Apr 24

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Avery Voice


When the schoolyard bully tries to pick a fight, first he tries name calling. Progressives from the beginning supported the overthrow of monarchies, they fought and died for democratic self government. Progressives opposed slavery, and supported women’s right to vote. If you think that’s a COMMUNIST PLOT, go ask your wife.

Progressive fought to end cozy crony governments and instead worked to professionalize government. One of the first battles modern progressives fought was to establish the direct election of U.S. Senators. Progressives teamed up with Women Rights Advocates and Labor Organizers and together opposed child labor and fought for compulsory free public education for all children. Progressives at the turn of the century were more concerned with citizen participation and access than in a Marxian economic critique. So, no, Progressivism, new or old, has nothing to do with either the theories or the failed practices associated with Communism.

There’s more…

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Apr 23

State Rep. Rick Kriseman: Farewell and Thank You

by Benjamin J. Kirby

To read my blog, the Spencerian, over the last few entries is an exercise in frustration, sadnessmelancholy and outright depression.

The trend continues today, I’m afraid: State Representative Rick Kriseman (D-53), a favorite of this blog as well as my own Representative, has announced he is not seeking re-election:

While I am pleased by our occasional victories, and hold out hope that the political climate and dysfunction in Tallahassee will eventually improve, neither provides me with a good enough reason to return for two more years.

Therefore, in November, a dozen years after entering public service, I will leave the Florida House and my legislative family to spend a little more time in my house with my family. My wife, kids, and our Labrador retrievers are looking forward to it.

Being at home will also allow me to focus on my law practice, and to give extra attention to some of the fun things in my life, like my Karate and guitar lessons.

But know this, until November, I intend to work hard to re-elect our president, and to be helpful to other great candidates who are running for local, state, or federal offices. I’ll also be using the downtime to think about my own future, and how I can best serve our community.

As you probably remember, Duncan worked for Keith Fitzgerald for his two terms at a State Representative in District 69, and I think both Duncan and Keith might express a similar sentiment about working in an overwhelmingly Republican legislature with a far-right-wing Governor.

I was lucky enough to be granted an interview with Representative Kriseman (part I here, and part II here).  If there are any take-aways from that interview, it’s that Kriseman loves his hometown of St. Petersburg, and that he believes very deeply in public service.

I don’t know what that means for Kriseman’s future — I take him at his word that he’s going to focus on his law practice and his fantastic family.  But I think it’s a safe bet to say we haven’t heard the last of Rick Kriseman in public life.

Maybe because I was married to a political staffer, but too often these events go without passing along the recognition and acknowledgement due the advisers and aides of these politicians we admire.  Duncan and I consider Kevin King and David Flintom friends, but beyond their friendship, they have served their boss, and more important, the people of this district well.  I don’t know where they’ll land or what they’ll be doing, but with talent like that, I bet it’ll be something really great.

Good luck, Representative Kriseman.  And thank you for your service.

Rick during session

c/p at the Spencerian

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Apr 23

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — Kriseman/Schorsch

Winner: Rick Kriseman — After years of service, he’ll get some time to himself to not be tilting at windmills in Tallahassee. The rest of us all lose on this one.

Loser: Peter Schorsch — I like Peter and I agree with him on issues often enough that I regularly link to him here even when people tell me I shouldn’t. But I know he has a personal thing with Kriseman and his top aide Kevin King, even if I don’t know the source of the conflict. Regardless of that personal strife, it’s obvious that Kriseman was one of the good guys in the legislature and one of the few people fighting for Floridians, including Peter, even if it was an ultimately unsuccessful fight because of the right-wing dominance of state government.

Posted in Winners and Losers | 1 Comment
Apr 23

Fla. Progressive Blog Post of the Day — Political Hurricane

Should I rename this feature the Political Hurricane Blog Post of the Day?

Trotter’s Editorial: Direct challenge to Florida Supreme Court: Show us how Senate map is fair!:

Alright, let’s say you are building an airplane. All of the aeronautical engineers are standing around and looking at the plan. These are the experts to determine if this plane will fly or not. Looking at the plane, there are some people concerned about the shape of wings. They look them over and realize that, even though they are a little flawed, the wings would still work and the plan would fly with those wings. The plan, according to these experts is ready to go.

