Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me."

Question: did Osama bin Laden or Jesus Christ say this?

CornDogs and Irishmen Tour

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I'm relaunching my "Grill Rats" comic strip that I started many moons ago. I posted it to Zencomix about a year and a half ago, but I'm expanding the story and adding some New Characters. Also, I've improved the scanning job. Some of you readers might recognize some of the strips from previous postings. There were only a couple weeks worth, so bear with me as I re-introduce the old characters and introduce the new ones along with new story elements.The Freeper's not gonna let that War On Halloween go with out a fight!

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Handsome Boy Modeling School - I've Been Thinking

Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) is the guest vocalist on this song.

I've Been Thinking mp3

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quote of the Day

"No, but you have not yet had a situation also where you have two clearly defined and opposing groups vying not only for power, but for territory. What you do have is sectarian violence that seems to be less aimed at gaining full control over an area than expressing differences, and also trying to destabilize a democracy -- which is different than a civil war, where two sides are clashing for territory and supremacy."

Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary.

Main Entry: civil war
Function: noun
: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country

Related post: Reality and Fantasy

Things Get Interesting In District 13 Recount

The vote testing in Sarasota County has become a nightmare. The Herald Tribune reports all four tested machines had miscounts. Three of them miscounted the Jennings-Buchanan race.

What's even more interesting is that Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent was over 100 miles away from the testing. Is it me or shouldn't the Supervisor of Elections be present for voter machine testing. It's the kind of thing that instills confidence to the constituents.

Things get more interesting. Blogger Jeannie Dean reports that Dent was in Orlando meeting with "ES&S's spokespeople, lawyers and other Florida Local Board Election Officials--wonder what they're spinning!" Now that's an even more interesting question.

There is serious spinning going on.

"It's going to be human error when we go back to look at it, that's what we expect," said Jenny Nash, spokeswoman for the Florida Secretary of State's office, which conducted the mock election as part of an audit of the county's voting system.

I doubt they "expected" the machine counts to be off. That's like saying the captain of the Titanic telling passengers that the lower decks are suppose to be wet.

Billoblog Is Racist

Peer Review links to Billoblog as proof that there was no criminal negligence in the handling of Martin Anderson. Mr. G states that this anoymous blogger is a medical expert. I look at him as an anonymous blogger who is too scared to list his real name on his domain registry.

The Attorney General, and soon to be elected Governor, Charlie Crist decided to make an example of Dr. Siebert. After all, who was this little guy who thought that practicing medicine was more important than getting him elected? It was, I suppose, a no-brainer. Pandering to racial special interests is always a win when it can be done at no cost except for ruining the life of some cog in the machine.

So, the NAACP and similar folk decided to gin up some complaints against Dr. Siebert, and they found some editing errors in an older report. Attorney General Crist told the Medical Examiner commission to review Dr. Siebert’s previous autopsies and find something to crucify him with. They had their marching orders, and they stepped forward to obey.

The problem, unfortunately for the Medical Examiner Commission, was that Dr. Siebert is an excellent pathologist. The Medical Examiner Commission, made up primarily of political appointees but headed by a forensic pathologist, reviewed just under 700 of Dr. Siebert’s reports. What they came up with was shocking. In a review of almost 700 previous cases, they could find no diagnostic errors. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Remember this. No diagnostic errors.

What does the NAACP have to do with whether the Anderson case is a criminal matter? Unless, you are the type of blogger to defend Michael Richards.

But Richards isn’t a member of the KKK, and he doesn’t believe in the inherent superiority or inferiority of any particular race, I’ll bet. What I saw when I watched that video on the stage was the same kind of rage I’ve seen between people getting a divorce. When people become that angry and vindictive, they look for any words that can hurt. They don’t care what they are, and they’ll use whatever’s handy. I don’t know if any of you have seen the kind of bitter exchange I’m talking about between lovers who have learned to hate each other, but it’s the kind of thing that leads to false reports of child abuse, rape, and sometimes to physical violence. Richards’ problem was not that he is a racist. His problem is that he was trying to be cruel, and race was the weapon at hand. I’ve been that angry once or twice in my life, and though I didn’t use race as a weapon, I used words I’ve sorrowed over for the rest of my life.

Hey, if Richards isn't a member of the KKK then he can't be that bad. Of all the important issues and social injustices of the world - who would want to waste their time defending this.

Can anyone say with a straight face that wasn't a racist tirade? Richards can follow Trent Lott into doing the walk of shame. My personal experience is that anger and alcohol brings out people's real feelings. Not suppresses them. To say that Richards isn't a racist doesn't pass the laugh test. This is coming from the same anonymous blogger who speaks of the NAACP in disparaging tones.

There are several factual errors in Bilbo's post.

Mr. Anderson started his run, but around lap 12 of 15 he collapsed and claimed that he couldn’t go on. He was reprimanded, taken to the ground, but fairly quickly released and he continued to run. He collapsed again and the same drill continued and now included the use of ammonia capsules to arouse him. According to guards and the nurse, he responded appropriately and was resisting, so they thought nothing was wrong. They believed he was malingering, as was very common during initial assessments. To ensure inmates breathe the ammonia, hands were placed over the mouth and the ammonia was held under the nose. In this case “counseling” went on for some time – approximately 30 minutes — and Mr. Anderson eventually became unresponsive.

By law, Anderson was supposed to be examined when he entered the boot camp. He never was. Anderson was pinned and repeatly punched. He told nurse Kristin Anne Schmidt that he could not breathe. Helet the guards continue to manhandle him. The guards then shoved ammonia capsules into his nose and mouth. He later died of suffocation. Even if Anderson did die of the sickle cell trait, which Billo maintains, the boot camp still broke the law and endangered Anderson's life. For the record: the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America said Anderson did not die of sickle cell trait. The second autopsy ruled that Anderson died of suffocation.

The question is why would Bilbo want to defend the medical merits of Dr. Charles Siebert? A man who had no medical licence when he performed his autopsy. Siebert ruled that the body of Donna Reed had "unremarkable" prostate gland and testicles. Her mother Frances Terry was outraged that Siebert thought her daughter was a man.

I don't buy that Bilbo is forensic pathologist. He is an anonymous blogger with some serious issues about race. No rationale person would waste the time defending Siebert and Richards. If he really has the credentials then he should blog under his real name. Peer Review has much explaining to do for linking to this racist garbage.

Progressive Nookie

It had to happen. There is an online dating service for lefties call Act For Love. Gersh Kuntzman summed up the site by writing, "Finally, someone is being honest about the link between political activism and gettin' some action."

For those on the right looking for love. Or just to to find a mate he or she can practice abstinence with - there is Hannidate. Ladies, you can nonsexually hook up with RichnSmooth. Just don't cat fight over him.

Wesley Clark Forms Exploratory Committee

Here is some good news for Democrats. The Associated Press reports Wesley Clark is launching exploratory committee for a possible 2008 presidential campaign. Clark is a Rhodes scholar. He graduated first in his 1966 West Point class. He's an extremely intelligent man. Something that can be said about the current President who utters nonsense like "food on your family." I'm a biased fan of Clark's. His moral character is something all American should strive for.

