Monday, August 16, 2010

Moving notice: Over to Wordpress

This blog address will go quiet now, and this post is your notice that we're now to be found over on the Wordpress platform. Was it the Kinks who told us of a "dedicated follower of fashion?" Here we go to

See you there!

Julia Tuttle Unveiled

Musta been looking the other way when Maria posted this fine essay on our city, weeks ago now. Very glad to see it as a winner of Post of the Month on South Florida Daily Blog.

sex and the beach: Julia Tuttle Unveiled!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jeb Bush makes the big time: Letterman's top 10 No No No No No No No No No No

You'll find your blogger down in the comments declaring the real reason Jeb Bush won't run for president is he'd have to reveal how much he was paid by Lehman to be a "consultant" after he left the governorship, and why he got Florida to buy worthless Lehman investments.

Thanks to the Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog for pointing this out. Thanks, Beth.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FL-25: Dirty tricks will out in dirty campaign against Joe Garcia

This story started last week while I was out of town (Las Vegas, baby) and oblivious to this chapter in the book of dirty tricks that the Republican slime machine is using against Joe Garcia. Now it looks like it's blowing up in the face of Republican candidate David Rivera, with a pertinent ricochet over to the Marco Rubio campaign house. You see -- and this gets really complicated -- the guy behind the slimy mailer is a former staffer for Rubio.

Highly recommended you follow this link to the Miami Herald story and read all the details of this vile thing -- the racist tone to the mailer, the 19-year-old they duped to be the nominal sender, the full creepiness of those who want to represent us in the US House (Rivera) and Senate (Rubio).

I'm curious whether this sort of trick would be possible if the Republicans in the US Senate hadn't blocked the bill to require disclosure of those behind political action committees. Notice that: The Republicans are the villains in this, from the top in Congress down to our local politics here in South Florida. Here's a link to today's NY Times story on that Republican upright finger to the voters of the USA.

And thanks to the Miami Herald for working this story.

p.s. I'm adding Karl Rove to the roster of labels on this post in disgusted tribute to his eminence in dirty tricks.

UPDATE: Let's not forget that Joe Garcia is closely watched nationally and in Florida as a likely winner in this race. The Buzz report shows Joe is worthy of support, and then some. Hint: here's how to do it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Night view of Deep Water Horizon site in Gulf

This image needs some explaining. It was taken from the window of Delta Flight 1220 about midnight July 21, almost an hour after taking off from Fort Lauderdale en route to Las Vegas. Looking down at the blank scene below, I gradually started seeing widely spaced yellow lights come into view. They are flares burning off gas, I surmised. Then this cluster of colored lights came into view. It must be the site of the oil catastrophe, and that's the fleet of vessels drilling and capturing and supervising in the cleanup effort.

Out came the camera. A couple clicks, and this is the clearest and least jiggled of the images shot through the thick airliner window. 

After landing in Las Vegas I asked the pilot if we had flown over the site, and he confirmed we had. Yes, the cluster of lights was the fleet of ships, he said, and during the day you can see the fleet of skimmers and other vessels working the cleanup.

So, there you are.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Afghanistan doesn't compute

This is (so far) the only session I've attended at Netroots Nation to be filmed for possible C-span use. Watch out for the back of my thinly haired head in the second row in front of the panel, moderated by Darcy Burner (above). She ran for Congress in 2008, Washington's 8th District, and was one of the favorite candidates of the national progressive crowd. Now she's executive director of

The question for the panel was Afghanistan, what's it about now in the 9th year, and how to get out. About the only clear result was another question (which I've tweeted to #2010Pelosi as a proposed question to Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the post-breakfast panel today):

What's the logic of spending $100 billion a year to harass 50-100 Al Qeda in Afghanistan? Why are we in another civil war?

Darcy Burner asked that herself during the panel, and it must be rocketing around the brains of anyone in Washington at the decision-making level.

Former Congressman Tom Andrews and retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton were in pretty close agreement that the military-industrial complex has Congress in its pocket on this issue -- a depressing assessment. What do our Miami-Dade members of Congress say? Our candidates? I'd like to know.

Another idea that emerged from the panel was that if the Obama administration policy is reasonably successful in dialing conflict way back and helping launch development in Afghanistan, after quite a few years you'd have a country roughly as well off as Chad. Is this worth $100 billion a year when we're firing teachers?

Some of the questions were apples and oranges, to be sure.

Eaton alarmed me by saying that Washington was dysfunctional. Afterward I asked him if he meant this to refer to the president. No, was his answer, he was talking about the way Washington is a bunch of "stovepipes" with not enough cross-capability, so that the wonderfully competent Agriculture Department, for instance, is not capable of helping ag development in Afghanistan, so the job is given to the military, which is no good at ag. Only 320 US civilians are at work outside Kabul, he said -- far fewer than needed.

Andrews, who was in the US House from Maine and lost a Senate bid to Olympia Snowe, said it was essential to solve the Afghanistan issue -- "get this albatross off our necks" -- because we want Obama to succeed.

You can watch the Pelosi session by clicking on the Netroots Nation link at the top of this post and getting over to Ustream.