But there is one problem with this plan. This plan has no engines or a tail section. Even with these important parts missing, these aeronautical engineers still say the plane is worthy of flying.

If you look at this scenario, one would say that these engineers are totally out of their mind…creating a plane that has fundamental pieces missing.

This is exactly what the Florida Supreme Court might do with the Florida Senate redistricting plan.

As was mentioned in our previous article about the Supreme Court and redistricting, the Court continues to look at the validity of the entire plan, and still continues to look at this plan district by district. Therefore, they aren’t looking at the law, making sure there are fair plans. And, honestly, if this plan does pass, I think it is fair to say that those on the Supreme Court that vote for the plan are lacking legal knowledge, thus shouldn’t even be on the Court in the first place.

There’s more…

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Apr 21

Update: “Unite Women” events scheduled in Florida for April 28, 2012

There will be three Florida rallies on April 28th and numerous smaller grassroots demonstrations across the state to commemorate what has become a national effort to “Unite Women”.

A rally on the steps of the old Capitol building in Tallahassee from 12 to 2 pm will feature the following speakers:

Diane Wilson, Tallahassee Rally Coordinator
Rev. Della Fahnestock
Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum
Jessica Lowe-Minor, League of Women Voters of Florida
Samantha Gordon, NARAL
Ion Sancho, Leon Supervisor of Elections
Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (Florida House – District 9)
Nancy Argenziano
Anita Davis
LisaAnn Benham, ACLU
Alma Gonzalez, AFSCME
Donna Slutiak, Florida NOW
Emily Caponetti, Planned Parenthood
Amanda James, Equality Florida
Amy Coenen, National Women’s Liberation
Susan Smith, Democratic Progressive Caucus
Jodi Renee Thomas, author
Tabitha Frazier, Leon Democratic Hispanic Caucus
Barbara DeVane, FLARA
Dr. Rachel Sutz Pienta, Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Inc.

Organizers in Tallahassee, along with organizers in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, have scheduled marches, rallies, and speak outs to unite women in solidarity against what has been characterized as a “war on women”.

Unite against the war on women, April 28
By Sue Davis
Published Apr 18, 2012 10:18 PM

On April 28, women will march and rally in state capitals and major U.S. cities against the recent attacks on women and in defense of women’s rights. This initiative, started by two women on Feb. 19 with a Facebook page titled, “Organizing Against the War on Women,” has caught fire with angry women all over the country.

Karen Teagarden in Michigan, one of the April 28 co-founders, told Workers World, “Desi and I met working on the Obama campaign in 2007, and we stayed in touch. We vent about our daughters and politics when something crazy is going on. First, it was the ‘Personhood’ amendment in Mississippi, then the trans-vaginal ultrasound bill in Virginia, then about no coverage for contraception. We kept asking: ‘Why isn’t anybody doing anything?’ So we said, ‘We should just do it. You build it and they will come.’”

The response was immediate. By the next morning, almost 500 women had asked to join and organize for April 28 in their states. As of April 15, the group has 21,300 members and organizing centers in all 50 states. “We’ve done it all virtually, using social media. It’s just wild,” added Teagarden.

Desiree Jordan in New York state, the other co-founder, summarized the goals of April 28 for Workers World: “We’re demanding privacy, access, choice and equality for all women in all spheres of life.” Even though the founders were moved to act because of attacks on reproductive rights, they envision a much wider, ongoing campaign.

In the statement of purpose on unitewomen.org, the campaign is devoted to defending and advancing women’s rights and civil rights, women’s economic equality and workers’ rights, voting rights, protecting women and children from violence and abuse, and women’s wellness, health and safety, in addition to reproductive rights.

Among its four basic action goals are “to inform women and men, the public, policymakers and media about issues from our life experience as women” and “to nurture intergenerational networks of women, so we can recognize and respond to the range of issues women experience across their lifespan and fulfill our full potential as women and as human beings in our society.”

