Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Occupy Tampa Protest at Outback Steakhouse

Occupy Tampa is getting extremely organized. They recently staged a protest at WalMart. Occupy Tampa protested against Outback Steakhouse's support of SB 2106.

The Republican leadership words the language in a way that doesn't reveal that food servers would have their wages reduced from $4.65 an hour to $2.13. Republicans in the Florida legislature has no problem reducing taxes for corporations. If you are a waiter or waitress trying to survive in a bad economy then you are screwed.

The legislation guarantees that servers will receive $9.98 an hour if they have a bad shift with tips. If you honestly expect restaurant owners to comply with the law in a right to work state than you have a disconnect with reality. It is easier for employers to use threats of termination. Servers will have no one state agency to file complaints.

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Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down

A great piece of dreamy pop. The Dum Dum Girls is the moniker Kirstin Gundred records and performs under. Many of her recording are low-fi recordings made in her home.

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Dumbass Burns Down Tree 'Older Than Jesus'

Seminole County, Florida. Sarah Barnes, 26-year-old burned down a 3,500 year-old cypress tree. Barnes and a friend were smoking methamphetamine inside the tree and started the fire. It wasn't hard for law enforcement to catch Barnes. She recorded the fire on her cell phone and told friends, "I can't believe I burned down a tree older then Jesus." Neither can I.

WFTV has a video story. The tree was the fifth oldest tree in the world. Barnes lit the fire because she wanted light.

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Occupy Tampa Protest at WalMart

Occupy Tampa staged a protest at an area WalMart. The protesters chanted, "Fair Labor, Worker's Right." WalMart has fought against the attempts of their employees to unionize.

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Write A Caption: Mitt Romney & Kid Rock

Mitt Romney endorses Kid Rock. If you are not familiar with Kid Rock, he is a singer/rapper who made an X rated sex tape, sucker-punched Tommy Lee, and had his bodyguard beat up a guy at a Waffle House. This endorsement is hysterical.

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Fox News: Still Reciting GOP Talking Points

Fox News was caught running a Senate Republican Communications Center press release verbatim. Fox News does no actual reporting. That would require hiring actual journalists and firing partisans whom regurgitate Republican talking points. Roger Ailes has no interest in running an actual news organization. Fox News has been caught so many times reading Republican talking points that Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy read a RNC memo for pundits to the audience with no shame. Jon Stewart takes Doocy to task.

Remember this the next time a Fox News host complains about how liberal and unbalanced the media is.

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Thought of the Day

Evan Bayh and Mitch Daniels are participating in a No Labels Town Hall teleconference. Is being a corporatist hack a requirement for being a member of the No Labels party?

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USF Student Sit-In Tomorrow

The Students for a Democratic Society will stage a sit-in on March 1. Students will meet at 12:00PM at Cooper Hall. The SDS is asking you to leave your classes at noon. I am not willing to go that far.

The SDS is protesting the 8 percent tuition hike appoved by the Florida House. The SDS and USF students have reason to be angry after JD Alexander tried to pass Draconian cuts. The Florida legislature has done little to properly fund K-12 and state university education. On the other hand, Florida tuition rates are still lower than many parts of the country.

I do encourage students to become politically engaged and discuss ways to make education better in Florida.

Update: There will be protests on state campuses across Florida. The part I like best is students will protest outside of Mike Haridopolos' office.

Students from the University of Florida will rally outside Senate President Mike Haridopolos's office on the UF campus, where he teaches a political science course. Florida State University and Florida A&M University students will march from their Tallahassee campuses to the Capitol. University of South Florida students will stage a walkout from classes then walk across campuses. Florida Atlantic University students and teachers will hold a joint teach-in. University of West Florida students will gather on the campuses' main lawn, and at the University of Central Florida, students will construct a "Wall of Debt" out of bricks representing individual students' loan burdens.

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Quote of the Day

"I talked to orange trees, I didn't talk to people so much."

Florida Senate Budget Committee chairman J.D. Alexander, in his farewell address.

This is a window into Alexander's lack of people skills.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Who - Trick Of The Light

One of the darkest songs by the Who. The song his about a man who has an unrealistic idea about his relationship with a prostitute. The character spouts cliches to the woman and believes the prostitute is actually his girlfriend.

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Mark Wilson Has Been Busy

The Florida legislature is passing $124 million in tax cuts. The cuts will go to benefit corporations. The cuts will go to benefit corporations.

(Gov. Rick) Scott is pushing a key element in the package that would increase the corporate tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000, excluding 3,770 companies from the 5.5 percent tax and reducing state revenue by $29.4 million. The governor wants to phase out the corporate tax, which accounted for nearly $2 billion in state revenue last year.

Scott and other Republicans are billing this as a jobs bill. Florida has one of the lowest corporate tax rates at 5.5 percent. The result is the state has been running deficits shortfalls, which resulted in budget cuts. The corporate taxes have not produced jobs, as can be seen by the chart below.

Florida's unemployment is higher than the national average. There is no evidence that corporate tax cuts produce jobs. It is merely a talking point for Scott and fellow Republicans.

This legislation has Florida Chamber of Commerce president Mark Wilson. A man who represents everything that is wrong about Florida politics.

Wilson lobbied for the the Polk County Sunrail line. The only reason the project was approved because the line was near JD Alex Alexander's business Atlantic Blue. The property value of Atlantic Blue would increase greatly.

Alexander and Scott didn't approve the Sunrail line over high-speed rail over fiscal concerns. The high-speed line would cost $280 million and create 23,000 job. The Sunrail line will cost the state $901 million. State and Polk county would have to pay the cost for any Sunrail accidents caused by CSX. The deal is stupid beyond words.

Wilson's latest goal is gerrymandering the redistricting process. The most powerful man in Florida politics can't be bothered with subtlety. Wilson believes he is above the constitutionally-mandated fair districts law.

"Anybody who understands politics looks at a redistricting and says, 'This is a chance to reset the table,' Wilson said.

Many Floridians were illegally thrown out of their homes with forged foreclosure documents. Attorney General Pam Bondi has been accused by for employees of stonewalling an investigations of questionable foreclosures by banks. Florida's foreclosure courts do not review the documents, before forcing a homeowner to vacate his property. Apparently, the foreclosure process is too slow for Wilson.

"As our economy tries to recover, we recognize there is a lot of pain in the foreclosure process but the delay in the foreclosures is drawing out that pain throughout the entire economy."

Wilson can help you with your pain by making the chances that you become homeless greater. What a nice guy.

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Dumbass Threatens President Obama on Facebook

Miami resident Amador Serrapio Jr. threatened President Barck Obama on Facebook. Serrapio, to the shock of no one, lives with his mother. The Secret Service were granted permission by Serrapio and his mother to search the house. The Secret Service found the threatening Facebook postings. A pellet rifle and handgun was also found. The Secret Service also found the Ipad the Facebook messages were written on.

The first of Serrapio's Facebook postings was written under the alias "Jay Valor."

Who wants to help me assassinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?

"UM" is the University of Miami.

The second posting.

If anyones going to UM to see obama today, get ur phones out and record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don't wanna miss that! Youtube!

