Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another Day in Florida, Another GOP Scam

No surprises. After all, we are the only state in the union with more registered Democrats than rethughlicans yet somehow have a GOP supermajority in both houses of our state legislature.

Some of it is through the art of "organized shakedowns" for political contributions. MOST of it, however, is through gerrymandering--and Florida is the worst in the nation.

But we can't undercount the minor schemes to hold onto power that we've gotten so accustomed to seeing here in Sunshine State, like this one:

Palm Beach Post:
The Green Party has gotten an official go-ahead to investigate five mysterious candidates who ran as Greens without the knowledge or blessing of the party...Some believe the five may have run for office to peel away votes from Democrats.

Right before the cut-off date last June, these mystery candidates suddenly filed to run for the Green Party without the Greens knowing. One of them was Sarah Roman:

...Sarah Roman, a 23-year-old waitress with a net worth of less than $5,000. Meyer wants to know how she was able to afford the $2,000 filing fee to enter the state House race in Pasco County against Republican incumbent Robert Schenck.

Roman collected no money for her campaign other than the $2,000 she loaned herself for the filing fee. The other four candidates likewise raised little or no money for their campaigns, further raising suspicions.

So you have $5,000 net worth, and you blow 40% of your networth on a campaign that you don't even try for? That would raise suspicion in most people. Of course, not surprisingly, the GOP is denying any involvement in the matter.

Of course, that doesn't mean they won't help out the poor woman:

Roman is being represented by Jeff Lucas, a Pasco County attorney and former chairman of the county Republican Party's executive committee. Lucas did not return calls seeking comment.

True, all speculation. Just as this similar incident involving a mystery write-in candidate that occured within my own county of Seminole was pure speculation. No fingerprints, nothing illegal here.

Just another day of Sunshine.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To GOP: Support Obama, Come up with your own plan, or get out of the way!

Paul Begala has a great article on CNN that should be seen by everyone:

I love Alex Castellanos. Heck, somebody has to. Truth is, we've been known to break bread after our CNN gigs. He is engaging and amusing and whip-smart.

But when he said Tuesday night on CNN that President Obama is already looking like a one-term president, he's full of more beans than a burrito at Matt's El Rancho back home in Austin, Texas.

Obama inherited an ungodly mess: a $1.2 trillion deficit, an economy that was careening from recession into depression, a collapse in effective demand, the disintegration of the real estate market and a financial meltdown that spanned the globe and brought multibillion-dollar institutions to their knees. That's not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and the Mexican drug war.

If this were "Sesame Street," the announcer would be saying, "This program brought to you by the letters G, O and P." None of the crises the president is addressing were of his creation. All of them were created or worsened by the Republicans who ran the House of Representatives, Senate and White House for years.

And so the American people turned to Obama to bring change -- and change he has brought. He's moving on all fronts: addressing the housing foreclosure crisis, the banking crisis, the unemployment crisis. Did I mention that all of these crises were courtesy of the Republicans who ran this country for years? Good.

Got it so far? The Democrats are cleaning up their awful mess. So what does the GOP do? They attack us for, get this, having TOO MANY IDEAS! Mitch McConnell’s spokesperson announced that the GOP will start attacking the Obama administration for "throwing out too many ideas" on the economy:

Now the Republicans have what we Texans call the chutzpah to criticize Obama for doing too much. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't have to be fixing so many problems if the Republicans hadn't created so many problems.

The Republicans are like an arsonist who complains that the fire department is wasting water. Obama is trying to handle an immediate crisis while also laying the foundation for long-term growth. The Republicans are doing neither. They have no plan to stop the loss of jobs or to get capital markets functioning properly -- and they certainly have no plans for health care, education or energy, which are the keys to both long-term economic growth and long-term deficit reduction.


All the energy -- indeed all debate -- is on the progressive side of the aisle. The Obama administration's only intellectual challengers are on the left, where economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and others are offering a vigorous critique and proposing alternative solutions. But where are the Republicans? Doing nothing but complaining. Unless and until they do offer an alternative, they really have no right to whine about the president. For now at least, GOP stands for "Got 0 Plans."

