Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Urge Overkill - Now That's The Barclords

The song is from the underground classic EP Stull.

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Eric Holder: The Wire Fanboy

Attorney General Eric Holder was at the "Drug Endangered Children Public Awareness Campaign" with former The Wire stars Wendell Pierce, Sonja Sohn and Jim True-Frost. Holder jokingly gave this decree to the show's creators David Simon and Ed Burns.

"I want to speak directly to Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon: Do another season of ‘The Wire'," Holder said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience. "That's actually at a minimum. … If you don't do a season, do a movie. We've done HBO movies, this is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon."

Mr. Simon and Mr. Burns, you have been given your orders. The Attorney General and fans have spoken. Unfortunately, another season of The Wire would not have Omar Little or Jimmy McNulty.

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Rick Scott Drug-Testing Victory Lap

Gov. Rick Scott is excited that people who receive unemployment compensation will have to submit to a drug test. How excited? Scott decided to share the news on his official web site.

Today, I signed HB 353, keeping my promise to require drug screening for welfare recipients.

The bill is designed to increase personal accountability and prevent Florida’s tax dollars from subsidizing drug addiction, while still providing for needy children. Parents failing the required drug test may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of the children.

While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction. This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.

In Rick Scott's world, unemployment compensation is a stimulus program for drug dealers. Perhaps Scott is projecting his racist views on the unemployed. David Yarian was a former employee of Scott's Solantic health care chain. Yarian told Salon.com that Scott practiced discrimination in his hiring practices.

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

In November, though, Yarian interviewed a Hispanic man for a supervisory nurse position. "He was great. He had all the qualities and experience I was after," Yarian says. "But he had a slight accent. When Rick found out, he said, 'Nope. All our employees have to be mainstream.'"

Blogger Joy-Ann Reid expresses doubt that Scott sold his Solantic stock. Many progressives (myself included) feared that Scott would financially benefit from Solantic drug-testing public employees and the unemployed. The media reported that Scott sold his shares to Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe. Solantic is listed as part of Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe's portfolio. However, WCA&S have invested in Solantic since 2007. The question is does the S.E.C. have a record of the shares sell?

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Quote of the Day

Litbrit posted this hysterical comment on Facebook.

BREAKING. God is telling Sarah Palin to run for president *while at the same time* telling Michelle Bachmann to run. I have underestimated God, who clearly has a wicked sense of humour and is therefore British ;-)

It would be great if God got back with Palin and Bachmann after the election and told them, "Just fucking with you two."

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Bill Nobles Running For Florida House District 52

Republican Rep. Jeff Brandes has a Democratic challenger for the Florida House District 52 seat. Meet William “Bill” Nobles IV.

Nobles, 36, has been a Floridian most of his life. Born and raised in Pensacola, Bill Nobles has lived in St. Petersburg for roughly seven years. He is a graduate of St. Pete College and USF; Nobles also has a Master of Science in Finance from Boston College. He is currently employed at AEGON in St. Petersburg.

According to a biographical document provided to Pinski Politics, Nobles is married with three children, one of which was lost due to a lung defect. His wife, Erin, earned her JD from the Suffolk University College of Law, and works in the Office of the Attorney General, enforcing child support orders. Bill Nobles’ memberships include: St. Petersburg Bicycle Club, USA Triathlon, March of Dimes, Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association, CFA Tampa Bay and First United Methodist Church in Downtown St. Petersburg.

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Peter Brown on Rick Scott's Poll Numbers

Peter Brown of Quinnipiac polling discusses Gov. Rick Scott's horrible polling numbers. Like I noted, Brown points out that Scott is plling below average with Republicans.

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Silly Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart has Weiner on his mind.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Yeah, well I think the situation now in Iran is such that Secretary Gates is negotiating with whether the United States military will be there beyond the end of this year. And they're looking to the Iranians to see if they invite the Americans to stay, invite us to stay. And if they do invite us to stay at some very reduced level I think the United States will be wise, until we make sure that they get to the next level of stability, to accept that invitation. So if Iran makes that invitation by the end of the year, leaving a residual force, a greatly reduced force, but a residual force that would be there for a temporary amount of time. Until they could establish much better air security, until they can develop their intelligence —"

Tim Pawlenty

The reporter in the video corrected Pawlenty on confusing Iran with Iraq. This is the same Pawlenty who had the audacity to call Obama a doofus. The word doofus is used to describe someone with a low level of intelligence. Pawlenty has yet to impress anyone with his intellect.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Scott's Poorly Attended Village Signing

I wrote yesterday about how Gov. Rick Scott would only allow supporters to attend his budget signing at the Villages. The St. Petersburg Times reports only about 200 people attending. Some of those people were holding anti-Scott signs and asked to leave. Subtract the number of protester rejected and that doesn't leave a lot of people. Scott has angered fellow Republicans and his poll numbers are in the tank. Scott's only base is the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Side note: I am getting tired of Republican politicians using law enforcement to restrict free speech.

"Signs that support the governor are allowed to stay, but signs that don't are told to leave?" asked Bud Webber, 73, of Orlando, who came to watch the budget signing but was not with the protesters. "Come on. That's ridiculous."

Republican Party of Florida chairman David Bitner defended the decision, saying the event was meant to celebrate the 2011-12 state budget.

"The people who protested against this budget are the people whose ox got gored," Bitner said.

Never again take Bitner seriously when Bitner talks about protecting the Constitution. Bitner has lost all credibility on the issue.

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Petition Againt Florida's New Voter Law

There is a petition urging Attorney General Eric Holder to file suit to repeal Florida's law voter law.

“Floridians’ right to vote is under attack–again. What Rick Scott and Tallahassee politicians are attempting to do is change the rules of the game, leaving only their players on the field.

Rick Scott just signed an overhaul of the state's election code that violates the Voting Rights Act. Among other things, this bill would slash early voting from 14 days down to eight. It will impose fines on voter registration drives. Voters like our brave men and women fighting overseas will not be able to update their addresses at the polls on Election Day and will be forced to cast a provisional ballot–ballots which are often not even counted.

Tell the Justice Department to strike down Florida’s voter suppression legislation. This law simply makes it harder to register to vote, it makes it harder to vote, and it makes it harder to have your vote counted.

We call on the U.S. Department of Justice to review and reject Florida’s new anti-voter law.”

Sign the petition.

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Friday Cat Blogging Part 2

I don't usually do two cat blog posts on Friday. I had to post this video of this mama cat hugging her kitten. It is adorable.

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Robo Rick Scott

I literally laughed when I saw this this. Gov. Rick Scott got hammered badly yesterday by Democrats, Republicans and for his tea party only budget at the Villages. Team Scott went to DEFCON 5. Florida voters can now hear Scott's voice on a robocall.

“Hi, this is Gov. Rick Scott. I’m calling to personally tell you about the state budget I signed yesterday. My jobs budget delivers on promises I made to all Floridians to put job creation front and center and hold state government accountable. And it does.
“But no budget is perfect. That’s why I used my line-item veto to eliminate more than $615 million in wasteful special interest projects. But while special interest waste felt my veto pen, I made sure to protect more than $150million directed to our schools and school children.
“I’ve also called on the state Legislature to redirect part of this special interest waste to our schools and increase state education funding. Less waste should mean more for education.
“Thank you for your your time. Sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida.”

Conservatives pundits love to say that Democrats need to govern from the center. Scott's poll numbers are tanking. Where are the calls from pundits that Scott needs to be a centrist.


Quote of the Day

"I assure you that getting Americans back to work has been and will continue to be the number-one priority for our new majority."

