Monday, January 30, 2012

Wilco - Art Of Almost

Is it me or is it getting harder to tell Wilco or Radiohead apart. Not that that is a bad thing. Wilco and Radiohead have intentionally gotten more experimental as they processed. That is better than Bruce Spingsteen who went from Born To Run to trying to make albums that sounded like Gary U.S. Bond.

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Newt Gingrich Comes to Orlando for Campaign Disaster

John Heilemann describes a disasterous Orlando campaign stop for New Gingrich

In a weekend of trailing the former speaker to a series of events along the I-4 corridor, there was just no escaping that a campaign that was flying high (and even to outer space) ten days ago has now come crashing back to earth. At what was billed as a Hispanic town hall meeting at another church yesterday in Orlando, Gingrich was greeted by row after after row of empty pews and maybe 40 voters in attendance. For a full hour after the scheduled starting time, Gingrich and his wife Callista, sat outside, coistered in his campaign bus - possibly sulking, possibly fuming at his his campaign's horrid advance work, and surely praying a few more souls show up. When Gingrich finally entered the building, it was announced that the event was a town hall no more; the candidate would speak briefly, then take pictures with the scant few who'd turned up. And "briefly" was an understatement: Standing behind a Lucite lactern, Gingrich talked for barely eight minutes and evelen seconds, looking deflated and exhausted. By no small margin, it was the worst and saddest campaign event event that I have witnessed in this presidential cycle.

My God. Newt Gingrich is the Spinal Tap of politics.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

White Stripes - As Ugly As I Seem

The White Stripes performing acoustically on Charlie Rose. You can watch the interview at the Charlie Rose web site.

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Newt's Magic Jobs Machine

The Villages, Florida: Newt Gingrich makes a bold prediction.

"People say to me, 'How fast will things turn around?' Let's talk about jobs. How quickly will people start to invest in new jobs? Late on election night when we defeat Barack Obama, people will start making decisions to create new jobs," he said.

The magic job machine will turn on the night Fox News declares Newt Gingrich the winner. Gingrich fails to provide details about how this will happen. Benjamin Kirby noted that Gingrich did not provide details about how he would create a moon colony by the end of his second term. For someone who portrays him as a intellectual, Gingrich has an allergic reaction to all things policy wonk.

Gingrich is publicly saying that businesses are intentionally not creating jobs so he can get get elected. If that is the case, shouldn't Newt the Populist be calling out corporations for withholding jobs? Of course, this is the same Newt Gingrich that said this about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"This is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something by saying to them, 'Go get a job right after you take a bath.'"

How dare people protest Wall Street. Which make it all the more hysterical that Gingrich said this at the Villages.

I do not believe Wall Street can give enough money to run enough negative ads to hide from the truth. The truth is we have been served badly, as the American people, by the establishment in this country in both parties. Let's be clear about it. In both parties! And it's time someone stood up for hard-working, tax-paying Americans and said, 'Enough!' And if that makes the old order uncomfortable, my answer is: Good!

Suddenly, Gingrich is Woody Guthrie. If Gingrich wins the nomination he will travel to New York City and beg hedge fund managers for campaign contributions. That is what corporatist Republicans always do.


Truman National Security Project Roundtable

The Truman National Security Project will hold a press availability. The even will be held on Monday, at 4:30 PM, the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. Afterwards there will be a roundtable discussion with mititary veterans and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Information about the event is below.

WHO: Florida military veterans:
Leo Cruz, US Navy veteran
Eric Arens, US Navy veteran
Reamonn Soto, US Marine Corps veteran

WHERE: In front of 1002 E. Palm Avenue (Children’s Board of Hillsborough County) Tampa, FL 33605

WHEN: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 4:30 PM Eastern

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Quote of the Day

"I think that comes down to who can articulate their ideas, their solutions best,” she said. “And in a campaign, the way that you articulate that is in a debate. And I’ve appreciated, again, Newt Gingrich’s, his style in debates, his thinking, his way of explaining what it is that he stands for. So I think that in a debate, Newt Gingrich would clobber Barack Obama."

Sarah Palin, explaining that New Gingrich would beat President Obama in a debate.

I know reality is big in Sarah Palin's world. But Mitt Romney hammered Gingrich in the last debate. No one has accused Romney of being a great debater. If Gingrich is going to bash poor people and sell his fantasy of a moon colony then Obama will have no problem. Palin is the last person who should be considered an expert on beating Obama. Palin was on a ticket that lost to Obama.

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Newt Gingrich Rap Song

During a Port St. Lucie, Florida campaign rally, voters were treated a rap song written for Newt Gingrich. Like many of you, when I think of hip hop the first name that cames to mind is Newt Gingrich.

Feat your ears on this funky groove.

Fighting for beliefs, fighting for what's right,
But I really ain't trying to come at ya like a parasite,
You just need to see things from a different side
Go ahead, ask what your country can do for you,
'Cuz anything's possible with President Newt
Yeah, so get up off your feet, get out on the street,
Tell everyone you meet.

Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!
Say what?
Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!
Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!
Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!

N to the E to the WT
Newt Gingrich taking over these streets,
Is you ready for it yet?
I don't think so, where you at?
Obama 'bout to step out the White House,
Gingrich gonna get in the White House
He gon' have his wife, his spouse,
Yeah, you know without a doubt
Celebrating all day like it's a parade
Here we got pro-life all up in this thang
Unh, and you know we doing this thang
Shout out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania man
Yeah, Gingrich do it big,
Get up in the White House, do it big
There is nobody better
2012: end of an era

Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!
Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!
Say what?!
Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!
Hoo! Hoo hoo! Hey everybody vote for Newt!

2012! Newt Gingrich! Go out and vote, man! Don't be a fool!

How can you beat these lyrics.

Obama 'bout to step out the White House,
Gingrich gonna get in the White House
He gon' have his wife, his spouse

Who would have ever thought of rhyming "White House with "White House"? The only fault I can find is mistress should come after "his wife, his spouse."

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Cat Blogging

Ripples the Cat caused a four hour flight delay. Ripples escaped from his carrier and made his way to the cockpit.

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Newt Gingrich: Moon Man

Only Newt Gingrich with his crazy idea colonize the moon could make Mitt Romney seem like the voice of reason. Gingrich's moon colony nonsense just makes Jon Stewart's job easier.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

"(And then he called me a crazy person with not that many followers. I have almost 1000 more than you, fucker.) HAHA #childishtweet #p2"

Angry Black Lady, fighting with John Aravosis of Americablog.

It is alway nice to get a lecture on maturity from a woman who brags about how many followers she has and calls another blogger "fucker." To top it off, ABL has a NSFW Twitter background of an ass.

ABL has waged Twitter wars with Glenn Greenwald, Empty Wheel, Nicole Sandler and a host of other A-list bloggers. The attack on Sandler was disgraceful. ABL's idea of discourse with anyone who disagrees with President Barack Obama's policies on indefinite detention or fiscal matters is to call them emoprogs.

ABL went on a tear on popular progressive bloggers, who pointed out that Obama's concessions to Republicans during the debt ceiling crisis was politically and fiscally wrong. Tas and I asked her on Twitter to explain what Obama's strategy was. We were asking a serious question. ABL explained she didn't have time to school us. ABL did have the time to get into a Tweet war with Empty Wheel. I pointed this out to her. No response. The best way to silence her is to actually have her explain her political viewpoints.