During the negotiation process, in 1995, Holbrooke and Clark's diplomatic convoy was ambushed on a road by landmines and small arms fire, after Milosevic refused them safe passage. One of their jeeps crashed down a ravine. Amid enemy gunfire, Clark, then a fifty-year-old Lieutenant General, rappelled down the ravine to search for survivors. He stayed with the burning jeep until help arrived, saving the wedding band of one dead soldier which he personally returned to the fallen man's widow.

Clark also won a Bronze and Silver star for service in Vietnam. I'm sure he would be Swiftboated if he received the nomination. I have no doubt that the Democratic Party would launch a counter offensive and hold the media accountable.

Even if Clark doesn't receive the nomination. His candidacy would make him a frontrunner for Sec of Defense or National Security Advisor. His intelligence, miltiary and diplomatic experience makes him more than qualified for either position. Unlike Rumsfeld, Clark actually ran a successful military campaign with the Kosovo war.

Write A Caption: Britney Spears & Paris Hilton

Britney & Paris

Paris Hilton is seen with her new mullet-haired boyfriend.

Massive Attack - Thankful For What You Got

If you don't know who Massive Attack is then you need to get educated.

Thankful For What You Got mp3

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

NRSC In Debt

I wonder how long Elizabeth Dole will be running National Republican Senatorial Committee. This letter she sent out to supporters is hysterical.


Dear Republican Friend,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous support of our efforts to elect Republicans to the United States Senate this year.

I just wish I could say I'm writing today to celebrate a Republican victory -- but as you know, we were beaten by the Democrats in a very difficult election year for Republicans nationwide.

But even though we were unable to retain our Senate Majority, I believe we can still walk away from this election with our heads held high...

...Despite the odds against us, we fought hard in all our U.S. Senate races and still managed to keep the Senate extremely close!

And given how close so many races were, I even authorized the NRSC to go into debt so we could put more money into important Election Day messages.

As a result, the NRSC is now in debt after we spent every last cent on last-minute advertising and other efforts.

That's why I'm reaching out to the NRSC's most loyal and generous supporters like you today.

If you are in a position to do so, please make an immediate online contribution to the NRSC in the amount of $25, $50, $75, $100, $250, or more to help us wipe-out our remaining debt and make sure we have the funds to start 2007 with the maximum financial strength possible.

I know you have already done so much this year. And I truly wish that I did not have to ask you for another contribution...

But if we let this debt linger, it will cripple our efforts to recruit great candidates for the next election and begin our drive to win the one additional seat we need to regain the Senate Majority.

So please, don't let me down -- Help the NRSC recover from our election debt at once.

Remember, the sooner we can pay off the debt from the last election and begin to focus on the next campaign, the greater our chances are of regaining the majority in the next election.

So please help me make sure the next NRSC Chairman can hit the ground running in 2007 with no debt.

Simply follow this link to help fund our debt retirement efforts with an immediate, secure online donation today!

No matter how much you can contribute, I want you to know that I deeply appreciate all that you have done for our Party, our Senate candidates, and me during the past year.

As my term as NRSC Chair comes to an end, I look back and cherish the great friendships I have made with loyal Republicans all across this country. I am truly thankful to have friends like you who are committed to our cause, our ideals and principles.

With my warmest best wishes,

Senator Elizabeth Dole
Chair, National Republican Senatorial Committee


Don't expect Dole to get the NRSC out of debt. She did a lousy job fundraising when the NRSC was in the black.

Sworn Testimony Makes Ken Pruitt Camera Shy

Rep. Paige Kreegel has filed a defamation suit against political consultant Randy Nielsen. I could care less about that. The real story is Ken Pruitt will testify in the case. Kreegel's lawyer wants to question Pruitt about a $36,000 donation that was placed in the home builders political committee.

Pruitt has longstanding ties to Florida Home Builders Association lobbyist Richard Gentry. The latter has donated to Pruitt's campaigns and has worked with Nielson. This maybe why Pruitt wants no reporter present when he testifies.

Pruitt's lawyer, Ron Meyer, says he will fight any efforts by newspapers to attend the deposition at a court reporting service in Port St. Lucie. "We're not going to give Rep. Kreegel and his lawyer a forum on which to grandstand," Meyer said.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Randy Nielsen sent out attacks flyers against Kreegel. Neilson states that Pruitt was not behind the ad. Pruitt is in the Florida Senate and Kreegel is in the House. Neilson's explanation is plausable. Why then is Pruitt so nervous about this?

Anticipating the crowd would ask him about the newspaper stories, Pruitt came prepared with a brown accordion folder, from which he pulled out a receipt and some of the 2003 mailers.

Pruitt said he gave $36,000 to the association, covering about half the cost of the mailers. The mailers featured Sens. Nancy Argenziano, R-Dunnellon; Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey; Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton; Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach; Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey; and Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach. Also featured were Reps. Kevin Ambler, R-Lutz; and Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

If that really is the case then Pruitt wouldn't worry about reporters covering his testimony. Could it be since Pruitt was controling the purse strings, he had an idea of which candidates Neilson would target.

Kreegel is interested in Pruitt because he relies heavily on Nielsen for advice and controlled a fundraising group that sent a $36,000 donation to a home builders' political committee in the 2004 campaign. It was one of several big-money transactions between fundraising groups that paid for the anti-Kreegel mailings.

There is also the possibility that Pruitt is far deeper in the pockets of the Florida Home Builders Association then anyone is aware. I wouldn't be shocked if Neilson was writing bills for Pruitt. He's acting too skittish about this. Something doesn't jive.

Quote of the Day

"The dirty little secret is that the biggest lobby in town is members of Congress lobbying us."

K Street lobbyist Toby Moffett talking about how members of Congress hit up lobbyists for money.

Revote Rally

The ACLU, Common Cause, People for the American Way Foundation, and VoterAction are sponsoring a revote rally. The idea is to hold another election for the Christine Jennings-Vern Buchanan congressional contest. The event will be held at Bayfront Park in Sarasota on December 3, 2006.

Apparently, many Sarasota residents are keen on the idea of a revote.

Cookie Monster in Rehab

I'm glad to see the Cookie Monster is finally getting the help he needs.

Update: rehab doesn't seem to be working too well for the Cookster.

Thanks to Mark Hoosier for the tip.

On the Edge of Blade Runner

Fascinating documentary on the making of Blade Runner.

Christian Coalition Feel Poor Not Their Base

"One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."


Via Shakes: Rev. Joel Hunter declined to become the next President of the Christian Coalition. Hunter wanted to expand the Coalition's focus beyond anti abortion and gay marriage stance. THE CC told him they weren't interested.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative group in January from Roberta Combs, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," said Hunter, a senior pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.

Hunter announced his decision not to take the job during an organization board meeting Nov. 21. A statement issued by the group said Hunter left because of "differences in philosophy and vision." Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base,'" Hunter said.

Shakes wants to withdraw their tax exempt status. She points out that they are a hate group. No argument from me. I don't waat to get into the business of what deserves recognition as a religious organization. (For the record: I'm agnostic.) It seems like a huge pain in the ass. There are also tricky first amendment issues. Both with freedom of speech and the separation of church and state.

Tom Tancredo Thinks Miami Third World

The racist heart of the immigration debate reveals itself. This is what happens when anti-immigration Republicans such as Tom Tancredo say what they believe with feeling.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, the leader of the anti-illegal immigration faction in the U.S. House, spent a recent weekend at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

Ninety miles to the south, he found a symbol to bolster his belief that unfettered immigration is endangering the United States: Miami, he told a conservative online news site, ``has become a Third World country.''

