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197 posts from November 2007

November 28, 2007

Will there be another Frosty exchange at the YouTube debate?

Billiam, the inquisitive snowman is back, or is he? He's the infamous snowman from Minneapolis who asked the Democratic candidates about global warming during the first CNN/YouTube debate in July. This time, CNN has fielded nearly twice as many questions from viewers for the Republican debate that airs tonight. Read more here.

Billiam, of course, is now famous. He stole the show in the debate, made the cover of the Wall Street Journal, provoked candidates to complain, and spawned a global warming web site that's now selling Billiam t-shirts. And this time, he poses a question to Republicans: "If you believe in global warming, please raise your hand.'' We'll see if it makes the cut.

Here's CNN's report on Billiam, after the first debate:

November 27, 2007

Jenne loses law license

The Florida Supreme Court has suspended Ken Jenne's law license in the wake of the former Broward County sheriff being sentenced to a year and a day in jail on corruption charges. The court gives Jenne 30 days to close out his practice.

The court will determine later whether to disbar Jenne. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Kathleen Kroll will be responsible for deciding who will hear arguments over what penalty should be imposed on Jenne by the state Supreme Court.

Don't like that poll. Try this one. Rudy still has big lead in Florida

CNN this afternoon released the results of a presidential poll that shows that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has a double-digit lead in the state of Florida.

On the eve of the GOP debate in St. Petersburg, the poll done by Opinion Research Corporation on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 has Giuliani with 38 percent, followed distantly by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 17 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain at 11 percent and Fred Thompson at 11 percent. Despite another poll that had former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in second place, this poll has him at just 9 percent.

The CNN poll was done of 300 likely Republican presidential voters and has a big margin of error: 5.5 percent. But it does have one question that may explain Giuliani's success: 61 percent of GOP voters told the CNN pollsters that Giuliani has the best chance of beating the Democratic nominee. BUT the poll also has Giuliani losing to N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton in the general election, based on questions asked to 945 registered voters in Florida.

Wasserman-Rubin agrees to $1,000 fine in ethics case

Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin has agreed to pay $1,000 for violating state ethics laws when she voted on grant applications written by her husband.

In 2003, Wasserman-Rubin cast votes on land purchases based on grant applications that her husband, Richard Rubin, wrote for the town of Southwest Ranches.

Ethics investigators say those votes resulted in a $15,000 bonus for Rubin.

Florida law prohibits elected officials from voting on issues that will financially benefit themselves or an immediate relative.

Now, under the agreement worked out with state ethics investigators, Wasserman-Rubin has agreed to pay the $1,000 fine, acknowledge that she should have abstained from the vote and agree to a public reprimand.

The Florida Commission on Ethics will decide whether to accept the deal on Friday.

Hastings is globe trotting, too

Perhaps the first press conference Naked Politics is sorry to miss: Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe - better known as the Helsinki Commission - will hold a press conference Thursday in Madrid.

Hastings is in Madrid on a congressional delegation, participating in a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The group has been criticized by Russian President Vladimir Putin who blamed the Bush administration for the organization's decision not to monitor upcoming Russian elections. Putin had claimed the absence of monitors was intended to help cast doubt on the credibility of voting that is expected to bolster Putin's power.

Hastings on Thursday plans to discuss "the challenges faced by election observers in the leadup to the Russian Duma Elections," along with Kosovo’s status, Kazakhstan’s aspirations to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the upcoming elections in Georgia.

Jab Giuliani, uppercut Hillary, etc.

Who says campaigns are too negative? A company called Cellufun is touting a free mobile phone service to box a candidate. From their website:

"You can choose to play as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, or a slew of other contenders. Aside from being an exercise in catharsis, there is a populist strain in the Mobile Ring game. You can help your favorite long shot candidates by uploading your high scores to us, and we'll adjust those candidates' performances in the game."

Broward County names Lois Wexler new mayor

   Broward County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to make former Broward School Board member Lois Wexler the county's mayor for the upcoming year.

   Wexler has spent the last year serving as the county's vice mayor, and she will take over for outgoing Mayor Josephus Eggelletion Jr., who ended his one-year term during Tuesday's meeting. Commissioners also voted to name former state legislator Stacy Ritter the county's new vice mayor, which puts Ritter in line to become the county's next mayor.

   The Broward County Commission manages spending for the county's parks, libraries, buses and other services. It also oversees the county's airports and Port Everglades.

   As mayor, Wexler will run commission meetings and set its priorities for the next year. She also will represent the commission at public events throughout the year. And she will guide the county through the selection of a new county administrator and through a controversial runway expansion at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Meek in Africa

With Congress on a two-week recess, Miami Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek is leading a congressional delegation to Chad, Ethiopia and Kenya, meeting with US, UN and humanitarian groups.

Also along on the 8-day trip to central and eastern Africa, Meek's congressional BF, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio and New York Democratic Reps. Michael Arcuri and Yvette Clarke.

The delegation, operating under the auspices of the House Armed Services Committee - of which Meek is a member - is also visiting NATO installations in Italy and Brussels.

The trip comes as Meek champions the need to increase diversity in the military's officer corps. According to a recent op/ed Meek wrote for Army Times, "minorities are overrepresented in the enlisted ranks and underrepresented in the officer ranks."

The only African American four-star general in the US Armed Services, Meek's office notes, is Army Gen. William "Kip" Ward, chief of U.S. Africa Command.

Poll: Huckabee is 2 in Fla, Thompson drops like a rock

A new presidential campaign poll by Insider Advantage shows Republican Mike Huckabee surging to second place (17%) behind Rudy Giuliani (26%) in Florida, while Fred Thompson (9%) drops to fifth.

The same firm as well as Mason-Dixon showed Thompson surging into the running for first place after he toured the state in September, but the former Tenn Sen. seems to have failed to gain traction. A possible reason: Thompson's repeated lackluster performances. Thompson, of all things, seems to blame those liberals at FOX news.

Huckabee, a former Arkansas Gov., seems to impress with his friendly, funny style. But some suggest that's not the real Huckabee.

Download IApollll.doc

State gives response to feds over voter law

The Department of State on Nov. 19 mailed a lengthy response to the U.S. Department of Justice defending changes to Florida's voter registration law that have come under fire by groups who say it unfairly prevents minorities from registering to vote.

The main letter sent by the state does not attempt to defend the changes enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature but instead details the information handed over to federal authorities, including data on voter registration activities in the counties that come under federal jurisdiction in Florida: Hillsborough, Monroe, Collier, Hardee and Hendry. Read letter here:Download letter_to_doj.pdf