ABL can no more explain why she supports Obama's policies than Glenn Reynolds can explain why he backed President George W. Bush. ABL and Reynolds aren't people passionate about policy. They are partisan cheerleaders. To them politics is Red Sox v. Yankees.

As for ABL's Twitter followers: Charlie Sheen has more. People follow Sheen because they like watching a train wreak. I follow ABL for the same reason. I guess by ABL's logic, we should take the political ramblings of Sheen more seriously because he has more followers. If that is the case then Sheen's views on nuclear profileration should be treated as the gospel truth. Fortunately, Twitter followers doesn't automatically give credibility. That has to be earned. Picking fights would popular lefty bloggers is a good way for ABL to get attention. It won't earn credibility.

Side note: Aravosis angered transgender supporters. There are tweets going back and forth. I'm not sure how it started. I know from history that Aravosis tends to dig himself a deeper hole. Aravosis was defending Dan Savage. Avavosis went over-the-top by calling certain members of the trans community the "trans mafia." The comment gave ABL an opportunity to attack Aravosis. Aravosis has often been critical of Obama.

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Where is the GOP Youth Vote

Look at how old the people are at a New Gingrich rally in Mount Dora, Florida. Republicans have given up on young voters, blacks and alieniating Hispanics. Exactly who is going to be the GOP base in 10 years? Big business and Christian fundamentalists are the obvious answer. The question will be is that enough. Of course, Democrats often find ways to implode. Just look at the 2010 elections in Florida and how the Florida Democratic Party was able to do nothing with a registered voter advantage.

Side note: the young Ron Paul supporters will check out in the general election. Paul will not be the nominee. If Paul runs as an independent in the general election, Paul will likely pull some Republicans unsatisfied with their nominee. Paul can't play kingmaker. But he can hurt the GOP nominee in swing states. It would serve Republicans right for ignoring young voters.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Write A Caption: Rick Scott

I'm glad the governor's image makeover, of a warmer and gentler Rick Scott has been a success.

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JD Alexander Fighting to Keep Private Prison Costs Secret

The Orlando Sentinel asked J.D. Alexander if questions on if privatized prisons would save Florida money were valid. Alexander, Senate Budget Committee chairman, had an amazing answer.

"I don't think the it's genuine criticism," Alexander said.

Not that Alexander has heard a lot of "criticism." Alexander allowed only two citizens the opportunity to speak to the committee. One of the speakers was a lobbyist for Florida Tax Watch, a group that supports the privatization of prisons.

Another point of the matter: the Senate Budget Committee has done no studies of whether private prisons would save Florida money. In fact, Alexander is one of the sponsors of SB 2036. The bill forbids the Florida legislature from collecting economic data on private prisons. SB 2036 would exempt private prison from given states economic data for the first five years. Under current law, any outsourced or private run state program must provide cost data for the first five years of its existence. Alexander can't say criticism about cost is unjust, since he has no idea what the cost is. Alexander is making sure no one else finds out what the cost will be.

For someone who claims to be trying to save taxpayers money, Alexander only allowed the budget committee 3 minutes to debate. The debate dealt with amendments. There was no serious policy discussion detailing costs. Sen. Mike Fasano questioned to committee about costs. The Orlando Sentinel doesn't say if this produced any answers. Fasano has been against the privatization plan.

The Sentinel article notes that Corrections Corp. of America and the Geo Group would likely be awarded contacts, if the privatization plan passes (which is highly likely.) CCA and the Geo Group have donated lavishly to Florida Republicans. Privatization of prisons may not make sense for Florida taxpayers. But it makes a whole lot of sense for the Florida Republican establishment.

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Quote of the Day: Rick Santorum

"I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created - in the sense of rape - but nevertheless a gift in a broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can't think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation."

Rick Santorum

Santorum actually believes women are receiving a gift by being raped and impregnated by their attacker. In Santorum's world being raped is something women should put on their wishlist. Santorum then tells condescendingly tells women to tough it out and carry the fetus to birth. This man is insufferable.

Reactions from the feminist blogosphere.

Jill Filipovic

The thing is, we don't just "accept what God has given us" in a whole lot of circumstances. Like when God gives us cancer. Or when God gives us problems with a wanted pregnancy. We try to counteract the things that are physically or psychologically harmful to us, or things that we don't want to happen. And plenty of women do choose to give birth when they're impregnated by rape - that's a totally valid choice. But it's not one that should be forced on any woman, rape or no rape.

Robin Marty

Most candidates, when questioned on whether they could honestly force their family members to carry a pregnancy to term after rape, will at the very least hem and haw a little over the issue.

But not former Pennsylvanna Senator Rick Santorum. He says the baby is still a gift, and he would council his daughters to believe the same.

If you think Santorum has an empathy problem then you aren't the only one. Amanda Marcotte notes that Santorum has spent his career trying to deny the medical rights that saved his wife's life.

Most of us, when we suffer from a traumatic situation, find that it increases our empathy with others in similar circumstances, and many of us are driven to become activists fighting to make life easier for people in similiar situations. But for Rick Santorum, trauma drove him in the other direction: It decreased his empathy for others in similiar situations, and caused him to want to increase their pain and suffering. That's the lesson to be drawn from a profile of Santorum in the New York Times, which explains that after his wife Karen, got sick at 20 weeks of pregnancy and was spared the the spontaneous abortion/early delivery (the distinction is more cultural than biological), Santorum got busy making sure other couples in the same situation could never have the options and speedy medical care that helped saved Karen's life.

Santorum has no problem allowing women to die to please his religious worldview. No wonder Santorum views rape as a minor nuisance to women.

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Scott's Health Care Reform is About Profit

"I can't make any sense of that," said Ron Hytoff, president and CEO of Tampa General Hospital.

Hytoff made this comment to the Tampa Bay Times. Hytoff was asked about the hospital rating system proposed by Gov. Rick Scott. The "rate bands" would benefit hospitals that mostly cover patients who can pay for their health care. These are usually for-profit hospitals such as Scott's former company Hospital Corporation of America. The for-profit hospitals that make a profit would receive more Medicaid funding. Hospitals that treat the uninsured with see a decrease in Medicaid funds.

Scott is the former CEO of Columbia/HCA. A Justice Department investigation found that Scott behaved highly unethically.

However, federal investigators found Scott took part in business practices at Columbia/HCA that were later found illegal -- specifically, that Scott and other executives offered financial incentives to doctors in exchange for referrals, in violation of federal law, according to lawsuits the Justice Department filed against the company in 2001.

The doctor payments were among 10 different kinds of fraud identified by the Justice Department in its 10-year probe of the company, records show. Three years after Scott left Columbia/HCA, the company admitted wrongdoing, pleading guilty to 14 felonies -- the most committed during Scott's tenure -- in addition to paying two sets of fines totaling $1.7 billion.

Scott left because the board of Columbia/HCA forced him to resign. Columbia/HCA admitted to falsely billing Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE.

Scott likes to attack government health care. Scott has no problem receiving tax dollars when he CEO of Columbia/HCA. As Florida's multi-millionaire governor, Scott only pays only $30.00-a-month for government health care. That is amazing hypocrisy for a man who burst on the national political scene railing against government health care.

