Friday, March 29, 2013

Republican War on State Workers

The Florida legislature is taking the rare good first step of working on a bill that would raise the pay of state workers. The Florida House proposal would raise pay by $1,400.00-a-year.

Republicans have loved to bash state workers. The GOP narrative would have you believe that state workers are making Fortune 500 money off of government salaries. The truth is the best paid state workers are staffers for the governor and members of the legislature. By July of 2011, Gov. Rick Scott had laid off 1,295 state workers. Firing state workers increases unemployment, cost government more by having its services run less efficiently. Yet, Republicans like Senator Rand Paul argue to economist Paul Krugman that there are more government workers than ever.

PAUL: The thing I don't understand is that you're arguing that the government sector is struggling. Are you arguing that there are fewer government employees under Obama than there were under Bush?

KRUGMAN: Of course. That's a fact. That's a tremendous fact.

PAUL: No, the size of government is enormous under Obama.

KRUGMAN: If government employment had grown as fast under Obama as it did under Bush, we'd have a million and a half more people employed right now - directly.

PAUL: Are there less people employed or more people employed now by the government?

The fact that Paul doesn't know is what happens when Republicans live inside their talking points and make no effort to educate themselves on policy. Unfortunately, these brain dead policies by Republicans have hurt state workers in Florida and across America.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Syd Straw - Future 40s

Syd Straw never became a star, but she did release this outstanding single that received MTV airplay back in the day.

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Rick Perry's Anti-Gay Marriage Argument

Gov. Rick Perry makes the twisted argument that people that support gay rights are bigots.
“The underlying problem is that there is this very vocal, very litigious minority of Americans willing to legally attack anybody who dares utter a phrase or even a name that they don’t agree with,” Perry said. “In a twisting of logic, they insist on silencing the religious in the cause of tolerance. Now I ask you, where is the tolerance in that?”

Perry doesn't realize it, but he made the arguyment that the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Perry and others like him wish to legally impose their religious views on other Americans. That is clearly unconstitutional and religious bigotry. Perry doesn't realize that people in America have the right to disagree or not paticipate in any religious faith. America isn't Afghanisthan under the Taliban.

Personally, I think Perry is doing some projection with his comment that gay rights advocates are intolerant. If Perry really was a devout Christian he wouldn't be so willing to execute immates. The Bible repeatedly states that murder is a sin. I doubt Perry supports a literal interpretation of Leviticus 24:17.

Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.

That passage could be used by Perry to support his use of the death penalty. A selp-proclaim biblical literalist like Perry would also have to sentence himself to death, in order to obey God's law. I would advise Perry to ignore that passage of the Bible.

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Jim Carrey's 'Cold Dead Hands'

Jim Carrey released a video on Funny Or Die making fun of the NRA and the late Charlton Heston. Carrey plays the roles of Charlton Heston, Sam Elliot and fictional country music singer Lonesome Earl. Carrey sings the song Cold Dead Hands on Hee Haw. Carrey's fictional country band has John Lennon, Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln as backing musicians. All threee famous figures were killed by guns. Carrey has taken to Twitter in recent months urging more gun control.

Unsurprisingly, Fox News flipped out after Carrey released the Cold Dead Hands video.

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Alex Sink Plays Hamlet

Alex Sink seems determined to become the Mario Cuomo of Florida politics. Cuomo kept people on the edge of their seats about whether he would run for president in 1992. Curio never made a decision and Bill Clinton became president. Sink told the Tampa Tribune she is undecided on if she will make a decision.

"The message is that I'd say, given what I've been through in the last several months, now is not the time to make a life-changing decision one way or the other," Sink said.

"Where my head is, it's not time for me to close the door to the possibility. Different people have interpreted what I've said in different ways, but right now it's time for me to be focusing on taking care my kids and myself and dealing with the terrible loss of Bill."

Sink claims the AP misquoted her. What part of Sink saying she would not likely run does she not understand.