Apparently, it is Obama's fault that Serrapio still lives with mom and is barely literate. If you don't believe Serrapio is dumb then explain how did he think he could get away with threatening the president on the largest public forum in the world?

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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Clash - Police on Our Back

One of my favorite Clash songs. It is actually a cover of a Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Update: Here is the version by the Equals.

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Mitt Romney Once Supported Gay Adoption

In 2007, Mitt Romney supported same-sex couples adopting. This was before Romney pandered to the Christian Right ran for president.

Romney is now portraying himself as a culture warrior.

The values that Mitt Romney learned in his home have enriched his life immeasurably. With his parents’ example before him, he married, had five sons, and now basks in the joy of sixteen grandchildren.

Marriage is more than a personally rewarding social custom. It is also critical for the well-being of a civilization. That is why it is so important to preserve traditional marriage – the joining together of one man and one woman. As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act – a bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton – but he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Romney brags about being less government. A Romney campaign web site claims that the governor wanted to penalize the Department of Social Services for awarding a same-sex couple "parents of the year."

Some have criticized Romney for not taking action against the state Department of Social Services when they named a same-sex couple as "parents of the year" in 2006(32). However, after the court legalized gay marriage, the same anti-discrimination laws(30) which prevented Romney from protecting Catholic Charities also prevented Romney from penalizing the employees who were involved in determining the "parents of the year," or from ordering them to only consider opposite-sex candidates.

The once tolerant Romney is campaigning on xenophobia. Romney should be so proud of himself.

Hat tip to GottaLaff.

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Picture of the Day

Two gay Marines share a kiss. I sent this photo to Tampa anti-gay activist Terry Kemple. I hope Kemple enjoys it.

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Sheriff Arpaio Gets A Dose of Reality

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a sad excuse for a law enforcement officer. Arpaio went on Univision to talk about his bogus investigation into President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Arpaio sad he is investigation Obama's birth certificate because members of the tea party asked him to. That is a rather silly excuse. Just because someone comes to the sheriff with a conspiracy theory doesn't mean he should investigate it. However, if you are a racist and love being in front of the camera, like Arpaio, then that is another story.

Arpaio tells Univision host Jorge Ramos that the good sheriff is popular with the Hispanic community. Ramos challenges Arpaio on this claim. Ramos informs the sheriff that several poll show that the Hispanic community does not love Arpaio. Hilarity ensues.

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Jim Norman Admits to Violating the Law

Jim Norman protested about how he was innocent. Norman maintained that a $500,000 house paid for by Ralph Hughes of a business venture by Norman's wife Mearline.

NORMAN: "I'm not getting into my wife's investment portfolio. That's my wife's interests."

Mearline Norman hasn't worked in years and shares a joint bank account with Norman. Norman says he knew nothing about the $500,000 Arkansas home in his wife's name. That doesn't pass the laugh test. Apparently, the Florida Commission of Ethics felt the same way. Norman decided to take a plea deal.

TAMPA State Sen. Jim Norman has signed a consent order with the Florida Commission on Ethics admitting he violated the law when he did not disclose a $500,000 loan from a political supporter to his wife.

Norman, 58, of Tampa, signed the consent order Feb. 9, six days after the ethics commission found probable cause he had broken the law. He admitted to four counts, including not disclosing a gift, and not disclosing his interest in an Arkansas home and two boats.

The good news is Norman admits to breaking the law. The bad news is Norman is still a member of the Florida Senate. Florida is in desperate need for stiffer corruption laws. If we don't reform the system the result is more bought of politicians like Norman. If you aren't convinced that Hughes buying the Norman family a house isn't corruption than you are either a partisan or disengaged from reality.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

UAW Protest of Romney

Alex Leary reports that the United Auto Workers will protest Mitt Romney's appearance at the Daytona 500 tomorrow.

UAW will taunt Romney from the sky while he attends Daytona 500 on Sunday. Plane banner: "Mitt Romney: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

Romney may now lose his home state of Michigan for being against the auto bailouts. The Republican talking point that the auto bailout was bad will likely cost Republicans Michigan. An NBC/Marist poll has President Obama leading all Republican candidates by wide margins. Presidents Reagan and Bush I won Michigan. The current Republican Party is so far to the Right that they have no interest in appealing to working class voters.

The Obama campaign feels that the GOP candidates have handed them political gold. Team Obama is running this ad in Michigan.

I had my own skepticism about the auto bailout. I wanted to see auto jobs saved, but felt that the major American auto companies were too flawed to turn their businesses around. The Obama's administration's restructing of the industry got rid of dead weight, such as General Motor's CEO Richard Wagoner. The end result is that 1.45 million jobs were saved. That is 1.45 million good reasons for the UAW to protest Romney.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Cat Blogging

The once dominant tiger Charger is replaced as the Alpha male by a young tiger. Tigers are vicious animals but it is hard not to feel sorry for the old tiger.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bodeans - Pick Up the Pieces

Pick Up The Pieces by Bodeans on Grooveshark

I actually posted this song before. I was never a Bodeans fan. But I love the harmonies on this track.

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Lara Logan on Marie Colvin

Lara Logan talks about the late journalist Marie Colvin.

The mother of journalist Marie Colvin, who died in a rocket attack in Syria, said her daughter was on the verge of leaving the city because it was so dangerous.

Rosemarie Colvin described her daughter as passionate about her work, even when it got extremely hard.

The 55-year-old Sunday Times reporter died alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik, 28, in a rocket attack on the besieged city of Homs this morning.

Logan believes that Colvin may have been targeted by the Syrian government. Colvin was reporting that the Syrian government was killing civilians with impunity.

For those wondering: Colvin lost her eye covering a war in Sri Lanka.

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FLA Senate Vote on USF Polytechnic

A potential future fiscal and education disaster just happened because of the Florida Senate. The Senate voted 35 to 4 to make USF Polytechnic an independent school.

The Senate has approved Sen. JD Alexander's vision to immediately create the state's 12th university out of the University of South Florida's branch campus in Lakeland.

Alexander's plan short-cuts a plan already laid out by the Florida Board of Governors to allow USF Polytechnic to split off. The BOG voted in November to allow the campus to do that only after meeting certain benchmarks, including accreditation, increased enrollment and construction of several buildings on its new greenfield campus site in Lakeland.

I wonder if Alexander is going to ask if the school is named after him.

Polytechnic will lose its accreditation once it breaks off from USF. There is no guarantee that the new school will get its accreditation back... ever. The students at Polytechnic are against the split. The faculty is concerned about their future. No one would have proposed the split of Polytechnic from USF, if Alexander wasn't in the Senate. This is a horrible idea.

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City of Tampa May Soon Have Domestic Gay Rights

The Tampa City Council voted to have its legal department formulate a domestic partner registry ordinance. This doesn't mean domestic partnership marriages. What does mean is legal language will be crafted. Creative Loafing's Mitch Perry cites the Orlando domestic ordinance. The fact is the City of Tampa ordinance has not been written yet.

In Perry's defense, Council member Yolie Capin cited was inspired by the Orlando domestic ordinance.

The proposal was brought forth by Council member Yolie Capin, who told CL after the meeting that she had been thinking of bringing the issue up for awhile, but was inspired to do so after the city of Orlando passed an ordinance in December and enacted it last month.

