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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Presidential Address Preshow



With the last combat troops out of the Iraq, the discussion (dissection?) has begun.

The Interviewer and Interview-ee in the video below prove no fans of the American involvement.

Around about the 2:12 marker, John Laughland--a British conservative journalist and frequent contributor to like-minded publications--The American Spectator, The Wall Street Journal and the National Review just to name a few-addresses who he believes is to blame and why.

A clue.

He's named after his dad.

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Outside Looking In



Although GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott ran as the ultimate outsider, it didn't take too him too long to allow the insiders in.

In fact, it didn't take two shakes of an elephant's tail for Senate President Mike Haridopolos to sidle out from behind Bill McCollum's left shoulder primary night to hang with Rick at the Tampa Jet Center and paint the picture of a united conservative front .


"Dean and I were not on the Rick Scott team,"
Haridopolos told the crowd at the rally. "But he showed a lot of grace and we're going to be there for him."

"We" does not include the defeated Bill McCollum. He's not quite ready to kiss and make up, if ever. Questioning Scott's integrity, honesty and character, McCollum has pretty much phoned in his regrets. "I'm not going to involve myself in the race. I'm just not going to do so unless something dramatic happens that I don't expect to."

Enter Jeb Bush.

The former Fan of Bill will hit the campaign trail with Scott and likely teach him a thing or two about how to face off against that Sink woman. And expect new hires on the Great Scott horizon, in the form of "...high-level Republican operatives, some connected with former President George W. Bush and some with the McCollum campaign."


How Rove can you go?

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Actions Speak Louder


NBC anchor Brian Williams donned the Meet the Press hat Sunday and sat down to talk Katrina five years later with the brother and sister of Louisiana politics: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.

Williams asked the Senator her thoughts regarding Glenn Beck's DC rally, held this past Saturday.

(...)

MR. WILLIAMS: Senator, a question about where you perform your day job. What does it say about our country, if anything at all, that at Glenn Beck's rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday, he was able to attract a crowd, I've seen estimates 500,000. NBC News estimated the crowd at 300,000. A general tone of, of frustration and anger with the current size, scope and activity of government, and the desire to reinject God into American political discourse. What'd you take from that?

SEN. LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, God's been a part of--big part of this country since we began. I mean, this is a country built on faith and confidence in the Almighty. And you can see this region right here. So, I mean, Glenn Beck's idea's not new, it's been around a long time. And one of the reasons this region is surviving is because of our faith. What I think Glenn Beck misses is that it's not just talking, it's actually actions. It's caring for the poor, it's caring for the sick, it is, you know, using the power of government in a positive way to meet the private sector and the nonprofits and all of our people of faith to do right by the people. That's where Glenn Beck's wrong.

And I'll tell you another way Glenn Beck's wrong. He and his whole crew said that this city could be rebuilt by private effort alone. The government was terrible, the government couldn't do anything. Do you know how many houses all of the nonprofits have built? No more than 5,000 in five years. Do you know how many we lost? Two hundred thousand. So Glenn Beck has to go back and look at the facts because he is preaching a gospel that never has existed, doesn't exist today and never will. We follow the gospel, Mitch and I, of Jesus Christ. We know what to do. And so others follow other faiths, but the fact of the matter is God has been all-present. And you can ask anyone in New Orleans, when every government left, God was still here.

Thoughts?

Talk to Me.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Zen




Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
liberal, fanatical, criminal.

Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're

acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!


The Logical Song.

Supertramp.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Great Scott?




Florida Election Watch offers a cool interactive tool that allowed me to maneuver between various Florida counties and check the progress of last night's vote count.

Around 9:00 PM, a pattern became evident in the GOP race for Governor. Rick Scott was ahead of Bill McCollum, in almost every county I selected to view, including Brevard. Proving a factor in the race--Mike McCalister, the supposedly nonviable candidate who most obviously pulled votes away from McCollum to give the lead to Scott.

How the RPOF plans to pull together in support if Rick Scott proves victorious remains to be seen. Given state Rep. Steve Crisafulli's expression during last night's panel discussion of the race with FT editorial page editor John Glisch, I predict the effort will be beyond collective nose holding. I'd go as far to guess that the Reps may attempt to team Scott with a super conservative right leaning Lt. Governor, someone sort of like, well...Bill McCollum.

