Rubio squirming like a worm on a hook
"Rubio sought Thursday to reframe his proposal to give legal status to children of illegal immigrants as a "humanitarian" concern rather than part of the contentious immigration debate."
The rhetorical shift comes while his plan continues to face skepticism from Democrats and as sharper objections are bubbling up in conservative circles. ..."Sen. Marco Rubio tries to reframe Dream Act alternative as 'humanitarian' concern".
Casting it as humanitarian — he likened it to the special status afforded to "Cuban refugees" — is a newer approach that seems to indicate the difficulty Rubio is facing in pitching his plan, which has still not been officially released. ...
The GOP is trying to seek a more moderate stance on immigration as the Hispanic population grows and the problem at the border subsides. But Rubio's plan has come under fire from the right. Anti-immigration groups have mobilized to call his office in opposition and urge other Republicans against it.
On Tuesday, a group of GOP House members joined with the Federation for American Immigration Reform and conservative radio hosts in an effort to caution the party not to back down on illegal immigration.
"Rubio needs to wake up, or those who follow him are going to fall off a cliff," FAIR spokesman Bob Dane said, according to Congressional Quarterly.
Republican clears Mini-Mack
"The Republican head of the House Franking Commission says 'no further action' will be taken against U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, whose mailer this week violated House rules because it was widely distributed beyond his district." "Rep. Connie Mack all clear in mailer violation, official says". See also "Mack defends mass mailing mistake".
CIA had no problem declassifying earlier volume attacking the Kennedy brothers
"A federal judge has ruled that a final volume of the CIA's three-decade-old history on the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba can remain shrouded in secrecy because it is a draft, not a finished product."
The CIA characterized the volume in court papers as "a polemic of recriminations against CIA officers who later criticized the operation.""Judge rejects effort to open CIA volume on Cuba".
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler accepted the CIA's arguments that the fifth volume entitled the "CIA's Internal Investigations of the Bay of Pigs Operations" did not even pass through the first stage of a multilayer review process. The volume represented a proposal by a subordinate member of the history staff that was rejected by the chief historian as containing significant deficiencies, the CIA argued.
The CIA said the volume is protected from disclosure under the deliberative process privilege, an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.
The National Security Archive, a private group seeking transparency in government, sued the CIA to declassify the volume.
The CIA had no problem declassifying an earlier volume of the history in which the author attacked President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the National Security Archive's Cuba documentation project.
"CAT Fund Advisers Seek to Add Billion$ to Reserves".
Friends of MacNamara
"When Gov. Rick Scott took office, he adopted a policy for his agencies that required out-of-state travel to be 'cost effective' and 'have a direct and measurable benefit to getting Floridians back to work.'"
It was a point that Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, hammered home at staff meetings. It prompted the head of the Department of Economic Opportunity, Doug Darling, to compile a list of trips that had "true market impact and the best chance for success" and get MacNamara's approval."Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff made exception to travel rule for friend".
But MacNamara changed the rules for Shari Kerrigan[*], a lawyer and friend of MacNamara's whom the governor appointed the state's film commissioner in December.
A month on the job, she asked MacNamara to let her travel to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, even though the trip wasn't on the list approved by MacNamara before Kerrigan had the job.
When Darling told Kerrigan she couldn't go, "her reaction was unprofessional and abusive to staff,'' he wrote in a Jan. 24 memo to MacNamara. "Without notifying either her direct supervisor or myself, she attended on her own. Unfortunately she did not notify us that she was attending and, to date, has not called. We only learned this by contacting her staff."
Kerrigan took the trip to the world famous film festival, stayed three nights at the Zermatt Resort in Park City, Utah, and ended with a trip to Miami Beach for a meeting of television executives. ...
MacNamara acknowledged Wednesday that he had approved the trip — over Darling's objections.
"Yes, I did,'' he said. "I'm the chief of staff."
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*You remember Shari - back in 2010,
Senate President Mike Haridopolos agreed to [Nan]Rich’s unusual request for a lawyer to advise the Dems."Rich tapped Shari Kerrigan, a Pepperdine law school university grad, as her legal eagle. Kerrigan, who’ll be paid $37,500 a year, was most recently executive director of the Kerrigan Family Charitable Foundation set up by her father, Pensacola lawyer Bob Kerrigan."
Rich, D-Weston, made the ask because of Haridopolos’ own unusual move: his chief of staff Steve MacNamara is serving a dual role as the Senate’s general counsel.
Rich objected that MacNamara, who earns $175,000 a year, is, as Haridopolos’ chief, too partisan to provide objective counsel to both sides of the aisle.