Countries are judged third world based on their economy. Miami has one of the largest economies of any city in America. That's hardly third world. Tourists come to Miami to play. The same can't be said for Sudan or Iraq. Perhaps Tancredo is bothered that there are residents that have the same skin complexion as Iraq or Sudan.

Tancredo's book "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security" contained this nugget.

Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, warned in his book, "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security," that the country is on a course to the dustbin of history. Like the great and mighty empires of the past, he wrote, superpowers that once stretched from horizon to horizon, America is heading down the road to ruin.

So immigration took the Roman empire down. Tancredo doesn't seem to have a problem with empires having imperialistic ambitions.

Go to Tancredo congressional website and see he has a serious Mexico fetish. When a man harps and harps about another group of people and calls them a threat to national security - there is reason for citizens to question his motives. Immigration isn't a policy issue for him. It's an obsession.


Mark Ober's Slight of Hand

It's amazing what some political pressure can do. Seven guards and a nurse have been charged for aggravated manslaughter of Martin Anderson. That's the good news. The bad news is people involved with covering up Anderson's death are not being charged. State Attorney Steve Meadows was reclused for deleting emails with information on the Anderson case. His replacement, Mark Ober, cleared him under pretenses that don't pass the B.S. test.

"Meadows routinely deleted all e-mail from his computer under the mistaken belief that the e-mail could be retrieved from a backup server if needed. Meadows did not attempt to hide information pertinent to the investigation."

Meadows wanted to save the email. That's why he deleted it. Does Ober expect anyone to truly believe that?

Guy Tunnell was also cleared of accusations that he tried to obstruct the investigation. This is the same Tunnell who emailed FDLE staffers and told them the release of the Anderson videotape "ain't gonna happen." Tunnell also played email tag with Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. The latter was also cleared by Ober. Jeb Bush's chief of staff Mark Kaplan tried to have Tunnell not release the video. After Tunnell decided to do so.

Ober also cleared Dr. Charles Siefert.

"It is clear from the evidence, however, that Dr. Siebert acted in the good-faith belief that he had the authority to conduct the autopsy in this case as the medical examiner for the 14th District," Ober wrote in his letter to Bush.

Siefert ruled that Anderson died of sickle-cell trait. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America publicly debunked Siefert's findings. A second autopsy found suffocation to be the cause of death. This cover up has gone all the way to the Governor's office. It's time for the FBI and an independent prosecutor to step in.

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Ralph Arza Apologizes

It's time for another politician to do the walk of shame. Come on down Ralph Arza.

''I want to personally apologize for my regrettable actions,'' Arza wrote. ``This has been hard on my family and friends, and I hope you can forgive me for the things that have happened.''

Arza has admitted to making the calls to Rep. Gus Barreiro. I got off-the-record emails and comments from people who were telling that Arza was a bully. They wished they could go public but were afraid of Arza going after political payback. It's good that this guy is no longer in power. You can listen to the answering machine messages that got Arza into trouble.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Michael Berube Interview

The Talking Dog has an lengthy interview with Professor Michael Berube about his book "What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?: Classroom Politics and "Bias" in Higher Education." There is much talk about Anti-foundationalism and the silliness that is David Howowitz's attacks on university professors.

Keep Judicial Races

A Palm Beach Post op-ed supports getting rid of the Florida judicial elections. The editorial supports letting the state make appointments to the bench. I sympathize with the the Post editorial staff's viewpoint. Judges are usually on the bottom of the ballot. There is little media attention paid to them. Which creates little debate.

There are two reasons for the difference. One is that the judicial races were farther down on the ballot, where voting usually tends to drop off. More important, there is general agreement that people avoid judicial races because they don't know much about the candidates, who aren't allowed to take positions on issues that might come before them.

This strikes me as the same argument used in support of term limits. The voters are too ignorant to know who the vote for. So let's take away the decision from them. I have a few problems with that. It's the voter's responsibility to know the candidates. Voters are also responsible for the bad choices they make. Nixon got elected twice. Not a great call, but the will of the people.

The flip side is we rid of elections and have judicial nominations turn into partisan slugfests. The people would grant the state more power over who presides over the legal system. I'm less than sold on that being a great idea.

Stem Cell Debate Hits Florida

The stem cell debate has gotten more interesting. Floridians for Stem Cell Research & Cures have launched a petition drive to put stem cell research funding on the Florida 2008 ballot. They failed to do so in 2006. Citizens for Science and Ethics have launched a counter drive for a 2008 ballot measure to ban Florida from stem cell research funding. If both grassroots group get 600,000 certified signatures they will still need 60 percent of the voters to vote yes.

The one thing that may doom the Christian Right is that stem cell research supporters have made their presence felt with campaign donations.

Proponents of Missouri constitutional amendment to protect embryonic stem cell research have broken every record on political spending for statewide races, with one billionaire couple bankrolling nearly all of the $28.7 million campaign.

That total price tag is staggering when compared to even the most expensive campaigns in Missouri history. The stem cell campaign is already more than twice as costly as any campaign for a Missouri ballot measure.

The amount spent by proponents of the stem cell measure is greater that the total spent by all candidates combined in any race to date for statewide office, including governor or U.S. senator.

Newly elected politicans, from both parties, have heard the money jingle and are tripping over each to see who can promise to spend the most. Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans support stem cell research. The Christian Right will drive a wedge into the Republican Party on this issue. Democrats can use stem cell research to fundraise and get-out-the-vote.

New Florida Lefty Blog

Say hello to Space Coast Rising.

The Comeback Queen

Please let this rumor be true.

"Rumors are floating in Florida GOP political circles that outgoing Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), one of the most disastrous Senate candidates in a very long time, is secretly plotting an '08 House campaign in the event that the House Democratic leadership tries to overturn the election result in Harris' district, where Republican Vern Buchanan barely eked out a victory."

"Republicans are worried that Democrats will try to prevent Buchanan from taking a seat in the House, as they did with Rick McIntyre (R) in 1984 when they did their own recount and seated Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN) after a tight race."

Life is just so boring without a Katherine Harris campaign.

Barney Frank Vs Chris Wallace

"I've got to say, Chris, you have an odd view of balance. […] I am struck by the tenor of your questions. You advertise this as giving us a chance to talk about what we're going to do, but everything is aimed at trying to put us in a kind of a bad light and look at the most controversial and not very representative things that we plan to do."

Hat tip to Crroks and Liars.

Quid Pro Quo

Thankfully, it appears Alcee Hastings will not become the chair of House intelligence committee. It is reported that Nancy Pelosi's aids were warning her that giving the Hastings the chair would blow into a major controversy. They are right. Hastings was impeached from the Federal bench for a bribery scandal. Hastings was found guilty by a Democratic Congress.

Pelosi made her mistake with John Murtha. She almost repeated the same mistake with Hastings. Erza Klein is floating Rush Holt's name.

What we are seeing is Pelosi repaying the favors of people that helped make her House Speaker. The only problem is that those owed quid pro quo have more baggage than an airport carousel. Fortunately, House Democrats rebeled against Pelosi and did not let her build a Tom Delay-style mafia.

Update: Hastings is sending out a letter to House Democrats. Maybe he hasn't thrown the towel in.

