Monday, June 30, 2008

The Road to the White House

What are Florida bloggers saying about the presidential race? Here are the top 5 posts from yesterday...

1. FLA Politics (Scoop) - Is Obama Different?

2. Pensito Review - McFlipflop: McCain Reverses Stand on Offshore Drilling in Just 18 Days

3. Miami-Dade Dems - The Obama campaign in Florida gets going

4. South Florida Daily Blog - I'm All Out Of Bubble Gum

5. Bark Bark Woof Woof - Does It Matter?

Action Alerts

Sign the petition - Save a Masterpiece of Modern Architecture in Sarasota! (WMF)

Sign the Petition - Thank General Clark for His Straight Talk, Tell Him To Not Back Down (VV)

Send an e-mail - Thank Your Senators For Cleaning Up Shipping Pollution! (ED)

Send an e-mail - Tell Trader Joe's to Chuck the Excuses (UFW)

Sign the petition - Tell Fox to Stop the Smears (MoveOn)

Sign the Petition - Tell Senator Obama: Hang up on Big Telecom (Credo)

Send an e-mail - Tell Congress Not to Drill the Arctic Refuge (TWS)

Donate money - Double Your Support to Protect Ocelots! (ED)

Donate money - Support Planned Parenthood

Send an e-mail - Tell Congress You Don't Buy the Lie! (NRDC)

Send an e-mail - Tell Congress that More Must Be Done about Hunger! (Care)

Sign the petition - Stop Fiscal Irresponsibility - Washington Needs a Fiscal Wakeup (PPF)

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Federal Judiciary Sucks

In the past 28 years, 20 of those years saw Republican presidents appointing federal judges to lifetime appointments. They focused almost solely on right-wing activists -- many members of the Federalist Society or graduates of Liberty University Law School -- who care little about the wording or intent of the Constitution and only pursue a radical conservative agenda through the very judicial activism they decry. There were several rulings this week at the Supreme Court that fit this mold completely and one directly affecting Florida, that came from a lower federal court:

A federal judge has refused to block a new version of a Florida voter registration law that critics say could keep thousands of people from casting ballots this year.

The conservative argument on this one is nonsense -- they say it is designed to fight voter fraud, something they provide no evidence exists in any significant way. But the law clearly causes voter disenfranchisement, something there is already a lot of. A ruling from early this year on picture identification requirement gives me no confidence that a higher court will overturn this. What it means is that activist conservative judges will be denying thousands of Floridians the lawful right to vote -- many of them because of typos or filing errors made by low-paid government clerks, errors that won't be obvious to any voter until they go to vote. Just when it becomes impossible to fix the problem.

Action Alerts

Send an e-mail - Protect Our Best Lands from Unnecessary Oil and Gas Drilling! (TWS)

Sign the petition - Petition Against Nuclear Waste Dump At Yucca Mountain (Reid)

Donate money - To help ensure reliable and publicly verifiable election systems (VV)

Sign the petition - Recapture the Flag (CC)

Donate money - To stop big media (FP)

Sign the Petition - Tell the G8 to live up to their promises to Africa (One)

Donate money - To help resuce animals in danger because of Illinois and Iowa floods (AHS)

Sign the petition - NRA Wants Loaded Guns in Parks. What Do YOU Want? (NPCA)

McCain Loves Bush

George W. Bush that is. Except for one year, McCain has voted with Bush 89% of the time or higher. His two highest years? 95% and 100% in the last two years. Meaning that as he began to run for president, he voted with Bush even more often. Four more years.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jay McGovern (FL-4) Strong Challenger in a Red District

One of the key things that we should start to do as activists is expand our playing field when it comes to thinking of elections. Howard Dean's 50-state strategy and Barack Obama's commitment to fighting in every state and territory have produced results that show us this approach is one that can lead to positive change. It can give candidates a chance to win who might not otherwise do so, it can send a message to Republicans that places they have assumed are theirs by birthright must be earned and it can sap Republican resources and make them spread their spending and activity to places they usually wouldn't bother to worry about.

A first step we can take down this road is to support good candidates in supposedly red districts. Frequently this will mean spending money outside your own congressional district. If we only focus on our own districts, we'll never be in the majority, we need to work together to change the state, not just our own backyard. And the more candidates we help and the more candidates we help win, the more our congressional delegation will owe progressives when it comes time for them to vote on things like the recent FISA/telco immunity fiasco. Like it or not, politics works on the you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours level a lot of the time. If we scratch their backs with our votes, our voices and our checkbooks, they'll have to scratch ours.