Scott's rating system would punish hospitals that treat the uninsured. Scott's answer is less funding for emergency room visits. Sick people are still going to go to the emergency room. What Scott's policy proposal would do is help financially sink health care centers like Tampa General Hospital. The worst case scenario is only the for-profit hospitals would remain. Scott's idea of health care reform is forcing all patients to go to a few for-profit institutions. Of course, Scott has no interest in regulating health care costs of these for-profit hospitals. Scott will tell Floridians that less hospitals employing health care workers is creating jobs.

Mr. Hytoff may not be able to make any sense out of Scott's rate band system awarding profitable hospitals more tax dollars. To me it makes perfect sense to me. Fortunately, Scott's rating system is too radical for the conservative Florida legislature.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State of the Union Live Blogging

Here is an excerpt of tonight's State of the Union address. The President Barack Obama that wanted to cut entitlements is not present. Obama is targeting his speech at the 99 percent.

“Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded. “

“….The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.”

“As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.

No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.”

“Let’s never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same. It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.”

What is interesting is that Obama says he will fight Republican obstruction. Hopefully, Obama's naivety that Ryan Lizza showed in internal White House memos is gone. The sheer stupidity of Obama's assessment of the Republicans is staggering.

In Obama's world he equates Nancy Pelosi to convicted felon Tom Delay. In Obama's world, religious fundamentalists that discriminate are the same as gay rights activist. In Obama's world, the award-winning New York Times is equal to the political propaganda of Fox News. Obama stated so in his book the "Audacity of Hope."

Tom DeLay or Nancy Pelosi, big oil or greedy trial lawyers, religious zealots or gay activists, Fox News or the New York Times.

Obama is not a smart man.

8:52 Gottalaff wasn't kidding. John Boehner is really extra orange tonight.

8:53 Ladies, Mitch McConnell is in the house. Control yourselves.

8:55 Secretary Tom Vilsack is the one cabinet member not at the SOTU.

8:56 Gabby Giffords gets a standing ovation.

8:59 Joe Biden and Michelle Obama wave at each other. Matt Drudge should post a rumor in about 5 minutes.

9:00 Good God! More Brian Williams. I had enough of him last night.

Benjamin Kirby is live blogging.

9:06 Obama is in the house.

Peter Schorsch makes note about how political followers like to turn the SOTU and debates into a drinking game.

It's getting to the point where there is a political drinking game every damn night of the week.

Schorsch is live blogging the debate.

9:13 Obama points out that Osama bin Laden is dead. Big cheers. Obama will hammer Republicans on that.

9:14 After last night's Republican debate, it is interesting to hear the striking gap the GOP candidates have with Obama's speaking skills.

9:18 Obama bashing Wall Street. This is the Occupy Wall Street election.

9:19 Obama should not brag about the watered-down Dodd-Frank bill.

9:20 Cash for Clunkers did work. I was against it.

9:22 This speech is Obama being defensive. Obama is saying the economy is rebounding. Believe that when I see it.

9:26 Obama is selling in-sourcing of businesses.

Funny tweet from Kevin Drum.

Sort of amusing watching Boehner's painfully reluctant applause.

9:30 Obama: "It's time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system." Who know Obama was Bob Dylan?

9:33 Am I the only one who notices that the Republicans are on their best behavior?

9:34 Obama talks about work study. I was on a work study program in high school.

9:36 Obama bringing up the Dream Act. This is bold the risk adverse Obama. Republicans boo. GOP, kiss Hispanic votes goodbye.

9:37 Obama: "Women should earn equal pay for equal work." Are the Obamabots going to say they love deficit commission era Obama better?

9:42 Both parties are starting to fall to sleep listening to Obama talk about car batteries.

9:43 Yes! Get rid of the oil subsidies!

9:46 Obama is pitching infrastructure projects. The Republicans will not support it because building highways is socialist.

9:47 Obama say the banks have a "deficit of trust."

9:48 Both parties about to shit themselves when Obama talks about new regulations on banks. Those banks are who Congress represents.

9:51 I'm fearing that Obama truly believes that Dodd-Frank would prevent another market crash.

9:54 No applause from either party for Obama's proposal of financial crimes unit. Congress really hearts the banks.

9:55 Obama: "Do we want to keep these tax cuts." Republicans will fight tooth and nail to keep the Bush tax cuts.

9:59 Ginger Lee makes fun of the likely Republican response.

13.9% is fair, Barry. Stop trying to take money away from people that didn't work hard for it!

10:01 Obama gets booed for wanting to ban insider trading in Congress. Hysterical.

10:05 Obama talks about the Arab Spring and Libya regine change. Republicans are going to have problems attacking him on foreign policy.

10:09 Jill Filipovic's reaction to inexclusive Obama surprised me

"Christians, Muslims and Jews." Um... crap.

It comes off as pandering but the SOTU is all about pandering.

10:12 Standing ovation for the "people in uniform."

10:13 Obama proposes a Veterans jobs corp to employ military vets.

Please no.... Obama making his pitching for bipartisanship. Give it up.

State of the Union over.

Peter Schorsch is wrong about this being Obama's worst SOTU speech. It was a good speech. Most over all it was a great campaign speech. Obama is staking a clear contrast between himself and the GOP candidates. With the exception of the end, Obama didn't try to triangulate. Obama has learn that the Dick Morris strategy doesn't work.

John Boehner looks extremely uncomfortable as Obama proposes legislation on lobbying and members of Congress owning stocks in companies they regulate.

10:30 Mitch Daniels starts the SOTU response by saying nice thing about Obama. Daniels admits that Obama didn't start the economic crisis. Smart move politically.

10:31 Daniels compares America's economy to the European Euro crisis. The Daniels answer is less regulation.

10:33 People are rightly pointing out that Daniels had horrible policies as President Bush's budget director. Daniels can hardly brag about his fiscal conservatism by preceding over record deficits.

10:37 Daniels talks about bipartisanship and then attacks Obama. A true bipartisan statesman.

10:38 Mitch Daniels sound like a David Brooks op-ed.

10:39 Daniels is talking about cutting entitlements. The Republicans want to run against Obama on cutting Social Security and Medicare. This is what happens when a party goes to the extreme right. They think the American peoplke are the tea party.

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Marco Rubio Hearts Mitt Romney

I wonder how tea party members are going to justify Marco Rubio backing Mitt Romney.

Said Rubio: "Mitt Romney is no Charlie Crist. Romney is a conservative. and he was one of the first national Republican leaders to endorse me. He came to Florida, campaigned hard for me, and made a real difference in my race."

Rubio is well aware that Romney was once pro-choice and backed gay rights.

Rubio's endorsement says more about Rubio than Romney's conservative credentials. Rubio is an establishment Republican. Rubio attended tea party rallies to get elected. In the Senate, Rubio called the Senate Tea Party Caucus a "little club." Rubio knows Senate Republicans will become a smaller club if Gingrich is on top of the ticket. Conservative values take a back seat to winning.

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4 Health Care Stories to Watch for in 2012

This is a guest post by Darden Rice, Communications Director of Know Your Care/Protect Your Care. KYC and PYC are sister 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations. Pushing Rope is not affiliated with KYC or PYC. This blog does want to hear progressives voices talk about policy.

Below is Rice's article. Hit the + button of the Scribd document to make the text bigger.

4 Health Care Stories (3) 1

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Scott Walker Tribute Song

Stand With Governor Walker by Glen Shulfer is a gloriously cheesy and over-the-top song. A sample of the lyrical brilliance the song provides.