“I hope that my fate is not determined by Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Michael Barone, Drudge, anonymous bloggers, and other assorted misinformed fools,” he says.

Hastings isn't going to win this one. Unless, Pelosi commits political suicide and gives him the chair.

Reality and Fantasy

This paragraph sums up why I hold out little hope for the Iraq Study Group.

Mr. Bush spent 90 minutes with commission members in a closed session at the White House two weeks ago “essentially arguing why we should embrace what amounts to a ‘stay the course’ strategy,” said one commission official who was present.

Democrats on the panel are urging a timetable for withdrawal. Bush is not likely to support that idea. An anonymous commission member said, "It’s not at all clear that we can reach consensus on the military questions." The short answer is James Baker does not want to hand the President a report he knows will be rejected.

Instead, we hear more ideas of fantasy. The extra 20,000 troops idea is being floated again. Senator Chuck Hagel said, "General Abizaid noted that when he was here last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee. We don’t have the troops." It all sounds tough. Just has nothing to do with reality. Much like President Bush's Iraq policy.

In other news: NBC News will now be calling Iraq a civil war.

"For months now the White House has rejected claims that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated into a civil war. And, for the most part, news organizations like NBC have hesitated to characterize it as such. But after careful consideration, NBC News has decided a change in terminology is warranted -- that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas -- can now be characterized as a civil war."

The White House is continuing to shed the credibility of military officials such as Major General William Caldwell by having them say Iraq is not a civil war. Harvard public policy professor Monica Toft states why Iraq is a civil war.

The first criterion centers on the notion of sovereignty and governance. In a civil war, the main struggle is over who will govern, with each side rejecting the legitimacy of the other to take control of the government.

The second indicates that each side has to be organized and armed for the war. This criterion therefore excludes spontaneous mob actions or riots, as, for example, in the Albanian pyramid scheme crisis in 1997.

The third criterion holds that the state must be formally involved in the war, which allows for the exclusion of communal conflicts where there are two warring identity groups.

The fourth tries to capture the intensity of civil war as opposed to other types of violence such as crime, riots, and smaller-scale insurgencies. This excludes such cases as the fight for Northern Ireland (although the costs of that long conflict have been tragic).

The fifth captures the idea of a minimal capability of each side to conduct its military operations by inflicting casualties on the other side. This ratio criterion excludes massacres and genocides.

The sixth excludes wars between two sovereign states.

Iraq has met all of the criteria. The main one that has been contested is "the state is one of the combatants." Until recently, the argument put forward was that most of the violence was fomented by foreign insurgents. Although there is no denying that the foreign insurgents were involved in quite a bit of the violence, they were and are not alone. Organized groups of Sunnis (former Baathists in particular) have been waging violence as have Shiites (e.g., the Badr brigade/Mahdi Army) since at least Spring 2004.

Short answer: a bunch of people living in the same country are trying to kill each other.

Update: The Carter administration is in the house.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. national security adviser, said it would be ``a gimmick'' for the Defense Department to increase the number of troops in Iraq temporarily before beginning to withdraw them.

``I wouldn't be at all surprised if that actually happens,'' Brzezinski said on ``Political Capital with Al Hunt,'' to air on Bloomberg Television this weekend.

``It's a gimmick because it satisfies McCain, it satisfies the hardliners,'' Brzezinski said, referring to Senator John McCain. The Arizona Republican, who is exploring a run for the presidency in 2008, said Nov. 19 that U.S. troops are ``fighting and dying for a failed policy'' in Iraq unless they get enough reinforcements to ensure a military victory.

The Man himself weighed in on how Bush would handle the Iraq Study Group findings.

On "Good Morning America," former President Jimmy Carter said to ABC News' Robin Roberts that everybody is waiting for the report and that his "guess is that President Bush will take their advice as much as he possibly can."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mark Foley on the Internet

Mark Foley has a message for parents.

For the Mix Master

Mixter has found out she has lupus. Go sign her comments and wish her the best. You can also donate to the Lupus Foundation of America.

Write A Caption: Sultans of Swing

Sultans of Swing

Everyone sing along:

The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah

Dave Chappelle On Sesame Street

This video made me look at Sesame Street a whole new way.

Tim Mahoney Feels the Love

Tim Mahoney finds himself in the spotlight. Much to surprise of himself and his family as he is having a casual breakfast. News cameras moped him he was was given the thumbs up sign by his constitutents.

Joe Negron, thank you for running. You didn't disappoint me as running as a pro-President Bush candidate who was telling people to vote for Mark Foley on the ballot. What a great sales pitch.

Hardest Words For A Columnist To Say: 'I'm Wrong'

I usually view Daniel Ruth's who writes annoying coy op-eds that would never get him hired with an A-list newspaper. Anyone can be cynical three times a week. Wayne Garcia labeled Ruth a "serial name-caller." It's hard to find something that Ruth passionately believes in and use his media real estate to try to better the community.

Ruth is entitled to his opinions. He is not entitled to his own facts. Ruth wrote that Sami Al-Arian made anti-Israel remarks in 1998. Al-Arian actually made those remarks in 1988. Journalist Eric Boehlert noted that the Tampa Tribune had not written a correction, as of January 19, 2002.

Ruth is once again kicking out the truthiness.

First, it is possible the voting machines ate 18,000-plus votes, sending them into cyberspace.

Second, it might well be that otherwise normal, reasonably intelligent adults simply couldn't find and/or understand the congressional election options, although they clearly grasped every other ballot choice.

And there is this: On Election Day, some 18,000 members of the body politic got to the congressional section on the ballot and said to themselves: "A pox on both their houses for mutually running such a nasty, cheesy, misleading, negative campaign. I'm going to pass on this one."

Computer scientists are saying that is not possible.

Kathy Dent, Sarasota County's elections supervisor, defended her county's $4.5 million touch-screen system. Dent said she thinks thousands skipped the race to protest intense mudslinging by both candidates.

Political scientists say that kind of voter rebellion is unlikely to be confined to a single county. The high rate of skipped votes in Sarasota County is a statistical red flag.

I don't think Ruth bothered to research the District 13 voting problem. If he did then he would have known that the machines were having problems with votes not showing up on the screen before election day. The Orlando Sentinel found that the 18,000 voters that registered no vote leaned heavily Democrat in the races they voted for. Vitual unknown Eric Copeland received 551 votes than agriculture commissioner winner Charles Bronson.

There is two things that Ruth should have taken into account before writing his column.

a). Florida's history of elections is considered a joke by the rest of the country.
b). 18,000 nonvotes is an unusually high number.

I can't say with no certainty that Christine Jennings won the race. Ruth shouldn't flippantly say 18,000 people decided not to vote in the Jennings-Buchanan just because it leaves space cutesy names like Dr. No. How original.

David Caton Writes Books

It appears that David Caton's book "Overcoming the Addiction to Pornography" is not a hot seller on There is no photo image of the book and only three reviews. This was my favorite review.

My wife forced me to get this book because of my addiction. After reading it from cover to cover multiple times, I found myself loving pornography even more. My addiction became worse and now, I feel as if I am on the downward spiral to other, much worse things. Skip the book and instead, go to an adult book store and buy as much as you can. Trying to get bored of pornos is better than trying to wean yourself from it.

If Opray recommended Caton's book - Joe Redner may become richer than Bill Gates.

Update: Norwood reports that Caton did his part for Homeland Security.

