Friday, January 30, 2009

Political Squawk: Witness

With the closing of the prison at Guantánamo Bay all the squawk last week, an excerpt from OUTLAWED--a film produced by WITNESS, in partnership with more than a dozen other human rights groups around the world--is hot on the blogging circuit.

As overheard at Boing Boing...

"...we are introduced to Binyam Ahmed Mohamed, an Ethiopian man in his thirties (ACLU bio and a detailed report about his case here). Mr. Mohamed survived extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture by the U.S. government working with various other governments worldwide.

The story of what he endured, which included horrific sexual violence during interrogation, was painful for us to watch in the studio, when we were editing this preview piece. But all of us on the BB Video team felt like this was an incredibly important story for the world to hear, and we were grateful for the ability to draw greater attention to the story at this time.

Speaking on my own behalf here: What happens with Guantánamo and the legal process surrounding the men still held there should matter to each person who reads this blog post. The safety of our nation does not require us to abandon universally-recognized principles of human rights. Torture and disappearances do not make America more secure.

Paraphrasing what one person from WITNESS told us in email -- if more Americans realized they live in a nation where, on a street corner in the town where you live, any one of us could be picked up, pushed into an unmarked van, then moved around detention centers all over the world, tortured, without a charge or a word to your family, surely there would be more outcry."

Warning. Although the footage is painstakingly edited by Boing Boing, the descriptive excerpt is graphic. Rather than embed the video, I will post only the link here, allowing you the reader the choice as to whether to view or not. For those choosing to pass, read the back story here.

Today, it's your forum.

Talk to Me.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tom Jenkins

Just when we thought it safe to go back into the county political waters, Peggy Busacca grabs the severance package and runs, the commissioners accept her resignation, then promptly vote 4-1 to open negotiations to rehire former Brevard County Manager Tom Jenkins.

Commissioner Andy Anderson cast the dissenting vote and quite possibly, made the understatement of the evening. "The last three months, I've been lobbied by lots of special interests to get Tom Jenkins in here," Anderson said. "So, that already sends the red flag that there's motives."

Jenkins worked as Brevard County Manager for 17 years under the county commission who hired Jack Parker as Public Safety Director back in 1997. Once elected as Sheriff, Jack hired Tom as his chief administrative officer. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Sheriff Parker has been way quiet since his reelection. But now it looks as if the old he-coon's just been sitting back trying to figure out how best to upend the county commission garbage can.

My guess is Jack's got his eye on $15,000,000 worth of economic stimulus headed this way to nest egg his proposed 50,000 square foot housing expansion to his jail. What's a little influence between old friends, especially when one's seated on the dais?

Time to start throwing eggs back at a county commission with a penchant toward cronyism.

The choice of Tom Jenkins as interim county manager is unacceptable.

Unacceptable. Unacceptable. Unacceptable.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Charlie Crist Saves the Day!

It appears that Governor Charlie Crist and I share a common distaste for the nickel and diming of deaf and blind kids by our state legislature.

With one stroke of his line-item veto pen, $820,732 made it's way back into the coffers of the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.

In fact, the budgets of many programs aimed at providing services to children and families grew a bit fatter once Charlie finished "reviewing" the budget reductions.

And Forever Florida?

Every dime of the
$4 million cut restored.

When cutting any future meat from the bone, Florida lawmakers are best advised to remember that
men in the game are blind to what men looking on see clearly.”

And the man looking on toward higher office is Charlie Crist.

Review the saved here.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Class Size Amendment Targeted

Back in 2002, Florida Tax Watch called Amendment 9--Florida's Initiative to Reduce Class Size--"...a blunder of major fiscal proportions."

The government watchdog group estimated the average annual cost at $2.5 billion-$3.4 billion for the first eight years and $2.5 billion annually. Floridians ignored the financial projections and passed the amendment anyway.

It is of no surprise that the don't-say-they-didn't-tell-you-so costly Class Size Reduction Amendment now finds itself on the FTW short list of Constructive Ideas to Help Florida Address the Budget Shortfall.