The Tampa City Council still has to vote for the final ordinance.

Nadine Smith with Equality Florida says the city of Tampa is doing the right thing. "Domestic partnership policies provide a handful of vital protections that are critical for couples at the most vulnerable times in their life, " she wrote CL in an email. "In taking this step, Tampa will join communities across the state who recognize that people need the legal rights necessary to take care of their loved ones."

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Allen West's Energy Saving Hummer

Rep. Allen West is shocked that his Hummer costs $70.00 to fill-up.

He continued, “This ‘tax policy’ is an example as well as today’s speech on his ‘energy policy’ shall be. Here is the bottom line, last night it took 70 dollars to fill the tank of my 2008 H3 Hummer, what is it costing you? What does it cost the president to fill his gas tank?”

This is West's idea of protesting President Barack Obama's energy efficiency policies. Why would we want to look for cheaper and new sources of fuel when we can burn a hole in our pockets like West. I wonder if West bought his 2008 H3 Hummer for its 15.5 miles per gallon. It's hard to beat that deal.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Santorum or Mustaine Quiz

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine endorsed Rick Santorum. No one has been able to make sense of that endorsement. In tribute of the endorsement, Mother Jones is running the "Santorum or Satanic Heavy Metal Quiz." I only got 4 out of 10 right.

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Quote of the Day

"He is rigid and homophobic. He said, 'I want a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage,' and they said, 'Well, what about the people who are already married?' And he said, 'Well, they would be nullified.' I mean what is, what's human, what's kind about that? We're all human beings, we all know or love somebody who's gay or lesbian so what the hell is that about? To me it's startling and borders on disgust."

Alan Simpson, commenting on Rick Santorum.

This isn't the first time Simpson has voiced his disgust with Santorum.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mad Men Teaser

A brief Mad Men feature with Betty.

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Mitt Romney Loves Everything

Mitt Romney just cannot connect with people. Romney tells Michigan voters that he loves trees and cares. Romney awkwardly rambles on. I actually feel bad for Romney. It is obvious that public speaking is a painful experience for Romney.

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Stop Alex Sink

Danger, Will Robinson. Failed gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink tells the Tampa Bay Times that she is considering running against Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

"Of course, I've thought about it," Sink said. "Many, many people are encouraging me. Even strangers who I've never met before would like to see me back."

Who are these people telling Alex Sink to run? Are these the same people whom serve as imaginary cab drivers for Thomas Friedman.

Sink made this remark at the Hillsborough County Democratic meeting.

"Just think about Rick Scott. Elections do matter. And voting matters, and who gets into office matters," Sink said. "If I were your governor, we wouldn't be doing things this way up in Tallahassee."

In case you forgot, Sink lost to Scott, in the general election. Scott had excessive baggage. Scott was forced to step down as the CEO of Columbia/HCA. Scott's former health care company had to pay the federal government a $1.7 billion fine. During his deposition, Scott was evasive about the simplest of questions. An example:

Cusack: Have inpatient visits declined?

Scott: For what time period?

Cusack: The last two years.

Scott: It depends on the quarter.

Cusack: But taken as a total, have you seen a decline?

Scott: For what time period?

Cusack: Over the last two years.

Scott: I'm not sure I understand the question.

Alex Sink lost to a candidate as damaged as Scott. Sink was so bad that MSNBC named her the worst candidate of 2010. High praise Sink, considering 2010 produced Christine O'Donnell and Joe Wilson and a host of other bizarre tea party candidate. Chuck Todd citing Sink lost in Florida to an opponent whose company committed Medicare fraud.

Florida state Rep. Rick Kriseman (D) believes Sink would be a weak candidate.

"She didn't do anything to energize the Democratic base," Kriseman says. "They stayed home. You can't take the base for granted."

State Sen. John Thrasher (R) is salivating at the prospect of at another Sink run.

Said Thrasher: "That would be the best opponent we could ever have."

Progressives need to put pressure on Sink and her political adviser Steve Schale. Sink should never run for State office again. Tweet Sink and Schale and tell them you will not support Alex Sink in 2014.

Update: Steve Schale sent me a message on Twitter stating he is not Sink's political adviser. I had some questions for Schale but couldn't message him back because he unfollowed me. Schale may not be currently employed by Sink. Schale was talking up Sink's potential candidacy last year.

“If Alex runs, Alex is the frontrunner,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who advised Sink on her run for the Governor’s Mansion last year.

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Unintentionally Hysterical Video From the American Life League

The American Life League releases a hysterically fact-challenged video about how Planned Parenthood is distributing penis lollipops and vagina cakes to indoctrinate children into becoming sex addicts. The American Life League comnpares Planned Parenthood to drug dealers trying to get kids hooked into sex.

The serious side oof the video is the American Life League comes out against abortions, contraception, masterbation, and gays. The truth is the American Life League and other such group have a serious problem with people having sex.

The Young Turks fact-check the ALL ad.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"If the economy continues to improve consistently between now and November, President Obama will be re-elected."

Republican pollster Scott Rasmussen, to a booing crowd at the Manatee Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner.

Of course the crowd is booing at hearing that Obama could be re-elected. However, it isn't smart to boo at good economic news.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rick Scott Doesn't Answer USF Cuts Question

WTSP News asked Gov. Rick Scott if he supports Sen. JD Alexander's proposed budget cuts. Scott blandly drones on without actually answering the question. Scott does say that he supports USF being forced to use its "surplus." It makes me realize that Scott doesn't even understand Alexander's proposal.

USF has $100 million in cash reserves. Alexander is attempting to take the reserve money away from USF, in order to balance the state budget. Scott is speaking, as if Alexander wants the reserve money to help fund USF. That could be further from the truth.

Scott tells Noah Pransky that USF Polytech should go through a Board of Governors rteview, before becoming a state university. Pransky takes this comment by Scott as support for USF.

SCOTT: I don't believe that any university should be harmed for the help of another university.

The sad fact is that Scott thinks that the Polytech school isn't part of USF. They are the same university system.

In the interview, Scott never actually says if he is for or against the USF cuts. Scott is a favor of going after the USF cash reserves. USF officials warn if they lose the reserves the university could wind up operating in debt. Scott is no friend of USF.

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Lobby in Tally With Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood and the Pinellas County Democratic Party are taking activists to Tallahassee on Feb. 21.

Join Planned Parenthood in Tallahassee to combat the egregious laws our state legislators are trying to pass. More anti-choice bills are already being introduced.

Get on the bus or drive yourself. Pick up in Tampa at 6 AM for the drive to Tally. $25 per person/$5 per student!

Day's event's include: press conference with leading pro-choice legislators and Planned Parenthood advocates. Meeting in teams with individual legislators in action as they debate. Back on the bus around 4:30 PM to ride home.

Contact Wendy Grassi, Director of Public Affairs, 941-365-3913 x 1108;

The Florida legislature is attempting to scare doctors from performing late-term abortions. SB 290 would require doctors who perform abortions in the third trimester to attend ethics classes. A second doctor would be required, in the unlikely event of the fetus being born alive. The abortion would be deemed illegal if the fetus is more the half way out of the woman's body. This bill flies in contempt of Roe vg. Wade.