"Without a husband, without the person that I relied on the most to shore me up and give me good advice. That's changed. That's changed everything," Sink said. "Right this minute, if you're asking me, it's off the table. I'm not prepared to say, 'No I'm not,' but I'm much further away from a run today than I was three months ago."

Sink spent her last campaign bashing President Barack Obama. That will payoff the Obama and the DNC backing Charlie Crist. Obama is not going to back a previous loser who blamed him for her loss. If Sink does run she won't get past the primary. Crist will crush her.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Hillary Clinton's Support of Gay Marriage Comes Late

Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has filmed a video for the Human Rights Campaign. In the video, Clinton announces her support of gay marriage.

I personally think that Clinton has been too afraid of gay rights issue in the past. Clinton has flipped-flopped on her support of DOMA. This is what Clinton's spokesman Phil Singer told Ben Smith of Politico in 2007. It doesn't pass the laugh test.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer adds, "Sen. Clinton backed the Defense of Marriage Act because it enabled us to fend off right wing attacks like the Federal Marriage Amendment by keeping marriage as the purview of the states. She believes DOMA served an important purpose in that respect. Marriage should be left up to the states.

The Christian Right had zero chance of adding the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. Adding amendments to the Constitution is extremely difficult. The real reason DOMA was passed was because President Bill Clinton was running for re-election in 1996. Clinton was in full trianglation mode. Clinton feared getting attacked on gay marriage. The result was President Clinton throwing the LGBT community under the bus.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mark Lanegan - Wildflowers

Mark Lanegan is hands down one of my all-time favorite singers.

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Write A Caption: Sarah Palin

Nothing says policy wonk like giving a speech at CPAC wearing a hoodie and drinking a Big Gulp.

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Sarah Palin Hypocrisy

Only former reality show star Sarah Palin would attack Washington elected officials of both parties as being reality stars.

“We don’t have leadership coming out of Washington. We have reality television.”

Are these the great rhetorical flourishes the reason CPAC booked Palin? It can't be for her drinking a Big Gulp onstage or wearing a hoodie.

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No Big Tent With the GOP

House Speaker John Boehner tells Martha Raddatz, of ABC News, that he will not compromise his position on gay marriage. There are no exceptions in Boehner's world.

MARTHA RADDATZ (HOST): Can you imagine yourself in a situation where you reversed your decision as Portman has on gay marriage if a child of yours or someone you love told you they were gay.

BOEHNER: Listen, I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what i belive, it’s what my church teaches me and I can’t imagine that position would ever change.

The conservative LGBT group, GOProud, has not been allowed into CPAC. The simple reason GOProud is not allowed is because GOProud supports gay rights. MSNBC conservative pundit SE Cupp boycotted CPAC because GOPRoud was not allowed to attend.

"It just became increasingly uncomfortable to align with an event, a great event in many ways, that had nonetheless attempted to marginalize a really important group of conservatives working on our behalf," Cupp said. "For us to sort of slap them on the face and say, we no longer want your services or we're embarrassed by you and ashamed of you and we'd like to put you in the back of the tent just felt really dismissive and disrespectful."

Sen. Marco Rubio said at CPAC that the Republican Party doesn't need new ideas. If the Republican Party wants to stick to the old ideas of marginizing gays, women and brown people than they can expect to keep losing elections. The Democratic Party will take the voters that the Republican establishment casts aside.

Update: when Republicans have to defend their position on gay marriage by saying they are not bigots, you know they are losing the argument. Case in point is Marco Rubio.

"Just because I believe that states should have the rights to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot," Rubio said during his Thursday speech. While the line drew applause, it was tepid compared to the reaction to his statements on abortion that followed.

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Quote of the Day

"This is the day we remember St. Patrick. Who legend has it drove the snakes out of Ireland. Unfortunately, too many of them went to Wall Street."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in (Southie) South Boston.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bill Nelson Urges Donor Disclosure

Sen. Bill Nelson urged the FCC to use its legal power to force the disclosure of donors behind PACs.