Indicating a savings of "...billions over the coming years in construction and operating costs...", the tax watchdog group is recommending to the fiscally weary that a constitutional amendment be proposed to either modify or eliminate the class size reduction altogether.

Parents of children enrolled in a Florida public school, this is about the time to really start banging together the erasers of discontent. For those who sleep soundly with visions of classrooms constitutionally capped at mandated limits, this is a wake up call.

Contact your state representatives and put your voice behind your tax dollars.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Pixie Dust in the Stimulus Wind

A caller to Talk Radio recently expressed hope that her home county of Hillsborough would not receive any of the expected economic stimulus dollars. When asked to explain, the woman volunteered that she fully expected local leaders to spend the money unwisely.

After a review of the Brevard County project "wish list", I'm inclined to agree with her.

With a wave of the fund-seeking wand, the Brevard County jail (surprise, surprise) hopes to be granted $15,000,000 worth of financial wishes in order to expand housing by 50,000 square feet. Considering one absolutely positively very much needed inmate tent was utilized as a dog kennel, the request is enough to make Tinkerbell blush.

Because of the state of our economy, We, the Taxpayers have a chance to conduct business smarter by revisiting the way Florida presently conducts business. Which means digging past all the pixie dust to divine how jails and prisons became so overcrowded in the first place.

It's time lawmakers address the underlying reason Florida's correctional facilities are filled to capacity through examination of our state's zero tolerance laws. Until that happens, taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for a Penal Field of Dreams.

If you build it, the state will fill it

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Political Squawk: By Executive Order

Bing. Bam. Boom.

The new guy works fast.

Promising during his campaign to quickly overturn any Bush executive order not passing constitutional muster, Barack Obama has issued six executive orders of his own in the first two days of his Presidency. (At this rate, all 279 EOs issued by the previous administration could quite feasibly be overturned during Obama's first 100 days).

The folks over at Slate issued its own Top Ten to Toss list and so far, they're two for ten.

Which is the next EO to go the way of the inkwell via the slash of an Obama pen?

Talk to Me.

No. 1: Gutting the Presidential Records Act
Executive Order 13233 (PDF)
Nov. 1, 2001

Why it should go: "...Puts a president's interest in secrecy—to prevent embarrassment, inconvenient revelations, whatever—over the public's interest in understanding past events of national import."

Revoked as of January 21, 2009.

Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.


No. 2: Blocking Stem-Cell Research
Executive Order 13435 (PDF)
June 20, 2007

Why it should go: "...Bush's order is diverting funds even from research that could eventually sidestep his ethical concerns; scientists have successfully harvested bone fide stem cells without harming the nascent embryo."

No. 3: Finessing the Geneva Conventions
Executive Order 13440 (PDF)
July 20, 2007

Why it should go: "...the executive order leaves the door open to techniques that the United States would not want used against its own soldiers and so is part of the Bush administration detritus that has damaged the United States' moral authority abroad."
Revoked as of January 22, 2009.

Section 1. Revocation. Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked.


No. 4: Handing the Keys to the Vice President
Executive Order 13292 (PDF)
March 25, 2003

Why it should go: "...It both expands the scope of secrecy and the powers of the vice presidency."


No. 5: Free Rein in Iraq
Executive Order 13303 (PDF)
May 28, 2003

Why it should go: "...Given the many concerns over and waste by U.S. contractors in Iraq, revoking their blanket legal protection when oil is on the table is justified."


No. 6: Going After Troublemakers in Iraq
Executive Order 13438 (PDF)
July 17, 2007

Why it should go: "...The Fifth Amendment has a few interesting things to say about the seizure of property without due process—namely, you can't do it. While this is far from the first time the Bush administration has trampled constitutional rights in the name of national security, this order, if broadly interpreted, could target war protesters in the United States."
No. 7: Eyes and Ears in the Agencies
Executive Order 13422 (PDF)
Jan. 18, 2007

Why it should go: "This order mandates the designation of a presidential appointee in each federal agency as "regulatory policy officer," with authority to oversee the rule-making process...Repealing the order would be a step toward scrubbing the agencies of the stench of political tampering."


