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3 posts from April 14, 2013

April 14, 2013

Pitbull's rap response to Jay-Z's Cuba-trip Open Letter is a headscratcher for some


Miami rapper Pitbull released a rap response to Jay-Z's "Open Letter" rap response to Miami's Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Marco Rubio for criticizing his recent trip to Cuba. (Yeah, it's confusing. Here's the last link that has other links).

Partisans in the Twittersphere seem confused. Is Pitbull taking sides? The wondering is understandable. Pitbull is a party rapper not known for subtlety (Rubio said as much on Twitter before clarifying his remarks).

But this is different.

Pitbull's track is less a political statement than a stream-of-consciousness that sounds like a rhyming history of Cubans in Miami, touching on everything from Scarface (the movie soundtrack appears to be sampled, FYI) to the Mariel boatlift crime wave to Operation Pedro Pan to Hermanos Al Rescate to Elian Gonzalez

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FL House GOP's balking at Medicaid cash could hurt party, Florida


"Republicans don't care."

Lenny Curry, the Republican Party of Florida chairman, reluctantly acknowledged the criticism in an email. And he proposed an antidote.

“It's not enough to say that we care about people,” Curry wrote, citing a conservative columnist. “You have to show up.”

The following day, Thursday, Florida House leaders showed up in the state Capitol, pitched a conservative health plan and played right into the don't-care criticism.

They said they didn’t care to take nearly $9.8 billion from the federal government over three years to help provide coverage to as many as 816,000 low-income Floridians. Their plan covers fewer people and costs the state treasury more money than proposals by Republican Gov. Rick Scott or the GOP-led Senate, who want to take the federal money for at least three years by expanding the Medicaid program.

The federal money, as much as $55 billion over a decade, would go a long way in a state where about one in four non-elderly residents is uninsured — the third-highest rate in the nation.

The House intransigence at expanding Medicaid doesn’t mean Republicans don’t care.

They care.

About GOP primary elections.

Taking the money risks exposure to potential opponents who will tar them for taking Medicaid money under Obamacare. It gives Obama a win.

But if Republicans care about general elections, too, they might want to take a look at the fastest-growing and most-sought-after segment of the electorate: Hispanics.

Hispanics account for about 35 percent of Florida’s Medicaid-eligible population.

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Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and other Hispanic politicians tell Univison's Jorge Ramos they feel positive about prospects of immigration reform in Congress

"Si se puede." (Yes, we can)

That seemed the message from a quartet of prominent Hispanic lawmakers - Republican and Democrats alike - who expressed confidence that Congress is ready to approve a comprehensive immigration plan -- and soon.

Appearing Sunday morning on Univision's Al Punto show hosted by longtime Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, the four seemed to think there's enough momentum to get some kind of agreement on the contentious issue.

"This is the first time I've been optimistic in my 20 years here," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, who is among the Gang of Eight senators putting the finishing touches on an immigration bill that could be unveiled as early as Tuesday.
When Ramos asked if this is the year of reform, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, was a little more cautious but also seemed upbeat.
"I can't promise that because it's not only in my hand," he said. "I ask for your prayers. There's a lot of disinformation [about the bill]."
Rubio said the Senate package included strict border security measures and a nationwide verification system for employers to make hit harder to hire undocumented.

He also added that "this plan will not give amnesty to the whole world"

Also appearing on the show were Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, and Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat. Both men are working with a small group of legislators in the House to hatch an immigration bill.

Diaz-Balart said the group is just "weeks" away from introducing their plan to overhaul the nation's broken immigration system.
When pressed about the long wait undocumented immigrants would have to wait to become U.S. citizens -- the Senate bill stipulates about 13 years -- Guitierrez stressed that the lengthy wait is missing a much more important issue: the nation's 11 million undocumented would be able to legally remain in the country.

"Eleven million people will not have to live in fear or in terror of being deported," Guitierrez said.

In responding to a question about whether his fellow Republicans -- many of whom remain opposed to any immigration plan that grants legal residency to undocumented immigrants -- Diaz-Balart said that there's no doubt the bill would face strong opposition in the House.

"It won't be easy, but I'm very optimistic precisely because of the work of our small bipartisan group," he said. "I think we have found a solution in the [politicial] center that resolves the problem and has the 218 votes."

On CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Rubio said he was hopeful his congressional colleagues and the American public agrees with their approach to what he says is a national problem years in the making. The show airs at noon.

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