The airport is no place for magazines such as Hustler, Genesis and Club with "explicit content that goes far beyond nudity," said Caton in a letter to Hillsborough County Aviation Authority members.

"This is not the kind of product that the government should allow to be sold in an airport," Caton said.

I feel so much safer now.

Update: David Caton has no medical degree. That doesn't stop him from coming up with scientific theories.

A third way in which pornography enslaves is through chemical addiction. When the pornography addict indulges in his habit, the adrenal gland secretes the chemical epinephrine into the blood stream. According to David Caton, author of Pornogrpahy: The Addiction, epinephrine goes to the brain and assists in locking in the pornographic images. These locked-in images can result in severely changed behavior, including an obsession with pornography that has much in common with chemical addiction.

Someone should challenge Caton on his scientific data.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Write A Caption: Gary Siplin Mugshot

Gary Siplin Arrested

Ric Keller Vs Ric Keller

Ric Keller signed a term limits pledge in 2000.

"We need people who are there for the right reasons, not people who are there to see how long they can stay there," Keller said at the time.

Things are different in 2006. Now that Keller is in a red-leaning district.

"As a rookie candidate, I underestimated the value of experience and seniority. I will not spend my entire career in Congress, but I will seek re-election in 2008," he said in a written statement.

Keller has grown wiser in his time in Congress. It has nothing to do with him getting a better office every time he's re-elected or job security. It's that "underestimated" thing that has caused him to change his mind. He was a young rookie. Now he's a veteran who can help keep America safe from gay-marrying terrorists like Will and Grace. Thank you for your service, Congressman (for many terms to come.)

Chris Kise: All You Need To Know (For Know)

Charlie Crist has named Chris Kise Counsellor to the Governor.

What do we know about Kiss?

He onced dressed up as Gilligan for a greeting card picture.

Kiss was a former partner at Foley & Lardner and was a member of their White Collar Defense & Corporate Compliance Practice team. Because white collar criminals need their constitutional rights protected, too.

Solicitor General Kise negotiated a bargain deal when Progress Energy petitioned for a rate increase. How much of a bargain that is for cunsumers is debatable.

Kise has litigated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kise likes bow ties.

Florida 13 Recount Fund

ActBlue has started a District 13 recount fund to help Christine Jennings finance the recount.

The voting machine testing story gets weirder. Florida won't actually test the machines used in the District 13 race. They are testing unused machines. That's like taking a Porshe to the garage to find out what's wrong with a Pinto.

"Testing unused machines -- rather than testing the machines that have actually exhibited the troubling symptoms -- will only further undermine public confidence in our electoral system generally and in the state's audit of this election in particular," Mark Herron said in a letter to the state's lawyers.

The state will test ten of the used machines on December 1. What the first time is suppose to prove is something I'm not sure of. Besides, making the state look like they're doing something. This all would be laughable if it wasn't so sad.

Update: Paul Krugman weighs in on the District 13 controversy.

I've been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received. Here we have as clear a demonstration as we're ever likely to see that warnings from computer scientists about the dangers of paperless electronic voting are valid - and most Americans probably haven't even heard about it.

As far as I can tell, the reason Florida-13 hasn't become a major national story is that neither control of Congress nor control of the White House is on the line. But do we have to wait for a constitutional crisis to realize that we're in danger of becoming a digital-age banana republic?

Jeb Bush Rumor

Here is the latest Jeb Bush rumor.

According to the report, after the new Florida governor Charlie Crist is sworn in, Mel Martinez will resign his Senate seat to serve full-time as RNC chairman, and the new Governor will appoint Jeb Bush in Martinez's place in the Senate.

I don't believe Jeb has any interest in the Senate. I he did he would have ran this year.

Update: Laura Fiorilli isn't buying the rumor. Jim Johnson is pushing for the McCain-Bush ticket for 2008. I would love to see that ticket go down in flames. Both of them would defend the Iraq war to death.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Open Thread: Name a Charity

We are now officially into the Christmas holiday season. Name a charity, in the comments, you would like to see people donate to. I will link the charity in the post.

Salvation Army

Orlando Sentinel Analysis of District 13 Undervotes

The Orlando Sentinel did an analysis of

The group of nearly 18,000 voters that registered no choice in Sarasota's disputed congressional election solidly backed Democratic candidates in all five of Florida's statewide races, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of ballot data shows.

Among these voters, even the weakest Democrat -- agriculture-commissioner candidate Eric Copeland -- outpaced a much-better-known Republican incumbent by 551 votes.

The trend, which continues up the ticket to the race for governor and U.S. Senate, suggests that if votes were truly cast and lost -- as Democrat Christine Jennings maintains -- they were votes that likely cost her the congressional election.

Since there is no paper trail it's nearly impossible to determine where the undervotes would have gone. 18,000 undervotes is a ridiculously high number. I don't buy Vern Buchanan's excuse that all those undervotes skipped a Congressional race.

Blogger Challenge Update

David Caton has launched his followers into action against question 14.

The Florida Family Association has often fought pornography and city or county ordinances extending civil rights protections to gays. After a Tallahassee Democrat news report last weekend about several changes in the Senate questionnaire, the association this week flashed an alert to its members -- urging them to bombard Pruitt with protests.

"Did the Republicans learn anything from this past election about the consequences of turning their backs on the conservative base?" David Caton, the association's executive director, asked in the message. "Based on this new pro-homosexual proposal, they have not."

The group's message included a sample e-mail that members could send to Pruitt, stating, "Creating criteria that allows candidates for employment to be excluded from working in the governor's administration because homosexual extremists filed a complaint against them is insulting to social conservatives."

Caton is using form emails to scare the Florida Senate. What you can do is email or call Senators and tell them you support question 14. This page has a list of contact information. Send the message that discrimination will not be tolerated.

Update: The Florida Senate is already feeling the heat from Caton. Florida Senate spokeswoman Kathy Mears says her office has been getting many phone calls and emails from the Florida Family Association.

Kathy Mears from the Florida Senate’s office says there’s literally a void in leadership right now, as Tom Lee is no longer Senate President but the incoming leader, Ken Pruitt , has not officially Senate President yet. She says any decision on how to deal with the issue won’t happen until January.

That could mean the question maybe taken out by Pruitt. The reason the Christian Right wins is because they are able to push a full grassroots assault on politicians. This is why the left loses. Contact the Florida Senate and say you support question 14.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Feeling the Gaze

Happy Thanksgiving.

Mickey Kaus Has An Anti-Immigration Jones

The mind of Mickey Kaus is a scary thing.

Hype Watch: In House races, Republicans lost 8 percentage points among Hispanics between 2002 and 2006. They also lost 8 percentage points among whites, notes Polipundit. How does this prove that the House Republicans' immigration stance cost them Hispanic votes?

Kaus's question answers itself. Republicans lost 8 percent of the Hispanic vote. White votes have nothing to do with which party picked up Hispanic votes. Kaus links to a Washington Post article. Which he hopes his readers won't bother checking.

"A lot of the Republican candidates chose immigration as the wedge issue, and polls seem to bear out that it was an error for them to do that," Cortés said. "And I think Mel Martinez, because of his life story, is a perfect person to help them find their way back from that era."

Kaus then contends that the New York Times "Hispanic exit-poll numbers for 2002 actually don't add up." Most likely, a highly number of Hispanic men than women were polled. The poll was conducted in 33 states on November 7, 2006.