No. 8: Letting Religious Groups Call the Hiring Shots
Executive Order 13279 (PDF)
Dec. 12, 2002

Why it should go: "... Obama (HAS) pledged to continue federal funding of faith-based programs, but (HE) has promised that groups taking the money won't be able to make social-services hires on the basis of religion."


No. 9: The Alternative-Fuel Fix-All
Executive Order 13423 (PDF)
Jan. 26, 2007

Why it should go: "...the order requires federal agencies to cut petroleum-based-fuel usage by 2 percent annually through 2015 while increasing alternative-fuel use by 10 percent each year. The order also requires agencies to reduce overall energy consumption and purchase more hybrid vehicles. On the face of it, Bush's directive seems like a step in the right direction. Officials in California, however, were quick to question the policy's ecological bottom line. Producing alternative fuels, they argued, can result in a large spike in greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly when harvesting resources like oil shale and coal. There's also doubt that the alternative-fuel industry simply has the capacity to meet the order's requirements. As the Washington Post editorialized, "Where might 20 billion alternative-fuel gallons come from?"

No. 10: National Security Presidential Directive 51
Not technically an executive order, but chosen as #10 by Slate readers.
Oct. 3, 2008

Why it should go: "...The public part of NSPD-51 grants broad authority to the president in a time of emergency...To be sure, cataclysmic emergencies may call for strong, centralized leadership in their immediate aftermath. But any responsible policy for such a scenario should be both transparent and short-lived, focused on the speedy restoration of checks and balances on executive power."

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Congress In the House

More than 500 bills have been introduced in the House and more than 200 in the Senate in the 111th Congress. Listed below are a few examples. Which bill has the best chance of becoming a law?

Talk to Me.

H.R. 15 creates a nationalized system of free health care.

H.R. 414, the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, requires cameras in cell phones to make an audible sound to alert others (such as in locker rooms) when a picture is taken.

H.R. 346 repeals the automatic payraises Congress receives.

H.R. 390 addresses "college football playoff games" while H.R. 187 says let Cubans play American baseball.

H.R. 227 states that human life begins at fertilization.

H.R. 254 moves voting to the weekend.

H.R. 113 requires anything funded by an earmark to be audited. Perhaps things like H.R. 202, which creates a "Museum of Ideas."

H.R. 116 ends political "robocalls" if you are on the "Do Not Call" Registry, while Senate bill S. 30 wants there to be caller ID honesty.

H.R. 126 would limit citizenship at birth only to those who have at least one parent who is a citizen or legal resident. H.R. 160 would limit Social Security benefits to only legal citizens or residents.

H.R. 155 would ban taxes on unemployment benefits for two years, while H.R. 162 bans taxes on Social Security benefits.

H.R. 87 says "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is," and invites those who like to pay taxes to voluntarily pay extra taxes. Or how about just a "Fair Tax" as called for in H.R. 25.

H.R. 70 would make it a hate crime to display a noose with the intent to intimidate. And H.R. 40 explores paying reparations to African-Americans.

S. 213 would create an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.

And Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is back in the swing of things. He's introduced S. 151, a bill to protect Indian arts and crafts.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Every Dogma Has Its Day

On Inauguration Day, I empathized with hardcore conservatives on one issue.

Although the transition of power in this country proves peaceful, it's hard to let go of the end of the rope once your team is pulled over the line.

Any affinity quickly diminished as I watched the usual suspects assemble high up in the inaugural balcony, their neocon dogma yanked flat on its political face by a country tired of leaders who played tug-of-war with the truth.

As President Barack Obama so eloquently stated, "...Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

I'm fired up and ready to go.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Audacity of Hope

Oseola McCarty worked as a washerwoman her entire adult life.

As she washed, dried and folded other people's clothes, this Mississippi native dreamed of attending college.

