What’s next for Charlie Crist?

Florida Governor Charlie Crist sealed his fate with the Republican Party when he vetoed the GOP supported teacher pay and tenure bill (SB6) earlier this month losing what was left of his Teabagger support. 

Vetoing that bill was the right thing to do – regardless of political party.  And that is the real Charlie Crist.

Crist was the guy who sought a deal with the Seminole Indians in order for Florida to receive taxes from their casinos while state Republicans were letting the clock run out.  (Rubio was the Speaker of the House at the time and challenged Crist’s deal in court – and won.)  Crist still looked good in the state because that deal would have given the state millions in taxes generated from the Indian reservation casinos whereas before the state got nothing.  The court case actually bought the state more time allowing Florida and the Seminoles to finally work out a deal.

Crist was the guy who extended the early voting hours in 2008 allowing more people the ability to vote.  His party vocally challenged Crist’s decision.  Democrat Barack Obama ended up taking the state.

[Read full story]

Hypocrite Joe ‘You Lie’ Wilson honored to serve Wendy’s customers

Joe Wilson is best known for yelling ‘you lie’ at President Obama during an address to Congress last year and became a hero to Rush Limbaugh and the Teabagger crowd.

On Wednesday, he Tweeted on his @CongJoeWilson Twitter account

I was so honored to serve customers at Wendys in Irmo!

It linked to a blog post on his campaign website complete with a photo op.  Here’s the posting:

How’d you like to have a Congressman serving you up lunch?  For some folks at Wendy’s in Irmo, Joe Wilson was the guy manning the drive-thru window, as part of his Joe Means Jobs tour.

The event that attracted all the TV cameras was Congressman Wilson donning an apron serving up some lunch.

Unknowing customers got quite the treat when they pulled up to have Joe serve up their burgers and fries at the drive-up window.  The Irmo Wendy’s employs around 11 to 13 workers per shift.  Being up close during the busy lunch hour gave Joe a firsthand idea of how hard South Carolinians are working.

In case you’re curious, Joe says his favorite item at Wendy’s is the Chili.

{Note:  At the time of this posting, this posting was removed from Wilson’s campaign website however the Tweet was still up on his Twitter account.}

Joe Wilson serving up food for a photo op

Even his campaign’s jobs posting admits to the photo op – ‘the event that attracted all the TV cameras …’.

Unknowing customers received quite the treat when they saw Joe serving them their food.  Seriously, how many Americans would recognize their United States Congressman or Senator on the street?  Unless of course, they saw the TV camera and ‘Joe Means Jobs’ on his apron.

Lastly, this Joe Means Jobs is all well and good but get real – if the jobs are at Wendy’s, then we’re in some serious trouble.  When I was a child, fast food restaurant jobs were filled by high school dropouts in the morning and high school students during the nights and weekends. 

My first real job was at Burger King and I don’t recall any real adults there except the manager and the assistant manager who left for a brief period to attend BKU (Burger King University) – I’m not making that up.

The articles that hit the papers were titled:

It’s no lie.  Joe Wilson serves up fast food.

It’s cute but I’m kind of put off by the title because it trivializes the level of the disrespect Wilson showed the President.  Republicans were even offended and told Wilson to apologize to POTUS.  That is until Rush Limbaugh hailed Wilson as the conquering hero and the martyr because he was pummeled in the media for his offense.

From the It’s no lie article.

“We have some of the highest taxes in the world,” said Congressman Joe Wilson.  “That makes it very difficult for us to compete with Europe, with Asia.  So we need to reduce taxes.”

A simple Google search indicates that Wilson is referring only to the Corporate tax rate.  Documentation does support that numerous states have higher corporate tax rates than many other countries.

What Wilson is ignoring is that the tax rate on individuals in the United States ranks among the lowest worldwide.

What this tells me is that Wilson’s priority is to the corporations.

He was honored to serve Wendy’s customers and corporate interests.  As far as his Individual constituents – not so much.

Lower the Corporate tax rate – More Individual jobs at Wendy’s.

 

Sources for Tax Rate information:

U.S. States Lead the World in High Corporate Taxes (2008) – TaxFoundation.org

Tax Rates Around the World (Corporate and Individual) – last updated Jan 2010 – Worldwide-Tax.com

Think your taxes are bad?  (no date but I suspect it’s from 2006) – MSN Money Central

Acreage Cancer Cluster – Status update & Residents meeting

A very important public meeting is scheduled for tomorrow – February 9th from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. to allow residents to discuss the pediatric cancer cluster in the Acreage.