“The dual roles assumed under this administration raised fears that that objectivity and legal even-handedness would be compromised. We were left with no choice but to request our own attorney who would fill that critical void. I am pleased that the Senate President agreed,” Rich said in a statement announcing Haridopolos’ approval.
"Miami-Dade wetlands off the trade table"
"Water managers have decided to draw up new plans on how to use a chunk of West Miami-Dade wetlands once sought by Florida International University." "South Florida water district takes Miami-Dade wetlands off the trade table with FIU".
"A Florida Supreme Court case could have huge national implications on how courts will handle the robo-signing scandal on foreclosures." "Florida foreclosure case could have wide reach".
"One of the most ethically challenged figures on Capitol Hill"
Daniel Ruth: "From the day he arrived in Washington raising one hand to be sworn in as a member of Congress while extending his other outstretched palm, Rep. Vern Buchanan of Sarasota has consistently been considered one of the most ethically challenged figures on Capitol Hill."
How proud the National Republican Congressional Committee must be to have Buchanan, R-Subpoena-in-Waiting, as its leading fundraiser, which has to be a shot in the arm for the brown bag industry."The Sarasota politician is in the news again for his slippery finger approach to raising money, accused of eliciting perjured testimony and falsifying documents. Just another typical day in the life of Vern Buchanan, R-So Many Checks, So Little Time."
The investigators found evidence that Buchanan tried to get a former business associate whom he owed a $2.9 million settlement to sign a cooked-up affidavit falsely claiming that the congressman knew nothing about $100,000 in illegal contributions to his 2006 congressional campaign."The world according to Vern Buchanan".
For you legally challenged types, like Buchanan, this is a really big naughty no-no.
Buchanan's mouthpieces were shocked, shocked that the ethics committee concluded there was "substantial reason to believe" the congressman knew the affidavit was full of phooey when he pressured the ex-business partner to sign a manifesto of fibs.
Buchanan was more than welcome to testify before the committee, but he chose not to cooperate. That's understandable since he would have been required to tell the truth. Uh-oh. And now he's whining about the results.
The lawyers labeled the report "fundamentally flawed" and "bizarre," just for the flair of it all.
The problem for Buchanan, who makes Crime and Punishment look like a pamphlet, is that the aggrieved business partner, Sam Kazran, was able to provide the sleuths emails and voice mails between the two men that indicate the congressman knew about the hinky campaign contributions and the fraudulent affidavit.
Buchanan left a trail of recordings and documents linking him to the shenanigans? Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't this dense.
Now the ethics committee, which seems to be enjoying itself immensely investigating Buchanan, R-Tom Delay-lite, has decided to extend the scrutiny.
Well, why not? Everyone else is!
Vern Buchanan has been in Washington for less than six years, yet he has managed to become the target of investigations by the FBI, the IRS, the Federal Elections Commission and the House Committee on Ethics.
Stand 'yer stoopid
"'Stand Your Ground' Remains Popular in Florida After Trayvon Martin Shooting".
Court upholds term limits
"Court upholds term limits for county commissioners". See also "Florida justices uphold term limits in Hillsborough, Polk". More: Jeremy Wallace's "Court ruling reinvents Sarasota County politics".
Enuf "blue ribbons"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "If Gov. Rick Scott wants to remake Florida's higher education system to meet the demands of a knowledge-based economy, he should start from a personal knowledge base rather than appoint a 'blue ribbon' task force. ... Florida's higher education system doesn't need a task force. It needs informed politicians making wiser decisions." "Scott's task force a waste".
Mack and LeMieux take off the gloves
"The two leading Republican candidates looking to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took off the gloves Thursday and ripped into each other on a range of issues." "Connie Mack and George LeMieux Exchange Fire in GOP Senate Primary".
Separation of church and state kerfuffle
"A group that advocates the separation of church and state is accusing Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins of violating the U.S. Constitution by using state e-mail to send a prayer to employees of his department asking God to help them 'find their identity in You.' Wilkins, who also recently became Florida's chief operating officer, sent the email to DCF workers Thursday after offering the prayer at a National Day of Prayer event also attended by his boss, Gov. Rick Scott, in the Capitol." "Group objects to Florida DCF head using state email to send prayer to employees".
"An increasingly partisan dogfight"
Marc Caputo: "Amid an increasingly partisan dogfight, Florida elections officials say the number of potential noncitizens they're examining on the state voter rolls is 180,000, a figure far higher than what was initially reported."
Florida's Division of Elections said Thursday that it's combing through this initial, mammoth list of names — which were flagged during a computer database search — to make sure its list is as clean and as small as possible. The state is then turning over smaller batches of the more-verified names to county elections supervisors, who are contacting the potential noncitizens to see if they can lawfully vote."Some Democrats accuse Republican-appointed Secretary of State Ken Detzner of engaging in a type of 'voter suppression.'"