At the recent Jefferson-Jackson fundraiser in Hollywood, I met a candidate in this exact situation. Jay McGovern is running against Ander Crenshaw in Florida's fourth district. He sat and talked with me and a couple of very young Democrats for two hours. We found him to be a funny, intelligent guy who actually listened to what we had to say. He knew a lot about the issues and about his district and he was clearly someone who would be a great member of Congress, particularly when compared to Crenshaw.

The fourth district is a pretty Republican district (R+16) that covers the northernmost part of Florida from the edge of Tallahassee to the East Coast, with the bulk of the district's population sitting in Jacksonville. Since 2001, the seat has been held by Crenshaw, who is currently ranked as the 346th most powerful member of Congress. Tie that it in with his lifetime Progressive Punch score of less than 5% and you've got bad represenation for the District and for Floridians.

But it's a tough District for a Democrat to run in and Crenshaw has rarely attracted a strong challenger. Now he's facing McGovern, a former Naval aviator, engineer, businessman, community activist, family man and owner of a horse farm. He's significantly better on the issues than Crenshaw while still being true to his district and the people he'll represent. Of course, one of his horses would probably be better on the issues than Crenshaw, but I'd feel really comfortable with McGovern representing Florida in Washington.

But how will he get there? With our help. We all know that it takes money to win a congressional race, but we know that hard work and wise spending can help a good candidate defeat a Republican incumbent with more money, particularly such an ineffective Republican like Crenshaw. Especially in 2008, a Democratic year with a presidential candidate who will have long coattails and when the Republican party brand is as week as it has been in two decades.

So I'm challenging everyone who reads this to give what you can -- $5, $10, $25, $50, more -- to McGovern via the new ActBlue page we set up for him. I'm setting a modest goal of 10 contributors and $100 by Monday and I know you won't disappoint. Make sure that you give through our ActBlue page if you give, that way we can track our progress and our response. If it's a good response, it helps us convince candidates and elected officials we can help them and reminds them once they are in office that they should return the favor.

Learn more about Jay

Learn more about Crenshaw

Then help give Jay the resources he needs to defeat Crenshaw.

Action Alerts

Send an e-mail - Tell Governor Crist: Stop Offshore Oil Drilling (Credo)

Call your representative - tell them to fund more public transportation (FL PIRG)

Send an e-mail - Demand Fox stop race baiting and fear mongering (CoC)

Send an e-mail - Stop Lease Sales in Roan Plateau (TWS)

Donate money - to support United for Peace & Justice

Donate money - to support the Children's Emergency Fund (StC)

Send an e-mail - Neotropical Birds Need Your Help (DoW)

Send an e-mail - Help protect the increase for family planning! (NARAL)

Send an e-mail - Clean Up Shipping Pollution! (ED)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Joe Garcia -- The Perfect House Candidate?

Obviously, nobody is perfect. But if I were going to design a perfect candidate, he or she would be a whole lot like Joe Garcia.

First and most importantly, he's right on most of the issues. I'm sure there's something I disagree with him on somewhere, but I haven't seen it yet. But even when it comes to tough issues (apparently to many members of Congress) such as the FISA bill and telco immunity, Garcia is on the right side of the issue. He's smart and he knows what he's talking about, regardless of the issues, but at the same time he has the ability to talk to everyday people. He's a fighter and has no problem calling Republicans on their nonsense and telling people that they're wrong on an issue.

He's young, but not too young and he conveys wisdom when he speaks. And when he speaks he is confident and humorous. I consider myself to be a pretty good public speaker, but it took me a lot of work and practice to get there. Joe comes across as a natural public speaker. He may have worked hard to get it right, but you'd never knowing from hearing him.

Because of his hard work and energy, he's respected in the community he'll represent, by those who have worked with across the state and the country and by both party insiders and grassroots activists.

He has a record of accomplishments in a variety of areas and he's made the connections you want a member of Congress to have. That helps him with fundraising and it'll help him get committee assignments that'll make it easier for him to help his constituents.

I've met him in person twice and interviewed him on the radio show before that. But Joe is such a people person and has such a knack for individuals and average people that he knew who I was the first time he saw me.

He listens to people and is great at recognizing talent and good ideas. He hires good people to work for him and is receptive to people who have good ideas or more expertise than he does on a particular issue.

He blogs and is very friendly with the Netroots both at the state and national level and this has helped him make a bigger name for himself around the country and has attracted high profile attention and fund-raising.

He convinces people to get on board when he's right and he's good at getting people to help him achieve victory.

These are the things we need in a candidate and in a member of Congress. Help Joe get to D.C.

In addition to having candidates appear on the radio show, from time to time, we'll do profiles of various candidates here on the blog. Most of them won't be quite this glowing, though, but it wasn't an accident that the Netroots voted Joe Garcia into the Progressive Hall of Fame a few weeks back.