Do you miss Van Jones?

The last time I saw Van Jones speak was in Washington DC early on inauguration day, Jan. 20, 2009, and the world was going to be all right with him in the White House as the "Green Jobs" czar. We remember how the far right hated the very idea of the black lefty firebrand from Oakland with some authority. Glenn Beck raged, and in not too long a time Van Jones was out. It was one of my early disappointments with the Obama era. How could this happen?

So it was good on Friday to have Van Jones giving the post-breakfast keynote at Netroots Nation, the DailyKos-sponsored bloggers' convention. Bittersweet to hear him say, "In the last two years all my dreams came true, and my nightmares, too."

You can see the whole speech at this link from Netroots Nation.

Keep on watching into his interview done by Ari Melber of The Nation, who asked Van Jones whether Big Ed Schultz had been correct in his fierce speech the night before, when he insinuated there was a "sissy room" in the White House. "This is harder than it looks," Jones said of life in the White House. It's one thing to perform strongly in an election campaign, and another much more difficult thing to have won and then have to govern and legislate and face "a toxic and hostile media environment."

Jones also said that what we're dealing with now is "a ferocious backlash." Yet he tries to keep his sunny personality in good order and urges us to be more beautiful, keep the hope alive. "You have the power to do it."

He was introduced in a recorded video statement by Howard Dean. "Our job," Dean said, "is to keep their feet to the fire in Washington."

To quote Van Jones (from a different context), "This is harder than it looks."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A landslide is available to us Dems if we work hard toward November

Check out the Gallup polling that shows what the potential is when a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president manage a success or two: suddenly a six-point lead, where before the picture looked gloomy.

Imagine the polls if President Obama's cautious handling of the BP oil disaster finally results in a secure shutdown of the well. This is within reach -- keep fingers crossed to prevent the laws of physics and geology from combining in a new explosion of the well. Polls now may show the public is dubious about the president's handling of the crisis. That will change bigtime when the well is capped.

Our job is to remain committed to work hard, and to avoid overly pessimistic moods.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hello, Michael Putney, meet the Democrat running for Congress in District 18

It was pretty funny to hear the tremendously well-informed Michael Putney say to US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that she was running unopposed for Congress. Oh. no, replied the ever-alert member of the US House. I have an opponent. This was on live TV (I'm guessing it was live) Sunday mid-day, WPLG Local 10.

Well, here's the well-informed Democrat running to unseat the vastly incumbent Ms Ros. He's Rolando Banciella, born in Cuba, resident in South Florida since age 10.

If you look at his specs on, you'll see that his background is in real estate, and unlike the rich Democrat running for the US Senate, Banciella (click on the Who/Why link) didn't try to make a billion betting against home-owners and the banks but rather suggests that the government bail out the people with mortgages.

Sounds reasonable. He also has ideas for how to bring Social Security back to good health. Not to kill it, like Ms. Ros's party -- to bring it back to good health. And it sounds reasonable.

So, Michael Putney, how about retrieving your fumble on the Congressional races in your bailiwick, and inviting Rolando Banciella up for a talk. You've given his opponent a ton of time. Now's the time for fair.

Kendrick Meek for US Senate

Meek was in a strong fighting mood for his speech Saturday night at the Jefferson Jackson dinner fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party.

Ron Saunders at Fl Dems event

This was a session devoted to helping Democratic candidates win in the November elections to the Florida State House. Saunders, state rep from Key West, is head of the campaign committee to elect more Democrats.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Florida Dems in state Senate

Led by Sen. Nan Rich, appearing at the Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner in
South Florida.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Alex Sink at Democratic Party fundraiser in Little Havana

We see a little furrow of worry on the president's brow in this painting, and it's because Florida might not be quite up to putting him over the top again in 2012. We did it in 2008. And whether we do it again will depend a lot on whether we campaign long and hard this year, right now, and make Alex Sink Florida's governor.

Having her as a Democrat in the driver's seat for two years before election day 2012 will make a world of difference. She will veto the next Republican attempt to wreck our public schools -- you know it's coming up again, sure as Jeb Bush is calling the shots from his cave. She will drive the agenda and put a Democrat atop the news budget again. She will deploy her business skills to build jobs in partnership with the federal government -- not in blind opposition like the Republican contenders. With her in charge and the Fair Districts amendments in the Florida constitution, redistricting will be done fairly and we can expect our delegations to the Florida and US House to reflect public opinion more than Republican ideology.

We must be far-sighted in this. Quibbling about minor matters must stop. Enjoy watching our local Republicans show how NOT to get along.

This photo comes from the Thursday fundraiser at Cuba Ocho Art and Research Center in Little Havana, where Alex Sink was introduced by State Rep. Luis Garcia in his own District 107, where he's going for his second re-election in a formerly Republican district. Garcia calls Sink, currently the chief financial officer in state government, "the best mind in Tallahassee." He's 100 percent for making her the check and balance we need to block the Republican majority in the legislature.

Her view: "Tally is out of touch and out of control."

Our mission is to elect her.