SB 1374 would bar state funding from any abortion provider that performs late-term abortions. In the bill, Sen. Steve Wise makes the legal argument that abortion is illegal.

The legislature finds that personal liberty is not a licence to kill an innocent human life under any provision of the United States Constitution.

Wise's legal reasoning will play well with the Christian Right. Legally, it is a horrible argument. The federal court have upheld Roe v. Wade.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Sleepy Vikings - Flashlight Tag

Tampa-based band the Sleepy Vikings performing for a Paste Magazine appearance.

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Mike Fasano on Democracy Now

Sen. Mike Fasano was a surprise guest on Democracy Now. Fasano talked to Amy Goodman about how prison privatization would not save Florida money.

FASANO: The original amendment that I had on the bill, before we killed the bill, was to - would have required an in-depth study, economic study, to find out if there's true savings there, but also to find out if - by privatizing, does it impact of our correctional officers, their community, and the economy of the state of Florida as a whole.

Sen. JD Alexander fought to make sure Fasano's study of private prisons would never happen. After Fasano continued to oppose the privatization bills, Senate President Mike Haridopolos stripped Fasano, of his chairmanship of the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropiations Committee.

The immunity bill and the Republican Senate leadership punishing Fasano, show how Republicans are governing with contempt. The most disturbing thing is Republicans aren't even hiding their dirty dealing from the public.

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Quote of the Day

"Folks, you've got energy here. They're going to bother you. They bother you, because you are a very key and strategic resource for this country."

Rick Santorum, warning North Dakota citizens that their state faces an imminent threat of attack from Iran.

Santorum's remarks are mind-bogglingly stupid on several counts. Santorum believes that Iran needs to attack North Dakota for oil. Iran has some of the richest oil fields in the world. Another matter is, Santorum believes Iran has the military power to wage a land war with the United States. The Iranian army had its hands full facing Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard in the 80s. Santorum believes the neoconservative gospel, without considering real world considerations.


The Anti-Sex Party

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is going to waste Florida tax dollars by challenging Obama's administration over its contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Previously, Obama proposed having Catholic hospitals carry contraception coverage for its employees. The Obama administration relented after attacks from Republicans and Catholic bishops, on the grounds of religious freedom. Health insurance companies would now offer contraception directly to employees of religious hospitals. Churches would not be mandated to offer contraception. Which leads to what legal grounds does Bondi have to challenge the contraception policy in court.

Not only is the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate for religious employers bad policy, it is unconstitutional. It conflicts with the most basic elements of the freedoms of religion, speech, and association, as provided under the First Amendment. It would compel religious organizations to act, subsidize products, and affirmatively promote a message in contravention with their religious principles, with the sole alternative being to cease activities of incalculable value to their employees, constituents, and, indeed, society as a whole.

We strongly oppose the unconstitutional approach taken by the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate. We believe it represents an impermissible violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.

Accordingly, we urge you in the strongest way possible to refrain from promulgating the proposed regulations.


Jon Bruning, Attorney General of Nebraska

Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas

Alan Wilson, Attorney General of South Carolina

Luther Strange, Attorney General of Alabama

Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida

James Caldwell, Attorney General of Louisiana

William Schneide, Attorney General of Maine

Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney General of North Dakota

Mike DeWine, Attorney General of Ohio

Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma

Marty J. Jackley, Attorney General of South Dakota

John W. Suthers, Attorney General of Colorado

If the health insurers are directly offering contraception to women, without involving the church, there is no rationale (however flimsy) of a violation of the First amendment. Catholic hospitals have no problem taking government Medicare and Medicaid dollars. However, Catholic bishops act like the end of days are upon us if the contraception is mentioned.

As for the Republicans, being the anti-birth control and anti-sex party makes them look insane to reasonable Americans. The sad thing is, I am not shocked that Republicans thought being anti-contraception is political gold.

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The Immunity Bill

The bill PCB JDC 12-03 is making its way through the Florida House. The bill would give members of the Florida legislature immunity from civil suits. Text from the bill.

"A member or former member of the legislature has an absolute privilege in any civil action, judicial administrative proceeding or executive branch administrative proceeding against compelled testimony or the compelled production of any document or record in connection with any action taken or function performed in a legislative capacity."

People joke that politicians think they are above the law. Republicans in the Florida House are trying to make themselves above the law through legislative means. Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach claim that they are protecting the Florida legislature from frivolous lawsuits. Democrats aren't buying it.

"Anyone who votes for this bill is thinking they will have something to hide and have to shield themselves," said Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood.

Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith believes the immunity bill is to protect Republicans from lawsuits involving redistricting.

Yesterday, Republicans introduced a bill to give legislators, former legislators and their staff protection from lawsuits. This is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to shield legislators from questions by the court. It's shameful, it's wrong, and we won't remain silent.

Concerned voters, in conjunction with the Florida Democratic Party, have filed a lawsuit in state court to challenge the constitutionality of the congressional map, which violates the Fair District Amendments and seeks to suppress the voice of Florida's citizens. And today, we will challenge the state legislative maps in the state Supreme Court.

Make no mistake: the stakes are high and the far-reaching consequences will leave an impact on both the state and national landscape for years to come.

It takes an incredible amount of chutzpah for Republicans to try to pass an immunity bill, on the verge of of lawsuits. Republicans in the Florida Senate tried to fight against any economic studies on the cost factor of private prisons. What the prison and immunity bills reveal is that Republicans know that they are writing legislation that won't stand up to scrutiny. The private prison bills rewrote current laws on state oversight of private contract. The immunity bill implies that citizens cannot call members of the legislature into court. Florida Republicans are making corruption into law.

Update: Trish Ponder comes out against the immunity bill.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Santorum's Rombo Ad

The Rick Santorum campaign has released the best ad, so far in the campaign. The "Rombo" ad portrays Mitt Romney as a mudslinging Rambo. The ad is well made and is a great way to disfuse the negative ads Romney will run against Santorum.

Does anyone know who made this ad?

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Tea Party in Decline

Peter Schorsch has photos of tea parties Tallahassee rallies from 2011 and 2012. The photos show what many people already know; the tea party is in decline. The Occupy Wall Street movement is where the energy and media attention is at.

The tea party movement was always going to burn out because it is an astroturf movement. The rallies in Schorsch's blog post were sponsored by Americans For Prosperity of Florida. The movement could never create itself on a grassroots level. The tea party members aren't smart enough organize. Think about it, how are racist activists, with misspelled signs, going to recruit citizens to fight to protect Wall Street banks and insurance companies? Only the most ignorant fight to end their own Medicare coverage. Eventually these people get bored and move on.

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Friday Cat Blogging

This huge domestic cat is extremely patient with this baby girl. The baby treats the cat as a pillow and a squeeze toy.

Update: I didn't realize until later that my Friday Cat Blogging occurred on a Thursday.

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The Mutt Romney Blues

Ry Cooder wrote a song about Mitt Romney cruelly keeping his dog locked in a cage on top of his car. Romney did not tend to the dog. The dog was caged for so long that it urinated in the cage. Feces ran down the side of the car.