As the result of a Supreme Court decision, we have been beset upon in the political sphere with an avalanche of undisclosed, unlimited money," Nelson said during a Senate oversight hearing of the FCC, referring to the court's Citizens United decision.

Nelson noted that FCC regulations currently require TV broadcasters and cable providers to "fully and fairly disclose the true identity" of sponsors of ads.

Only one commissioner on the FCC expressed interest in making political action committees disclosing major donors.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not Breaking News: Crist Thinking of Running for Governor

Charlie Crist spoke at the Democratic Women’s Club of Lee County. A reporter asked Crist if he was planning to run. Crist gave his most direct answer yet.

“Well I’m thinking about it, there’s no question about that,” said Crist who added he hasn’t made the big decision yet.

“I haven’t reached any conclusion, I’m just taking the opportunity to listen to my fellow Floridians and give it serious thought,” said Crist.

Crist isn't making the rounds at all these Democratic functions because of a new found love for the donkey party. Crist wants to be governor again. It beats working at Morgan and Morgan. We can expect Gov. Rick Scott to unleash attacks ads on Crist's connection to Jim Greer.


Faces of Our Ancestors

A fascinating look at how the faces of our ancestors changed over the ages.

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Fox and Friends Weirdness

Fox and Friends interviews a Thomas Jefferson impersonator. The surprising thing is that this isn't the strangest thing I have seen on Fox News. Retired Congressman Ron Paul debated a President Obama impersonator. What was Paul's handlers thinking?

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Black Flag - Rise Above

A Black Flag show was crazy and intense back in the day.

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Todd W. Byars Speaks Out Against Charter Schools

Todd W. Byars spoke to the Florida House Committee about the failure of charter schools. Byars has worked as a teacher. Byars currently runs the Computer Dudes, Inc.

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Anti-Stalking Laws in VAWA

Pushing Rope pal Ginger Lee wrote about how Republicans delaying passage of the Violence Against Women Act were endangering from that are being stalked.

Without VAWA, most states won’t recognize a protective order from another state. As it currently stands, attempting to cross state lines safely, and doing so in a way that will allow a protective order to be used if something occurs outside of the jurisdiction of the original order, is a complicated process. The laws vary so greatly from state to state that what may “protect” a person in TN won’t protect a person in SD unless an ‘out of state’ registration is applied for. When applying for an out of state recognition, there are states that will contact the person the protective order is against. For victims trying to “disappear” or get to a safe place outside of the state the order was written, complying with the laws correctly can put them in danger.

Go and read her post.

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Very Interesting Facebook Ad

I saw that Facebook is running an ad for World Cannabis Week on the newsfeed. Needless to say, I was somewhat surprised. I knew that recreational cannabis is now legal in Washington and Colorado. I just wasn't expecting vacation tours. Capitalism at its finest.

More information

Questions about attending World Cannabis Week? Call us, 1(855) MY-420-TOUR, we would love to talk with you! Double occupancy hotel rooms filling fast.

I personally can't stand weed. I do find it amazing that we live in a time where cannibis tours are advertised on Facebook.

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Quote of the Day

"He has such a passion for painting, it's amazing. He's going to go down in the history books as a great artist."

Bonnie Flood, former president George W. Bush's art teacher.

Flood wasn't so kind about Bush's artwork when he started out.

"He started off painting dogs. I think he said he painted 50 dogs," Flood said. "He pulled out this canvas and started painting dogs and I thought, 'Oh my God, I don't paint dogs!"

What I want to know is were these dogs that Bush painted playing poker.

Fox News loves Bush's dog paintings.

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Don Gaetz on the Sequester

Republicans in Congress are more concerned about pleasing conservative media than governing. Republicans on the local and state level have to explain to their constituents why their jobs will suddenly disappear. Case in point is Florida Senate President Don Gaetz.

"What's not debatable is that sequestration has created a sense of uncertaintly and instability in sectors of the Florida economy," Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, said during a speech at the Capitol Tiger Bay Club meeting today.