She had a special request: "Put me on your Facebook page." You'll see her in fresh text and photos on the Miami-Dade Democrats group page. Now it's your turn.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Live broadcast of Social Media Club meeting

It's on UStream right now @SMCSF July meeting on sports and social
media. Check it out on Twitter.

All it takes is a laptop and a circuit and some video gear. Note the
tiny camera on the sturdy tripod.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Inspiring report from Haiti: The power of song amid earthquake misery

Thanks to WLRN news staff for finding the wonderful recording of music and hope rising from the crowd of badly injured people after the earthquake in Haiti six months ago. Listen and be touched.

Your blogger has heard this several times today and is grateful for public radio. Is there anything like this on our commercial broadcast media?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FL-25: A perfect storm for David Rivera

In the political world among the worst things that can happen to a candidate are:
What a run of luck for David Rivera! Is there a Quintifecta for hapless politicos? We were wondering why he had a passle of challengers for the Republican nomination to run in Congressional District 25. Turns out the state representative for District 112 is vying for centipede class in the Feet of Clay competition.

Especially delicious is that the likely Republican US Senate candidate, Marco Rubio, is Rivera's good friend and foreclosure partner.

Go, Joe! I'm planning to spend Sunday afternoon with Joe Garcia, the Democratic candidate in FL-25, watching the World Cup final. You can sign up at this link on Joe Garcia 2010. Your blogger's maternal ancestry is 100 percent Dutch, so I'll be rooting for the Netherlands.

Money in politics: Florida vying for lead in category of dubious value

Here's the Gail Collins column in the NY Times on Lebron, Ned Lamont, two of Florida's most-seen-on-TV-commercials candidates and other stuff that may be held together by Greenwich, Connecticut.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Chin up, Dems. The long-term numbers are all in our favor

The email inbox hummed a little today with people passing around a political situationer by Robert L. Borosage, of the Campaign for America's Future. Monday being a rainy day with nothing special on, I shunned the delete option and actually read it. Here's a link to it:

My overall impression was that there wasn't much in it we hadn't heard before, though it's a useful summary of the difficult political situation. I wouldn't argue with its facts, though I'd like to hear more advice than Chin up, the incumbent president always loses in mid-term elections, organize hard and do your best.

Later in rolled an email from The Democratic Strategist reporting on demographic analysis by Ruy Teixeira, whose work we progressives have been reading for several years. Here's a link to his paper:

The drift therein is that demographic change is almost all in the Democrats' favor. The population groups that vote Democratic are mostly growing, while the Republican base is not. The paper runs close to 40 pages, but the first three pages will give you most of what you need with 3-4 minutes reading.

So I passed this back to the same list of email addresses the Borosage article had gone to, with this prescription:

This is even longer than Borosage's hand-wringer, but if you take 3-4 minutes and read the first three pages of this demographic look at our political landscape, you will see that we Democrats have all the advantage, while the Republicans may have a last gasp this year but are doomed thereafter and far into the future.

For now, my thoughts are that we must:
--Carefully identify and get to know our allies among those who vote but aren't otherwise politically active.
--Maintain allegiance of the Democratic base.
--Study the opposition and counter its arguments wherever we find them.
--Use social media and new technology to multiply the impact of our better ideas.
--Refine and intensify the tried and true methods like voter registration and GOTV.

Your thoughts are welcome in the comment section below.

Friday, June 25, 2010

FL-25: What a pair are Rubio and Rivera! Can they get away with this?

The Florida Democratic Party has the questions right on this odd business from Marco Rubio and David Rivera. Except that your blogger would like to know when the Republican Party will retrieve its purportedly high ethical standards and send this pair back down to lobbying? What are they doing as candidates for high federal office? Your blogger would like to know.

Here's what the Joe Garcia (my choice for election to the US House in Florida District 25) campaign is pointing out, in the words of the Florida Democratic Party:

From the Department of You Can Make This Up:  Miami Lobbyists Marco Rubio and David Rivera are holding a fundraiser together today in Washington, DC.

Last week, it was reported that Rubio and his self proclaimed “disciple” David Rivera purchased a house together and then defaulted on the payments, allowing the property to fall into foreclosure.

The pair of ethically challenged Republican politicians have now unwittingly opened up a can of worms when their embarrassing financial tactics were made public.

Some Questions That Need To Be Answered:

Did Rubio and Rivera willfully withhold mortgage payments that were owed based on their mortgage contract?

Did this tactic of withholding payments allow them to renegotiate or offer the house as a short sale?

In either case did they have to disclose their income and assets? If so, what are they?

What did their stalling and negotiating tactics cost the government in lost property values or tax write-off for themselves or the banks?

And is this whole mess just another example of Marco Rubio getting another sweetheart mortgage deal from his political allies?

Friday, June 18, 2010

FL-25: Joe Garcia rips David Rivera on offshore oil drilling

"Imagine if David Rivera had his way."

That's a little quote from Joe Garcia in a news conference yesterday about the BP oil spill. Check out the whole story on the Joe Garcia blog, which should be on your favorites menu.