John Boehner, on May 24th, 2011.

Can anyone name one piece of legislation that House Republicans passed that involved job creation. The extension of the Bush tax cuts during the lame duck session haven't produced jobs. Boehner did pass legislation to kill Obama's health care reform and Medicare. The truth is Republicans have no interest in job creation.

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Friday Cat Blogging

More of the cheetah cub at Busch Gardens in Tampa. The cheetah is bigger now then in the video.

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Jesse Lee Appointed to Obama's Rapid Response

Jesse Lee used to blog for the DCCC. (I know since I exchanged a few emails with him during his tenure at the DCCC.) Andrew Breitbart rattles off a crazy conspiracy theory that Lee was once the leader of the anti-war movement. The truth is Lee is an establishment Democrat.

BREITBART: Jesse Lee was at the forefront of the antiwar blogging movement, a point in time in which the same media that is out there saying that you can't criticize the president, Barack Obama, were out there saying 'dissent is patriotic' and so Jesse was protected by the media. Now he wants to go after Fox News, AM talk radio, Andrew Breitbart, and what he's doing is adding an extra protective layer to George Soros -- all the media that he's buying, and now Media Matters, which is a --

MURPHY: This is the Hannity show, not Beck.

BREITBART: This is a $15 million a year operation to try and shut up dissent. This is exactly what they do in totalitarian leftist nations like Venezuela. They try to shut people up.

BREITBART: He's a hit artist.

MURPHY: So are you!

The Clinton campaign in 1992 started a rapid response team. Bill Clinton didn't want to be paralyzed from political attacks like Michael Dukakis. The Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns both had rapid response teams to counter media criticism and attacks by opponents. Of course, Fox News and conservative talk radio is freaking out.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Roky Erickson - Bloody Hammer

Bonus: the Queens of the Stone Age do a great cover of Bloody Hammer.

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Mayor Bloomberg Gay Marriage Speech

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives an outstanding speech on why it is time for the state of New York to legalize gay marriage. Bloomberg notes New City City's in the gay rights movement with the Stonewall riots.

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Justin Sayfie of Sayfie Review Co-Chair of Pawlenty Florida Campaign

I am sure that we are going to see a lot of friendly articles on The Sayfie Review about Tim Pawlenty.

Phil Handy will head up Tim Pawlenty’s Florida operation, the campaign announced today. Justin Sayfie will serve as co-chairman, reports Alex Leary of the St. Petersburg Times.

In Sayfie's defense, he has not made his ties to Jeb and George W. Bush, and now Pawlenty. Sayfie is not traditional media anymore than Pushing Rope. I think the conflict of interest should be pointed out.

Disclosure: Pushing Rope's RSS feed is syndicated on Sayfie Blue I did not ask for this. The links to Sayfie Review does bring in a good deal of traffic to PR.

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Christian Right Read The Onion For News

This is too funny. Facebook users take The Onion's satire piece "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex" literally. Now I wish there was a real Abortionplex.

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Rick Scott Making More People Homeless

Literally. Scott vetoed $12 million for the National Veteran's Homeless Support Group. It is a Brevard County homeless program that fines homeless veterans and gets them off the streets. Currently the NVHS can only supply housing to 20 veterans. The NVHS is attempting to eventually supply housing to 700 homeless vets.

With many veterans unable to find work around Florida, many are ending up homeless. Many of these veterans have taken to living in various wooded areas around the state. Some continue to look for work, and some take classes at community colleges to give them a better chance of finding a job.

The National Veterans Homeless Support advocacy group is attempting to help the approximately 700 homeless veterans in Brevard County; up from approximately 600 last year. The group is sponsoring their second annual "Warm, Full, Safe for Christmas" program. This event will provide local homeless veterans with a 2 night stay in a local hotel.

Florida TaxWatch placed the NVHS program on its list of turkeys. Scott and Florida TaxWatch are in for a shock if they think cutting education and increasing the homeless populatation is going to make Florida more attractive to out-of-state businesses.

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Mia Jones On Rick Scott's Vetoes

Florida state Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) sent out this press release. Jones calls Scott's budget line-item vetoes job killing and anti-education. No argument from me.

State Representative Mia L. Jones issued the following statement regarding the Governor Rick Scott's Budget Signing:

"While I am disappointed, I am not surprised that Governor Rick Scott signed a budget that eliminates jobs for thousands of state workers and does nothing to put Floridians back to work. It is unfortunate that the one group of state employees who are probably suffering the least is the governor's staff and agency heads who are earning more than their predecessors.

I am equally outraged that the governor would line-item veto projects in the budget without properly vetting them on their merits and speaking with the organizations that will have to live with the impacts. Thanks to the Governor's vetoes, Northeast Florida will lose millions of dollars, including much needed funding to the Agape Community Health Center that would have been the sole provider of vital emergency dental services to our most vulnerable uninsured and underemployed adults throughout our community. The Governor's vetoes will also impact Florida State College at Jacksonville and the University of North Florida, which will now have to find funds to address needed infrastructure renovations and improvements for HVAC and Roofing problems within their existing infrastructure.

As we move forward, I hope the governor will provide the citizens of our state clarification on where he stands on public education. To say that these vetoes were a way to put more dollars in our public schools is offensive considering his budget recommendation cut public education by nearly 8 percent."

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To Rick Scott Voters Are His Employees

Tina Dupuy vlogs about Gov. Rick Scott's voter suppression efforts. Scott defended his signing of a repressive voter bill and other actions by saying that the voters are like his employees.

"I understand there's people that like things and don't like things," Scott said. "It's really no different than in business. Because in business everyone doesn't agree with everything you do. All your employees won't say, 'Oh yeah, I think you should exactly do this instead of that.'"

Scott fails to understand that it is he who is the employee of the voters. Not the other way around.

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Democracy Is A Private Event For A Select Few

Gov. Rick Scott is suppose to represent all the people of Florida. Even those that did not vote for him in the general election. Apparently, if you are a Democrat or a protester then you need not bother attending the governor's budget signing. Tea Party members can come on down to the signing ceremony.

Gov. Rick Scott said this morning that he was going to The Villages to sign the state budget to give people a chance to "answer their questions." But Aaron Sharockman reports from Sumter County that some people aren't allowed into the event.

A group from The Villages Democratic Club was kicked across the street, told by Scott staffer Russ Adams that the event was private. The event space was leased by the Florida Republican Party and sheriff's deputies are escorting from the property people with Democratic-leaning signs.

The move raises questions about whether taxpayer money was used for the private event and why Scott would sign a budget that affects all Floridians at a private event.

Is Scott afraid retired seniors in the Villages are going to riot against him? It is bad when Scott is worried about negative crowd reaction in a conservative retirement community.

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Rick Scott's 2011 Budget Vetoes

It is easy to see why some Republicans are angry at Gov. Rick Scott for surprisingly proclaiming his support for K-12 education. Scott's budget veto list is filled with education cuts. One education veto I am happy to see is the Dan Marino Foundation vocational school. Marino is a celebrity and can go to private donors for the funding. My understanding is the vocational school is to give work skills training to the disabled. I don't doubt Marino has noble intentions. It is just hard to justify Marino's school getting $500,000 when teachers will be facing layoffs and the state won't be making the requiements for smaller class sizes.

Below are Scott's vetoes. Click the link at the top of the pdf file for bigger text.