She never achieved her dream.

But because of Oseola, someone else did.

Over the course of many years, Oseola McCarty managed to squirrel away $150,000 dollars from her pay as a domestic. She presented the money to the University of Southern Mississippi with a simple, "I want to help somebody's child go to college. I just want it to go to someone who will appreciate it and learn."

Her gift was used to create a scholarship for needy African-American students.

Although Oseola died just four years later at age 91, her unselfish act was recognized and celebrated many times over. I'm happy to say that Miss McCarty was awarded an honorary doctorate before her passing.

On this day, as Barack Obama is sworn into office as our nation's 44th President, I'll think of the audacious Oseola McCarty. And of how she gave someone hope.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Political Squawk: Going Down with the Ship

Thursday's news cycle featured two men who went down with their ship.

US Air pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III landed crippled Flight 1549 in the Hudson River and stayed aboard, walking the aisles until certain all passengers had safely disembarked.

U.S. President George Bush walked the aisle to the podium one final time, offering a birds-eye viewpoint of decisions made over his eight year tenure as captain of the ship called America.

Judgments made by both men placed the safety of those aboard their ship first and foremost. In one case, the decision proved both immediate and successful, while the other proved more painful and prolonged.

Americans are survivors, with long memories regarding the impact of decisions made on the people's behalf and the resulting aftermath.

Essayist Stephen Spender once said, "History is the ship carrying living memories to the future."

May we never forget.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Teachers' Contract

Collective bargaining is all about concessions.

Anyone who is a teacher, has worked as a teacher, is friends with a teacher or is related to a teacher knows full well the "work" extends far past an eight hour day. Most remain on campus long past student dismissal. That being said, more than a few years and one superintendent back, teachers agreed to extend their workday by thirty minutes in exchange for a salary increase because doing so made sense.

These days, the debate is all about reinstating the 7.5 hour work day in lieu of a salary increase because the money well has run dry. The concession would serve as a morale booster to those very same teachers who will continue to work far past the blast of the factory horn signaling time to go home.

Meanwhile, a few citizens--who apparently never met a teacher and apparently learned to read by osmosis--will bleat loud and long and clear... great idea, now We, the Taxpayer get to pay these "part time workers" to leave work thirty minutes earlier.

I think both the union and the School Board can do better. Brevard Federation of Teachers President Janet Eastman all but alluded to such. "I think we have an opportunity to be creative and show this state that Brevard is progressive..."

Time to think outside the box.

Brevard County Schools faces $10 million additional cuts this year and over $40 million for school year 2009-2010. That money is coming from somewhere. A 7.5 hour day won't save a penny.

But a four day school week would. The costs saved by closing buildings alone one extra day a week would save plenty.

Paint John and Jane Q. Public ecstatic because all those overpaid "part time workers" working a ten hour day would finally pass the blue collar work ethic muster.

Reportedly, Florida statutes mandate a 180 day school year, but left wiggle room regarding how best to use the hours within those days.

It's a doable economically smart idea which involves the entire community without taking money from the students.

A four day school week is a concession We all could agree upon.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pinball Wizards

Back in the day, the owner of the local ice cream shop got innovative and renovated the back storage area into a game room. This stroke of genius gathered teens together after school and on weekends to play pinball and basically, hang out. Parents being parents soon grew leery of their kids spending so much free time out behind Sarno Plaza and worked actively (and successfully) to shut the place down.

Fast forward forty years. Former game roomers are gathering together again, this time at one of the many adult arcades springing up throughout Brevard County. No longer housed out back where a delivery truck could run a gamer down, electronic gaming is becoming "must do" entertainment for the once pinball proficient. And no more dollars spend on a double chocolate scoop with sprinkles.

The lunch is free.

It gets better.

This decade around, instead of shutting down the fun, parents are sitting down alongside their now grown-up "kids" to play.

Life is sweet.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Gummi Bear Tax

You know, it's bad enough that our state legislature cut Florida's education funding by $650 million. ($480 Million of which was cut from public schools).

