.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NAY!



Who would've thought American Revolution II would be soldiered by politicians up against a clock?

The reelection clock.

Fueled by fed up constituents armed with the vote, the House succumbed to the pressure and chose their own job security over the financial security of Wall Street by Just Voting Nay to the Rescue Plan.

228-208. King George denied. And Nancy Pelosi got caught holding the proverbial tea bag.

Perhaps all national crises should be scheduled one month prior to an election.

What a revolutionary idea.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Where's the Kid?



Canaveral Groves is down one meth lab.

But the actual bust isn't what caught my attention.

The reporting of a young child living on the premises did.

Florida Statute 30.201 is crystal clear regarding the who, what, where, why and how of reporting suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect. Professions charged with mandated reporting are specifically cited in the law.

Law enforcement officers are listed shoulder to shoulder with educators, medical personnel, social workers and other professionals likely to come in contact with children.

Is there a back story here?

Friday wasn't the first time law enforcement came knocking on the front door of this home. One of the men arrested is supervised by probation.

As all parents know, it's fairly hard to hide a child, since most of the time, we're picking up of evidence of such 24/7.

If those regularly visiting the home had knowledge of said child, one would think the old law enforcement radar-as far as the state-assigned responsibility toward children--would reverberate hypervigilance upon each and every visit.

Did these professionals have reason to suspect abuse or neglect, or at the very minimum--endangerment of the child in question?

If so, that's a mandated report to the Florida Abuse Hotline, meaning the Department of Children and Families would've also come knocking on this front door.

There's the off-chance no professionals came across a child living in this environment. These days, people crash and squat and flop from house to house, carrying their kids like backpacks right along with them.

If that's true, one question remains.

How did the P.O. miss that meth lab?

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Frenemizing McCain and Obama



Hey Brevard County!

This weekend is all about being caught between a rock and a hard place.

And that's where mild-mannered moderator Jim Lehrer sat during last night's Presidential debate.

Try as he would, the PBS journalist could not get the two candidates to engage in conversation if his life depended on it.

LEHRER: Respond directly to him about that, to Senator Obama about that, about the -- he's made it twice now, about your tax -- your policies about tax cuts.

(...)

LEHRER: Senator Obama, you have a question for Senator McCain on that?

He soon gave up forcing what was chalked up to be an "exchange debate" where the candidates would actually speak to each other, rather than at each other.

So much for that. Lehrer just couldn't "frenemize" the first debate.

Miss the political theater? Check out Debate Decoder over at washingtonpost.com for a complete bipartisan wrap-up.

What stood out for you, Brevard? What's your take on the debate?

Winner? Loser? Tie?

No harm, no foul?

Or was Jim Lehrer last night's biggest loser?

Talk to Me.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Political Squawk: Will McCain Show?



Will John McCain cross the debate line he himself drew in the sand?

It's a Friday to beat all Fridays. Let's Political Squawk.

Wednesday night, Brian Williams asked McCain what everybody wants to know.

"If you were a betting man, would you bet we'd see you in Oxford, Mississippi tomorrow night?"

John McCain:

"Well, I am a betting man, but I'd like to say I'm very hopeful, I'm very hopeful, that we'll get enough of an agreement tomorrow that I'll be able to make this debate and again I would urge SenatorObama to do what I asked him to do and that's engage in ten town hall meetings and he has never accepted a single request. But I hope to be in Oxford tomorrow night and I'm very hopeful."

I'd lay odds that if tomorrow's exchange was indeed a town hall meeting, McCain would've parachuted into Oxford's best bed and breakfast days ago.

Hey, John.

I've got a question. Or two. Maybe three.

Are you digging your heels in because it's your way or the highway?

Is this yet another stunt?

Or are you simply phobic about debating Barack Obama?

Talk to Me.


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain's Lost It



If his selection of Sarah Palin as VP weren't stunt enough, now John McCain's gone and suspended his campaign.

Pulled his commercials, canceled his appearance on Letterman, closed up shop.

Oh and that Friday night debate thing? Not gonna do it. He'll be too busy infusing a healthy dose of presidential political distraction into the whole Bail-Out for Billions fiasco.

Speaking of distraction, what will McCain do next? Move Election Day to December 4? Train an elephant to cast the first vote? Shave his head?

Shave Sarah Palin's head?

A late author and syndicated columnist once described Texas politics "...as the finest form of free entertainment ever presented."

I only wish Molly Ivins were still around to see the cable version.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feeney's Downhill Lie



Mentioning the name Jack Abramoff in a room full of politicians is the equivalent of yelling FORE! on the golf course. Everyone ducks for cover.

