Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Bush told the newspaper it was "important" for him to "get out of the way" of his successor, Charlie Crist, so the new governor could "create his own path."
Bush said he needed to simply "let go."
Yet as we saw on March 26th, Bush may be gone, but he has never really let go. Bush has always maintained a presence in Tallahassee if not physically, then certainly philosophically. Many of his former top aides went to work for House Speaker Marco Rubio, and the conservative Rubio himself told me recently he consults with Bush usually through email on a regular basis.
But the decision this week by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (TBRC) to propose an amendment to the state constitution, obliterating the line between Church and State, and opening the door for taxpayer money to be funneled directly to religious institutions, is entirely the handiwork of Jeb Bush. The members of the TBRC who drove that proposal all had ties to Jeb Bush when he was governor.
It was as if Bush, in Freddy Krueger-like fashion, returned from the politically dead, to wreak just a little more havoc.
The change to the Constitution is something Bush has wanted since a state appeals court struck down part of his vaunted voucher program because the judges found it violated the "no aid" provision of the state constitution. The "no aid" language has been a hallmark of Florida's constitution for more than 120 years.
The constitutional amendment, which will now appear on the November ballot, and will need 60 percent approval to be adopted, was introduced to the TBRC by Commissioner Patricia Levesque, a former Bush aide who now heads his foundation, the Foundation for Florida's Future. She was joined by other Bush appointees on the TBRC in passing the measure.
Bush has not commented on the plan, but it is widely expected that he will emerge from his self-imposed political hiatus to campaign aggressively for the amendment.
State Rep. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat, told me he believes Bush will raise millions in the coming months to mount a campaign across the state in support of the amendment.
Passage of the amendment alone will not resurrect Bush's voucher program, known as Opportunity Scholarships and offered to children from "failing schools." The state Supreme Court struck down Bush's voucher program on other grounds, as well. The justices argued the state Constitution does not allow the state to fund dueling school systems and therefore state resources can not be diverted to private schools. But the constitutional amendment proposed Wednesday by the TBRC will certainly re-ignite the debate over vouchers. And it comes at a time when funding for public education is already in jeopardy.
Indeed, a second constitutional amendment by the TBRC will also have a dramatic effect on the state's school system. The plan to eliminate that portion of your property tax bill that goes toward education will also be on the ballot in November.
Currently $9 billion is raised through property taxes for local school districts. Under the proposal, which would also need 60 percent approval from voters, the property tax that goes toward education would be replaced by a one cent increase to the sales tax. But a penny increase would only raise approximately $3.2 billion.
State lawmakers would have to come up with another $5.8 billion from somewhere budget cuts, other tax increases to make up the difference. If they don't, the state's school system, which is already one of the poorest funded in the country, will be in even worse shape.
A third assault on public schools is also looming by the TBRC, a little known entity that meets every 20 years to review the state's budget and tax systems. The TBRC is also debating whether to make changes to the class-size amendment voters approved several years ago. Bush fought hard to defeat the class-size amendment when it was first introduced, and he appears to be trying to undo its effect through the TBRC.
As of right now, however, it appears those efforts will fall short and no change to the class-size amendment will make it onto the November ballot.
A rare defeat for a former Governor who can't just seem to let go.
Watch This Video To Learn More... CLICK HERE
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Action Alet on on a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would allow the government to fund religious proselytizing activities and discriminate among religious groups
The proposed amendment would remove the prohibition on using tax dollars to fund religious activities and allow government to earmark your tax dollars to sponsor government-funded religion.
On Wednesday, March 26 the Commission will vote on Proposal CP0020. The measure, if approved, would place on the ballot a devastating constitutional amendment that remove the prohibition on using monies from the public treasury to aid any church, sect or sectarian institution. The measure would also "prohibit individuals and entities from being barred from participating in public programs because of their religion."
This amendment would allow government to fund religious proselytizing activities and show preference for one religion over another. It would also open the floodgates for discrimination by permitting government-funded religious organizations to discriminate in who they serve.