National endorsements for the April 28 mobilization include such groups as the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Catholics for Choice, the National Organization for Women, Code Pink — Women for Peace, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

To find out more about the April 28 event in your state, visit unitewomen.org.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Apr 18

The Florida Legislature and ALEC

Action alert from Progress Florida:

Corporations aren’t people and they shouldn’t be writing our laws, but that’s exactly what is happening in the Florida Legislature. Through a secretive organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporate lobbyists are meeting with Florida’s legislators and writing extreme, anti-middle class legislation. This needs to stop right now.

Tell Florida Legislators to either drop their membership in ALEC or publicly sever ties with this secretive, extremist group.

For almost 40 years, ALEC has hosted meetings between state legislators and corporate lobbyists to write legislation designed to line corporate pockets and advance an extremist, anti-middle class agenda. ALEC constructs “model legislation” that can be exported and passed in multiple states. ALEC represents what is essentially an unelected, shadow Legislature in Florida.

We’ve seen the National Rifle Association (NRA) take our state’s dangerously open-ended “Shoot First” law, turn it into model legislation through ALEC, then work state legislatures across the country and pass the law in close to two dozen other states. More recently, we’ve seen ALEC model bills appear in the form of the Voter Suppression Act1, the insidious Parent Trigger bill2, the massive prison privatization scheme along with anti-immigrant proposals3, and more. The Legislature’s unjustifiable actions in rejecting badly needed funding to expand access to health care for children and seniors comes out of an ALEC playbook4. In January, Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-Riverview) mistakenly left ALEC’s mission statement in a bill she filed5.

Dozens of Florida Legislators are either members of ALEC or have attended their conferences. Their secretive meetings and carrying water for powerful corporate special interests needs to end.

Tell Florida Legislators to either drop their membership in ALEC or publicly sever ties with this secretive, extremist group.

Due to controversy over the tragic death of Trayvon Martin and the “Shoot First” law along with extreme Voter Suppression laws popping up in states around the country, ALEC is finally being exposed. As a result of public pressure regarding their involvement with ALEC, many corporate backers including Wendy’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Intuit, McDonald’s, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have all left ALEC. It’s time for ALEC’s allies in the Florida Legislature to do the same, now.

Thank you for helping us safeguard democracy in Florida.

For progress,

Mark, Ray, and the rest of the Progress Florida team

P.S.: For a list of Florida Legislators associated with ALEC, check out ALECexposed.org

1″Voter Suppression 101″ Center for American Progress, 4/4/12.
2″Education bill with ties to pro-business organization slated for Florida Senate Thursday” Florida Independent, 3/7/12.
3″Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law” NPR, 10/28/10.
4″ALEC ‘Guide to Repealing ObamaCare’ echoes Florida legislative action” The Florida Independent, 9/1/11.
5″ALEC Exposed, for 24 Hours” Common Blog, 1/31/12.

The list of Florida legislators associated with ALEC:

House of Representatives
Rep. Larry Ahern (R-51), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Ben Albritton (R-66), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting, sponsored 2005 SB 436 “Castle Doctrine Act” based on ALEC model[44]
Rep. Michael Bileca (R-117), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-52), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[44]
Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-33), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-73), ALEC member who has “attended one conference to date, having paid for the membership and any conference costs with my excess campaign account”[45][43]
Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-45), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Fred Costello (R-26), “could not afford the time out of my business to attend” the 2011 ALEC Annual meeting but looks “forward to attending ALEC in the future”[46]
Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R-32), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43] but “not a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council”[47]
Rep. Daniel Davis (R-13), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Jose Diaz (R-115), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-34), dues-paying ALEC member as of 2011[48], registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Brad Drake (R -5)[18]
Rep. Clay Ford (R-3)[18][21], ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Rich Glorioso (R-Longwood), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[44]
Rep. Matt Hudson (R-101), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Clay Ingram (R-2), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[49][43]
Rep. Ana Rivas Logan (R-114), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R-80), ALEC member[50]
Rep. Peter Nehr (R-48), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Bryan Nelson (R-38), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[44]
Rep. Jimmy T. Patronis, Jr. (R-6), State Chairman[20], registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Ray Pilon (R-69); Public Safety and Elections Task Force
Rep. Scott Plakon (R-37), ALEC International Relations Task Force member, worked with ALEC in 2011 on “a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits laws that would force people to join health care plans, an attack on federal health care changes”[44]
Rep. Stephen L. Precourt (R-41), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member, registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Lake Ray (R-17), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Kelli Stargel (R-64), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. John Tobia (R-31), attended 2009 ALEC Annual Meeting at a taxpayer cost of $1,150; [51] in August 2011 claimed he has not attended another ALEC meeting and is not a member[52]
Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-116), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. Will Weatherford (R-61), registered to attend 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[43]
Rep. John Wood (R-65), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member who calls himself “proud to be a member of ALEC and has attended two annual conferences – Atlanta in 2009 and most recently New Orleans in 2011″[53][43]
Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa), attended 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting[44]
Former Rep. Bill Posey (now Congressman, R-Rockledge), ALEC Alumni in Congress[54] and 1999 recipient of ALEC “Legislator of the Year” Award[55]