When we faced an uphill climb, with a future not too bright,
there was one man for the time, who was promising to fight.
He would stand up for "us all" when he tamed the status quo.
Now he's standing 10-feet tall from Ashland to Monroe.

Those "us all" that Walker supposedly stands for doesn't include the people so upset that they ended up protesting at the capital.

These lyrics make no sense.

He took on the deficit, and asked the union folks to pay
just a teeny-tiny bit, to make it fair in every way.
A balanced budget, he can claim without taxing you and me.
And in the end it wasn't shame, but a total victory.

Walker is facing a recall election. I would hardly call that "total victory."

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USF GOP Debate Live Blogging

My understanding is the Marshall Center at USF is shut down for the Republican debate.

Drink every time a candidate mentions Ronald Reagan's name.

The Ron Paul supporters are out in force by the Marshall Center.

Video of the scene outside the Marshall Center. The media is on the second floor in the ballroom.

State of Sunshine blogger Jim Johnson said he estimates there are about 200 Ron Paul supporters.

The Tampa Bay Times has a photo gallery of the protest outside the Marshall Center. Occupy Tampa is present.

The USF Oracle has a photo of the Occupy Tampa protesters at USF.

Jim Johnson will be live blogging the debate.

My understanding is that Peter Schorsch will be live blogging. Check his blog at 9:00 PM.

Tas just sent me this awesome tweet.

There's another fucking debate tonight? I thought it was on Thursday.

It feels like there have been debates since the day after Obama's inauguration. What makes matters worse is these debates have been substance-free.

9:00 Brian Williams introduction and sweeping music.

9:02 Gingrich brings up Herbert Hoover to make the case he is electable. Good God.

9:05 Romney hits Gingrich twice on him "resigning in disgrace."

Romney declaring his love for the Paul Ryan plan is a great general election sound bite for Democrats.

Romney hits Gingrich for working on Freddie Mac. Romney is coming out swinging because he is in trouble.

9:10 Newt defending himself on House ethics reprimand. Newt attacking Romney on false facts. What part of ethics reprimand and fine does Newt not understand. Newt won't fess up to anything.

9:13 Man is Rick Santorum boring.

9:17 Is Gingrich and Paul having an onstage bromance?

Jim Johnson picks up on the bromance vibe.

Ron Paul praises Gingrich, and might support Newt. Gingrich returns some of the favor.

Ginger Lee thinks Newt brushed off Paul.

'Rick Perry said I'm cool, fuck the other dude from TX'-What Newt really meant.

9:22 Newt wants a 15 percent flat tax and zero capital gains tax. Next Newt will say he will balance the budget.

9:24 Short answer: Mitt lifted himself up by his designer boot straps.

Peter Schorsch sums up Santorum's electability. Remember, Santorum lost his Senate race.

“I lost by 18 points but it was only because I was a terrible candidate.”

9:27 Shorter Gingrich: "I didn't lobby. I told Freddie Mac how to lobby."

9:28 Romney hits Gingrich on the infamous "historian" defense. That was the best b.s. answer during the debates.

Jim Johnson thinks that Romney needs to stop the Freddie Mac attack. Romney has no choice. He is in trouble.

9:33 Isn't Brian Williams suppose to be moderating? Romney and Gingrich have been arguing forever.

9:37 Santorum blaming the entire foreclosure crisis on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie and Freddie were part of the problem. Santorum won't name the major banks that sold the majority of the mortgages.

9:41: BHAH! HA! HA! HA! HA! Romney said Pam Bondi is cracking down on illegal foreclosures. Wrong.

Ginger Lee pointed out the stupidity of the debate.

Holy hell, we're arguing about Castro going to heaven or hell?

Candidates can't be accused of getting bogged down in wonkery.

9:50 Gingrich is attacking Obama on foreign policy. Obama backed Libya bombing and killed Osama bin Laden.

9:52 Romney wants to keep troops in Afghanistan longer. Afghanistan is a losing proposition.

Commercial break: Do Romney and Gingrich truly believe sending more troops to war and accusing Obama of being weak on national security will win in the general election? It won't.

9:58 Adam and Beth Reinhard in the House to help Williams give candidates non-questions.

9:59 Santorum is making same argument on Iran that Bush administration did with Iraq.

10:02 Shorter Rick Santorum: Offshore oil drilling helps tourism. Nothing prettier than seeing an oil rig off the beach.

10:04 The bashing the Spanish language should continue to repel Hispanics from Republicans.

10:06 Gingrich supports citizenship for military service.

10:07 Romney proposes that immigrants would turn themselves for self-deportation. This took 30 seconds for Romney's staffers to think up.

I agree with Ezra Klein on this.

I bet watching Newt Gingrich run for president makes Bill Clinton want to run for president sooooo bad

Commercial break saves America from the boredom. None of these candidates have anything resembling charisma.

Reactions to Mitt's "self-deportation" immigration policy. People are wondering what the hell is Romney talking about.

Jim Johnson

Adam Smith continues on immigration. Romney says the best plan is self-deportation… what?

Ginger Lee

Is 'self deportation' just a fancy word for leaving? Because it sounds like it.

10:18 Gingrich saying that Terri Schiavo cased wasn't reviewed by the courts. It went up to the federal courts. The Supreme Court rejected hearing the Schiavo case.

Gary Fineout points out that Gingrich won't let facts get in the way.

Newt Gingrich says there should have been a judicial review of Schiavo decision. Well, there was.

10:23 Romney harps so much on "the Space Coast" that it is obvious he was coached for his debate prep. Problem is that Romney makes it obvious.

10:25 Sorry Newt, but most economist don't agree that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy.

10:30 Brian Williams asked what Romney did to further conservatism. Romney says he raised a family and worked in business. Tons of people have done that who aren't conservative or political.

10:33 Shorter Newt: I got Ronald Reagan elected and won Congress. So modest.

10:34 Rick Santorum disses Obama on cap and trade. Cap and trade was the idea of Congressional Republicans.

10:36 The question to Paul should be how he furthered the libertarian movement.

1037 Romney lying about never saying that Romneycare should not go national. Romney said his health care program should go national.

Side note: Pam Bondi's name mentioned several times. Rick Scott's name not mentioned once.

Side note: The Newt Gingrich campaign press release on Mitt Romney's conservative accomplishments is hysterical.

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Jim 'Bathroom Sex' Naugle Endorses Santorum

Former Fort Lauderdale Jim Naugle went on one man crusade against gay bathroom sex. Naugle become so bizarre that the Fort Lauderdale City Commision distance themselves from him. It should be no surprise that Naugle has endorsed Rick Santorum.

Registered Democrat Naugle isn't going to pull votes from the Left. Florida's Republican primary is closed to Democrats.

Here is Naugle at the Santorum rally. Notice that Naugle sounds nothing like a Democrat.

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Rick Santorum Wrong on Recess Appointments

Let's ignore the lady telling Sen. Rick Santorum that President Barack Obama is a Muslim and not a citizen. If tea partiers want to keep ranting birther conspiracy theories they will just repulse ordinary Americans. What I do want to touch upon is Rick Santorum's claims that the recess appointments made by Obama were unconstitutional.

“He uniformly ignores the Constitution,” Santorum said, not correcting the woman on Obama’s religion. “He did this with these appointments over the, quote, recess that was not a recess, and if I was in the United States Senate, I would be drawing the line.”