Story of the Day

The most talked about story on the Florida blogs yesterday was the FISA/Telco amnesty story. Here's what people said...

madfloridian - Hoyer's office dishonest about the FISA fix. Did it secretly. Said don't listen to bloggers.

BlueHerald 2.0 - Chris Dodd’s Speech a Glimmer of Hope

Why Now? - FYI

Bark Bark Woof Woof - Blocking the Telecom Immunity

Pushing Rope - Joe Garcia on FISA Bill

Miami-Dade Dems - FISA analysis - Obama Acts Like a Coward

madfloridian - Democrats gave in to fear and terror in 2002 and 2004. It did not help us win

Bloggy Bayou - DCCC

The Road to the White House

What are Florida bloggers saying about the presidential race? Here are the top 5 posts from yesterday...

1. Truman's Conscience - Religious Right Mystified By Obama

2. Blast Off! - Obama's candidacy is a boon to hate groups

3. Miami-Dade Dems (JReid) - Black voter turnout key to winning Florida

4. The Seminole Democrat - Must Win States for McCain

5. Truman's Conscience - Florida Political News & Commentary

The View from Outside

The latest about Florida politics from other states...

Daily Kos - FL-25: Joe Garcia FISA Statement

Daily Kos - Obama leading big in South Florida

Pam's House Blend - NYT Mag interviews Charlie Crist: he hasn't found 'the right one' for him

AMERICAblog - NYT kinda sorta asks FL GOP Gov. Charlie Crist if he's gay

AMERICAblog - The $50 billion gamble - is this what Florida wants?

A Bit More on George Carlin

A number of people chimed in on Carlin's death after I posted my round-up. Here they are...

South Florida Daily Blog - George Carlin on Conservatives

CG Radio - An On-Air Tribute To George Carlin

Blurbex - Bye, George

Blurbex - George Carlin: ‘The blue pile!’

Kevin Smith's take on Carlin

Dead Frog - George Carlin, A Personal Remembrance

Dead Frog - George Carlin’s SNL First Episode Monologue

News Askew - George Carlin: 1937-2008

Pushing Rope - George Carlin RIP

Can't Keep Quiet! - R.I.P. George Carlin

litbrit - All About Your Precious F*cking Rights

Smashed Frog - George Carlin

OpenLeft - The Routine That Got George Carlin Arrested

The Fat Lady Sings - George Carlin - RIP

This Modern World - RIP George Carlin

Florida Progressive Coalition - George Carlin is dead

Florida Progressive Coalition - Florida Progressive Radio Tribute to George Carlin

Action Alerts

Sign the pledge - Say No to Florida Amendments 7 and 9 (Progress Florida)

Send an e-mail - Don't Let Bush Cut Funding for Public Broadcasting (FP)

Send an e-mail - Ask Your Representative to Oppose H. Con. Res. 362 (JFP)

Send an e-mail - Protect Yellowstone and the Greater Rockies (NRDC)

Sign the petition - Hollywood: Quit Pushing Smoking on Our Kids! (SO)

Sign the petition - Support Oceans 21 for Healthy Marine Ecosystems (PEW)

Sign the petition - Act Now to Protect Ocean Ecosystems! (PEW)

Sign the petition - Don't Let Global Warming Take Out Our Irreplaceable Wildlife (EJ)

Sign the petition - Improve Health Care For Female Veterans (Care2)

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin is dead.

I say it that way, because that's the way he'd say it.

For those who don't know me on a personal level very well, George Carlin (along with Richard Pryor) was as close to an idol as I had. I don't idolize anyone, as Carlin said, I admire them.

If you want to figure out why I think the way I do and why I do what I do, there's no easier way to do that than to listen to a few of Carlin's routines.

As a tribute, my oldest son's name is Carlin Richard Smith Quinnell. And even my kids were into Carlin as well, as he was the voice (for a while) of Thomas the Tank Engine and Fillmore from Cars.

A couple of others have said what I would've said if I had thought of it first...

"George Carlin was more than just a stand-up comic. He was, in a way, a philosopher with his commentaries on life, drugs, and politics that made us laugh for over four decades."

"He never forgave the world for not living up to his expectations."

That last one is just about right. Enough of my words, here are some of his words...

Everyone talks about his famous "seven words you can never say on television," but he went on to complete the list, which is way longer than seven.

My first introduction into Carlin wasn't the dirty words, though, it was "A Place For My Stuff":

He gave me millions of laughs with routines like Hippy Dippy Weatherman and "Baseball and Football":

He taught me how to think for myself and question what everyone else was teaching me with routines like "I Used to be Irish Catholic":

"Why is Prostitution Illegal?":

"Homelessness and Golf":

The first time I heard him question golf courses and cemetaries as a waste of land space, I thought "he can't say that can he"? Yes he can. And he should. And we should learn from him and asks questions, even if they aren't comfortable and even if they piss people off.

