evacuate to shelters in under 12 hours and out of the county in 16 hours.

Any land put aside by a developer to act as a evacuation shelter or to provide more evacuations routes can sit for an unspecified period of time before the developer has to actually provide either.

If the developer can't show that a location can be evacuated within the specified time, they can simply pay a mitigation fee to the local government. The amount the developer would have to pay for a mitigation fee is not specified by the bill.

The bill is promoted as a way to curtail the human and environmental toll which could occur during a hurricane. The benefits the bill would provide (strengthening sea wall regulations) do not out weigh the potential damage that could be caused by increasing construction along the coastline.

Call Gov. Jeb Bush at 850-488-4441 and urge him to veto HB 1359. This bill is bad news for Florida's coastline.

Hurricane evacuation bill actually could increase coastal development, critics say

Bill Puts Lives, Tax Dollars At Risk

Cross posted on Can't Keep Quiet!

The Martin Anderson Story Continues

State Senator Frederica Wilson wants to know why "not a single person has been arrested for the murder of this young man. … No one has been held responsible for his death." Students from the USF, Florida A&M and Florida State University also wanted to know why there were conflicting autospy reports on Martin Anderson. The Medical Examiners Commission were meeting in Tampa to discuss the topic. They wrapped up their meeting before State Senators and student could speak with them.

"What they did today was very, very wrong," said Gabriel Pendas, Student Senate president at Florida State University. "You should all be mad. I'm mad."

I'm wondering when someone is held accountable.

Update: Jeb Bush wants boot camp supervisor Mike Thompson fired. Bay County sheriff Frank McKeithan has refused to comply with the Governor.

Comedy Central Is Not Real News

This is proof that conservatives really do live in the fantasy-based community. Tom Delay's legal fund website is running a video of Robert Greenwald being interviewed on the Colbert Report. Greenwald is promoting the movie The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress. Delay's people are sending an email out about how Greenwald got spanked by Stephen Colbert. Apparently, Delay's handlers either don't realize that Stephen Colbert is doing a parody of conservative talk show hosts or they think that people will be too stupid to know the difference. I'm expecting that the video will soon be taken down.

Update: here is another link to the Greenwald interview.

Update: Mulligan thinks someone hacked into Delay's site.

One other possiblity, someone hacked the site and put it up.

I don't think much of Delay and his people but I do have to give them more credit then to put up Colbert.

Hurricanes Are Good Business For Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson is doing his predicting natural disaster shtick again.

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."

You may remember that Robertson predicted that Orlando would suffer "earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor." Hurricanes are actually good business for Robertson. FEMA placed Robertson's organization Operation Blessing on their list of Katrina charities.

Richard Walden, president of the disaster-relief group Operation USA, asked of Operation Blessing's inclusion on FEMA's list. "That gives Pat Robertson millions of extra dollars."

That is exactly why Operation Blessing was placed on the FEMA list. Faith-based programs and school vouchers are nothing more than Republican kick backs to the Christian Right. Republicans hand out money to the Christian Right the same way they hand out contracts to Halliburton. It all business in a very Godfather-like manner.

Robertson used Operation Blessing has a front for aid relief to Rwanda. Robertson performed a fundraising drive, on his show, that he says raised $1.2 million. Operation Blessing bought planes to send relief supplies to Rwanda. Only one flight was used for relief. The planes were used to send equipment to the diamond mining corporation African Development Corporation. The owner of the African Development Corporation is Pat Robertson.

Let us not forget that Robertson is good buddies with former Liberia dictator Charles Taylor. Robertson's company Freedom Gold Limited mined in Liberia. Taylor owner 10% of Freedom Gold Limited. Robertson defended Taylor as a "Christian."

Robertson is probably factoring how much money Operation Blessing will be invested into his other enterprises. Hurricane season is coming. A tsunami buys a lot of gold and diamond mining equipment.

Dixie Chicks On Letterman

The Dixie Chicks sent conservatives in a tizzy over singer over Natalie Maines' now famous quote.

"Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."

Maines was shocked by the reaction from conservatives and country music fans.
Maines apologized for her remarks. She has since taken it back.

"I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President," says Maines. "But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."

The song Not Ready To Make Nice is a kiss off to the conservatives and country fans who turned against them. Maines officially becomes a great singer on the track. Her voices aches with the same power of Johnny Cash on Hurt, Paul Westerberg's impassioned plea on Unsatisfied and Patti Smith's rendition of Hey Joe. Maines spits out her lyrics like daggers.

It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

The Dixie Chicks recently performed a superb live version of Not Ready To Make Nice on David Letterman. Watch the clip.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Snuggly the Security Bear

Meet Snuggly the Security Bear.

Ion Sancho On State of Florida Elections

Leon County election supervisor Ion Sancho on the state of Florida's ballot boxes.

"We need more audits. We need recounts," Sancho said. "Trust no one. If it can't be verified, it can't be used."

It gets worse.

"There is no government oversight of elections. Private vendors are not accountable to the citizenry."

Florida elections shouldn't be left to Diebold. They are against audits because they claim it would give away their trade secrets. Diebold knew about the voting machine flaws. They threatened to sue bloggers who posted information from their website. They later relented. Diebold's "trade secrets" is about covering their asses from negligence.

Quote Of the Day

Republican Congressman C.W. Bill Young on Iraq:

Young declined to say whether going to war in Iraq was a good idea, noting that the authorization for force had widespread support from Democrats and Republicans.

"Once you get committed to a war situation, you're committed. It's not easy to get out until you win or you lose," said the congressman, who was on his way to present Purple Hearts to soldiers. "We have soldiers and Marines getting hurt and getting killed because of this war against terrorism. People don't like that, I don't like that ... but also I know we can't turn the world over to the terrorists, because they're killers."

I'm glad Young couragously stated "it's not easy to get out until you win or you lose." No one would be able to figure that one out on their own.