You see, Rivera, who's the likely Republican candidate against Joe Garcia in US House District FL-25, was eager to have drilling for oil three miles from Florida's beaches. So, yes, stretch your mind and imagine a rig blowup and the oil hitting the beach in a few hours. Right here. Or over in Fort Myers where Aunt Molly retired, or Pensacola where your nephew is in the Navy. And anywhere in Florida where your economic future is vulnerable to globs of oil.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What to think about the Republicans who want to apologize to BP

This morning through the luck of the TV remote I happened to turn on CNN as the House hearings on the oil spill were under way. Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California ripped into BP CEO Tony Hayward for not having been aware of the problems developing in the too-deep well. And then Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, saying he was speaking only for himself and not for the Republican Party, said he was ashamed of what had emerged from the White House the day before. He called it a "shakedown" of a fine private company.

Wow, I thought, what's he talking about? Surely not BP? But yes, that's what he meant. That President Obama, by getting BP to set aside $20 billion for damage claims, was "shaking down" the company that is soiling the environment like nothing before.

Then it turned out that he was speaking for the Republican Party. They all said the same thing.

What a crowd of slaves to the oil dollar! In the land of Big Oil, the Republicans are the bottom of the barrel. Down where Karl Rove turns out the talking points.

 So it was good a few hours later to get an email from OFA saying it was time to put our names down as on the other side. Here's the link. 

Please go and add your name.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NY Times mag piece -- What do you think of this view of Obama as party boss?

From the opening teasers for this Sunday magazine piece about Barack Obama as "Democrat in Chief," your blogger was in disapproving mode. Why is author Matt Bai saying the president is the only recent holder of the office who wasn't a party strategist? I was asking myself. Didn't we elect him because he wasn't a party hack like the two Bushes? Didn't we choose a transformational president?

What do you think? The comments are available for you to let it out.

And why would the NY Times be saying this about the president as we head for mid-term elections for which the president's political arm is gearing up a strong campaign? We want Democrats to hold Congress as strongly as possible and to do well in statehouse races in Florida and nationwide. This is why we're working with Organizing for America to make it happen, and why we're recruiting volunteers, and why we're energizing our Miami-Dade County Democratic Party.

We're also hoping to learn from this tremendously successful political campaigner who's now in the Oval Office, and who has new ideas that the NY Times finds dubious.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Prepare for belly-laughs

This isn't fair at all to BP.

Not fair at all to BP, and Halliburton, well, could they really have made it worse?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"We Can Win" From: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Dear Friend,

I've entered a competition with some of my fellow Representatives in Congress to see who can get the most new friends on FacebookandYouTube!

I use social media to share information, photos, and videos of my official work in Florida andWashington with my constituents. To visit either of these sites and receive the latest information on my work for you, I invite you to click the buttons below:

Thank you for your interest. When the competition has ended, I will let you know the results.

Best, Debbie

June 11, 2010

Dear Friend,

I've entered a competition with some of my fellow Representatives in Congress to see who can get the most new friends on FacebookandYouTube!

I use social media to share information, photos, and videos of my official work in Florida andWashington with my constituents. To visit either of these sites and receive the latest information on my work for you, I invite you to click the buttons below:

Thank you for your interest. When the competition has ended, I will let you know the results.


Please Feel Free to Tell a Friend

Have You Seen
My New Web Site?


Yes, please periodically send me e-mail updates.*

Click Here

*By subscribing to my
e-mail updates, you are authorizing me to send regular e-mail updates from my office to your e-mail account.


Miami-Dade Dems: Learning From The Oil Spill: How To Move America Forward. By Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Miami-Dade Dems: Learning From The Oil Spill: How To Move America Forward. By Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ""

Learning From The Oil Spill: How To Move America Forward. By Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Learning From The Oil Spill: How To Move America Forward
By Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

As we've seen over the last two months, oil is an important, dangerous,
and troublesome part of this economy and our lives. The BP oil spill
that began in April has shown us the danger of offshore drilling
specifically, and the risk in oil as a source of energy in general. We
should use the public's increased awareness of the risks of oil as a
catalyst to act to save our environment while still protecting our
economy. We cannot afford to wait any longer to take decisive action to
change our relationship with oil.

During this spill we have seen, more clearly than ever, that offshore
has a serious impact on our environment. The effects on our
waters are apparent in the endless footage of the black plumes of oil in
the Gulf of Mexico. And the spill is having a real and negative impact
on animals and plant life, too. As the oil makes landfall, it is
radically altering and destroying the habitats of many shoreline plants
and animals

At the same time, we must also keep in mind that offshore drilling poses
a threat not just to our environment, but to our economy. As Floridians,
this is especially true. Florida's tourism economy is $65 billion a
year because our environment is unique: Florida's coastal region
includes 85% of the continental United States' coral reefs and the
country's largest wetland is the Everglades. Combine that with our
incredible beaches and our great sport fishing and you can't find these
resources anywhere else.

As the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and the subsequent spill has
shown us, drilling -even hundreds of miles away from Florida's coast can
easily bring oil along Florida's western and eastern coasts via the Gulf
loop current. In recent years there have been multiple proposals to
bring drilling closer to Florida's coast line -some proposals were as
close as five miles off of both of Florida's coastlines. Just imagine
if a spill like the BP disaster had been closer to Florida, the damage
to the wildlife, wetlands and beautiful beaches of our state would have
been unimaginable. Add to that the impact on our $65 billion a year
tourism-based economy and the affect it would have on the numerous
families who would lose their jobs and businesses and the impact would
be devastating.