Sen. Anitere Flores (R-38); Education Task Force
Sen. Lee Constantine (R-22); Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force
Sen. Alan Hays (R-25)[18]
Sen. Evelyn Lynn (R-7), attended an ALEC Conference “about 15 years ago, but I did not find the meetings informative or helpful”[56]

Press release:

Progress Florida today launched a statewide campaign urging lawmakers to sever ties with the controversial and secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“ALEC represents what is essentially an unelected, shadow Legislature in Florida,” said Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo. “Responsible lawmakers should disavow the group’s extremist and secretive influence on Florida law making.”

For almost 40 years, ALEC has hosted meetings between state legislators and corporate lobbyists to write legislation designed to line corporate pockets and advance an extremist, global corporate agenda. ALEC constructs “model legislation” that can be exported and passed in multiple states, including the reckless “Shoot First” laws like the Florida law at the center of the Trayvon Martin case.

The group has also come under fire for working to undermine voting rights, as with Florida’s Voter Suppression Act of 2011 (HB 1355), as well as pushing an agenda that weakens our public schools, undercuts collective bargaining and undermines laws safeguarding the environment.

After passing Florida’s “Shoot First” law, the NRA turned to ALEC to push model legislation through state legislatures across the country and pass the same law in close to two dozen states; this, despite opposition to the laws by law enforcement. Other ALEC model bills have recently appeared in the Florida Legislature in the form of the controversial Parent Trigger bill, the massive prison privatization scheme along with Arizona-style anti-immigrant proposals, and more.

Yesterday, ALEC announced it would be disbanding its task force that has promoted gun and election laws. “This announcement was a de facto admission of extremist policy-making gone wild,” said Ferrulo. “Florida legislators need to decide whether they represent main street Florida or the corporate board rooms that will continue to fund ALEC and its anti-middle class economic agenda.”

Ferrulo’s reference to ALEC’s attacks on the middle class was in response to the Florida Legislature’s rejection of funding to expand health care for children and seniors. In January, Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-Riverview) mistakenly left ALEC’s mission statement in a bill she filed.

Progress Florida is activating its online network of more than 100,000 concerned Floridians to call on Florida legislators to either drop their membership in ALEC or publicly sever all ties. Due to controversy over the tragic death of Trayvon Martin and the “Shoot First” law along with extreme Voter Suppression laws popping up in states around the country, ALEC’s deep tentacles in state policy making are being exposed.

As a result of public pressure regarding their involvement with ALEC, many corporate backers including Wendy’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Intuit, and McDonald’s, have all left ALEC.

“Dozens of Florida legislators are either members of ALEC or have attended their conferences,” said Ferrulo. “With such an extremist, anti-middle class track record, there is no excuse for our representatives to continue to have any involvement with ALEC.”

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Apr 18

Fla. Progressive Political Post(s) of the Day — Schale/Political Hurricane

A rare two-for-one post of the day opportunity…

Steve Schale: Orlando Rising

In the end, Obama carried Orange County by 85,000, and two years later despite losing, Alex Sink carried Orange by 30,000 votes, compared to Jim Davis, who lost the county by 20,000. Somethinig was clearly happening.

I’ve spent a few months pondering that question because quite simply, if current population growth trends continue, the Orlando media market could overtake both Miami and Tampa in the next twenty years; and if the core of that market, metro-Orlando, continues to take a big turn towards the Democrats, the statewide and even national political implications are stunning.