The Bush administration did not go into Iraq because of the war on terrorism. The 9-11 Commission found no links between Iraq and al Qaeda. I'm am tired of this shameful lied is being spoonfed to Americans. There are only two logical explanations for Young's statement: he's either incompetent or dishonest. Neither are good qualities for public office.

Say hello to Young's Democratic opponent Samm Sampson.

Scammers Make Money Off Homeless Men's Death

Some people will find anyway to expoloit the helpless to make a buck.

Helen Golay, 75, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 73, were charged last week with eight counts of federal mail fraud for collecting more than $2 million from policies they held on the two homeless men, Paul Vados and Kenneth McDavid.

It gets more more bizarre. Both homeless men died shortly after the waiting period to collect on their policies. Vados was killed in a hit-and-run. McDavid was found dead in an alley. The cases are being investigated as homocides.

My question is how did Golay and Rutterschmidt pick these men out? I have a hard time believing that they were next of kin to both men. They buried Vados in an unmarked grave. Randy Hansen, who dates Vados' daughter, had to move the body to a family plot. He has no idea who these women are. These women just didn't pick these men's name out of a hat. I want to know how they were able to put policies on these men.

When Wingnuts Collide

It's amazing how Republicans suddenly discover that President Bush is dishonest when his approval rating is heading down a toilet. Case in point is the immigration debate. The xenophobes are turning against Dear Leader.

David Frum

"Putting the [National] Guard on the border is a symbolic act. ... But I am afraid that in this case the symbolism is manipulative and deceptive."

Bush made the statement: "Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant -- and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty."Kathryn Jean Lopez retorted, "Do you know anyone who seriously argues such a thing?" Actually, yes. Lou Dobbs.

Bush will twist any argument. His administration and supporters keep stating that Democrats do not want terrorists wiretapped. Bush fails to mention that AT&T built technology and aided the NSA in wiretapping American customers. AT&T attempted and failed to suppress documents.

Wingnuts are experiencing what is like to be on the other side of Bush's straw men rhetoric. Personally, I don't feel bad for National Review contributors crying. The National Review is continuing their history of publishing racist screeds.

Kafka meets Beckett for brunch, orders Fruit Loops and Tang

The first part of the Meta-Whore Faust Is story line...

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"Here comes the Colonel
and his Sergeant,
on their horses
a roarin' and a chargin',
up the hill
and down the mountain,
What did the Indian say?!?"

Nate Solod's "Feedy Pajamas" from Who Be Dat?'s "Be Careful"

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Move America Forward

I got the email for the website. There are people who want Congress to cesure former President Jimmy Carter for his foreign policy views. The site is a front for Move America Forward. The organization attempted to have the United Nations removed from U.S. soil. They also have engaged in public spats with Cindy Sheehan and her supporters. (Note: I'm not a Sheehan fan.)

Their mission staement that "Move America Forward is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization" is laugghable. One of the founders is talk radio host Melanie Morgan. MAF also has ties to the Republican firm Russo Marsh & Rogers. Co-founder Howard Kaloogian is a Republican who is currently running for Congress. MAF changed their domain registration information to hide their Republican ties. So much for nonpartisan.

MAF are spending their resources to go after a Nobel Peace Prize winner. When things go bad for the Republicans, they go all Increbible Hulk, and let their inner-wingnut explode out of them.


Curious Tom Gallagher Statement

The four major candidates for Governor of Florida had a debate at theDoral Golf Resort & Spa. This exchange between Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher about Citizens Property Insurance caught my attention.

Crist said of Citizens: ''It's been under grand-jury investigation for a long time.'' Gallagher retorted that was ``absolutely not true.''

Government official, including Tom Gallagher's office, confirmed to the St. Petersburg Times that CPIC has been under grand jury investigation.

But in response to an inquiry by the St. Petersburg Times, the lead insurance fraud investigator in Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher's office confirmed Tuesday that he was sharing information with Miller concerning "possible criminal violations by parties that had, or have a relationship with Citizens."

"Since the matter is technically a "matter occurring before a (federal) Grand Jury,' the Federal Rules ... prevent me from offering more," investigator Eric Miller, who is no relation to Gregory Miller, wrote in an e-mail that Gallagher's office forwarded to the Times.

The Ft. Myers News Press reported that subpoenas were handed out in question to possible illegal contracts. Paul Hulsebusch, chief operating officer, resigned after a vender filed a lawsuit against him. The vender claims that Hulsebusch attempted to get kickbacks from him.

I'm wondering why would Gallagher make such a statement. Citizens Property Insurance has a major stink around for the Florida GOP. I know Gallagher has received $88,450 from the insurance industry. Which just shows him to be a Republican drone. He is also showing signs of a political tin ear.

``I don't think we ought to have put class sizes in the Constitution of the state, and if it's going to be there, it ought to be flexible.''

The voters overwhelingly support the class-size amendment. Gallagher is committing political suicide by going against the voters' will.

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Mr. C Found Me Out

Apparently, I'm an agent sent by liberals to attack Peer Review. I'm glad Thomas Croom feels the Left is that organized.

Confession: Tom, the Left meets every Sunday at Denny's to plot how we are going to take your blog down. Atrios can really chow down on pancakes. Not a pretty site. We could be trying to take Instapundt or Little Green Footballs down. Kos got up, slammed his fist on the table and said, "We must make it our mission to stop Peer Review." So it was said. Derek Newton and I engaged in a heated battle of paper, rocks, and scissors. I lost and they sent me.

Tom, we also control the media. Can't you tell that Lou Dobbs, Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer, and Sen Hannity answer all our marching orders? We actually wanted the the liberal media New York Times to endorse the Iraq war. Judith Miller was our plant. We all know how liberal she is.

The secret is out now. I feel so much better unburdening myself.