So for Tom Feeney to remind voters of his prior association with the convicted lobbyist via an apologetic I'm human, I made a mistake commercial this late in the game well, that's quite the risky chip shot from a downhill lie.

All I can say is Old Tom must be teed off anxious over the very real potential loss of his congressional seat to Democrat challenger Suzanne Kosmas.

Guess the voting gallery of District 24--a gerrymandered course carved out personally by the then-Speaker of the Florida House destined to be the Congressman who Golfed Scotland 2003--isn't so quick to caddy the incumbent's golf bag this election cycle.

Especially after they all witnessed Feeney waggle about the back nine of Course Abramoff these past five years.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Debate



Ole Miss hosts the first Presidential debate of 2008 this Friday, September 26.

Focus of the debate: Foreign policy and national security.

Let's put you in the moderator's seat.

What questions would you pose to Senator Obama and Senator McCain?

Talk to Me.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Wall Street


My grandmother knew how to stretch a buck.

One way she saved a couple of dimes was by assigning her daughter (my mother) the chore of cleaning the wallpaper.

From what I could gather, she rolled some sort of cleaning dough over the floral design and wiped the surface clean afterwards.

The entire process amazed me, as I had never heard of anyone cleaning wallpaper. Ever. So, I asked the obvious. Why? Why not just buy new wallpaper?

Because that's the way things were. People didn't have much and what they did have, well, they made it last.

My grandparents survived the depression. Both carried lessons learned from hard times with them throughout their lives. Taking care of the family, putting food on the table, taking care of their home--including the wallpaper--was their primary responsibility. Because if they didn't take care of what they had, no one else would.

As the financial markets began to crinkle and peel off Wall Street last week, I pictured my grandparents selecting their wallpaper, hemming and hawing over the expense of covering walls where paint would've worked just as well, bantering back and forth over what the money could better be used for, commiserating that wallpaper was for fancy folks, but didn't they deserve a touch of finery?

And I can just hear my grandmother. Well, we'll just take good care of it. We'll keep it clean. We'll make it last.

Boy, have times changed.

I have to wonder. If the government decided against bailing out those firms that didn't practice the same good judgment and sound financial practice, what's the worst that would happen?

Would everyday middle America be back to cleaning wallpaper?

Or is the whole bail out simply about saving corporate America from the repercussions of keeping a dirty financial house?

Talk to Me.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mark Foley



Hey Brevard County.

This weekend, it's all about power.

The powerful. The powerless.

The FDLE has dropped all state charges against disgraced former Florida congressman Mark Foley.

A leak out of the Justice Department used the announcement as a sort of cover, stating that no federal charges would be filed against the disgraced congressman either.

Foley--whose inappropriate, sexually explicit electronic messages to House pages were splashed across every media outlet in this country and beyond--wrapped himself up in the Speech and Debate clause of the Constitution and refused access to his congressional computers.

That slammed the cover shut on the old hard drive.

Florida Today posted three online articles regarding the closing of the case.

One comment. ONE.

Foley-- the former Co-Chair of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus--who stood alongside John Walsh as George W. Bush signed the Adam Walsh Act into federal law, targeting those convicted of the very acts Foley himself stood accused of committing--barely tapped the keyboard among the local online paparazzi.

But give them Casey Anthony, recently arrested for the third, fourth time (I've lost count) on charges unrelated to her daughter's disappearance?

Over 400 comments and counting.

And we wonder what's wrong with this country.

***

"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back."

--Carl Sagan

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Political Squawk: Herbert Hoover



If it's Friday, it's Political Squawk.

As reported by the International Herald Tribune:

On Monday, as Americans absorbed the news that the venerable investment bank Lehman Brothers had been wiped out, Bush received John Kufuor, the president of Ghana, at the White House. The sun-dappled South Lawn was awash in color that morning, as a full military honor guard and Revolutionary fife and drum band marched across the grass, entertaining the leaders before they exchanged the customary pleasantries.

"Your tenure has been full of events and challenges, some very mind-boggling and hair-raising," Kufuor told Bush, raising more than a few eyebrows. "You are a survivor," the Ghanaian leader told the American president. "And my hope is that history would prove kinder to you."

That evening, after the Dow industrials had plunged 500 points, Bush, his wife Laura and more than 100 of their guests dined on Maine lobster and ginger-scented lamb during a state dinner in the African leader's honor. Then, in their tuxedoes and ball gowns, they repaired to the Rose Garden to watch actors from Disney's "The Lion King" perform a medley of songs under the cool, dark Washington sky.

On Tuesday, with the insurance giant AIG headed for disaster, Bush flew to Texas to inspect hurricane damage. As he flew over the devastation in his helicopter, Marine One, a press helicopter following him adjusted its flight path to allow photographers on board to capture the image of Bush's chopper in perfect alignment with the wreckage below.