After years of having a president with no ideas, for someone to be taking charge on all fronts with ideas that actually help people--I guess that can be a bit overwhelming for some.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bill Posey: Central Florida's Latest Embarrassment

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I am so glad with the huge financial crisis here in Florida, not to mention the record foreclosures and the near collapse of our educational system, that our new freshman Congressman, Bill Posey, decided that his first bill should tackle an entirely made-up issue to please the limbaugh nuts:

Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Posey is pushing for a bill, which surprisingly has NO sponsors--even among the wingnuts in Congress, requiring that all potential candidates for the President of the United States show their Birth Certificate in order to run.

Problem is that Obama already produced a Birth Certificate from Hawaii, which by the way, IS a US state. Hawaii has already declared it valid. There is no issue. Yet Posey wants to pass a law to make Obama do what he has already done.

The GOP, not even able to grasp at straws at this point, made up absurd allegations MONTHS ago that Obama was not a natural born citizen.

Even after Obama has actually produced a copy of his Hawaii birth certificate, and even after it was certified by the state of Hawaii, and even after this issue was dismissed by the courts numerous times, the limbaugh wingnuts continued--this time arguing that the certificate was a forgery. Nice.

That's bi-partisanship for ya.

The nonpartisan even weighed in: staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.

I learned a long time ago in a statistics class that you can't disprove something--it's called "Enquirer Logic". If someone insists the Loch Ness Monster is real, the burden of proof is on that person to prove it. Even if we were able to somehow drain the Loch in Scotland and send thousands of teams to comb the area, we would be told that Nessie just went into hiding.

It's like arguing with an insane person, which is actually exactly what it is.

I guess since releasing his real birth certificate isn't good enough, the only logical conclusion is for all the governments of every nation to release every birth certficate to prove that Obama wasn't born somewhere else. That'll learn 'em.

But our "honorable" representative, someone who is really old enough to know better, is entertaining these continued calls for the President to produce his so-called "real" certificate. Posey and the GOP are doing this in a desperate attempt to appeal to bigoted and shrinking followers of the right-wing to undermine Obama's legitimate and legal right to serve as our president.

As the Orlando Weekly pointed out, does anyone really believe that this type of attack would occur with a typical caucasian president? Is this the latest iteration of the Southern Strategy--to try to get the hicks to believe he is some foreign-born Muslim bred in the exotic nation of Hawaii with the intent to tranform us into one of them-there Muslim countries?

It's a joke. These people are a joke. And what gets me is that even if their efforts to undermine Obama on this issue somehow worked, like if somehow we had enough Clarence Thomas extremists on the courts, then wouldn't that have undermined their own candidate for president in 2008? McCain was born in the Canal Zone which isn't, and never was, part of the US. It had the same status as Guantanamo. Yet Democrats didn't even think to try to attack someone's legitimacy with this ridiculous nonsense. No, that would be too----republican.

Florida hasn't come too far from being the laughingstock of the nation in 2000. If we keep electing idiots like Posey, then I think I might just move to a foreign nation far, far away.

Maybe Alaska....

PS: If you think Posey should focus on real issues for Florida, and not working for right-wing radio nuts, please drop him a line:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Future Trend of Central Florida

The following is a post from fellow Kossack oceanstar17:

First of all I define Greater Orlando as including Lake, Osceola, Orange and Seminole Counties. In addition, because I really can't fit them in any other region, I will also include Brevard, and Indian River counties. In addition it will also include Volusia and Flager counties because all these areas are also considered part of the larger US Census Bureau Combined Statistical Area for the region.

Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole are part of the greater Metropolitan area. Flagler and Volusia include Daytona Beach, FL. Brevard and Indian River counties are part of the Space Coast of FL, where Cape Canaveral is.

The first factor to analyze is the population change over the decade for each of the counties:

Brevard: 536,161 (2007); 476,230 (2000); +59,931; 12.58% increase
Flagler: 88,397 (2007); 49,832 (2000); +38,565; 77.39% increase
Indian River: 131,837 (2007); 112,947 (2000); +18,890; 16.72% increase
Lake: 301,059 (2007); 210,528 (2000); +90,531; 43.00% increase
Orange: 1,066,113 (2007); 896,344 (2000); +169,769; 18.94% increase
Osceola: 255,815 (2007); 172,493 (2000); +83,322; 48.30% increase
Seminole: 409,509 (2007); 365,196 (2000): +44,313; 12.13% increase
Volusia: 500,413 (2007); 443,343 (2000); +57,070; 12.87% increase

Total Population 2000: 2,726,913
Total Population 2007: 3,289,304
Total Population Increase: 562,391
Total Percentage Increase: 20.62%

Overall, looking at these data, it's clear that this area is growing, although the 2008 economic recession might have slowed rate. Of these counties Flagler and Osceola have grown the most, but Orange County (home to Orlando) has added the most people. Overall this area has grown by more than 21% since 2000, indicating that it is likely to play a larger role in statewide elections. So far, of the FL regions that I have looked at (see links in the top part of the post), this area has added the most people.