Details from the original story is here.

The location of the public meeting is Seminole Ridge High School – 4601 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road – Loxahatchee.

Update on the story:

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has weighed in stating that he will appeal to the federal government for their assisting into the investigation. This comes one day after Florida health officials said that there were no plans to search for the environmental cause of the cancer cluster.

“This is of grave concern to me,” Crist said. “The people deserve every ounce of energy that can be put into this situation to reveal how this happened, what the cause might be and what can be done to help these residents.”

“This investigation will continue as long as it takes to get to the root of this issue,” he said. “The people deserve nothing less.”

Dr. Alina Alonso wanted to “clarify statements that may have led to confusion.”

Through a spokesman, Alonso said late Thursday that she “welcomes the governor’s involvement.”

“I want to reiterate that the investigation is in no way finished, but rather is at a point where the Palm Beach County Health Department needs the guidance of elected officials, universities, research facilities and federal agencies to look further into the elevated rates of cancer,” Alonso said in a statement, adding that she “would like to clarify statements that may have led to confusion.”

Alonso said the next step was to raise awareness about childhood brain cancer. Florida Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros rejected that saying that The Acreage residents are “beyond aware.”

“We want to do everything we can and use all our resources to give as much information,” Viamonte Ros said. “And not just awareness, but certainly to be able to find a cause, if there is one, or certainly to be able to answer questions.”

But Viamonte Ros believes that state health officials have exhausted their research options and have “reached the point where we need federal guidance to review what we’ve done and better clarify what the next steps should be.”

State officials additional plan to contact the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, Crist said that they state was now working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The good news is Florida Department of Health’s Chief of Staff Robert Siedlecki Jr. said that state officials will test the water and soil at cancer-stricken children’s homes.

“If they want us to test it, we will.”

“We have to try to figure out what is happening,” Commissioner Shelley Vana said. “You can’t just leave them hanging like that. I do understand that it can be difficult to find answers, but we have make an attempt.”

“My heart goes out to the Acreage families who are experiencing the heartache of cancer,” he said in a statement. “I cannot imagine the pain these parents, grandparents, children and their loved ones are feeling. I support the calls for further investigation and thank Governor Crist for committing to get to the bottom of this.” – Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater (R-North Palm Beach)

Anyone with additional information regarding the investigation, please provide any details in the comments below.

Also, if you plan on attending the February 9th meeting (or if you attended after in concludes), I would welcome the comments.

There will be a live on-line chat during the Tuesday night meeting with Palm Beach Post reporter Jason Schultz.[click here]

Sources:

Crist vows to investigate Acreage cancer cases

State officials agree to test soil and water at Acreage homes of cancer-stricken children

State officials agree to test soil, water at homes of Acreage kids with cancer

Map: acreage cancer cluster

Updated articles from the Palm Beach Post

Teabaggers unite – It’s convention time in Nashville

The for-profit National Tea Party Convention kicked off Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee at 3 p.m.  Thousands Hundreds showed up to register for the 3:00 – 6:00 registration period.

From 7 – 8, the Teabaggers gathered for a Meet and Greet with hors d’oeuvres.

I wonder what they noshed on during this hour – Slim Jims, hot dogs, American flags?

Said one attendee – ‘Why do I want to meet and greet with some whores?  And what the hell is a d’oeuvres?’

I’m sure the crowd looked similar to the 2008 Republican Convention but with a much lower income level.

Tom Tancredo was the kickoff speaker.  I agree that he was the perfect choice.  The former Colorado Representative and failed 2008 presidential candidate ran on a single issue – screw illegal immigrants.  He will be replaced by Lou Dobbs in the 2012 Republican primary.

He said that President Obama won the 2008 election because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.”

This is a bigoted remark because he is implying that blacks, Hispanics and immigrants lack the intelligence to pass a literacy or a civics test.  Interestingly, people who most support this inane comment would have a greater likelihood of scoring lower than the people Tancredo was referring to.

So far, the biggest news to come out of the Tea Party convention is the fact that former Congressman Tom Tancredo apparently pines for the era of Jim Crow restrictions on voting rights. (The Tennessean

“Thank God John McCain lost the election,” Tancredo said.  He felt that McCain was shaping up to be a repeat of ‘Bush 1 and Bush 2.”   I actually agree with Tancredo here.  Where are my pills?

He also preached to the choir by saying that America “put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House … Barack Hussein Obama.”