As for the Democratic side of the coin, Alex Sink won as predicted and will hit the campaign trail with her choice for Lt. Governor, Rod Smith. A former state senator, Smith is the state attorney who successfully prosecuted serial killer Danny Rolling, responsible for the deaths of five Gainesville students back in August 1990, almost 20 years to this date.

With 83% of precincts reporting, Rick Scott maintained that same three point edge over Bill McCollum, who still had big hopes of South Florida coming in large for his camp around 10:45 PM.

With state Senator Mike Haridopolos standing behind his left shoulder, McCollum thanked his supporters. Saying the count would go into the wee hours, he delivered a stand by speech, stating the numbers were not what his campaign expected and asked for indulgence until the morning.

He no sooner left the mike when the AP called the race for Rick Scott, ahead still by three.

Whatever the outcome, expect a recount.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's Showtime!




I won't bore you with my selections for the election, but I will share what races have captured my attention.

The tussle between Establishment Incumbents vs We'll Buy Our Way In Challengers have us all stagestruck. Which Democrat--Kendrick Meek or Jeffrey Greene--will the donkeys choose to sidle up beside Republican Marco Rubio and Independent Charlie Crist at some future debate? And if it's Greene, how does that effect the three-way race for Senate during the general election?

Will John Tobia be the first of the current Brevard delegation to fall? Keep an eye on challenger Lori Halbert. And how about the Clerk of the Circuit Court race? Will former Florida state Rep. Mitch Needelman and current Clerk Scott Ellis endorsed Joanne Corby supporters cancel each other out, allowing Clarissa Harrell to slip into the seat? We shall see.

Playing out almost under the radar, is the race for Attorney General, the seat vacated by Governor wannabe Bill McCollum. It's practically a toss-up between Democrats Dave Aronberg and Dan Gelber and the same goes for Republicans interested in the job: Holly Benson, Ms. Palin-endorsed Pam Bondi and current Lt. Gov. Jeffrey Kottkamp.

Many--if not most candidates--don't have the bucks to catch the media attention and as a result, are often described as not viable, a phrase a local mover and shaker (Podcast: The primary election is tomorrow, 8/23/2010) recently attached to gubernatorial candidate Mike McCalister.

McCalister proved viable enough to pocket 5% of the vote at a recent straw poll. In a race as close as McCollum vs Scott, I'd say that's enough of a margin to make or break someone's dreams of sitting in the Big Chair up Tallahassee way.

Florida Today will stream and broadcast election returns, beginning around or about 8:00 PM. After turning out to vote, tune in to watch the primary results, the single election where I believe everyday citizens yield the most power with their vote.

Speaking of turnout, I'll be watching that as well, to determine if everyday Jane and John are front and focused or it's just us political junkies. Someone once said, "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

Which offers the best possible theory I've heard yet to explain Florida government.


On with the show, this is it.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Politically Bankrupt




Word is the RNC has about $5 million on hand in the final push to the 2010 midterms.

That's not much of an emergency fund heading into the final stretch. In fact, that's practically broke in political terms.

With all that smack talk about taking back the House and the Senate, those leaning right best hope the GOP has put aside a couple of bucks for emergencies.

Because come round October, that's about the time The Big Political Surprise pops up, in the form of a single news event with the potential to sway the outcome of the upcoming election.

The most famous October Surprise in recent history was the Mark Foley scandal; however, a quick peek at the Wiki reveals such flagrantly dumb moves are not limited solely to the elephant.

But possibly, the biggest O.S. that never came to pass was the rumor Osama bin Laden would be captured just prior to the 2008 general election and game-set-match, the Presidential election goes to Mr. McCain.

Didn't happen (although the second rumor about the the country being left in the mother of all messes for the next President to clean up actually did) but imagine for a moment, such an event minutely comparable to a bin Laden nab and grab had indeed occurred? A party better have some cash on hand to fight back the fall out of such an instant game changer.

Which the Democrats have in the till to the tune of eleven million in the bank.

Talk to Me.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Weekend Zen






You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
cryin' all the time.

Hound Dog.
1956.

Elvis.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fish Story



I've long harbored a theory about the Rod Blagojevich investigation.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald went trolling and hooked the ex-Gov of Illinois because the investigation didn't quite lead to the Big Fish he and the Bush administration had hoped to serve up on a political platter.