Rick Scott's 2011Veto List

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Rick Scott's Education Flip Flop

Gov. Rick Scott proposed Draconian to education. Now Scott is saying that the Florida legislature could restore those cuts in a special session. Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon and Sen. Mike Fasano say when did Scott start caring about education? It is bad when Republican elected official are saying the a Republican Governor doesn't care about education.


“What is more surprising is the Governor’s sudden emphasis on K-12 education. The budget we sent him funds education at a higher level than the Governor recommended just a few months ago, when he proposed a 10% cut to the FEFP. The Governor communicated numerous priorities during session, and we did our best to accommodate him. It would have been helpful if the Governor had shared this new found emphasis with us before the budget was finalized.

“It is the Governor’s constitutional authority to veto line items in the budget, and I respect his decisions. The vetoes of general revenue appropriations will further increase the more than $2 billion the Legislature set aside in our state’s reserves, which will help protect our bond rating and ensure that we have ample reserves in the event of an emergency.”

Fasano calls Scott's bluff.

"When did Governor Scott all of a sudden care about our teachers? It's a bit disingenuous when he says we should have put more money into helping our teachers when the budget he presented to the Florida Legislature in January cut education almost twice as much than what the legislature finally passed. I guess he read his poll numbers yesterday. If he truly wants the Florida Legislature to take the vetoed dollars and put them in to our educational system he should immediate call the Legislators back for a special session so we can avoid teacher layoffs."

Boy, I wonder if Fasano likes Scott. What do you think, dear reader.

Don't hold your breath for Scott calling a special session. Scott is just posturing and very badly at that.

Update: The Republican budget criticism continues. Sen. Paula Dockery takes Scott to task on Twitter for vetoing St. Johns River restoration.

can it get worse for FL env?“@bruceritchie: Gov Scott vetoes $305M for land buying (if land is sold) and $10M for St Johns River restoration

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ronny Elliott - No More War

Ronny Elliott has played the Tampa music scene for decades. Elliott even played in the southern rock band the Outlaws.

Ronny Elliott's Myspace site.

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The Exciting Tim Pawlenty

This web site allows to learn exciting things about the charisma dynamo known as Tim Pawlenty.

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Quote of the Day

“While others stick their fingers in the wind to see what the election results from last night mean for their support of the Ryan Plan, I remain steadfast in my support. In fact, my only complaint with the Path to Prosperity Plan is that it does not go far enough, fast enough, to address Washington’s unsustainable spending."

Adam Hasner, on the Paul Ryan plan.

I hope the DSCC remembers this quote. As Digby pointed out, Ryan's plan to make Medicare a voucher program is extremely unpopular with seniors. The Congression Budget Office letter to Ryan gives good reason for people not to support the plan.

To summarize, a typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal than under CBO’s long-term scenarios for several reasons. First, private plans would cost more than traditional Medicare because of the net effect of differences in payment rates for providers, administrative costs, and utilization of health care services, as described above. Second, the government’s contribution would grow more slowly than health care costs, leaving more for beneficiaries to pay.

If you are a senior or have a pre-existing condition, good luck trying to get private health insurance without insurance companies being required to cover you. Which is what the CBO tells Ryan.

Read more »

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Will Alan Grayson Run?

The blogger who shall not be named thinks Alan Grayson is running again. Grayson hasn't done anything to make people think otherwise. Garyson was asked by Politico if he was thinking of running again. "Yes," Grayson answered.

Kyle Munzenrieder floats the idea of Grayson running against Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016. That race would give me a year's worth of blogging material. The media would have a collective orgasm if the race came to fruition.

Grayson must be more disciplined if he wishes to run again. Grayson made the bad mistake of calling lobbyist Linda Robertson a "K Street whore." I don't believe that Grayson meant to imply that Robertson was a professional escort. The comment was in poor taste.

I have covered the issue of Grayson's ad against Dan Webster. I find Webster's form of Christianity of frightening. The fact remains that Grayson misquoted Webster in the ad. What wasn't mentioned as much is the infamous "Taliban Dan Ad" and the Grayson ad below was the worst kind of fear-mongering aimed at Muslims. This kind of xenophobic is uncalled for from a progressive Democrat.


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Ronda Storms' Moment of Candor

Florida Sen. Ronda Storms admits that the ultrasound bill produced by the Florida legislature run counter to the GOP's mantra of "less government.

"There's no question about the contradictory positions that we all take," she said on the Senate floor last week. "I'm not ashamed of it. I'm not embarrassed by it. … We all (Republicans) say we're for less government except here. Or we're (Democrats) for more government, except here."

Republicans are for less government - except when it involves a woman's uterus. Republicans believe in putting money back in people's pockets - except when they require woman getting an abortion to pay for an ultrasound. Got it.

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Rick Scott's Approval Rating

It is going to be interesting how Gov. Rick Scott's communications director Brian Burgess tries to spin this. The latest Quinnipiac Poll has Scott with a 29 percent approval rating. Scott dropped from 35 percent in April. Ouch.

Two out of three Florida voters dislike the way Governor Rick Scott is leading the state, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday. The rookie governor barely won election, garnering less than half the vote…

And once he took office, his plans to layoff state workers, privatize prisons and freeze regulations brought crowds of protesters to Tallahassee.

Contrary to what Scott thinks the protesters aren't chanting, "Hail Caesar." Apparently, Scott didn't like getting sports talk radio host Sid Rosenberg asking about his approval rating.

Q: The approval ratings came out today -- 29 percent, that's the lowest in the country for any governor. Are you confident that you're going to do things here, that you're going to create the jobs to get that number up? I mean, I know you're going to tell me that the number doesn't bother you. But 29 percent, Rick? That's got to bother you.

Scott: "Here's the deal: I was elected to get our state back to work. If you think about it, when you go make all the tough decisions, when you walk into a budget deficit of $3.7 billion and you hold people accountable — you make eduction is headed in the right direction, you make sure that you're getting the jobs back, it takes time for those things to happen. We're on the right track. The right things are going to happen. ... I'm sorry, I've got a 4:30 meeting I'm already late for."

The Miami Herald reports that Scott had no 4:30 meeting on his schedule. Scott wants to be president and constantly choked when he is asked simple questions. A good politician is prepared for question about bad poll numbers. Scott had staff and time call at 4:45 PM. Scott had a staff and call time at 4:45 PM. Scott can postponed his day end briefing with staff members.

Read more »

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Fire Renee Lee

The Hillsborough County Commission needs to fire County Attorney Renee Lee. She has repeatedly proven herself to be undeserving of serving in government. Lee was investigated for potential criminal wrongdoing when she awarded former County Administrator Pat Bean. Pay increases as to be approved by commission members. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated Lee and Bean. Criminal charges were not filed. However, the report is seriously damaging to Lee's reputation.

Lee's pay raise

”February 26, 2007

The accountant for Lee, Kathy Taylor noticed Williams signature where Jim

Norman would normally sign, indicating BOCC approval of Lee’s salary increase.

Taylor does not say anything to anyone but Novak and they both remark in an

email correspondence, this date and, in part, “oh well.” Novak advised she made

the remark because Lee was always “pushing the financial envelope” regarding

salary, outside counsel expenses and spending issues in the County Attorney’s

Office. Taylor and Novak advised they did not feel ‘it was their place’ to say

anything. Both later acknowledged a fear of Lee’s position and influential power.

Norman was suppose to be the person that was suppose to approve of the pay increase. It gets more bizarre. Lee gave herself an award.

Lee sent the following email to Bean and Hill subject titled “Extra Mile Award”:

After attending the Budget kick off meeting this morning Beth (Novak) reminded

me that a provision in my contract allows me to receive the award…see page 10,

Section E. Hillsborough agrees to make available to the attorney such other

benefits that are not specifically covered by this agreement as they now exist,

and may be amended from time to time, for other employees of Hillsborough. . .