Steven Emerson Post At WAWBII

I have a post at Why Are We Back In Iraq about Steven Emerson. The byline says Ron Brynaert wrote it. That's a layout problem that Ron needs to tend to. Trust me. It's my post.

Only Shallow

I love My Bloody Valentine. End of story.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Men Arrested Boarding School Bus

I don't know much about this news item.

Two Saudi men have been arrested for boarding a school bus taking students to a Tampa, Florida, high school.

They're charged with misdemeanor trespassing, but they're being held without bond after a judge said she wanted more background information on them.

If anyone has more information feel free to comment.

Update: the men were arrested at 20150 Bruce B Downs Blvd. The street address is near Pebble Creek Drive in New Tampa. Both men are USF students. The question is were these men culturely naive and thought they were boarding a Hartline bus. Grown adults certainly should not be boarding school buses for no good reason.

Timing Is Everything For Mel Martinez

Mel Martinez has impeccable timing.

Meanwhile, bilingual, Cuban-born Mel Martinez - a conservative Republican and key crafter of compromise immigration reform - left Washington, missing the pair of votes on his party's amendments to his legislation.

"The senator had a longstanding family commitment," the weekend wedding of his son, John, said Martinez spokesman Ken Lundberg.

I really want to know what this "family commitment" was. I'm betting that if the Republicans keep pandering to the xenophobes - Martinez will be attending many weddings in the future. Martinez has a habit of avoiding accountablity for memorandum bearing his name.

Ken Lundberg, Martinez spokesman, said the Senator would have voted for the amendments. Let's see if that's the same position Martinez takes 6 months from now.

Wesley Clark's Son Says Father Won't Run

Hotline On Call reports that Wesley Clark Jr. says his father will not run for President in 2008.

"He can't do it over again....I can't think, I know, I I can't imagine him running again. I mean, literally... the next election for '08 is an effing lock-up. You've got Hillary Clinton. You've got 8, 16 years of political favors to call in."

I hope he's wrong. Clark showed some unpolishness when he ran in 2004. That is understandable for a man who never ran for public office before. I will gladly support Clark if he ran. The White House needs an occupant who is extremely intelligence, competent, and understands national security. Clark fits the bill. People don't become Rhodes scholar and 4 star generals by accident.

Power Brokers & Young Women

The power brokers of Tallahassee get to the important matters for all Floridians. They have named Jamey Turner Miss Rotunda.

"They hire these girls because they're drop-dead gorgeous," says Bob Boyd, 42, a lobbyist who has hired interns to monitor legislation. "Let's face it. Some legislators like beautiful women."

We know all too well how politicians "like beautiful women." There was George H.W. Bush's fondness for Jennifer Fitzgerald. Bill Clinton's cigar moment with Monica Lewinsky, and Robert Bauman meeting a 16 year-old boy in a gay bar and later having sex. On a school night no less. The list goes on and on.

I'm bothered more by Bob Boyd's comment then Turner winning Miss Rotunda. (like there's anything wrong with that.) She is a lovely looking young lady.

Sexist sleaziness knows no partisan boundaries. These men want to hire the kind of young women they never had a shot with in high school and college. Henry Kissinger said, "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." There have been many men who have taken Kissenger's words too literally. Never take the word of a man, who lied about bombing Cambodia. at face value.

The Republican Standard For Plagiarism

I recently caught Thomas Croom plagiarizing GOP talking points. (I originally credited Blogger X and corrected the mistake in an update.) Croom made the defense:

Furthermore, GOP talking points (or democratic ones for that matter) are rarely, if ever, cited as such either by those who employ the information or by those who report the information. The only exception to that statement would be in instances when the reporting organization has a clear political bent, be it neutral or bias, and has a purpose for reporting the sourcea as talking points.

That was the same defense Jeff Gannon made for cribbing White House press releases. Gannon's excuse was he wanted to bypass the filter (read: media). That doesn't change the fact Gannon put his name on the byline and didn't cite the source.

Croom uses another excuse of "GOP talking points (or democratic ones for that matter) are rarely, if ever, cited as such either by those who employ the information or by those who report the information." That's not true. Kevin Drum ran an email from Harry Reid's office and told his readers where the talking points came from. Croom's excuse is if other bloggers lower the bar then there is no reason he shouldn't be able to limbo under it.

My favorite Croom response.

When the GOP starts accusing me of plagiarism then I will adjust my tactics.

It's only plagiarism if the Republican Party says so. I like to see students use that defense for term papers.

Note: the post isn't personal. I have nothing against Croom. I do strongly this agree with him on this matter.

(Crossposted at Loaded Mouth)

Banner War

Two neighbors are having a very humorous war over a Bush banner.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

This Time Democrats Really Want To See Intelligance

I'm glad the Democrats won't get fooled again by the Bushies.

Senate Democrats asked President George W. Bush on Friday to order a new U.S. intelligence report on Iran to avoid the errors that plagued prewar assessments on Iraq.

Five Democrats, headed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, wrote to Bush requesting a new National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE, while the United States is involved in an international diplomatic effort to get Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions.

I'm willing to bet that after the Valerie Plame leak, White House bullying and Porter Goss hooker scandal that the CIA worker bees are less inclined to give the neocons the bogus intell they desire. Iran is a rogue nation seeking nuclear weapons. The Bushies are too incompetent to do anything about it. Their solution would be worse than the problem.

Bread & Butter Politics

It's nice to know that Jeb Bush think conservative Christians are the "bread and butter" of Florida. It's also nice to see Charlie Crist trip over himself to woo to James Dobson offshoot organization Florida Family Policy Council.

I browsed the Florida Family Policy Council website and noticed there is nothing about helping the poor or relief work in places such as Sudan. There is a link for vote values. I did learn that FFPC track Florida legislative bills. This isn't a Christian organization. It's a 527 group of extremely uptight people who fool themselves into thinking they are doing the work of God. Republicans went after these voters in the 70s and now they are held hostage by them. The problem is the rest of the population has to suffer through the stupidity of the Terri Schiavo fiasco, vouchers and attempts at a gay marriage amendment.