But when lawmakers start nickel and diming dollars away from deaf and blind kids, HONESTLY. That's low rent, even in this housing market.

Our elected officials couldn't come up with a tax on gummi bears or something to keep from pulling $820,732 away from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind?

What's next? A tariff on guide dogs?


Blind services lost $239,148. Radio reading services for the blind: $22,298. Close captioning? Oh, see for yourself here. That deduction is listed somewhere among the impending lawsuits.

Ya gotta see it to believe it.

On a bright note, I'm happy to say that our elected officials determined that services to blind babies shall not be reduced.

Stay classy, Florida Legislators.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

What's the Future for Bright Future Scholarships?

What happened to all that lotto money
set aside to enhance public education?

Specifically, the $1.28 billion transferred into the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund by the Florida Lottery fiscal year 2007-2008?

It's gone.

Sources report that last week, the Pre K-12 Budget Committees of both houses stripped the trust fund of all dollars, both lotto and slots.

Bright Futures Scholarships--held in a separate trust fund--are safe for the time being. But bear in mind, what was once considered "politically untouchable" could quite possibly be up for tap.

In other words, this time around the financial merry-go-round, nothing is sacred.

Keep your eyes and ears open for political opportunism. Legislators could use the financial meltdown as a "well, we had to do it" politically correct pretense to reform or suspend the popular scholarship program without fear of voter backlash.

Paying attention yet?


Past attempts to alter or diminish the lottery-funded program have been met with swift and strong protests from parents and students, causing lawmakers to back down. But Florida's budget crisis is so deep that the coming legislative session will be a true test of Bright Futures' resilience. This year, for the third year in a row, the state Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability is offering recommendations on how to cut Bright Futures' costs, such as raising academic-eligibility requirements, making family income a criterion for eligibility and lowering the percentage and fees covered by the program.

All the recommendations would cut costs, while some would also reduce the number of recipients. OPPAGA does not suggest how much higher to raise the academic bar or what percentage of tuition that grants should cover. That would be for lawmakers to decide.

But you can expect a huge public outcry if any lawmaker is brave enough to suggest changes to the program.

Last year, when legislators proposed setting Bright Futures money aside to lure more students into studying math and science, students responded with a letter-writing campaign organized through Facebook that collected nearly 18,000 members within weeks.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Political Squawk: Legislators Pitch Cutting School Salaries

I've been laughing all day over HB 5005A.

The controversial educational funding (or unfunding) bill is all the talk this special session. Guess who is targeted?

School districts.

Here's the gist of the bill. Districts reflecting budgets of what the state considers an emergency level fund balance shall be mandated to cut the salaries of School Board members, administrators and employees (including teachers) until said balance is restored.

The House defines "emergency" as less than 2%.

The funny part?

This bill is up for a third read.

Hey, here's an idea.

As Florida's financial crisis is considered a state of emergency, I suggest cutting the salaries of all legislators who got us in this mess in the first place...

...until the books are back in the black.

For more kicks and giggles, check out the sister bill over on the Senate side.

Deliver the punchline.

Email your state rep or senator and tell them what you think.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Save Our Summers

Funny. Local schools are stripping bulbs from every third light fixture as a nickel and dime battle plan to save a few bucks in these buckless economic times, yet the head honchos have no problem peeking through a Save Our Summers loophole offered by the state to move the 2009-2010 calendar back eight hot August days.

Hummmm. That's the sound of eight extra days of sky-high a/c costs, cooling off steaming buildings likely to remain closed this coming summer to--yes, say it with me one more time--save a few bucks.

But hey. Why stop with eight days? The heck with tradition! Let's move the academic summer altogether! Schedule the lazy days during the crazy hurricane months. Far less worries about makeup days missed during storms. But alas, such a move would impact Florida's High Holy Days, those schools days x'd out for the educational Holy Grail, the FCAT.

