Monday, March 30, 2009

Republican Culture of Corruption

It's not just a fact any more, it's a logo. Well, three logos designed by Sarah Coleman...

Got Free Time?

Help out with phonebanking for the special election in New York. Every seat counts!

Scott Murphy (NY-20) Phone Bank - Election Day - March 31st

Action Alerts

Send an e-mail: Tell Congress: Keep Antibiotics Working! (UCS)

Send an e-mail: Tell Congress to vote Yes for President Obama's clean energy budget (NRDC)

Send an e-mail: Urge the Obama administration to cancel new oil and gas leases in the Polar Bear Seas, home to endangered polar bears and other imperiled wildlife (NRDC)

Send an e-mail: Tell Secretary Salazar to Put a Stop to Oil and Gas Activity in the Arctic (Oceana)

Donate money: Help Protect Arctic Wildlife (TWS)

Donate money: Support bold action on the climate (We)

Sign the petition: Break Up The Banks (Dem)

Sign the petition: Stand With Dr. Dean on Obama's Health Care Plan (DFA)

Sign the petition: Tell Conservative Democrats: Don't block progress (Credo)

Vote Again

Vote in Round 2 of the Bracket of Evil.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers around the country...

Open Left: Do We Need To Save Newspapers, Or Just Unionize Bloggers?

Open Left: A Question of Balance: Jesse Jackson's 1988 DNC Speech Illuminates False Left/Right Equivalencies

Down With Tyranny: Good News: Both Inside The Beltway Anti-Grassroots Political Parties May Be Going Broke

Open Left: When People Aren't Angry, Politicians Aren't Responsive

AMERICAblog: Obama and marijuana

Open Left: Progressives Are To Blame For Progressive Irrelevance

Open Left: The Obama-Needs-A-Teleprompter Meme and Why It's So Awesome

Shakesville: Feminism 101

Open Left: Outrage Works

Open Left: President Obama, Why Is Wall Street Evil?

Open Left: If Economics Ever Wants To Be A Real Science ...

Democratic Strategist: Progressive Fears About the Bank Rescue Plan


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

Tea Party Tantrums: GOP Astroturf Groups Failed to Hit the History Books Before Fomenting Revolution

NY Times mag profile of global warming skeptic uncritically repeats false comparison with '70s global cooling theory

CNBC allows Gregg to forward small-business tax falsehood

Conservative media run with dubious SkyNews claim of Obama "teleprompt blunder"

Hannity falsely claimed Obama has proposed UK-style nationalized health care

Hannity, Gingrich spread falsehoods to bolster Gingrich's claim that Dems are moving U.S. toward "dictatorship"

Petraeus: I don’t agree with Cheney that Obama has made the country more unsafe

Fox's Cavuto, Baier repeat falsehood that Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate secret ballot

Dobbs falsely claimed Pelosi said "immigration law enforcement is, quote-unquote, 'un-American"

On Fox, Cavuto and Levin falsely claimed Obama administration wants to limit executive pay for all companies

Taking Down The GOP's "Obama's Too Busy" Meme

ANALYSIS: Conservative Budget Alternative Saves Average CEO $1.5 Million Every Year

Tax Reform Doesn't Make People Flee

Cost of uninsured adds $1,100/year to premiums of insured families

Fox News Attacks Barney Frank For Accurately Characterizing Scalia’s Views As Homophobic

Washington Post Obeys Right Wing Talking Points, Calls Cap And Trade System A ‘Tax’

Politico published Bauer op-ed that advanced 61-detainee falsehood

NY Times falsely claimed that Obama "campaigned as an antiwar candidate"


Links you can use...

Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics

The Truth Squad - an attempt to do something about the bad weather in journalism

Election 08 Results by District

Twitter is NOT a Strategy

The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter

Tweetleft and #pxfridays

#pxfridays, TweetLeft and #followfriday: connecting progressives on Twitter

10 things a web designer would never tell you

Disaster Experts: Twitter is Deadly Serious Stuff

Wal-Mart Tops List of Least Socially Responsible Companies

Stimulus Money in Florida

Which Polls to Ignore From Now On

How to Spend the Cash

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Eye on Miami (Genius of Despair): Capitalism on trial

2. Incertus (Amy): 2 Months

3. NPBDemocrat: The business of America is...what?

4. Talk to Me: Tannic Panic

5. Make Me a Commentator: Why don't people hate Communism more?

6. Pushing Rope: Bachmann Overdrive

7. Robin 'Roblimo' Miller: Why Most of the Federal Bailout is Crap, and Why Credit Default Swaps are Evil

8. Blast Off!: Checking the fact-checkers: FAIL

9. Bark Bark Woof Woof: Armed and Clueless

10. The Spencerian: The Thing Obama Said About the Special Olympics

Alaskan State Legislator Outs Anonymous Blogger -- Confirms Self As Douchebag

This is really wrong. Don't legislators have more important things to work on? Especially when your governor is Sarah Palin?

Throughout recent elections, bloggers have become an increasingly important part of our political landscape, taking politicians and the media to task, demanding accountability, raising money for candidates, and organizing in force. Many, if not most, bloggers and blog readers remain anonymous for a variety of reasons. For a long time, I was also anonymous, fearful I would receive retribution at my now former job. But I spoke out using my anonymous handle "Scout Finch" because the injustices in this country were mounting and I could bear no more. I took inspiration from the legions of other pseudonymous bloggers, including many with funny names like Kos, Meteor Blades, Devilstower, and KagroX. They were influencing the debate and inspiring me to join the conversation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Blogger-Driven News Distribution Network, Part 2: The Solution

The other day, I wrote about one of the key political problems that Florida faces -- the lack of media coverage of state and local politics, or of any politics that has a direct affect on Floridians. Today, I want to talk about what I think we should do about it.

As the title of the post suggests, I think we should create a blogger-driven news distribution network. What exactly does that mean? I think it means that we, the bloggers, take up the role of providing Floridians with news on state and local (and some national) political news. If we don't do it, it isn't really going to happen. We'll continue to get a diminishing amount of information that doesn't provide citizens with what they need, provides it in a biased fashion and fails to provide sufficient context and background to help citizens make wise decisions for themselves.

So, basically, what I'm talking about is using the power of the liberal/progressive/Democratic blogs in Florida to provide the broadest coverage of political news possible. We are the new media, we should be come the new "news." I don't necessarily mean that we should become activists and make news -- although there is nothing wrong with that -- I mean we should be the new reporters and cover politics in Florida in a way so that citizens have the maximum amount of information available to them at any time. Obviously, they don't get that now and it's not coming from the traditional media.

So what are the key aspects of making this happen?

1. Identifying what is "news": This one seems straightforward, but newspapers and TV stations seem to get it wrong so often. Here's a simple list just off the top of my head (feel free to suggest other things that should be on this list)...

-Public policy (state, local and national legislation, cabinet decisions, agency rules and regulations, court rulings)
-Elections (candidates -- including minor/third party candidates, polls, dates of importance, public events, etc.)
-Current events (disasters, crises, and other bad things that might give rise to the need for new policy, good things that happen, too)
-Oversight (does policy work, are officials doing their job correctly, who is breaking the law or ethics rules, etc.)
-Grassroots activism (what people and groups are doing, how they do it, what works and what doesn't work)
-Party activities and events (meetings, conventions, internal elections, rules and regulations -- including third parties)

Not that hard a list to come up with. Imagine what the voters could do if all this information were reported on. A lot of this will require original reporting, not just reacting to media sources (although there is obviously a place for that, too).