Unfortunately, with oil continuing to leak into the Gulf, we still are
not in the clear.

Worst of all is the fact that the obvious danger of expanded drilling
would not even contribute substantially to the United States' oil
demands: The amount of oil production projected from expanded drilling
off of Florida's coasts would do next to nothing to reduce our
dependence on foreign oil. Adding a fraction of a percent to the global
oil supply will not lower gas prices, for Floridians or anyone else.
This discouraging statistic demonstrates that we need more than a
Band-Aid fix: we need to systemically change our approach to energy.

We should seize upon this tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico and truly put
America on the path to a sustainable energy future. Instead of
expanding coastal drilling and still continuing to depend on foreign
energy, we should begin to find new sources of energy. Our country needs
to run on something other than oil. We need to find new energy
. With that will come new economic growth, new opportunities
for employment, and new scientific discovery.

Wind turbines, bio-fuels, and solar power are examples of cleaner,
job-creating alternatives to oil. If we were to introduce these
alternatives as practical, viable sources of American energy, we could
create thousands and thousands of new jobs. We could employ Americans in
the fields of engineering, as well as construction and upkeep-jobs that
can't be outsourced to other countries.

Not only would we create jobs, but building a smart grid throughout the
United States would invite more scientific study into smarter, more
efficient forms of energy. This could lead to the creation of small
businesses, vying for the newest and cleanest energy technology.

It is important for us to remember that we don't need to choose between
a clean environment and a thriving economy. We can have both. In fact,
employing new forms of energy will help employ Floridians, as well.

And, as the high-speed rail initiative has already demonstrated, we can
create more public transportation options that reduce our environmental
impact while creating new jobs as engineers, contractors, and
researchers. Simple solutions such as these will be the small,
immediate steps that aide the larger process of moving away from oil.
These are everyday actions that you can help with.

Ultimately, we need to find a cleaner, more responsible source of
energy. I know that we can. The United States is full of citizens who
care: Intelligent men and women like you who are not just capable
enough, but dedicated enough, to find a better, more sustainable
solution than offshore drilling. And doing so doesn't just mean we
won't have to clean up oil from the ocean-it will mean a better,
healthier, safer life for our children, grandchildren, and generations
to come.

If you need help, you can reach my office in Pembroke Pines at (954)
437-3936, in Aventura at (305) 936-5724, in Washington, DC at (202)
225-7931, or on the internet at:

Monday, June 07, 2010

Republican scandals grow larger. We must stretch out this campaign season

The front-page story in the Miami Herald -- Why below the fold? But anyway, an amazing story -- reads like a criminal indictment in every paragraph. That's assuming it's illegal to use political donations as a slush fund for party bigs.

Congratulations, Beth Reinhard. What a story. Now let's see some followup. This will be the test.

We Democrats should try to postpone the November election, because the news can only become worse for Florida's Republicans, and the longer the wait for the vote, the worse they will look.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Nostalgic moment in kickoff for 2010 election campaigning

Phone banking has its moments, and there was one for me today. The list of names and numbers was supposed to be of people who voted for the first time in 2008 -- the ones who made the difference in Barack Obama's big victory, and who must come out in good numbers to make the November 2010 general election work for the Democratic ticket.

The first two pages were routine, few people home on a Saturday midday, some too rushed to speak, a couple glad to hear a Democrat calling. Then came a name with a pleasant memory jolt attached -- Nathaniel Sherwood. Wait, is that our Nate Sherwood, the first or second local staffer of Obama For America we received in Miami-Dade County? I checked the contacts in my phone. Sure enough, the same number. Living in mid-Beach then. Long gone now -- Was it to Colorado? -- but still in the local voter list two years later.

Nice to see you, Nate.

Here's an image of other  phone bankers in action on Saturday, Barbara Bizno and Peter Medvin, joining a nationwide drive as Organizing For America (the new name of Obama For America) starts contacting the throngs waiting to be summoned to vote again.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Obama transcript in the Oil Spill. Read it and be grateful the other isn't president

This remarkable document came to me by email from the White House press office because I'm a registered blogger and the White House is much more open that it was when Dick Cheney met with the oil kings to decide energy policy. Your blogger gets things like this a lot. Reading this transcript for the second time, however, made me think how grateful I am that Barack Obama is the president, and not John McCain or George W. Bush. We have a president who understands and takes things forward, and lets people talk about the right amount. 

My only comment/piece of advice at this point is: As much as we want to help the people of the Gulf coast, we have to avoid futility. Darn, they may want to stay for the sixth generation now, but their home may be about to be gooed up by oil for years to come. We have to avoid futile efforts that won't work. This will be a hard judgment call, and there's another reason I'm grateful that we have a wise man as president now, and not some martinet neocon.

