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10 posts from January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013

Obama to make major immigration announcement in Las Vegas next week

Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama announced after a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Friday that he will lay out some of his plans for immigration reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Members of the caucus who were present at the meeting said Obama assured them that he shares the group's basic beliefs about immigration reform, most notably that making a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants -- which some Republicans oppose -- is an absolute must as they push for legislation.

"The President was pleased to hear from CHC members and noted that they share the same vision, including that any legislation must include a path to earned citizenship," the administration said in a statement. "The President further noted that there is no excuse for stalling or delay."

Note: No one from Florida was at the meeting.

Full post here

Fraud claims, voter suppression, Sandusky and a 'Bitches' sign. Yup, FL Dem chair race finishing mean

Bitchesby @MarcACaputo

The Florida Democratic Party picks its new chair tomorrow in Lake Mary -- and perhaps not a day too soon.

The race between Allison Tant and Alan Clendenin has become quite a nasty affair. Some of Clendenin's supporters say some of Tant's have engaged in fraud and shouldn't be allowed to vote.

SanduskyMailer1-150x112At least one challenge was filed Friday night by AFSCME union member David Jacobsen. A Tant supporter, Susannah Randolph, issued a swift rebuke and noted AFSCME contributed money to a Republican committee that sent out a mailer suggesting a Democratic state House candidate wanted to protect pedophiles like Jerry Sandusky. Background here

Randolph, founder of the liberal group Florida Action Watch, was recently the target of an anonymous prankster who posted a "Beware of Bitches" sign on her office. She said it was related to the Tant-Clendenin race.

The battle has spilled over into warring blogs, one of which highlighted the tax returns of Randolph's group.

This isn't typical behavior for Democrats. But that's because Democrats haven't typically had contested chair races. In 2011, it was the Republicans' turn. And they, too, tore each other to shreds. It's the nature of the beast.

Continue reading "Fraud claims, voter suppression, Sandusky and a 'Bitches' sign. Yup, FL Dem chair race finishing mean" »

Sen. Bob Menendez: You think that's funny, Sen. Flake?

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said U.S. college revelers/spring breakers in Cuba would foster change in the communist country. But Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey didn’t find the comment very funny or amusing. 

Read Miami Herald story here.

Rick Scott expecting another grandchild this year

Gov. Rick Scott and wife Ann are expecting grandchild No. 2 sometime this summer.

It will be the second child born to Scott's oldest daughter, Allison Scott Guimard, 30, who lives in Naples with husband Pierre and 1-year-old son Auguste, born in November 2011.

Ann Scott casually passed on the news at a Thursday dinner at the Governor's Mansion to 48 guests, including this reporter.


Satanists* for Rick Scott hold Old Capitol rally

A group of self-proclaimed "Satanists" has praised Gov. Rick Scott for signing a bill into law that lets school boards permit student-initiated prayer and other "inspirational messages." 

The devil, though, was in the details at a rally Friday in front of Florida's Old Capitol. 

A high priest wearing goat horns and four "minions" dressed in black robes were joined by a spokesman and camera crew. 

The spokesman, Lucian Greaves of Cambridge, Mass., earlier this month was listed as the casting director on the Actors Access website in an ad seeking unpaid, non-union actors in Tallahassee for a "mockumentary" titled "The Satanic Temple." 

Greaves, though, insisted that it's not all a hoax as a smile creased his face. 

A spokeswoman for Scott did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Associated Press

(See the satanists full remarks below) 

PolitiFact Florida: Fact-checking Don Gaetz, Rick Scott and 'Pink Slip Rick' on early voting

The Truth-O-Meter went to work this week examining claims about Florida's early voting program.

Senate President Don Gaetz recently said the 2011 elections law, which cut early voting days from 14 to eight, would have been worse without him fighting to add more hours.

"I sponsored the amendment that expanded the hours of early voting so that people who have irregular work schedules could vote," Gaetz said in a Jan. 11 editorial board interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "And I said if that amendment didn't pass, I would join the Democrats in resisting the proposal to limit the number of days of early voting."