Gaetz noted there are five military bases in the Panhandle region he represents. Directly and indirectly, the defense and aerospace industries employs thousands of people who are already being fuloughed and could face layoffs, he said.

Republicans have talked about massive budget cutting as creating jobs. Balancing budgets and job creation are not one and the same. Britain used drastic austerity measures after the 2008 crash. The results has been a disaster.

What has British achieved through its austerity? Since Cameron took office in spring2010,unemployment hasn’t budged much past 7.9%. Consumer confidence declined further. And gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services, is below the level when Cameron assumed power.

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Patrick Stewart Wants Violence Against Women to End

Actor Sir Patrick Stewart spoke at the Diplomatic Ballroom at the United Nations. Stewart wants one million men to promise to end violence against women.

"Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States," Stewart said.

Stewart drove the point home by counting to nine. Stewart knows firsthand about assault on women. At the age of 6, Stewart witnessed his father assaulting his mother.

"I became an expert on when to open the door and throw myself between my father's fist and my mother's body," Stewart said.

He said his father "was unable to control his emotions—and his hands."

"My mother did not do anything to provoke my father," Stewart said. "But even if she did, violence is not the answer."

Stewart is asking men to pledge to not commit violence against women. I hereby vow not to commit acts of violence against women.

If you are a woman in Tampa experiencing domestic violence, you can seek help at the Spring.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Tea Party Nation 'Whore' Attack on John McCain

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips sent out a blog post by Cap Black the Hood Conservative titled "John McCain: Hero or Whore." Cap Black disagreed with McCain's attack on Rand Paul's filibuster. I questioned Sen McCain's judgement on the drone program. Cap Black goes over the line bycalling McCain a prostitute.

Another scenario, once accepted by many in the liberty movement; the Tea Party and the GOP, feels McCain cast himself as a political prostitute for Obama for unknown benefits.

Cap Black slut shames McCain with the conspiracy theory of "unknown benefits." Cap Black is also angry that McCain and other Republican senators had dinner with President Obama to discuss the sequester. How dare these Republicans commit the treasonous act of breaking bread with the President of the United States.

The tea party is destroying the Republican establishment. What is worse is Republicans can't compromise with a Democratic president for fear of angering the tea party. The results have been the debt ceiling crisis and the sequester. The madness has to stop for the sake of the country. Unfortunately, it may take a few election cycles to ween the GOP off of the tea party.

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Bernie Sanders Aganst Grand Bargain

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent out a press release stating he will not vote for the grand bargain that President Barack Obama has proposed for the sequester.

Not a Grand Bargain President Obama stepped up efforts to cut Social Security benefits and lower payments for disabled veterans and their survivors. “It’s a horrendous idea. It is totally absurd because for a start, Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit … But it`s not just seniors on Social Security. If you can believe it, this chained CPI [consumer price index] will make devastating cuts for disabled veterans. The men and women who lost arms and legs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the widows of people who were killed in Iraq, it will mean significant cuts for them,” Sanders said Thursday on MSNBC. Obama pushed his “grand bargain” over dinner Wednesday with 12 Republican senators and at lunch Thursday at the White House with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan “The president historically has not been a strong negotiator,” Sanders said. “The fear is he is going to get a deal that will probably not be strong enough on revenue. That does worry some of us.”

It should be noted that Sen. Sanders hinted he was not going to vote for a health care bill without a public option. Sanders ended up voting for the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are likely to vote against any legislation to end the sequester. Harry Reid is going to ask Sanders to swallow his pride and vote for a compromise.

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Write A Caption: David Green

This hunk of burning love is David Green. He is the founder of Hobby Lobby and has 13,000 employees. Green is fighting in the courts to not have Hobby Lobby comply with the Affirable Care Act covering birth control for employees. Jodie Jacobson writes that Green objects for religious reasons.

Green argues that his religious beliefs support his thousands of employees and their families. “’Our family is now being forced to choose … between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,’ Green said … during a conference call. ‘We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.’” (The Oklahoman; September 2012)

Green says the foundation of his business is “honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles.” “‘The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles,’ a statement on the Hobby Lobby website reads, adding that one outgrowth of that is the store is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest.” (CNN; January 2013)

Green and other companies that object to insurance coverage of birth control might as well tell their employees not to have sex. These employees are grown adults. Does Green expect them to abstain from sex if they don't have access to birth control?

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Kevin Beckner Community Event

Hillsborough County commissioner Kevin Beckner is holding a community office hours event. This is a chance for constituents to meet with Beckner.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 10 am-12 pm SouthShore Regional Library 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin, FL 33573 Phone is: 813-672-1152 The meetings are on a first-come, first-served basis. Please take time to stop by and share your ideas and any concerns you have about your County.


My Post on Peter Schorsch's Post on Ben Kirby's Post

Peter Schorsch declares the Florida political blogosphere dead after Benjamin Kirby declared he was retiring from blogging. I am somewhat skeptical about Kirby staying retired. Kirby left the door open for blogging.

And I like to think I'll be back in blog form at some point. It'll probably be different --probably won't be focused on politics, or at least not solely focused on politics.

If you really want to retire, you do what Jim Johnson of State of Sunshine and stop blogging. Johnson still writes the occasional post. He spends most of his free time doing community theatre with the Carrollwood Players. If Kirby is onstage playing Richard III, I might be more convinced about his retirement.

Kirby isn't aware that he contradicted himself in these two paragraphs of his post.

I was listening to NPR the other morning, driving up 66th Street. The subject was something like transitional power in Afghanistan, followed by the impact of sequester, followed by more political news.

After about a mile and a half, I slammed my palm onto the steering wheel and screamed as loud as I could, "Fuck!" Because for as important as all of those stories really are, I could not bring myself to care. Even a little bit.

If Kirby doesn't care he wouldn't have gotten angry. Do you think Kim Kardashian ever slammed her hand after hearing news about Afghanistan?

The Florida blogosphere When I started Pushing Rope the Tampa blogosphere was Rachel Moran, Right-Wing Howler, Tampa Taxi Shots, Out In Left Field and the peanut gallery at Sticks of Fire. These bloggers would post sexist and anti-Islamic missives on their blogs. Moran advocated for beating up homeless people on-camera. I would write about the hate rants on these sites and get attacked. I don't have Schorsch's romantic view on the blogosphere of the past. I happen to think things are better now. There is room for improvement. Bloggers like myself and Litbrit couldn't get readers back in the day. Now we get media attention and win awards.

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Folk Implosion - Natural One

Lou Barlow has been members of the great bands Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. Surprisingly, Barlow's top 40 hit song Natural One would come from his lesser known band Folk Implosion.

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Illegal Camping?

A homeless woman, Annette Stafford, was arrested in Bradenton for illegal camping.

Stafford, who told the officer she had no address, said that she refuses to go to a homeless shelter, according to the report

Stafford has been given several verbal warnings about camping outside, the report states.

Stafford was staying behind the JODAT Law Firm. I can see an arrest for trespassing. Illegal camping is a change used on recreational campers. What might have happened is that Stafford was staying on property not owned by the JODAT Law Firm. The owner or a representative of the property has to lodge a trespassing complaint. If that didn't happen then the law enforcement officer got very creative. People that camp usually have a tent. The Bradenton Herald only mentions Stafford and another person having blankets. That is not camping. That is surviving.

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Quote of the Day

"Rand Paul gave a perfect display of the sick paranoia that drives Tea Party and NRA: Obama is coming to get them. With drones."

Lawrence O'Donnell, on Twitter.

I am not a Rand Paul supporter but Paul has every right to question the legality of the drone program. Congress is suppose to do oversight of the executive branch. O'Donnell is more interested in being the left-wing version of Sean Hannity than being a journalist. O'Donnell was never a journalist. He spent his career on Capital Hill and then working on the television show The West Wing. Unfortunately, mainly of O'Donnell's viewers believe he is a journalist.

Update: O'Donnell's rather harsh assessment of Paul's filibuster. O'Donnell called Paul's action a "stunt" for campaign fundraising.

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

Paul's filibuster is not playing well with the neoconservatives in the Republican establishment. Hawk and drone supporter Lindsey Graham did make this astute observation about Republican senators suddenly loving due process.

“To my Republican colleagues, I don’t remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone, do you?” Graham said. “They had a drone program back then, all of a sudden this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up. What are we up to here?”

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Rachel Burgin's Anti-Abortion Bill

Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview has successfully passed a the horrible anti-abortion HB 277 through the Florida House. The bill would force women and abortion providers to go through needless hurdles. Doctors would be required to inform women of the pain that a fetus feels during an abortion. (Never mind that Republican legislators have no idea what a fetus does or doesn't feel.) There would be a 24 hour waiting period before any abortion. Doctors would have to attend a yearly ethics course. What this course will teach is most likely anti-abortion misinformation. Doctors performing abortions are also required to own an abortion clinic. Imagine if every ER doctor was required to own a hospital.

Text from the bill.

Expands the category of prohibited terminations in Florida, to include those when the fetus has attained viability. Changes the phrase “termination of pregnancy” to “abortion” throughout ch. 390, F.S. Requires physicians to provide information to a woman regarding the ability of a fetus to feel pain after 20 weeks gestational age, prior to her giving informed consent for an abortion. Requires a physician to offer to provide anesthesia or analgesics, if the fetus has attained viability. Requires that informed consent be completed 24 hours prior to a procedure. Requires all abortion clinics provide conspicuous notice on any advertisements that the clinic is prohibited from performing abortions in the third trimester or after viability and requires the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to implement a rule to enforce this provision. Adds new statutory requirements for all abortion clinics and physicians by requiring 3 hours annual continuing education relating to ethics, requiring a physician to own and operate an abortion clinic, and requiring any abortion performed after viability to be performed in a hospital. Transfers the criminal statutory prohibitions found in ss. 797.02 and 797.03, F.S., and conforms them to other changes in the bill. Amends current reporting requirements for facilities that perform abortions to conform to standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Requires AHCA to submit a report, using collected information from abortion clinics or physician’s offices performing abortions, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and also report this information to the Governor and other constitutional officers. Repeals the penalty for Partial Birth Abortions, in ch. 782, F.S., relating to homicide, that conflicts with the criminal penalty in ch. 390 F.S. Provides a severability clause.

The House passed this bill. However there was disagreement on if a fetus feels pain.

...there is also research to suggest that despite the presence of such a physical structure within the fetus, it still lacks the capacity to recognize pain. In a 2005 review of the evidence, the American Medical Association concluded that: pain is an emotional and psychological response that requires conscious recognition of a stimulus. Consequently, the capacity for conscious perception of pain can only arise after the thalamocortical pathways begin to function, which may occur in the third trimester around 29-30 weeks gestational age.

Sadly, this bill will likely pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Rick Scott. Republicans will then wonder why they are losing women voters.

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Michelle Rehwinkel Press Release on Parent Trigger Bill

Florida Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel press release on the Republican parent trigger bill.

“I believe the Florida Legislature should focus on improving public schools, and not giving away parents’ power to for-profit corporations. There are better ways than the so-called parent trigger legislation to improve low-performing schools.

“Florida already has mechanisms in place by which parents and teachers can implement turnaround strategies, including converting a traditional public school to a charter school. The parent trigger bill circumvents that process.

“To address the needs of low-performing public schools and economically disadvantaged students, I call attention to House Bill 1401 by my Democratic colleague, Representative Ricardo Rangel of Kissimmee, that establishes a pilot program for the lowest-performing public schools in this state.

“Representative Rangel’s House Bill 1401 creates a public-private program that would supply wrap-around services to students attending the schools, including but not limited to, tutorial and after-school programs, student counseling, nutrition education, health and dental services, parental counseling, and adult education.”

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Natacha Seijas Slams Charlie Van Zant

Former Miami Dade commissioner Natacha Seijas (R) lit into Florida Rep. Charlie Van Zant. At issue is Van Zant's legislation HB 181. The bill would take away counties rights to impose a living wage for employees of government contractors.

The Miami-Dade laws require major contractors to offer a minimum wage higher than the one set by the federal government and offer their employees health insurance, and to provide victims of domestic violence up to 30 days off without pay to get their lives in order. The county also gives employees who have not been paid for their work a venue to denounce their employers for wage theft.

It is a good law. Which is exactly why Van Zant is trying to have working class people make less money during economicly difficult times. Seijas points out that Van Zant has been doing a poor job of taking care of his constituents in Palatka.

"I don't know how many of you have been to Palatka -- I've been to Palatka," Martinez said. "Palatka happens to be one of the poorest cities in the state of Florida."

There is more.
"Rep. Van Zant from Palatka doesn't think we need any local wage ordinances. Well, God bless Rep. Van Zant," Seijas said, pointing to Van Zant's legislative biography, which says he earned a doctorate in theology from the Western Baptist Theological Seminary in Havana from 1999 to 2001. "He probably thinks everybody in Miami-Dade County should live in poverty just like all those people he saw in communist Cuba."

Seijas really worked Van Zant over in this press conference.

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Holder Letter to Sen. Paul

White House Press Sec. Jay Carney read from a letter Attorney General Eric Holder sent to Sen. Rand Paul. Holder answered a question Paul asked during his filibuster. Does the President have the authority to kill U.S. citizens not engaged in combat operations against America.

Reading from the Holder letter to Paul, Carney said: "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer is no. The answer to that question is no."

It is frustrating that it took so long for Holder to provide an answer. The good thing about the filibuster is that it put the administration on the record. The President has the power to use drones against a foreign invader or terrorist threat on U.S. soil. Whether or not that is a good idea is a discussion we need to have.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House - Ghost

I absolutely loved this song. It moves me in unspeakable ways. In a just world this song would be a classic. In this world Michael Damron plays this song in small clubs across the country and get his music on the radio.

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Faulty Republican Medicaid Logic

Republicans have been feeding this false narrative of the federal government will renege on their commitment for Medicaid funding. The latest to express uncertainty is Florida State Rep. John Wood.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty out there and that just makes me cautious,” Wood said.

Gov. Rick Scott was busted for falsely stating that Florida would pay the bulk of the cost for Medicaid expansion. The truth is that the federal government will pay for the bulk of the cost.

This funding is unlike past efforts to expand Medicaid in that the federal government will pick up the full tab for the first three years. The state gradually has to pick up some costs in 2017 but by 2020 the federal government is still picking up 90 percent or more of the Medicaid tab.

Jonathan Chait made the point that Republicans will make any disingenuous argument to not make a deal with President Obama on the sequester.

If Obama could get hold of Klein’s mystery legislator and inform him of his budget offer, it almost certainly wouldn’t make a difference. He would come up with something – the cuts aren’t real, or the taxes are awful, or they can’t trust Obama to carry them out, or something.

Florida Republicans are using the same bogus rationale that congressional Republicans are using on the sequester. Republicans will argue that the federal government will not cover Florida's Medicaid expenses. Never mind that the federal government covers the majority of Florida's Medicaid cost. This is the logic Florida House Republicans used to vote against Medicaid expansion.

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House of Cardinals

A parody of the Netflix series House of Cards.

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Gallup Poll Shows Support For Raising the Minimum Wage

Via GottaLaff: the Gallup poll finds 71 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.

Raising the federal minimum wage is typically a crowd pleaser when it comes to policy prescriptions, and Obama's proposal to push the rate from the current $7.25 to $9 is no exception. The 71% vs. 27% balance of U.S. public opinion in favor of passing it is convincing, particularly when considering that even half of Republicans are in favor.