He also is the driving force behind my environmentalist streak, with commentary like this:

Oh beautiful, for smoggy skies, insecticided grain

For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.

America, America, man sheds his waste on thee

And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea!

And in a strange way, Carlin was the first catblogger:

Some people say that Carlin lost it in his older years. They were wrong. "Modern Man" is one of the best uses of the English language. Ever:

He also mused on death in recent years and, as usual, he looked at it in ways the rest of us thought to ourselves but were afraid to say out loud:

One of the many reasons that I know that I'm in the right community when I hang out with bloggers is that this was the top story all over the place this morning...And, of course, the first place I heard about Carlin's death was in an e-mail from a blogger.

South of the Suwannee: Goodbye George

Shakesville: George Carlin R.I.P.

Rook's Rant: George Carlin, Splenetic Comedian, Dies at 71

PSoTD: Five Words I Don't Want To Read

Pam's House Blend: George Carlin passed away

African-American Political Pundit: Comedian George Carlin has died in Los Angeles at 71

Lab Kat: RIP, George Carlin

The Unapologetic Mexican: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits!

IMproPRieTies: Preboarding the post-funct express

Blue Herald 2.0 (Batocchio): George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Bark Bark Woof Woof: George Carlin - 1937-2008

Interstate4Jamming2: George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Pensacola Beach Blog: George Carlin (1937-2008)

Unscrewing the Inscrutable: Well, shit.

Man or Maniac?: The Big Cack-A-Roo

Progressive Homeschoolers of Florida: Who owns you Americans? RIP George Carlin - 1937-2008

Incertus (Brian): Goodbye George

litbrit: R.I.P. George Carlin

Blurbex: Songs for George Carlin

ricksblog: Carlin dead

Situation Awareness: A Comedic Giant... Gone

Politial Bloviation: George Carlin Died

Progress Florida (Ray Seaman): In Memoriam

The Vanity Press: George Carlin R.I.P.

Open Left: Opening the Day: George Carlin, RIP

Dead Frog: George Carlin Dead at 71

Jo Blo: RIP: George Carlin

Carlin often ended his shows with a line that I've always taken to heart: "Take care of yourself. And take care of someone else." In a world where Gov. Bush runs the world (Carlin would called him Gov. Bush because that's the last job he was elected to); In a Bush world, that sentiment is more important now than when it was originally uttered.

I got to see him live just a few months ago. It's rare when something you get that excited about not only lives up to the hype, but surpasses it. George's last show was one of his best and I got to see it.

Thanks, George, for everything.

"Take care of yourself. And take care of someone else." -- George Carlin, 1937-2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Your Help Is Needed

Iraqi Red Crescent - - is the only humanitarian agency still functioning in all regions of Iraq and serving Iraqis across all sectarian lines.

IRC team members have been the targets of kidnappers and death squads - and they have been persistently harassed by US forces with numerous attacks on their offices. They have persisted in their work - with a primary focus on providing food relief and water supplies as well as emergency services. When there is a suicide bombing, IRC workers rush to the scene and dig out the victims. During the assault on Basra, Red Crescent workers were ordered not to go out to save people as it was too dangerous - they ignored the order and save many civilians caught in the crossfire.

We'd like to ask other blogs to consider posting on Friday asking readers to make a donation - no matter how small - to the Iraqi Red Crescent. We would like to pull together a list and acknowledge the blogs participating in our post at FDL on Friday - and friends in the IRC would like to receive a list so they can share the posts with IRC workers to let them know that there work is appreciated -and that Americans are donating to support humanitarian aid to Iraq.

Donations from the US must be processed by the International Red Cross/Red Crescent but 100% of the funds go directly to Iraqi Red Crescent. Donations are made by clicking on and selecting "Iraq Humanitarian Relief" where it says "I'd like my donation to go to"

Amnesty International has a new Report on Iraqi Refugees here which has very valuable information.

Action Alerts

Send a letter to the editor - Stop the Bush-McCain-Crist Drilling Deception (FDP)

Sign the Petition - Tell Gov. Crist -- Comply with the law and register voters (Credo)

Donate money to support Planned Parenthood and get your gift matched

Send an e-mail - Tell Bush not to sell our national Heritage (NPCA)

Send an e-mail - Just Say NO to Offshore Drilling (GreenPeace)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Road to the White House

What are Florida bloggers saying about the presidential race? Here are the top 5 posts from yesterday...