This taxpayer-funded fishing trip has been afloat since 2004, beginning right about the time Barack Obama won his U.S. Senate seat and shot to national recognition after delivering the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention.

Fast forward four years and who knows how many tapes later, Blagojevich (among others) is snagged on several charges, including offering up President-elect Obama's Senate seat for favors and dollars.

(Can you imagine the feds listening in to RB allegedly wheel and deal, almost beside themselves in the anticipation that the 44th President of the United States would somehow be implicated, maybe even pick up the phone and call the Governor himself? I guess even feds have fantasies).

But all investigations must end sometime and Blago is skewered as a sloppy second. Fighting 24 charges, he is convicted on the one count that usually sticks, lying to the FBI.

And now, Fitzgerald plans to wade the whole creel and kaboodle back into court.

But this this time around, I think every church in Illinois should be taxed to fund the fish fry.

***


“Here you have a government that uses all its resources at its disposal. Tens of millions of dollars. They told you they were stopping a crime spree before it happens. And ultimately when they had a chance to prove their case, they couldn't prove it. There was no crime spree. There was no corruption. I have been lied about and you have been lied to.’

--Rod Blagojevich

Read his remarks in full here.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Face Down in Palmetto




This story just goes to prove: out of sight, out of mind.

And oh, how shallow human nature truly is.

The St. Pete Times, (8/17/2010):

"With oil no longer gushing from the BP well in the gulf, support for a constitutional ban on drilling in Florida waters is fading, most surprisingly in the Panhandle.

A new poll conducted for the St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13 shows 41 percent of Florida voters support a ban on offshore drilling, while 49 percent oppose the idea. In May, 44 percent supported the ban and 44 percent opposed."

Read it and weep here.

***

As much as I enjoy Bill McCollum in full panic mode, Rick Scott obviously hasn't lived in Florida long enough to know--never kick a man when he's face down in palmetto.

His recent ad taking on President Obama with a swipe of the mosque is a bit, well, over confident.

Scott may wish to reconsider the apparent dismissal of his GOP competitor or he may soon learn what Jeb Bush did the first time he sniffed about Tallahassee.

The ol' he-coon walks just before the dawn.

Read more over at The Buzz, (8/16/2010)

***

After six years, former House Majority Leader and dance man Tom DeLay is off the hook with the DOJ, who failed to connect him with now out of the Big House ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"I hope people will look at my case and decide the criminalization of politics and the politics of personal destruction is not beneficial to our country and hopefully it will stop."

Not so fast, Tom.


Mr. Delay still faces charges of money laundering and conspiracy, you know, the same tired story where Republicans utilize the RNC like an industrial laundry mat. Load up the green stuff, wash, dry, fold and deliver those squeaky clean bills to the state candidates of your choice.

The Hammer may yet end up in the Slammer.

Politico
Shouts It Out here.

Talk to Me.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Tax Tithe




After listening to the NYC mosque debate over the last week or so, I have the perfect solution.

Tax the churches. And the cathedrals, the synagogues, the mosques and all those plate glass store front operations where rows of metals chairs serve as pews.

That single act alone would slow down the growth and impact of organized religion as a whole on politics. Because the way I see it, the line dividing church and state was crossed the very first time a preacher or a pastor, a rabbi, priest, minister--insert your choice of religious moniker here-- advised their membership to vote one way or another on any particular issue...

...or invoked fear and intolerance to hold the sheep in place.

Pass the plate, my brothers and sisters.

It's time to bring in the sheaves.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekend Zen







Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older I'm getting older too...

Stevie Nicks.

Landslide.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Funding the Courts




Clerk of Court candidate Joanne Corby gave the state legislature its due during an early morning interview regarding the funding gap between what the court gets and what the court needs.

Operating at a budget around $20 million, Corby began by stating "the problem like any other budget is the revenue and monies we have coming in."

(...)

Corby: "Right now, Brevard County's cost per case is about $89 per case ...the actual cost is about $110. ...looking at budgeting, we're budgeting $89..set by the state...Brevard County is ranked 63rd in the state out of 67 counties of ... case clearances. That adds a cost to our services and how we assist the court system."