2. Developing sources: To get this information, we need to develop a network of sources that make this information available. We need to make contact with elected and appointed government officials, political party leaders, interest group decision makers, lobbyists, media people and, probably most importantly, the staffers who work for each of these. Quite frequently, the staff members know more about what's going on than to the actual decision makers. In addition to giving us the regular media info and press releases, if we develop these sources, they can give us information before the mainstream media gets it or give us stories that they might not be able to give to the MSM, for whatever reason. Other sources of information shouldn't be overlooked, either, such as web sites (particularly those of government agencies), actual legislation (you never know what you might find if you actually read a bill), freedom of information requests and other avenues. Attending public events is a great approach, too, particularly if you have a video or audio recorder. I think the "macaca" moments happen a lot more frequently than we know, particularly with state and local officials and candidates who aren't trained in public speaking or how to keep their deepest, darkest thoughts to themselves.

3. Promoting ourselves and each other: Contrary to popular belief, if you build it, they won't just come. It doesn't matter what kind of writing or research you do, if no one reads it, then you've probably wasted your time and haven't helped people make wiser decisions. We need to do a much better job of promoting each others' web sites and important work (South Florida Daily Blog and FLA Politics are amongst the best at this). Cross-promotion needs to be more frequent and more substantive (not just links, but links and commentary, responding to what others have done). We also need to work on how to attract new audiences. I'll have a lot more on that concept later.

Obviously, I'm not telling anyone what they have to write about. And no one person can write about all of this stuff. Some people won't want to be reporters or do extra research or use traditional journalistic "standards." That's fine. Variety is good. It actually helps. Newspapers have their opinion sections. And it's one of the reasons I'm not suggesting we all join together on one big web site or anything. I like the idea of a network of independent sites, each with their own focus, style, editorial policies, etc. I think we should be working together more, but we should still be working independently as well. Talking to each other more, linking to each other more, commenting on each others work more and stuff like that will be a big part of moving everything forward, though, so I am suggesting such things.

Critics will suggest, of course, that what I'm suggesting here is biased and therefore I'm a hypocrite for complaining about one bias and promoting another. Obviously, there will be bias in what I'm suggesting, but it will be biased in the right way. Everything and everyone has a bias. Some biases are good, some are bad. Most of us tend to be biased against mass murderers and serial killers. Rightly so. My biases are pretty straightforward, so I'll put them out there:

1. I'm biased in favor of facts.
2. I'm biased in favor of valid evidence.
3. I'm biased in favor of logic and reason.
4. I'm biased in favor of helping people.
5. I'm biased in favor of using government to help those people.
6. I'm biased against people who don't agree with these biases.

That's it, those are the biases that I operate under and that I expect other progressives to operate under. They may or may not. To each their own, but this is how my process works. Besides, it's clear that these aren't the biases that the mainstream media operates with, those include things like: profit, corporations, official sources, profit, sensationalism, profit, sex, profit, violence, profit, did I mention profit. I think my biases are better and they better serve the public.

Anyway, this is what has been bumping around in the back of my brain. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Blogger-Driven News Distribution Network, Part 1: The Problem

What's wrong with Florida?

This question gets asked a lot -- and not just by Floridians. If you look at the voter registration numbers here and opinion polls, we are effectively an evenly-divided state in terms of party IDs and leaners. Yet, our legislative and congressional representatives -- as well as our policies -- are dominated by reactionary conservatives. Why do we have that disconnect between our voters and everything else?

There are multiple reasons -- some of which will be discussed another day -- but one of the key reasons is that the overwhelming majority of our voters don't get the information they need to make the right decisions. If Florida appears in the national political media, more often than not, it's on Comedy Central and we're the butt of the joke. Actual issues and elections in Florida get little coverage by outside media entities. Local television in Florida doesn't cover Florida politics much more and when they do, it's almost always superficial coverage that provides little useful information to the voters. There are some good local radio stations with legitimate Florida news coverage, but they are few in number and they don't cover much of the state in terms of broadcast area. And the majority of talk radio stations in Florida are conservative and national in scope. The NPR stations I've heard to a pretty good job of covering state and local politics, but it's such a small part of the overall programming they air, it's not enough. A few of the major daily newspapers cover state politics, but few of them do it well. And they are almost all cutting back on their Tallahassee and D.C. offices, if they even have them. The blogs run by some of the major newspapers offer the most frequent and broad coverage of Florida politics, but it's shallow and more focused on process and gossip than on analysis of actual issues and elections in Florida.

So if Floridians don't get their info from the traditional media, where do they get it? Nowhere. The average Florida voter has no real source for learning the important information going on in Florida politics. That's obviously a problem.

And that's where we come in.

More on this tomorrow, as in what we should do about the problem.

Nelson Is Wrong on Judicial Nominations

I've known about this story for a while, but sat on it because I'm loathe to publicly criticize other Democrats. Not because they don't deserve it from time to time, but because most of the time the potential negatives of the criticism often outweigh the potential benefits. This is a time, however, when someone's behavior seems so destructive to the party and the country that I have to speak up.

I know most progressives, even progressive Democrats, aren't huge fans of Sen. Bill Nelson. And he does have a few major votes where he is clearly on the wrong side, but most of the time, Nelson votes the right way and he has a voting record significantly more progressive than most people realize. He's only a few votes a year different than liberal champion Russ Feingold. But that's not to say that when Nelson is wrong, he isn't really wrong.

Like now, for instance.

One of the most important roles that members of the Senate and the president fulfill is the appointment of judges. It isn't the sexiest of issues, but it is clearly one of the most important. Judges play the major role in defining the rights we are outlined in the Constitution and since the Supreme Court denies to hear more than 90% of the cases appealed to them, other federal judges are just as important to the big picture as the top nine justices are.

The president appoints judges, but since he or she doesn't know much about most judges in the country, he or she has to take the suggestions of other members of the party in making those nominations. Senators play a big role in recommending judges to the president for federal nomination. One of the key ways they do this is by appointing members of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, which screens potential federal judges. As the member of the majority party in the Senate from Florida, Nelson plays the biggest role in deciding who is on that commission.

He chose poorly.

One of the key elements of the Democratic Party is its commitment to diversity. In addition to that, we really should go a long way toward rewarding those constituencies that support the party and should not cowtow to those constituencies that support Republicans. One way of achieving these goals is making sure that appointees to the Federal JNC reflect the values of the party and represent the broad spectrum of people who make up the party and the country.

Nelson refused to do this. The latest commission, which has 56 members, includes only 11 women, none of which are black and only a few of which are Hispanic. Furthermore, one of the names put forth by Nelson is Manny Kadre, who served as the finance chair of the John McCain campaign in Florida. This struck members of the Democratic Cuban-American community the wrong way, as it should with anyone else in the state or party.

Roland Sanchez-Medina, president of the Cuban-American Bar Association, criticized Nelson for the selections -- which were made without consulting anyone in the affected communities -- for leaving out the voices of people who actually support the party in favor of people who not only violently oppose the Democratic Party and its values, but aren't even representative of the community they are appointed to serve.

Some are suggesting that this is part of a larger pattern from Nelson appeasing far-right Cuban-Americans -- a constituency that isn't supportive of the Democratic Party anyway. Clearly Nelson chose the nominees for the commission based on something other than Democratic values, an argument evidenced by the fact that Justin Sayfie defended Nelson's picks.

Nelson's defenders say that these positions should be based on qualifications, not partisanship. That argument fails on several accounts. First, and most importantly, Republicans ALWAYS base picks like these on partisanship. If we leave partisanship out of the equation, we cede ground to them not only on partisan grounds, but on moral and ideological ones as well. Do you really think that Republicans are appointing judges that solely want to enforce the law as it is written? If so, then I've got a swamp to sell you in South Florida.

Second, there are many, many people who are qualified for the position and there is little evidence or argument to suggest that one qualified person is more likely to come up with better appointments than some other qualified person and there's no way to know such a thing in advance. So, when you have multiple qualified people, other considerations become more important. Like diversity. The people of Florida are better served when their representatives reflect the diversity of the population.

(Several letters of complaint about the selections can be accessed at Naked Politics).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

History of the Middle East in 90 Seconds

Pretty cool.

(The flash animation, not the history).

Friday, March 20, 2009

The President's Message to the Iranian People

Olbermann Says Get Tough on the Bankers

Oops, WSJ Goes Off-Message on EFCA

They forgot the whole point of the campaign opposing the Employee Free Choice Act was the no more secret ballot lie. Today they wrote this:

The bill doesn't remove the secret-ballot option from the National Labor Relations Act...

They go through some logical and verbal gymnastics after that to try and explain how that even though the secret ballot isn't actually eliminated, it really is eliminated in effect. Nonsense. As anyone paying attention to the story knows, the secret ballot will still be an option. They also claim that the whole thing will then be about labor leaders putting pressure on workers and intimidating them. The problem with this lie is that there is no evidence, whatsoever, of labor leaders intimidating workers (would be quite ironic) in the past, but there is tons of evidence of intimidation by management in the current system. The EFCA would go a long way toward eliminating that intimidation from management.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Action Alerts

Donate money: Support Equality Florida

Send an e-mail: Ask your Representative to regulate Big Tobacco (CfTFK)

Send an e-mail: Investigate Cheney's Private Assassination Ring (PT)

Send an e-mail: Protect Human Rights in Mexico (AI)

Send an e-mail: Rhetoric is not enough to protect farm workers from the heat (UFW)

Donate money: Help Fight Tax Breaks for Big Oil and Dirty Coal (LCV)

Donate money: Support GreenPeace

Sign the petition: New Networks Must Be Neutral (STI)

Sign the petition: Stop AIG Bonuses (FPIRG)

Make a phone call: Call your Members of Congress and let them know you want them to build on President Obama's health care investment (SUFHC)

Make a phone call: Dog the Blue Dogs (CAF)

Anti-Union Lies From Florida Republicans

Instead of dealing with actual problems, here's how our legislators are wasting their times:



ANSWER: The right to cast a secret ballot in federal, state and local elections is already guaranteed and protected in the Florida Constitution.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA, ARTICLE VI, SECTION 1. Regulation of elections. All elections by the people shall be by direct and secret vote.

· Under Article VI, Section 1, the right to cast a secret ballot in federal, state and local elections is already guaranteed and protected.

· House Republican Leader Adam Hasner’s House Joint Resolution 1013 is not about the protection of secret ballots at the voting booth.

· Floridians cherish their right to cast their vote in secret. That’s why the Constitution preserves and protects Floridians privacy to cast their vote by a secret ballot.

· HJR 1013 distracts from the Legislature’s biggest task: improving the state’s economy, protecting school children and teachers from funding cares, and ensuring better health care for more Floridians.

Republicans Could Have Stopped AIG Bonuses

From the DCCC:

Americans' outrage over AIG and Congressional Republicans' reaction to it doesn't match the reality of what Republicans have done in Washington to block limits on outrageous pay and bonuses.

"For years Republicans in Congress and former President Bush led the charge to block any effort to limit the outrageous salaries and bonuses of corporate executives," said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Outrageous bonuses like those for AIG executives could have been stopped long ago had Congressional Republicans done the right thing and worked with Democrats to put middle class Americans first.

"It's easy for Republicans to play to angry Americans and say they're offended by bonuses during a firestorm, but the reality is that Republicans' offense rings hollow after years of being part of the problem that led to outrageous executive pay and bonuses."


Republicans Voted Against President Obama's Economic Recovery Act (2009)

* Republicans unanimously opposed eliminating all future golden parachutes for TARP senior executives, stopping incentives for top executives to take unnecessary risks, and cracking down on future bonuses, retention awards, and incentive compensation for all TARP executives.

* Despite Republicans' obstructionism, President Obama's economic recovery act was signed into law last month.

Republicans Voted Against the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act (2007)

* Republicans opposed: Providing annual, clear disclosure of executive compensation and a sense of the views of stockholders regarding the company's compensation plans. Requiring shareholders of all publicly traded companies vote to express their views on executive compensation plans. Requiring a vote for shareholders to express their views before a company can award a severance package while simultaneously negotiating the purchase or sale of the company.

Republicans Voted to Strip Investor Protection, including Limits on Executive Compensation (2007)

* House Republicans, led by Congressman Price of Georgia, offered an amendment that would strike the entire shareholder vote bill and replace it with 2006 rules that said investor protections, including placing limits on executive compensation and bonuses, were sufficient and Congress didn't need to increase them.

* Substitute Amendment to HR 1257, the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act (2007).

Daily Humor

Today's reason to laugh...

Bracket of Evil

March madness, indeed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Action Alerts

Sign the petition: Support Equality in Florida (EQF)

Send an e-mail: Fight the Florida Gay Adoption Ban (ACLU)

Send an e-mail: Prioritize children and children's health (CHF)

Send an e-mail: Protect Floridians from Discrimination (ACLU)

Sign the petition: Ban Canada's Annual Seal Slaughter (IFAW)

Sign the petition: Stop the AIG Bonuses (MoveOn)

Sign the open letter: Fix CNBC! (PCCC)

Sign the petition: Food Democracy Now!

Sign the petition: Stand up to media attacks on pre-k (NSFS)

Make a phone call: Call Your Legislator: Protect Communities and Streams from Devastating Mining Support the Clean Water Protection Act! (Sierra Club)

Clean Coal?

From the Coen Brothers. Yep, those Coen Brothers:

See Morons Speak -- The Horror of the EFCA

Opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act will stop at no exaggerations and no lies to stop the law -- which would help workers organize in a more democratic and fair way -- from passing. Witness the lies and distortions first hand:

I Love You, Bill Richardson

New Mexico no longer has the death penalty. We now have 15 states in the union that are civilized.

Alan Grayson Going Off On CEO Exec. Liddy

More of this, please:

Alan Grayson on Vieques

Alan Grayson on the Budget and Bailouts

This one is very high on the snark:

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Progressive Are You?

The Center for American Progress has a pretty good quiz on the subject. Let me know what you get. I got a 387 (of 400). Pretty progressive, huh?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. madfloridian: Single payer advocates apparently being excluded from health care discussions

2. Sunshine Statements - Too Big Not To Fail?

3. The Spencerian - Great Day in the Morning: Obama Lifts Stem Cell Ban

4. Pushing Rope - Card Check

5. Sunshine Statements - Wanted: More Of the Cooler Heads, Less Of the Hot Air

6. Pushing Rope - Michael Steele Has Got Problems

7. Pushing Rope - Feed Me White House

8. Blast Off! - I don't get it

9. BlueHerald - Republicans Are The Most Stupid People

10. Incertus (Brian) - Stanley Fish, Neoliberal

Daily Humor

I'm not sure if these should fit into the category of "humor" or "top-notch journalism." You decide...

Daily Show and Colbert's Best Jim Cramer Moments


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

Scarborough mischaracterizes Obama proposal as "nationaliz[ing] health care"

Earmarks and "Small Ball"

Catholic hypocrisy on display: Republican Judges who order death are never challenged; Democrats who are pro-choice are attacked

GOP hypocrisy on display: Lindsey Graham flip and flops on earmarks: He really hates earmarks, but earmarks are okay for South Carolina

Um, No - We're Not Governed "In A Way That Is Entirely Consistent With Free-Market Principles"

Majority of Americans Favor Bank Nationalization

Like O'Reilly, Hannity misrepresented Obama remark to falsely claim he made a "campaign promise" to allow "no earmarks"

Spending Freeze? Young Earth Creationism Does Economics!

A Foundation Of Lies For Conservative Economics

AP's Raum suggested Obama at fault for mounting job losses, but even Larry Kudlow disagrees


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

He's in on it too

Wash. Post uncritically reports "socialized medicine" rhetoric about Obama's health care plan

Dobbs said poll shows Obama's "honeymoon with Americans on the economy" is ending -- but poll hasn't changed

WSJ claims Americans want Reagan’s economic policies, but Americans disagree

Wash. Post's Connolly baselessly put "estimates" of Obama's health-care plan at "$1 trillion each year" for "some time"

Fox News' Kilmeade echoes charitable donation deduction falsehood

Limbaugh conservatives continue 75-year-old "socialized medicine" smear

New GOP spin: We're more popular than Congress (except they're not)

Fox News hosts falsely asserted that doctors could be jailed for refusing to perform abortions under Obama administration

Memo to the media

Important Reading

Good stuff you all should read from bloggers around the country...

Open Left: All Politics Is Local: Meeting People Where They Are, Not Where We Want Them to Be

Open Left: As Obama Plays to Conservatives' Rhetorical Frames, Country Moves to the Left

Firedoglake: CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: Tell Congress “No More Dough Till We Know Where It Goes”

Democratic Strategist: It’s time to shine a light on the decentralized but reinforcing smear campaign against Barack Obama – a campaign that stretches from the extremist fringe to leading conservative political commentators

Open Left: Obama's Lobbyist Ban: Why Not Differentiate Between Non-Profit Advocates and Corporate Shills?

techPresident: Learning from Obama's Campaign Structure: How to Organize for Success

DAS Blog: Is Opposition to Israel a Necessary Component of Liberalism?

techPresident: Computer-Assisted Reporting 101 with Professor Friedman

techPresident: Political Twitter: "What Is It Good For?" Edition

Open Left: Apology on IL-05

FLA Politics (Tally): Creating a Brand for the FDP


Links you can use...

First release of Drupal progressive blogging platform

GLSEN Releases Study On LGBT Students Of Color

Roadmap for a Drupal-based progressive community blog platform

See How Your State Benefits From Recovery

Florida Senate Round-up

FLA Politics (Tally): Top of the World (FL-Sen)

Fried Gator: Florida Democrats on How Not to Win

Fried Gator: The Florida Internet Primary (D-Edition)

Saint Petersblog 2.0: Baker: Run, Charlie, run!

Daily Kos: FL-Sen: To Boldly Tweet Where None Have Tweeted Before

Blue in Miami: Meek cornering the market

FLA Politics (Tally): Who's Smokin' Crack?

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Bark Bark Woof Woof: Those Secret Memos

2. Smashed Frog: Plugging Up Rush

3. South Florida Daily Blog: Out Of The Way, Limbaugh Republicans

4. Conceptual Guerilla: Obama's Budget from Hell: part III

5. Avery Voice - Yes, Some of us, still oppose the occupation of Afghanistan

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


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

The Employee Free Choice Act

The Myth of Republican Job Creation

New GOP Lie: Regulations are the Problem

Five States Whose GOP Govs May Refuse Stimulus Are Among Most Dependent on Federal Dole

WSJ uncritically quoted former CEO of scandal-plagued hospital firm attacking Obama on health care

Alan Grayson Is the Man

Seriously, this is awesome:

“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.”

More, please. Meaning more like this from Alan and more Democrats like this.

National Politics Round-up

What are Florida bloggers saying about national politics...

1. Blast Off!: Obama Derangement Syndrome is alive and well

2. Conceptual Guerilla: Obama's Budget from Hell: Part I and Part II

3. Political Bloviation: Disposable Constitution

4. Betty Cracker: Limbaugh: Captain Wilderness

5. Bark Bark Woof Woof: And Another Falls in Line

Monday, March 2, 2009

Action Alerts

Send an e-mail: Tell your senators to reverse Bush administration attacks on endangered species (NRDC)

Send an e-mail: We Don't Want Breed-Specific Legislation in Florida (ASPCA)

Send an e-mail: Tell Governor Crist: No More Money for Ineffective Abstinence-Only Programs (PP)

Donate money: Help Earthjustice stop Mountaintop Removal! (EJ)

Sign the letter: Help! Sign ORI's Save the Wolffish Letter (ORI)

FL-Sen: Dan Gelber is the Man

The following post reflects the opinions of Kenneth Quinnell solely, and is not necessarily endorsed by other members of the Florida Progressive Coalition.