At least Tancredo didn’t call him Barry like opening night singer Lisa Mei in her Teabagger classic hit “Where’s the birth Certificate, Barack Obama.”

Obama ,tell us where were you born?
‘Cause the media won’t do their job anymore
You’re grandmother in Kenya said you were born on foreign shores
So Barry tell us where oh where were you born?

And Mei, his first name is spelled with just 1 ‘r’.  It’s not ‘Barrack’.

On her blog, she describes herself as ‘a wife, a mother, a Christian conservative.”

Also from her blog“I decided to work on my own music and really turned the heat up during last Fall’s election cycle with my tribute YouTube video to Governor Sarah Palin and a campaign song I co-wrote with my friend “Big Dawg”.  We have written several new conservative/patriotic songs (many of which were #1 songs at www.soundclick.com) inspired by the Tea Parties and we have more in the works to help get the message out – that NOW is the time for all true Patriots to speak out.”

Ray Stevens was the other singer.  I listened to his political song ‘We the People” and found it quite humorous and enjoyable.  Stevens has been on the music scene for over 5 decades and in 1962 recorded the top 5 hit ‘Ahab the Arab’.  I took the time to listen to a couple of his songs and particularly enjoyed ‘Mississippi Squirrel Revival’ about a squirrel that gets loose in a church. 

Then Teabaggers were rewarded with the Teabagger movie – Tea Party, The Movie.  This 2009 documentary (?) chronicles the Teabagger movement.  Of course it seems as though they are the first group to protest government since the Revolutionary War.  They obviously ignored the grass roots movement that overwhelmed the election process in 2008.  Many of us got into blogging during that grass roots movement.

Friday’s breakout speaker was author, conservative thinker and anti-environmentalist Steve Milloy. 

“But the left is well-entrenched. They own almost every university in this country. We have a battle because the left has become entrenched and it’s because we let it happen. But we need to get active on the local level and get in schools. Don’t let your schools show An Inconvenient Truth unless they show the other side too. We just need to get involved in every institution.” – Milloy on Fox News

Universities open our minds up to new ideas, creative and individual thought and intelligent debate.  This is what the so-called ‘left’ has done to our universities.  Obviously, Milloy would like the opposite of that – minds closed to new ideas, no debate and definitely no individual thought. 

Also, what exactly does someone who is an ‘anti-environmentalist’ stand for?  How can you be against the environment?

After Milloy there are a couple of breakout sessions.  Dr. Rick Scarborough from Vision America will discuss “Why Christians Must Engage.”  This is an obvious attempt to try to bring onboard the far right fringe Evangelical Christians that have thus far resisted this movement.  Scarborough’s 2006 book is entitled ‘Liberalism Kills Kids.’  Enjoyable and uplifting.

Concurrently, there is the SGP (Smart Girl Politics) session “How to do Voter Registration Drives and Where to Find Conservative Voters” and “Women in Politics.”  I wonder if they’ll discuss ACORN – Hmmmm.

At 11:15, there will be 3 simultaneous sessions:

Young Americans for Freedom will discuss “How to Involve the Youth in the Conservative Movement” (I remember that from the 1980’s);

Numbers USA will present “5 Easy Fixes to the High Cost of Mass Immigration” (anyone see Lou Dobbs?);

Dr. B. Leland Baker will discuss “US Government Bankruptcy – Facts for Citizens Who Don’t Have Finance Degrees” (In other words people they can spew their bullshit to).

After lunch you can vomit to the speaking of Judge Roy Moore and Tom Fitton from the extremely conservative and hate-filled Judicial Watch.  If you have some time, you may want to check them out. 

In the afternoon, there will some more fun-filled breakout sessions that I know I need to see.  Hopefully, they’ll share these on YouTube or HateTube or TeabaggerTube.

Tomorrow is pretty much more of the same starting with Ana Puig’s presentation “Correlations between the current Administration and Marxist Dictators of Latin America.”  Wow, that’s a mouthful.  These are the types of discussions that make for some great Daily Show segments. 

The convention concludes tomorrow night with a banquet and a keynote address from the Queen Teabagger, Sarah Palin.

This past week, I went through the arduous debate between going to Nashville, spend $558 to attend the convention and banquet and listen to racist, hate-filled bullshit or stay home with my wife, drink topical drinks (it’s going to be in the 80’s this weekend) and possibly catch a movie.