On the ground in Galveston, Bush met behind closed doors with state and local leaders, and emerged surrounded by a crowd of them, holding the hand of Galveston's mayor, Lyda Ann Thomas, as he walked past television cameras that his aides kept a safe distance away.

"Mr. President!" a reporter shouted. "What are you going to do about AIG?" Bush looked straight at the cameras and kept walking as he shouted back.

"We're here talking about the people of Galveston, Texas," he said. "They've got a great mayor, and they're working hard."

And so it went, until Thursday, when it became clear that Bush would have to show himself to the public, after the White House press corps had begun agitating to know just what, precisely, the president was doing.


So on Thursday, George spoke.

Two whole minutes.

And then, he was gone.

One hundred and twenty-three days from now, George W. Bush will be gone for good.

Will we survive the final days of his administration?

Talk to Me.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sheriffs Riding Shotgun



Sheriff Jack Parker keeps his word.

Or so proclaims his campaign literature.

After breezing through his seven "promises kept", I began to wonder exactly what 2004 campaign promises he didn't keep...

...and wasn't telling us.

Interesting what's stumbled upon when one's googling for something else.

Back in November 2005, Miami Herald reporter Dan Christensen detailed specifics regarding a connection between several Florida sheriffs and Armor Correctional Health Services, a health care provider contracted to provide medical services to inmates in Florida jails and prisons.

Among the sheriffs identified? Jack Parker.

Funny. I didn't find any of this in his campaign brochure.

And I never found those 2004 "Elect Me!" promises.

The article cited is quoted in its entirety.

***

Private firm has sheriffs riding shotgun

BY DAN CHRISTENSEN, dchristensen@herald.com
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2005

With behind-the-scenes help from sheriffs, including BSO's Ken Jenne,
Broward-based Armor Correctional Health Services is making millions.

***

A year ago, Coconut Creek-based Armor Correctional Health Services was
an upstart in the business of providing healthcare for jail inmates.

The company had formidable political connections but no track record, no active contracts and not a dollar in sales.

But Armor, owned by Miami physician Dr. Jose Armas, has bulked up fast.

Today, with behind-the-scenes help from several current and former
Florida sheriffs, Armor has signed multiyear contracts with Broward,
Brevard and Hillsborough counties worth about $221 million over five
years. A fourth contract, with Martin County, is being finalized.

County sheriffs do their own hiring and set the rules that competing
bidders must follow.

In Broward and Brevard, rules were changed in advance of bids in ways
that helped Armor qualify for contracts.

And in Hillsborough, Armor's bid was millions of dollars higher than
three others. It got a boost from a late decision to eliminate price as a consideration.

Two sheriffs who bypassed Armor said fellow sheriffs have called them
and plugged the company. They identified those sheriffs as Ken Jenne of Broward, Ric Bradshaw of Palm Beach and J.R. ''Jack'' Parker of Brevard.

Ex-Hillsborough Sheriff Cal Henderson told The Herald that Armor hired him as a ''consultant'' shortly after he left office in January.

His duties, he said, have included lobbying sheriffs in at least six
counties -- Marion, Collier, Sarasota, Manatee, Leon and Lee -- where
healthcare contracts were pending or anticipated.

According to company spokeswoman Dana Clay, Armor won the contracts
because of its ability to perform, the value it offered and the
experience of its staff.

''If sheriffs are talking to each other, it's been completely on their own initiative,'' Clay said.

The privatization of medical, dental and mental health services for
prisoners is on the rise across the country as governments seek to cut costs, limit liability and avoid caring directly for an often sickly population, experts say.

LOBBYING QUESTIONED

In Florida, opportunity exists for more rapid growth. The state
Department of Corrections is now seeking bidders for a five-year
contract to provide comprehensive healthcare services to about 18,000
inmates in 13 prisons in South Florida.

Bids for that contract, estimated to be worth about $385 million, will be opened Nov. 29.

While Armor has no plans to go public, Clay said, it has positioned
itself to do so by registering itself and obtaining a trading symbol,
AHSV.

Florida law generally allows public officials to lobby agencies other
than their own.But behind-the-scenes lobbying by sheriffs raises ethical questions, a University of Miami ethicist said.

''The use of surreptitious lobbying that is unknown to the public and
unregulated by the public seems to be both unwise and arguably wrong,'' said Anthony Alfieri, director of UM's Center for Ethics and Public Service.

Three sheriff's offices changed bid specifications for prison healthcare service contracts in ways that helped Armor win.