Before I continue here is some background on the region. Central FL was one of the first parts of the state to trend toward the GOP. Between 1948 and 1996 I don't think that a Democrat carried Orange County, FL. The first Democrat to win it was Gore in 2000. Along with the Space coast area these areas trended to the Republicans starting in the 1950s. They epitomized the Sunbelt Republican trend. Even in 1964, when LBJ carried FL by a 3% margin, this area supported Goldwater. LBJ carried FL by winning Dade County and the Tampa area. Carter didn't carry the area either in 1976, prevailing by winning the Dixiecrat areas that are today in FL-2 and FL-4. So this area used to be heavily Republican.

Its Congressional district spread over FL-3, FL-5, FL-6, FL-7, FL-8, FL-12,, FL-15
, and FL-24. Along with SE FL it seems this is one of the most gerrymandered parts of the states. Districts that have more in common with the Jacksonville and Tampa area reach into the area. The only Democrats who represent districts here are Corrine Brown, Allan Grayson, and Suzanne Kosmas. The rest of the districts all belong to the GOP, largely due to the fact that Brown's district takes in almost every minority precinct from Jacksonville to Orlando. If FL had a more equitable the area would probably send at least one other Democrat to Congress and have maybe another marginal district.

Now let's look at the results between 2004 and 2008 in each of these counties:

Brevard: M: 157,589; O: 127,620; (GOP +29969)
B: 153,068; K:110,309; (GOP +42759)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -12790

Flagler: M: 23,951; O: 24,726; (GOP -775)
B: 19,633; K: 18,578 (GOP + 1055)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -1830

Indian River: M: 40,176; O: 29,710; (GOP +10466)
B: 36,938; K: 23,956 (GOP +12982)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -2516

Lake: M: 82,802; O: 62,948; (GOP +19854)
B: 74,389; K: 48,221 (GOP +26168)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -6314

Orange: M: 186,832; O: 273,008 (GOP -86176)
B: 193,354; K: 192,539 (GOP -815)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -86991

Osceola: M: 40,086; O: 59,962 (GOP -19876)
B: 43,117; K: 38,633 (GOP +4484)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -24360

Seminole: M: 105,070; O: 99,355 (GOP +5715)
B: 108,172; O: 76,971 (GOP +31201)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -25486

Volusia: M: 113,938; O: 127,795 (GOP -13857)
B: 111,924; K: 115,519 (GOP -3595)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -10262

Total in Region for McCain: 750,444
Total in Region for Obama: 805,124
Difference: GOP -54680

Total in Region for Bush: 740,595
Total in Regionfor Kerry: 624,726
Difference: GOP +115869

Total GOP loss in region between 2004 and 2008: -170549

Overall, though, Central FL trended heavily against the GOP in 2008. What is very interesting here is that Obama gained in the fastest growing counties significantly. What is even worse for the GOP is that Obama significantly ran ahead of Kerry in Orange County. Obama's 86,176 vote margin was crushing. Obama carried Orange with around 59% of the vote! This is a significant swing when Bush the First carried more than 60% of the county's votes in 2008. It is also ominous for the GOP that Obama significantly narrowed the GOP advantage in Seminmole County. Even in heavily Republican Lake County the GOP advantaged significantly narrowed.

The Space Coast seems to be still Republican leaning, though Obama did improve in Brevard County. Indian River County seemed to remain solidly Republican. Democratic prospects there don't seem as bright as they do in the Orlando area.

The Daytona Beach and Flagler Area seem like they are trending toward the Democrats. What is great news for the Democrats is that Flagler and Volusia Counties, with their 77% and 13% growth rates, are adding a significant number of new voters every cycle. If these newcomers continue to trend Democratic then that will help statewide race prospects.

