"Stoned chimpanzees have a keener grasp of constitutional law"
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Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.
"Stoned chimpanzees have a keener grasp of constitutional law"
"The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices
is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita,
Charles and David Koch."
Last week they uncorked
the first of a series of commercials from their political action
committee, Americans for Prosperity. The targets are Justices R. Fred
Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.
were three of the five-vote majority that in 2010 knocked down a
half-baked amendment slapped together by state lawmakers seeking to
nullify the federal Affordable Health Care Act.
Florida Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions in finding that the
proposed amendment contained “misleading and ambiguous language,” the
hallmark of practically everything produced by this Legislature. Stoned
chimpanzees have a keener grasp of constitutional law.
mission of the Kochs, hiding as always behind their super PAC, is to
get the three justices dumped at the polls so that Gov. Rick Scott can
This is worth repeating: If
the Kochs have their way, Rick Scott — yes, that Rick Scott — gets to
pack the Supreme Court with his own hand-picked crew.
Yikes is right.
head of the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity is a person
called Slade O’ Brien, whose job is to keep a straight face while saying
things like: “We’re not advocating for the election or defeat of any of
the justices. What we’re attempting to do is call more attention to
them advocating from the bench.”
the state GOP’s executive board is less coy. It voted to oppose the
retention of Quince, Lewis and Pariente, branding them “too extreme.”
"Well, let’s have a peek at these dangerous radicals."
Pariente, 63, has been on the court for 15 years. She was graduated
from George Washington University Law School and clerked in Fort
Lauderdale under U.S. District Judge Norm Roettger, who was no softie.
Lewis, 64, who was graduated cum laude from the University of Miami Law
School, has been on the court almost 14 years. Both he and Pariente
were appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles, not exactly a wild-eyed liberal.
Quince, also 64, is the first African-American woman on the Supreme
Court. A graduate of the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University,
she worked for years prosecuting death-penalty cases in the state
Attorney General’s office.
In 1999, she was jointly selected for the high court by Chiles and that wacky left-winger, Jeb Bush.
before Floridians have voted to keep these justices, but now the Kochs
from Wichita say they know better. You won’t see David or Charlie in any
of the campaign commercials because they don’t like people to know
"Billionaire Koch brothers try to buy state’...".
Florida's Republican "state party leaders have doused themselves in irony"
Grimm: "For the better part of two years now, Gov. Rick Scott and the
Florida Republican Party have been scouring the state like a sheriff and
his posse, hot on the trail of election bandits."
out, our Republican gunslingers didn’t have far to look. The wily
varmints corrupting Florida’s electoral process have been working right
under their noses.
Republican party operatives were running what appear to be a fraudulent
voter registration activities in at least nine Florida counties
(including Miami-Dade) and probably more. And they were doing it with
party money. Strategic Allied Consulting, the party’s highest paid
vendor, reportedly collected $667,598 in July, and another $667,598 in
August to register new voters. But all that money came with a wink. . . .
of my workers noticed that a lot of the applications had very similar
handwriting and signatures and other discrepancies,” Palm Beach County
Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher told [Grimm] Friday. The worker
summoned Bucher. She noticed that dates were wrong. Ages were wrong.
Some of the home addresses actually corresponded to commercial
locations, including a gas station and a car dealership. The supervisor
counted 106 new registration forms she considered blatant works of
fraud. She called the Palm Beach County State Attorney.
also put in a call to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who
oversees the state’s elections. Detzner, a former lobbyist for the beer
industry, has been the governor’s big gun in the campaign against
election fraud. But apparently not this particular sort of election
fraud. Bucher said Friday that she still hasn’t heard back from Detzner
or one of his deputies. After the story hit the newspapers last week, “I
got a call from the kid who answers the phones in his office. That’s
It was only "[a]fter the story broke last
week, roiling through the newspapers, political blogs and cable
television, the Florida Republican Party fired the outfit."
it’s not like the Republicans didn’t know who they were hiring.
Strategic Allied Consulting is run by a well-connected Arizona political
consultant named Nathan Sproul with a national reputation for sleazy
In 2004, Salon reported:
“During the past week and a half, several former employees, elections
officials and others across the country who’ve had dealings with [Sproul
Associates] have revealed to various local media outlets Sproul’s
methods for boosting GOP registration in key swing states. The accounts
allege that Sproul’s workers were encouraged to lie, cheat and,
according to Eric Russell, a former Sproul employee in Las Vegas who
first told his story to a local television station last week, even
destroy the registration forms of Democrats who’d registered to vote
with Sproul canvassers.” . . .