By the end of the process, the state could send counties as many as 22,000 names to check, one election source indicated, in a state with more than 12 million total voters.
Right now, local supervisors have been sent nearly 2,700 names, about 2,000 of which are in Miami-Dade, Florida's most-populous and most-immigrant heavy county.
But Detzner's office said he's trying to make sure no unlawful votes are cast — and it indicated that President Barack Obama's administration is stonewalling the effort by refusing to share Department of Homeland Security databases that could more easily show who's a citizen and who's not. ..."180,000 voters in doubt". See also "Bucher will start sending letters to voters state suspects are not U.S. citizens".
The effort in Florida was inspired by Colorado Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who said last year that he initially identified a pool of 16,000 potential noncitizen voters in his state. New Mexico — also run by a Republican secretary of state — searched and found 104.
Florida, Colorado and New Mexico are all immigrant- and Hispanic-heavy swing states that could play a crucial role in this year's presidential election.
"Republican Party on the wrong side of history"
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "In a courageous act of moral leadership, President Barack Obama has made civil rights history by announcing his support for same-sex marriage."
Despite the vote Tuesday in North Carolina that amended the state Constitution to bar same-sex marriage and civil unions — like one passed by voters in Florida in 2008 — Romney and the Republican Party are on the wrong side of history. Attitudes are changing quickly, as is evidenced by the noncontroversial nature of the domestic partnership registry passed in Tampa and being considered in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Gulfport and Pinellas County. The St. Petersburg City Council voted Thursday to direct the legal staff to draft an ordinance creating a domestic registry that the council can adopt within the next month."President Obama’s momentous evolution on same-sex marriage". Meanwhile, "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on gay marriage: “Should be left to the states”".
Orlando the Smuttiest City in America
Nancy Smith: "Isn't it supposed to be the casinos, not Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, that attract the porn? That's not what happened in Orlando, just named by Men's Health Magazine as the Smuttiest City in America. It's true. Without a roll of the dice or the ka-ching of a single slot machine, Orlando looked up one day and realized it had become Gomorrah."
With apologies to Mickey and Minnie, I think maybe it's time for the folks at www.NoCasinos.org to rethink their motive for keeping casinos out of Florida. That family-friendly postcard they see in their dreams disappeared somewhere between the time Walt Disney World closed down Pleasure Island and grad-trippers discovered they could beer-binge their way around Epcot."Maybe Casinos in Orlando Would Improve the Place".
Here's how Men's Health Magazine jumped Orlando over Las Vegas and into the No. 1 spot:
"We peered through a statistical peephole to tabulate the following criteria: the number of DVDs purchased, rented, or streamed (AdultDVDEmpire.com); adult entertainment stores per city (StorErotica.net); rate of porn searches (Google Insights); and, for fans of soft-core, percentage of Cinemax-subscribing households (SimplyMap). Not only were Orlando folks the randiest residents, but Florida was also the most salacious state."
By "most salacious," the magazine editors meant that many states didn't have a single city in the Top 100 Smuttiest. But, besides Orlando, Florida had four -- Tampa at No. 8, Miami at 12, Jacksonville at 52 and St. Petersburg at 60.
Atlantic City, incidentally -- target of an over-the-top, even frightening anti-casinos ad during the last session of the Florida Legislature, didn't even make the magazine's Top 100.
"Embargo of Cuba is getting in the way of safety"
"The 50-year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba is getting in the way of safety when it comes to deepwater drilling in Cuban waters, an expert on the communist country's offshore drilling activity said Thursday." "U.S. embargo of Cuba adds risks to country's deepwater oil drilling, expert says".
Plenty of room (in the rafters) for Florida GOP convention delegates
"Florida Republicans better not count on a lenient national GOP to give them prime floor seats to the Republican National Convention in Tampa after they broke the party’s primary schedule rules."
But RNC chairman Reince Priebus said Thursday that they don’t have to worry about access to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in August."Top Republican leader visits Tampa to raise money, prepare for convention".
“The rules committee made a decision that Florida’s going to lose half of its delegates,” Priebus told the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9, in taping a local interview to air Sunday in the St. Petersburg-Tampa area. “I have not heard a single person on the rules committee make any movement or request or anyone from any part of this operation to change that.”
Still, Priebus left the door wide open to allowing more state party activists into the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the Aug. 27-30 event, even if they aren’t seated on the floor with the 50 voting delegates.
“We’re talking about 50 seats on the floor. Believe me, we’re going to need a lot of people here in Florida filling that arena. It’s really not something that I think people here in Florida should be obsessing over,” Priebus said.