Interviewer: "You say, Brevard, their portion of the case costs is $89, who pays the rest of the $110?"


Corby: "No sir, we do. We do."


Interviewer: "So we budgeted $89, but we have a difference there, we're not budgeting enough money..."


Corby: "It's not that we aren't budgeting enough money, it's what it's actually costing. The clerk has no control over the cases and how long those cases continue. The only person that can close cases are the judges, the clerk has no control of that. If you look in actuality, the actual cost is $110 per case."


"It's being budgeted because...the court side of the clerk's budget is done through the state. That was the whole point of Article 5. It was to shift that cost (revenues to the state where as before revenues would come into the county). The budget is set by the state (by formula) for the court's side."


Interviewer: So, are the judges bogging it down, are the way the cases are falling...there more complicated than they've been in the past, taking more delays, do we have a court administrator somewhere that's messing things up along the way, what's the key to the problem?


Corby: I can't answer that question, but I can say,the only persons that can close the case are the judges. It's pretty much that simple.


I'd say it's simpler than that. The buck stops with the state legislature. The laws this bunch assembly-line out each session clog the legal system and fill prisons to such capacity that Florida prisoners are shipped out of state to serve out sentences to avoid the costs of building more prisons right here at home.

When will the Florida Legislature realize how they as a legislative body are contributing BIG TIME to the financial woes of this state?

Hear the Corby interview in its entirety here.

Read more about Article 5 here.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good Night, Senator




After two evenings of attempting to problem solve through Google Apps, I've decided to call it quits.

For those who may read this diatribe through Talk to Me, Sr. (the Blogger site), please feel free to access the blog through at the old address (here)as I was unable to translate the googlese in time to save my previous domain name.

So. On with it.

What's been happening during my one on one with the Google mind-meld?

Well, young Levi Johnston has decided to follow his once, twice (and who knows, what the future holds, maybe three) times potential mother-in-law Sarah Palin into politics by running for her previously held office: Mayor of Wasilla. The Johnston campaign will be captured through the glory of reality television. (This is a kid who knows how to make a buck).

And as The Washington Post so adeptly points out, we can all thank Senator John McCain for introducing us to the anti-Waltons almost two years ago this month.

Speaking of both Alaska and senators, we say good-bye to former GOP Senator Ted Stevens. His family reported his death in a Monday plane crash somewhere over the Alaskan wilderness he loved. The WP recalled his career as "forty years of service and controversy." Well-known for his Bridge to Nowhere, no matter what one's political beliefs, to live 86 years and have life end in a plane crash is somehow just wrong on so many levels. Rest in peace, Senator.

And here in Melbourne, auto dealers are rolling back. Not prices, mind you. Odometers.

Yep, that's the ticket.

Talk to Me.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Crazy Good



My aunt and grandmother stitched together a bit of craziness to present me with a quilt of clashing color that blanketed me throughout my college years. Many years later, my son took the love along to college.

This past weekend, the same crazy interlocking patchwork--haphazard and free form and no worse for wear--accompanied him to graduate school.

A symbolic blanket of comfort and support awaits students the first day of school this year in the form of their teachers.

After a couple of crazy years of equally haphazard legislative scissoring of public education funding, 140,000 teachers jobs were saved by the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act.

In Florida alone, 8500 teacher jobs were saved.

And so begins the 2010-2011 school year.



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Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Zen



Give me hope to help me cope
With this heavy load

George Harrison.

Give Me Love.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Sightings


Observations made this very day.

--Car bearing "Marco Rubio 2010" bumper sticker made a left into the Daily Bread (the local soup kitchen), just in time for breakfast.

--Mitch Needelman pontificated via local Talk Radio this morning. The GOP candidate for Clerk of the Circuit Court launched into the Us vs Them argument near 8:00 o'clock, on or about marker 32:00.

--Californians continue to celebrate the overturning of Prop 8.

And last but not least....

--Senate Republicans failed to block a jobs bill which saved thousands of jobs for teachers and police officers facing layoffs. On the flip side, before passage, the GOP did manage to successfully strip the bill of funding for a food stamp program.

Talk to Me.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bill and Rick and Jeff and Charlie



After viewing this debate, I have to agree with Bill McCollum.

God help us if one of these guys winds up as Florida's next Governor.