Check out the Facebook group Dogs Against Romney.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Them - It's All Over Now Baby Blue

Hands down the greatest Bob Dylan cover. The song is also one of my favorite Van Morrison vocals. Beck stole the organ riff for his song Jackass.

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Rachel Maddow on Politifact

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow points out just how bad Politifact truly is. Sen Marco Rubio claimed at CPAC that the majority of Americans are conservative. Politifact found that the Gallup poll has never had people who claim to be conservative near 50 percent.

Here is the kicker of Politifact's findings.

And here’s another wrinkle: When you ask people which party they lean toward, the independents split up so that the country is almost evenly divided. For the year of 2011, Gallup reported that 45 percent of Americans identified as Republicans or leaned that way, while 45 percent identified as Democrats or leaned that way.

Any way you slice it Rubio's claim is false. Politifact rated it mostly true. Maddow has good reason to not take Politifact seriously.

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Alexander the (Less Than) Great

It has been a bad week for Florida state Sen. JD Alexander. That translate into a good week for Floridians.

Alexander is the Robert Byrd of the Florida Senate. Byrd was the king of pork spending. Byrd even tried to move the CIA to his home state of West Virginia. Byrd was able to use his position as chairman of the Appropriations Committee to pass his personal pet projects.

Like Byrd, Alexander attempted to take the Tampa-based USF's College of Pharmacy to Lakeland. It is no coincidence that Alexander's district covers Polk County. Alexander failed to be able to move the College of Pharmacy. Alexander used his position as chair of the Senate Budget Committee to strip all funding from the USF College of Pharmacy.

In November of last year, Alexander then made a move for the USF Lakeland-based USF Polytechnic. Alexander wanted USF Polytechnic to be independent from USF. Alexander didn't care that Polytechnic had no campus or would not have accreditation.

The bill doesn't address accreditation, but state Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who supports the move, has said the new institution could get quick provisional accreditation.

A top accrediting official said there's no such thing.

"The lawmaker can make the campus independent, but it will not be accredited," said Belle Whellan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges Commission on Colleges.

"Until the (SACS) board approves them as an institution, they don't exist as far as we're concerned."

And that means it can't receive federal grants or student aid. Other universities wouldn't accept its credits.

Students at the Polytechnic school overwhelmingly do not want to be separated from USF. Last year, the Board of Governors voted to delay a decision to split the Polytechnic school from USF.

There are good reason the Polytechnic school and USF is against the split. Under the USF umbrella, Polytechnic has the resources of USF. As an independent school, Polytechnic would have less resources and prestige. Alexander cares about none of this. Alexander was defied by president Judy Genshaft. Alexander was going to legislatively enact revenge. Alexander cut 58 percent of USF's state funding. This was too much for even fellow Republicans to stomach. The Florida Senate killed Alexander's Draconian cuts.

The Senate budget committee has decided to drop controversial language that would have held back $25 million in funding for the University of South Florida until it handed over all the property of USF Polytechnic as part of an initiative to make the Lakeland campus independent.

The budget conforming bill containing the change (SPB 7100) would still create an independent Florida Polytechnic University, but the change seemed to largely soothe Tampa Bay area lawmakers who had sharply criticized withholding the money.

In other news: Alexander fought vigorously to make sure that there was no government oversight of the Senate private prison bills. Alexander claimed that private prisons would save the state money. There would be no way of finding that out since Alexander co-sponsored a bill that would make private prisons exempt from state financial review.

The good news is prison privatization is dead.

After three hours of often-emotional debate Tuesday, the Florida Senate slapped down a controversial plan to put a private company in charge of 14,500 prisoners in South Florida, killing a proposal that potentially meant millions of dollars for the Boca Raton-based Geo Group.

The plan, a top priority of Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, would have privatized 28 prisons and work camps in South Florida. But though it had the clout of the legislative leaders behind it, it divided the Senate and a final vote was delayed for more than a week while both sides wrangled votes.

The proposal split the Senate, which voted 19-21 on the measure, SB 2038.

Gary Siplin was the tiebreaker. I'm speechless. Siplin is not known for doing the right thing. Ever.

Update Alexander is now going after the USF cash reserves. Alexander got hammered at the hearing by fellow senators Jim Norman and Gwen Margolis. Alexander really went over the line when Norman is the voice of reason

A Senate budget hearing is taking place over the next two days, and Wednesday, Senator JD Alexander went round and round with other senators.

Jim Norman, from Hillsborough County fought against Alexander saying, "This acceleration is on the backs of these students who are in college and I am, you don't bargain futures like this, even in this appropriations process," Norman said.

But Alexander instantly responded, "That's not a factual statement. It's being made to inflame folks in an attempt to protect what I believe is an indefensible policy of maintaining too high of a cash balance in universities."

Senator Gwen Margolis, from South Florida told Alexander, "This is probably the worst message you can send to university presidents. Just spend your money, cause they're going to take it away if you don't."

The cash reserves are rainy day funds. If there is an emergency, USF will need that money. Alexander is losing face with this petty feud with USF. He had to back off his original cuts. Now he is going after reserve money. Alexander has literally lost his mind. The Senate freed up $25 million for USF. The university is still facing a dramatic shortfall.

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Dave Mustaine Endorses Rick Santorum

Dave Mustaine was unbearably whiny in the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster. Mustaine cries to Lars Urlich about being kicked out of Metallica. Mustaine maybe a millionaire rock star. But can't you feel his pain for being kicked out of Metallica. I am no Metallica fan. I do wonder how the guys in the band could tolerate spending five minutes with Mustaine.

Another reason I don't like Mustaine is that he just endorsed Rick Santorum.

"... You know, I think Santorum has some presidential qualitities, and I'm hoping that if it does come down to it, we'll see a Republican in the White House... and that it's Rick Santorum."

Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica because he was too big of a drug addict to be in a band full of drug addicts. Mustaine spent most of his adult life doing drugs and screwing groupies. The man Mustaine wants in the White House is a social conservative Republican. What a hypocrite.

I cannot stand Mustaine. He has the right to support the candidate of his choosing. I hope he is off drugs now. That said, Mustaine is insufferable.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jack White - Love Interruption

New Jack White song released today. I have been playing this song on repeat.

Correction: the video is new. The song isn't.

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Catherine Robinson is Not a Progressive

Blogger Catherine Durkin Robinson billed herself as a progressive. That is rich. Robinson wrote a post titled "Who's the progressive party now?" Robinson praised John McCain for selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Smart move, Old Man.

Palin was unprepared to be a heart beat away from the presidency. Polls showed that voters were less likely to vote for McCain with Palin on the ballot. Dumb move.

Robinson claims she is against xenophobia. Robinson went to a Democratic dinner. Robinson attempted to portray herself as a hero in her post. Robinson claims she came to the defense of immigration officer. Robinson almost had to courage to insult Hispanics to their face.

Almost turned to the Latinos and said, "Put that in your mojitos and slump'em down, b*tches. Next time - show some g*ddamn respect."

Printing out curse words in their entirety is bad. Racial remarks are perfectly acceptable.