I guess I could still catch a flight tomorrow to Nashville and spend $358 for the dinner with Sarah Palin.  I better get a signed copy of Going Rogue – and a freakin’ wink – and a damn ‘you betcha’. 

Better yet – I think I’ll stay home and start Friday night martinis now.  My brain hurts just researching and writing this post.  No wonder why only dumbasses fall for the Teabagger movement.

Additional sources:

National Tea Party Convention site

Tea Party Fireworks: Speaker rips McCain, Obama, ‘Cult of Multiculturalism’ – ABC News

 

Lisa Wei with Jim Robinson, founder and CEO of Free Republic

Pediatric Cancer Cluster in The Acreage

The Florida Department of Health confirmed that The Acreage in Palm Beach County is encountering a higher than normal number of brain and central nervous system tumors and cancer in children, especially girls.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and other state lawmakers are calling for a probe to determine the cause.   One environmental expert said that the cancer cluster did warrant national attention.

Health officials state that they may never be able to determine the cause.  Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Palm Beach County Health Department, said that there are currently no plans to conduct environmental tests.

“We really don’t have one thing,” said Alonso.  “From what we’re seeing now, there is nothing that is going to say, ‘Aha this is the cause of the cancer.’”

Nelson said environmental tests should start “as soon as possible.”  He pledged to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get them to “lend their resources and expertise to the investigation.”

“Residents still don’t know a cause or what’s responsible for these cases of cancer,” Nelson wrote to Florida’s surgeon general on Tuesday.  “And we can’t work to fix the problem or hold someone accountable until we can answer these questions.”

“We need to give them the resources to make sure they can identify a cause,” said State Representative Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington).

Environmental tests will not occur until the department finishes analyzing the interviews over the next two months. 

Authorities have identified 13 cases of brain cancer or tumors among children and teenagers in the community from 1993 and 2008.

There was a significant jump in the number of cases after 2002 said Tammie Johnson, a state epidemiologist.  There is enough data available thus far to label these cancer cases a cluster.

Two more children were diagnosed with brain tumors in late 2009 generating fears that the cancer cluster is continuing to grow.

Homeowners should insist on federal assistance said Peter deFur, president of Environmental Stewardship Concepts in Richmond, Virginia.   He added that the CDC should conduct a health assessment which would include reviewing residents’ medical records and performing blood and environmental analysis.

The Acreage is a semirural community in northwest Palm Beach County.  As the name would suggest, homes are built on at least a single acre lot.  There are farms in the area and farm equipment is stored on those lots. 

Quick aside:  I looked at the area a dozen years ago about a year before my divorce.  I really have to say that I liked the rural feel of the community and loved the idea of hiring and working directly with the builder that would construct my home.   I suspect it is this reason that I have been watching this story develop.  My daughter was 6 years old when I looked at the community.

The state Department of Environmental Protection, which is not part of the cluster investigation, isn’t planning to conduct any tests, spokeswoman Cristina Llorens said Tuesday.  The agency randomly sampled 50 wells last year and declared that ground water quality in The Acreage was “generally good,” despite some elevated levels of radiation that could come from natural causes.

Excessive radiation can cause brain cancer.

Environmental concerns in the area:

  • Farm chemicals
  • Well-water quality
  • Pratt & Whitney toxic-cleanup site
  • Possibly contaminated fill dumped from other locations
  • Cell phone towers
  • Naturally occurring radioactive substances in rock

deFur said that The Acreage may be experiencing a “cumulative risk situation” where stresses on top of stresses exceed  what people’s systems can handle.

The fact the health department found a greater disparity in girls than boys raises a question of whether a hormone-disrupting chemical could be involved, he said.

“For everybody to have a comfort level, you need to know the source,” said Michelle Damone, board president of Indian Trail Improvement District.  “Without knowing the cause of it, how do you go and correct it?”

Next phases:

The state health department expects to complete the second phase of the study by mid-March, 2010.  They plan to conduct interviews with 12 of the 13 families and review the cancer rates using updated population data.  Note:  The thirteenth family could not be located as they have moved from the area.

If a third phase occurs, it may include environmental tests which would take up to one year to complete.

A fourth phase would be a large-scale federal or university-based project.

As mentioned earlier, additional studies are not currently planned.

“Everybody is exposed to a multitude of things,” said Becky Samarripa, whose 15-year-old daughter had a tumor removed in 2008.  Still, so many of these children went to the same schools, play in the same soil and drink the same well water that tests in at least one of those areas should be warranted, she said.