now . . . oh my . . .state party leaders have doused themselves in
irony. For months, Scott and the Republican Party had been raging over
the imagined hordes of illegal voters who would corrupt Florida’s
elections. They’ve cajoled and threatened county election supervisors to
purge registration rolls using the state-provided check-list of 2,631
supposedly illicit voters, most of them of the immigrant kind. And you
know which way those damned illegal immigrants lean. Except the county
supervisors noticed that many names on that list turned out to be
legislature passed a constitutionally suspect law designed to discourage
non-partisan groups, like that notorious gang known as the League of
Women Voters, by requiring that they turn in new registrations within 48
hours or face draconian penalties. The law served to tamp down new
registrations in the state by requiring what a federal judge described
as “burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve
little if any purpose.”
judge tossed the 48-hour provision, saying, “If the goal is to
discourage voter registration drives and thus also to make it harder for
new voters to register, this may work. Otherwise there is little reason
for such a requirement.”
suppose the law did demonstrate the zeal of our political leadership to
root out voter registration fraud. Yet these same pols hired a notorious
rogue to run their own registration operation. But only on the
condition that he changed the name of his company.
yeah . . . about that list of 2,631 illegal voters, the great perceived
threat to Florida’s election integrity. The actual number of suspicious
names that needed to be culled from the state’s voter registration
rolls came to 198. That’s 198 suspect voters out of 11,446,540
registered statewide. That’s all the bad guys the state bagged in this
great, two-year crusade against election fraud. Strategic Allied
Consultants managed more lousy registrations than that in just two
“This is so
disheartening. These people coming into our state to do this, said
Bucher. “It’s disconcerting to think that this has been going on all
across the country.
not yet received that call back from the secretary of state’s office to
get the details on her county’s 106 fraudulent registrations.
Detzner’s office did, however, send her the names of all those
suspected illegal immigrants on the Palm Beach County registration
roles. “We had 14,” she said.
"State Republicans find fraud close to home". See also "More counties find voter form errors".
Mike La Rosa is not Mike Horner
La Rosa, part of the family-operated La Rosa Development Corp. in
Celebration and Kissimmee, was named to run as the Republican candidate
for House District 42."
The majority of Republican
Party executive committee members from Osceola and Polk counties agreed
on La Rosa after interviewing finalists for the position at the Omni
Hotel in Champions Gate. . . .
Rosa’s name will not appear on the ballot as he replaces Rep. Mike
Horner, R-Kissimmee, who withdrew from the contest on Sept. 24 after his
name surfaced on a brothel client list.
Oh yeah, and he's another
"self-made-man" ... err ... daddy's boy:
Rosa is a Miami native who attended the University of Central Florida,
remaining in the area with his brother Michael La Rosa to sell real
estate as La Rosa Realty LLC.
"GOP Names Mike La Rosa to Replace Mike Horner in District 42".
The brothers later partnered
with their father, Andrew La Rosa, to create La Rosa Development, with
projects including Paradise Palms Resort in West Osceola County and the
Celebration Office Condos.
"Behold! Davids appear to slay Goliaths"
Goldstein is his usual outstanding self today, pointing out that, "For
decades, there has been a steady drift away from fair-and-balanced media
coverage and towards corporate consolidation, the net effect of which
has been to turn the (primarily radio) airwaves into an echo chamber for
It started in 1987 when,
during the Reagan Administration (but of course!), the FCC abandoned the
long-standing Fairness Doctrine that had required broadcasters to air
segments on controversial topics of public interest and provide time for
contrasting views to be heard. Without that offset, the floodgates
opened to rantings and ravings like Rush Limbaugh's.
right wing gained additional momentum with the mockery that's been made
of the equal-time rule, which was supposed to require media to give
comparable exposure to political candidates, but which has so many
loopholes and exceptions it is now farcical. How else could openly
partisan FOX get away with being the voice of the right wing?
to all of this the liberalizing of media ownership rules so companies
can expand their reach, Citizens United, and corporate conglomerates
turning news into entertainment, and the net result is a mainstream
media environment that is at best a joke, at worst complicitous in
destroying any meaningful forum for public debate — an environment that
Rove and others like him have mastered for so long. Little did they know
the drubbing they were in for.
Davids appear to slay Goliaths —turning the Koch brothers blue and
Sheldon Adelson's hair white, and throwing Rove & Co.'s takeover
of America into a tailspin. How positively delicious!
wasn't all that long ago when having Internet access was rare, almost
exotic. At least publicly, no one talked about where cyberspace was
going — along with people in it.