Robinson also wrote, "The Mexicans had Mexican on the brain. They wouldn't shut up about themselves." Robinson also refered to a woman at the Democratic dinner as a "bimbo." Robinson made this assessment because the woman was in the back of the room and had to yell her question. If you doubt the intent of Robinson's post was racist then ask yourself why she would title the post "Democratic Dinner or Race Riot - You Decide."

If you still have doubt about Robinson not being a progressive, ask yourself why is Robinson an employee of StudentsFirst. The nonprofit is run by Michelle Rhee. Rhee worked on Gov. Rick Scott's transition team. No one ever accused anyone employed by Scott as being a progressive.

Rhee's so-called has education reform policies only teachers'-union-hating Republicans could love. Rhee fired 165 Washington D.C. teachers without giving them proper evaluations. 75 teachers were reinstated because Rhee fired them without giving the teachers a reason. Short answer: Rhee just wanted to fire the teachers. Reasons be damned.

I know of no progressive organizations or activists who support Rhee's union-busting and dracanian education policies.

Robinson's educational positions are equally disturbing. In a Washington Post op-ed, Robinson advocates for parents to be arrested if a child skips too many days of school. The main goal of the op-ed was to bring attention to her failed nonprofit the National Coalition for Accountable Parenting. Robinson came out in support of Florida legislation that would take away a parent's driver's licence, if the child cheated on a driver's test.

Exactly what is suppose to be accomplished by these policies? How are parent suppose to get to work if they can't drive? Who takes care of the child if both parents are in jail? The Department of Child & Families have had many child gone missing or turn up dead. Is putting children in a foster home going to save the taxpayers money? The DCF is already underfunded and mismanaged. It is obvious that Robinson has never given these considerations a second thought.

Robinson writes on the NCAP web site that she has been lobbying for legislation in Florida. That statement is false. Robinson is not a registered lobbyist in Florida for the years 2011 or 2012 Her organization NCAP has no physical address. The NCAP web site is a Wordpress blog designed by her husband. It appears that Robinson tried to get a Rhee-style 501 group off the ground and eventually threw in the towel.

Progressive bloggers need to stop running Robinson's NCAP press releases. (Stogie and Florida Progressive Coalition) Robinson is not a progressive.

Update: Robinson admits that she could vote for a Republican.

In about a month, school will be over. My children cannot wait. Me? I’d consider voting for a gun-toting, pro-life Republican (is there any other kind?) if he promised to make year-round schooling a reality.

Robinson goes on to admit she would never support year-round schooling, if she was still teaching. No hypocrisy there.

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Pushing Rope Celebrates its Sixth Anniversary

Today is Valentine's Day for many people. For Pushing Rope this is our sixth anniversary. The first post ever on this blog was a humor piece about former New York Times columnist John Tierney. Since that time there have been nearly 8,000 blog posts written on the site. Some by fantastic guest bloggers who have left. (And whose contributions are greatly appreciated.) Tas and Litbrit have been the main guest bloggers. Their advice has also helped me improve this blog.

I would like to thank the readers for supporting this blog. Blogging can be lonely. It is nice to know that people are reading what I have to say.

Mission of Pushing Rope

Pushing Rope is a progressive blog. That doesn't mean it is a pro-Democratic Party blog. That is what many people didn't understand during Kendrick Meek's failed Senate campaign. PR pointed out the corruption allegations against Meek, Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist. The Meek campaign did push back against this blog. I pushed back.

This blog has been critical about President Barack Obama failing to "change" the unethical banking system and continuing the Bush policies of TSA searches and indefinite detention. This blog has not hesitated to bash the horrible policies of Republicans nationally and in Florida. Unlike some progressives, we aren't going to change our positions on civil liberty violations because there is now a Democrat in the office. That would be intellectually dishonest and only strengthen the erosion of civil liberties, if we allow illegal searches, and imprisonment without due process to continue.

PR started a netroots campaign against a post by Sticks of Fire blogger Rachel Moran. In the post, Moran discussed her and her friends assaulting homeless people on-camera. Progressive bloggers condemned Moran's post here, here, here, here, here and here. At the time, Sticks of Fire was the most popular Tampa blog. I received a lot of flak for taking SoF to task for its hate post. Sticks of Fire died a slow death due mainly to readers moving to sites like Saint Petersblog. This site is alive and well, and still taking hate mongers to task.

The mission of Pushing Rope is not to do what is popular. Our expressed goal is to stand up for what we feel is justice for civil liberties and social and economic equality. Those issues are important to us. If that means dealing with negative comments or emails then so be it.

Happy Valentine's Day to all our readers.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Triangulation Man: Rick Warren

I wrote about my reservations of President Barack Obama using Rick Warren as a religious political surrogate. Warren is a sexist and a bigot. Warren councils women in abusive relationships that they are only experiencing short-term pain.

It’s not like you can escape the pain… You don’t — you don’t escape the pain. And I’d always rather choose a short term pain and find God’s solution for a long term gain, than try and find a short term solution that’s going to involve a long term pain in life.

Warren then tells women not to leave their abusive husbands.

I want to tell you the advice that we give in our counseling ministries. First of all if you are in this kind of a situation, I strongly recommend that you take advantage of our lay counseling ministry. Go in and talk to someone and let them minister to you. And the advice that we give is not divorce but separation.

All Obama accomplished by having Warren at his inauguration was alienating progressives and giving Warren free publicity. The Christian Right didn't swoon over Obama because of his association with Warren. Rick Warren was another centrist move that has blown up in Obama's face.

Warren fired off these tweets.

Warren is another example of how triangulation has been a failure for Obama.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Adele - Someone Like You

This is Adele's big night at the Grammys. Is there any doubt that she is the best soul singer of her generation?

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Prison Privatization Coming to Vote

The Hillsbororough County Democratic Party reports that SB 2038 in coming to the floor of the Florida Senate. The bill would allow prison privatization in several Southern Florida counties. An accompanying bill, SB 2036, would allow no state oversight of private prisons for the first five years. This is a pure pork bill for lobbyists.

The HCDC asks that you contact area state senators to vote against SB 2038.

For information on the corrosive impact of corporations on government decisions through ALEC click here.

Please call area GOP Senators (Storms, Latvala, Norman)
before Tuesday -
Ask them to vote NO on SB 2038.
Contact information is here.

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Occupy Tampa Live Feed

If anyone is interested in the daily events of Occupy Tampa, you can now watch the live feed.

Streaming video by Ustream

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Dumbass Brings Gun to Church

All good Christians bring their guns to church and accidentally shoot the pastor's daughter.

The daughter of a pastor was accidentally shot at a Lealman church this afternoon while two men were looking at a gun they thought was unloaded.

Hannah Kelley, 20, was shot in the head and is in surgery at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

I'm more moderate than many progressives on gun rights. I don't want to outlaw guns. However, I do not want violent criminals and extremely stupid people owning guns. The person who brought the gun to church, of all places, falls into the latter category.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Glen Campbell - Hold On Hope

Glen Campbell does a beautiful version of Hold On Hope that is far superior to the Guided By Voices version.

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Quote of the Day

"We are not abandoning these children; we are preparing these children for a life on their own."