Meanwhile, Democratic Senate candidate wannabe Jeff Greene has been busy dodging questions from Kendrick Meek about a yacht trip to Cuba.



While Greene flips and flops about his fishy explanation, Charlie Crist maintains his lead in the Florida Senate race. Peruse the poll here.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Daily Bread: NIMBY Math



The Daily Bread can't be far enough away for most, but residents located near the vicinity of the proposed relocation site have gone as far as to measure their distaste.

As reported by Florida Today's Christina Stuart, Some unhappy with Daily Bread's Sarno site (8/2/2010), the proximities listed below supposedly prove the point made by those concerned that the soup kitchen is just too close their own pots and pans.

The proposed site for the Daily Bread's new campus is on Sarno Road, west of Wickham Road. Nearby residents say the location isn't far enough away to prevent vagrants from wandering through their neighborhoods and parks on their way to the soup kitchen.

Breakdown

How far away is the proposed Daily Bread site from (the Sarno site) . . .


I decided to google map the distance between the Daily Bread's present 815 East Fee Avenue location to nearby comparable sites as measured in approximation to the proposed Sarno site.

The nearest homes: About 0.2-mile or 833 feet (That's an overestimate as Google doesn't measure as the crow flies, which in this case, is more a jump over the fence from the rear of the Daily Bread into the backyard of the home abutting the property)

Fee Avenue Park:
About 0.7-mile

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School: About 0.5-mile

Melbourne Public Library: About 0.3-mile

Comedy Traffic School: About 0.2-mile (OK, OK, I threw that one in for kicks).

If simple math alone does the talking about potential "vagrant walking", a comparison of neighborhood distances from both the present and proposed Daily Bread site only goes to show that the figures just don't add up for Sarno site dissenters.

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Tom Jenkins and the Clerk of Courts Election



Tom Jenkins quietly retired this past week as chief administrative officer for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

Previous to that position, all you county and city government musical chair watchers will also recall that "...Mr. 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." (Talk to Me, Tom Jenkins, 1/29/2009).

Looking back, Brevard County voters ended the political career path of two members of that same commission at the August 2008 primary. "...Your selective vote cut several local career politicians out of the running. Jackie Colon. Helen Voltz. Mitch Needelman." (Talk to Me, What a Night!, 8/27/2008).

Needelman--a former Florida state representative, term-limited out of office--opposed (and lost) to Scott Ellis in the 2008 run for the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Fast forward two years.

Ellis submitted his resignation as Clerk and Needelman is back in the political game, running once again for the Clerk of Courts.

Leading me back to Tom Jenkins.

Back in 2008, Jenkins had publicly endorsed then-candidate Mitch Needelman for Brevard County Clerk of Courts. Ellis responded with quite the letter (read here) denouncing the Jenkins endorsement and listed the reasons why. The same letter also details the timeline of the much debated Sarno Landfill land parcel purchase.

(...)

"...The County worked for over a year to sandbag our investigation of the Sarno Landfill until finally the facts became so overwhelming even the Commissioners had to call for an investigation. Mr. Jenkins, the County Manager, oversaw the rushed 'emergency' purchase of a parcel of land from sellers who literally bought it for $1 million in the morning and sold it to the County for $7 million in the afternoon. Confronted with the fiasco, Mr. Jenkins claimed no detailed knowledge of the deals working, yet while in Broward County one of the departments underneath him was solid waste.
"

With Ellis soon to be out of the picture, the Jenkins retirement appears serendipitous for the Needelman campaign (or ironically well-timed, you decide, smells a tad bit convenient to me) one month before the open primary.

The above all too familiar Brevard County election pre-game reminds me of a Will Rogers quote that I hope Brevard citizens will remember when casting their vote this primary. People's minds are changed through observation and not through argument.

Brevard's next Clerk of Court will be decided August 24th and voters of all parties will be presented with this single opportunity to elect one of the three candidates to fill the position vacated by Scott Ellis.

No do-overs until 2012.

Two fellow Republicans oppose Needelman: Ellis-endorsed Joanne Corby and Clarissa Harrell. (No Democrats threw a hat into the race).

It's been fairly peaceful around these parts with many of the old dogs successfully booted out of local politics two years ago. With one trying to get back in the game, Brevard, you know what to do.

Don't open that door.

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