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.