Jeb Bush said that Christian voters are the bread and the butter. Does that make everyone else the gum stuck to the bottom of his shoe?

League of Women Voters Files Lawsuit Against Florida

The League of Women Voters will not register voters in Florida. They have shut down operations. The reason being is the state is the only one in the union that levees fines for applications registered after the deadline. The League of Women Voters have responded by filing a lawsuit.

As the lawsuit puts it, "the challenged law imposes civil fines of $250 for each voter registration application submitted more than 10 days after it is collected, $500 for each application submitted after any voter registration deadline, and $5,000 for each application [that for whatever reason doesn't end up being] submitted. Plaintiffs are strictly liable for these fines, even if their inability to meet the statutory deadlines results from events beyond their control, such as the destruction of applications in a hurricane."

The Florida branch of the League of Women Voters has a budget of only $80,000. These fines can lay a heavy toll on the nonprofit.

"Basically, it constricts our ability to carry out our core mission to educate voters and get them involved in the political process," said Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti.

To illustrate the laws hypocrisy, political parties are exempt from late voter application fines.

People Acting for Community Together and Brennan Center for Justice are helping the LWV with the lawsuit.

Friday, May 19, 2006

School's valedictorian never attended a class

Amy Rouinfar has a 4.7 grade point average making her the valedictorian for Eustis High School.

Problem is, she never attended a class at Eustis High School.

Florida has a dual-enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits while in high school. The program pays for the students' college tuition and books.

Rouinfar went to Mount Dora Christian Bible School before she decided to enroll in Florida's dual-enrollment program. Since she was no longer attending classes at the private school, she was asked to leave. At that point, Rouinfar enrolled at Eustis High School.

Rouinfar said the private school asked her to leave because she didn't attend any classes there, so she enrolled at Eustis High while she continued to take courses at Lake-Sumter Community College.

Last week the administrators of Eustis High School announced that Rouinfar would be the valedictorian. The student body at the school quickly went from "Who?" to "I don't think so!"

The seniors at Eustis High started a petition to exclude Rouinfar from graduation ceremonies. In the end, the school administration decided that the salutatorian, Alex Brown, would be the only one of the two to address the school at graduation.

The problem isn't that Rouinfar had the highest grade point average and is now the valedictorian. The problem is that Rouinfar has never attended Eustis High.

Eustis High is not a large high school. There are only 300 students in its graduating class. I know that there are smaller high schools in Florida (I have a cousin that graduated with a class of 50), but there are many that are much larger.

Most of the 300 students graduating from Eustis High School have been going to school together since kindergarten. Chantel Lindsey, a cheerleader and a National Honor Society member, complained that Rouinfar, who has not grown up with the other students, would not be able to "capture a lifetime of memories in a speech to strangers."

This is actually not an isolated incident. The battle for bragging rights to the title "valedictorian" can be pretty nasty.

It can even involve the courts.

It 2003, a student sued a New Jersey school board to be the sole valedictorian at her high school. She won her lawsuit.

Many schools have decided to change their practice to end the academic bickering over what can amount to only a hundredth of a point. At least one high school uses the cum laude system that you find in colleges. Winter Park High School, in Orange County, gives the valedictorian title to anyone with at least a 4.0 grade point average.

The administration at Eustis High School is changing its policy to make it mandatory that a student has attended classes at Eustis High in order to be named valedictorian.

Personally, I don't blame the students for being upset. If I were a senior in high school I wouldn't want to have someone who had never attended any classes give a valedictorian speech. How can someone talk about cheering on the school's football team if they've never been to a game? How can they thank the teachers for inspiring them and guiding them if they've never meet any of the teachers? How can someone give a speech about what it was like to attend a school they never attended?

The school made the right decision in giving the graduation speech to the salutatorian. He'll be able to talk about all the things that Rouinfar never experienced.

According to Rouinfar

They can never take the title away from me. My class rank will always be No. 1.

Maybe it's just me, but being "No. 1" at a school I never attended is a fairly hollow accomplishment in my eyes. Rouinfar should look, instead, to the accomplishments she made at Lake-Sumter Community College.

While at Lake-Sumter, Rouinfar earned a leadership award and was named Chemistry Student of the Year. She should hold tightly to those accomplishments and have more pride in them. Rouinfar managed to achieve those accomplishments against students that had completed high school. That's much more impressive than being valedictorian at a school she never attended.

Cross posted at Can't Keep Quiet!

Bushworld (A Lot Less of It)

It looks like Bushworld is getting a lot smaller.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dude, Where's My Campaign Money

Nancy Detert is a Republican running for the Congressional seat currently held by Katherine Harris. Her campaign treasurer, Randy Maddox, wired $94,000 into another account. The problem was it was Maddox's personal account. Maddox proceeded to withdraw $91,000 and hop a plane to Buenos Aires.

Maddox's family convinced him to come back to America and return the money. Maddox "lost" $27,000 while in Argentina. The FEC ruled that Maddox's parent could make up the difference.

Detert did not know Maddox was bipolar when she made him her treasurer. Maddox has been admitted to the Manatee Glens Hospital and Crisis Center. No news on if he is still a patient. No charges have been filed.

Bush Unpopular In 47 States

Survey USA finds that President Bush has a below 50% approval rating in 47 states. The three states that are still sticking with Dubya are Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. What's interesting is how strong Bush's support is with 18 to 34 year-olds in Idaho and Utah. Those states aren't going to turn blue anytime soon.

Good Doggie

I was too harsh on dogs in my previous post. I should note that they are smart animals.

Not As Cute As A Button


How to Spot A Blogger Cutting And Pasting Talking Points

I knew conservative bloggers ran GOP talking points. But running the TP emails verbatim is taking it to a new level. Right down to the text-stylying. It really does make blogging so much more easier.