New York law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, affiliated with environmental activist Erin Brockovich, has been conducting water analyses since late last year. 

 

Public meeting:

Officials plan to discuss the investigation at a public meeting.

Date:           February 9, 2010

Time:          6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Location:   Seminole Ridge High School

                    4601 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road

                    Loxahatchee

 Sources:

Link to study:  Acreage SIR Recalculation Population Estimate Methods and Results

Cancer cluster designation rattles The Acreage

New data confirms Acreage cancer cluster; health official puzzled on cause of children’s ailments

 

SCOTUS Kills Democracy

Actually, they have reshaped it.

In case you missed it, our fine United States Supreme Court led by Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito,  Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy ruled in a 5-4 vote that corporations cannot be restricted on political contributions in candidate elections.

The majority said that this was a vindication “of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech.”

But since when did corporations become citizens?  Yes, I know that they pay taxes but not the way citizens are required to.  We definitely don’t have the same loopholes.  Nor do they have the same bankruptcy laws.  Nor do I have shareholders that invest in me.

So far the media has been relatively quiet about this.  Surprisingly so considering the magnitude of this decision.

President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

For the first 24 hours following the decision, I was furious.  I came to the conclusion that Americans were no longer part of the election process.  As it was, corporations wielded a mighty big sword by utilizing corporate lobbyists to do their bidding for them in Washington.

Add the money they can now freely contribute and there is no way common Americans can have any quality time with our politicians.

I envisioned our election process being taken over by corporate interests.  Debates, primaries and caucuses get sponsorships.  (McDonalds Super Tuesday)

Whichever candidates best supported the corporate needs would receive hefty campaign contributions and a chance to represent their state or district for the next term. 

And it really isn’t difficult to “drown out the voices of everyday Americans” as President Obama put it.  The corporate lobbyists are always in the politicians faces and politicians are oblivious as to what we are saying outside the Beltway.

Initially, I believed that Republicans would now win every election.  But that isn’t true.  Many Democrats also put corporate interests ahead of American citizens.  So in that regard much wouldn’t change.

What would change are the politicians who nobly put their constituents before the corporate interests.  Their reelections would be in doubt. 

And unless you have the corporate political machine behind you, you can forget any political aspirations you may have.

The point to remember is that we are a Representative Democracy.  We elect people to represent us in the political process.

The added dollars coming from corporations will mean that ‘We the People’ will only be made aware of the candidates engulfed in that machine.

And as a Representative Democracy, the Supreme Court has determined who ‘We the People’ will rely on for determining which candidate we will ultimately vote for. 

But isn’t that the way it seems to be anyway?

Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority:

“When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

This will also ensure that Fox News can provide 24 opinion on their ‘news’ station. 

What is bizarre is that this does not explain how restricting corporate campaign contributions would use censorship to control thought.  Campaign finance restrictions didn’t dictate the message, it just attempted to balance the process so ‘We the People’ had our voices heard – not ‘We the Corporations’.

In fact, stronger campaign finance restrictions were necessary in order to give our elections back to the people and really permit our voices to be heard.

Today, pork projects are given to districts so the politician can get support for his reelection.  Watch how the pork projects will go to districts where the corporate dollars are flowing in from. 

I hear Honda needs a new automotive facility in Alabama.

Anyway we spin this, this is bad for democracy.  It’s bad for the country.  And worst of, it will be bad for Americans.  The Supreme Court has failed us. 

United Corporations Supreme Court - Great job, fascArt {h/t BuzzFlash}

Massachusetts: What were you thinking? Or were you thinking?

Open call to anyone in Massachusetts:

Did you vote for Scott Brown over Martha Coakley because of any of the following reasons?

  • The Curt Schilling remark (from Coakley)
  • Coakley’s dullness
  • Browns’ daughter’s appearance on American Idol
  • Brown’s wife being a journalist
  • Brown’s truck
  • Brown’s nude spread in a 27 year old magazine
  • Coakley’s finger conducting of Happy Birthday.

If you answered yes to any of the above list, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Did you want to punish Coakley because it seemed as though the Democrats took this race for granted?

This is a major election. 

You don’t vote for the person who says that they’ll put TV’s in the school cafeteria. 

You don’t vote for the popular kid who makes us laugh. 

You vote for the geek with the pocket protector who knows the US Constitution backwards and forwards, understands the needs of Americans and has the will and determination to make sure that We The People are provided with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Any research would have easily shown that Brown does not support equality and does not believe that all Americans have that unalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.