Word up to those who find themselves elected as public overseers of educational law, both state and federal. The FCAT is likely to evolve into an accountability measure far different than present under an Obama administration. The be all, end all status of the test for students will hopefully go the way of the abacus and the slate. Teachers may actually find themselves able to turn away from the graven image and do what they love. Inspire kids to learn.

Speaking of kids. Those whippersnappers learn in all sorts of ways, from all kinds of people outside the school building. From their parents during summer vacations, from a Mom or Dad scheduled summer visitations who live outside Florida, from grandparents visited during the hazy days or aunts and uncles and cousins gathered together for annual family reunions. As most of this country's schools still begin the academic calendar after Labor Day, many of these mentioned events are scheduled during the month of August.

Which brings us back to Save Our Summers. The grassroots movement of parents, educators, students and school administrators were concerned enough about the negative impact of early August start dates, all stakeholders organized and lobbied the Florida state legislature for a successful change in state law.

The very same legislature who now offer a loophole past family and tradition.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jeb! is Out

Friends of Jeb! are speculating that the former Governor may bow out of a run for the Senate. Family considerations, dontcha know.

Hmph. More likely scenario, old Wile E. Coyote is about to have the anvil otherwise known as the intangibles tax knock him right out of the race.

Nothing makes a politician say, Uh, I don't think so faster than when the shadow of past revenue edicts granted on behalf of wealthy constituents roadrunners large as just one of several expensive Bush governmental decisions ultimately responsible for teetering Florida on the edge of a financial cliff.

Per the Palm Beach Post (1/1/2009)

During boom times, political leaders such as former Gov. Jeb Bush resisted all efforts to move Florida's tax structure away from unhealthy reliance on income generated by construction growth and the unsustainable housing bubble. Illogical sales-tax exemptions were sacrosanct. Internet sales went untaxed. The intangibles tax was repealed, a favor to Florida's wealthiest residents.

How much revenue has Florida lost due to the repeal of the intangible tax? You do the math.

Back in the day....
The current intangible tax rate (was) fifty cents per one thousand dollars of taxable intangible personal property (in other words, $500 per one million dollars of taxable intangible personal property). A Florida resident can exempt $250,000 (or $500,000 for a married couple) of taxable intangible personal property from the tax.

“The Wicked Witch is dead,” declared Jeb Bush upon the repeal of the Florida Intangible Tax.

Ding Dong, Jeb! It's your future in Florida politics that's dead .

Post script.

Jeb Bush announced late Tuesday afternoon 1/6/09 that he would not run for Senate in 2010.

Glory Hallelujah.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gosh Darn It. Al Franken's Good Enough for the U.S. Senate.

Two months after the election, Al Franken has been declared the winner of the Minnesota Senate race. True to form of any hotly fought election, the loser--in this case Republican incumbent Norm Coleman--plans to contest the results in court.

Coleman has seven days to file a lawsuit before the election certificate is signed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

Reportedly, the former Senator met privately with self-help guru Stuart Smalley to sort through his loss issues connected with the recent defeat.

Let's listen in. Any likeness to both parties is purely intentional.

Stuart Smalley: Yes. Now, look in the mirror. Come on, don't look at me. Only you can help you. [ Norm faces the mirror ] That's it. Say, "Hello, Norman."

Norm Coleman: "Hello, Norman."

Stuart Smalley: "I don't have to be an incumbent U.S. Senator."

Norm Coleman: "I don't have to be an incumbent U.S. Senator."

Stuart Smalley: "I don't have to prolong the inevitable by filing a lawsuit."

Norm Coleman: "I don't have to prolong the inevitable by filing a lawsuit."

Stuart Smalley: "Because all I have to do is be the best Norman I can be."

Norm Coleman: "All I have to do is be the best Norman I can be."

Stuart Smalley: "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!"

Norm Coleman: "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!"

Stuart Smalley: "Now, don't you feel better?"

Norm Coleman: "I'm filing the lawsuit anyway."

Stuart Smalley: "Now Norm, you've worked really hard for your state but that sort of response is just stinkin' thinkin'!"