The point of this piece is to look at what is happening in Central Florida, which in this instance, is specifically the counties of Orange, Osceola and Seminole. When I refer to Orlando below, I am referring to these three counties. While parts of other counties can be considered metro-Orlando, it is these three counties that make up the heart of the community — and are undergoing the most radical changes.

Political Hurricane: 2011-2012 Political Hurricane Progressive Policy Senate Scorecard & Political Hurricane Progressive Policy Senate Scorecard Analysis

The GOP has now controlled the State Senate for 18 consecutive years.In that period of time a core of moderate Republicans has emerged that has served as an effective check on the excesses of the House and Governor. But term limits has had an effect, as the state senate has gradually moved to the right, with many of the members behaving as if they were still in the House.

The collegiality of the State Senate has not yet broken down, but the three truly moderate GOP Senators based on our ratings are term limited and will not return for the 2013 session. Senators Dennis Jones (R-Treasure Island), Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland) and Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) have used decades of legislative experience to attempt to craft a non-partisan consensus on issues of concern to many Floridians over the past decade. Their path is in direct contrast to many Republicans from urbanized and more liberal areas whose voting records have been disgraceful. Senators such as Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale), Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Wellington) and three Cuban-American legislators from Miami-Dade County have repeatedly voted against the sentiments of many of their constituents. In Benacquisto’s case she is wisely moving to a more conservative west coast-based district.

There’s more…

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Apr 17

The Truth About Taxes

In honor of National Tax Day, I wanted to say a few things about taxes and the way conservatives talk about them. There is a series of arguments that conservatives make about taxes that couldn’t possibly be more false. Let’s take a look…

Taxes are too high: Taxes in the U.S. are among the lowest in the industrialized world. They are also the lowest they’ve been in 50 years. More importantly, everyone, no matter how much they pay, pays for only a fraction of what they take from government in terms of goods and services. The return on investment we get from taxes is remarkably high, much higher than the stock market.

American corporations pay taxes that are too high: Only about 10 percent of all U.S. income taxes are paid by corporations, the lowest proportion in many, many years. Corporate profits, meanwhile, are at record highs. While there is an on-paper tax rate for corporations that is comparatively high, few corporations actually pay it, so the number is meaningless. Many of the richest corporations pay no taxes at all. Some get more money back from the government than they pay in taxes in direct numbers.

Progressives only want to tax the rich because they are jealous: No, progressives want to tax the rich because the rich use a lot more in government resources than the poor. A few examples… When our troops are defending the country, whose property are they defending? Poor people don’t have much property. When government air traffic controllers protect air passengers, how many poor people are they keeping safe? In terms of roads, who travels more, the rich or the poor? And how many poor people have investments in corporations that tear up highways through the use of big rigs? There are literally hundreds of other examples.

Half of all Americans pay no taxes: Half of all Americans pay no federal income tax. And that is temporary and the number only got that high because of the child tax credit Republicans passed. All Americans pay taxes, though, including Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, sales taxes, gas taxes and numerous other taxes. Keep in mind that the income tax only covers 50 percent of federal revenue.

Cutting taxes helps the economy: Our highest income tax rates in history are associated with the post-WWII era, where rates were the highest and we experienced the greatest economic expansion in the history of the world. Reagan raised taxes and the economy got better. Clinton raised taxes and the economy expanded for more years in a row than it ever had before.

It’s “our” money, not the government’s money: Again, nobody pays as much in taxes as they take in government services. For instance, think of the road you drive to work. Unless you are really rich, your lifetime tax total wouldn’t pay for that one road, much less all the other roads, schools, parks, fire fighters, cops, troops, prisons and thousands upon thousands of other things that benefit taxpayers.

Taxes are theft: In addition to the fact that this has explicitly been rejected by the Supreme Court and that taxes, including the income tax, are explicitly authorized by the Constitution, there is the simple fact — mentioned above — that every single taxpayer takes more from the government than they give to the government. It’s like going to Walmart, taking $1000 dollars of merchandise, giving them $100 dollars and then claiming that they stole your $100.