Thank you for the award. FDLE Special Agents interviewed Novak who did not

remember “reminding” Lee about a “provision in her contract” and found the

content of this email unusual as Novak had no prior legal training or experience.

32. Michelle Sekouri, Executive Assistant to the County Administrator followed Bean

into Bean’s office on an unrelated matter, after a meeting at which Lee was not

present. Sekouri was present when Hill walked into Bean’s office holding up a

piece of paper and asked Bean, ‘Did you see this?’ Sekouri testified Bean

advised she had not seen what Sekouri believed to be the aforementioned email

from Lee, dated February 02, 2007 subject titled,” Extra Mile Award.” Sekouri

testified Hill advised Bean that Lee wanted the one percent salary increase. Bean

was surprised at this news. Bean and Hill then engaged in discussion regarding

Bean and Garrity’s eligibility for the award. Bean advised Hill to get with the

human resources department in order to resolve the matter. Sekouri testified she

recalled details regarding the event because she could not forget the look of

surprise on Bean’s face.

Read more »

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Rick Scott's Let's Get Laid Off Program II

Gov. Rick Scott must think you add by subtraction. Scott has bragged about how he is going to create 700,000 in 7 years. An economic report then came out that Florida would gain 1,000,000 job in the next 7 years. Scott's plans wasn't factored into the report. The Scott camp then claimed that they would create 700,000 jobs on top of the million. It is painfully obvious that no one on Scott's campaign did a serious economic study on the 7-7-7 plan's merits.

We now learn that Scott will lay-off 4,492 state workers.

And though it's called a jobs-creation budget, it will initially lead to the loss of budgeted state jobs, 4,492 to be exact. Scott says eliminating state-worker jobs is a necessity because it reduces the size of government and helps the private-sector business climate --a theory Democrats largely reject.

The budget Scott will sign looks little like the one he unveiled in Eustis, Florida before a mostly elderly, white conservative crowd. Scott's most indelible mark, roughly $37 million in corporate-income tax cuts as part of $300 million in tax cuts and business incentives. That's a far cry from the $2.4 billion in revenue reductions he called for. Also, the proposed $69.7 billion state budget actually accounts for higher-education spending -- something Scott left out of his proposal in order to make it look like he was slashing bottom-line spending by a huge amount, to $65.9 billion. Scott called for more than a 10 percent cut in per-student spending, something the Legislature balked at as well. He also rolled out two-budgets in one (that is, a spending plan for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13. Together, Scott's proposal was 167 pages long. The proposed budget approved by the Legislature was 406 pages.

Scott is going to the Villages and going to talk about cuts he made to a tea party audience. Scott will subtract higher education costs from the budget to make it appear smaller. Scott will tell the tea party crowd about cuts he made in the 2012-13 budget. The problem is that budget hasn't been passed yet. Scott has a horribly allergic reaction to the truth.

Related: Rick Scott's Let's Get Laid Off Program

Update: the St. Petersburg Times have more numbers about who will lose their jobs. Thousands of public school workers will lose their jobs. Jobs to protect the Everglades will se job loses in the hundreds. An estimated 8,400 construction workers will lose jobs due to the lack of construction on new roads.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Micah Schnabel - Cigarettes and Ash Trays

Micah Schnabel of Two Cow Garage is a major league talent. In a just world he would be a rock star.

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Write A Caption

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The Dumb Lone Gunman

Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer isn't going to bring up this incident in Orlando.

Thinking of bringing your gun out to dinner with the family? A man who did just that this evening ended up injuring four people, himself included, at a Smokey Bones restaurant on East Colonial Drive in Orlando.

The victims, including a 4-year-old boy, were slightly injured when the gun went off accidentally in the restaurant's foyer, Orlando police said.

The owner of the gun, a 35-year-old man who was not identified, suffered powder burns and abrasions to his leg. He declined medical treatment.

The other three people were slightly injured, primarily in the legs, by either bullet fragments or bits of floor tile, according to Orlando police Lt. John Holysz. Those victims were a 32-year-old woman, her 4-year-old son, and an unrelated man in his 20s. All three were taken to local hospitals as a precautionary measure.

I tend to be more pro-gun rights then most progressives. I do believe stupid people should not have guns. It sounds like the man accidentally shot the tile. Bullet fragments and tile likely flew up and hit the victims.

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Wingnut of the Day: Pete DeGraaf

Kansas pro-choice Republican state Rep. Barbara Bollier was concerned about legislation barring state or federally administered health-insurance exchanges from covering women wanting an abortion. (The only exemption is to save the life of the woman.) Rape would not be covered if the legislation is signed by Gov. Sam Brownbeck. Bollier pointed out that women cannot always prepare for an unwanted pregnancy. Rep. Pete DeGraaf made an amazingly insensitive statement.

During the House’s debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told [Bollier]: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have spare tire on my car.”

“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

So if women are raped they weren't properly prepared. Who the hell is properly prepared for rape. Margaret Hartmann of Jezebel sums up the cruelity of DeGraaf's statement.

Yeah ladies, it's your responsibility to plan for the possibility of rape. You chose to own a vagina, so you should have all the necessary tools for its upkeep. Being raped is definitely comparable to the brief annoyance of having a flat tire, so let's keep this up: The state isn't AAA, so don't expect it to help you out when you're breaking down over a devastating accident. Tire slashing? Hmm ... maybe this metaphor is actually terrible.

But DeGraaf is definitely on target with the rest of his remarks. Rape insurance is just like having life insurance: You're definitely going to die some day, and DeGraaf thinks you're definitely going to get raped. Don't come crying to him if you didn't prepare to be the victim of a horrific crime! I mean, you can try by contacting his office, but he's not the first guy I'd look to for help.

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Florida Tax Watch 2011 Turkey List

Republicans in the Florida legislature can no longer blame budget turkeys on the Democrats. Republicans have super majorities in the Florida House and Senate. Rep. Joe Negron decided to deflect criticism on Republican budget turkeys by attacking the pro-bussiness Florida TaxWatch.

Today’s Florida TaxWatch Turkey List exposes a complete misapprehension of the legislative appropriations process. This hackneyed annual list of ostensible “turkeys” and “pork” is based on the mistaken rationale that budget decisions originating from the executive branch come clothed with a presumption of correctness while ideas from the elected representatives of the people should be viewed with suspicion.

Let’s take a closer look at the criteria TaxWatch uses to reach its opinion that $203 million in the 2011-12 state budget represent “turkeys”. TaxWatch charges that a funding item was “not requested by agency”, “not on PECO list”, “not in DOT work program” or “added in conference”.

TaxWatch’s deference to the executive branch is entirely misplaced. Under the Florida Constitution, the Legislature has the exclusive authority to budget. The Governor can veto a budget line item, but the executive branch cannot spend one dime of the people’s money without the express authorization of the Legislature. Likewise, “added in conference” is a flimsy basis to disparage a budget expenditure. The conference process is a meaningful and significant component of the appropriations enterprise. Conference provides an open and transparent opportunity for the House and Senate to negotiate an agreed upon budget and to take a concluding look at the Appropriations Act to determine final priorities. Many proposed funding items are reduced or eliminated during this review process.