Is anyone besides Kaus trying to claim that Republicans didn't do poorly with Hispanics? I haven't heard Republicans making that argument. Kaus maybe so sensitive because he went on his anti-immigration crusade.

Sen. Frist is quoted saying that 40% of the 12 million illegals have been here less than five years. ... The actual sight of millions of illegals having to leave the country might have a deterrent, they-mean-business effect that could counterbalance the inevitable incentive effect (on potential future illegals) of the deal's partial semi-amnesty.

Kaus wants a huge mass exodus that would be costly and make the news. Has Kaus thought how internment camps will play in the media? Plus, the agriculture lobby wouldn't stand for it. The immigration debate is dead for now. There is no political benefit for Republicans.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Secret Service Insecurity

Apparently you should not feel so secure with a Secret Service detail.

First Daughter Barbara Bush had her purse and cell phone stolen as she had dinner in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, even though she was being guarded by a detail of Secret Service agents, according to law enforcement reports made available to ABC News.

There's more.

A Secret Service agent on the advance detail got into an "altercation" with someone after a night out and was badly beaten, according to the law enforcement reports. The Secret Service said today the incident was an attempted mugging that occurred while the agent was on his own time. The agent is doing fine.

Hanging out with the Bush daughters really is dangerous. Imagine if Paris Hilton had a secret service detail.

Hat tip to Talk Left.

David Caton Blogger Challenge: Stop Discrimination

David Caton of the Tampa-based Florida Family Association once claimed that nude dancing leads to domestic violence and rape.

"The characteristics of men who frequent these places are that they have little regard or respect for their wives as people," Caton told journalist Eric Snider. "Hypothetically, a man might watch an attractive nude dancer. Maybe his wife does not meet that level of attractiveness. The guy, disenchanted with what he has in the form of sex, might become physically abusive, harming his spouse or forcing her into some kind of activity she does not want."

Caton failed to give Snider any scientific data backing his theory. He also attempted to have Saving Private Ryan not aired on commercial television because people in the military would never use profanity. Caton claimed this was the false depiction by Hollywood.

I never heard my dad use the “f” word. I neverheard his World War II buddies use the “f” word. Therefore, Spielberg’s prolific use of the “f”word in Saving Private Ryan does notaccurately represent the service of many menwho I personally know.

Several former military veterans wrote to the Tampa Tribune in protest of Caton's letter. The veterans wrote that colorful language was used with great frequency in the military. To say otherwise is unrealistic.

Now Caton is trying to have question 14 removed from the Florida Senate biographical questionnaire.

Have you ever been the subject of a complaint or investigation that included allegations that you discriminated against or harassed someone in the workplace, including but not limited to: sexual harassment, or discrimination based on color, race, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, familial status, marital status, or sexual orientation? Yes 􀂅 No 􀂅 If “Yes,” explain: DATE EMPLOYER NATURE OF ALLEGATION DISPOSITION

Caton once backed a Constitutional Amendment that would allow people to be discriminated against based on their sexual persuasion.

"Adding 'gender identity' as a protected category will give cross-dressing the same legal status as race," said Caton.

There is something you can do. You can contact incoming Senate President Ken Pruitt at 772-873-5003 or his email

The object is to get every member of the Senate on record of supporting or being against Caton wanting to allow the Senate to hire people who have discriminated against gays. Who can copy and paste this list. Let me know if you got a Senator on record. Ronda Storms is famous for her moral values grandstanding. She's also well-known who avoiding reporters' questions on her stances. I want her on-the-record.

Other Florida Senators.

JD Alexander
(850) 487-5044

Nancy Argenziano
(850) 487-5017

Dave Aronberg
(850) 487-5356

Jeffrey H. "Jeff" Atwater
(850) 487-5100

Carey Baker
(850) 487-5014

Michael S. "Mike" Bennett
(850) 487-5078

Larcenia J. Bullard
(850) 487-5127

Lisa Carlton
(850) 487-5081

Lee Constantine
(850) 487-5050

Victor D. Crist
(850) 487-5068

M. Mandy Dawson
(850) 487-5112

Ted Deutch
(850) 487-5091

Alex Diaz de la Portilla
(850) 487-5109

Paula Dockery
(850) 487-5040

Mike Fasano
(850) 487-5062

Don Gaetz
(850) 487-5009

Rudy Garcia
(850) 487-5106

Steven A. Geller
(850) 487-5097

Mike Haridopolos
(850) 487-5056

Anthony C. "Tony" Hill, Sr.
(850) 487-5024

Dennis L. Jones, D.C.
(850) 487-5065

Arthenia L. Joyner
(850) 487-5059

Charlie Justice
(850) 487-5075

James E. "Jim" King, Jr.
(850) 487-5030

Alfred "Al" Lawson, Jr.
(850) 487-5004

Evelyn J. Lynn
(850) 487-5033

Gwen Margolis
(850) 487-5121

Steve Oelrich
(850) 487-5020

Durell Peaden, Jr.
(850) 487-5000

Bill Posey
(850) 487-5053

Nan H. Rich
(850) 487-5103

Jeremy Ring
(850) 487-5094

Burt L. Saunders
(850) 487-5124

Gary Siplin
(850) 487-5190

Ronda Storms
(850) 487-5072

J. Alex Villalobos
(850) 487-5130

Daniel Webster
(850) 487-5047

Frederica S. Wilson
(850) 487-5116

Update: thanks to Shakes and Mustang Bobby for putting the word out. Joel asked me this question: "I'm not sure explain precisely what your challenge is. Do you want
bloggers to paste that list? To contact their local reps? David Caton
happens to be one of many in a long list of people that bring shame to
what I think should be a positive religious faith, so I'm all about
getting some clarity on his bigotry and the potential bigotry of others."

What I want is to get every Florida State Senator on record. Do they support question 14? Yes or no. I expect many Senators will try to duck the question. So the challenge will not be easy. You can copy the list and put it on your blog message board, etc. Just as long as the message gets out. If you get a Senator on record please let me know. I will be more than happy to give you credit and link back to your blog post.

Chuck Hagel On Iraq

Think Progress has a video of Republican Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Chuck Hagel on John McCain's plan for 20,000 more troops in Iraq.

HAGEL: Andrea, it is not realistic. General Abizaid noted that when he was here last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee. We don’t have the troops. That’s number one.

Number two, even if we did, it’s the wrong approach. The time for more troops is past.

We’ve been in Iraq now almost four years. We went in completely undermanned, under-managed. We didn’t understand what we were getting into. We didn’t have the plans. We should have gone in with three times the troops that we had.

Those days are over. We’re not going to recapture that and go back and unwind those bad decisions.

We don’t want to put more troops in now. Even if we had them, that’s the wrong approach.

There’s not going to be a military resolution that decides the outcome of Iraq. It will be a political solution. It will include the Iraqi people, countries like Iran, Syria, Jordan and other countries around it.

Our options there are very limited right now. I hope that the president will be able to use the Baker-Hamilton commission to build a new bipartisan foundation in order to start moving this country, the United States, out of Iraq.

James Carville Backlash

Turns out James Carville is a uniter. He united the entire Democratic Party with Howard Dean. Even long time Dean rivals.