(Norm stands up to leave).

Stuart Smalley: "Norm, Norm, where are you going? You know what they say. Whining is anger through a small opening."

(Sound of door slamming. Stuart looks into mirror.)

Stuart Smalley: "You know, I think this is the best consultation I've ever done. And you know what else? I deserve it! Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!"


Monday, January 5, 2009

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson is the latest casualty to fall victim to a seek-and-destroy mentality that somehow tunnel-visioned past eight years of atrocities committed against the American people by the soon to be departed George "Dubya" Bush administration.

At least Bill had enough class to bow out.

Per the Washington Business Journal--

Richardson cited a federal investigation of a $1.5 million contract awarded by the New Mexico Finance Authority to CDR Financial Products Inc., a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based firm whose president contributed thousands of dollars to political action committees established by Richardson.

“Let me say unequivocally that I and my administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact,” Richardson said. But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process. Given the gravity of the economic situation the nation is facing, I could not in good conscience ask the president-elect and his administration to delay for one day the important work that needs to be done.”

And we wonder why more people don't seek public office


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Deb Talks Jeb!

As posted by Tally over at Florida Politics, 1/1/2009:

"Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz talks about why Jeb would NOT make a good senator and also is clear that she's not interested in the job."

Remembering Jeb!

"Under President Jeb, the nation still would have had large federal tax cuts, skewed heavily toward the rich, or the *risk takers* and *job creators,* in Bush family parlance. In Florida, he reduced taxes by $12.2 billion over his eight years, with more than half of that going to the wealthiest 4.5 percent of the population. That saved the average risk taker [sic] more than $1,500 a year by the time Jeb left office. And much as President George W. Bush cites tax cuts as the explanation for any positive economic results, Gov. Jeb Bush says that his tax cuts created jobs in Florida and gave us the best economy in the country. (In reality, Jeb had the lowest job-creation rate of any Florida governor dating to 1971.)" -

By S.V. Date, Author, Jeb! America's Next Bush
Sunday, January 21, 2007; Page B01


Friday, January 2, 2009

Political Squawk: Adam Walsh and William Dillion

The blogs are alive with posts regarding the recently closed Adam Walsh murder case.

Surprise doesn't begin to cover the response dissecting the-snap-the-lid-shut ending after nearly 30 years of many questions that yet remain unresolved.

Bloggers aside, law enforcement has expressed doubts as well. (Miami Herald, 12/28/2008).

What brings it home to Brevard? The now determined killer Ottis Toole was actually questioned (and released) by Brevard County law enforcement in the Aug. 17, 1981 murder of James Dvorak.

Adam's remains were found by fisherman in a Vero Beach canal on August 10, 1981.

Satellite Beach resident William Dillion was arrested, tried and convicted for the Dvorak murder and served 27 years, ultimately released after subsequent DNA testing excluded him from the evidence that resulted in his guilty verdict.

Reportedly, the DNA samples pointed to two other men.

Toole traveled with Henry Lee Lucas.

Both are now deceased.

An issue much alive? " Public defender James Russo, as well as attorneys with the Innocence Project of Florida...have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate corruption within the office..." regarding the use of since-disgraced expert dog handler John Preston. (Florida Today, December 12, 2008).

"Preston, proven to be a fraud, testified in hundreds of Florida cases, including three in Brevard County that have been overturned: Dillon, Wilton Dedge and Juan Ramos."

Progress Florida blogger Susan Chandler is throwing a few shoes herself at everything Brevard, including the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and Preston's testimony in 60 Brevard cases.

She leads us back to Adam.

"The timing of dropping the charges against Dillon and informing Walsh that Toole was indeed young Adam's killer suggests the Walsh and Dillon families were deliberately held in protracted, hellish suspense to protect maleficent public servants."

The connection between the two--DNA or otherwise--that might help explain the-snap-the-lid-shut ending to the Walsh case after nearly 30 years.

It's a small world after all.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

19 Days and Counting

Happy New Year!


  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
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