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13 posts from February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013

Thirst for power? Or just thirst? Marco Rubio's weird, viral dry-mouth moment

Sen. Marco Rubio was cruising along in his rebuttal to the president's State of the Union speech Tuesday night when he couldn't take it any longer.

The small bottle of Poland Spring water was irresistible. Eyes fixed on the camera, the Florida Republican interrupted his own speech to take a live swig.

It quenched his thirst but sent Twitter ablaze. The small, live on-camera miscue helped throw cold water on his GOP response to the president's speech. As if on demand, a tidal wave of mock handles flooded Twitter.

"I voted in favor of the Violence Against Water Bottles Act," @ThirstySenator, tweeted. BuzzFeed noted hundreds, if not thousands, of such accounts and jokes instantly sprang up on Twitter.

Rubio poked fun at himself, later tweeting a picture of the water bottle "#GOPResponse #SOTU #gop #tcot."

Former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer captured the GOP sentiment about the antediluvian and postdiluvian aspects of the speech.

"Go Marco!" he tweeted early on. Then came the sip heard round the world.

"Hint to Sen. Rubio: crank down the AC before a big speech under the lights. But this is still a very well delivered speech," Fleischer wrote.

Rubio loves his water. Remember the strange Clint Eastwood speech at the Republican National Convention (where he yelled at a chair)? Rubio followed him and made a nervous joke -- after he took a sip from a water bottle at the podium.

“I think I just drank Clint Eastwood’s water,” Rubio smiled. Rubio's speech that night was solid, but he flubbed a line at the very end, accidentally calling for “more government instead of more freedom.”

From a theatrical perspective, the RNC address and tonight's speech were a sign that Rubio isn't at his best with a prepared speech. His rhetorical skills are better designed for the floor of the Senate, in a give-and-take debate or during an interview. Off the cuff, Rubio seems far less likely to come up short.... or thirsty.

Regardless, this on-camera incident was just inexplicably odd for a politician so accustomed to being under the media spotlight.

"In the short time I've been in government, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the ones the president laid out today," Rubio said Tuesday night, reaching for the water bottle.

One second.

Two seconds.

Three seconds.

"The choice isn't just between big government or big business," he resumed after taking his swig. "What we need is an accountable, efficient and effective government that allows small and new businesses to create more middle-class jobs...."

I'm sorry, you were saying something?

 

The Marco Rubio-Jeb Bush-voucher connection

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio immediately followed his rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night by releasing a “school-choice” bill to allow taxpayers to subsidize private-school education for poor kids.

By putting legislation where his mouth is, Rubio wanted to reinforce the theme of his speech — that conservative policy is good for the poor and working class.

The legislation, which revolves around tax credits, also makes good on a 2010 Rubio campaign pledge, and reinforces his strong ties to former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, his friend and mentor whose nonprofit education foundation helped shape the legislation.

Continue reading "The Marco Rubio-Jeb Bush-voucher connection" »

FSU film students: Nobody asked us about leaving West Palm Beach

Students in Florida State University's animation and digital arts program aren't happy that a Board of Governors subcommittee made the recommendation to move them from West Palm Beach to Tallahassee. The 24 students of the program's inagural class sent a letter to Board of Governors Chancellor Frank Brogan on Monday saying they hadn't been asked what they wanted. The letter indicates they would rather stay where they are in South Florida.

A Board of Governors subcommittee decided the program should move after hearing from West Palm Beach and FSU officials on Friday. They heard hours of testimony about why the program should remain in South Florida despite the bankrupcty of major partner Digital Domain.

Ultimately, the three-member panel said it wasn't fair to ask students to pay triple the tuition costs for a program that could work just as well, perhaps even better, in Tallahassee. In their letter, the students said that decision was premature because they have not been consulted.

"The board has seemingly made no effort to understand our curriculum, nor have they reached out to the student body, yet a verdict was assigned 'in our best interest,'" they wrote. "We request that you speak to us personally before a final decision is made by the Board of Governors."

The full board is expected to take up the committee's recommendation on Feb. 21. FSU President Eric Barron has said he will abide by whatever the Board of Governors decides.

Brogan responded to the students today with a letter of his own. It starts out with tough words for the Digital Domain partnership. 

Continue reading "FSU film students: Nobody asked us about leaving West Palm Beach" »

UltraViolet's Marco Rubio-basher: "Republican Savior Votes Against VAWA"

@MarcACaputo

Hours before giving tthe GOP rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union speech, Sen. Marco Rubio voted against the new version of the Violence Against Women Act. In the past, Rubio said he'd support re-upping the law as currently written and that he didn't like the way the new legislation affects how states spend money on domestic-violence response or prevention.

But the Republican Rubio didn't have the opportunity to vote for the current VAWA. The Democratic Senate made sure he voted for its new version.

The resulting press release:

Continue reading "UltraViolet's Marco Rubio-basher: "Republican Savior Votes Against VAWA"" »

The swanky W South Beach hotel offends Cuban-Americans with giant Che Guevara-like photo

@MarcACaputo

Che2Gus Exposito couldn't believe what he saw in the marble walls of South Beach's W Hotel: a larger-than-life framed photograph of what looked like Cuban communist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

"He was a mass murderer, killed thousands of Cubans execution-style," Exposito, 51, wrote in an email, comparing the long-dead Fidel Castro pal to Adolf Hitler or the KKK. "I spoke to the manager and he referred to it as art!"

Turns out, it's probably not Che. It's another artist's rendering of the revolutionary. But Exposito says it's offensive nonetheless, raising the question: Is an image of an offensive image offensive? Is it art? Both?

The W isn't waiting around for answers, a hotel employee said. She said complaints started almost as soon as the photo, which could exceed seven feet in height, was posted about a week ago. It's supposed to come down.