TaxWatch calls $500,000 appropriated for the Loveland Center in Sarasota County a “turkey” because it was “not requested by an agency”. That is true. It was, however, requested by Senator Nancy Detert, who was actually elected by her constituents to write the state budget. The Loveland Center offers adult day training, supported living and group home services to adults with severe developmental disabilities. I know – I’ve been to the Loveland Center myself to observe and admire the 125 students who overcome their disabilities and participate fully in community life, including working at businesses from Siesta Key to Englewood.

Try telling Marc Buoniconti or the thousands of Floridians confined to wheel chairs and the dozens who will show up at emergency rooms this week with spinal cord injuries that the money appropriated to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is a “turkey”. Marc suffered a devastating spinal cord injury during a college football game and responded by co-founding the Miami Project, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, where promising clinical trials are underway to find cures that will one day alleviate the multiple consequences of injury.

I am proud of Florida’s balanced budget, which reflects the Legislature’s thoughtful judgment and principled commitment to live within our means, the same way families and businesses do. Thankfully, the Legislature has not funded every project “requested by the agency” through the years or the taxpayers we represent would have been saddled with billions of dollars of unwise spending. The Florida TaxWatch Turkey List is a fading media gimmick that crumbles under constitutional scrutiny.

If Negron was so interested in helping the disabled he wouldn't have been on a crusade to cut Medicaid. Then there is Negron's bizarre and offensive comments about KidCare.

“I don’t think they have a KidCare program in Ethiopia or India,” he said, admonishing people testifying before his committee to “stop the self-flagellation about all the things we’re not doing.”

He went on to say “I don’t want this to be the doom and gloom committee,” and that “Let’s celebrate the good things we’re doing in health and human services.”

Negron feels he should get a pat on the back if Florida's health care for poor children isn't as bad as a third world country. Which India isn't. Not that Negron is aware that India is an international economic player.

I am not crazy about Goulds Coalition of Ministers & Lay People, Inc. getting $100,000 to do social services work that could go to actual social service agencies. The original request was for $250,000 by the Rev. Ernest T. Andrews. Oversight for faith-based programs is terrible.

Negron has a point that the legislature is the branch that makes the budget. Where Negron loses me is that Republicans are proud of the budget. House Speaker Dean Cannon is silent about the pork he placed into the budget.

Orange County -- the home of current House Speaker Dean Cannon of Winter Park -- landed $38.3 million in projects that TaxWatch labeled "turkeys."

Kudos to the Florida Senate for budgeting $12 million for homeless programs. The bad news is that is going to be one of the first things Gov. Rick Scott uses his line-item veto on.

Thanks to Ryan Wiggins and Erin Choy at Florida TaxWatch for sending me a file I could read. The file is impossible to read in pdf form. My advice is convert it into an xls file. It's easier on the eyes.

Update: I failed to mention to $500,000 the Dan Marino Foundation received to start-up a vocational college. Seriously, is the legislature on crack? We are cutting education for K 12 schools. However, the legislature is going to help a rich Hall of Fame quarterback start a vocational school. Unbelievable.

Copy of 2011-12 Florida TaxWatch Turkey List (Sorted by County)-DA

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Elizabeth Warren v. Patrick McHenry

Youtube user MainStreet Insider gives a description.

On Tuesday, May 24th 2011, during a hearing in a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, Chairman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) ended the hearing by calling Elizabeth Warren a liar. It was a messy and confusing ending for all watching. Warren had stated that the Chairman's staff and her, after a late-night, last-minute schedule change, had agreed to let her leave by 2:15 to meet other obligations. You can see the look of shock on her face when he outright calls her a liar.

The short answer is McHenry moved the hearing date around several times and then scheduled Warren for a 15 minute hearing. To top matters off is that McHenry had no one to ask Warren questions. McHenry then accuses Warren of being a liar. Warren's jaw drops at the 1:03 mark of the video.

My question is why is Warren needed to speak to a subcommittee? Subcommittees usually kick matters up to the major committees.

McHenry is a very unserious man. How unserious? How about getting himself photographed grabbing onto the breasts of Republican activist Jackie Sullens.

Besides the silly lollipop McHenry is holding - notice the alcohol the young Republicans are holding. Well, McHenry got into trouble for serving alcohol to minors.

During this time, McHenry was charged with getting many of these underage College Republicans drunk and partying with them. According to Affidavidts with the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agency, McHenry was closely involved (or potentially hosted) a party with underage students after a 2004 Catawba County Lincoln Day dinner, in which beer and wine liberally flowed, and McHenry was photoed holding a lollypop with drunk students clearly holding cans of alcohol (right). According to statements by the Alcohol Law Enforcement agency, the students asserted that the alcohol was provided by the McHenry camp, though this is questionable. Despite the source of the alcohol, it was clear through reports that McHenry was fully aware of both the alcohol consumption and the age of many of the staffers.

I am willing to take Warren's word over McHenry's, anyday.

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Quote of the Day

"I know for a fact that Roger Ailes admires and respects Sarah Palin and thinks she is smart. He also believes many members of the left-wing media are extremely terrified and threatened by her. Despite a massive effort to destroy Sarah Palin, she is still on her feet and making a difference in the political world. As for the 'Republican close to Ailes' for which the incorrect Palin quote is attributed, when Roger figures out who that is, I guarantee you he or she will no longer be 'close to Ailes.'"

Bill Shine, Fox News' executive vice president.

Responding to a media story that Roger Ailes thinks that Sarah Palin is stupid.

Contrary to what Shine wants people to believe, the media loves Palin. Not that they think Palin is smart. Palin is a controversy magnet and gives scribes something to write about. Palin provides comedy material for this blog.

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Republican John Kriesel's Amazing Speech

Minnesota State Rep. John Kriesel (R) gave an amazing speech on the House floor in support of gay marriage. Kriesel was the only Republican to vote against an amendment making gay marriage. Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a 70-62 vote.

Raw Story has part of the transcript.

“If this was five, six years ago, I probably would have voted yes,” he admitted — but “everything changed,” Kriesel said, after he was wounded in Iraq.

“It woke me up. It changed me,” he explained. “…Happiness is so hard to find for people. So they find it — they find someone that makes them happy — and we want to say you can be together, you can love that person, but you can’t marry them. That’s wrong. That’s wrong and I disagree with it.”

“This amendment doesn’t represent what I went to fight for,” Kriesel insisted, before holding up a photo of a gay soldier who was killed in Iraq.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I cannot look at this family, look at this picture, and say ‘You know what, corporal, you were good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you were not good enough to marry the person you love.’ I can’t do that. I cannot do that and I won’t do that. If there was a ‘hell no’ button right here, I would press it. That would be the one I would press.”

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Pawlenty's Draws Small Crowd In Tampa

Tim Pawlenty kicked off his presidential campaign in Tampa. Pawlenty was able to get 50 people to listen him speak. Happy hour at McDinton's draws more people.

So far no one has posted a video of Pawlenty's Tampa speech on Youtube. There is this gem. Remember when conservatives accused President Barack Obama of attempting to in doctrine children with his televised speech. Former Republican Party of Florida chairman apologized and accused fellow Republicans of racism towards Obama.

Pawlenty did a Gingrich by going after Obama speaking to school children. John King of CNN asked why it okay for Pawlenty's wife to speak about politics in school but Obama can't talk about studying hard. Pawlenty did not have a good answer.

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Nick Digilio Description of Lionel Richie Video

Lionel Richie behaves like a Florida school teacher by stalking his blind student in the video for Hello. My favorite image from the video is the hystical Lionel Richie bust.


Rubio Holds Shear Nomination

Sen. Marco Rubio has placed a hold on David Shear's nomination as ambassador to Vietnam. Rubio's issue is not with Shear but Americans having trouble adopting children from Vietnam.