Gradually, the Internet
became a fact of life, email the way to communicate, a website the sine
qua non of every business and individual.
then suddenly, it happened: Out of the gregarious urge imprinted on our
DNA, people discovered the Internet's capacity to link people
everywhere — and not just link but create ties that bind. To be sure,
it's been infected with its share of pond scum and bottom feeders. But
certain platforms have emerged as powerhouses of people-power —
spreading truths, fact-checking lies.
media have filled the void left by the defanging of the mainstream
media. In addition, savvy operatives figured out that what works in
cyberspace is telling the truth. It is no accident that on Twitter,
@BarackObama has 20 million followers; @MittRomney has 1.1 million--and
Mitt's lies aren't sticking.
Goliaths will take revenge with a vengeance with every last buck the
Kochs will give them. The Rove-types are taking more incoming attacks
than they're delivering. After they've spent gazillions to destroy
Obama, he's going up in the polls; Romney/Ryan is sinking.
"Internet ushers in Age of Truth".
Things get worse for Dorworth
Maxwell: "Last week, things got even worse, as Dorworth refused to
disclose details about special-interest-funded trips he took to Taiwan
and San Francisco." "More Dorworth embarrassments for GOP -- time for a new speaker".
University of West Florida ... it figures
13 projections are contained in the new issue of PS: Political Science
and Politics, which is published by the American Political Science
Association. Eight of them project that Obama will win the popular vote;
five say the popular vote will go to Romney."
And when you need an outlier, why go anywhere else than the University
of West Florida:
One of the most bearish about the
president’s prospects is Alfred G. Cuzan, the department chairman at the
University of West Florida. He notes that since 1880, a sitting
president has lost his reelection bid only six times, and only twice
when the incumbent had succeeded a president of a different party.
Cuzan, whose model is called the “Fiscal Model,” looks at changes in
government spending relative to the size of the economy as his guide. He
argues that the expansionary spending policies of the president dim his
chances of winning.
“Even if he
does squeeze by the Republican candidate,” Cuzan wrote, “it is highly
likely that President Obama would do so with a smaller share of the vote
than in 2008, the first president in well over a century to be
reelected to a second term by a thinner margin of victory than he
received the first time around.”
"Romney or Obama? Scholars make their picks for 2012".
"The first presidential race since the Citizens United decision"
The Miami Herald
editorial board: "This electoral season, the first presidential race
since the Citizens United decision, has produced more divisive campaign
ads than ever before, and the frustratingly weak economy has raised the
anxiety level over the nation’s future." "Countdown to the election".
Provisional ballots, the hanging chad issue of 2012?
voting laws in key states [including Florida] could force a lot more
voters to cast provisional ballots this election, delaying results in
close races for days while election officials scrutinize ballots and
campaigns wage legal battles over which ones should get counted."
new laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are still
being challenged in court, adding to the uncertainty as the Nov. 6
"It's a possibility of a complete meltdown
for the election," said Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the
University of Florida.
cast provisional ballots for a variety of reasons:  They don't bring
proper ID to the polls;  they fail to update their voter registration
after moving;  they try to vote at the wrong precinct;  or their
right to vote is challenged by someone.
voters may have their votes counted, but only if election officials can
verify that they were eligible to vote, a process that can take days or
weeks. Adding to the potential for chaos: Many states won't even know
how many provisional ballots have been cast until sometime after
Voters cast nearly
2.1 million provisional ballots in the 2008 presidential election. About
69 percent were eventually counted, according to results compiled by
the Associated Press. . . .
close election, all eyes are going to be on those provisional ballots,
and those same canvassing boards that were looking at pregnant chads and
hanging chads back in 2000," Smith said. "It's a potential mess."
"Provisional ballots may be hanging chad issue of 2012".
Debbie Wasserman Schultz steers clear of campaigning
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz celebrated at a major wing-ding on her
46th birthday — but the party wasn’t for her. The Weston Democrat was
the keynote speaker at the opening of Nova Southeastern University’s $50
million coral reef research center on Thursday — a spectacular facility
built with $15 million from the Obama administration’s much-criticized
stimulus program. But in a room packed with NSU and Broward County
power-brokers, many of them Republicans, the Democratic National
Committee chairwoman and vocal Obama supporter cautiously avoided any
overtly political statements during the university’s celebration." "Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz celebrates birthday, steers clear of campaigning at Nova".
10 suggested right-wing theme park changes
It is no secret that Walt Disney was a right-wing nut before it was cool to be a right-wing nut, but Frank Cerabino gives Walt Disney World
everything it deserves and more this morning for its financial support
of, well ... right-wing nuts: "As a Floridian who has spent many a day
traipsing through your theme parks, I thought I was an expert on all
But last week I learned that 90
percent of the $2.5 million in political contributions Disney has spent
this election cycle in Florida is going to Republicans and Republican
causes, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
See what he means here: "Suggestions for how Disney World can align more with its GOP dollars".
I had no idea
your theme parks were so aligned with Republican philosophies. I think
it would be great if you made that more clear to your visitors.