In fairness, the Gallup poll has been off the last two presidential elections. However, a USA Today/Pew Research Center showed support for raising the minimum wage at an identical 71 percent. A You Gov poll had a lower number of 62 percent.

President Barack Obama is advocating raising the national from $7.25 to $9.00. House Speaker John Boehner is unsurprising against raising the minimum wage.

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Quote of the Day

"Be bold, be courageous, please support background checks."

Gabby Gifford, former congresswoman, at a 2011 anti-gun violence rally.

Florida State Sen. Maria Sachs has filed the "Universal Background Check Act." All sales of guns would have to be conducted through licenced dealers. The gun dealers would require gun owners to sell their guns through a dealer.

"I am not sold on the idea that this bill is going to pass," said Sachs. "What I am looking forward to, and I'm furious about this as many Floridians are, let's have this discussion."

The sad truth is this bill will never get a floor vote.

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Dolphins Unlikely to Get Tax Subsidy

Dario Moreno, a political science professor conducted a poll of likely Miami-Dade County voters. The question Moreno asked is if voters would support a tax subsidy for stadium improvements for the Miami Dolphins. 73 percent of likely voters said they would not support a subsidy.
"This is toxic to the Legislature, the county commission and the executive," said Dario Moreno, a political science professor who conducted the 1,000 voter survey for a private client.
"There's not one group of likely voter who supports this idea," Moreno said. "Even in County Commission District 1, where the stadium is, people are overwhelmingly opposed."
The Florida legislature is amending a bill for a bed tax. The tax would then have to be approved by a voter referendum. However, the tax may never see the light of day. The Miami-Dade delegation is against tax dollars for stadium improvements. According to Forbes, Stephen M. Ross is the 117th richest man in the world. Ross has the financial resources to lobby the Florida legislature. Which makes me wonder why he doesn't use his own money for improvements like Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik?

Update: The Buzz, a Senate approved $400 million for remodeling of the Miami Dolphins' stadium.

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Question of the Day

Tim Geithner was president of New York Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke was chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2008. President Obama appointed Geithner ad Treasury Secretary. Obama later reappointed Bernanke to the Federal Reserve in 2010. Was this Obama's "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" moment?

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Friday, March 01, 2013

Percy Sledge - Dark End of the Street

This is a soul classic. If you don't like Percy Sledge's version of Dark End of the Street then you need your head checked-out.

NRA Attempting to Reach Minorities

This video looks like something produced by Pajamas Media. The NRA is now trying to reach the black community with its winning anti-Obama pro-gun message. Nothing will win the black community over like bashing President Obama and advocating more guns in urban areas.

The man in the NRA video is Colion Noir. According to TPM, Noir describes himself as a "urban gun enthusiant." Where exactly does a person hunt deer in an uban environment?

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Friday Cat Blogging

Busch Gardens brought some of their cheetahs out to Tropicana Field to run. The purpose was to make an educational film on how cheetahs are an endangered species.

Cheetahs are losing their habitat to humans. Cheetahs often lose their kills to lions and hyenas. Cheetahs are not strong enough to fight off a bigger predator. There are also theories too much inbreeding is causing cheetahs not to have healthy cubs.

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Florida Republicans Voting Against the Violence Against Women Act

This should be used as a helpful reminder to voters. I don't want congressional members of the Florida delegation to duck voting against the Violence Against Women Act. Here is a list of Florida elective officials voting nay on VAWA.

House of Representative

Gus Bilirakis, Ron DeSantis, John Mica, Jeff Miller, Bill Posey, Trey Radel, Tom Rooney, Dennis Ross, Steve Southerland, Ted Yoho


Marco Rubio

Remember this next time you head into the voting booth.

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Quote of the Day

"If I put Harlem Shake video 2gether in Senate who should be in it? Taking suggestions now."

Sen. Marco Rubio.

I'm not going to give Rubio crap for this. I'm sure he is kidding. For the love of God, please tell me he is kidding.