Last week Senator Rubio placed a hold on the nomination in an effort to get assistance for American families whose children are stranded in orphanages in Vietnam. His hold follows that of Senator Dick Lugar, Republican from Indiana, who initially placed a hold on Shear nomination last month amid concerns.

"Senator Lugar placed a temporary hold on Ambassador-designate Shear’s nomination in an effort to secure information about the status of assistance to American families with pending adoption cases in Vietnam,” explains Andy Fisher, a senior aide to Lugar. “This included responses to requests made by the families to obtain copies of their respective adoption files from the Departments of State and Homeland Security. Unfortunately, the families had encountered innumerable roadblocks in this regard.”

What happened to the Republicans agreeing to filibuster reform? This is the second hold on Shear. How does Rubio and Lugar expect changes in Vietnam's adoption policies with the United States holding up the confirmation of its ambassador? Republicans are literally looking for creative ways to block Shear's nomination.

My question is does America really want to encourage Vietnam becoming a for-profit adoption industry? I am sure there are Americans that sincerely want to help these children? Unfortunately, selling a child for adoption is profitable in the third world. Adoption can cost $25,000 with no guarantee that the child will be allowed to leave the country.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maggie Council - Nebraska Avenue

Nebraska Avenue is a main drag that goes through the poorest communities in the City of Tampa. Tampa folk signer Maggie Council immortalizes the street known for crack cocaine and prostitution in song.

Check out Maggie Council's web site to learn more about her music.

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A New Kind of Democratic Presidential Primary

Jane Hamsher and her blog FireDogLake are attempting to field a progressive opponent to run in the Democratic primary against President Barack Obama. Hamsher and her supporters have started the New Progressive Alliance. How does Hamsher and her minions plan on finding a candidate suitable to run against Obama? On Craigslist, of course.

A process for the aggressive political organization of progressives in the US has been started called New Progressive Alliance (NPA), under the benign tolerance* of the eminent progressive blog FireDogLake. This budding organization will be looking to leverage a Democratic run for US President into rapidly growing this new organization. There has already been a poll of initial supporters of NPA to determine an ordered list of who should be invited to be the NPA approved candidate. Elizabeth Warren has won the top designation, however, like the other well-known nominees, it is currently unknown if Warren will accept. Running against a Presidential incumbent can be political suicide within a party, be that incumbent a Democrat or Republican.

However, for an NPA candidate who is fully on board with the program, committing political suicide as a Democrat is not only of no concern, but in a sense welcome. That’s because it is anticipated that any NPA approved Democrat primary candidate must, if they fail to win the Democratic Party’s nomination (as everybody expects will be the case), turn around and give their endorsement to an NPA approved progressive Presidential candidate, running under a third party, such as the Green Party, or as an independent. NPA seeks to break the stranglehold of the corrupted Democratic Party on the minds and voting behavior of the progressive electorate. Until that stranglehold is broken, being popular with Democratic Party power brokers should be viewed as undesirable for a genuine progressive, anyway.

The NPA polling, ranked in order of approval, is as follows:
1. Elizabeth Warren
2. Russ Feingold
4. Howard Dean
4. Richard Trumka
5. Alan Grayson
6. Cynthia McKinney
7. Al Franken
8. Paul Krugman
9. Dennis Kucinich
10. Jane Hamsher

The purpose of this ad is: 1) to solicit volunteers for running as a Democratic Party challenger to President Obama in 2012, in the case that NPA is not able to find a suitable, well known candidate and 2) study the feasibility of craigslist for these types of endeavors.

Dennis Kucinich would take up the offer just for attention. Kucinich would not win a single primary or caucus against the Obama campaign machine.

I'm closer to Hamsher's mind than Obama's on policy and share her frustration. I generally like to see primaries with candidates debating the issues and voters having a choice. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

The truth is Obama is the best active politician (Bill Clinton isn't serving or running for office) in America. No Democrat wants to get crushed by Obama and anger the party establishment.

In writing this post I see that Joy-Ann Reid comes down hard on FireDogLake.

The most aggressive anti-Obama action is to be found in three places: among an group of highly influential blogs connected to Jane Hamsher’s Firedoglake and its associated FDL Action PAC and knit together via Hamsher’s advertising network; from Greenwald, Moore and other libertarian-leaning activists who oppose Obama’s war and national security policies (which they say are too close to George W. Bush’s); and from Adam Green’s Progressive Campaign Change Committee PAC, which has spent as much time attacking the president as it has advertising against Republicans.

I generally agree with Obama on 85 percent of his foreign policy. I supported his troop surge for Afghanistan. The excerpts I read from Bob Woodward's book indicate that Obama wants to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP. I also agree with Obama on the Israelis should put land taken in 1967 on the negotiating table. Where I differ with Obama is his horrible neoliberal economic policies.

Craigslist has been known for finding hook-ups and professional escorts? Craigslist really isn't the proper venue for Hamsher and company to search for a candidate. The ad is also requesting that activists join. It will be hard to recruit volunteers for NPA without a candidate.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011


Actor John Lithgow gives a dramatic reading of Newt Gingrich's bizarre press release.

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Double, double, oil and trouble

As usual, the hardly-extreme position of wanting to look after the planet--and protect our ecosystems, not to mention our food and water supplies so as to save our own hides as well as leave our grandchildren a decent place in which to live--is under attack. Make that, undergoing a full-on assault.

It needs to be said, again, that opponents of clean energy policy, responsible climate-change policy--indeed, any and all initiatives to educate Americans about climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, period--are the ones behind a significant amount of the attacking, insulting, and discrediting of President Obama that's been going on for as long as he has been in office. (That much of it is also fueled by racism at the base level means it's that much easier for the oil giants to garner support in their attacks on the president--surely you didn't think it was all about his being a secret Kenyan Muslim usurper?!)

At the top of the list of offenders are the reviled Koch brothers and their monied front groups, like Americans for Prosperity, as well as the libertarian and conservative think-tanks they help fund, like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Despite their open and despicable attacks on the president, the Koch Brothers, who stand to benefit in a big way, would like nothing more than for him to give the Keystone XL Pipeline his blessing. From ClimateProgress:

The Keystone XL pipeline, awaiting a thumbs up or down on a presidential permit, would increase the import of heavy oil from Canada’s oil sands to the U.S. by as much as 510,000 barrels a day, if it gets built.

Proponents tout it as a boon to national security that would reduce America’s dependence on oil from unfriendly regimes. Opponents say it would magnify an environmental nightmare at great cost and provide only the illusion of national benefit.

What’s been left out of the ferocious debate over the pipeline, however, is the prospect that if president Obama allows a permit for the Keystone XL to be granted, he would be handing a big victory and great financial opportunity to Charles and David Koch, his bitterest political enemies and among the most powerful opponents of his clean economy agenda.
And yes, in case you were wondering, it's not just a pride thing, not just a matter of holding grudges against people who smeared you--the pipeline's environmental threats are very real and rather jaw-dropping in their enormity.