Rep. Dana Young

Actually Mrs. Young, you are abandoning these children. Claiming that you are preparing them for the real world by forcing kids out of the DCF system two years soon is like claiming you are teaching someone to swim by throwing him into the water.

The Florida House voted 79-38 to age children out of the system at 21. Currently the law states that kids aren't aged out of the DCF system until 23.

Let's be clear about this. These kids have no families to fall back on. Florida Republican has run the Department of Children & Families incompetently. Children have died in the DCF system run by Gov. Jeb Bush's administration. Former DCF chief Kathleen Kearney resigned because children were lost missing are killed under DCF supervision.

The Agency of Persons With Disabilities sued the family of Kevin, a blind boy with cerebal palsy. Kevin's doctor told the St. Petersburg Times that thermal blankets were needed for Kevin's well-being. The cost was $360.00. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities refused to pay. The medical company decided to provide the blankets for free.

The Agency For Persons With Disabilities decided to sue. For some bizarre reason they decided that the state must have repayment for free thermal blankets. Charlie Crist put an end to the lawsuit when he because governor.

I ask how exactly is Florida preparing foster children for the real world. The pro-life attitude of Republicans doesn't seem to extend to children once they are born.

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Alan Grayson's Fundraising

Congressional candidate Alan Grayson raised $150,000 in January. To put how successful Grayson's fundraising has been, Republican Mark Sharpe raised only $89,708 in the past year. Grayson raised most of his campaign money through the small donations. Grayson has been the darling of the netroots.

Grayson's statement on his past month of fundraising.

"We call it 'People Power.' We are creating a new model for campaigns, and it is working. Meanwhile, the Republican incumbents keep stepping up to the trough of sewer money provided by the lobbyists and special interests," Grayson said in a statement.

The model Grayson speaks of is not new. Howard Dean in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008 raised money through the internet and through communicating with activists online. The netroots fundraising model only works if progressives believe in the candidate. Kendrick Meek went around calling himself a "moderate progressive." (whatever the hell that is) Meek thought if he hired a progressive blogger, he could get progressive money without having to have progressive positions. Grayson may be controversal. But no one doubts he is to the Left of the Democratic establishment.


Andrew Breitbart Freak Out at Occupy Protesters

Andrew Breitbart is famous for having bizarre public temper tantrums. In Wisconson, Breitbart told union members to "go to hell," repeatedly. Repeating insults is Breitbart's stock-in-trade.

Breitbart had a freakout against progressive protesters at a Right Nation conference. The people were protesting at hateful rhetoric against Glenn Beck. Breitbart claims that the protesters were being paid and that Beck never said a hateful thing. It must have slipped Breitbart's mind when Beck said that President Barack Obama "has a deep-seated hatred of white people."

The funny thing is Breitbart is engaged in a full-on feud with Beck. The reason is after it was proven that the Shirley Sherrod video a doctored, Beck tore into Breitbart on his radio and Fox News show. Breitbart refuses to take responsibility for running a video that falsely claimed that Sherrod is a racist.

Breitbart had an epic melt down at Occupy protesters at the CPAC conference. Breitbart started yelling and falsely accused the Occupy protesters of being rapists and murders. Anyone who would falsely accuse a group of people of rape and murder has no grounds to call anyone else a hate monger. Breitbart's insane tirade is indicative of his journalism style. Breitbart projects his own failing on his political enemies.

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Litbrit, resident Twittering clairvoyant, on the Catholics Vs. Contraceptives conflict

While watching MSNBC yesterday morning, at 9:49 am, I Tweeted:

.@BarackObama @MSNBC @JoeNBC @MorningMika *IDEA* Have all insurance cos EAT the cost of BC coverage. All MUST offer it--like a lagniappe.
Three minutes later, at 9:52 am, I elaborated further, Tweeting:
.@BarackObama @MSNBC @JoeNBC @MorningMika *IDEA* BirthControl cheaper thn maternity coverge. Make insurance co. provide FREE.
and as you'll see, writer and blogger Jeff Fecke replied "Sounds like that could be the plan". Not having heard anything myself at that point, I replied that I would be "amazed and happy" if it were, but I wasn't holding my breath. Then Jeff supplied a link to the then-breaking news. Look:

When I thought about all this yesterday morning--well before the White House officially announced the plan, ahem, you're welcome President Obama*--I was musing about what would the best way forward that could simultaneously give the Catholic Bishops the deniability they ostensibly needed (let's give them the benefit of the doubt here and assume that they really are just aggrieved at having their beliefs violated, and that this has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone wanting to control women's lives) and give women employees of Catholic-owned businesses the access to birth control that they needed.

I reasoned that by making free birth control an inherent part of the medical insurance policies themselves--wherein coverage costs exactly the same whether the individuals so covered avail themselves of contraceptives or not--the accommodation would afford the Catholic Church a moral "out" of sorts. They would be able to view purchasing and providing healthcare insurance the way they might view a drugstore. There is a broad variety of products for sale within said store, products that a Catholic needs, even as there are other products for sale--on the shelves in the contraceptive aisle, for example--that a devout, birth-control-opposing Catholic would notselect for his or her own use. In other words, the mere existence of Cathlic-Church-prohibited products within that store does not, itself, render the other, needed products--along with the entire store--anathema to Catholics, since they will only be purchasing that which they need and want and are not in any way being forced to pay for the prohibited products. The existence of those prohibited products simply comes along with the existence of the store.

It was a semantic dodge and a fungibility dodge, yes. But it worked for me.

And agreeing to comply with this policy adjustment would surely be a financial consideration for the insurance companies--as I pointed out in the second Tweet above. Good grief, it's pretty straightforward math to state that it costs far less to provide a woman with contraceptives than it does to cover the skyrocketing costs associated with obstetric care, and that's when all goessmoothly, which as we know, it often doesn't. Emergency C-sections are expensive. Neonatal intensive care is mind-bogglingly expensive. Babies are expensive, period.

But you know what? I don't mind. If the way to the insurance industries' heart (such as it is) is through their bottom line, so be it. (Yes, they are getting a killer of a sweetheart deal with this Affordable Care Act, which is a post for another day, I promise.)

For women of all religions and no religion alike, yesterday's announcement was win-win. We women don't get to see those very often, and I think it's a good idea to commit to memory the various anti-women, anti-choice, and flat-out misogynist statements we heard some politicians throw around this week. Those politicians aren't going anywhere, not unless half the nation's voting-age citizens--the ones in actual possession of the uteri that these jokers in Washington are treating like their personal property, or else footballs--begins sending them away for good and replacing them with leaders more given to solving critical problems than resurrecting long-settled debates over matters that are none of their business.

[*I kid, I kid...]

Also at Litbrit.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Cat Blogging

A cat holds its ground against two alligators.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Less Than Straight Talk From Jay Carney

The Washington Blade rightly asks how how can President Barack Obama be against both Proposition 8, and still be against gay marriage. Before Prop 8 was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Prop 8 banned gays and lesbians from marrying. Obama should be a supporter of Prop 8. Yet, President Obama campaigned against Prop 8. The correspondent for the Blade questioned Carney on this inconsistency.

Washington Blade: I just want to follow up on the Prop 8 ruling. Back in 2008, candidate Obama came out against Proposition 8 when it was on the ballot, calling it “unnecessary.” I’m just wondering if the president shares the belief that the measure is also unconstitutional.