Read and enjoy the result of your electoral labors:


Camardelle’s Live Bait and Boiled Seafood
Grand Isle, Louisiana

    THE PRESIDENT:  Everybody knows the Mayor.  The Mayor has gathered up a group of local businesspeople.  Butch, for example, owns a marina; Terry, a shrimp boat; Floyd, oyster fisherman; and Patti has a convenience store; Chris is the owner of this bait shop.
    And so we were just talking about the economic impact that this has had.  And just to give you a sense of perspective -- Terry has been shrimping out here for 46 years.  His grandfather did it before him.  And right now things are completely shut off for him.

Floyd, he leases the oyster beds from the state.  The state now, obviously, and properly so, has said he can't be pulling seafood out of these waters right now.  He’s got oil that's starting to seep in into these oyster beds where he’s got leases and, as a consequence, Floyd is trying to figure out how long this damage is going to last.

FLOYD LASSEIGNE:  I'm a fourth generation, and I've got a son who is a fifth generation, so we've been -- somebody lease has been -- been in the family for 100 years.

THE PRESIDENT:  Butch was talking about the marina and making the point that these three, four months are basically when all the business comes down.  And normally all his slips would be full right now -- sounds like about only a third of them are full and it may get worse from there.

BUTCH GASPARD:  Our charter boat guys are hurting real bad, too, because all the charter boat business is shut down.  They make a living off of taking people out fishing.

THE PRESIDENT:  So right now, Butch isn’t taking a salary so he can pay his employees, but he doesn’t know how long that's going to last.

Then you’ve got Patti, who owns a convenient store.  Obviously that store is dependent on these guys -- the boats coming in, filling up with gas, buying ice, buying soft drinks.  So she’s down 85 percent on her business right now.

So this is just a sampling of what’s happening out here.  And part of what we talked about was what we can do to prevent oil from coming into these areas; part of what we talked about is -- in terms of the relief effort -- can we deploy folks who’ve got boats here to help save their livelihoods right where they are, as opposed to having to go to other places.  And so I'm going to ask Admiral Allen to make sure that he’s looking at where people are being deployed, where vessels are being deployed, to make sure the people who know the waters best end up being hired there.

And the final thing is we've got to talk about -- what we talked about up in New Orleans -- which is are we making sure that claims are being processed effectively.  And right now, after that initial $5,000 check that BP wrote, the claim center has been taking in claims, but it sounds, based on what I'm hearing, that there’s a lot of process but not much actual action.  And so we're going to see if we can do something better on that.

But the main point I think I want to make -- and, Mayor, feel free to chime in on this -- is these are communities that have had a way of life for generations, and what people are concerned about right now is not just the damage done in the short term -- because these are some tough folks.  They’ve been through hurricanes and --

VOICE:  Low prices.

THE PRESIDENT:  -- low prices --

VOICE:  High cost of fuel.

THE PRESIDENT:  Terry was talking about how the walls stay up on a building around here; a hurricane comes, you wash out the mud and a week later everybody is back in business.  So these are folks who are used to hardship and know how to deal with it.  But what they’re concerned about right now is, is this going to have a lasting impact that they can't recover from.  And that's why Thad and the rest of the federal team is so committed to making sure that everything that can be done will be done.

This is going to be bad, no matter what we do.  But we can hopefully minimize the damage, but it requires good coordination between the state, federal and local; and it requires BP to make sure that, as I said up in New Orleans, folks aren’t getting nickled-and-dimed and that we're doing what we need to do early to prevent the worst-case scenario from happening later.

So, Mr. Mayor, anything you want to add?

MAYOR CAMARDELLE:  Well, again, the main concern is to block these five passes that we talked about.  The barges are available, Admiral, right there all along the coast, from Venice to Harvey Canal, all the way back to Homer. They’re standing by, and hopefully we can get the President to get on BP -- between both of you guys -- so we can put some barges there temporary to block these passes so we can save Claiborne Parish, LaFourche Parish, St. Charles Parish, Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, Plaquemines Parish.  And Jefferson Parish, where we live at -- if we can block them five passes right now, these fishermen can tell you that we can save -- continue to save the rest of the 2 million acres of oysters.

We have $2 billion worth of seafood that comes out behind me, right in this estuary -- $2 billion worth.  We have a billion dollars of recreational license -- recreational fishing -- that generates to the marinas, to all the stores, all the way across Louisiana.  But these guys -- this woman here with the convenience store, if we lose the estuaries in the back, we're history.  And they’ll tell you that.

We're born and raised -- our grandfathers, grandmothers.  We made a living right here behind us.  There’s no reason why this shrimp boat should be tied up, it don’t have skimmers on it, to make sure we can block the oil until we put these booms.  And I'm asking you to --

THE PRESIDENT:  To go to work.  Last week when I was talking to the Mayor, he started choking up just talking about the fact that out of his own pocket he was having to provide some help and some loans to his buddies, to fishermen, folks in the area.  That's what we should be able to prevent.  There’s oil washing in, but people can help each other.  And the company that's responsible can make sure that it’s responding quickly and effectively.

And when the Mayor told me that story it was, I think, an example of what’s happening all across this Gulf Coast.  And it’s going to be multiplied not just in Louisiana, but in Alabama, in Mississippi, in Florida.  There are small communities like this all across the Gulf and they’ve got to make sure that their voice is being heard day in, day out.