The top 1 percent pays 40 percent of all taxes: We do not tax people, we tax income. The reason the top 1 percent pays 40 percent of all taxes (or whatever the exact numbers are) is that they have that percentage of the income. Again, the more wealthy you are, the more government services and goods you use. In order to make people pay their fair share, we tax them according to their use of government resources.

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Apr 17

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Beach Peanuts

Rick Scott Signs His Bait And Switch “Education Budget”:

Being loose with the facts is to be expected from the man who called himself the “jobs governor,” then began that political career cutting jobs rather than creating them. Depends on your definition of “jobs” and “education” I guess.

Also not mentioned, the veto list for this year. Last year, as you’ll recall Scott boasted about his veto list and celebrated the signing ceremony saying “It’s going to be fun!” and proceeded to sign with his custom made red Rick Scott Sharpies that he later handed out as souvenirs.

This year it’s a less festive, quiet affair, and rightfully so. As you can see, the $142 million veto list (.pdf here) is loaded with even more cuts to education and health care among other items.

Scott also approved a 5 percent increase in university tuition after months of warning that he would accept no increase in cost-of-living for Floridians.

No, all the big money this year was in tax breaks for Florida corporations…..or, excuse me, the “job creators.”

Nice work if you can get it. Oh, wait….

There’s more…

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Apr 16

“Women ask Floridians to Unite to Support Women at Rally in Tallahassee April 28th on Old Capitol Steps”

Tallahassee, Florida – Wakulla resident Diane Wilson announced today that she has been building a quiet revolution from her rural Forgotten Coast home in Panacea. Wilson said, “After watching close to two years of increased attacks on women’s rights in Florida and in Congress, I decided it was time to take a stand. We’re asking Floridians to stand with women on April 28th – the revolution will be quiet no more.”

Wilson and organizers across Florida have joined national efforts initiated by Karen Teegarden in Michigan to schedule events in Tallahassee, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, April 28th. The Tallahassee “We Are Women” rally will be held from 12 to 2 pm on the steps of the Old Capitol Museum. Rallies will be held in all 50 states, mainly at state capitols.

Scheduled speakers at the Tallahassee event include the following confirmed participants:

Emily Caponetti, Alma Gonzalez, Rev. Della Fahnestock, LisaAnn Benham, Amanda James, Samantha Gordon, Donna Slutiak, Rachel Sutz Pienta, Susan Smith, Tabitha Frazier, Jessica Lowe-Minor, Ion Sancho, Amy Coenen, Anita Davis, Mayor John Marks, Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, and Nancy Argenziano.

Tallahassee rally partners include Planned Parenthood, NARAL, AFSCME, American Civil Liberties Union, Equality Florida, Florida NOW, League of Women Voters of Florida, Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Democratic Progressive Caucus, Leon County Hispanic Caucus, and National Women’s Liberation.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho and his staff will be on hand during the rally to register voters.

For additional information, please visit unitewomen.org .

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Apr 16

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — West/Beckmann

Winner: Allen West — He’s raising a lot of money (likely too much of it from out of state). Will it be enough to overcome his extremism? Probably not.

Loser: Brian Beckmann — Actually, Brian, public officials aren’t allowed to be racist. If they are, they are failing to fulfill the duties of their job and should be removed.

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Apr 16

Florida Progressive Political Post of the Day — Saint Petersblog

Is there really that much turkey in state government?:

But is there really that much turkey in state government? Or is it actually just the difference between Publix brand and Boar’s Head.
This year, TaxWatch identified 159 projects totaling almost $170 million. Out of a $70 billion budget.

By my math, that’s .24 percent.

Of course, the budget hawks will say that unless that percent is at absolute zero, there’s waste, maybe even corruption (!), in state government.

But what’s a little turkey grease in a budget of $70 billion?

There are 160 legislators. Carve up that $170 million in budget turkeys among them and what does that work out to? A million per, right?
Believe it or not, but state government would operate a lot better if each legislator got to bring home $1 million in bacon without it being accused of tasting like turkey.

Vetoing these budget turkeys is no different than the gift ban or term limits. It sounds all well and good at first, but it actually makes the political system unmanageable, if not toxic.