Carney: Well, again, I’m not going to comment on litigation particularly as here where we are not party to it, but the president’s positions on these issues writ large are well known, and he’s long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples. But I don’t have anything more for you on that.

Blade: I want to follow up really quickly on that, though. You said the president opposes “divisive and discriminatory” efforts against same-sex couples, but the effort here — the issue in question is marriage, so isn’t it inconsistent for the president to not support same-sex marriage and also to be against such measures?

Carney: Well, I don’t have any update for you on that particular issue in regards to the president’s views. I can tell you that divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits is something this president has long opposed. And I think that’s an important point to make. These are proactive and deliberate efforts to deny benefits and to be discriminatory.

Obama is a constitutional scholar. Granted, Obama is lousy in his interpretations of the Constitution. Obama supports warrantless wiretapping and drone strikes against U.S. citizens. So much for due process. The question is simple. Does Obama believe Prop 8 is unconstitutional. A yes or no answer would suffice. Obama does not even have the moral courage to provide a one word answer. Sad.

Side note: Carney is a worse press secretary than Robert Gibbs. I didn't think that was possible. Why Obama thought having a press secretary with no charisma and an inability to bullshit would be an asset is beyond me.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Write A Caption: Mitt Romney

Truth in advertising.

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Latest Stupidity From Tea Party Nation

Tea Party Nation is freaking out that Georgia Deputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi has ruled that President Barack Obama is allowed on the state ballot. TN blogger Miki Booth is screaming that the sky is falling. How dare Malihi rule that Obama is a citizen of the United States.

ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS. Malihi and Sec of State Brian Kemp were gotten to. They were warned that ruling against OBAMA would start a RACE WAR. THIS IS WHAT THEY'VE DONE TIME AND AGAIN.

This is what happens when you go batshit crazy with the caps key. You know a conservative blogger is serious WHEN SHE UNLEASHES the CAPS keys.

Booth tells us the constitutional crisis America is in by typing the next sentence in big caps.


Translation: Holy shit! A black man is on the ballot. Does not compute how some guy who sings Al Green is more popular than Newt Gingrich. Doesn't America know that Newt Gingrich is irresistible to fat, bald male pundits, who appear on Fox News.

The relation between the tea party and Obama is perfectly captured in this scene from Blazing Saddles. The stupidity of the town's people just couldn't compete with the coolness of Cleavon Little's sheriff.

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Occupy Orlando Members Found Not Guilty of Trespassing

Occupy Orlando sent me this press release.

Not guilty verdict casts serious doubt on 39 outstanding Occupy Orlando trespass cases
City urged to respect judgement of Orlando residents and save tax payers money

February 4, 2012 - ORLANDO, FL - With Friday’s jury verdict of not guilty in Florida’s first Occupy trial for trespassing, the attorney representing defendant Megan Vermeer has called on the city to drop the charges in the 39 remaining tresspass cases.

Defense attorney Shayan Elahi says the verdict of not guilty by Orlando residents proves that Occupy Orlando was not tresspassing at Senator Beth Johnson Park. “To procede with more trials after this not guilty verdict would waste the court’s time and tax payer dollars at a time when neither has the resources to spare.”

“All Occupy Orlando arrests were for trespass,” says Elahi. Expecting different outcomes from the remaining 39 cases with the same operative facts “cannot be justified as good faith prosecution,” he said.

A jury found Megan Vermeer, 20, not guilty of trespassing. Vermeer was found guilty of the city ordinance.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is not a fan of protests. Dyer ordered Orlando police to arrest members of Food Not Bombs for feeding the homeless in public parks. The Orange County Democratic Executive Committee passed a resolution asking Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City Council to stop arresting members of Food Not Bombs. Count on Dyer taking every member of Occupy Orlando to court for trespassing. These jury trials are going to get expensive for taxpayers.

WFTV has a video story on the Vermeer verdict.

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Kills Play Ybor City

The recent show at the Ritz, by The Kills, will probably be considered one of the best shows in Tampa for 2012. Allison Mosshart is one of the best singers and front women in rock. Jamie Hince is a highly underrated guitarist.

Many Tampa bands could learn how to play to a crowd by watching this show. I have seen many local Tampa bands have boring onstage conversations with their friends in the audience. Mosshart gave the audience the middle finger during Fuck the People. The audience gave her the one finger salute right back. What the audience appreciated was the ballsy attitude. Mosshart was playing her herself and Hince. Whether the audience was into the show or not was secondary.

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Occupy Tampa Saturday Meetings

National Day of Mass Action to Stop a U.S. War on Iran - Hands off Iran!

When: Saturday, February 4

Time: 12:00pm until 2:00pm

Where: Gandy Blvd & Dale Mabry Hwy, then head to MacDill for the march

Several anti-war groups will be present for the march. Occupy St. Pete will be at the march with Occupy Tampa.

Occupy Tampa will hold a public meetings on preventing war with Iran and the the foreclosure crisis this Saturday.

Occupy Tampa Foreclosure Defense Meeting

When: Saturday, February 4

Time: 4:00pm until 7:00pm

Where: 2101 W. Main St., Tampa, FL 33607

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Current TV

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn discusses how the Republican presidential candidates failed to address major policy concerns. Buckhorn believes that jobs can be created in Florida through solar energy and research and development.

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Quote of the Day

"There is no substitute for nuking the ever-loving shit out of the other guy."

Rick Wilson, Republican political consultant, on the $15 million Mitt Romney spent to to run negative ads against Newt Gingrich.

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Mitt Romney Sings

Feast your ears on the musical stylings of Mitt Romney.

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Mike Fasano's Badge of Honor

There has been much criticism about SB 2036. The bill would forbid the Florida government from collecting data on whether or not private prisons would save the state money. Under current law, an evaluation of all private contracts for five fiscal years of any outsourced contract of $10 million. SB 2036 would make private prisons exempt. J.D. Alexander claims he backs privatization of state prisons to save tax dollars. However, Alexander would not open the floor to prison workers or answer Sen. Mike Fasano's questions about cost. Alexander is doing his best to not to find out what the cost of prison privatization would cost taxpayers.

Alexander, John Thrasher, and Don Gaetz are the sponsors of SB 2036. State prisons are overseen by the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee. Senate President Mike Haridopolos would not allow the CCJAC to hold a hearing on SB 2036 and its companion bill. That did not stop the committee's chairman, Sen. Mike Fasano, from asking about the cost of prison privatization. Haridopolos removed Fasano from the chair today.

"As President of the Senate, I just felt I had lost confidence in him to fulfill that mission," he told reporters.

Translation: Haridopolos punished Fasano for not playing ball. Fasano told reporter Gary Fineout that getting the boot from Haridopolos is a "badge of honor."

Haridopolos, Alexander, Thrasher, and Gaetz desperately want privatization to go through because of the campaign contributions from Corrections Corp. of America and the Geo Group. Both companies would be awarded contracts if the legislature and Gov. Rick Scott pass and sign the privatization prison proposal. The fact that elected officials are fighting not to have oversight over CCA and the Geo Group reeks of corruption.

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