James Carville's attempt to topple Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic National Committee failed after state party officials and even a vocal critic of Dean crushed the coup, officials said.
Insiders from the Clinton camp winced at Carville's untimely remarks last week calling for Dean's ouster in favor of unsuccessful Senate candidate Harold Ford of Tennessee.

"It was not coming from [Sen. Hillary Clinton] and they made a real effort to distance themselves from James' comments," said a source close to the Clintons.

The Clintonistas don't want an undeserved backlash from the activist wing of the party that overwhelmingly supports Dean, especially because some anti-Clinton Democrats have blamed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the attack by Carville, a longtime Clinton insider. Those forces claimed Carville's motive was to topple Dean in favor of a chairman more favorable to Sen. Clinton's bid for President.

The article also reports that Rahm Emanuel informed Dean that he does not support Carville. It's debatable how much Dean's fifty state strategy helped the win both houses. I think it's good in the long run for the Democrats. It is foolish to try to topple Dean after the Donkeys won both Houses. Jerry Jones fired Jimmy Johnson after a Super Bowl and look the years of misery that followed the Dallas Cowboys.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Joe Redner Vs Christian Fundamentalists

"God is not impressed with the size of your breasts. God is not impressed with your talent."

This is hysterical. Redner taunts the the megaphone-holding preaching by saying, "You would suck my dick." The megaphone guy is annoying and calling people perverts. The preachers are taunting Redner with, "We got it all on video." The megaphone preacher says he has "great holy sex" with his wife all the time.

Hispanic Voters Turns to Democrats

I found nothing surprising about Hispanic votes swinging back Democrats way.

Another exit poll by the nonpartisan William C. Velasquez Institute found that Davis received 53 percent of the Hispanic vote and Crist received 42 percent. The poll also indicated that two-thirds of Hispanic voters cast ballots for Democrats in their congressional races.

"The question is whether this is a trend or is it a reaction in '06 to A) the immigration issue or B) the anti-Republican feeling nationwide," said the institute's Alvaro Fernandez.

Nowhere was the swing for Democrats more evident than in Miami-Dade County, where Democrat Luis Garcia was elected to the state House in a district that includes Little Havana and that historically has been dominated by Republicans.

Republicans wanted to used immigration has a wedge issue. The problem is it did more damage withing the party and to Hispanic loyalists. Republican Al Cardenas said as much.

"There was a lot of rhetoric during this campaign season that hurt the sensibilities of some Hispanics and the end result was a predictable step-back," Cardenas said.

I wrote these comments on Right Wing Howler on March 30, 2006.

Vilmar, say the words with me. The GOP is turning Hispanic votes away. What to do. Feed the inner-wingnut or win the midterm elections. Decisions. Decisions.

Conservatives such as Vilmar decided dissing immigrants was more important. Hispanic voters, across the country, turned to the Democratic Party and we know the rest of the story. Vilmar, on behave of Democrats everywhere, thank you.

Jennings Legally Challenges Vote Count

Christine Jennings is officially contesting the the election results in 13th District Court.

"This is a miscarriage of the democratic process," Jennings' lead attorney, Kendall Coffey, said at a news conference in Tallahassee.

The challenge was filed at about 11 a.m., two hours after the state Elections Canvassing Commission certified Republican Vern Buchanan's 369-vote victory over Jennings, a Democrat. The final result was 119,309 votes for Buchanan, 118,940 for Jennings.

The Jennings campaign issued a press release explaining their actions.

Citing statistical and eyewitness evidence of significant machine malfunctions sufficient to call into doubt the result of the election for Florida Congressional District 13, the Christine Jennings campaign today officially contested the election in Circuit Court. The complaint specifically requests the judge to order a new election “to ensure that the will of the people of the Thirteenth District is respected, and to restore the confidence of the electorate, which has been badly fractured by this machine-induced debacle.”

More than 17,000 undervotes (15%) were recorded on Sarasota County’s electronic voting machines, a rate nearly 6 times higher than the undervote rate in the other District 13 counties or in Sarasota’s paper absentee ballots. Jennings won Sarasota County by a 53% - 47% margin, while losing the district-wide manual recount by 369 votes. As noted in the complaint:

“The failure to include these votes constitutes a rejection of a number of legal votes sufficient to place in doubt, and likely change, the outcome of the election.”

The complaint also cites significant eyewitness accounts describing a consistent pattern of voter difficulty in having their votes recorded in the House of Representatives race, but not in other races on the ballot.

“This is clearly a case of machine error – not ballot design error and not voter error,” added Jennings campaign attorney Kendall Coffey. “We’re asking the courts to ensure that the will of the people of the 13th District is respected and end the crisis of confidence among the electorate by ordering a new election.”

As part of the discovery process, the Jennings campaign seeks expedited discovery of items including audit and ballot-image logs generated by the iVotronic system, iVotronic machines and related hardware that generated particularly high undervote rates, and the software – particularly the source code – used to operate that hardware.

Vern Buchanan has been declared the winner and is calling on Jennings to concede.

Much has been made of the 18,000 undervotes. The machines were tested, re-tested and certified by the state. There's no evidence for malfunction.

Before the polls closed on election day, the lawyers and special interest groups had mounted a deliberate and shameful attempt to erode voter confidence in the outcome of this election…Which shows the blatant disrespect for the voters and a disregard for the electorial process.

The problem with Buchanan's statement is that if the machines were malfunctioning they would leave no voter tally. This is a reason Sarasota County residents voted to go back to paper ballots. There are problems with the Sarasota County Elections Systems & Software during the early voting. The Orlando Sentinel found other counties had undervoting problems with ES&S machines.

Jennings attorneys are attempting to get independent programmers to examine the voting machines. They are attempting to prove that the machines were so faulty that a new election must be held. Roll Call is floating the idea that there is the possibility this race could be decided in a Democrat-controlled House Administration Committee. That would unhinge wingnuts if Democrats ruled to give Jennings the seat. What works against the Jennings legal team is the Roudebush v Hartke decision.

Incumbent Senator Hartke was certified by the Indiana Secretary of State to the Governor as the winner of the close 1970 Indiana senatorial election. Candidate Roudebush filed a timely recount petition in state court. The state court denied Hartke's motion to dismiss on the grounds of conflict with the Indiana and Federal Constitutions, and granted the petition for a recount. Hartke sought an injunction against the recount in United States District Court, invoking jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1343 (3) and claiming that the recount was barred by Art. I, 5, of the Federal Constitution, delegating to the Senate the power to judge the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members. The three-judge District Court issued the requested injunction. After appeals were filed here, the Senate seated Hartke "without prejudice to the outcome of an appeal pending in the Supreme Court . . . and without prejudice to the outcome of any recount that the Supreme Court might order." Hartke then moved to dismiss the appeals as moot.

ActBlue is raising money for Jennings and other Democratic candidates going through recounts.

Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist to Meet Martin Anderson's Parents

The NAACP announced plans that they may protest Charlie Crist's inauguration because of the lack of action into the investigation of Martin Anderson's death. College students have come to Tallahassee to protest. Coincidentally, Jeb Bush and Crist have decided to meet with Anderson's parents.

Anderson died January of this year. Jeb Bush has finally decided to meet with Anderson's family shortly before he steps down. Bush has been too busy in the past to meet with them. Now he has the time that protest might put a crink into Crist's inauguration.