1. BeThink - 2008; Unprecedented

2. Seminole County Democrats - Why Florida is going to the Democrats in November

3. The Spencerian - An Opportunity for Obama on Crist's Environmental Flip-Flop and McCain's Blunder

4. litbrit - Slime Beneath the Surface; Scandal Under the Radar: John McCain and the Enron Loophole

5. The O-Train Station (KTJCM) - Opting Out (Public Financing)

Story of the Day

The most talked about story on the Florida blogs yesterday was Charlie Crist's flip flop on oil drilling off our coast. Here's what people said...

Progress Florida (Ray Seaman) - A Very Cold Day In Hell

becoming change... - crist: flip-flopping on florida's beaches

Flablog - Editorial roundup, oil edition

st. petersblog - Black gold, Texas tea

Morning Martini - Gov. Charlie Crist loves his new flip flops

BeThink (Andrew Wahl) - Offshore drilling is the answer? Really?

Dan Gelber - More Election Year Gimmickry

Talk To Me - Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Pensacola Beach Blog - Climbing Aboard McBush's Flip-Flop Express

Samm Simpson - Comment on Drilling and McCain and Crist

The O-Train Station (KTJCM) - Love w/ Disagreement (Oil Drilling)

Miami & Beyond - Worth the risk?

Eye on Miami (Genius of Despair) - Say "NO" To Governor Crist

Eye on Miami (gimleteye) - The Republicans and Offshore Oil

Blue Herald 2.0 (QuestionGirl) - Charlie Crist Reallllly Wants to be VP

Betty Cracker - How to Lose Florida Part II

Incertus (Brian) - Evolving?

Pushing Rope - Who Wants to Be Vice-President?

Bark Bark Woof Woof - Shorter Charlie Crist

Miami & Beyond - Crist flips on oil drilling

Blast Off! - Crist flip-flops on offshore drilling in Florida

Bark Bark Woof Woof - Drill Bits

FLA Politics (j2thaizzo) - The Suicide Solution

South Florida Daily Blog - McCain Serves Us Cake

Story of the Day

The most talked about story on the Florida blogs Wednesday was the latest Q-poll numbers for Florida. Here's what people said...

Change in Tallahassee - Obama Polling Ahead In Florida

Pensito Review - Poll: Obama Pulls Ahead in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania

becoming change - On to Florida, Obama Takes Over Lead...

Incertus (Brian) - Wow!

Blue Herald 2.0 - Poll: Obama Trumps McCain in Florida, Penn., Ohio

Flablog - Poll-o-Rama

Florida Kossacks - Good News for Barack Obama in WaPo ABC News Poll

FLA Politics (j2thaizzo) - Inside the Florida Quinnipiac numbers

From the FPC

The latest from our network of Florida Progressive Coalition blogs and radio shows.

The Hate Amendment - We Can Do It

Florida Speaks - In a Perfect World

Florida Speaks - The Road to the White House

GusWatch - Gus Bilirakis VOTES NO - Amtrack Improvements, IMPEACHMENT, Unemployment Benefits - Gus voted NO

Florida Progressive Radio: Stubborn Things - Kane Gruber and cohost Mark West take an insightful, irreverent look at the latest polling data

Florida Progressive Radio: The Movement - Kenny and Alison interview Tampa Bay State Senator Charlie Justice

Florida Progressive Coalition (Sunny) - Protecting Florida's Children

Florida Progressive Coalition - Winners & Losers

Florida Progressive Coalition - Story of the Day

Florida Progressive Coalition - 10 Stories to Read

Florida Progressive Coalition - Quick Hits

Florida Progressive Coalition - Around the State

Florida Progressive Coalition - From the FPC

In a Perfect World

Barack Obama wouldn't have to opt out of the public finance system. We don't live in that world. And it's much more important to keep John McCain out of the White House than to jump on board to a system that was little more than a band-aid and would help McCain win. Maybe if Obama wins he can push for real campaign finance reform.

Action Alerts

Sign the Pledge: Say No to 7 and 9 (Progress Fla)

Send an e-mail No to drilling our coasts! (Sierra Club)

Donate Money - Give in to Garcia: Mario Diaz-Balart gave in to the special interest groups to raise campaign money. Let’s help Joe Garcia fight back by matching Bush’s money dollar for dollar (ActBlue)

Send an e-mail - Urge Your Representative to Support Strong Climate Legislation (UCS)

Donate Money - to defend habeus corpus (AFJ)

Donate money - Fight to keep hunters away from endangered polar bears (DoW)

Send an e-mail - Vote No to Another Year of War (UfP&J)

Send an e-mail - Tell Congress to fund green jobs and grants (1Sky)

Send an e-mail - Help Pass the International Violence Against Women Act (AI)

Sign the Petition telling AP not to mess around with fair use rules (UAP)

Sign the Guestbook to affirm marriage equality and support Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon on a marriage 55 years in the making (PFAW)