The Keystone XL Pipeline would cut through six states; its presence and operation would threaten 2,000 miles worth of American homes and farmlands. This is dirty tar sands oil we're talking about, and its ill effects are much worse than those associated with conventional oil. From Friends of the Earth:
Pollution from tar sands oil greatly eclipses that of conventional oil. During tar sands oil production alone, levels of carbon dioxide emissions are three times higher than those of conventional oil, due to more energy-intensive extraction and refining processes. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 900,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil into the United States daily, doubling our country's reliance on it and resulting in climate-damaging emissions equal to adding more than six million new cars to U.S. roads.
How risky would it be? Very.
The XL route touted by (Alberta Premier Ed) Stelmach also passes through an active seismic zone that had a 4.3 magnitude earthquake as recently as 2002. In spite of this danger, the proponent TransCanada has applied to the U.S. government to use thinner steel and pump at higher pressures, saving the company as much as a $1 billion.
Furthermore, the Keystone XL pipeline, if permitted, would put many of the native people living in the northern part of the continent at risk, as pipelines have, in the past, poisoned their sources of food and water which in turn led to spikes in certain cancers and other ailments within their populations; moreover, it would threaten a vast swath of the High Plains Water Table, on which nearly 2 million Americans depend for drinking water (er, Homeland Security? Can you put down the blue rubber gloves for a moment and pay attention to some real, documented threats to our safety?) From Futurism Now:

The State Department considers pipelines carrying the world’s dirtiest oil into the United States to be matters of paramount national interest. To this administration, as with the last, pretty much everything can be a matter of national interest or national security when it is about oil. Bombing Libya was also a matter of “national interest” to Hillary Clinton, and so have been other dirty tar sands pipelines, like the Alberta Clipper pipeline that she approved, to be built in my state. These pipelines are also matters of eminent domain, because the government seizes privately owned land and builds the pipelines across them. Homeowners, land owners have no choice in the matter. All for some of the world’s worst oil representing the world’s worst environmental degradation in Canada.
So where do plans for this pipeline stand right now? A bill supporting it, the North American-Made Energy Security Act of 2011, is currently being circulated in draft form and will be aired publicly when the House Energy and Power Subcommittee convenes on Monday. From yesterday's Reuters feed:
WASHINGTON— Environmentalists understand why so many House Republicans are gung-ho about upping imports of oil mined from the tar sands of Western Canada.
What puzzles them is why Michigan Rep. Fred Upton has emerged as one of the cause's lead GOP cheerleaders. [...]

No doubt the former centrist's embrace of fossil fuels has tightened ever since he took charge of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee in January. Even though the Democrat-led Senate is less likely to back such a measure, Upton's grip is alarming to conservationists who know how much power his panel wields on Capitol Hill.

"What this bill is doing is perpetuating myths about the tar sands that the Alberta government, the Canadian government and the oil industry want us to believe," Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, an oil sands specialist with the Natural Resources Defense Council told SolveClimate News in an interview. "It's a way for them to promote their own products at the expense and well-being of the American people."

And then, toward the end of the article, one encounters that omnipresent Cerberus of high-ranking power, political campaigns, and lobbyists' influence. Weep along with me for a brief moment, gentle readers, and then waste no time in contacting your Congresscritters:
Upton and his committee, it turns out, aren't the only ones prodding the State Department to meet a specific deadline.

After waiting five months for department officials to release possible communications between TransCanada chief lobbyist Paul Elliott and Clinton, four environmental and ethics organizations sued the State Department Wednesday.

TransCanada hired the native New Yorker as its government relations director more than two and a half years ago. He served as a presidential campaign manager for Clinton in 2008.

Earthjustice, a public interest law firm, is representing Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law and Corporate Ethics International in the lawsuit.

"This raises important questions of transparency and fairness," said Sarah Burt, an Earthjustice attorney. "If a decision to approve a transcontinental pipeline is made based on relationships and access to Clinton, while completely overlooking the significant environmental and public health dangers posed by the pipeline, the public needs to be aware of it."
To find your House reps, click here.

And please, sign the petition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to deny approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

(H/T--and thanks--to my Mum)

Also at litbrit.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rick Scott's Letter to Rick Perry

Rick Scott's letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry is nothing more than a clumsy press release. What Scott's letter (released to the media) is really about is clumsy PR. Example.

Florida is eliminating job killing regulation, reducing the size and cost of government, and making sure we have the best educated workforce. We have no personal income tax and are phasing out the business tax, starting with eliminating it entirely for half the business that paid it.

Who the hell writes a letter to someone in talking points? It's hysterical. It is obvious that Scott did not write this letter. Politicians usually have staffers do that but rarely this badly. Scott's staffers can't decide if their audience for this letter is the the media or the business community. Here the letter goes into sales mode.

In fact, millions of people from around the world visit Florida and dream of enjoying our great weather, beaches, fishing, and culture year round. And with all we are doing to make Florida number one in job creation, I am certain Texas' days at the top are numbered.

Allowing homeowner insurance and telecom rates to go up is not the way to make Florida number one in job creation. The truth is people are leaving Florida because of the state's economy, schools and stagnant wages. Scott's policies will only make matters worse. Scott wasn't a business genius. Scott is the health care version of Enron's Andrew Fastow.

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Quote of the Day

"If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting Arabian Iraq with American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

"He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and out-of-control Supreme Court."

Phillip Atkinson

Atkinson penned this punditry masterpiece in 2007. The op-ed appeared on Family Security Matters. The web site is run by the Center For Security Policy. The CSP is technically a think tank. In reality, it promotes conspiracy theories about Shariah law taking over America.

Atkinson fails to note the Julius Caesar was assassinated for being dictorial. The rest of the world already fears America's military might. Other country would more likely make alliances to keep America in check. The last thing the NATO countries would do is sing praises for commit genocide and stealing Iraq's oil. Both of which are illegal under international law.

You may write off the CSP as a fringe group. How many fringe groups have Beltway insiders Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Doug Feith and Jack Dyer Crouch, II and Dick Cheney as members? CSP is a reflection of the insanity that is Republican foreign policy.

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Mayor Buckhorn's Cut and Invest Plan

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's economic plan is following the Bill Clinton strategy of "cut and invest" 1993 budget. That isn't a bad thing. Clinton's 1993 budget was brilliant and paved the way to reduce the deficit. Gulf Coast Business Review looks at Buckhorn's economic agenda.

The Cuts

The City of Tampa has a $24 million budget shortfall. Buckhorn indicated that he is likely to layoff city workers. In the long run less workers makes government more inefficient. We saw how the Bush administration cut domestic departments and turned a surplus into a deficit. The flip side is the City of Tampa relies on tax revenue from sales and property taxes. The housing market went bust and wages are stagnant.

Tampa is facing increased costs in its pension plan. From 2009 to 2010, Tampa's payments into the pension fund went from $20 million to $40.6 million. My question for readers is the City of Tampa investing its pension fund into a hedge fund? That would explain the cost increase.

Buckhorn intends to sell buildings that the city no longer needs. This will bring in revenue and get rid of overhead cost. The question is are there buyers in the market for office space?

Tampa appears to be stuck with its parking garages from the Greco administration. No one in their right mind would want to buy a parking garage. Buckhorn said the cost for the upcoming year will be $7 million.


Buckhorn to increase research and development. I noted before that research and development has good longterm economic benefits. The problem is scientific breakthroughs can take time and R&D is not the biggest job creator. That doesn't mean Buckhorn shouldn't pursue federal R&D grants and in encourage tech companies to move to Tampa. He should.

Buckhorn has big plans for the Port of Tampa. Buckhorn went down to Panama to help spur trade. Buckhorn is looking at the highway construction connecting to port to I-4 as a way to make Tampa a major shipping player.

Buckhorn is interested in Tampa have rail. The sales tax vote for light rail failed. Gov. Rick Scott killed the high-speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando. It will be interesting to see if Buckhorn makes a push for rail.