So here are 10 suggested changes to your theme parks that would align them morey with your political views.
Good luck with that
"Schools chief to urge governor to stop more state mandates".
Undecided voters leaning Obama
have shifted toward the president since the Democratic convention.
Interviews with voters shed some light on why, and on the challenge
facing the Republican." "Undecided voters lean from Romney toward Obama".
"All gave some, some gave all." Romney gave nothing
Webb’s departures from party orthodoxy are frequent. As recently as
last November, the retiring Virginia Democratic senator was reluctant to
commit to campaigning for President Barack Obama. So Webb’s bladework
on Mitt Romney was as unexpected as it was memorable. From Webb’s
introductory remarks before Obama’s Virginia Beach appearance:"
"Governor Romney and I are about the same age. Like millions of others
in our generation, we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of
the Vietnam War. 2.7 million in our age group went to Vietnam, a war
which eventually took the lives of 58,000 young Americans and cost
another 300,000 wounded. The Marine Corps lost 100,000 killed or wounded
in that war. During the year I was in Vietnam, 1969, our country lost
twice as many dead as we have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over
the past 10 years of war. 1968 was worse. 1967 was about the same.
Not a day goes by when I do not think about the young Marines I was
privileged to lead."
"This was a
time of conscription, where every American male was eligible to be
drafted. People made choices about how to deal with the draft, and about
military service. I have never envied or resented any of the choices
that were made as long as they were done within the law. But those
among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns and the lifelong
changes that can come from combat did so with the belief that their
service would be honored, and that our leaders would, in the words of
President Abraham Lincoln, care for those who had borne the battle, and
for their widows and their children."
young Marines that I led have grown older now. They’ve lived lives of
courage, both in combat and after their return, where many of them were
derided by their own peers for having served. That was a long time ago.
They are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’
benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense
of that word. There is a saying among war veterans: “All gave some, some gave all.”
This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition
that gave this country its freedom and independence. They paid, some
with their lives, some through wounds and disabilities, some through
their emotional scars, some through the lost opportunities and delayed
entry into civilian careers which had already begun for many of their
peers who did not serve."
not only did they pay. They will not say this, so I will say it for
them. They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of
thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their
generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be
commander-in-chief. And they are owed much more than that — a guarantee
that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to
their loved ones."
"Webb drops the hammer on Romney".
"Romney campaign released a photograph this week of Romney in 1968,
laying on a French beach alongside a giant 'I Love Ann' sign he'd drawn
for his future wife in the sand. It's a nice photo, and some wondered
why Team Romney hadn't released it sooner, perhaps to help 'humanize'
the widely-disliked candidate. The answer, I suspect, is the historical
context -- while Romney was writing love letters in French beaches in
1968, Jim Webb and a whole lot of other men were on a very different
foreign soil, engaged in a very different activity." "Webb delivers blistering Romney critique in Virginia".
Will Florida vets really support a man who avoided the draft?
Dunkelberger: "A poll of likely Florida voters in early September from
Marist College, NBC and The Wall Street Journal showed Republican Mitt
Romney carrying 58 percent of the military vote in Florida to Obama’s 38
percent. Those voters made up 17 percent of the projected electorate."
strong military vote could be a factor in Romney’s favor in a close
election in Florida. In 2008, Obama lost the military vote nationally by
10 percentage points — 54-44 percent — to U.S. Sen. John McCain, a
decorated Vietnam War hero. But the Obama campaign is working to cut the
traditional edge that Republicans have had among the military members.
demographic trends may help Democrats gain more support among this key
voting bloc in the long run. Florida has the third-largest veterans’
population in the nation with 1.6 million members.
its makeup is changing with the 449,000 Vietnam-era veterans
representing the largest group. Florida remains the state with the
largest group of World War II veterans, at more than 164,000.
veterans’ vote will be diminishing in Florida and the nation simply
because fewer Americans are joining the military under the voluntary
system that replaced the draft in the 1970s.
fact, this year marks the first time since World War II when neither
major party’s nominee is a military veteran. It reflects a demographic
trend in which a majority of American men older than 70 served in the
military — while among men under 50, it is only one in five.
"Campaigns court Florida military vote".
Expectations of a Republican Senate takeover are fading
"The presidential race isn’t the only unpredictable war for control of Washington this year. Keep an eye on the U.S. Senate."
of a Republican takeover, which were widespread over the summer, are
fading. Now the Democrats could retain their majority. Either way, it’s
close, and no one can safely say which party will have a Senate majority
after the Nov. 6 elections.
"GOP hopes of a Senate takeover fade". Related: "Connie Mack battles polls, voter lack of interest in quest to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson".