Monday, January 26, 2009


The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Conservatives Peddle Myth That Stimulus Spends $275,000 For Every Job Created

New Right-Wing Stimulus Myth: Progressives Want To Spend ‘Hundreds Of Millions On Contraceptives’

Kill Stimulus Zombie Lies

Must read: Krugman debunks the GOP's misleading claims about the stimulus

Welcome to the Center-Right America

REPORT: TV Media Cited Disputed CBO ‘Report’ At Least 81 Times In Past Six Days

A Great Reason for Conservatives to Like Obama: Al Queda Hates Him

Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs Like Infrastructure Does

Abortion and welfare queens

All Cost, No Benefit: States Aim to Raise Voting Barriers to Prevent Rare Crime

Waving Goodbye to Reaganism: Terms of the Tax Debate Continue to Tectonically Shift

Cantor’s Obsession/Lie: Stimulus Will Spend 4x More On ‘Grass’ Than On Small Businesses

On Fox News, Gingrich echoed distortion that EFCA "tak[es] away your right to a secret-ballot vote before being forced to join a union"

Media advance falsehood that Pentagon has confirmed that 61 former Guantánamo detainees have returned to battlefield

Conservative media figures falsely suggest that Reich proposed excluding white males from stimulus package

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers in other states...

Open Left: USGS Report: "Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems"

AMERICAblog: Credit crisis is killing non-profits

Open Left: Are We Socialist Yet?

MyDD: Reclaiming The Rhetoric Of Abortion

Open Left: A Brief Note to Those Who Still Insist the Current Bailout Will Spur More Lending...

Open Left: Giving Obama A Chance, Part Two

Open Left: The Chance You Should Give Obama

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. ReidBlog: Obama's Big First Day

2. Pensacola Beach Blog: Nationalize, Don't Subsidize

3. Conceptual Guerilla: Deconstructing Republicanism III - The Lessons of History

4. The Spencerian: Enjoying the Continuing Staff Story

5. Pushing Rope: Republicans on the Closing of Gitmo

6. Robin 'Roblimo' Miller: I Pity Barack Obama

7. Smashed Frog: Obama, the FDLE and Mark Foley

8. Deep Something: So Much for Republican Bipartisanship

9. Kristol's Done

10. The Spencerian: W. Fades

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Story of the Day

The most talked about story on the Florida blogs this week was the Inauguration. Here's what people said...

Florida Progressive Coalition: A Couple of Really Good Shots of the Inauguration

Florida Progressive Coalition: Inauguration — The End

Florida Progressive Coalition: Inauguration — Sights and Sounds

Florida Progressive Coalition: Inauguration — How Do We Get Into This Place?

Florida Progressive Coalition: Inauguration Day — From Bethesda to D.C.

Florida Progressive Coalition: D.C. Sights and Sounds, Part 3

Florida Progressive Coalition: D.C. Sights and Sounds, Part 2

Florida Progressive Coalition: D.C. Sights and Sounds, Part 1

Florida Progressive Coalition: Tally-to-DC

Florida Progressive Coalition (Sheree Shatsky): A United States of America

South Florida Daily Blog: Say Amen

Situation Awareness: 44th President of the United States of America

The Spencerian: Inaugurations We Can Believe In

Situation Awareness: A Parade of Presidents

South Florida Daily Blog: SFDB Inauguration Live Blog

South Florida Daily Blog: Inauguration Day @ SFDB

Miami-Dade Dems: Who else went to the Inauguration?

Miami-Dade Dems: Skywriting for Obama on the National Mall

Radio or Not: We Pick Ourselves Up, Dust Ourselves off, and Start All Over Again!

Blue in Miami: Sorry for the delay

ReidBlog: D.C. Diary (Updated)

Bark Bark Woof Woof: It Was In All the Papers

Sunshine Statements: Incomplete Inauguration Coverage

Seminole County Democrats: New FL Senate 2010 poll released

Radio or Not: Welcome to a Brand New Day!

The Campaign Manager: Florida Goes to Washington

boiling mad: Na na na na hey hey hey GOODBYE

Incertus (Brian): "When white will embrace what is right."

Smashed Frog: "...This Winter of Our Hardship..."

Bark Bark Woof Woof: It's Time to Get Back to Work

Talk to Me: Every Dogma Has Its Day

Morning Martini: Yesterday

Radio or Not: Inauguration Day

Interstate4Jamming2: You Might Not Gotten To See It, But You Could Tell When It Happened

Can't Keep Quiet!: Where were you when Obama was inaugurated?

Sunshine Statements: Two Miles, Three Men

Blue Herald: Chief Flubber Roberts

BeThink: Change Has Come

Florida Young Democrats: Join FYD in Welcoming Pres. Obama to the White House

Blue Herald: Vice President Joe Biden Swearing In

Blue Herald: President Obama’s Inaugural Speech

Progressive Junction: Live Report: Inauguration Edition

Bark Bark Woof Woof: "The World Is Changing, and We Must Change With It."

BeThink: America Speechless; President Barack Obama Speaks

Miami-Dade Dems: Crowd is tight

Pensito Review (Trish): Celebrating the Dawning of the Era of 44

Blue Herald: President’s inauguration Invocation by Dr Rick Warren

Incertus (Brian): Inaugural Poem

Incertus (Brian): Inaugural thoughts

Seminole County Democrats: Our 44th President

Pensacola Beach Blog: "Keepers of the Legacy"

Sherman Dorn: "Cheese and applause"

Miami-Dade Dems: Your blogger ready for the Inauguration

Progressive Pensacola: A brighter day has come

The Seminole Democrat: For My GOP Friends This Inauguration Day...

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Here To See It

Blast Off!: Emotional history

Eye on Miami (gimleteye): January 20, 2009 ... the unforgotten

Morning Martini: Good Morning America!

Incertus (Brian): How many preachers would it take? Inauguration Day

Dan Gelber: My “little” brother and the President-Elect

madfloridian: Filled with pride at today's events, yet still able to speak out. Walking and chewing gum

Progressive Junction: Live Report: Inauguration Part One

Miami-Dade Dems: On the road again -- Washington, here I come

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

Last Night's SNL Skit: Gitmo Closeout

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Couple of Really Good Shots of the Inauguration

The first is an aerial view, although it doesn't seem to be at the height of the festivities, since several areas seem to be less full than they would later be.

An even better shot is this 1400-megapixel shot taken from near the stage. With this one, you can zoom in so close that you can see the faces of people who couldn't even see the people on stage. You can't find me in this shot, since I'm just beyond the range of the camera. I can easily find the area I was in, but you can't make out the people in that area. You can easily make out people closer, though, and if anybody knows the basic area they were seated in and they were closer than the reflecting pool, they can probably find themselves. You can also find out interesting things about the people on stage, such as the fact that Clarence Thomas was sleeping during Obama's speech.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Grayson & Stoller: Washington Better Watch Out

Matt Stoller announced today that he's working for Alan Grayson in D.C. You've probably been following Stoller for a while and you know what a bulldog he can be when he thinks someone is wrong. Grayson may be an even tougher bulldog and may be even more liberal than Stoller. Grayson's only been in Washington for a few days and he's already pissing people off:

I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of the law (or a law) with Grayson on the case...

New Presidential Portrait

This is the official portrait of our incoming president. There's something different about this portrait and all the past ones, but I just can't figure out what it is...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

"We can't change the rules every time something explodes. If we did, the people with the bombs would win." -- Marvel Comics Civil War

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers in other states...

Open Left: The PCCC -- and where you fit in

Open Left: A Brief Encounter With The Truly CRIMINAL "Justice" System

Hullabaloo: The Final Straw

e.politics: For Government Transparency, “Public” Should Mean “Online.” Plus, Free the Nerds!

Democratic Strategist: Stimulus Proposal Hits First Resistance

Voting Matters Blog: America Can Do a Better Job at Registering Voters

Open Left: Shifting the Meaning of Words

Open Left: Progressive Legislation Monitoring Project Update

The Unapologetic Mexican: Weekly Immigration Wire: Will Humanity Return to US in 2009?

Down With Tyranny: Welcome to the world of the "rootsgap" -- the gap between political leaders and their base

Daily Kos: Push to Unite Unions in a Single House of Labor

Open Left: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Open Left: Prioritizing the Movement Over the Party

Pam's House Blend: New study debunks zombie meme about black voters and Prop 8


The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

The Forgotten Math: Pre-WWII New Deal Saw Biggest Drop In Unemployment Rate in American History

Pence Challenges Americans To ‘Check’ His Facts: Guess What? He’s Got Them Wrong

Dobbs again questioned human-caused global warming, suggested sun may be more responsible

Debunking Conservative Health Reform Myths

Bush's Last Month Sees Unemployment Hit 22%, According to Wingnuttia's Math

In discussion of EFCA, Wash. Post downplayed alleged intimidation and harassment by employers in current system, calling it "unfair pressure"

WSJ editorial board member ignored consensus absentee-ballot process in accusing Franken of "manipulating" system

Fox News anchors, contributors falsely assert, repeatedly, that Obama's tax credit plan gives money to people who don't pay taxes

Red states dominate teen pregnancy statistics

Michelle Malkin and Newsmax's Ponte claim partisan bent to MN canvassing board -- but board is bipartisan

Asserting FDR "waged ... a jihad against private enterprise," Hume falsely claimed "everybody agrees ... that the New Deal failed"

Coulter compounds falsehoods in "point-by-point" response to Media Matters' fact-check of Guilty

O'Reilly again falsely claimed that Army Field Manual bans making "any captured person uncomfortable in any way"

Chamber Of Commerce Claims Global Warming Regulations Would ‘Strangle The Economy’

No Terrorism Since 9/11


Links you can use...

Running For Office 101 - Homework


Oldest. Congress. Ever.

ST. Augustine Record Employees, This One's For You -- CWA Newspaper Guild Tells "How to Organize" A Union At Our Local Newspaper

Glen Ford/Black Agenda Report On Blacks And Unionization

Huwaida Arraf is a Brave, Heroic Woman

The important part is about a minute in, a young woman stands between Israeli soldiers and the kids they are shooting at.

While the behavior of some Israelis doesn't excuse the actions of Hamas, the actions of Hamas don't excuse behavior like this and Arraf is fighting the good fight here.

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. BeThink: Hamas, Israelis, Palestinians; People and Peace

2. Pushing Rope: Gaza Strip News

3. Why Now?: So, When Do The Attacks On Hamas Start?

4. Progress Florida (Ray Seaman): National Unemployment Hits 7.2%

5. tinylittledots: First political post of 2009

6. Bark Bark Woof Woof: What's At Stake

7. Eye on Miami (Gimleteye): Corruption and the Fiscal Stimulus; "Today I have a sense of deja vu"

8. FLA Politics (Tally): FL-Sen in 2010 Will Be the Magic 60

9. Bark Bark Woof Woof: Put Up or Shut Up

10. The Spencerian: Sanjay and Me

Alex Thomson shuts-up Israeli spokesman!

Save SoapBlox

(For the full story and the donation link, go to Open Left)

This is important, particularly for FLA Politics, which is run on SoapBlox, as well as many other important blogs across the country. Help out if you can.

You know how some politicians are fond of saying "you can't solve a problem by just throwing money at it." Well, here is a problem you can solve by throwing money at it. Send in a contribution to save Soapblox now!.

Why is Soapblox Important?

Soapblox is an inexpensive, community-building content management platform developed by Paul Preston and currently used by over 100 progressive blogs. For only $15 / month, Soapblox has offered most of the features available on sites like Daily Kos and MyDD: user diaries, recommended diaries, promoted diaries, interactive comments, comment ratings, tip jars, and even things like quick hits. It is a lot of functionality for not much price, making it ideal for independent, progressive, grassroots media. As such, it has been adopted by about 90% of the fifty-state blog network, and also by several national sites including Pam's House Blend, My Left Wing, Swing State Project, and my own Open Left. Collectively, the blogs on Soapblox received over 50,000,000 page views in 2008, and provided a huge percentage of the state-level, local politics coverage in the progressive blogosphere.

Why Is Soapblox in Danger?

On Wednesday morning, Soapblox was hacked to within an inch of its life. A quarter of all Soapblox sites went completely offline, and their databases were gone. Most others were threatened, as My Left Wing and Open Left temporarily lost all of their diaries. The hackers were in so deep, that Paul temporarily threw in the towel and declared defeat. Dozens of bloggers that I knew were all frantically emailing each other. Desperate attempts were made to try and copy all of our data before The End. At one point I was, literally, running up and down the stairs in my apartment building freaking out, as there are few things I fear more than my website's content being wiped out. It was an impending blog apocalypse, where the entire archive and operation of over 100 blogs were almost wiped off the Internet with no hope of return.

As the day went on, through a lot of effort Soapblox was able to fend off the attack, save all data, and restore full service. However, the threat remains.

How To Solve The Problem

Here is what Soapblox needs in the immediate short-term to become safe and secure once again:

--Recharge ten servers
--Perform a full security audit of the SoapBlox server/unix infrastructure to prevent hackers from gaining access
--Ensure all backup process are working and functional to guarantee that if hacking happens, data is preserved
--Perform a security audit on the SoapBlox code itself so that hackers cannot exploit the SoapBlox code itself.
--Migrate to new, secure servers

The good news is that, in addition to restoring full service for Soapblox, Paul has already found a system administrator who lives in his area and is able to help. All of the work listed above is currently underway. Here is what it will cost:

--Recharging ten servers at $100 apiece: $1,000
--Purchasing new, secure severs, and migrating the data: $8,000
--One month of full-time work at $50 / hour in order to complete all of the tasks listed above: $8,400

So, for a total of $17,400, we can secure Soapblox, and ensure that yesterday's dangerous attack can never be replicated. Let's make this happen. Save Soapblox and secure online progressive media. Contribute today.

Read more and contribute now!

Obama on the Economy

The speech:

The Q&A:

1/10/09: President-Elect Obama's Weekly Address

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Old-Style Media

Relatively interesting story on state-by-state rates of teen pregnancy. Mississippi is now No. 1 with the highest rate. The problem with the story is that not only does it only mention a few states, it doesn't include a link to the report it mentions. I see this all the time. Why don't the old-style media help readers out? Why don't they back up their claims with actual sources? Is it because if we can check things for ourselves, then we don't need them to interpret things for us? Maybe.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers in other states...

Bob Herbert: The Afghan Quagmire

AMERICAblog: Pelosi’s power move leaves House Republicans fuming

The Democratic Strategist: Can the GOP Expand Its Demographic Base While Moving Right?

Open Left: Being Pro-Israel, When Israel Itself Is Not

African American Political Pundit: The Drop Out Crisis In America

Open Left: A Half Century of Rejection - Or Why Dems Shouldn't Appoint Aristocrats/Insiders to Senate Seats

Open Left: Democrats Won Big This Year But How Big?

Open Left: Solving the Rootsgap

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. ReidBlog: Israeli tanks shell a U.N. school, 40 killed

2. Bark Bark Woof Woof: A Token of Their Esteem

3. ReidBlog: Burris turned away

4. Pushing Rope: No Earmarks in Stimulus Bill

5. madfloridian: The Hill: "New DNC chief signals a change." Lanny Davis is back again

Action Alerts

Sign the petition: Protect the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund (CC)

Send an e-mail: Ask Obama to Adopt the Clean Slate Agenda (Sierra)

Send an e-mail: Vote YES on Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Paycheck Fairness Act (IAP)

Send an e-mail: Pass the Obama jobs and recovery plan NOW! (TM)

Sign the petition: Tell Congress: Support equal pay for women (Credo)

Sign the petition: Food Democracy Now! (FD)

Sign the petition: Make Worldwide Hunger a Priority (FFH)

Senate 2010

The news earlier today that Jeb Bush is not running for Senate was good news and somewhat unexpected. So where does that leave us? Who will be running for this seat? A quick rundown of where others stand as far as running prior to Jeb's announcement:


Allen Boyd: Undecided. Probably doesn't have a high enough profile to defeat one of the other big-name Democrats, but certainly can raise the money. Progressives don't like him, though, and I wonder if that would hold him back. Has a very similar profile, though, to Bill Nelson, who has won several times quite easily.

Jim Davis: Not running. Good thing, his failed gubernatorial run left a lot of people with a bad taste and a lot of activists across the state don't like him.

Joe Garcia: No word yet. Would have a real shot in the general election, but probably isn't well-known enough in the electorate to beat Sink or maybe even Gelber. If they aren't in the race, he has probably the best network and broadest appeal statewide of any of the candidates (and might be able to beat Gelber, too).

Dan Gelber: No real indication yet, but is considering it. Gelber is a good progressive, has a great track record of leadership and House Victory and Obama campaign guru Steve Schale in his corner. On the other hand, is his name recognition high enough outside of his district and wonk-y circles?

Pam Iorio: Not ruling it out. Would be a longshot, we haven't seen much in recent years of leaps from mayor to big positions like this and it seems unlikely that will change, despite her strong support in Tampa Bay.

Ron Klein: No word yet. Could win in the absence of candidates like Sink, but it just may be a bit too soon for him to run.

Chris Korge: No word yet. Can obviously raise the money, but outside of fundraising circles, who knows anything about him?

Kendrick Meek: I ahven't heard anything about him even thinking about running, but blogger Tally is pushing for him pretty heavily (at least he was until Jeb got out of the race). He would be a formidable candidate and would likely have institutional backing if he won the primary.

Jim Naugle: Is not running. If he did, he'd likely be laughed out of the primary.

Frank Sanchez: No word yet. Never heard of him. If I haven't heard of him, I doubt many voters have. Probably can raise money and has a Tampa base, but those wouldn't be enough against one of the other candidates.

Alex Sink: Very likely to be in now that Jeb is out. Has a great shot at winning and if she is in, she would have to be considered the front-runner.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Definitely out. She has power and is rising in stature in the House, why give that up to go back to the bottom of the list in the Senate?


Allan Bense: Considering it. Could win the nomination if some of the bigger names stayed out, but would get crushed by most of the top Dems.

Ginny Brown-Waite: Considering running. Would lose in the primary. Probably badly.

Vern Buchanan: No word yet. Ineffective in Washington, came to office dishonestly, under a cloud of scandal -- he's lucky to be in the House, much less running for Senate.

Jeb Bush: Not running. Would've been the frontrunner to win if he was in.

Charlie Crist: Out. Could win, but appears more interested in re-election as governor, which makes sense because of the difference in party control in D.C. and Tallahassee.

Adam Hasner: No word yet. Isn't well-known enough outside of his district to have much shot in the primary.

Connie Mack: Endorsed Jeb and said he wasn't running, but with Jeb out will he reconsider? He's one of the few Florida Republicans with any pull in Washington, so he would have a chance.

Mel Martinez: Retiring. Would've been a high priority target for the Dems and could've been beaten.

Bill McCollum: Almost definitely in now that Jeb is out. Could win the nomination -- has done so before -- but is unlikely to beat the top Dems. He's been in Washington before and people chose not to send him back. Doubt they'll change their minds now.

John Mica: Is considering it. Nobody knows who he is, though, and he's been largely ineffective in D.C., so he wouldn't make much impact on the race.

Jeff Miller: No word yet. Seems unlikely that such a no-name candidate from a part of the state that most Floridians consider to be foreign would take such a leap. Would get no more than a few percent in a primary.

Adam Putnam: Out. Has no chance anyway.

Marco Rubio: No indication yet, but there is a Facebook group seeking to draft him. Has some public recognition and fundraising ability and can paint himself as "moderate" and a "problem-solver" because of the fake 100 Ideas thing. A formidable candidate.

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

If you are tired of throwing shoes at George W. Bush, maybe try a pretzel? Or a cigar? Or other items...

Duck Duck Bush

Good News! Jeb Not Running!

Eye on Miami reports Jeb definitely out. Confirmed by Herald and Times. Good news! This seat is now wide open and is definitely a high priority pick-up opportunity for Dems. Are you paying attention, D.C.?

"After thoughtful consideration, I've decided not to run for the United States Senate in 2010. While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office.

“In the coming months and years, I hope to play a constructive role in the future of the Republican Party, advocating ideas and policies that solve the pressing problems of our day. We must rebuild the Party by focusing on the common purposes and core conservative principles that unite us all –- limited government, a strong national defense and safe homeland, and the protection of liberty tempered by personal responsibility."

“While fundamentally different ideologies divide Republicans and Democrats, we can not allow politics to come before the needs of our people and communities. We must raise the level of debate to reflect the American people’s desire for change and bipartisanship, embodied by November’s historic election. President-elect Obama ran a tremendous campaign and I am proud to call him my President. I am confident Republicans will find productive ways to work together with the new administration to advance reforms both sides of the aisle can support."

Monday, January 5, 2009

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Unscrewing the Inscrutable: It's always worse than they first tell you

2. ReidBlog: Trying to make sense of the Panetta pick

3. Talk To Me: Bill Richardson

4. madfloridian: Tim Kaine on abortion, stem cells, same-sex marriage, civil unions, and labor issues

5. Bark Bark Woof Woof: Many Ironies Died...


The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Reports suggest Israeli forces using cluster bombs in Gaza

Wallace uses right-wing buzzwords to fearmonger on EFCA, says it ‘eliminates the right to a secret ballot.’

Gay Rights Threaten Freedom of Belief, Conservative myth 2.0

A Final Report Card on the Reagan Years?

New Deal gets a raw deal when conservatives rap FDR

Liberals and the KKK

Global Warming's One Percent Doctrine--A Bit More Than One Percent

Guilty: Coulter's latest book filled with falsehoods

Wash. Times echoed opponents' distortion of EFCA in asserting it would "eliminat[e] the secret ballot"

IBD cited 1930s America, 1990s Japan as evidence that stimulus spending doesn't work, but economists disagree on both counts

Your Liberal Media

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers in other states...

Pam's House Blend: Why blacks should support gay marriage

Open Left: Northern Racism--Yes, I Know It Exists

The Democratic Strategist: Let’s face it. All too often Democrats end up just yelling at each other when they try to discuss long-term political strategy – with the challenges that confront us, it’s urgent that we figure out how to do better

AMERICAblog: More from Josh on the tax cuts

Down With Tyranny: Does Obama Have What It Takes To Rescue America From The Bush Economic Miracle?

Daily Kos: Why the Employee Free Choice Act Is So Important: The Power of Organization

Open Left: A Bit Of Deep Background On Israel And Palestine From Robert Fisk

Easy Response

Club For Growth: Obama Should ‘Embrace A Stimulus Bill’ That Cuts Taxes For the Wealthy And Corporations


Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

Bush read 91 books the last two years? Yeah, right.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Daily Humor

Today's reasons to laugh are some oldies, but goodies...


“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. ReidBlog: U.S. media bias towards Israel continues

2. Avery Voice: On Gaza and the policies of War

3. madfloridian: Iraq was a legacy of lies told and lies believed. A confused time. A tragic time

4. Pensito Review (Trish): Richardson Steps Down Sooner Rather than Later

5. ReidBlog: Dear RNC: Why not just pick Alan Keyes?

Richardson is Out at Commerce

Governor Bill Richardson will apparently still be Governor Bill Richardson and not Secretary Bill Richardson. He's withdrawing his name from the appointment to Commerce Secretary because of an investigation into alleged corruption. Richardson says he did nothing wrong and that he's withdrawing because he doesn't want a drawn-out confirmation process that might hurt President Obama. The right and the media will jump on this as an Obama scandal, which it isn't. We couldn't have expected a totally smooth transition, and I think Richardson is handling it in a way to minimize damage to Obama, which is good. Hopefully this will turn out to be nothing and the story will die out quickly.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Great News From Florida

Rankings of states on various topics have been coming out fast and furious lately and Florida's numbers don't look good. Here are the latest numbers:

Florida is No. 3 is prison population, with more than 100 thousand

Florida is No. 2 in foreclosures

Florida is No. 50 for children's health care

Florida ranks last in access to emergency care

Florida ranks No. 50 in education funding

The Florida health care system ranks No. 50

Florida ranks No. 50 in high-school graduation rates

Florida ranks No. 1 in the number of convicted public officials from 1998-2007

Florida ranks No. 1 in requests for food stamps

Florida ranks No. 1 in mortgage fraud

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers in other states...

Democratic Strategist: Fire on the Mountain: Blue/Green Coalitions and Why They Work

MyDD: The Demise Of The Southern Strategy

Open Left: Needed: Frames For Progressive Swing Voters

Open Left: Are The Culture Wars MUCH Realer And Deeper Than Obama Realizes?

Open Left: The "Arab Rejectionism" Dodge

Open Left: Should We Judge Anyone By Anything They've Done? Please Tell Me This "Famine of 2009" Stuff Is Wrong

Wonk Room: Conservative ‘No-Bailout Alternative’ For Automakers Amounts To Union-Busting

Democratic Strategist: Watch Out Democrats: no matter who the hell is peddling it, the whole “Obama vs. the left” discussion is a big, shiny, flashing red cape – and that sharp pain you can feel in your back is the thrust of the matadors’ sword

Pensito Review: Poll: Education Level, Not Race, Drove Prop 8 Win

Down With Tyranny: Will The Next Spree Of Gerrymandering Help The Republicans Get Back Control Of Congress?

Eschaton: Statehood


The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Remarks made after September 11, 2001, by our "media experts" at the time

5 Disastrous Decisions That Got Us into This Economic Mess

GOP Exposed: the 'first shot' against organized labor

400,000 Documents Show ‘It Is A Myth’ That Fannie And Freddie Caused The Housing Crisis

Challenging the 'Bush Kept Us Safe' Meme

Report: Abortion does not lead to long-term depression

Al Gore leads new ‘Reality’ Coalition to debunk ‘clean coal’ myth

Fox News repeatedly echoes only opponents of Employee Free Choice Act


US Election Turnout -- 61.6% of the Nation's Eligible Voters

Know Your Reproductive Rights

50 steps toward ending homelessness

Exit Poll Analysis Suggests Obama Victory Due to Surge in Youth and Minority Voting

The Obama Administration So Far

Considering the fact that Barack Obama hasn't taken office yet, it's difficult for him to have made many decisions that are good or bad yet. There hasn't been chance for him to pursue policy or change the culture of government or Washington. The only thing he has really been able to do at this point, is propose members for his new administration. I'm going to take a quick glance at what he's done so far.

For those that don't know the process, the president appoints approximately 3,000 top-level government officials. The Senate must approve of these appointments and most of them are people that the president doesn't particularly know that much about, beyond taking recommendations from his advisers and the Senate approves of most of them as a matter of form. Some of them, though, become knock-down drag-out fights. With a strong Democratic majority in the Senate, it seems unlikely for many of these appointments to get much opposition, although conservatives have suggested some tough battles for at least a few of them.

So, in no particular order, here are the proposed members of the Obama administration so far...

Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to the Vice President: If Recount was even remotely accurate, then this seems like a great pick. The movie made Klain seem like an ideal guy to have on your team. Plus he was played by Kevin Spacey, and it's hard to go wrong with that. I give it an "A."

Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation: This one makes me angry. LaHood doesn't know much about transportation and has a pretty crappy record as a conservative. I understand the idea of reaching across the aisle, this is just the wrong hand to have grabbed when you reached. I give it an "F."

Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor: Solis appears to be a very strong liberal who supports organized labor and angers the right wing. That seems to hit the nail squarely on the head. I give this one an "A+."

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture: We have huge problems in the agriculture industry in the U.S. and Vilsack is uncomfortably close to some of the worst of the bad guys and supporters of bad science in the arena. The fact that he's a big supporter of corn ethanol sould be enough to disqualify him. He has seemed to made some efforts to reach out to progressives, though, so I'll give him a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. For now. I give this pick a "C-."

Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative: His record isn't sparkling, but he has seemed to indicate some willingness to move in the right direction on fair trade and other issues. I give it a "C" and have hope that he'll turn out better than that.

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense: If you are going to reach out to Republicans, this is far from the worst choice one could make. I wouldn't have picked him, but Gates has strongly signaled that he will work with Obama, not against him, and that he'll move forward with Obama's promise to close Guantanamo. Sounds good. I give it a "B."

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education: Seems to have the qualifications and is good on many issues, but has some questionable beliefs about some of the "reform" ideas in play and hasn't had a perfect relation with teachers' unions. I'm cautiously optimistic on this one and give it a "B."

Eric Holder, Attorney General: Hasn't always defended the greatest clients and has been on the wrong side of some cases involving union workers, so I'm pretty skeptical. I give it a "C."

Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban development: Seems like a pretty solid and experienced pick from what I can find. I give it an "A."

Jeanne Lambrew, Deputy Director of White House Office of Health Reform: Worked for the Center for American Progress and has worked on the problem of fixing our health care problems in a pretty good way. I like this pick. I give it an "A."

Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Another pick I like a lot. He has the experience to fix the problems the VA faces and famously told the truth in the face of extensive pressure from the Bush administration to lie. I give this one an "A."

Bill Richardson, Secretary of Commerce: I didn't support Richardson for president, but he's definitely a very well-qualified man who is on the right side much more often than he's on the wrong side. I give this pick a "A-."

Jim Jones, National Security Advisor: He's too conservative for me and I'm not sure about some of his preconceptions about the problems we face, but he certainly has the qualifications. I was hoping we'd see a sea change in foreign policy under Obama, but that seems unlikely. I give this pick a "B-."

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State: It worries me quite a bit that the person in charge of much of our foreign policy will be someone who voted yes for the Iraq war and defended it for years afterward. Not recognizing that the war was a total fiasco should disqualify someone for this position. She's not horrible, but the gap between what's right in foreign policy and what Clinton has donen is too big at times. I give it a "C-."

David Petraeus, Chief of U.S. Central Command: I get the concept of stability during wartime, but I was so disillusioned by Petraeus' congressional testimony, I can't help but disapprove of this pick strongly. I give it a "D."

Tim Geithner, Secretary of Treasury: I don't like some of the things I hear about him, such as his big role in the recent bailout, but he seems to be a serious improvement over the other options that were considered for this position. I give it a "C."

John Brennan, CIA Director: Apparently is an apologist for our policies in Guantanamo and executed the warantless wiretapping campaign for the White House. This is terrible. Some of the worst things done under the Bush administration are being supported if this appointment goes through. I give this one an "F."

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security: I've always liked Napolitano, although I question her handling of the immigration issue, despite being in a very tough climate for that issue in Arizona. I give this pick a "B."

Tom Daschle, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Health Care Czar: I've never really been a big fan of Daschle, but an appointment like this seemed inevitable. I give it a "B-."

Susan Crawford, Co-lead FCC Review Team: This is a great pick and the FCC should move in a significantly more consumer-friendly direction if Crawford has anything to say about it. I give this one an "A+."

Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff: Not a fan of Emanuel based on his work in the elections arena and his huge support for NAFTA. He won't likely have a huge impact on such issues in this position, but he will have very strong access to Obama and have the ability to influence the president like few others. I give this one a "D+."

David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President: The only complaint that anyone seems to have about Axlerod was that he was too much of a Clintonista. But others use words like "genius" when talking about him. Looks like a good pick. I give it an "A."

Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget: This seems to be a pretty solid pick, as Orszag appears really good on health care issues and will have a significant impact in this role. i give it an "A."

Patrick Gaspard, White House Political Director: A SEIU man who appears to be a movement progressive. I give it an "A+."

Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs: Worked for Waxman and is likely to advise Obama from the left in this important role. I give it an "A."

Melody Barnes, Director of Domestic Policy Council: Great pick. Barnes worked for Ted Kennedy and the Center for American Progress. I give it an "A+."

Jane Lubchenco, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: An expert on coral reef acidification, hypoxia and declining fish species seems like exactly who I want at NOAA. I give it an "A+."

John Holdren, Science Advisor: My president has a Harvard physicist advising him. A Harvard physicist well-known for his work on energy, climate change and nuclear proliferation. I give this pick an "A+."

Mary Schapiro, Director Securities and Exchange Commission: Don't know enough about her other than her background. She has signaled a commitment to stronger enforcement and reform, but I'll wait until I hear more before passing judgment.

Gary Gensler (Director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission) and Daniel Tarullo (Federal Reserve): Other than the fact that they both worked in the Clinton administration, I haven't found much about these two, so I'll reserve judgment for now.

Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change: I remember Browner somewhat fondly from the Clinton years, but I've seen some criticism of her here and there. Seems like a pretty good fit for this role, though. I give it an "A-."

Nancy Sutley, White House Environmental Adviser: Apparently she's had great experience in California and has an encyclopedic knowleedge of the environment. People describe her as a "wonk," which is great for a presidential advisor. I give this pick an "A+."

Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy: My Secretary of Energy is a Nobel laureate. That's really cool. Seems like a pretty good pick. I give it an "A."

Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator: Has a pretty solid technical background, but there are some pretty serious criticisms leveled at her management of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection -- accusations of Bush administration-like activity. I give this one a "C-."

Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change: Worked for John Kerry and Frank Pallone, before coming on board the Obama campaign. She calls for aggressive action on climate change and favors a cap-and-trade program. I give it a "B+."

Lisa Brown, Staff Secreatary: Worked for Al Gore and on behalf of people with disabilities. Looks like someone I'd want on my team. I give it an "A."

Greg Craig, White House Counsel: Worked in the Clinton administration and for Ted Kennedy. Seems like a good choice, but I don't know enough about him.

Chris Lu, Cabinet Secretary: Seems like a solid pick and a longtime Obama employee. It's hard to say anything about a pick like this.

Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary: Gibbs seems very qualified for the position and his pick shows that Obama rewards qualified, loyal supporters. I like it. I give it an "A."

Ellen Moran, Communications Director: The executive director of EMILY's List, work for the AFL-CIO and trying to help hold Wal-Mart accountable seem like good qualifications to me. I give it an "A+."

Zeke Emanuel, Senior Counselor at the White House Office of Management and Budget on Healy Policy: Having served as a bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health, this one seems to be a strong pick based on qualifications. I give it an "A-."

Desiree Rogers, White House Social Secretary: She seems likely to kick this job in the tail, I'm just not sure I see that there is much of significance that this position can pull off. I give it an "A."

Cassandra Butts, Deputy White House Counsel with Focus on Domestic Policy and Ethics: Butts previously worked with the Center for America Progress and the NAACP. I'm a pretty big fan of those organizations, although I doubt this will be a high-impact appointment. This one I give an "A."

Elizabeth Sears Smith, Deputy Cabinet Secretary: Has worked with Rahm Emanuel for years and worked in the Clinton Administration in the past. Don't know enough about her to make a judgment.

Shawn Maher, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for the United States Senate: Worked for Chris Dodd and Joseph Kennedy, which seems like a good sign, but hard to say at this point.

Dan Turton, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for the United States House: Worked for Dick Gephardt for 20 years and with Louise Slaughter. Seems very qualified for the position. I give it a "B+."

Camille Johnston, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady: Worked in a similar roles for Tipper Gore, Robert Reich and Richard Riley, and has raised more than $100 million for cancer research. I give the appointment an "A-."

Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Press Secretary for the First Lady: Seems very qualified and managed Michelle Obama's successful media strategy during the campaign. Prior to that, worked for John Kerry and First Lady Hillary Clinton. I give it an "A-."

Semonti Mustaphi, Deputy Press Secretary for the First Lady: Broad experience having worked for Harkin, Schumer and Klobuchar makes this look like another solid choice. I give it an "A-."

Overall, this team looks pretty good with a few glaring exceptions. The average grade works out to be a "B+." It isn't a particularly liberal team, but it does seem to be pragmatic and geared toward actually getting things done.

Chris in Paris rightly notes the lack of women in senior positions, which is particularly problematic because there isn't much improvement over the Bush administration, other than the fact that the women that have been appointed are of significantly higher quality than the Bush appointees.

Jonathan Singer makes the case that the cabinet, while not overly liberal, is dedicated to getting things done. That's certainly a change from the Bush administration, which was dedicated to getting nothing done. That alone will make the Obama administration more successful than what we've seen. I expect we'll see significant improvement over the last eight years, but it won't be enough to make people like me or most of the readers of this blog happy.

Health Care Forum in Miami

Reports from the recent Obama-Biden transition team meeting in Miami...

Part One: Health Care forum report for Obama-Biden Transition Team

Part Two: Health Care forum report for Obama-Biden Transition Team

Part Three: Health Care forum report for Obama-Biden Transition Team

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Why Now?: The Insanity Escalates

2. Blue Herald: Israel Bombs Mosque

3. Robin 'Roblimo' Miller: How to End ‘Class Warfare’ in America

4. madfloridian: Democratic "quandary" over how to oppose Bush's war.

5. Ble Herald: Hypocritical Republican Assholes

Utterly Ridiculous

Fox News claims this was accidental, but that's clearly a load of BS. Why is it that the most conservative news network just happened to be the one to allow racism on the air? Accident? Yeah right.

President-Elect Obama's Weekly Address

Sounds good so far. Let's hope that Congress and the president really work together to get these type of things done.

Friday, January 2, 2009

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. ReidBlog: Sympathy for the Palestinians

2. Deep Something: Rick Warren and The Obama Inauguration

3. Bark Bark Woof Woof: The Culture of Victimhood

4. ReidBlog: Democrats poised to commit fundamental error on Burris

5. The Seminole Democrat: How'd He Do? A Fair Evaluation of the Bush Years...

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers in other states...

Open Left: How About Strident Action On Behalf Of Democrats?

Open Left: The Psychological Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives

Open Left: What Is Conservatism? Conservatives Have No Idea

AMERICAblog: A reader argues that small stores matter

Open Left: Centralization of Governing Authority on the Presidency: Part II

Frameshop: Frameshop: 10 Phrases That Will Shape Politics In '09

e.politics: Politics is Viral — AND Local

AMERICAblog: Another $500 a person handout?

Open Left: More Spending Is Not Necessarily Progressive

Open Left: Creating Space for Disagreement

Open Left: An Activist Plan For The Democratic Trifecta

Democratic Strategist: Federalism and the Economic Emergency


The latest links to the information you need to counter right-wing spin...

Evolution: It works

Will Repugs who see their world ending ever be able to overcome their deep-rooted racism?

A 5000 year old look at marriage...

Study: teen virginity pledges don't work


2008 Hate Organization Economic Summary

Stanford scientist: biofuels = bad

SFSU's Family Acceptance Project Releases Paper On LGB Youth Risk Factors

Using YouTube and Online Video for Politics — Effectively

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

(via Boiling Mad)

Action Alerts

Send an e-mail: Urge Obama: Reverse Bush's Final Attack (NARAL)

Send an e-mail: Tell Obama: Pre-K is a Top Priority (NSFS)

Send an e-mail: Urge Obama to Establish Women's Office at Cabinet-Level (NOW)

Sign the petition: Repower, Refuel, and Rebuild America (PEW)

Sign the petition: We need a ceasefire now in Gaza (Credo)

Sign the petition: Food Democracy Now! (AFSU)

Sign the petition: Bush: Take Responsibility for the Financial Crisis (IAP)

Sign the petition: Tell Congress: HUNGER HURTS Hard-Working Families! (FA)

Sign the petition: Values Over Dollars: Fair Path to Citizenship! (CARE2)

Sign the petition: Help Us Kiss Diabetes Goodbye (ADA)

Sign the petition: Fair Pay for Women Now! (IAP)

Sign the petition: Obama: Stand Up for Gay Americans, Say No to Rick Warren (CARE2)

Thank You from DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen

Politico Continues to Be A Hack Publication

They go after MoveOn in a baseless attack.

MoveOn's response:

We've had disagreements with Politico's reporting in the past. But even we were surprised by the shoddy reporting in Andie Coller's recent article, "Will MoveOn Live Up To It's Name?" which raises new questions about the Politico's rumored bias to the right.

Though we went over it with her, Coller omitted the historical context of our organization advocacy. MoveOn members have consistently prioritized universal health care, building a green economy/stopping climate change, and ending the war in Iraq since 2005--long before President-elect Obama was even a widely known player on the national political stage. The new priority that has emerged--economic recovery and job creation--is an obvious reflection of the dire situation so many American's face due to eight years of mismanagement on Wall Street.

To claim, as Coller does, that these priorities represent "leaving some of [MoveOn's] high-minded ideals behind" is nothing short of journalistic malfeasance. That our members recognize that the battle field has changed after this historic election shows strategic smarts, not retreat.

As for her claim that our silence on Rick Warren's inaugural invocation represents some sort of compromise, Coller misses the point. There are few Americans who would suggest that the statements of an inaugural speaker are one of the top four issues facing the country – egregious though they may be. Our members contributed over $350,000 to defeat Proposition 8 last month and are deeply committed to fighting for the civil rights of all Americans. Rather than focus on contrived division, Coller and Politico would serve their readers, and the truth, much better if they would do some homework before writing their articles.

MoveOn is one of the more important cogs in the progressive movement and most of what Politico says here is complete and utter nonsense.

Greenpeace Year in Review

Thursday, January 1, 2009