Update: Buckhorn responded on Twitter if the City of City's pension fund is invested in a hedge fund. Buckhorn said no.

@pushingrope no, they do low-risk investments

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Lack of People At South Carolina Tea Party Event

Only 30 people attended a tea party rally in South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley spoke at the event but was not enough to draw a crowd. Columbia Tea Party chairman Allen Olsen blamed Donald Trump pulling out of the event for the lack of attendance. When a fake presidential candidate is needed to get tea partiers excited then you know there is a problem for Republicans. This is the base Republicans need to bring out to beat President Obama. The tea party base is showing its cracks.

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Friday Cat Blogging

A domestic cat challenges a fox. Cats a extremely territorial animals.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Robert Wegmann - Cathode Ray

Tampa Bay power pop legend Robert Wegmann He can find out more about his music and artwork at his web site.

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Everything you need to know about Obama's MidEast policy speech today

The first major address Obama made about the Middle East, he did such in the Middle East -- at Cairo University. And though the speech wasn't spectacular, at excited the Arab world by going to Cairo to deliver the speech. In effect, the president was extending America's hand of help and assistance to the Middle East.

Obama's latest speech, though, was made at the State Department headquarters in DC. Why? Probably because nobody in the Middle East gave a damn; especially since it took the president so much time after January 25 to even admit that dictators/America's BFFs like Dictator Mubarak shouldn't be in power anymore. What's the saying.. "A day late and a dollar short"? Yes, yes, that's apt for the situation.

Additionally, Obama never mentioned Saudi Arabia. In a speech about Middle Eastern policy that touches upon gender equality across the region, not mentioning Saudi Arabia is basically saying "You know, don't take anything I say seriously."

It's all hot air. And everyone whose head isn't stuffed inside their rectum knows it.

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NAACP Against Scott Signing Voter Suppression Bill

The Florida chapter of the NAACP sent out a press release voicing their disapproval of Gov. Rick Scott signing HB 1355. The bill shortens early voting, makes it more difficult for voter registration groups to operate, and does not allow voters that have moved to vote on the day of the election. People that have moved or changed their last name would have to use a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots usually are never looked at and thrown out.

(Miami, FL.) – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is outraged that Gov. Rick Scott signed HB1355, a bill that actively seeks to disenfranchise racial and ethnic minorities, women, the elderly, the working poor, and young Americans in the voting process.

“The NAACP is outraged that Governor Scott signed this bill that blatantly and maliciously attacks, restricts and suppresses the voting rights of Florida’s racial and ethnic minorities, women, students and working communities,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “We are calling upon all Floridians to stand up for the rights of all Florida citizens and repeal this deplorable new law.”

Newly enacted, HB1355 will restrain voting rights on multiple fronts. First, the bill would limit voters to only casting provisional ballots if they wish to change their address or name at the polls (provisional ballots in Florida are not counted at alarmingly high proportions). Second, the legislation cuts the number of days of early voting by more than half (from 13 to 5). More than 2.6 million people voted early in the 2008 elections. Finally, the law imposes overburdening regulations on organizations like the NAACP seeking to register voters.

“I am disappointed that such a disenfranchising bill, with such damaging implications has been signed into law by Governor Scott,” remarked NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “One of the most sacred rights as an American is the right to cast an unfettered vote for your elected representative and this right should be protected. This bill is not consistent with the democratic promise of our nation or the American Dream.”

“This bill is an egregious attempt by misguided state legislators to suppress the voting rights of women, minorities and the poor by forcing them to jump though excessive hoops to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” stated Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP. “The NAACP Florida State Conference is calling for the repeal of this discriminatory bill so all Floridians can exercise their constitutional right to cast an unfettered ballot.”

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Quote of the Day

"Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. When I make a mistake -- and I'm going to on occasion -- I'm going to share with the American people that was a mistake, because that way we can have an honest conversation."

Newt Gingrich, on Greta Van Susteren's show.

The more glaring statement by Gingrich is that statement he made in 1993 about supporting a health care mandate don't matter. Republicans were fighting against the Clinton administration's attempts at health care reform. Republicans knew their public option proposal would never pass. Gingrich accidentally told Greta he doesn't believe in the things he supports. He just says things for political gain.

Gingrich is right. Any quote from him used by Democrats would be a falsehood. The reason being everything Gingrich says is a falsehood.

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The Alex Sink Family Christmas Card

Can we say over-the-top photo. Alex Sink sent out this family Christmas card the month after she lost to Rick Scott. No one sends this out unless she has future political ambitions. Do you see a Christmas tree in this photo? I don't think of holiday cheer when I see this. I think the Sink family is reenacting George C. Scott's famous scene in Patton.

In a recent interview. Sink was asked if she would run for governor in 2014. "Never say never," Sink answered. Please help me stop Alex Sink.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Horror: Alex Sink Not Ruling Out 2014 Run

Fail gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink was asked by Marc Beauboeuf if she plans on running again in 2014. Sink isn't ruling it out. I will add that the interview took place this month.

As the conversation winds down, we ask Sink about 2014. Is another run for the state’s top office on offer? “Never say never,” she answers, but for now she’s focused on her foundation and promoting the policies she would have pursued as governor. “I want to show the people of Florida that I’m the kind of leader I said I would be.”

God, please no.

Progressives, Sink must be stops before she allows another Republican an easy victory. Join the Facebook group and Twitter feed to Stop Alex Sink.

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Two Cow Garage - American Girl

Two Cow Garage recently performed the Tommy Petty classic at the Crowbar in Ybor City. The Ruckus has pictures of the Crowbar show.

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No Mortgage Principal Relief For Florida

The Florida law firm of David J. Stern was caught falsifying foreclosure documents to force homeowners out of their homes. The "rocket docket" foreclosure courts, set up by the Florida legislature, was found to have judges that did not review documents before evicting homeowners. Forbes reports that Florida has led the nation in reported cases of mortgage fraud two years running. Banks have been illegally kicking people out of their homes and are now trying to settle with the federal government.

Yet the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and FDIC have entered into a consent decree with the 14 largest mortgage lenders that illegally foreclosed on thousands of homeowners. The deal includes no fines or criminal penalties. Banks must hire outside consultants to review all foreclosures from 2009 and 2010 and identify those who lost homes or were denied loan modifications due to fraud by the banks or firms they hired to assist with the foreclosure process and repay them. Does the government seriously believe that consultants who rely on the banks for their paychecks will find any home­owners who were victims?

The answer is no. The defunct accounting firm Arthur Andersen signed off on Enron CFO Andrew Fastow's money laundering hedge funds. Andersen feared losing the highly profitable Enron account. Anderson changed its name to Accenture. Countless people have been made homeless because of the big banks illegal foreclosures. The Federal Reserve's and the Obama administration's response is to file no criminal charges. It is sickening.

A bipartisan group of state attorney generals are working to provide reduction in the mortgage principal owed by homeowners. This would provide relief to about 2 million Florida homeowners. CNBC reports that Florida has the seventh highest foreclosure rate in the country.

43 state attorney generals have reached bipartisan census on banks lowering mortgage principals. One of the seven against making banks comply to this agreement is Florida's Pam Bondi. Hysterically, Bondi claimed that lowering the mortgage principal would encourage homeowners to default. What Bondi doesn't add is that the agreement would allow states to be able to fine and have other penalties against banks.

Bondi's decision to not sue BP is proof she values protecting corporate interests above the people of Florida. Bondi could care less how many people are thrown out on the streets because of fraudulent mortgages practices by banks. Floridians have an Attorney General just as horrible as its Governor.

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