"We've received feedback," she said. "Complaints."

The man in the photo looks a little different than the Che Guevara in iconic image taken by Alberto Díaz “Korda” Gutiérrez in 1959. Is this a younger Che, someone dressed like Che? There's a good chance that the photo is post-modern self portrait of artist Gavin Turk.

In The Guardian, Turk says he made a photo of himself posed as Che to advertise an exhibition: "It was quite a degraded, grainy image, so I could photograph myself in such a way that you wouldn't recognise that it was me and not, in fact, Che. You only need key elements of the photo - the beret, the long hair, the position of the eyes (as with classical icons, looking up and to the right), a bit of beard - to make it function as a symbol."

But it sure looks enough like Che. And if the hotel doesn't take it down, it might get ripped down, said one person who does business with the hotel.

"I can't believe no one has smashed a glass against it," he said, adding that it was part of the private art collection of one of the owners.

"Dude, it's Che Guevara. This is Miami. You don't do stuff like this. When you go to college in New York state, then it's cool at the time to have poster up. But down here, he's looked at a terrorist. He killed people," he said.

Continue reading "The swanky W South Beach hotel offends Cuban-Americans with giant Che Guevara-like photo" »

For the first time, Gov. Rick Scott needs votes from Democrats

For the first time in his brief and turbulent political career, Gov. Rick Scott needs a little help from Florida’s Democrats to turn one of his wishes into law.

Scott’s top legislative priority this year — a $141 million tax cut for manufacturers — comes with an asterisk: It has to garner ‘Yes’ votes from two-thirds of the Legislature to pass.

That means Democrats — whose gains in November breached the Republican supermajorities in Tallahassee — suddenly find themselves in an unfamiliar power position as they try to defeat Scott in 2014.

“I doubt that’ll be able to get a supermajority,” said Rep. Perry Thurston, a Plantation Democrat and minority leader in the Florida House. “It’s just another [business] incentive. We don’t know if it works.”

The bill seeks to eliminate sales taxes on all manufacturing equipment and machinery.

Scott has already put considerable political capital behind the tax cut, stating on numerous occasions that this was his top priority for 2013, along with a $1.2 billion boost in education funding.

“We need to build up manufacturing jobs in the great state of Florida,” he said in unveiling a $74.2 billion budget plan last month. Scott said the tax cut would create jobs and increase exports.

A failure on the measure would be politically embarrassing for Scott, who has staked his governorship on job creation and CEO-like efficacy.

Read more here

 

Sansom friend, Jay Odom, pleads guilty to causing Huckabee to file false reports

Panhandle developer Jay Odom pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to file false campaign reports in 2007. A second charge of laundering $23,000 in contributions to Huckabee will be dropped by prosecutors.

Odom was charged with reimbursing 10 donors who each gave the $2,300 maximum contribution to the candidate. The longtime contributor to the Republican Party of Florida and many GOP candidates appeared before U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier in Pensacola. His sentencing was scheduled for April 23. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

More from Lucy Morgan here. 

'How do you justify your existence?' And other lawmaker questions for Enterprise Fla.

“Why do we need $3 million to create a state business brand?”

“Do we have a way to show how much cash has been given out and what we’ve got for it”?

“Have you given any raises over the last five years?”

“How do you assure us that those board members that are paying $50,000 to sit on tyour board  are not receiving  special treatment?”

“How do you justify your existence?”

It was a series of tough questions Tuesday morning for Enterprise Florida, the public-private organization that helps run Florida’s job creation efforts.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle peppered EFI executives with questions about how the company is managing the state’s economic incentives program.

The program uses taxpayer funds and tax credits to draw companies to Florida—or, more often, to get companies that are already here to stay or expand.

Gov. Rick Scott released his budget proposal last month, including a massive increase in spending for these types of incentives. Scott wants legislators to approve nearly $300 million in incentives, up from about $110 million approved last year.

That proposal—and the high profile bankruptcy of Digital Domain, which received $20 million from taxpayers—has led to much more scrutiny into the economic incentives program. 

That has landed Enterprise Florida in the hot seat, with officials being called to testify before the Legislature more than a dozen times in the last few weeks.

Continue reading "'How do you justify your existence?' And other lawmaker questions for Enterprise Fla." »

FOX source: Sen. Bob Menendez lied about flights with FBI-raided donor in hooker scandal

FOX:

Sen. Robert Menendez took at least one more trip to the Dominican Republic on the plane of a doctor and campaign donor than he has publicly admitted, according to sources who spent time with the New Jersey Democrat on the unreported visit.

Menendez, already under fire for his association with a South Florida doctor and political contributor whose offices were raided by the FBI on Jan. 29, visited the Dominican Republic on the doctor's private jet in 2008 and took part in an exclusive private golf charity tournament, the sources said.

Sources said Menendez flew on Dr. Salomon Melgen's plane to the Dominican Republic in April that year for the invite-only Sugar Open golf tournament at Casa de Campo, an exclusive vacation resort popular with American visitors. While there, Menendez stayed at the doctor's Casa de Campo villa, the sources said.

"He was on the doc's jet in 2008 -- that I guarantee," a source who attended the same event told FoxNews.com

More here

Panhandle developer pleads guilty to causing Mike Huckabee to file false campaign reports

Panhandle developer Jay Odom pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to file false campaign reports in 2007.

A second charge of laundering $23,000 in contributions to Huckabee will be dropped by prosecutors. Odom was charged with reimbursing 10 donors who each gave the $2,300 maximum contribution to the candidate.

The longtime contributor to the Republican Party of Florida and many GOP candidates appeared before U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier in Pensacola. His sentencing was scheduled for April 23. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Full story here.