Sign the Petition to provide food security for all (CRS)

Action Alert

Today, the Senate is debating a housing rescue package that includes $4 billion of neighborhood stabilization funds to help states and localities struggling to manage the fallout of vacant and abandoned properties caused by the foreclosure crisis. Rather than having properties sitting vacant and attracting blight, these funds would help to purchase vacant, blighted properties, rehabilitate them, and resell or rent them affordably to qualified families. More specifically, the $4 billion that would be distributed to state and local governments would:

*Generate $8.6 billion in additional economic activity, more than paying for the cost of the program twice over

*Restore 120,000 homes to productive use, reducing downward pressure on neighboring home values

*Create 80,000 new jobs in construction and other industries

*Save localities $1.2 billion in costs associated with foreclosed properties, ranging from lawn mowing and boarding up properties to adding police patrols and extinguishing fires

*Directly provide $200 million in property tax revenues which would otherwise have been lost

It is anticipated that efforts will be made to remove this funding during the current debate in the Senate and upcoming consideration by the House of Representatives. To take action, please call your Senators, Congressman and Members of the House Leadership and demand that Congress retain this much needed funding that will not only help purchase and rehabilitate these properties, but will also create new jobs and economic activity.


At the end of the first quarter of 2008, there were an estimated 1.27 million properties in foreclosure in the United States. In addition, there were approximately 350,000 sub-prime mortgages more than 90 days delinquent where foreclosure proceedings had not yet begun. The national foreclosure crisis is affecting not only individual families, but whole communities, cities and states that are struggling to manage the fallout of vacant and abandoned properties. Already tight state and municipal budgets are hard-pressed to cover the rising costs of boarding up abandoned properties, removing trash and combating increased vandalism, arson and property and personal crimes. Home prices are falling and middle-class wealth, long accumulated through home equity, is dwindling.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Road to the White House

What are Florida bloggers saying about the presidential race? Here are the top 5 posts from yesterday...

1. Blue Herald 2.0 - Post-Postmortem Post.

2. Smashed Frog - Vetting Caroline Kennedy.

3. Incertus (Brian) - Your vote belongs to you, yes...

4. Pushing Rope - Three Cheers For Katie Couric.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Road to the White House

What are Florida bloggers saying about the presidential race? Here are the top 5 posts from yesterday...

1. Tampa Bay Blue - Hillary Clinton Carrying the Hopes and Dreams of Millions of Women

2. Eye on Miami (gimleteye) - For president, reject the haters...

3. St. Petersblog - Crist for VP, get him the fuck out of FL.

4. Betty Cracker - Unsolicited advice for the Obama campaign.

5. Morning Martini - Consider the Source.

Why Did Obama Win?

A round-up of the analysis of the outcome of the Democratic primary...

Jack and Jill Politics - How Obama Won: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Jack and Jill Politics - How Obama Won: 50 State Strategy.

Daily Kos - Why Clinton Lost: The Nutcracker.

techPresident - Obama's Organization, and the Future of American Politics.

Daily Kos - Why Clinton Lost: The Obama Express.

Daily Kos - Why Clinton Lost: She Fought the Last War, With the Wrong Generals, and Not Enough of an Army.

Daily Kos - Why Clinton Lost (And Why Obama Just May Win Big In November).

Jack and Jill Politics - How Obama Won: That $10,000/year job pays dividends.

Daily Kos - Why Clinton Lost: Too Soon a Bulldog.

MyDD - Barack Obama's 50-State Campaign.

Daily Kos - Why Clinton Lost: She didn't channel supporter passion.

Seminole County Democrats - Why Clinton lost, just in case the editors miss.

Truman's Conscience - Why Clinton Lost.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Responsible Plan Endorsee Larry Byrnes (FL-14) Needs Your Help

Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress District FL-14, Larry Byrnes is challenging an unfair and undemocratic ruling that has kept him off the ballot for this August.

The Republican-controlled Florida Division of Elections (which you may remember from its recent appearance in the movie Recount) has determined that Byrnes will be a write-in candidate in August, defying the will of the people and the intent of the law. Laws like the one used to keep Byrnes off the ballot are meant to prevent voter fraud and to help ensure that the will of the people is reflected at election time.

On April 15, 2008, Byrnes received a letter telling him that he had qualified as a candidate in the upcoming election. They didn't tell him that he needed anything further. He later noticed that his name was not appearing on the elections website. He called the division and learned that he had not submitted a required notarized loyalty oath, which was required to be submitted the following day. He sent it by overnight courier and it arrived by the deadline. After the deadline, he was told that he had submitted the wrong loyalty oath. He had inadvertently signed the loyalty oath for a write-in candidate, not a Democrat.