And I know that they’ve got a fierce advocate in Thad Allen.  But I wanted you to know that behind Thad Allen stands the President of the United States.

MAYOR CAMARDELLE:  And like I said, since the last time you’ve been here, the Coast Guard is unbelievable.  Admiral, I want you to know that.  You guys are really working 24 hours for us.  And you did push BP.  And, like I said, I'm very emotional because I'm still giving -- I'm not going to cut the water off, I'm not going to cut the electricity off, and I'm not going to cut the gas off.  I have one of the businesses right now that has a $5,200 electricity bill, and I'm calling energy to make sure not to cut him off.

When these businesspeople come up to you and say it’s time to help, it’s not easy.  And Patti can tell you -- the night before last I told her that I'm going to keep you strong, I'm going the try to bring you more business.  Butch calls me, telling me we need more boats, get some vessel of opportunities. He’s fighting to save his oysters.  I'm trying to keep Grand Isle alive, to try to get tours.  I opened the beach Memorial Sunday at 3:00 p.m. -- people were calling me.  So the marinas can sell a towel so these young kids can lay on the beach.

And watching oil come across the shore -- some people think I'm better than God, you know.  That's how serious this is.  And they’ll tell you, I live right down the street.  I've been averaging two hours of sleep, just going in and looking at the ceiling fan and wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow, and praying to God that no more oil comes on the beach.

So, like Terry said earlier, his wife is sick.  I bring seven people a day to -- New Orleans in a van, to cross that long bridge you crossed, and putting gas in the truck to make sure that we can keep the help.  And we help each other.  And we don't have no money, don't matter.  We help each other.  That's what we do.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that's supposed to be what the entire United States does, is helping each other.


TERRY VEGAS:  We're not bitter at the oil companies for what’s happening. We're just bitter at those that cut the corners and cause the havoc that we're having right now.

VOICE:  It’s not getting cleaned up fast enough.

VOICE:  -- the oil company down here and we enjoy the business.  We support them.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think the point with the oil companies is they’ve got to support you the same way you support them.  And they’ve got to make sure that -- because there are a lot of folks in the oil business who do the right thing and who aren’t cutting corners.  We've just got to make sure that we find out what happened and that those who are responsible are held responsible; that we fix whatever is wrong.  We're still going to need the oil production, but we've got to make sure that we do it in the right way, because we just can't have a situation like this happen again.

VOICE:  Can't have that happen all the time,, no.

VOICE:  Have to follow the rules.

VOICE:  Just tell the truth.

VOICE:  From day one they lied to us -- BP.  They said 1,000 barrels a day, then said it’s 2,000 -- put the tube in there, it was 5,000 -- now it’s up to 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.  Just tell the people the truth, you know.  That's all we want.

MAYOR CAMARDELLE:  Like I said, the biggest shrimp dock in America is right here in Grand Isle.  It’s Blanche’s Seafood.  And he’s completely shut down.  They’ll tell you, the boats are tied up.  How many boats does he have right now -- about 100, close to 100 boats just tied up.  And you’ve got the Vietnamese families, you’ve got the true Cajun people here, and they’re just sitting on the deck of the boat and just waiting on the vessel of opportunity.

And I want to respect the Admiral and BP, where they try.  It’s just since you left, they’ve made a big change.  Since you came to me, you made a big change and we support you for that.  But we just worry.  You hear us here and we worry.  And we don't know what’s going to happen tomorrow.  And that's why we depend on you -- both of you guys -- to make sure that -- and you heard them today.  We don't want to be on food stamps -- none of my people -- we want to just untie the boat, be able to see your two daughters right here and kiss them in the evening and Daddy’s going to work.

FL-17: Candidates forum in Little Haiti

Marleine Bastien, Haitian community activist; Phillip Brutus, former state representative; Dr. Rudy Moise, physician, businessman; State Rep. Yolly Roberson, District 104; Roderick Vereen, attorney; Andre Williams, attorney, Miami Gardens city councilman.

Thanks to the Young Democrats for putting on a rousing candidates forum for the congressional race for District 17. Now held by Kendrick Meek, who's running for US Senate, this seat in the US House will most likely go to the Democratic candidate chosen in the Aug. 24 primary. With the exception of Vereen, all the candidates above are Democrats, and he told your blogger he's a Democrat, too, but he prefers to run against one person in the November general election rather than 10 in the primary. So he's a nominal independent at this point.

Also running but arriving later than this photo is Scott Galvin, a city commissioner in North Miami and former congressional staffer for Carrie Meek. And not present for various reasons were State Rep. James Bush III, District 109; State Sen. Frederica Wilson, District 33; and Shirley Gibson, mayor of Miami Gardens.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Opinion on the oil spill and the human casualties. Put yours in the comments

 This is a submitted comment by a dear person who is also fierce:

There are two men who should not pass “Go” nor collect $200; but who should go directly to jail.  They are Transocean Chief Executive Steven Newman and BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward.  Their crime is Manslaughter (of 11 rig workers): “the unlawful killing of a human being without malice or premeditation, either expressed or implied; distinguished from murder, which requires malicious intent.” When they post bail re these accusations, they should immediately be arrested again for perpetrating an environmental crime (“any deliberate act or omission leading to degradation of the environment and resulting into harmful effects on human beings...”  And they should be held in jail, without the right of habeas corpus, as was done to Juan Padilla.