The Senate took a 20 day recess. Pete Yost of the Huffington Post points that out that "five presidents have made recess appointments during recesses of 14 days or less." President Obama also has legal precedent on his side. United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decision on Evans v. Stephens

The court next found that the Senate break during which the President appointed Judge Pryor constituted a “recess” within the Recess Appointments Clause. The court stated the arguments that Judge Pryor was not appointed during a constitutional recess “are not so strong as to persuade us that the President’s interpretation is incorrect. . . . given the words of the Constitution and the history, we are unpersuaded by the argument that the recess appointment power may only be used in an intersession recess, but not an intrasession recess.”

Short answer, if the Senate isn't in session for 14 days then the president has the power to make a recession appointment. Congress cannot say they are not in recess when in actuality they are in recess.

Santorum will say that he is a strict constitutionalist. There is nothing in Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution that states how long the Senate must be on recess to make a recess appointment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Santorum doesn't know what he is talking about. The sad thing is that he is an attorney.

Side note: Santorum's legal claim to fame was defending the World Wrestling Federation against steroid regulations. Now that is a true less government conservative.

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Quote of the Day

"Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we'll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we'll want to let him go after one."

Dr. Keith Ablow, on Gingrich's marital history.

Ablow is a frequent Fox News pundit. Ablow is best known for authoring the book "The 7:Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life" with Glenn Beck. What wasn't known to now is Ablow's huge man crush on Gingrich. You can buy a copy of this literary masterpiece on for $1.97.

Ablow's column reads like an op-ed from The Onion. That is what haapens when a news organization is writing propaganda for a political party. If Ablow framed his argument that Gingrich's personal life should be viewed seperate from his private life, that would be a valid argument to make. Instead, Ablow claims Gingrich's infidility makes him more qualified to be president. I would never make that argument in Bill Clinton's defense because it would be assinine.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Jerusalem - 66

This cover was recorded for an Afghan Whigs tribute album. Jeff Klein, the lead singer of My Jerusalem, has played in Dulli's band the Twilight Singers.

66 is the greatest pop song Dulli has ever written. Klein's cover is actually better than the Afghan Whigs version. This is coming from someone who is a huge Afghan Whigs fan.

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Rick Santorum Launches CUM

Rick Santorum already has a Google problem. Santorum should have kept that in mind before launching a fundraising drive with the initials CUM.

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Quote of the Day

“I want to beat Barack Obama. I don’t want to give the Democrats a nice little present of having multiple releases.”

Only a horrible candidate like Mitt Romney would be stupid enough to admit that he has damaging information in in tax returns on national television.

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Gingrich's Xenophobia and End Times Prognostications

If you think that title is a reach, look at the trailer for a film produced by the new front runner for the GOP nomination: "America at Risk: The War With No Name".

This almost makes me want to scream "Vote for Mitt!" There's no telling how Newt will use the military if he becomes president -- and I certainly don't trust anyone who implies (at the end of this trailer) that we're in the "end times" with the keys to the world's largest trove of nuclear weapons.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wingnut of the Day: Judge Michael Malihi

Via Gottalaff: Georgia Duputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi has ordered President Barack Obama to appear in court. Malihi wants the president present at a hearing. At issue is the citizenship of Barack Obama. A complaint has been filed to take the president off the Georgia ballot.

Courts have repeatedly struck down the birther claims. Maihi has plenty of legal ruling to use. President Obama even held a press conference to show his long form birth certificate. I could go on and on about how this is utter nonsense

I guarantee that Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin won't write posts about Malihi being an activist judge. That is because Reynolds and Malkin see the world with partisan blinders.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Great Sports Swindle Redux

It is rare when I actually agree with Florida Sen. Mike Bennett. This may be the only time ever. Bennett and Florida House Rep. Frank Artiles are attempting to get professional sports stadiums that have received state tax revenue to return money. The reason is to sports facilities were suppose to be used for the homeless, on nights when there wasn't an event.

These organizations have failed to follow the law for over 20 years," said Artiles, in a statement. "This is simply the State of Florida holding them accountable."

Sunlife Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins) has received $37 million. American Airlines Arena (home of the Miami Heat) has received $27.5 million. Both venues are citing as violating the law. I am positive that the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not used their facilities to house the homeless.

The law is stupid for countless reasons. I have written repeatedly on this blog on the needs of the homeless. That said, why did lawmakers believe that using private businesses to house the homeless would be a good idea. These venues are built for sports and concerts. Furthermore, it was stupid to believe tax incentives would convince sports teams to house the homeless. These teams would just take the money and ignore the law. Which is exactly what they did.

I have written repeatedly on economic studies that find that sports venues have either zero or negative economic impact to their communities. Corporate welfare to sports teams are just a drain on tax revenue. The state legislator could have built several homeless shelters with the money they gave to pro teams.

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Why SB 2036 Isn't Fiscally Conservative

Senate Bill 2036 would rewrite state law so no data would be collected to see if private prisons save the state of Florida money.

An act relating to the outsourcing or privatization of agency functions; amending s. F.S. 216.023, F.S.; providing that certain information relating to the outsourcing or privatization of an agency function that is expressly required by law is not required to be included in the agency's legislative budget request until after the contract for such functions is executed; amending s. 287.057, F.S.; providing that procurements for outsourcing or privatizing agency functions that are expressly required by law are exempt from the requirement that they are evaluated for cost-effectiveness, and efficiency; amending s. 944.105, F.S.; providing that certain requirements that apply to the Department of Corrections' contract do not apply to contracts for outsourcing or privatizating the operation or maintenance of correctional facilities which are expressly required by law; providing an effective date.

If the bill becomes law, the state would not be allowed to evalulate the performance of private prison contractors. Contractors could not be legally mandated to provide reports detailing prision health or safety issues.

Another issue that proves that that Republicans are not fiscally conservative. The state would have no idea if they are saving money under private prisons. Which is exactly why Senate President Mike Haridopolos is trying to fast track this bill. Haridopolos and other Republicans know for-profit prisons will cost the state more. The rush is because private prison companies have given $400,000 to Florida Republicans during the last election cycle.

Last session, Dr. Michael Hallett sent a letter to Sen. Mike Fasano warning him about giving private prisons too much power.

"It renders the state subject to captivity once the contract is awarded, by giving one corporation so much power and control over such a significant segment of the state budget," he said. "You can't turn this around on a moments notice."

Fasano is the chairman of the Criminal and Civil Appropiations subcommittee. All legislation on the state suppose to go through Fasano's subcommittee. Haridopolos decided to have SB 2036 go through the rules committee. The bill is so bad that no senator will take credit for being its author.

Haridopolos and other Republicans create red tape that makes it hard to collect unemployment or children to be enrolled in Kidcare. They do this under the claim that they are fiscal conservatives. Yet, these same Republicans are writing legislation intended to forbid them from finding out if there are cost overruns with private prisons. When a politician says he or she is a fiscal conservative, what that poll really means is he or she corporatist who doesn't give a shit about the taxpayers' money.

Update: Via Twitter: Sen Paula Dockery informed me that the sponsers of SB 2036 are John Thrasher, Don Gaetz, and J.D. Alexander.

The Gainesville Sun has come out strongly against SB 2036.

Senate Bill 2036 is an invitation to corruption. If lawmakers are arrogant enough to pass it, Rick Scott should veto it It stinks.