• In Broward, BSO opened the door for Armor during the bid process by
dropping its requirement that companies have experience providing
healthcare to inmates. Armor had no experience, and was just three
months old, when Jenne awarded the company its first $127 million
contract in October 2004 to provide healthcare services to Broward's
5,000 inmates during the next five years.

And Armor is owned by Armas, who, through his companies and associates, has been a major contributor to Jenne's reelection campaign.

• In Brevard, Armor won a five-year, $19.9 million contract from Sheriff Parker in May, after Parker's office slightly altered the wording in bid specifications about corporate experience. The changes allowed fledgling Armor to qualify by giving it credit for the experience of individual executives.

• In Hillsborough, Armor snagged a three-year, $65 million contract
following a decision late in the process to eliminate price as a
consideration in picking a winner. Three competitors submitted bids that were millions of dollars less than Armor's. The county's detention chief acknowledged in an interview that the decision was ''unusual,'' but it is not illegal.

Two Florida sheriffs who chose not to hire Armor, St. Lucie's Ken
Mascara and Lee's Mike Scott, said other sheriffs attempted to influence them to hire Armor.

Mascara told the Daily Business Review in March that Jenne called him
last year and recommended Armor.

''He said he knew the guy running it and asked if I would entertain
their bid,'' Mascara recalled.

''We were talking. I brought it up,'' Jenne told the Review. ``I told
him our people were very satisfied with them.''But Jenne offered his favorable opinion before Armor had begun work for BSO.

Jenne has not recommended Armor to other sheriffs, his spokesman said, and the sheriff doesn't believe his statements to Mascara amounted to a recommendation of Armor.
Mascara declined to comment.

LOTS OF PHONE CALLS

Lee County's Sheriff Scott said fellow sheriffs, state senators and a
lobbyist for the Florida Police Benevolent Association, James M.
Spearing Jr., peppered him with calls boosting Armor when Lee County bid out a multimillion-dollar jail healthcare contract in May and June.

''You could call it lobbying,'' said Scott who named Palm Beach's
Bradshaw and Brevard's Parker, as well as ex-Hillsborough Sheriff
Henderson as the ones who called him.

Scott said Armor chief executive Doyle Moore also ``suggested I give Ken Jenne a call, too, but I didn't need to. By that time, I'd made up my mind.''

Scott, who chose to keep his county's incumbent provider,
Tennessee-based Prison Health Services, said some sheriffs, including
Jenne and Parker, had helped Armor by lowering corporate experience
requirements in bid documents.

''As a sheriff, you can relax those things and others did,'' said Scott.

Palm Beach Sheriff Bradshaw ''may have talked about this company'' with Sheriff Scott, said Bradshaw's spokesman Paul Miller.

MIND MADE UP?

Bradshaw, who took office in January, is reviewing all contracts in
search of savings, Miller said. The existing jail healthcare contract
with St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services has a clause that
would allow Bradshaw to opt out early and seek new bids, Miller said.

In September, The Palm Beach Post reported that Bradshaw had sent a team of Armor executives into the jail to review CMS's operations. Sheriff Scott thinks Bradshaw had already made up his mind on a successor''I talked with Ric at length. It was my understanding he was going to shut it down and go with Armor,'' said Scott.

An aide to Brevard Sheriff Parker, Tom Jenkins, acknowledged that Parker talked with Scott about Armor. ''He remembers it more as a reference report on our experience up to that point,'' Jenkins said.

But Armor didn't start work in Brevard until July 1 -- after Scott's
decision.

Jenkins said the bid was modified not to benefit any particular company, but ``to allow companies with experienced personnel to be considered.''

''Nobody asked for it,'' Jenkins said.

Postscript

--Former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne resigned and pled guilty to federal corruption charges involving tens of thousands of dollars he allegedly received from sheriff's office contractors and employees. Sheriff for nearly a decade and a former Democratic state senator whom many thought might rise to governor, Jenne pled guilty to one count of mail-fraud conspiracy and three counts of income-tax evasion in federal court. He admitted accepting more than $151,625 in improper payments and services from Sheriff's Office contractors — including money funneled through his secretaries.

Jenne was sentenced to a year and a day and is scheduled for a Sept. 29 release.

He gets his law license back after five years.

--Dr. Jose Armas--the owner of Armor--donated to a series of Republican state candidates, including Governor Charlie Crist.

That is significant, because Crist just appointed Ana Viamonte Ros as the state’s first Surgeon General. Where did Viamonte Ros work?

Viamonte-Ros 50, of Coral Gables, manages Clinical Operation Support at Armor Correctional Health Services in Coconut Creek, Florida. She is the author of numerous publications in the areas of mental health, radiology and family health.


Talk to Me.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leadership



Perhaps the best way to open a discourse about leadership is to begin with what it is not.