Charlotte Klieman
Charlotte Klieman is a DEC member

Others who wish to publish an opinion on the BP oil spill are encouraged to use the comment button below this post and let it run on.

A musical interlude. Enjoy.

Stand by Me from theRedPillRadio on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Brad Schenck and friends at farewell

For those who don't know, Brad is the birthday dude wearing the yellow guayabera. He's our beloved OFA regional director leaving soon for a bigger job. Photo taken at a cake and ice cream joint in South Beach.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

FL-25: Who was in the Drill Baby Drill camp? David Rivera. Pin it on him, Joe

There's a petition to sign at to keep offshore oil drilling away from Florida. I've signed. Have you?

Further from your blogger's brainstorming:

We have to accept that the Gulf of Mexico is going to be a disaster for quite a while. It has been a source of much oil for a long long time and there also were a lot of oil spills over the years. We should not be surprised or get desperate when there is a really big oil spill. This was in the cards and we knew it. It's why there was a
debate over whether to drill in more difficult areas such as much deeper water. Obama can win over reasonable people with bold and smart moves. We all have to suck it up, shake our fingers at the whiners, and clean up as fast as possible. BP can go bankrupt and out of business if necessary. Let's put the RISK in risk for big business.

The president should start a fast study on new livelihoods for coastal people who must move to escape unhealthy oily environment and finance the project in a way related to royalty revenue from oil leases.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

FL-25: Joe Garcia campaign points out that the opponent is waffling

What does Joe Garcia say? "What's happening in Arizona should never happen here in Florida" -- that's the way he put it in his campaign kickoff the other day.

Take a dive with BP's spill -- Yuk

Thanks to RepowerAmerica, Al Gore in action on the internet he invented, for tipping me to this new view of the gush.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DEC and OFA get new directors for 2010 elections

In six months when we’re chalking up now-unexpected victories in our difficult local electoral world, Monday May 24 may be a date we Miami-Dade Democrats look back at as a milestone in our rise to a successful political operation.
On this day two personnel shifts were presented to us. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party took on a new executive director, Ric Herrero, who appeared at a meeting of the party’s Steering Committee. And the new regional field director for Organizing For America, Marcelo Marco Ramirez, was introduced to an enthusiastic group of OFA activists as replacement for the highly esteemed Brad Schenck, who’s destined for something more national in scope (details later, we hope).
Your blogger had the pleasure of being at both events, even though they both started at 7 p.m. several miles apart in downtown Miami. Got to confess that when I burst into the OFA event at 8:15, people started yelling at Marcelo Ramirez that he’d have to start over again. It got a big laugh, so I imagine that I wasn’t the only one who’d arrived after the new field director started describing his mission.
R U ready? June 5 , less than two weeks away, is the day the OFA will start its nationally featured drive for the November midterm election: Contacting people who voted for the first time in 2008. Make them vote again this year, by hook or … No, only legal stuff is permitted. If you have not signed up to do something, now’s the time to drop in to and pledge yourself to the fun of campaigning again, meeting fellow citizens on their doorsteps or on the phone, and talking politics with them. Saturday June 5 is when we launch again. Be there with OFA. You may already have received this invitation from David Plouffe.
The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is further energized by having the decade of political experience that Ric Herrero brings to the post of executive director, which had been unfilled for over a year.  The party aims to concentrate on gathering in as many Cuban Americans as possible, as well as working to register new voters and to sign people up to vote absentee – vote at home, where you can think about the issues and candidates at your leisure.
Here are a couple of photos (unequal quality, I’m afraid, as I shifted from the simple Flip to a flashy Nikon Coolpix model in the middle of this story) to show the players.
First is Marcelo Ramirez of OFA with some of his activists.

Now a snap of Ric Herrero during the most recent meeting of the Democratic Executive Committee.

And a bonus: as the Steering Committee was about to meet, Chairman Richard Lydecker’s new name partner in his Brickell law firm, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, dropped in to say hello to the committee. Your blogger jumped up with the new Nikon and said there should be a photo for the blog, and this is it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FL-25: Joe Garcia kicks off campaign for US House

A good rally was held at Kendall Campus of Miami-Dade College.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

FL-25: Joe Garcia video from Collier County meeting

Don't forget our chance to celebrate the Joe Garcia campaign on Tuesday. Be there with Joe at the Miami-Dade college Kendall Campus, Room K-412, Tuesday 11:30 a.m.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Very bad news for Bill McCollum, Good for Alex Sink

Voters really hate clear corruption in their politicians, and the next thing they hate is hypocrisy. This item about the hypocritical anti-gay crusader very nicely reaches up into the office of Attorney General Bill McCollum. Yay!

Let's pound on it for a while and call it a nail in the McCollum coffin. Alex Sink, are you listening?

FORGOT TO SAY:  Kudos to the Equality Florida blog for digging this up.