The effect of Divisions decision is that, despite the fact that Byrnes became the first candidate to ever qualify for this seat by petition -- with more than 5400 total signatures. Write-in candidates do not appear on the ballot and the top write-in candidate in the state in congressional races in 2006 got 23 votes. Effectively, this decision would kill the candidacy, one that has a legitimate shot at winning.

In 2006, Robert Neeld got 35.6% in this District. According to insiders, Neeld's campaign had little grassroots support and didn't campaign significantly. Byrnes has huge grassroots support and he is campaigning tirelessly. He should easily top 40% and could get to 45%. Normally, that might not mean much. But this year isn't the regular year.

First off, it's a Democratic year, with a Democratic landslide expected and the likelihood of a lot of Democratic pick-ups around the nation. The incumbent in the seat, Republican Connie Mack is a do-nothing Bush supporter with a record as one of the least-effective members of Congress who is more notable for marrying Rep. Mary Bono than for any legislative accomplishments. And, this is the key, a strong right-wing candidate is challenging him as an independent. Burt Saunders, a popular state senator who will easily split the conservative vote with Mack. In this race, Byrnes can win if he gets 40% of the vote. That's why the Republicans are scared of him and that's why they're keeping him off the ballot. If Byrnes wins, he gets all the advantages of incumbency for the 2010 election and that's the last thing Republicans want. Byrnes is a good progressive Democrat and exactly the kind of person we need in Congress, particularly if he replaces a horrible representative like Mack.

What can you do? Byrnes is challenging the ruling. That won't come cheap. The first hearing is in two days, June 11. Larry needs your help paying the legal fees, particularly if the challenge goes beyond Wednesday. Send a message to the Republicans in Florida that they can't ignore the will of the people like this and send a message to Larry that we've got his back. Go to ActBlue and give what you can. You can also help spread the word about this story, so as many people as possible know about it and join the fight.

You can also learn more:

Read more about the legal challenge

Larry's web site

Byrnes endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq

Listen to our Florida Progressive Radio interview with Larry.

Friday, June 6, 2008

There Is A Difference

While it is obvious that Obama is not as progressive as many of us are, he is certainly a progressive. He has a lifetime Progressive Punch ( score of 88.43%. That means, regardless of image, rhetoric or any of that other nonsense, he votes in the more progressive direction 88.43% of the time. How does that compare? Liberal stalwart Russ Feingold has an 89.67%. Hillary Clinton is 90.99%. So, the huge difference between Clinton and Obama is 2.5%. That's it. And this is not based on an individual vote or even a few votes, this is the most comprehensive voting analysis I've ever seen. John McCain has a progressive punch score of 13.9%. There is a clear difference between Obama and McCain. There is little to no difference, policy-wise, between Clinton and Obama. Our goals should be:

a. Get Barack Obama into the White House
b. Make Barack Obama more progressive

I'm not sure what the rest of the conversation is even about.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's Official -- Clinton Is Out

The official announcement will be Saturday, but this is the e-mail she just sent out:

I wanted you to be one of the first to know: on Saturday, I will hold an event in Washington D.C. to thank everyone who has supported my campaign. Over the course of the last 16 months, I have been privileged and touched to witness the incredible dedication and sacrifice of so many people working for our campaign. Every minute you put into helping us win, every dollar you gave to keep up the fight meant more to me than I can ever possibly tell you.

On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.

I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.

When I decided to run for president, I knew exactly why I was getting into this race: to work hard every day for the millions of Americans who need a voice in the White House.

I made you -- and everyone who supported me -- a promise: to stand up for our shared values and to never back down. I'm going to keep that promise today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.

I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.

I know as I continue my lifelong work for a stronger America and a better world, I will turn to you for the support, the strength, and the commitment that you have shown me in the past 16 months. And I will always keep faith with the issues and causes that are important to you.

In the past few days, you have shown that support once again with hundreds of thousands of messages to the campaign, and again, I am touched by your thoughtfulness and kindness.

I can never possibly express my gratitude, so let me say simply, thank you.


I want to congratulate Clinton on a hard-fought campaign and thank her for her service.

