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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Florida's corruption underrated by the national media

Yesterday FBI Special Agent Robert Grant was repeatedly quoted as saying, "If [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor." Florida is feeling ignored.

First of all, no one can top former governor Jeb Bush stealing Florida's electoral votes and the 2000 election for his brother. Urban legend claims that Mayor Richard J. Daley stole the 1960 election for Kennedy. Yet even if Daley delivered Illinois' then-27 electoral votes for Kennedy, Kennedy's 303-219 victory was greater than 54. So even if Illinois had gone to Nixon, Kennedy still would have won 276-246. By contrast, if Gore would have received the 25 votes he won in Florida, the result would have been Gore 291, Bush 246.

Second, it must be acknowledged that Illinois has displayed bi-partisan, continuous corruption by following Republican Governor George Ryan with Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. Florida nearly matched that, however, by having Democrat Tim Mahoney succeed Republican Mark Foley in its 16th congressional district.

In addition to Tim Mahoney and Mark Foley, who can forget the Bob Allen sex scandal? Getting beyond the gay-sex prostitution part, this was fiscally irresponsible. I mean, who offers to pay $20 to perform oral sex? That's ass backwards (small pun intended), in my humble opinion.

But if you want major-league, quid pro quo corruption from Florida, you need look no further than Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom. He awarded a $25.5 million building to Northwest Florida State College while being put on their payroll for $110K/year. As Scott Maxwell reported Sansom was the most egregious offense among many in Tallahassee:
The trouble is: Floridians have gotten so used to Tallahassee shenanigans, they don't know when to get outraged anymore.

Sansom, after all, is at least the third legislator to win a high-paying job in higher education. And that's just this year.

It gets tiring to be outraged so often.

There was Mike Haridopolos, the Republican senator from Indialantic, who snagged a $75,000 job at UF -- for part-time work.

And Evelyn Lynn, the Republican senator from Ormond Beach who has overseen university budgets and got a $100,000-plus job with FSU.

It used to be politicians at least left office before they started parlaying their public service into paychecks.

Lynn at least had the decency to back away from her deal, even going so far as to volunteer to do the work for free.

No such offer from Sansom. And his is the most egregious, both because of the timing and because of his position.

Sansom's actions actually embarrassed the legislature, which I didn't think was possible anymore.

That's why Sansom's fellow Republicans should ask him to leave if he won't go himself.
Maxwell followed up Sunday's column with details about Governor Charlie Crist's $430,000 taxpayer-expensed trip to Europe.

So never underrate Florida when it comes to corruption. Florida is definitely an offensive juggernaut. This is why we need a corruption playoff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I know well, but nevertheless...

This attitude is best encapsulated by the French expression “je sais bien, mais quand meme” (I know very well that it can happen, but nonetheless… I cannot really accept that it can happen). This is why, although Obama’s victory was clearly predictable at least for the last two weeks before the election, his actual victory was still experienced as a shock. In some sense, the unthinkable did happen, something that we really didn’t believe could happen.

In These Times
Why Cynics Are Wrong
November 13, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Republican dirty tricks hit home

I am now personally a victim of Republican dirty tricks.

I put this sign up on Friday, October 3, 2008.

When I went out to get my morning (10/6/08) newspaper I found this sign up in my front yard.

In a small, rectangular box on the middle bottom of the McCain-Palin sign it says, "Paid for by John McCain 2008." So I know who the culprit is--and they did it during the dead of night.

I called the police and an officer responded. He told me that that part of my lawn is county property so there was nothing he could do about it. Last time I looked, my neighborhood has 8 or 9 McCain-Palin signs, so according to the officer who responded those are fair game for vandals.

Whenever I see a McCain-Palin sign from now on, I will not hold it against the person upon whose lawn it stands. They may simply have been a victim of Republican dirty tricks too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Impeaching Cheney is the least Congress should do

We already knew Dick Cheney picked himself as Vice President and shot a man in the face. We already knew Cheney called a secret meeting with energy lobbyists before gas skyrocketed to $4 a gallon. We already knew Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and for making false statements during the investigation of Plame-gate. We already knew Cheney considers himself a fourth branch of the government for purposes of keeping secrets. But here are still further facts about Cheney gleaned from Bart Gellman's book Angler:
  • In a private meeting with Texas Rep. Dick Armey, a stalwart conservative who nonetheless opposed going to war with Iraq, Cheney puts the screws to him. "In the privacy of his office, for this one crucial vote, Cheney leveled claims he had not made before and did not make again. Two of them crossed so far beyond the known universe of fact that they were simply without foundation.

The vice president brought the disquieting news that Iraq's "ability to miniaturize weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear," had been "substantially refined since the first Gulf War," Armey recalled ... According to Armey, Cheney also reported that al Qaeda was "working with Saddam Hussein and members of his family."

  • Cheney lobbied for the invasion of Iraq not because he thought it was the most dangerous threat to the United States, but rather because he thought a victory there would be the best way to demonstrate American military power. "The United States would take [Saddam] down because it could. The war would not preempt immediate danger, a more traditional ground for war, but prevent a danger that might emerge later," writes Gellman. One of Cheney's advisors referred to this as the "demonstration effect."

  • Cheney and his legal counsel, David Addington, effectively steer White House policy on the warrantless wiretapping program. "With Bush's consent , Cheney unleashed foreign intelligence agencies to spy at home ... It is unlikely that the history of U.S. intelligence includes another operation conceived and supervised by the office of the vice president." When the Deputy Attorney General refuses to re-authorize the program, the stubbornness of Cheney and his team almost leads to mass resignations at the Justice Department.

Cheney violated FISA and the fourth amendment. Cheney even lied to Republicans about the need to go to war in Iraq. Can't we get bipartisan agreement that Cheney should be formally impeached?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seminole County, Florida, Obama office grand opening

Located at 419 S. Sanford Avenue in Sanford, Florida, the Barack-Obama campaign opened an office in my home county of Seminole today. I arrived early and was able to take this photo from about halfway back. After all was said and done and I turned around, I was surprised to see that there were more people behind me than were in front of me.

Approximately 300 people were in attendance, and this event was called less than 24 hours prior.

There was a great mix of people from all ages, races, and parties present. The enthusiasm was high, and the issues of home mortgages and health care were of greatest concern. Every woman I talked to was infuriated by John McCain's patronizing pick of Sarah Palin.

Florida voted for Clinton in 1996 and Gore in 2000 (unofficially) before inexplicably voting for Bush in 2004. Will we go for Obama in 2008? Those present answered in the affirmative, "Yes we can!"