Scott is leading to push to privatize prisons. Scott has no intention of vetoing SB 2036.

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Write A Caption: Justin Bieber

This picture is priceless. Thank you internet.

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Stephen Colbert on Morning Joe

Stephen Colbert appeared on Morning Joe. Colbert defended Newt Gingrich by saying Gingrich was enough of a Southern gentleman to ask his second wife if he could "bang" someone else.

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President Obama Sings

I have stated repeatedly on this blog my problems with President Barack Obama's neoliberal policies. However, I have never doubted Obama's skills as a retail politician. Obama sings a snippet of Al Green's Let's Stay Together, and well. No Republican politician running for president has the charisma to pull this off.

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Friday Wolf Blogging

It is rare for a wolf in captivity to be this docile. The video should give you an idea of how big wolves are. Wolves are dogs on steroids.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts on SOPA Protest

I am quoted by Eric Deggans in his article on the SOPA protest yesterday.

"The blackout scared (legislators)," said Michael Hussey, editor of the Tampa Bay area political blog Pushing Rope, who paticipated in the protest. "It worked."

Marco Rubio didn't suddenly become a champion of the internet. Congress was flooded with angry emails and phone calls. Online web sites Google, Wikipedia and Facebook made people aware of the overreach of SOPA, and the Senate bill PIPA. Rubio and other Republicans weren't worried that web sites could be shut down for only providing a link to a web site that provided a link to pirated material. (Guilty by link assiociation.) Congress was worried about angry constiuents with pitchforks.

The internet is a powerful form of communication that the members of Congress have no understanding of. Billions of Americans use Google every day. The search engine reaches more people then a Republican talking to Rush Limbaugh on AM radio.

SOPA would require Facebook and Twitter to delete every questionable link that may lead to pirated material. Someone can just say that Twitter and Facebook lead to pirated material. No burden of proof is needed. It is literally impossible to go through the internet and delete every link. I have a hard enough time monitoring spam comments left on this blog. This just goes to show how clueless Congress is.

Rupert Murdoch hysterically attacked internet companies for lobbying Congress against SOPA and PIPA. Murdoch has given massive amounts of money to Republicans. Murdoch's hypocrisy is not surprising. If you don't think that Murdoch would not use SOPA to crush his internet competitors then you are in denial. Mudoch was just forced to pay 37 people for his company News of World hacking private phones. Murdoch uses technology in the most Orwellian of ways.

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Joel Award: Rush Limbaugh

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

Rush Limbaugh apparently has become a supporter of sexually open marriages.

LIMBAUGH: I got a great note from a friend of mine. "So Newt wanted an open marriage. BFD. At least he asked his wife for permission instead of cheating on her. That's the mark of character, in my book. Newt's the victim. We all are. Ours is the horniest generation."

Actually, Newt Gingrich did cheat on his previous wife. Gingrich ended end marrying his mistress Callista. That hardly qualifies Newt as a victim.

Rush is paid to be a Reopublican spokesman. In the past Limbaugh has publicly trashed feminists and gays. Limbaugh made his career out of mocking Bill Clinton's sexual affairs. However, if it is a Republican, Limbaugh suddenly becomes a fan of the swinger lifestyle. Limbaugh earns himself a Joel Award for this hysterical piece of hypocrisy.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Litbrit and Jim Johnson have blacked out their blogs in protest of SOPA. The English edition of Wikipedia is taking part in the black out. Johnson talked about the black out with Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times.

All five people who hit my website in a day probably won't be disappointed enough to call their Congressman," admitted Johnson, a software consultant for a Tampa firm. "But Wikipedia has enough clout that they can get everyone involved."

SOPA and PIPA is an government overreach of the internet supported by people like Ruport Murdoch. Media moguls such as Murdoch would benefit from the government. An internet provider could decide to take any web site off its search engine under the claim that site is hosting pirated content. No proof is needed on the part of Google. Fortunately, Google is against the current forms of the SOPA and PIPA bills.

The legislation is unenforcibly. I cannot image Twitter and Facebook going through millions of updates looking for pirated content to delete. It is not possible. This is legislation created by members of Congress who have no understanding of just how vast and complex the internet is.

The protest is working: Sen. Marco Rubio has pulled his support of PIPA.

I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the internet.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) have dropped their support for SOPA.

When the going gets tough politicians fold. Rubio, Terry and Quayle have not suddenly become fans of free speech. They are scared of voter backlash against the bills. Politicians want campaign donations from movie and music corporations. Campaign dollars don't mean a thing if they cannot get re-elected.

Side note: Rubio, Terry and Quayle are suppose to be less government conservatives. Internet piracy is already illegal. How is it conservative to make unenforcable laws that could have a financially negative impact on Google, Pay Pal and MSN conservative? The answer is it isn't. The wise thing to do is hire more federal government employees to enforce the anti-piracy laws that are already in place.

Update: There was a SOPA protest outside the offices of Sen. Charles Schumer or Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Andrew Rasiej, chairman of the New York Tech Meetup, told the New York Daily News that not only would SOPA and PIPA open the door to censorship of the Internet, but the laws would also have negative effects on the ability of the U.S. to remain a leader in the global tech industry.

"Because a new innovation by a start-up could be interpreted by a judge unfamiliar with how the technology works as infringing on copyright, investors and entrepreneurs would be discouraged from moving forward with a start-up due to a significantly increased risk of legal entanglement," Rasiej told the New York Daily News. "This in turn would dampen job creation and future opportunities for New Yorkers and Americans as a whole."

Schumer and Gillibrand are the co-sponsors of PIPA.

The Young Turks on Ruport Murdoch's support of SOPA.

Update: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted why he is against SOPA and PIPA.

The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet's development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet. The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet. You can read more about our views here:

There are some people angry that Zuckerberg didn't shut down Facebook for the day like Wikipedia. However, that is an inside the internet story.

Update: Matt Yglesias tweeted this.

Obama campaign just sent out an anti-SOPA fundraising email. #bandwagoning

President Obama wouldn't send out that email unless it was safe to oppose SOPA. It's official. People hate SOPA and PIPA. Politicians are running away from this legislation.

Update: Elizabeth Warren released a statement pertaining to SOPA and PIPA.

Illegal piracy should be punished, but I have serious concerns with SOPA and PIPA. We need to deal with piracy without chilling the innovation, diversity, and free exchange of ideas that define the Internet and have shaped our increasingly interconnected world.

Update: Daily Kos has a SOPA petition you can send to your Senator.

Update: President Barack Obama has come out against SOPA.

On Saturday, the White House announced that the Obama administration will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.

As Congress works to address the very real issue of online piracy, we must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity—and we must not inhibit innovation by businesses large and small.

Online piracy hurts our economy, threatens middle-class jobs, and undermines the work of some of our most creative companies and entrepreneurs. The President has called on all parties to work together to find solutions that address the problem of online piracy while remaining true to our values.

Update Video of State of Sunshine blogger Jom Johnson being interviewed on Action News.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mitt the Ripper Ad

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have had great fun pointing out the legal loopholes set up for Super PACs. Colbert's Super PAC released an attack parody that compared Mitt Romney to a serial killer. The attacks in ads are often over the top. Colbert and Stewart. What is funny about this ad is it would not be surprising if a Republican opponent of Romney's did compare him to Jack the Ripper. I'm surprised that Newt Gingrich hasn't thought of it first.