There’s more…

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Apr 12

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Political Hurricane

Mike Horner: Florida’s Mitt Romney, only worse:

Back in 1992, I was the Vice President of the Central Florida Young Democrats. At the time, I was quite ambitious. I was only 18-years old and surrounded by people who were in their mid-20s and early-30s. The idea that some young kid would go into their organization (even though I had already been in there for about six months, and very active as well) and become VP, honestly, shocked me. And, on top of that, I was unopposed. Being part of the Central Florida Young Democrats in the early-90s is a very special, and important, part of my political life.

In mid-1992, like every Democratic organization, we had people visiting our group, especially candidates. Of course, they wanted the usual support and whatnot. I even went there and begged that people donate to Buddy Dyer’s State Senate campaign. I was quite surprised how well begging worked.

One of the candidates that came to visit us was a young Mike Horner, who was running in a seat located in Seminole County. The day that he attended our meeting, he was surrounded by a group of about 20 young kids from Lake Mary High School. He said he was the candidate of the future. He told us how he was a true liberal and how he supported many liberal causes. He told us how his mother was a teacher and that he supported the teacher’s union and opposed any privatization of public school. He made himself come across as a good liberal.

There’s more…

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Apr 11

Pink Slip Puppets

Via Pink Slip Rick:


Janet H. Adkins
Ben Albritton
Frank Artiles
Gary Aubuchon
Dennis K. Baxley
Michael Bileca
Jim Boyd
Jason T. Brodeur
Douglas Vaughn Broxson
Rachel V. Burgin
Matt H. Caldwell
Dean Cannon
Richard Corcoran
Fred W. Costello
Steve Crisafulli
Daniel Davis
Jose Felix Diaz
Chris Dorworth
Brad Drake
Eric Eisnaugle
Clay Ford
Erik Fresen
Jim C. Frishe
Matt Gaetz
Rich Glorioso
Eddy Gonzalez
JW Grant
Denise Grimsley
Bill Hagar
Gayle B. Harrell
Shawn Harrison
Doug Holder
Mike Horner
Matt Hudson
Clay Ingram
Ana Rivas Logan
Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Debbie Mayfield
Charles McBurney
Seth McKeel
Larry Metz
Peter Nehr
Bryan Nelson
Jeanette M. Nunez
H. Marlene O’Toole
Jose R. Olivia
Jimmy Patronis
W. Keith Perry
Scott Plakon
Elizabeth W. Porter
Stephen L. Precourt
Bill Proctor
Lake Ray
Ronald “Doc” Renuart
Ken Roberson
Patrick Rooney Jr.
Rob Schenck
Jimmie T. Smith
William D. Snyder
Kelli Stargel
Greg Steube
Geri Thompson
Carlos Trujillo
Charles Van Zant
Will Weatherford
Trudi K. Williams
John Wood
Ritch Workman
Dana D. Young


J.D. Alexander
Thad Altman
Lizbeth Benacquisito
Ellyn Bogdanoff
Anitere Flores
Jim Norman
David Simmons
John Thrasher
Stephen R. Wise

These legislators voted with Rick Scott’s agenda 100 percent of the time. 56 of them are repeat offenders from 2011.

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Apr 11

Florida’s Middle Class Champions

Via Progress Florida, Florida Watch Action and America Votes:

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland
Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa
Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise
Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs, D-Delray
Sen. Chris Smith, D-Oakland Park
Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington
Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach
Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach
Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami
Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth
Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa
Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach
Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville
Rep. Martin “Marty” Kiar, D-Davie
Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg
Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach
Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton
Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando
Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee
Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston
Rep. Ron Saunders, D-Key West
Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood
Rep. Irving “Irv” Slosberg, D-Boca Raton
Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami
Rep. Dwayne L. Taylor, D-Daytona Beach
Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale
Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens

These legislators voted 100 percent the right way on the following bills:

Anti-Middle Class Budget, HB 5001: Gov. Scott’s anti-middle class budget continues to dramatically underfund Florida’s public schools, cuts hundreds of millions from health care for our children, seniors, and the disabled, and costs thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, the budget creates more than $100 million in new special interest tax giveaways.

Prison Privatization, SB 2038: Private prison contractors heavily contributed to the campaign coffers of anti-middle class legislators and they were ready to cash in with a massive scheme to privatize all state prisons in south Florida. Fortunately our middle class champions stood up and despite overwhelming odds, defeated this potential boondoggle that would have cost thousands of jobs.