Florida currently is in the early stages of a U.S. Senate race to replace congressional waste of space Mel Martinez. Provided that Governor Charlie Crist doesn't jump in the race, the seat should be a solid pick-up opportunity for the Democrats. But we certainly don't want just any Democrat replacing Martinez, we want a progressive Democrat who will fight for our values and will work his or her ass off to make America a better place. That's why I'm personally endorsing Dan Gelber and will do what I can to help him win the primary.

Why Gelber? The reasons are many, but let's start with a big first one -- he's as progressive as legislators come. Dan is a thoughtful man who actually takes the time to understand the issues and how government actions affect people in the real world. And he's a big fan of things like logic, reason and evidence. Combining these things, he comes down on the right side of the issues about as often as anyone I can think of, particularly in the Florida legislature. Take a look at his voting record and you'll be pleased to see such a principled, liberal record from a member of the Florida legislature. And when people hit him with the same old, tired conservative Rush Limbaugh-style attacking points, he's prepared for them and can counter them as good, if not better, than the best pundits and bloggers out there.

We know how Dan thinks and feels on the issues because he doesn't shy away from taking a stand and he comes right to the people and tells us what he's doing and why. A simple look at his blog ( will show you that he's not afraid to take his case to the people. And that use of the blog is another big reason why I support Gelber -- he's on the cutting edge of online technology. As I mentioned, he's a blogger, but he's not just any blogger. Take a look at the average blog from a politician and you'll quickly be asleep. Most of them tend to be boring -- lacking in any passion or anything that might give us some insight into what the politician is thinking or feeling. There isn't anything dangerous on the average politician's blog -- nothing that could get them in trouble. Gelber, on the other hand, is a real blogger. He writes like a blogger who happens to be a politician, not the other way around. We know what he thinks and he doesn't hold back when he goes after the other side. And he does it with a personal touch -- we actually get to know Dan. The Netroots activists of Florida recognized the quality of his blog last year at our statewide awards ceremony by voting him the winner in four categories in our Annual Netroots Awards. That made him the top winner. Bloggers and online activists recognized him as one of us.

With the legislative session that starts today, Gelber is going even further with the use of new media, by livetweeting the Florida legislative session that will meet over the next 60 days. This isn't unprecedented at the national level and I some legislators in other states have done similar things, but Dan is breaking new ground here in Florida. And with the decline of our state and local media, we'll actually know more about what's going on in the capitol by reading Gelber's tweets than we will from reading our newspapers or watching the local news. Gelber has also been a repeat guest on our Florida Progressive Radio show on BlogTalkRadio and has made public appearances at our Netroots events. The point is he's a big supporter of the Netroots and shows that by participating in the things we do even more than many of our bloggers.

Maybe the biggest reason I want Dan Gelber representing me in Washington, though, is that he is a fighter. I've alluded to this a couple of times in terms of his blogging and things like that, but he doesn't just sit behind a computer and throw darts at the opposition, he gets out in the real world and mixes it up with Republicans as often as he can. He knows the legislative rules better than they do and despite being in a steep minority in the House, he was able to slow down Republican activity with procedural moves when they decided to ignore even basic rules of decorum and professionalism and prevent Democrats from even exercising their rights to free speech on the legislative floor. Gelber outmaneuvered Republican "star" Marco Rubio and forced the Republicans to back down and do the right thing. And he has a long track record of fighting the excesses of Florida Republicans, something that will serve him well when fighting Washington Republicans, who are mild compared to the subspecies we face here in Tallahassee. And it isn't just on the floor of the legislature, either, when election time comes around, we know which side Gelber is on and we don't have to worry about him using his position to help Republicans get elected.

None of this is to say that I would have any problem working to make sure that Kendrick Meek or Kevin Burns (or a number of other Democrats if they jumped into the race) won in the general election. Meek has a great voting record and it would be great to have more African-Americans in the Senate. Similarly, Burns would be the first openly-gay member of the Senate and that would be a significant step forward for America. I do question Meek's priorities, though, and I'm unconvinced that Burns could win the general election at this point. I want a proven fighter representing me. I want someone who is on the right side of the issues, knows how the system works and who believes in expanding the tools we use to change our country. I think that candidate is Dan Gelber.