Related posts:

Florida Boot Camp News
Florida Corrections Roundup
Guy Tunnell Update
Boot Camp Cover Up
Martin Anderson Update: Dr. Siebert
Email Is Troubling
Jeb Bush Email to Mark Ober
Boot Camp Warning Signs
Guy Tunnell Resigns
Martin Anderson Protests
Martin Anderson Died of Suffocation
The Martin Anderson Story Continues
Bad Medicine
Judge Hinkle Dismisses Martin Anderson Cover Up

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Open Thread: Is the Hold Steady Overhyped

My pal Graceland asked me what I thought about the Hold Steady. My first thought was who the fuck is the Hold Steady? Then I remembered that I'm familiar with this band. I heard their big indie rock hit Chips Ahoy and quickly forgot about them. I heard some other stuff by them. The songs sound catchy and then I never think about them again.

This band has been getting much buzz. I'm I missing something or is this band something special? Offer your opinions.

Side note: Joel, a post about Brian Eno, OK Computer and ambient music makes painful reading. Please, for the mercy of God, stop.

Updated: I also uploaded another Hold Steady song.

Southtown Girls MP3

Quote of the Day

"We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take awhile."

President Bush said in Vietnam. He was asked what lessons from the Vietnam war could be apply to Iraq. President Kennedy sent Special Forces to Vietnam in May of 1961. The United States pulled out of Saigon in April 23, 1975. The South Vietnamese government fell shortly afterwards.

Let the District 13 Lawsuits Begin

Brad Blog reports that, People for the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Common Cause will be filing lawsuits questioning the legitimacy of the Florida District 13 Congressional race count. The problem is the Roudebush v Hartke case set a legal precident for voting count challenges.

Incumbent Senator Hartke was certified by the Indiana Secretary of State to the Governor as the winner of the close 1970 Indiana senatorial election. Candidate Roudebush filed a timely recount petition in state court. The state court denied Hartke's motion to dismiss on the grounds of conflict with the Indiana and Federal Constitutions, and granted the petition for a recount. Hartke sought an injunction against the recount in United States District Court, invoking jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1343 (3) and claiming that the recount was barred by Art. I, 5, of the Federal Constitution, delegating to the Senate the power to judge the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members. The three-judge District Court issued the requested injunction. After appeals were filed here, the Senate seated Hartke "without prejudice to the outcome of an appeal pending in the Supreme Court . . . and without prejudice to the outcome of any recount that the Supreme Court might order." Hartke then moved to dismiss the appeals as moot.

There must be proof, beyond a reason of doubt, that the Elections Systems & Software voting machines were faulty or that Jennings won the race. The recount has increased Vern Buchanan's lead.

Here is an interview with Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Worst Creative Loafing Article Ever Written

I missed the Twilight Singers show at the State Theatre. It would have been worth going to just to see Scott Harrell get thrown out of the club. I'm a smoker, but if the venue has a no smoking policy then they have a right to thrown the patron out if he refuses to comply. Scott Harrell can bitch and plead that he should be able to smoke if Greg Dulli can onstage.

Scott, you're no Greg Dulli. You maybe a musician, but you've never toured the world or partied with Kurt Cobain. Greg Dulli has. He's even smoked weed on stage before. Plus, people are paying to see the Twilight Singers. Not Scott Harrell getting bounced out of the club. Though, I hoped someone caught it on their phone camera and will YouTube it. Please send me the link if you did.

Boy, I missed the days when John Sugg ran Tampa's Creative Loafing. Scott Harrell is giving valuable media real estate and waste it week by week.

District 13 Again

Florida Politics has a round up of the District 13 mess. The short answer is Vern Buchanan is declared the winner. Now we wait to see if Jennings takes legal action.

Quote of the Day

Challenged by veteran interviewer Sir David Frost that the Western invasion of Iraq has "so far been pretty much of a disaster", Mr Blair said: "It has."

Daily Mail

The heads of wingnuts everywhere is exploding as we speak.

Hat tip to Mustang Bobby.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's On: Criminal Investion Into Foley Begins

Mark Foley has officially returned to Florida. Just in time for the criminal probe to begin.

State authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the sexually explicit computer messages that former Representative Mark Foley sent to male Congressional pages. “It was a preliminary inquiry before, but we found the basis to open up a criminal investigation,” said Kristen Perezluha, a spokeswoman for the Department of Law Enforcement.

Foley will likely be prosucuted under Florida Statute 847.0135.

(3) CERTAIN USES OF COMPUTER SERVICES PROHIBITED.--Any person who knowingly utilizes a computer on-line service, Internet service, or local bulletin board service to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child or another person believed by the person to be a child, to commit any illegal act described in chapter 794, relating to sexual battery; chapter 800, relating to lewdness and indecent exposure; or chapter 827, relating to child abuse, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

The FBI is still attempting to find out if Foley broke federal laws. Foley has used his AOL instant messanger in Washington DC and a Pensecola hotel room. The question is if this instant messages crossed state lines. With Foley that is all but a certainty.

The problem with building a federal case against Foley is that the male pages were of the age of consent. Wikipedia explains the PROTECT ACT of 2003. I'm still looking for the actual text.

For the purposes of this law, illicit sexual conduct includes commercial sex with anyone under 18, and all sex with anyone under 16. Previous US law was less strict, only punishing those having sex either in contravention of local laws OR in commerce (prostitution); but did not prohibit non-commercial sex with, for example, a 14 year-old if such sex was legal in the foreign territory.

Howard Berman will be the new Ethics Committee Chairman. Democrats having final say will all, but spell the end for Hastert. John A. Boehner and Tom Reynolds are more than happy to point the finger at him.

More District 13 Madness

Reggie Mitchell of the People For American Way Foundation Florida Legal Counsel doesn't believe should handle the inspection into Florida's District 13 Congressional race.

"I know Alec Yasinsac well, and while he's a great guy, he's the wrong choice to lead an investigation into what went wrong in Sarasota County. We need an independent investigator, not someone whose partisan leanings have been clear since the 2000 voting fiasco.

"Alec is a strong advocate for electronic voting machines and a vociferous opponent of requiring a voter verifiable paper trail. In 2000, he wore a button reading `Bush Won' while working against a recount in the presidential race. He clearly has preexisting biases. This situation requires a truly independent investigation that will get to the bottom of this problem in a nonpartisan fashion, and help to ensure that these problems never occur again. Sarasota County voters, Florida and the nation deserve no less."

In other news: Christine Jenning is losing the recount battle. Republicans are asking Jennings to concede. She is in Washington for orientation. I wrote before, if Jennings takes this to court she will lose. Unless she can prove thyat the voting machines are faulty.

ActBlue has started a recount fund. Lawyers across the country rejoice.

John Murtha's Abscam Problem

I was willing to give John Murtha slack for his stand on Iraq. I was wrong and so was Nancy Pelosi for trying to make him Majority Leader. Murtha nearly took a bride doing the FBI Abscam stings. It's hard to run the cleanest Congress with Murtha's baggage.

The video was taken in 1980. Which explains why I don't remember Murtha's Abscam problems. I was probably watching Speed Racer back then. So cut me some slack.

I can't find the entire video. Murtha ultimately says, "I’m not interested — at this point." He left the option open that he may be interested at another time. Murtha's too tainted for Majority Leader. Especially after the nightmare known as Tom Delay.