Your voice is urgently needed. Click here to take action or copy and paste the URL below into your browser. Tell the Commission that you do not agree with proposal CP0020 and strongly urge them to vote against it. (Feel free to copy and paste the e-mail below into the comments section on the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission's web site):
Dear members of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission:
As a concerned Florida citizen, I am writing today to strongly urge you to VOTE NO ON CP0020 - a proposal that will allow the State to use my tax dollars to bankroll government-funded religion. Voting for this proposal will remove the constitutional prohibition - part of our State's Constitution for 140 years - that prevents government from favoring one particular religious group by funding it. This will chip away at my and all Floridians' basic constitutional rights to practice religion and be free from government-sponsored and funded proselytizing.
We deserve "government-free" religion. Government-funded religion only ensures religious discrimination, strife and controversy. This is a dangerous proposal with far-reaching implications for many Floridians. Government funded religion squelches religious liberty - a core American value; it does not encourage religious liberty.
I urge you not to allow religious discrimination to be enshrined in Florida's Constitution.
by John Aravosis (DC)
For some reason, the Florida press is pushing several stories feeding the notion that Republican Governor Charlie Crist really likes women. Could this have something to do with rumors that the very-single and always-tan Mr. Crist is being considered as a VP choice for John McCain? (There are other rumors too.) There's this, which is embarrassing enough ("chick magnet"? Yeah, right), and then there's this from his dad, regarding his son's "fondness" for women:
"Always! I mean, I can't keep up with him. And they like him, too."
Monday, March 24, 2008
A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000. The grim milestone came on the same day that rockets and mortars pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone, underscoring the fragile security situation and the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups despite an overall lull in violence. ... - MSNBC
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Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
A: According to exit polls, she didn't get that many of her votes from Republicans, and it's hard to know how many of those she did get were the result of Rush Limbaugh's exhortations.
Q: Was Obama correct to say 90% of his money comes from donors giving $50 or less?
A: No. He gets more from small donors than either Clinton or McCain, but two-thirds of his money still comes from those giving $200 or more.
Q: Are Barack Obama and Dick Cheney cousins?
A: Yep. But they are quite distant relatives.
Q: Is Obama right to say some CEOs make more in 10 minutes than an average worker does in a year?
A: By our calculations only Steve Jobs did so in 2006.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Speechs, myths and the mess
Sunday, March 16, 2008
... .. But Barack now claims he never heard about any of this until after he began his run for the presidency, in February, 20007.And even if Barack is correct - and I desperately want to believe him - then it still does not explain why, when he learned in 2007 of Wright's fringe comments about 9/11 and other subjects, the campaign did not then disassociate itself from the Reverend. Wright was not removed from the campaign's Spiritual Advisory Committee until two days ago, and it appears likely that nothing would have been done had this story not broken nationally.Come on, Barack. I'm backing you because you are not 'one of them.' You have inspired me and millions of others because you are not a typical politician. You tell it like it is, don't fudge the facts, and don't dodge and weave with clever words to avoid uncomfortable truths.Tell it straight. Was Reverend Wright so radical that his post 9/11 comments did not cause a stir at the Church, and you never learned about them until 2007, nearly 6 years later? Why, when you did learn about them, did you not ask Revered Wright to step down from his role in your campaign?Give us the plain truth. You won't lose us by being brutally honest. You only risk shaking our faith in you if you seem like so many other politicians that crowd the field.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Guest Post by Alegre
This is an open letter to the progressive blogosphere...
|Marc Ambinder picks up story.|
If you're sick of the way Hillary a good and decent Democrat - has been vilified and attacked... if you've EVER recommended one of my dairies on this or any other site then please join me in this effort. Let's take a stand here and now and tell the world we will no longer remain silent in the face of the sexism, anger, irrational hate, lies and attacks against Hillary. Nor will we add to the bottom line of a site that continues to lead the charge in fueling it.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Fla. presidential primary re-do unlikely
State chairwoman to make a decision by Monday on whether to proceed
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Please read the memo from Chairwoman Thurman about a suggested solution, and submit your input by Friday, 3/15/08, at 6:00 PM EST.
No decision will be made until they hear from Florida Democrats. Read the Full Story
For Immediate Release: March 13, 2008
Contact: Mark Bubriski or Alejandro Miyar 850.222.3411
Party Puts Offer on the Table TALLAHASSEE -
Last night, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman sent a memo to the Presidential candidates, DNC Chairman Howard Dean, and Florida Democratic leaders, urging them to consider a combined vote-by-mail/in-person election."Democrats are passionate, and Democrats are energized. We can capture this enthusiasm if we come together around a solution that offers the people of Florida a voice in the nominating process," Thurman said. "If this proposal isn't what the people want, that's okay. We're putting something on the table, but it's by no means a done deal.""The Florida Democratic Party welcomes any and all suggestions about how to move forward. However, at this point, the Party has not been offered any other option that would allow all of Florida Democratic voters - whether they're fighting in Iraq, retiring in Boca, raising horses in Ocala, or entertaining families at Disney - the opportunity to participate, other than the January 29th primary that the DNC will not recognize."
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:Q. Does Florida Law allow for this type of election?A. State law does not apply to this election, which would be run by the state party, managed by experienced election management companies and overseen by a reputable accounting firm. Media reports on this subject have been inaccurate. State law does not allow for a state-run mail-in election with candidates on the ballot, but this election would not be run by the state.Q. How can the Party pull off this election in such a short period of time?A. Two main reasons: The Florida Democratic Party has researched this process for the past year, and the election would actually be run by election management companies experienced in these type of special elections. When the Republican Legislature moved up the state's primary and put it out of compliance with DNC and RNC Rules, we began looking at all of our possible options. Last summer, we proposed a vote-by-mail election to the DNC, and Rules & Bylaws Committee members were very interested in the idea. Unfortunately, there was no funding at the time. Recently, public and private commitments have been made to assist in raising the $10-12 million it would take to run the election. Additionally, the Florida Democratic Party has accomplished numerous feats in the past three years that no one thought was possible, including paying off an inherited $1 million in debt; building county parties into functional, vote-building organizations; holding a successful state convention that raised nearly $750,000 despite no major presidential candidates in attendance; and picked up a Cabinet seat for the first time since 1998, nine State House seats and two congressional seats all previously held by Republicans (no net loss at any level of government).Q. Why would you have private companies run the election?A. Florida Law does not allow for a state-run election under the current circumstances. Nevertheless, the process would be transparent and accessible to the public, as required by DNC Rules and in the spirit of Florida's Sunshine-in-the-Government law.
Q. Can you pay for the election with soft (non-federal) money?
A. Yes. The DNC's legal counsel informed the Party that this election could be paid for with non-federal or soft money. Florida law places no limits on contributions given to political parties.
Q. Would you have enough time for overseas and military voters to get ballots and send them back?
A. Yes. Like the state of Florida does with absentee ballots for military and overseas voters, the Party would mail ballots to these voters 45 days prior to the election.
Q. What is the last day the election can be held?
A. We have until June 10, according to DNC rules. Delegate selection must be completed by June 21.
Q.Does the U.S. Justice Department have any involvement in this?
A. Florida has five counties that require "preclearance" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Fortunately, this is a very inclusive process, and we will file the appropriate paperwork. Also, per Section 2, ballots would be printed in English, Spanish and Creole.
Q. How long a lead time will be needed to allow for voter registration?
A. Generally, 30-45 days are needed. There is ample time for independents to join the Democratic Party and participate if they wish.
Q. Will Republicans and independents who already voted in the January 29th Republican primary be allowed to switch their registration and vote in the new contest?A. No one who voted in the Republican primary on Jan. 29 will be eligible to vote in the Democratic primary, even if they switch parties. Our voter file enables us to easily identify these voters.
READ THE PLAN FDP-VOTE-BY-MAIL-PLAN
READ THE PLAN
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number:
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
UPDATED ADVISORYFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephen GaskillMarch 4, 2008 202/257-9298 cell
HOSTS GLBT DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS WEST PALM BEACH2008 Winter Conference Features Local, National SpeakersIncluding Mayor Lois Frankel, Rep. Ron Klein, Floridaâs GLBT Candidates
â"West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Rep. Ron Klein (FL-22) are among the speakers at the 2008 Winter Conference of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, being held this Friday through Sunday, March 7, 8 and 9. The conference will bring together local and national speakers and elected officials who will discuss the current political climate and prepare for the crucial and pivotal election later this year. Fort Lauderdale
To register for the conference or for more information, check out www.floridaGLBTdemocrats.org.
Friday, March 7
WHAT: Welcoming cocktail receptionWHEN: Friday, March 77:30pm to 9:30pm
WHERE: The Mad Hatter Lounge
1532 N. Dixie Hwy. Lake Worth
Saturday, March 8
WHAT: Winter conference of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus
WHEN: Saturday, March 89:00am to 5:00pm
WHERE: Marriott West Palm Beach
PRESS: The conference is open press
Schedule for the day:
8:00am Registration and continental breakfast9:00am Welcome from Caucus president Michael AlbettaPalm Beach Democratic Party chair Wahid Mahmood9:30am West Palm Beach Mayor Lois FrankelScott Fox, executive director, COMPASSMorning business10:00am Scott Hall, Gay American Heroes10:30am Rand Hoch,
Human Rights Council Palm Beach11:00am Jeffrey Garcia, partner, Rindy Miller Garcia, on South Florida US House candidate recruitingNoon Lunch speakers:Nadine Smith, Equality Florida, on the state legislative outlookToby Quarenta, Human Rights Campaign, on organizing around the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment1:00pm Ben Fractenberg, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), message training session on the Marriage Amendment2:00pm GLBT elected officials panel: Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl; Wilton Manors Commissioner Joe Angelo; former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis2:45pm Phillip Perry, Florida Democratic Party, presentation on My Campaign, a volunteer management tool used by candidates and DECs3:30pm Jon Hoadley, executive director, National Stonewall Democrats4:00pm Mark Perriello, Director of Strategy and Planning, Victory Fund5:00pm Adjourn
NOTE: The speaking time for Rep. Ron Klein has not yet been confirmed; anupdate will be provided.
In addition, the following openly-gay candidates are scheduled to address the conference at various times throughout the day: Hillsborough County Commission candidate Kevin Beckner; Broward County Commission candidate Bryan Caletka; Wilton Manors Commission candidate Justin Flippen; State House District 92 candidate Mark LaFontaine; Oakland Park Commission candidate Anthony Niedwiecki; and Broward Supervisor of Elections candidate Adriane Reesey.
Saturday, March 8
WHAT: Cocktail reception hosted by the Palm Beach Human Rights Council
WHEN: Saturday, March 87:00pm to 8:30pm
WHERE: The home of Deidre Newton and Kerry Gallagher736 Sunset Rd.
West Palm Beach
Sunday, March 9
WHAT: Farewell brunch
WHEN: Sunday, March 911:00am to 1:00pm
WHERE: The Cottage
522 Lucerne Ave. Lake Worth
INFO: Suggested contribution is $10 to help cover staff costs. Cash bar will open at noon.
The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus represents the gay, lesbian, bisexual andtransgender communities for the Florida Democratic Party. With 15 chapters across thestate, the Caucus played a major role in Democratic victories in 2006 and is activelypreparing for 2008.
CONTACT: Stephen Gaskill, Communications Director, 202/257-9298 (cell)
# # #
washingtonpost.com: Faces of the Fallen: Florida
Q: The Florida Politics Blog
The Buzz: Florida Politics | Tampabay.com - St. Petersburg Times
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