Leadership is not a sound bite.

Or several sound bites strung together in some semblance of a speech.

Although Americans are over-the-moon star-struck over celebrity, leadership is not about popularity.

Leadership is about effectiveness. And as noted by Fred Fiedler and Martin Chemers, co-authors, Improving Leadership Effectiveness, "The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization."

Corporate America shows no mercy when it comes to profit loss. (I can only imagine the number of heads that will roll over the latest financial free-fall). With this country in a recession (depression?), if the United States had been a Fortune 500 company, a shake-up in leadership would've happened long before Freddie and Fannie hit the skids.

Or Lehman Brothers. Or Merrill Lynch.

But as a people--led by those we employ, yet cannot fire at will--the ousting of those who prove ineffective is limited to mid-term or general elections. As voters caught between a rock and a hard place anywhere from two to four years, how do we wade past the rhetoric, the sound bites and the out and out expensive lies to hire competent, effective political leaders?

Talk to Me.

***
"An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success."

--Stephen Covey, Principle-Centered Leadership

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Bull


Back in the day, my friends and I spent many a no-money-fun night sitting in the parking lot of Sarno Plaza, playing the "Remember the Store" game.

Our recollection of businesses long gone went a little something like this. Army Navy was there. Remember Fulmer's Drugs, next door to Publix? My dad used to send me there to buy him cigarettes. Yeah, he'd just write a note to the pharmacist and it was OK. No, Exotica Gardens was located where the Golden Cue is now and Mac's was a gas station. Remember, a dead lady was found outside one night, under a truck...

Judging by my recent visit to Melbourne Square, it's high time to resurrect the game. In this version, listing the names of Food Court fast food joints gone bankrupt will be the object. After tiring of recalling the destruction of the small business dream, players can sit back and toast a lemonade in remembrance of Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers--two mighty storefronts of the financial sort--that once stood tall on Wall Street.

Funny thing about the economic downturn. It's just so darn noticeable.

But no worries. John McCain is calling out the street sweepers. "Our economy, I believe, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times, so I promise you: We will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street."

Sounds like a bunch of bull to me.

Better grab a shovel.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Palin Fastball



Hank Aaron didn't worry much about the fastball.

"They couldn't throw it past me," he said. "None of them."

Wish I could say the same about Brevard County residents.

Wrapped up with criticizing each other's stance on Sarah Palin, the fastball of distraction zinged right past us, taking our eye off the ball of local politics.

Strike One: Governor's office probes Ford

Strike Two:
Hughes pleads guilty in suspended-license case

Strike Three: These "bad boys" are our only choices for the office of Property Appraiser.

With these two on base, are We, the People "out" here at home?

Talk to Me.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

I usually don't post on Sunday, but this is too funny (and accurate) to wait until Monday.

Her accent, her policies, her "readiness" to sit one heartbeat away from the Presidency...

....her ability to see Russia from her house....

Tina Fey nails Sarah Palin...with a little help from Amy Poehler as Hillary .

Enjoy.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

What's Your Palin Name?


Hey Brevard County!

While Sarah McCain takes a break from aerial hunting wildlife to recover from shooting herself in the foot during her interview with Charlie Gibson, let's have a bit of fun at her expense.

Because anyone who would permit hunting from up high, deserves to be thrown off her high horse.

Soon to be a standard among the games played at baby showers, let's play "What would your name be if Sarah Palin was your mother?"

Enter your name over at the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator and post back your new alias.

I'll start.

Clip Dragon Palin.

It's no Buffy or Biff, but I like it.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Political Squawk



Charlie Gibson landed the interview with Sarah Palin, but it's the Anchorage News asking the hard questions of their home girl.

"There's no polite way to say it: Sarah Palin has been hiding out from hard questions. (...) The nation deserves to hear Palin's unfiltered answers to serious questions."

For Alaska. For the rest of the nation.

Nine questions for Sarah.

• You present yourself as a Republican maverick who took on your own party's corrupt political establishment. In November's election, your party is running an indicted U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, who is awaiting trial on charges he accepted more than $250,000 of unreported gifts from the state's most powerful lobbyist. Will you vote for his opponent? Will you urge Alaskans to help you change Washington and vote him out of office? If not, why not?

• Sen. Ted Stevens' trial is still pending; he has declined to say whether he would accept a pardon from President Bush before Bush leaves office in January. Do Alaska voters deserve an answer to that question before they cast their vote for or against Stevens in November? What is your position on a president pardoning a public official before a jury has ruled on guilt or innocence?

• Alaska Congressman Don Young appears to have won his Republican primary, even though you endorsed his opponent. Will you vote for your fellow Republican Don Young, who has spent over $1 million on legal fees without telling his constituents what sort of legal trouble he is in?

• Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature's investigation into Troopergate?

• In spring of 2004, the Daily News reported that you cited family considerations in deciding not to try for the U.S. Senate: "How could I be the team mom if I was a U.S. senator?" What was different this time as you decided to run for vice president?

• As governor of Alaska, you have not pushed for laws or regulations that put your personal views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creationism into public policy. As vice president, will you push to outlaw abortion, restrict same-sex marriage and require the teaching of creationism?

• If you were a fully qualified vice-presidential candidate from the get-go, why did you wait more than 10 days to face reporters?

• McCain spokesman Rick Davis told Fox News the media didn't show you enough "deference." How much deference do you expect to get from Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez?

• You have said victory is in sight in Iraq. In July 2007, when you visited Kuwait, you said, "I'm not going to judge the surge." In the March 2007 issue of Alaska Business Monthly, you were asked about the surge and quoted saying:

"I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place."

Define "victory" in Iraq? What is the exit plan?

Governor?

Talk to Us.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lipstick on John McCain's Collar



With all that's going on in this country, I can't believe I'm sitting here blogging about lipstick.

And while on the subject of make up, well, what exactly is true and what exactly is....made up?

We all heard Sarah Palin wow her partisan crowd with her comparison of hockey moms to pit bulls wearing lipstick.

Yet when Obama likened McCain's policies to putting lipstick on a pig, the Republicans immediately smeared the Democrat with a bit of Attack and Distract phony outrage.

Lipstick? Did the Senator use the word lipstick? He has called Sarah Palin a pig!

Unfortunately, the GOP forgot to rummage through its own make-up case pre-smear.

John McCain has applied the lipstick phrase to a speech or two himself.



You got lipstick on your collar, John.

Shame on you.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Post-Convention Bounce



All this talk about post-convention bounce got me hopping through election research.

Found some interesting stats over at Wizbang who dug through the Gallup archives in attempt to determine what value a post-convention "bounce" has for a candidate.

Follow the bounce from between pre and post to the actual election result.

1944: Pre-conventions FDR 47, Dewey 45
Post-conventions FDR 47, Dewey 45
[ no bounce ]
Election result FDR 53.4%, Dewey 45.9%

1948: Pre-Conventions Dewey 49, Truman 38
Post-conventions Dewey 48, Truman 37
[ no bounce ]
Election result Truman 49.6%, Dewey 45.1%

1952: Pre-Conventions Eisenhower 59, Stevenson 31
Post-Conventions Eisenhower 50, Stevenson 43
[ Stevenson 21 point bounce ]
Election result Eisenhower 55.2%, Stevenson 44.3%

1956: Pre-Conventions Eisenhower 61, Stevenson 37
Post-Conventions Eisenhower 54, Stevenson 41
[ Stevenson 11 point bounce ]

Election result Eisenhower 57.4%, Stevenson 41.2%

1960: Pre-Conventions JFK 50, Nixon 44
Post-Conventions JFK 47, Nixon 47
[ Nixon 6 point bounce ]
Election result JFK 49.7%, Nixon 49.6%

1964: Pre-Conventions Johnson 76, Goldwater 20 (yes, 20 percent support)
Post-Conventions Johnson 65, Goldwater 32
[ Goldwater 23 point bounce ]
Election result Johnson 61.0%, Goldwater 38.5%

1968: Pre-Conventions Nixon 40, Humphrey 38
Post-Conventions Nixon 43, Humphrey 28
[ Nixon 13 point bounce ]
Election result Nixon 43.4%, Humphrey 42.7%

1972: Pre-Conventions Nixon 53, McGovern 37
Post-Conventions Nixon 61, McGovern 33
[ Nixon 12 point bounce ]
Election result Nixon 60.7%, McGovern 37.5%

1976: Pre-Conventions Carter 53, Ford 36
Post-Conventions Carter 51, Ford 40
[ Ford 6 point bounce ]
Election result Carter 50.1%, Ford 48.0%

1980: Pre-Conventions Reagan 37, Carter 34
Post-Conventions Reagan 39, Carter 38
[ Carter 2 point bounce ]
Election result Reagan 50.8%, Carter 41.0%

1984: Pre-Conventions Reagan 53, Mondale 39
Post-Conventions Reagan 56, Mondale 37
[ Reagan 5 point bounce ]
Election result Reagan 58.8%, Mondale 40.6%

1988: Pre-Conventions Dukakis 47, GH Bush 41
Post-Conventions GH Bush 48, Dukakis 44
[ GHW Bush 10 point bounce ]
Election result GHW Bush 53.4%, Dukakis 45.7%