Now it's time to listen to what she says and rally behind Barack Obama in order to keep John McCain (Bush III) out of the White House and begin the steps towards American moving in the right direction again.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Round 2 Voting Now Open

Okay, several categories are close enough that we need you to vote in them one more time. We've dropped off the lower vote-getters and just narrowed it down to the top three in each category. The vote totals are currently reset at zero for each of these categories and this is the last vote. From now until Sunday, June 8 at midnight, votes will be taken in the following categories. Go here to vote:

Best National Blog: Blogs written by Floridians that cover primarily national politics.
*Bark Bark Woof Woof,
*Ranger Against War,

Best Party Website: Best Florida-wide website associated with a political party or political party unit (such as a caucus or coalition).
*Empty Chair Charlie,
*Florida Democrats,
*Florida Young Democrats,

Best Local Party Website: This one is for Florida DECs, clubs or local chapters of statewide caucuses or coalitions. *
*East Hillsborough Democratic Club,

Best Interest Group Website (Professional) : Any Florida-based nonparty activist, charitable or grassroots group with an annual budget over $100,000 is eligible for this one.
*Equality Florida,
*Florida Red & Blue,

Netroots Activist of the Year: The individual who has done the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida.
*Alison Berke Morano, Pasco DEC, DCCA, Florida Progressive Coalition
*Phil Perry, Florida Democratic Party
*Ray Seaman, Florida Progressive Coalition, Progress Florida

Best Post: The best-written post since last year's awards.
*One Way Out for Florida Democrats -- Dan Gelber,
*Brooding At Breakfast With Al Gore -- J.F. McCullers at Conniption Fit,
*It's Not Called the Hate Amendment for Nothing -- Kenneth Quinnell at Florida Progressive Coalition,

Best Ongoing Series: The best regular feature that incorporates at least five posts since last year's awards.
*Eye on Miami, the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary
*FLA Politics, Florida Political News and Commentary
*Florida Progressive Coalition, Stories to Read

Best Online Radio Show: Goes to the best Netroots-created online radio show from Florida.
*Blast Off! Radio with Sinfonian,
*The Big Show with Alison Berke Morano and Kenneth Quinnell,
*The Countdown with Susan S and Kenneth Quinnell,

Go here to vote...

In the other categories, here are the top three finalists -- keep in mind, there were enough votes to determine the winners in these categories. We would like to invite the finalists in these categories to appear (as well as those above that are still open for voting), to attend the Netroots Conference on June 14. The event will be in Hollywood at the Jefferson-Jackson fundraiser. The Netroots Conference starts at 12 noon and the awards will be given away beginning at 2:30 p.m. Please join us to accept your award or to congratulate the other winners. Except for the Hall of Fame inductees -- NO ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES! Here are the finalists in the other categories:

Best State Blog: Blogs about statewide politics in Florida.
*Florida Netroots,
*Smashed Frog,
*Florida Progressive Coalition,

Best Local Blog: Blogs about city/county/regional politics in the state of Florida.
*Eye on Miami,
*Talk to Me,

Best Media Blog: Blogs written by professional journalists at Florida publications.
*The Fort Report,
*Naked Politics,
*Political Whore,

Best Professional Blog: Blogs written by state or local political parties, candidates or party operatives in Florida.
*Joe Garcia,
*The Gelber Blog,
*Grassroots Brevard,

Best Candidate Website: Anyone running for statewide or local office in Florida can win this one.
*Kevin Beckner,
*Dan Gelber,
*Robert Wexler,

Best Interest Group Website (Amateur): Any Florida-based nonparty activist, charitable or grassroots group with an annual budget under $100,000 is eligible for this one.
*Florida Citizens for Science,
*Miami for Peace,
*Progressive Democrats of Florida,

Best Writer: Anyone whose writings is published at any of the above websites is eligible for this one. Winners should have one or more of the following qualities: good grammar and presentation, provides original reporting, has a good sense of humor, shows creativity, has a strong personal touch, or has an affect on the real world because of their writing
*Dan Gelber, The Gelber Blog
*Mustang Bobby, Bark Bark Woof Woof
*Ken Quinnell, Florida Progressive Coalition

Netroots Candidate of the Year : The Florida candidate at any level who has best incorporated the Netroots into her/his campaign and done the best job of treating Netroots activists as valid constituents and not just another group of people to exploit.
*Alan Brock, County Commission
*Dan Gelber, Legislature
*Robert Wexler, Congress

Netroots Organization of the Year : The organization that has done the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida.
*DFA Miami,
*Florida Citizens for Science,
*Florida Netroots,

Best New Blogger: This one should go to the best blogger who has been blogging about Florida politics for no more than a year and a half.
*Dan Gelber,
*J.F. McCullers,
*Chris Petley,

Best Online Campaign: This is an award for the best use of the web and related technologies to achieve some kind of goal, such as fundraising, fighting legislation or other activism.
*Draft Joe Garcia,
*Say No on 2,
*Wexler Wants Hearings Campaign,

Florida Progressive Coalition Progressive Hall of Fame: FPC is sponsoring a virtual "Progressive Hall of Fame" that should be awarded as sort of a lifetime achievement award to a person or organization (amateur or professional) that has made a significant contribution towards making Florida a bluer, more progressive state. This award may have more than one recipient.
*You'll have to wait until the awards ceremony to find out about this one.