Here is the part of the text of Blogger X's post.


57% More Likely to Vote for Member of Congress Who Supported Medicare Part D
According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released late last month, 57% were more likely to vote for a Member of Congress who supported Medicare Part D, while 29% were more likely to vote against a Member who did not support the plan.

Costs Are Lower for Seniors and the Federal Government Than Expected
The average premium seniors pay for their prescription drug benefit is just $25 per month instead of $37 per month, and this year the Federal government will spend 20 percent less overall on the Medicare drug benefit than was projected last July.

Even National Democrats Are Urging Seniors to Enroll in the Program
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said last week: "Democrats have been out across the country encouraging seniors to sign up for a prescription drug plan by May 15th." (Pelosi Release, 5/9/06)


Now here is a talking points email I received from Phil Singer.


Harris said she thought her campaign had paid for her dinner with defense contractor. “Wade also picked up a $2,800 tab for dinner with Harris at a Georgetown restaurant, though she said she thought her campaign had reimbursed Wade $100 for her appetizer and drink. Recently, she told the Orlando Sentinel she had been wrong. She said she donated $100 to a Jacksonville ministry to compensate for her share of the meal.” [Tampa Tribune, 5/14/06]

Post: Harris claimed, “famously and falsely,” that Mr. Bush had prevented terrorist attack aimed at Carmel, Ind. “Last summer, Ms. Harris claimed, famously and falsely, that Mr. Bush had prevented 100 terrorist attacks within the U.S. including one aimed at Carmel, Ind. That came as news to the mayor of Carmel.” [Palm Beach Post, 3/19/06]

Harris Accused Newspapers of Distorting Her Makeup. Harris charged that newspapers altered her photographs. On a radio show, she said “you know, whenever they made fun of my makeup, it was because the newspapers colorized


Talking point emails are written in a certain style. There is always the bold headlines and citing of sources without links. If I could find the actual Republican TP email, I would accuse Blogger X of a lot more than bad blogging. I will say that running someone elses email and passing it off as your own work is plagiarism. Not to mention tacky.

Update: Thomas Croom has taken credit for the post and admitted he reprinted talking points. The post was not written by Blogger X.

The Katherine Harris Campaign: Not A Holy Place

This is the great advice Dr. Dale has been giving Katherine Harris.

When news broke about Mr. Wade, the Harris campaign was in turmoil. Ms. Harris, increasingly critical of her staff, turned more frequently to Dale Burroughs, a spiritual adviser to the campaign and founder of the Biblical Heritage Institute for the Behavioral Sciences, a Christian counseling service.

Ms. Burroughs told Ms. Harris that the campaign was not a "holy place" because women were dressed provocatively and the men swore and drank, according to Mr. Rollins. Mr. Ingram, the Harris spokesman, says Ms. Burroughs's role in the campaign has been exaggerated. Ms. Burroughs didn't return calls seeking comment.

Be gone demons!

This might explain why Harris fired Ed Rollins.

In private, Mr. Rollins recalls Ms. Harris saying God told her to stay in the race -- God wanted her to be a senator.

The strategist says he responded: "Maybe God wants Nelson to stay a senator and that's why he's encouraging you to stay in."

Harris's new staff of Christian Right loyalists changed the locks on the Tampa headquarters. I wonder if they performed and exorcism.

Hurricane Information

The City of Tampa has put their hurricane preparedness page online. If you are disabled, you have to fill out the application for a special needs shelter before June 1. I urge you to do so and for other bloggers to make people aware of the deadline. There will be no guaranteed shelter place for disabled who have not filled out the application.

The contact information for Hillsborough County Emergency Management.

2711 E. Hanna
Tampa, FL 33610
Telephone: (813) 272-6900
Fax: (813) 272-6878

Redner Campaign

Joe Redner has officially announced he is running for the Hillsborough County Commission. Redner will run for the district 5 seat. District 5 is one of three district seats which represents the whole county.

Redner's campaign manager is former 87X pirate radio host and Weekly Planet contributor Kelly Benjamin. The former radio host unsuccessfully ran for Tampa City Council.

Redner has unveiled his Contract with the Voters of Hillsborough County. It's not bad. The two problems is Redner has no base of support and no professional campaign staff. My advice to Benjamin is to ask fellow Weekly Planet writer Wayne Garcia a lot of questions. Garcia has worked on several campaigns. Garcia wouldn't offically go anywhere near the Redner campaign. That's why asking for friendly advice with the power of cheap booze is always a good thing.

One thing that Redner should have done, as an outsider, is point out the white wash ethics investigations of county officials. See here and here. There is serious need for ethics reform at the city and county level. If the Feds never went after Steve Labrake, he may still have a job in Tampa government. Redner dropped the ball by not grabbing that issue.

Pushing Rope Linked To Media Matters

Ron Brynaert's guest post was linked to Media Matters Press/Bloggers page. Check the May 11, 2006 listing.

Go check out Ron's blog and congratulate him.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mickey Kaus Can Pick Them

For those Republicans who thought illegal immigration was going to be a winning election year issue. This email sent by a longtime Republican voter to The Corner should serve notice.

He's turning into his father as we watch and if it wasn't for the WOT (that he fought well in the first administration - not so well now) he'd have been a first term president also.

My apologies to JPod but I can't see a negative to letting the moronic Democrats take back over. It really can't be much worse. And it could get so bad the apathetic will wake back up.

All this anti-immigration noise started around the time Russ Feingold introduced his censure resolution for the NSA phone data-mining.

"Bush's best hope was for the Democrats to do something dumb," wrote Glenn Reynolds. They did by abandoning Feingold. Republicans countered by making noise about illegal immigrants. Which did nothing to keep the NSA scandal out of the news. There is also the alienation of the largest-growing voting group. No one should be surprised that Mickey Kaus thought the issue would be a political winner for Republicans.