1992: Pre-Conventions Clinton 56, GH Bush 36
Post-Conventions Clinton 51, GH Bush 42
[ GHW Bush 11 point bounce ]
Election result Clinton 43.0%, GH Bush 37.5%

1996: Pre-Conventions Clinton 53, Dole 36
Post-Conventions Clinton 53, Dole 37
[ Dole 1 point bounce ]
Election result Clinton 49.2%, Dole 40.7%

2000: Pre-Conventions Gore 47, GW Bush 46
Post-Conventions Gore 47, GW Bush 45
[ Gore 1 point bounce ]
Election result GW Bush 47.9%, Gore 48.4%

2004: Pre-Conventions Kerry 49, GW Bush 47
Post-Conventions Kerry 48, GW Bush 47
[ GW Bush 1 point bounce ]
Election result GW Bush 50.8%, Kerry 48.3%

2008: Pre-Conventions Obama 45, McCain 45
Post-Conventions McCain 48, Obama 45
[ McCain 3 point bounce ]
Election result: ?

What do these numbers tell us?

In most elections, the candidate ahead when the conventions began won the election, but in 2000 and 2004 the election winner was behind in the polls both before and after the conventions. It is all but impossible to know if there is significance this year in McCain's sudden lead after the convention, the first time since 1988 that a candidate went into the party conventions trailing but came out from the conventions with a clear lead.

And in my humble opinion, Election 2000 was a scratch.

Read more about the History of Bounce over at Wizbang.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Budget Blues



The ousting of term-limited county commissioners Jackie Colon and Helen Voltz from further public office may have caught the attention of their colleagues left behind.

The Brevard County Commission is seeking your opinion of the proposed 2008-2009 operating budget, which reportedly includes "decreased services and--generally speaking--lower property taxes for residents."

The phrase "generally speaking" is often code for "make your voice heard".

A time has been set aside for public comments.

The Commission's first hearing on the budget is 5:30 p.m. today in commission chambers.

Can't make it? The second hearing is scheduled September 23.

If life has a way of prohibiting your attendance--after this last primary--I'll just bet your area commissioner will gladly accept citizen input via email.

Click open the slow-to-load tentative budget here.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

John Tobia's Best Vett



The vetting continues....locally.

John Tobia is under fire by the local press for winning the Republican nod for the House District 31 seat.

While Jason Steele and Ron Stump publicly fisticuffed, Tobia steered clear of the fight and put his feet to the street. Via tried and true grassroots campaigning, the candidate emerged above the fracas as the surprise center ring winner, leaving his two fellow opponents battled and bruised on the ropes.

The success of the quiet Tobia politicking style has led to a post-win scrutiny that now seems a bit after the fact. Additionally, the mention of his write-in opponent--Carol Drake-- in Sunday's Florida Today exposé of Tobia seems a bit like a premeditated journalistic gotcha. (Case in point. Andy Anderson was all but sworn in as a County Commissioner after his recent win, although he too faces write-in candidate Daniel Reyes, who remained unnamed in the post-primary news FT coverage).

Sour grapes or justified Monday morning quarterbacking by a press caught off-guard?

Talk to Me.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sarah's Past Catching Up



Hey Brevard County.

Let's end the week the way we started. With Sarah Palin.

For those who beat the press up regarding their failure to call out John Edwards on his extra-marital affair, better buckle up.

I don't think the media will make the same mistake twice. Especially after being dissed last week by the hockey mom who apparently has a past.

The "other-ahem-party" filed a motion September 4th to have his divorce records sealed.

Denied.

Yep.

McCain's choice for VP just keeps getting better and better.

What could possibly be next?

Talk to Me.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Political Squawk: The Party's Over


It's Friday. Time to get on your Political Squawk.

Sarah Palin --crowned Mrs. Congeniality of the Republican Party this past week-lit up a convention hall full of delegates determined to like her, really like her.

The impact was no Beatles playing Ed Sullivan live, but nonetheless McCain's VP tucked the Party Faithful neatly into her back skirt pocket with a one heckuva a snarky speech.

But the party's over. Personality aside, it's time to talk policy.

If you want to vote for a team that would give tax breaks to the most wealthy Americans, vote for McCain-Palin.

Book-banning on your list of fun things to do? Vote McCain-Palin.

Think global warming is spooky science?

You got it. Vote McCain-Palin.

Supported the "Bridge to Nowhere" until the whole concept of earmarks grew politically unpopular? Vote McCain-Palin.

Refuse to believe that pro-life is indeed a choice?

Haven't had enough of unethical politicians?

Drill, Baby, Drill! for Oil! Oil! Oil! a bumper sticker on the back of your Hummer?