While northern Florida remains a GOP stronghold, even when you factor in Obama's improvement in Duval County and parts of Pensacola, central FL is pulling away from the Republicans. It seems like Obama improved significant in this part of the I-4 corridor. Going forward the Democrats should aggressively work to promote the Party's Brand in Flagler, Volusia, Orange, and Seminole counties.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Non-Political Post: Support!

University of Central Florida students continue to amaze me with their initiative. Two young Knights have organized The Walk Across Florida, which you may have already heard about seeing the signs along Univeristy and Alafaya.

The point is to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG), which supports cancer research and treatments that ease the suffering.

If you don't feel up to walking across our great state this coming May from Cocoa Beach to Clearwater Beach, then donate or volunteer. There are plenty of ways to help. This is a worthy cause whatever your political affiliation. Let's help these guys out!!

Go to

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

FL Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson Apologizes to Rush

It isn't just GOP representatives who have to bow and scrape before Rush. (Or as redstate gleefully remarked yesterday, get "taken behind the woodshed by Limbaugh, de-trousered and birched but good". (To which redstate creepily added. "I personally enjoyed it")

But it's not just republicans any longer apologizing for offending the real leader of the GOP. Now Democrats have gotten into the act. My own Congressman, Alan Grayson (D-FL):

"I’m sorry Limbaugh called for harsh sentences for drug addicts while he was a drug addict. I’m also sorry that he’s bent on seeing America fail. And I’m sorry that Limbaugh is one sorry excuse for a human being."


The DCCC has their own website to help you apologize if you want to get into the act as well:

I feel real bad for the rethugs in Congress. Your base worships the Boss Hog of the GOP while the rest of America thinks he's a hypocritical, bigoted blowhard.

So if you are a rethug with a conscience, you have to hold your tongue and wince while he calls for America to fail, makes fun of Parkinson's disease or attacks minorities and women. And if someone asks you what you think of him, you have to dance like crazy. ("No, no no, he's not our leader, he's just... a god" "I think what he says is repugnant, but I just am not allowed to disagree with anything he says...please don't hurt me Rush")

Better to have America hate you than your base. But that is what happens when your base is made up of small-minded nuts.

Am I the only one REALLY enjoying this?

Update: My favorite quote (on a tagline of a fellow Kossack): "When republicans were in charge, dissent was treason. When Democrats are in charge, treason is the ONLY strategy!" --good luck with that

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Apologize to Rush Limbaugh Here...

Seriously, this website makes it easy for you to apologize to the new head of the GOP...

You're welcome.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Fight for Fair Districts in Florida

After you fill this out, email this to everyone you know:

Fair Districts Florida is a nonpartisan and independent organization devoted to ending partisan gerrymandering in Florida. A similar measure was tried before in 2006, but was thrown out by the courts due to a legal challenge. The GOP legislature knew it would come up again and wouln't be able to count on another legal challenge, so in 2006 they threw all their weight behind the 60% amendment. Even with all their money and support, it was the only amendment that, ironically, didn't get 60% of the vote.

But it passed.

We need 60% of the voting public to vote for fair, independent districts. There is no state as bad as gerrymandering than Florida. Even though the majority of Floridians are Democrats, there are pratically no Democrats in the state legislature. The districts are drawn so poorly, that incumbents are re-elected no matter how bad they are.

Newspapers like the Tallahassee Democrat and the St. Pete Times are in favor:

The Florida Supreme Court opened the door last week to greater accountability of elected officials when it approved for the ballot a citizens' initiative to change how political districts are drawn. Now supporters and Florida voters need to make sure this important reform comes to pass.

The current system for drawing legislative and congressional districts is broken. State lawmakers have used the once-a-decade process to draw safe seats for themselves and members of Congress. The result is incumbents are rarely threatened, as evidenced in November when a big shift in voter sentiment translated to little change in the partisan makeup of the Florida Legislature and the state's congressional delegation...

The hope of the amendments' sponsors is if the voters pass the constitutional amendments in November 2010, the changes will be in place for the next redistricting in 2012. Bringing fairness to political districts will make elected officials more accountable and give voters substantially more power over the direction of the state. It can't happen soon enough.

Amen. We deserve better. We deserve fair districts.

This is more important than any other issue or candidate that will be put before voters in 2010. Better legislators translates to better laws and more representative government.

And it starts with fairly drawn districts.