The Big Brother America

The ABC News blog The Blotter reports the federal government is monitoring who ABC News, the New York Times and the Washington Post are calling.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

"In-person" means that the source can not use the phone and must set up a face-to-face meeting. The NSA Data-mining is used to protect the Bush administration from who they preceive as enemies in their paranoid worldview. Frank Rich explained it perfectly.

We can see this charade for what it is: a Hail Mary pass by the leaders who bungled a war and want to change the subject to the journalists who caught them in the act. What really angers the White House and its defenders about both the Post and Times scoops are not the legal questions the stories raise about unregulated gulags and unconstitutional domestic snooping, but the unmasking of yet more administration failures in a war effort riddled with ineptitude. It's the recklessness at the top of our government, not the press's exposure of it, that has truly aided the enemy, put American lives at risk and potentially sabotaged national security. That's where the buck stops, and if there's to be a witch hunt for traitors, that's where it should begin.

These people would literally shoot the messangers if they could legally get away with it. We already know that they don't have a problem with using CIA black sites to torturing people. The Pentagon gave the laughable excuse that they didn't want the photos released because they might embarrass the prisoners. Did the Pentagon believe naked pyramids were a recreational activity? I'm amazed these people are able to look themselves in the mirror after mouthing this spin.

Hat tip to Bitch|Lab

Ronda Storms Quotes

"We don't know what pig we are going to squeeze and we want to know what pig will squeal the least."

Weekly Planet April 10, 2002

"It's guilt money. This is so white people can pat themselves on the back."

Weekly Planet April 10, 2002

During the program, a puppet that goes by the name the Black Sock tells a puppet representing Storms that he wants to go to her home and perform a sex act on her.

"How is it you can say you're going to ride out to my house and do this?" said Storms, narrating a tape of the show for a reporter at her County Commission office Thursday. "No one has to agree with me. But civilized people should condemn that language."


"It's a dang sock with buttons for eyes talking about nothing," said Anderson, 25, an aspiring lawyer. "How many mother jokes are taken seriously? Does anyone of reasonable consciousness really believe they will happen?"

SP Times May 3, 2002

"I do not want to have to explain to my daughter what it means to question one's sexuality."

SP TIMES June 9, 2005

"A bane upon you. May the worms of your avarice consume your intestines."

SP TIMES Oct 13, 2005

"The enemy is ever vigilant. He's out there seeking whom he may desire. There have to be more of us."

SP TIMES Jan 18, 2006


Candid Karl

No one will ever accuse Karl Rove of being a straight-talker. David Corn, of The Nation asked Rove about why Scott McClellan told the White House press corp he had no role in the CIA leak.

Corn: David Corn from “The Nation Magazine” on a different subject. Scott McClellan told the White House press corps, many who are here today, that he had spoken to you and you were not involved in the CIA leak. Can you explain why the American public, almost two and a half years later, hasn’t been given an explanation and don’t you think it deserves one for that misinformation because it does seem you were to some degree, though maybe disputed, involved in that leak?

Rove: My attorney Mr. Luskin made a statement on April 26th. I refer to you that statement. I have nothing more to add to it. Nice try, though.

Can't you feel the candor?

Think Progress has a video of the exchange.

Westboro Baptist Church Back In News

The Westboro Baptist Church is back in the news again. They recently called Rep. Barney Frank "the famous glib-tongued, fat faggot, Congressman from same-sex marriage, Massachusetts ..." That was their way of saying thanks to him for voting against the "Respect For America's Fallen Heroes Act." It's a good thing these people aren't in the greeting card business.

Related posts: The Courting of Wingnuts & Bigots, Westboro Baptist Church Is Nuts

President Bush 36% Approval Rating In Florida

A Survey USA poll found that only 36% of Floridians approve of President Bush's job performance.

Over to you, Justin.

Raw Story Link


My "Immigration Debate Is About Xenophobia" post is linked on the Raw Story front page.

This has been an interesting month for the blog.

Spanish Star Spangled Banner

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I'm back from a great trip to the Philippines! I'm still settling back in to life here in Iowa, so I'm not completely back in the rhythm of cartooning. Fortunately, I'm starting up a collaboration with Don Davis over at the Satirical Political Report. This cartoon is Don's gag. The gag was part of a larger piece that Don wrote, so pay him a visit and check out the rest of his writing. Funny stuff!

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Satirical Political Report

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Immigration Debate Is About Xenophobia

The xenophobia shown by at this Brooksville townhall meeting is saddening.

"Illegals . . . influence federal policy, laws and legislation that undermines our economy, lowers our standards of living and destroys the American dream,"

Another Canadian woman said immigrants "make her blood boil."

These statements were greeted by cheers.

This webpage does a good job dispelling myths about illegal immigrants.

Let's be honest. That vast majority that scream their heads off about immigration are racists. Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin have publicly supported the Minutemen.

Lawless, an original member of Chris Simcox's vigilante militia before it became the Minuteman Project in early 2005, detailed 11 suggestions for ways to harass and terrorize undocumented immigrants, including robbery and ''beating up illegals'' as they leave their work place, the report states. Martin, following Lawless' suggestions, posted her e-mail to a number of neo-Nazi bulletin boards.

Lawless suggested stealing money from any undocumented worker walking into a bank or check-cashing location. "Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status ... I hear the rednecks in the South are beating up illegals as the textile mills have closed. Use your imagination,'' Lawless wrote.

The article also reports that several neo-Nazis are current members of the Minutemen. Do you still think Dobbs and Malkin should be given media access to spout their views?

Shocking News: Bush Lied About NSA Program

"The privacy of all Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities. The government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval."

George W. Bush

The key word is "listen". The NSA is data tracking phone numbers called. The calls were monitered without FISA court approval.

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said a person familiar with the program.

The administration already had the crash and burn surveillance programs Operation TIP and Total Information Awareness Office. The latter gets extra points for it's creepy logo. These are very paranoid people in the White House. They didn't pay attention "Bin Laden Prepared to Strike" PDB or FEMA's pre-Katrina warning. Yet, they are insanely fixiated on finding out who law abidding Americans are calling. Wake me up when when Bush heads back to Texas.

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

Benjamin Franklin

Update: from a horrible Tampa Tribune op-ed. (Is there any other kind?)

As Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said of complaints about the program: "This is nuts. We are in war. We have got to collect intelligence on the enemy, and you can't tell the enemy how you're going to do it."

I wasn't aware we declared war on the American people.

Joe Redner Files Suit On Gay Pride Ban

Joe Redner has filed suit against Hillsborough County's ban of gay pride.

Joe Redner a local businessman and civil rights activist filed suit to have the ordinance overturned and sought an injunction to prevent the ordinance from taking effect while the lawsuit is underway.

The county wrote in their court filings that the ordinance would only control "governmental speech". I'm disappointed the county's lawyers didn't write something more Orwellian sounding. There is also this nugget.

"The county should not be forced by judicial act to endorse 'gay pride' activities any more than the government might be forced to endorse Nazi activities," the county argues.

Nice comparison. I'm happy to live in a county that does it's best to live up to the stereotypical image the rest of America has with the South. If the county lawyers knew anything about history - they would have an understanding of how the Nazis committed genocide on gays. Someone explain to me how a Ronda Storms parody profile is offensive, but these remarks aren't.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Presidential Motorcade Points Rifles At Protesters

Holy shit!

There are several eyewitnesses who said that President Bush's motorcade pointed assault rifles at protesters from the motorcades. This happened during Bush's recent trip to Sun City, Florida.

District 1 No Longer Safe For Donkeys

To show just how pathetic the Democratic Party has become in Tampa, A Republican will most likely win the HCC district 1 seat. Kathy Castor currently holds district 1. Democratic frontrunner Deborah Cope raised $22,000. Compare that to Republican Rose Ferlita's $218,000.

A major problem for this is Janee Murphy's leadership. She alienated rising star Phyllis Busansky. There has been infighting amongst DEC members. She has failed to aggressively canvas districts and been out-fundraised by Republicans. When the safest Democratic county district turns red it is time for someone's head to roll.


Here is a list of all the Florida candidates running for Congress.

Voucher Abuses

The Florida Supreme Court ruled against the Opportunity Scholarships vouchers. Jeb Bush lost because he refused to make private schools be tested. Bush strongly advocated the FCAT being used to grade public schools. Bush wavered when asked if private schools were going to be held by the same standard.

"The diversion of money not only reduces public funds for a public education but also uses public funds to provide an alternative education in private schools that are not subject to the “uniformity” requirements for public schools," ruled the Florida Supreme Court.

State Senatators Les Miller and Walter "Skip" Campbell have filed a suit to find out how the FCAT tests are graded. The law mandates that graders must have a bachelor's degree. The Senators found out that the Florida Department of Education used Kelly Services temps to grade tests. The FDOE will not comment because how tests are graded is a trade secret. (Much like McDonald's secret sauce.)

The McKay Scholarships are used for children with disabilities. The Palm Beach Post have discovered the program has been abused.

Lax standards pose a fundamental legal problem for the voucher programs. The state Supreme Court this year ruled that the third voucher program - the governor's so-called "Opportunity Scholarships" used by about 700 students whose schools repeatedly scored an F on the state's FCAT-based grading system - is unconstitutional. The justices based their finding, in part, on the Legislature's failure to hold private voucher schools to the same standards as public schools.

The Post editorial states that Bush is less concerned with helping the disabled than using public money for religious schools. Public schools drive conservatives batty. There fail to realize that there isn't enough private schools to handle every child. Fortunately, their "big ideas" about education is failing and Floridians are sick of it.

I'm Back


I'm back to normal blogging. A big thanks goes out to the guestblogfgers and PR regular Mulligan. Go check out their blogs.


Can't Keep Quiet

Loaded Mouth

Sine.Qua.Non's Journal

Why Are We Back In Iraq?

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Word In Support of My Guestbloggers

Even when I am not around, Pushing Rope can still generate controversy. This isn't something that I am for. I also don't shy away from it. It seems neither does Taz or Bitch | Lab. Taz went all Rude Pundit on Say Anything. The conservative blog. Not the Cameron Crowe movie. Ms B went into the back and forth she had on the formerly-named Sunshine State Progressive Bloggers email list. I looked at my emails yesterday and amazed at all the SSSPB letters in my box. Good grief.

Let me say this out front: I will support my guestbloggers right to speak. I'm not bothered when other people call me names and brag about her lefty creditials by stating she links to Bitch Lab. I don't have a problem with that. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I support the first amendment right's of others to disagree with me and call me names. If you blog and expect every person to congratulate your every post then you're deluded. I have told Pushing Rope regulars Mulligan and Zen that they can disagree with me. My ego doesn't need guestbloggers to pen ass kiss posts to me.

Regular blogging will commence tomorrow.

Polling By Phone About Taps

In all honesty, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about the data-mining of tens of millions of American's phone conversations (but that's completely depending on how the data has been used...if it's being used for anything other than terror investigations then I would be adamantly against it).

But I am exactly sure how I feel about the concept of polling people by telephone to measure the country's feelings on telephone surveillance.

It's retarded.

What exactly is the plus/minus for people who don't talk to pollsters on phones?

And what - could one presume unscientifically speaking - would be the percentage of people that would be against telephone surveillance, wiretapping and datamining, that would never talk with a pollster by phone?

According to the data for the Washington Post/ABC News Poll (link), 502 adults were "randomly selected."

How many adults were called?

I dunno. Maybe it's just me but I can't believe that anyone would even use telephones to ask such questions. I would think any question that deals with how Americans qualify their privacy would probably be tough to accurately measure, but calling people to ask them about how they feel about the government tapping their phones is just plain lunacy.

If the Washington Post/ABC News pollsters phoned people and asked how many would be willing to talk to pollsters then I guess the results would be something close to one hundred percent since the only people responding to the question would be those people already talking to pollsters.

Do you see what I'm getting at?

People who respond to pollsters on the telephone aren't going to be as concerned about privacy issues as people who don't want to talk to pollsters by phone at all.

Would a door-to-door poll work better?

I don't know.

I live in New York City and it's damn sure hard to find anyone who thinks that government tapping or data-mining is okay, but I have no idea how other parts of the country feel about it.

All I know is that trying to figure out this shit by phone is just plain stupid, period.

Continuing to connecting the dots on COINTELPRO 2

This is a continuation of a post I made on 12/17/2005.

On November 8, 2005, we found out that the Bush administration has more then 10,000 dossiers on its supposed "political enemies. These dossiers include "intimate personal details on members of Congress; high-ranking local, state and federal officials; prominent media figures and ordinary citizens who may, at one time or another, have spoken out against the President or Administration," It's also worth mentioning that "White House insiders tell disturbing tales of invasion of privacy, abuse of government power and use of expanded authority under the USA Patriot Act to dig into the personal lives of anyone the administration deems an enemy of the state."

On December 16, 2005, we find out that Bush himself "secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying."

On May 11, 2006, USA Today reported that "The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY." Although the Bush administration and its defenders claim that phone calls are not being listened to, given the past history of the Bush administration, do we really know if this is the truth?

To recap what we presently know: Bush keeps a massive file of dossiers on his political opponents, Bush secretly authorizes the NSA to spy on any American they want to, and Bush secretly authorizes the NSA create a database containing information on nearly every single domestic telephone call made in the United States.

All of these actions have been taken, supposedly, to combat terrorism.

What does spying on normal American citizens, particularly those who have been critical of the Bush administration, have to do with combatting terrorism?

Progress report to Mr. Hussey

Hey Michael, it only took me a week to get your blog a semi-big link!

But I don't think you'll like the source.

:: Dominion Theology, Theocracy & Fascism ::

roy moore schorr.jpg
I had no idea the (extreme) Christian Right goal of a theocratic and fascist government had gone this far.

Salon has printed an excerpt from Michele Goldberg's new book, "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism." Read the entirety of the excerpt. You will want and need to read the book. Read Publisher's Weekly' review as well.

These people want to radically take over government and society - every facet, of every single person's life. They believe, as the Iranians practice, that homosexuals should be executed. And, they strongly believe in the role of Christianity in government and the role of "men" in society and culture. They actually believe that the Jewish peoples are attempting to eradicate the Christian faith. Hmmm. How about a little sanity?

Former Supreme Court Justice (Alabama), Roy Moore, is their martyr; the judge who was removed from the courts because he refused to remove the Ten Commandments Monument after the Supreme Courts decision requiring it's removal fron the court property. He also forced juries, attorneys, and audiences of his court to pray and further, refused to remove the Ten Commandments in his court room after the Supreme Court decision. He was removed instead.

The bottom line? These people want to dominate our lives and government. They go so far as to attempt to train people to infiltrate the government and all other aspects of civil life.

The following is a small snippet of the article, which by no means covers the extent of the insanity:

Roy Moore and Rick Scarborough are Baptists, D. James Kennedy is a fundamentalist Presbyterian, and John Eidsmoe is a Lutheran. All of them, however, have been shaped by dominion theology, which asserts that, in preparation for the second coming of Christ, godly men have the responsibility to take over every aspect of society.

Dominion theology comes out of Christian Reconstructionism, a fundamentalist creed that was propagated by the late Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony and his son-in-law, Gary North. Born in New York City in 1916 to Armenian immigrants who had recently fled the genocide in Turkey, Rushdoony was educated at the University of California at Berkeley and spent over eight years as a Presbyterian missionary to Native Americans in Nevada. He was a prolific writer, churning out dense tomes advocating the abolition of public schools and social services and the replacement of civil law with biblical law. White-bearded and wizardly, Rushdoony had the look of an Old Testament patriarch and the harsh vision to match -- he called for the death penalty for gay people, blasphemers, and unchaste women, among other sinners. Democracy, he wrote, is a heresy and "the great love of the failures and cowards of life."

Reconstructionism is a postmillennial theology, meaning its followers believe Jesus won't return until after Christians establish a thousand year reign on earth. While other Christians wait for the messiah, Reconstructionists want to build the kingdom themselves. Most American evangelicals, on the other hand, are premillennialists. They believe (with some variations) that at the time of Christ's return, Christians will be gathered up to heaven, missing the tribulations endured by unbelievers. In the past, this belief led to a certain apathy -- why worry if the world is about to end and you'll be safe from the carnage?

The article ends with this telling and, to me, terrifying quote, summing up the extent of what they believe their "mandate" is:

In his book "The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action," George Grant, former executive director of D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, wrote:

"Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.
But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.
It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
It is dominion we are after.
World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less...
Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ."

What is further terrifying, is the extent to which these people have infused themselves into the Republican Party. And, get this: Roy Moore is running for Governor of Alabama and is endorsed by the Alabama Republican Assembly. Read Moore's self-declared constitution. He is also endorsed by, no other than:

James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family

Alan Keyes, Former Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of the Declaration Foundation

Ann Coulter

James Kennedy, Founder, Coral Ridge Ministries

Michael Farris, President, Patrick Henry College

Joyce Myer, internationally known practical Bible Teacher and Author

Oliver North

Richard Selby (Senator of Alabama)

Phyllis Schlafly, Founder, Eagle Forum

Moore also has created The Foundation for Moral Law. Be scared. Be very, very scared. Roy Moore for President

Repent America!