Gaetz is right about sponsoring the amendment, but he's leaving out the fact that his amendment docked the minimum number of hours that a supervisor had to offer for early voting by half. His claim is Half True.

Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the 2011 elections law that cut early voting, reversed course when he called on the Legislature to allow supervisors to offer up to 14 days of early voting again. In an interview, he said the proposal would allow for "a potential of 168 hours (of early voting), which I think is the most we've ever had."

Continue reading "PolitiFact Florida: Fact-checking Don Gaetz, Rick Scott and 'Pink Slip Rick' on early voting" »

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz considering bid for governor.

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz looks ready to run for governor and has spent the past three weeks lining up support from strategists, financiers and elected officials.

Diaz, who hasn't taken calls from The Miami Herald for three weeks about his plans, finally returned a text message on Friday and said he wasn't ready to speak about the matter, in part because he was attending a charity golf tournament.

Diaz met Friday morning with top Democratic strategist Jeff Garcia, who said he'd like the former mayor to run.

"His potential candidacy presents a unique opportunity for Democrats and Floridians to take the state in a completely new and positive direction," said Garcia, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia's chief of staff who met Friday morning with Diaz. "I'm excited he's considering running. It adds something new and fresh to the field."

Continue reading "Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz considering bid for governor." »

Was Florida right to delay implementing the Affordable Care Act?

It’s not just deciding whether to expand Medicaid and create a state-based exchange. Florida legislators have numerous policy and regulatory decisions ahead of them related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And time is ticking.

For example, there are conflicts between state insurance laws and the federal law established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Companies are trying to figure out whether they need to submit new paperwork in Tallahassee or Washington, and a federal May 1 deadline is looming.

The uncertainty in Florida, creating in part by the state’s refusal to implement the law until it had no choice, led to more finger pointing today during the House’s Select Committee on PPACA.

“The law passed back in 2010, and because there was a philosophy, and ideology that this shouldn’t be the law -- even though it was the law -- we don’t have a contingency plan,” said Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg. “We’re reacting now, at the 11th hour essentially, and we’re flat-footed and completely unprepared to implement the law as it is.”

State insurance regulators insisted that they have been studying their options and staying aware of the needs all along, even if their hands are ultimately tied until the Legislature decides what it wants to do. Officials with the Office of Insurance Regulation say they could present a bill this session that puts Florida law in line with the federal government, but each week there is new information coming from Washington that could require even more changes.

Continue reading "Was Florida right to delay implementing the Affordable Care Act?" »

Allen West launches foundation

Former U.S. Rep. Allen West has launched a nonprofit Allen West Foundation. His spokesperson released no details about the Boca Raton-foundation. West,  who lost in November to Democrat Patrick Murphy, transferred $250,000 in unspent money from his campaign to the foundation. He also transferred the same amount to American Legacy Guardians which shares the same PO Box as the foundation. We were unable to get an immediate explanation from his spokeswoman about the connection between the two entities. West now works for PJ Media.

White House waiting on Rubio for immigration bill (but hasn't issued its own)

From yesterday's White House press briefing:

Q  On immigration, has the President given any more thought on moving forward on immigration -- whether you can do it in one full package, whether he’ll end up breaking it up into separate pieces?  And has he reached out at all to Marco Rubio whose plan has been out there, and the President’s has been somewhat receptive --

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I haven’t seen a plan and I don't think anybody else has. He’s spoken about it. And the principles, as I said the other day, reflect very closely the blueprint that is available on WhiteHouse.gov for the President’s approach to comprehensive immigration reform, and we find that a good thing. 

The President looks forward to working with Congress, members of both parties. He has always said that this is the kind of thing that has to be bipartisan and has in the past enjoyed bipartisan support from Republican leaders as well as rank-and-file senators and members of Congress.

Continue reading "White House waiting on Rubio for immigration bill (but hasn't issued its own)" »