Unfair Foreclosure Act, HB 213: Foreclosures are a real problem in Florida, mostly because big banks don’t have the proper paperwork to foreclose on a property. Anti-middle class legislators introduced this bill to speed up foreclosures and give the banks unprecedented control over the process instead of actually fixing the problem.

Parent Trigger, SB 1718/HB 1191: Anti-public school extremists pushed a “parent trigger” bill that would’ve allowed public schools to be turned over to unaccountable, private charter school operators. The Florida PTA along with almost every parent group in the state opposed this insidious attack on public education.

Attack On Women’s Health, HB 277: Anti-middle class extremists continued their long-running war on women by introducing their Omnibus Anti-Choice Act, which attempted to create a host of new barriers and restrictions to women’s access to reproductive health care.

Intrusive Drug Testing, HB 1205/SB 1358: Last year, a federal judge suspended Gov. Scott’s plan to drug test all Floridians who apply for public assistance. This year, despite urgings to stop wasting taxpayer dollars trying to defend a clearly unconstitutional law, Scott’s anti-middle class allies worked to pass a new, intrusive drug testing regime though the Legislature.

Gerrymandered Redistricting Maps, SJR 1176, SB 1174: Despite 63% of Florida voters approving the Fair Districts Amendments in the 2010 election, anti-middle class legislators went to work trying to side-step or undermine the spirit of Fair Districts. Middle class champions fought hard against another decade’s worth of gerrymandered, unfair districts designed solely to protect incumbent politicians.

Wage Thief Protection Act, HB 609/SB 862: The Wage Thief Protection Act would have eliminated a successful Miami-Dade County program that prevents employers from stealing the wages that you have earned. The act would have prohibited counties from adopting ordinances to successfully fight wage theft by saying only the state could regulate wage theft. Of course, there is no plan for the state to take action and combat wage theft, which robs $60-90 million from Floridians’ paychecks every year.

Insurance Industry Bailout, HB 119: The “PIP bill” reduced the level of personal injury protection insurance available to Floridians who are involved in a car accident from $10,000 to only $2,500 unless you meet certain conditions. There is no guarantee that insurance rates will actually decrease for consumers. This was a top priority of insurance industry lobbyists, but not middle class families.

Posted in Democrats, Legislature, Republicans | Comments Off
Apr 11

Good Politics/Bad Politics for 4/11

Spotlighting good and bad uses of media, PR and social networking among politicians…

Good politics: Patrick Murphy — Hitting Allen West’s communist remarks quick and hard (via e-mail):

At a town hall meeting yesterday in Palm City, Rep. Allen West (R) told a crowd of constituents that he believes between 78 and 81 U.S. House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, although he wouldn’t name names. The story was reported by local news site TCPalm on Tuesday evening.

“West’s attempts at 21st-century McCarthyism are not only counter-productive towards the work that must be done in Congress, but further prove his complete lack of seriousness and responsibility,” remarked Jupiter Democrat Patrick Murphy, a CPA and small businessman running in the newly drawn 18th congressional district against West. “This is a deplorable, outrageous statement. The last time a member of Congress made a similarly disturbing statement, he was censured by Congress. Allen West deserves no less now.”

West’s comments follow remarks he made in December that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would “be very proud” of the Democratic Party, and a January speech in which he said Democrats should “get the hell out” of the United States.

Bad politics: Rick Scott’s staff — Using a doctored image of the Miami Herald to push your bad policies is a bad policy.

Bad politics: Connie Mack — The “coke monkeys” ad is just plain stupid. The Republican tactic of pulling out obscure research grants and portraying them as the biggest waste of money ever is dishonest and hypocritical, particularly for people who support illegal wars and tax cuts for the wealthy.

Bad politics: Rick Scott — Touting the new $1 billion in education spending that you signed into law means a lot more if you didn’t cut $1.3 billion the year before. Schools are losing ground under Rick Scott budgets.

Good politics: Pink Slip Rick — Matching up the Pink Slip Puppets with Rick Scott’s crazy face and providing contact info is a good hit.

Good politics: Middle Class Champions — Always good to know who your friends are, even in the legislature.

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