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Rick Scott To Endorse?

Republican presidential candidates beware. Gov. Rick Scott may endorse one of you.

“If I’m going to endorse, clearly I’m going to do so in the next week or so,” he said.

I would so love to see Mitt Romney doing a photo-op with Scott. The Obama campaign would use that photo-op against Romney in a attack ad.


Comic Strip of the Day

Comic strip by Bruce Plante.

Check out the Facebook page Dogs Against Romney.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Romney Runs From Man In Wheelchair

Mitt Romney is asked by a sick man in a wheelchair, if Romney as president would have patients and doctors arrested for using and prescribing medical marijuana.

"I'm not in favor of medical marijuana," Romney states and quickly rushes away.

Another man asked if Romney will finish answering the wheelchair-bound man's question. Romney said he did, as he tries to escape. Romney did not answer if he would arrest patients for using medical marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Republican Chris Christie had a more rationale approach. Christie allowed the state law allowing patients to be able to use medical marijuana to go forward.

“I have been struggling, as has my administration, to find a way to accomplish what I’ve wanted to accomplish, which is to provide compassionate treatment to people who are suffering in a way that wouldn’t expose them, the operators of our dispensaries or the employees of the state of New Jersey to criminal liability,” Christie said. “That is a lot easier said than done.”

In Christie's defense, New Jersey could face possible federal prosecution for letting doctors prescribe medical marijuana. Christie is correct in that terminally patients should not risk jail time for trying to provide relief from their pain. Romney couldn't even look a man in the eye and say he would prosecute him.

Side note: the video is proof of Romney's strongest liability. Romney has no empathy and cannot connect with people. Obama's ability to look a person in the eye and connect is one of his strongest assets as a politician. Barring an a scandal, Obama is going to slay Romney in the general election. Any conservative blogger who thinks that Romney is a better retail politician than Obama is either in denial or full of shit.

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Hunter Thompson's Letter to the Vancouver Sun

In October of 1958, Hunter Thompson wrote a letter to Jack Scott of the Vancouver Sun Thompson used his infamous honesty when asking Scott for a job as a reporter. Thompson informed Scott that his last employer would not provide a good reference.

I didn't make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he'd tell you that I'm "not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person." (That's a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Boing Boing has the entire letter. I highly recommend reading it.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

"On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that's a wonderful thing, candidly."

Rick Santorum

Let's put aside whether the assassination was necessary for Israel's and the United States' national security. That is the subject of another post. Santorum reminds people that he he "pro-life." However, Santorum says that an Iranian scientist being killed is a "wonderful thing." What Santorum is saying that he doesn't value the life of someone he opposes. That isn't the view of a Christian. Santorum isn't a Christian. He is a fanatic.

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Unintentionally Hysterical Sunshine State News Article

Peter Schorsch is on a roll, as far as write blog post headlines are concern. I am still laughing after reading this.

SSN’s Nancy Smith may have the Scoop of the Year: Bob Graham NOT running for Governor!

Schorsch is right to mock Nancy Smith's article.

Despite increasing speculation that Bob Graham is mapping out a run against Rick Scott in 2014, the former U.S. senator and two-term governor emphatically denied he has any further personal interest in the governor's office.

Where is this "increasing speculation" coming from? I haven't heard one person mention Graham's name as a candidate. The source for Smith's article in someone she met a a dinner table. I'm serious.

One political consultant's assistant, eating dinner at a table for eight, said to guests around her, "Bob Graham has been so visible lately. He's been up here (from Miami) more than once and he's always looking for the cameras. He's running, no question about it."

Never mind that Graham hasn't hired potential campaign staffers. Graham looked at a camera. That is all the proof needed that he is running.

Smith makes this sound mysterious.

Brannon Jordan, communications director for the Democratic Party of Florida, did not return phone or email requests to confirm or deny the possibility of a Bob Graham candidacy.

The Florida Democratic Party does not talk to the Sunshine State News. There is some bad blood there. But that is another story. What probably happened is Jordan had to put down the phone because he was laughing so hard.

I look forward to Smith writing an article on how the Florida Democratic Party is going to hire a necromancer to bring Lawton Chiles back from the dead, so he can run in 2014.

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Friday Cat Blogging

A bobcat grooming a domestic cat. I wonder how the two will get along when the bobcat gets bigger.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Newt's Attack Ad on Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich is willing to destroy his party's chances of winning re-election just to get payback for the attack ads Mitt Romney ran in Iowa. Gingrich's ad uses Romney's infamous Ted Kennedy debate quote of being against Ronald Reagan. The ad even shows Romney speaking French. Republicans have long had a strange fixation with being anti-French. The ad is devastating.

Barring a scandal, Romney is going to win the nomination because his opponents are too incompetent to win. The time to attack Romney's venture capitalist background and flip-flopping was several months before Iowa. Romney's opponents misread the 2012 election cycle and kept trying to please the dying tea party. Gingrich and Rick Perry are now making attacks against Romney that wouldn't sound out of place at an Occupy Wall Street rally. These guys didn't figure out that populism wins elections until after they lost Iowa and New Hampshire.

Romney is forced to reflexively double down on his one percent rhetoric. We have already being seeing examples of this. Romney cannot become Woody Guthrie because he has no understanding of what a life without priviledge feels like. Romney's idea of empathy was telling voters in Tampa that he is unemployed.

"I should tell you my story. I'm also unemployed."

Part of Romney's story is he is worth $200 million and isn't working because he is financially stable. Romney is a man who think it is a good idea to take a picture with his friend holding cash. There is also the image of Romney getting a shoe shine that is spreading across the internet. It is as if Romney is intentionally trying to make himself into the real life version of Gordon Gekko.

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Most Bogus Rick Scott Poll Ever

I looked at the Florida Chamber of Commerce poll showing Mitt Romney at 35 percent with some skepticism. I don't doubt that Romney leads with Florida Republican voters. I do doubt that Romney is polling at 35 percent. The numbers are similar to a Quinnipiac poll. The problem the Florida Chamber of Commerce uses the less than credible Republican polling firm Cherry Communications. You will not find a single Democratic politician or organization on Cherry Communications' list of clients. The fact the the Florida Chamber used this polling firm should tell you about where its loyalties lie.

I then saw Peter Schorsch run this headline.

Shocking! Florida Chamber says its poll shows Governor Scott’s job approval on the rise

The Florida Chamber and Cherry Communications are claiming that Go. Rick Scott has a 48.31% approval rating. I couldn't type that last sentence and keep a straight face. There is a greater chance of the Indianapolis Colts building their team around Curtis Painter than Scott polling near 50 percent.

The Florida Chamber puts out this poll to give Scott the appearance of popularity. The media runs the poll without actually fact-checking the numbers. Which is exactly what The Buzz did. The media needs to properly vet polls. If a polling service has been repeatedly unreliable than news organizations should not mention those polls. Instead, The Buzz treats the Chamber poll as if it is the gospel truth.

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Write A Caption: Mitt Romney

This is a screen shot from the Newt Gingrich PAC film When Mitt Romney Came to Town.

Hat tips to GottaLaff and Litbrit.

Update: A reader reminded me that the photo was of a TSA screening.

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FLA Legislature's No Shame on Lobbyists

The elected leadership in both parties in Florida don't even hide their incestuous relationship with lobbyists. They hold luncheons for lobbyists to hand them checks and then brag about it the the media.