Believe Iraq "is a task that is from God"?

Vote McCain-Palin.

Think this post reads like a Stephen King horror novel?

Still believe in an America where anything and everything is possible?

Do you want a nation for us all?


Vote Obama-Biden.

Take your country back.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Hockey Mom



Ever since John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his VP choice, I can't shake the feeling of having seen this quirky plot before.

The realization hit me last night during Palin's speech.

The movie Fargo, a wacky dark comedy about best laid plans gone bad.

Instead of playing the pregnant police chief, Palin's playing a cameo of herself.

A hockey mom governor.

She scored a couple of good shots last night.

What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?

Lipstick.

The rest of Palin's speech fell flat, using her prime time moment to check Barack Obama and rally on John McCain, missing the moment to define herself past the perception that she is uniquely unqualified to lead this country if forced to do so.

Palin scored a personal laugh-out-loud moment with me. Something to the effect of we want to "...leave this nation better than we found it."

Which shouldn't prove too difficult after George W. Bush unless of course, a McCain-Palin administration finally lands the entire country in the wood-chipper.

(Which is where I'll end up if forced to listen to four years of of her Northern Exposure twang).

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hypocrisy 101

"Self-righteous people can talk themselves into forgetting they are part of a civilization. They can then feed on that culture, bringing it down."

-- David Brin


"On the pinhead front, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The sister of Britney says she is shocked. I bet.

Now most teens are pinheads in some ways. But here the blame falls primarily on the parents of the girl, who obviously have little control over her or even over Britney Spears. Look at the way she behaves.

And by the way, the mother, Lynne Spears, has reportedly already sold pictures of the upcoming baby of her 16-year-old for a million bucks. Incredible pinhead."

--Bill O'Reilly, FOX News

CALLER: "Would you tend to think that a family in this position,
though, wouldn't you think that there would be a more watchful eye as
a parent to be watching over these kids so this doesn't happen to
them?"

RUSH: "I would certainly hope so, but it's long past time for this to
happen. The parents here are the culprits!"

--Rush Limbaugh

"It`s a story of a young, unmarried woman, teenager really, who suddenly, quite unexpectedly, found herself with child. If we were only talking about the Virgin Mary, but no, no, we`re talking about Britney Spears`s 16- year-old sister, Jamie Lynn.

Jamie Lynn Spears, the star of a show on the children`s network Nickelodeon, has confirmed now that she`s 12 weeks pregnant. Oh, good for you. You go, girl. The father of her child is her boyfriend of two years, and they said in the paper today that it was, quote, "a shock to both of them".

Really? That`s weird. That`s usually what happens when you put those two parts together. But don`t worry. They`re good church-going people. They met at church, I hear.

Whether it`s a pregnant teen or Jamie Lynn or the custody of her no- show rehab relapse sister Britney Spears, there seems to be a disconnect between the values that most of us believe are important and the actions of our public figures and in some cases our own families."

--Glenn Beck

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Political Kids


The latest 4-1-1 off the campaign trail is not about issues, but an issue nonetheless..

Bristol Palin is pregnant. Before all of America.

After listening to the grist of the rumor mill--the slimy ridiculous (Sarah Palin bearded a pregnancy for her daughter)--followed by the zing of unexpected reality--(Psych! Couldn't happen. My daughter's already five months pregnant) --it felt as if we were collectively standing outside the Palin home with our mugs pressed against the windows, peering into a place where we have no business being.

Newsweek teetered the balance between parenting and politics with it's own peek behind the curtains, exploring the now very public frontier Palin is blazing as a mother seeking higher office while in the midst of raising kids.

Interestingly enough, the GOP VP wannabe is a supporter of abstinence education.

The disconnect between mother's beliefs and daughter's actions immediately reminded me of that old saying about the kids of teachers and preachers. They're the kids who get into the most trouble. Hit with a double whammy of breaking loose from parents who hold a perceived standing in the community is teenage rebellion squared. These kids fight tooth and nail against everything the parent stands for.

Bristol Palin is a teacher/preacher kid. With a kid on the way.

And apparently, we have all invited ourselves to the 17-year-old's baby shower.

Is there no line we won't cross?

Talk to Me.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

The Palin Family



Take my mother-in-law, please.

That must be what McCain VP choice Sarah Palin is thinking right about now.

Although she respects her daughter-in-law's passion and focus, mom-in-law Faye Palin stated, "I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative. Well, she's a better speaker than McCain."

Ouch.

Faye went on to say she remains undecided on just who will get her vote for President.

Don't cha know, the elder Mrs. Palin is a Barack Obama fan.

Read what the rest of the hometowners think of Governor Sarah here.

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