"We thought this would be an easier way to get everybody together in one place," Saunders said. Asked why business lobbyists would donate to Democrats when they often are in disagreement and Democrats have little influence over legislation, Saunders said: "For one thing, we've been supportive on some of their issues. But the other thing is, committee votes are not always partisan. I think they'd like to have a voice. What I tell people is, 'Contributions don't get you a vote. They get you an open door and an open mind.' "

Lobbyists bearing gifts came and went throughout the lunch hour at the Doubletree.

"I guess you would call it access, the ability to come and educate you on the issues," said Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach. "They would do it whether they gave you money or not, but I think they feel that since they have a relationship with you, that it would be easier to get to you."

I can't believe that Gibbons actually said, "I guess you would call it access." It is access. That is the whole point of inviting lobbyists to hand you money. Does anyone believe Saunders statement on dollars not equaling votes?

The Republicans weren't going to be outdone. They held a pass-the-hat-to-the-lobbyist event at the Governor's Club. Beer distributors held a fundraiser for Republican Jeff Brandes. (Saint Petersblog editor Peter Schorsch has worked as a consultant for Brandes.) As a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Thrasher was publicly reprimanded for lobbying a state board for the Florida Board of Medicine on behave of the Florida Medical Association. Lobbyists know that dollars buy Thrasher's vote.

Thrasher has worked as lobbyist. Former state Sen. Ron Klein worked as a lobbyist while in the legislature. The web of lobbying is too tangled in the legislature. State laws need to forbid elected officials from working as lobbyists.

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Quote of the Day

"He's avoiding the handcuffs."

Reed Brody, attorney for the Human Rights Watch, on President George W. Bush cancelling his visit to Switzerland.

Bush was scheduled to speak to at a Jewish charity event. Criminal complaints about Bush's use of waterboarding were lodged in Geneva. Under the Geneva Conventions laws, waterboarding is considered torture. Bush has admitted in interviews and his book Decision Points that he approved the use of waterboarding on detainees.

Detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was tortured to death at Abu Ghraib. Jamadi was hung from his wrists for several hours and beaten. Jamadi's death was ruled a homicide by the U.S. military pathologist.

There is a documented of a Navy dog phyically attacking a detainee in Abu Ghraib on Dec. 12, 2003. The dog bit the detainee.

There has been no proof provided by conservatives that torture provided intelligence. Defense Sec. Leon Panetta informed Sen. John McCain that none of the intelligence used to find Osama bin Laden came from torture.

From a short period of time President Bush has went from the most power man on the planet to a fugitive from international law. Amazing.

Update: Litbrit pointed out to me that the story is from February of 2011.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jim Johnson on Mitt Romney

My favorite Republican Jim Johnson has returned to blogging. Johnson wrote a post on how the pundits are wrong about Romney's victory in Iowa.

The pundits are theorizing this is bad for Romney. Romney has been polling at 25% for a really long time. And he received 25% of the vote Tuesday night. "No traction" is what a lot of people are saying. The GOP is still searching for the "Anti-Romney."


He held serve.

I will go a step further than Jim.

Romney had no business winning Iowa. The voting in Iowa is propelled by grassroots activists. In 2008, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won. The establishment candidates were Hillary Clinton and John Mccain. Clinton and McCain went on to win New Hampshire. Romney had such low expectations for Iowa that he didn't even attend the Iowa Straw Poll. The Iowa is made for a candidate like Rick Perry. That fact that Romney won is a testiment to incompetence of the other Republican candidates. Rick Santorum only did well because he was the last candidate that the tea party flirted with before the primary.

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Karen O, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - Immigrant Song

The spectacular opening sequence to the movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I actually like the cover version by Karen O and Trent Reznor better than the original Led Zeppelin version.

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Sexual Harassment Charges Against Alcee Hastings

Alcee Hastings has long been a magnet for controversy. As a federal judge, Hastings was convicted by the U.S. Senate in relations to a bribery scandal. Amazingly, the Senate did not forbid Hastings from running for public office. This shows how much members of the Senate respect the integrity of public office.

Roll Call reports that Hastings with House committee staffers. Never a good idea. Hastings told the Office of Congressional Ethics this nugget.

Hastings also allowed that he had wondered aloud during bar-time chitchat how members - especially females - can wear the same underwear for an entire day on the Hill but added he did specifically comment to Packer.

Who the hell say things like that out loud around co-workers?

I usually stay away from sex-related scandals. The reason I am blogging about this is because Winsome Packer has filed a discrimination against Hastings, and Helsinki Commission staff director Fred Turner. The OCE released a report stating the Winsome claims that Hastings and Turner engaged in "unwelcome sexual advances, sexual comments, and unwelcome touching." Judgement should be reserved to all the facts are gathered. However, the allegations should be treated seriously.

The OCE found that some of Winsome's claims have been corroborated by evidence. The OCE has found enough evidence to continue investigating. This is quite different than the write up given by Roll Call.

Turner is listed in the repiort as a non-cooperating witness. Turner has refused to hand over his laptop. Marlene Kaufman turned in her laptop with the hard drive erased. Hastings is listed as a cooperating witness.

According to the report, Hastings took Packer to a business dinner to discuss the commision position on Nienna. Hastings told Packer that when she moved to Vienna he could come visit her at her apartment. Hastings later called Packer at her Virginia home and asked if he could come over. Hastings continued to press Packer about staying with her in Vienna.

Packer told Turner that she was not in a relationship with Hastings. Apparently, this took Turner by surprise. Turner told Packer that he would talk to Hastings.

Packer told an FBI agent that Hastings would use group settings as an opportunity to hug her. Packer also told the FBI agent that Hastings called her from a hotel lobby and told her he was waiting for her.

Hastings asked Packer about her underwear. Hasting told the OCE he often makes comments wondering how staffers can stay in the same underwear for 16 hours. In what work setting is this comment proper?

Packer again complained to Turner about the behavior of Hastings. It appears Turner did not have that talk with the Congressman.

The OCE report has emails and notes written by Packer. This could sink Hastings career

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Disgust of the Day

Politifact fact-checked Gov. Rick Scott on how many donuts were sold during his fake work day at Nicola's Donuts. Scott said during his State of the State speech that 240 dozen donuts were sold by 8:30 AM.

Waatti and workers told Politifact Florida the number was definitely above the 65 dozen they originally baked for the shop and was probably around 80 dozen. That's probably at least 240,000 calories at breakfast, but it's not the "more than 240 dozen" bragged to legislators about.

Politifact has the audacity to rate Republicans wanting to end Medicare the Lie of the Year. Politifact seriously damaged their credibility as a fact-checking news service. Fact-checking Scott's donut sales doesn't build confidence that Politifact is going to provide muckraking reporting and take its responsiblity as a member of the Fourth Estate seriously. The bigger question is why should we take Politifact seriously.

Update: Benjamin Kirby takes exception to Politifact rating Scott's donut claim mostly false. For the life of me I can't figure out how Politifact came to that conclusion. Scott did not talk about the calories of the donuts during his State of the State speech. Politifact doesn't provide a quote or link to a Scott quote on the total calories of all the donuts sold. The fact-checker rated Scott's claim on calories true. The bigger question is why is Politifact wasting time checking the amount of calories in donuts.

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